When Jared Talman was in high school at Augusta Christian, he had a government teacher and a track coach named Charles Cooper, who inspired him to look at his future in an entirely new way.
“He made the topic of government actually interesting, so I was one of those atypical college students who came to college and said, ‘Yeah, I know what I want to major in.’ I knew I wanted to study political science,” Talman said, smiling. “In fact, my brother went to Augusta University and he graduated a couple of years ago. Even though he was a history major, he had some political science friends, so I knew a lot about the degree before I even got here.”
Talman’s genuine passion for political science and his university has paid off. This week, Talman will be recognized as the 2022 Academic Recognition Day Scholar for Augusta University.
Each year, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia honors students who best represent the system’s highest scholastic ideals for Academic Recognition Day. Each of the USG institutions selects a student with a 4.0-grade point average who also reflects the system’s best qualities. These students strive for excellence and have the ability to share knowledge in various areas of expertise.
Almost 35 years ago, Academic Recognition Day began as a celebration of Georgia students’ academic achievement. The honorees will receive a resolution from the Georgia House of Representatives during a ceremony in Atlanta on Tuesday, Feb. 8, along with a letter of commendation from Teresa MacCartney, acting chancellor of the University System of Georgia. Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD, will attend the ceremony this week as well to honor Talman’s accomplishments.
Talman, who is also the team captain and sprinter for Augusta University’s track and field team, as well as president of the Pamplin Ambassadors, was recently accepted into The Graduate School for the Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies (MAISS) program.
“When I was studying political science at Augusta University, I really enjoyed some of the constitutional law classes taught by Dr. Martha Ginn and the political sciences classes with Dr. Craig Albert,” Talman said. “My original thought was to go to law school, but I talked to Dr. Albert and he said, ‘Why don’t you look into the MAISS program?’ So, I looked into it and talked to him about it a couple of times and it completely changed me. I was like, ‘Wow, that sounds really interesting. That’s something I could see myself doing.’ Now, I’m already taking my third class in the MAISS program and I am really enjoying it.”
Dr. Craig Albert, director of the MAISS program at Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, said Talman was the first student to be accepted into Augusta University’s accelerated Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Studies to Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies program, otherwise known as the 4+1 accelerated BA-MAISS program.
“Jared is perhaps the most diligent, ambitious, courteous and hard-working student I have ever taught, including both the undergraduate and graduate levels,” Albert said. “It is truly an honor to teach students who work as hard as does Jared.”
Ginn, a professor in the Department of Social Sciences, described Talman as an “ideal student.”
“Jared comes to class eager to learn and always wants to delve deeper into a topic,” she said. “He asks insightful questions and challenges me to look at things in new ways. We still correspond via email about constitutional matters he sees in the news. It is so rewarding to know he is taking what I taught him and applying it in the real world.”
Augusta University’s MAISS degree is unique from other college courses around the country because it takes an integrated approach to the study of intelligence and security, with a focus on strategic cyber security and modern intelligence methods, alongside traditional notions of national and international security.
“It’s all about critical thinking and application to the real world,” Talman said. “The class I’m in now is intelligence studies about how different U.S. agencies collect intelligence around the world and how it’s applicable not only to keeping us safe at home, but people we send abroad. I like the idea that I could play a role in keeping people safe both abroad and here at home. Eventually, I’d like to have a future career in analyst work.”
Dr. William Hatcher, chair of the Department of Social Sciences, said Pamplin College couldn’t be prouder of Talman’s accomplishments.
“Jared is an excellent student, active in student organizations and an AU athlete. And on top of all this, he is participating in our 4+1 accelerated graduate option to earn both his BA in political science and our new Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies within five years,” Hatcher said. “Jared definitely represents the best qualities of the department, Pamplin, AU and the overall USG.”
Dr. Christine Crookall, an associate dean at Pamplin College, said it has been a pleasure having Talman as a Pamplin Student Ambassador.
“Jared has always been willing to roll up his sleeves and do whatever is needed, whether it is setting up tables and chairs for our Pamplin Future Fest events or helping other AU students find their way around the AU Study Abroad Fair,” Crookall said. “Jared has led our Ambassadors by example as our current president and it doesn’t surprise me one bit that he was selected for this honor. Jared is a professional through and through, with an amazing work ethic that is reflected by both his grades and his performance on the track as one of our excellent student-athletes.”
Talman, 22, said he felt he was always destined to attend Augusta University.
“My parents met at Augusta Christian and my mom went to Augusta University and she is now a nurse here, so I really love Augusta and Augusta University. I didn’t really feel like I needed to go away to school,” he said. “This is my home and I love Augusta.”
Along with receiving the Division 2 Athletics Directors Association 2019-20 Academic Achievement Award, he is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Sigma Alpha at Augusta University.
“When I was a freshman here, I was really shy at first. I’d just go to class and then go home, but the more I’ve been on campus, the more I’ve loved Augusta University,” Talman said. “The best advice I have for future freshmen coming to Augusta University is to use the resources that are available on campus. There are so many resources available, everything from the Writing Center to Career Services.
“And please take advantage of the professors’ office hours,” he added. “Every professor offers them and I don’t think enough students take advantage of them. Because, honestly, all of the professors here at AU want to help you succeed and thrive. Professors like Dr. Albert and Dr. Ginn have definitely been there for me when I needed them.”
Talman also said Augusta University’s track team has become as close as family.
“Fortunately, the NCAA gave us an extra year eligibility because the COVID pandemic basically canceled one season, so I’ll be able to use that during my master’s program here,” Talman said. “The track team is like family to me. It’s a home away from home. The team has really inspired me because having a group of people you can connect with, that is like-minded and that want to see each other succeed, is so encouraging. I love all my track teammates.”
Augusta University’s Athletic Department plans to honor Talman and his accomplishments during halftime at the Jaguar’s basketball game against Lander University on Wednesday, Feb. 9.
While most people believe having a 4.0 GPA is virtually impossible, Talman said the key is to stay focused as much as possible.
“I compare it to like a horse with blinders on,” Talman said, laughing. “There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in college, so many opportunities and so many things to go pursue, but the key is putting in the hours of dedicated work and asking for help when you need it. I’m very stubborn and hard-headed, but don’t be afraid to turn to a professor and say, ‘I need your help.’ They are there and always willing to help. I am proof of that fact.”