Georgia Southern University’s Names ‘40 Under 40’ Class of 2020


Somi Benson-Jaja, Nicole Pope, J.D., and Mary N. Githens have been named to the Georgia Southern University Alumni Association’s “40 Under 40” Class of 2020. The honor recognizes alumni who have made significant strides in business, leadership, community, educational or philanthropic endeavors.

Benson-Jaja graduated from Armstrong State University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music Education. Today, he owns Shot by Somi Studios in Savannah.

Pope graduated from Georgia Southern in 2012 with a bachelor’s in political science. She is an attorney with HunterMaclean.

Githens graduated from Armstrong State University in 2008 with a bachelor’s in economics. She is owner of Latin Chicks Restaurant and Mint To Be Mojito Bar & Bites.

“We are thrilled to celebrate alumni who are making an impact across the country,” said Ava Edwards, director of Alumni Relations. “They are industry leaders and community champions who represent the best of the University. We are proud to call them Eagles.”

The “40 Under 40” honorees were chosen by a selection committee that reviewed each individual’s professional expertise and achievements, and their dedication to charitable and community initiatives. Their commitment to Georgia Southern was also taken into consideration. The selection process began with nominations in March with more than 240 alumni nominated for this year’s class.

Honorees must have attended Georgia Southern or Armstrong State University and aspire to uphold the University’s core values of collaboration, academic excellence, discovery and innovation, integrity, openness and inclusion, and sustainability.

The exemplary group was honored during a virtual awards ceremony on Sept. 13, broadcast via Facebook Live on Georgia Southern’s page. They will also be featured in the fall edition of Georgia Southern Magazine.

The full list of “40 Under 40” Class of 2020 honorees is available online at and the virtual ceremony presentation is available at www.alumni. sid= 1544& gid= 2& pgid= 5387

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