SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference named its All-SoCon Faculty and Staff Team on Thursday, with Emily French and Dr. Laura Lackey serving as Mercer University's representatives to be recognized by the league.
While the selections were left up to each institution's discretion, the recipients all shared the common characteristics of demonstrated service to the institution and contributions to campus life and the local community. Faculty members selected have a proven record of high scholastic achievement among students and/or recognition for a research project or written academic piece, while staff members may be from the instructional/teaching ranks or the non-instructional ranks and are recognized for bringing out the best in others and creating conditions for success.
Last year's inaugural team consisted of only faculty members, but the team was expanded this year to include staff, as well, doubling the number of recipients of the honor.
In addition to French and Dr. Lackey, this year's All-SoCon Faculty and Staff Team includes The Citadel's Melanie Maddox and Sally Keltner; ETSU's Dr. Andrea “Andi” Clements and Stefanie Murphy; Furman's Sandy Roberson and Rob Carson; UNCG's Dr. Jerry Walsh and Dr. Brett Carter; Samford's Dr. Robert Hensarling and Michelle Durban; Chattanooga's Dr. Gretchen Potts and Lisa Tarr; VMI's Col. W.G. “Grigg” Mullen Jr. and Lance M. Fujiwara; Western Carolina's Dr. David Claxton and Christy Wyatt; and Wofford's Dr. Nancy M. Williams and Dr. Phillip Stone.
Each member of the team will be presented a plaque and honored at a home basketball game at his or her institution.
French worked with Mercer student-athletes as a sports medicine assistant with the football team from 2012-14 while pursuing her undergraduate degree. In the fall of 2014, she began her public health degree program while also working as a student-athlete support specialist. In that role, she was an integral member of Mercer's student-athlete academic support staff. In addition to helping student-athletes develop their academic skills, she also provided advising services that included helping with registration, creating schedules, and monitoring NCAA eligibility and tracking degree progress. Most recently, she has become coordinator of sports operations, and her duties include helping organize community service and outreach for the teams, managing academic services for baseball, and personal and career development for student-athletes.
Dr. Laura Lackey
Dr. Lackey is a professor and senior associate dean in the Biomedical and Environmental Engineering Department in the School of Engineering. She has taught 20 different courses at Mercer, ranging from a freshman-level Introduction to Problem Solving course to a senior-level Process Chemistry course, which she developed. In addition to her teaching, Dr. Lackey has taken an active interest in the Mercer On Mission program. Her projects have focused on using manual well-drilling techniques and low-cost, human-powered pumps to bring water closer to users and in the development, installation, and monitoring of point-of-use biosand filters (BSFs) used to treat surface water prior to drinking. She and her students have taken their research to communities globally through projects in Kenya and Uganda. Prior to coming to Mercer, Dr. Lackey spent six years at the Tennessee Valley Authority as an environmental/chemical engineer, where she conducted both basic and applied research with emphasis on the mitigation of organic wastes through bioremediation.