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UNG campus honors first continuing ed graduates
The first six photography certificate recipients from the local campus of the University of North Georgia were recently honored. - photo by Crystal Ledford

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* For more information about continuing education courses at the University of North Georgia Cumming campus, visit

* For more about the Lanier Photographic Club, visit Its next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Cumming campus, 300 Aquatic Circle.

For University of North Georgia instructor Sandra Sullivan, photography is a special form of art.

“It’s like magic,” she said. “You’re capturing that moment and you can’t ever get that moment back.

“And you’re capturing it in the moment … in painting, you do it afterwards, but in photography, you’re right there in it.”

Sullivan now gets to share her passion for the art with even more students at the university’s Cumming campus.

The first six photography certificate recipients from the local campus were honored Wednesday night.

Besides receiving their certificates from the program, the students presented their final projects in a gallery display as part of the event. Their work will be display for the public in the campus’ community room for about a month.

Student Shelly Kuhn, whose project received a second-place ribbon during the showing, said taking part in the program was a way to reconnect with an old passion.

“I did [photography] in high school and loved it,” she said. “But then I stopped to have a career and kids, and when I saw it up here I was like, ‘I want to do that.’

“I’ve got kids moving out of the home now, so I was ready to take it seriously.”  

She said she learned a lot since her previous classes in high school used film cameras.

“I learned everything from how to shoot with digital, how to process it on the computer, to how to get it printed because I didn’t know any of that stuff after having worked with film,” she said.

Brooke Smith, program development specialist at the Cumming campus, said the photography students all completed six courses to obtain the certificate, which comes with continuing education credits.

“They all went through beginner, immediate, advanced, outdoor, digital and their capstone course,” she said. “This was the first Cumming class to graduate and this was the first [continuing education] certificate program down here.”

It’s one of several continuing education programs now being offered at the Cumming campus.

Smith said for the upcoming academic year, the campus will offer a range of classes such as several in the healthcare and computer fields, as well as some for food service workers and others in electrical and plumbing fields.

The photography program will also be offered again.

That’s good news for Sullivan, who said the program is especially valuable today with technology that is always changing.

“There are all these places that you go and buy cameras, but there’s no one to show you how to use them anymore,” she said. “You get all this stuff in a big box and you don’t know how to use half of it.

“We’re the only program in this area like this, so it’s great to be able to be here in Cumming now too.”

Sullivan said for amateur or professional photographers who may not want to enroll in classes, there’s another option that recently began at the Cumming campus also.

A new photography club, called the Lanier Photographic Club, began this at the first of May. It will meet at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the Cumming campus, 300 Aquatic Circle, Sullivan said.

“We’re trying to get more groups and outings and doing critiques here, so even if you can’t take the classes you can come to the club meetings,” she said. “It’s free and it’s open to anyone with any interest in photography.”