by Emily Wurst

From engaging classes to exciting student organizations, the University of West Georgia offers a variety of resources to help students succeed and thrive at the university. Undergraduate student Hannah Beth Baldizon, of Carrollton, is a perfect example of a student who is taking advantage of these opportunities to do just that.

Hannah Beth BaldizonBaldizon, who is studying marketing and management at UWG, is a member of the third cohort in the Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program (SSBHP). The Southwire- and Richards College of Business-sponsored program allows students to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in their chosen business field, as well as a certificate of sustainability, in just four years. For Baldizon, the program has been one of the most important parts of her experience at UWG.

“I think the relationships I have made are really important because it allowed me to find people focused around similar ambitions,” Baldizon said. “Also, it has provided many opportunities for me to learn so much more than I could learn in class alone.”

The program also includes an internship element to allow students hands-on experience in their chosen fields.

“I am interning at Southwire right now, which is ahead of the program schedule,” Baldizon said. “I have been able to apply the things that I learned in class and learn things while I am here that I can apply later on in class. So the experience and the networking abilities that you have are outrageous.”

In fact, Baldizon and her cohort have recently started their Living Well project.

“As part of the SSBHP, students are encouraged to think creatively and take ownership of the projects to which they are assigned. Hannah Beth and her cohort have more than risen to the challenge to achieve success and make an impact on the company’s journey toward a multi-generational future,” said Ashley Bush, director of media and community relations at Southwire.

“This year, the focus of Cohort 3 is centered on Southwire’s commitment to employee health and safety. These students are observing the company’s approach to safety, specifically in the corporate environment, and are creating an engaging and fun outlet to raise awareness of potential hazards in the workplace.”

This project ties in to Baldizon’s biggest goal for her future, which is to start her own business centered around health and family. At UWG, she says she is learning the skills she will need to launch her business.

“I feel like West Georgia, through my classes and through this program, has really given me the tools that I need so that one day I can hand over a portfolio and say, ‘This is what I can do,’” she said.

Baldizon credits her successes at UWG not only to hard work, but also to help from professors who have become mentors. In particular, she says Leanne DeFoor, J.D., who is a senior lecturer in management, has had a big influence on her life.

“I know that whenever I need anything or whenever I have questions or concerns, I can come to her, because she’s going to answer from the viewpoint of a teacher, of a mentor, of a friend and from someone who has a lot of experience,” Baldizon said. “Anything, from the littlest thing to the biggest questions about my career or what kind of things I should pursue in my extracurricular activities, she’s always there.”

DeFoor says Baldizon is a joy to have in class and leads other students by example with her quiet determination.

“She takes on challenges and consistently goes beyond the minimum effort required to be successful or even to earn an A,” DeFoor said. “Students see that and admire it.”

In addition to academics and working with Southwire, Baldizon remains active in campus activities. She is a two-time intramural soccer champion and serves as the secretary for the College Republicans.

Hannah Beth Baldizon“I really like that there are so many different organizations that you be involved in,” she said. “You are able to find groups and find people who are like you, and ultimately that is what is going to make your college experience more enjoyable.”

DeFoor also credits Baldizon with making the most out of her UWG experience.

“Hannah Beth was strategic in structuring her degree program and entire college experience in a way that ensures maximum efficiency and potential for success,” DeFoor said. “She has surrounded herself with students who are similarly driven, which helps her stay on track and focused. She schedules each day in a balanced, priority-driven way to ensure she wisely invests the precious resource of time.”

Baldizon plans to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in 2018 and her master’s in 2019. Between her experience in class and working with the Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program, she feels certain that she will graduate prepared to follow her dreams.

“Everything that I want to do in life, I’m going to be able to accomplish it,” Baldizon said, “because of UWG and the tools it has given me.”

For more information about the SSBH Program, contact Program Coordinator Melanie Hildebrandt at 678-839-5356 or

Posted on March 27, 2017