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Gadsden State Alumni Association presents annual awards

Gadsden, Ala.— The Gadsden State Community College Alumni Association honored three members of the faculty and staff and two community supporters with annual awards. They were presented during the College’s annual Holiday Brunch on Dec. 9.

The awards were presented by John Roberson, director of Development and Alumni Relations; Julie White, vice president of the Alumni Association; and Dr. Kathy Murphy, president of Gadsden State. Three awards are historically presented to members of the faculty and staff – Outstanding Support Staff Award, Outstanding Technical Faculty Award and Outstanding Academic Faculty. Each winner received a framed certificate as well as an engraved brick that will be placed in the College’s courtyard located on the Wallace Drive Campus.

Kelsey Taylor, the clinical coordinator and instructor for the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program at the Valley Street Campus, received the Outstanding Academic Faculty Award. She joined the Gadsden State faculty in 2018 after working as an ultrasound technician and a medical records and lab technician. In 2021, while working full time, Taylor earned a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Studies from Jacksonville State University.

“Kelsey has been an integral part of the growth and success of the DMS program,” Roberson said during the awards presentation. “The DMS program has a 97 percent graduation rate, which is outstanding.”

Within the program, Taylor assists with curriculum development and instruction. She also manages student compliance with immunizations, background checks and drug screens. She is responsible for coordinating student clinical rotations at over 25 sites in three states.

“She regularly tutors students one-on-one, and her infectious smile and friendly spirit sets students at ease,” Roberson said. “She is described as the epitome of putting excellence into everything she does.”

Joe Hulsey from the Ayers Campus was honored with the Outstanding Technical Faculty Award. He is a product of Gadsden State having received his certification in Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. He went on to achieve his contractor’s license and owned and operated a successful HVAC/R business. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Alabama and is working toward a master’s degree in Education from Athens State University.

In 2015, Hulsey decided to turn his education and experience into an opportunity to teach others when he accepted the position as the HVAC instructor at the Ayers Campus.

“As soon as he was hired, Joe started knocking on the doors of local HVAC businesses and supply houses to let them know who he was and his intentions to build the program,” Roberson said. “With the support of the community behind him, Joe upgraded the classroom and lab with the latest technology. His teaching techniques gained him the respect of his students and motivated them to succeed.”

Hulsey is currently the president of the Alabama Council of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Educators, an organization that assists new and developing instructors in the HVAC/R field. He is also a member of the 2022 class of Leadership Calhoun, a program of the Calhoun Chamber of Commerce.

The Outstanding Support Staff of the Year is Beverly Elam. She first came to Gadsden State as a student and earned an Associate in Applied Science in Office Administration while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. She started her career at Gadsden State over 20 years ago as a clerk in Financial Aid. She is now the administrative assistant in the Business, Legal Studies and Computer Science Division, a position she has held for most of her Gadsden State tenure.

In her position, Elam is responsible for inputting the class schedule, creating the textbook list, scheduling lab facilities, reconciling leave reports, submitting contracts and more. She serves as the safety and security building representative at the College and has served on numerous committees, including the very important Catalog Committee. She currently is the chairperson of the Student Affairs Committee, and she is a graduate of the Gadsden State Leadership Development Institute.

“Her nomination letter says that she mothers everyone and goes out of her way to help students and faculty through service to the Gadsden State,” Roberson said. “She is certainly a person of great integrity and character.”

The annual Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award was presented to Garen Mullen. He is a two-time Gadsden State graduate having earned an associate degree in Emergency Medical Services and General Studies. While a Gadsden State student, he served as the Student Government Association vice president and was instrumental in the completion of several projects around campus.

Currently, Mullen is a firefighter and is a nationally-registered paramedic. He holds down two full-time jobs at the Gadsden Fire Department, where he serves as a medic on Engine 9, and at the City of Argo as a firefighter. In addition to his full-time employment, Mullen is enrolled at Jacksonville State University, where he is working on a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Studies. He is also styling to be a flight paramedic.

Brad Finley was recognized as the 2022 Gadsden State Alumni of the year. He is a graduate of the Harry M. Ayers State Technical College, now known as Gadsden State’s Ayers Campus, and has had a very successful career in electronics.

In October, Finley received the American Society of Testing and Materials Award of Merit and was granted the title of Fellow. ASTM is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems and services.

He also serves on the organizations G01 Committee, which helps to establish corrosion testing standards for all international businesses.

For more information about the Alumni Association, please visit

Winners of the 2022 Gadsden State Alumni Association Awards

The Gadsden State Alumni Association recently presented Alumni of the Year Awards. Pictured are Dr. Kathy Murphy, president of the Gadsden State; Kelsey Taylor, Outstanding Academic Faculty; Joe Hulsey, Outstanding Technical Faculty; Garen Mullen, Distinguished Service Award Winner; Brad Finley, Alumni of the Year; John Roberson, director of Development and Alumni Relations; and Julie White, vice president of the Alumni Association. Not shown: Beverly Elam, Outstanding Support Staff.