College names 2015 Outstanding Alumni: Carolyn Curry and Shaan Trotter

The College of Arts and Sciences is proud to announce the winners of its 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award: Carolyn Curry and Shaan Trotter.

Curry is a historian of and advocate for women who founded and directs a nonprofit that supports single women. Trotter is the director of the Office of Equity and Minority Health at the Lurie Cancer Center at Northwestern University, building bridges between the university’s medical researchers and minority communities.

“Carolyn Curry and Shaan Trotter are dedicated advocates for diversity and equality, who put their passion to work in a practical way every day,” said Dean William Long of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I am proud that Georgia State University helped shape their desire to make a difference.”

Carolyn CurryCarolyn Curry (M.A., History, 1979, Ph.D., History, 1987) is the founder of Women Alone Together, a nonprofit that works to provide confidence and community for women who are single through choice, through divorce or widowhood, or through estrangement within a marriage. Curry has a long history of philanthropic work, including stints on the Board of Directors for the American Heart Association, the Board of Trustees for Young Harris College, and as a member of the Advisory Council for Action Ministries of The United Methodist Church.

Curry’s intellectual passion, however, is the history of women. In 2014, she published a book, Suffer and Grow Strong, based on the diary of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, a white Southerner who wrote of her experiences during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

“John Matthews was my advisor in the History Department,” Curry wrote in an e-mail, “and suggested I go to Duke University to look at the diary.” Curry said she also has fond memories of C.L. Grant, who supervised her M.A. thesis, and of Douglas Reynolds, a professor of Chinese history who still teaches in the department today.

“They all saw something in me that I did not see in myself,” she wrote.

Curry is also deeply involved with Georgia State University. Many know her as the wife of former Georgia State football coach Bill Curry, but she is also a member of the College of Arts and Sciences advisory board and a Library Ambassador.

Shaan TrotterShaan Trotter (B.A. Psychology and African American Studies) has built a career connecting medical research to underserved minority communities. His team at the Lurie Cancer Center manages diversity training for students, staff and faculty; recruits minorities for medical studies; organizes community education projects; and supports grant applications for all of those things.

Trotter named two professors who influenced him profoundly during his time at Georgia State: Akinyele Umoja, currently the chair of African-American Studies, and Eric Vanman of Psychology, now teaching at the University of Queensland, Australia.
“Both opened doors and created opportunities — student leadership roles, conferences, research and field experiments — that I would not have been able to explore on my own,” Trotter wrote in an e-mail. “The two have probably never met one another, but each influenced my professional development and career aims.”

Trotter added that he has particularly fond memories of his time in African-American Studies.

“The department faculty and staff created an atmosphere that communicated, ‘You belong here, and we are excited to have you. The future depends on you,’“ he wrote.

Curry and Trotter will be recognized at the college’s annual Honors Night celebration on April 16.