KSU alum featured in GPB documentary

Campus screening of “The Road Beyond Abuse” on April 17

Georgia (Apr 13, 2009) — A Georgia Public Television documentary featuring the incredible story of Johnnetta McSwain‚ a 2006 Kennesaw State University graduate who survived childhood abuse‚ aired April 15 on nine Georgia stations.

McSwain credits Kennesaw State — from counselors who steered her through the admissions and financial aid processes‚ to a string of supportive professors and staff‚ to students who allowed her into their study groups — as a pivotal point in her road to recovery and success.

KSU’s Siegel Institute for Leadership‚ Ethics & Character and Department of Communication hosted a reception in McSwain's honor and a screening of the documentary April 17.

After graduating from KSU with a bachelor’s degree in communication in 2006‚ McSwain earned a master of social work at Clark Atlanta University. She is the founder of a self−help organization called “Breaking the Cycle‚ Beating the Odds” and author of a 12−step program that seeks to empower women to overcome obstacles they face in life. The Siegel Institute honored McSwain as a “Phenomenal Woman” at its “Women Leading Social Change” conference April 23.

Narrated by Jane Fonda‚ the one−hour documentary explores how two adults now living in Georgia were able to escape the often ravaging results of years of abuse and neglect. It will be followed by a one−hour discussion featuring child abuse experts who look at what the state is doing to combat abuse and examine the personal characteristics of those who overcome great trauma.

“After much research‚ expert consultations and conversations with many people‚ I realized that child abuse impacts different people in different ways as they grow up‚” says Pam Roberts‚ GPB executive producer. “Some are devastated by it and never fully recover‚ while others mysteriously manage to go on with their lives and even thrive. So I began to question why some people transcend … how they did it‚ and what can we learn from their experiences?”

Roberts and McSwain will be on hand to greet members of the Kennesaw State community at Friday’s reception and screening.

The documentary features interviews with KSU communication professors Jan Phillips and Leonard Witt‚ instructor and distinguished chair‚ respectively. Along with writing center and library staff and other faculty and staff she encountered at KSU‚ McSwain says her professors in the communication department really believed in her and supported her goal to earn a college degree.

“We were all inspired by Johnnetta’s determination to succeed and her enthusiasm‚ which was infectious‚” said Phillips‚ who was McSwain’s academic adviser.

Says McSwain: “KSU was the greatest experience of my life.”

To see a trailer and learn more bout “The Road Beyond Abuse‚” visit www.gpb.org/road−beyond−abuse

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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