Finding Greatness: Karolina Philmon

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Monday, March 23, 2020 12:00 AM
Categories: Finding Greatness | School of Arts and Letters | Students | Pressroom

Macon, GA


New Media major Karolina Philmon is chief content editor for the Fall Line Review, MGA’s literary magazine, and a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. She is a nontraditional student who works fulltime while pursuing her degree.

Full Name: Karolina R.C. Philmon.

Age: 33.

Hometown: “I was born in Glogow, Poland, raised in New Jersey, then moved to Macon in 2008.”

Residence: Macon.

High School: “I attended and graduated from Garfield High School in Garfield, New Jersey, in 2005. It’s been a while! Nonetheless, my achievements while in high school proved my drive and determination and set me up for success through my university journey. A few activities and achievements are:

  • Top 10 of graduating class
  • Honor roll and a part of the National Honor Society
  • Recipient of Bergen County Community Service Award
  • Editor of yearbook
  • Competitive cheerleading
  • TIGS- (Teen Institute of Garden State) It’s a youth leadership program where its mission is to guide young people to realize their leadership potential and become empowered to create positive changes in themselves, in their schools, and in their communities. You’re chosen among several schools to lead as an example for this group.”


  • Mother- Renata Cieslak (resides in New Jersey)

“My mother is one of the strongest people I know. I wish there was another way to state that, a better emphasis on the fact. From beating breast cancer to losing her life partner, her husband and my father, in her arms; she had always found strength to keep her head above water. Those are also only two hardships among plenty more she had endured. When I married, I decided to keep my middle and last name along with my new married name. (My middle and maiden name is my mother’s full name). I am proud to have her name. My mother is the reason why so many know me as “sunshine.” I get the energetic and positively contagious personality from her.”

  • Father- Miroslaw Cieslak

“My father passed away unexpectedly in 2015. The many things I do, since his passing, is in honor of him and to keep his name alive. I am very much a daddy’s girl! For example, I have been a dedicated volunteer for the American Heart Association since 2014. When my father passed of heart failure in my mother’s arms, my drive and passion within the organization grew. I have earned the ‘Top Walker’ award every year and attained the citywide ‘Executive Challenge Member’ title in 2018. You will notice #KingCieslak posted throughout my social media in honor and in memoriam of him.”  

  • Brother- Mariusz Cieslak (“I’m a proud sister of an Army Sergeant.”)

“I am so proud of the man my brother has become. I’m always rooting for him and he continues to do anything for his “little sister.” (I’m forever his ‘little sister.’) Elliana has a remarkable uncle and is blessed to have him as her godfather as well.”

  •  Spouse- Matthew Philmon

“There isn’t enough space for me to go on about my husband. To the fullest emphasis, I am very thankful for him.”

  • Newborn daughter- Elliana Maria Philmon

“First-time new mom, est. Dec. 2019! My baby Elli is my greatest blessing!”

  • Two Shih-Tzu puppies, Thumley and Lux

“My first greatest joys are these two munchkins.”

Employment: “I’m a personal Banker at Cadence Bank. I’m a nontraditional student and have worked fulltime all throughout attending school. The way I have been completing classes is by taking them during my ‘lunch break,’ as well as taking online courses and any night courses available. I work overtime and don’t take any lunch breaks on the days I don’t rush to class to make up any time lost. It has not been easy by any stretch!”  

Degree Objective: Bachelor of Arts in New Media and Communications with a minor in Creative Writing.

Class Rank: Senior.


  • Head writer for The Statement (MGA)
  • Chief content editor for The Fall Line Review (MGA literary magazine)
  • Member of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS)
  • Executive Challenge Member for the American Heart Association

Career Goals: “I’m an aspiring broadcast journalist. I want to cover stories that either make an impact within our society or they entertain and bring about a lighthearted touch to a world that some may feel at times has much adversities. I would love to be the next Robin Meade on CNN!”   

She chose Middle Georgia State University because … “I had been commuting back and forth, an hour each way, to another university. I was, as I still am, living and working in Macon. It came to a point where the courses I needed were unavailable to fit my fulltime work schedule and long commute. Finding another stable job or moving was not an option. Several people had recommended Middle Georgia State University. I was aware of our university, but I was nervous to make the transfer because of the reputation it held. I have heard many times that our school is one of the toughest in the state when it came to academics. There were stories that students barely made it out with a C grade average. Now whether this was true or not, I do not know. But it did influence me. I didn’t think I was able to survive such a challenging school. On the other hand, because of this reputation, it was said that anyone that came from MGA was considered in high regard. I wanted quality in a school, but I also needed an affordable school. That is exactly what MGA is. I chose Middle Georgia State University because it provides quality education at such an affordable price. As for the rumors, I’d say take a shot and don’t let intimidation deter you from choosing excellence.”

The greatest thing she discovered about Middle Georgia State was … “I cannot put into words the gratitude I have for my professors. There are more than a handful that have had a significant impact on my success, self-esteem, motivation to push forward, and the reason I am going to graduate this upcoming May. It may be a word package and cliché to say, ‘motivation to push forward,’ but it’s honest. I’m a nontraditional student and have had many individuals, including some family members, attempt to convince me to quit. I’d hear on numerous occasions that I’m too old to be going to school, too old for my career goal, and that I’m wasting my time. It is because of my professors that I found the strength to block out all the negativity and keep pushing forward. They deserve a shout out! Thank you to:

  • Patrick S. Brennan
  • Nancy M. Bunker
  • Lauren R. Cater
  • Loretta Clayton
  • Sheree N. Keith
  • Andre Nicholson
  • Neil Rigole
  • Kelly D. Whiddon

 ‘There is no greater joy, nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life.”- Mary Rose McGeady’”

Her greatest academic experience as a Middle Georgia State student has been … “At the 2018 annual MGA Undergraduate Conference, I was a part of a panel presenting one of my literary works. I was honored to be recognized. It was also my second year being a part of a panel. Yet something greater happened later at the award ceremony. I had won first place “Best Paper” for my short memoir, “How I Almost Got Deported.” I had no idea! I remember entering my piece, but I didn’t imagine winning. In addition, my short memoir was published in Knighted, An Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research.

Another surreal experience occurred on February 4, 2019. I was chosen to be the moderator and interview an award-winning, well-traveled, investigative journalist and international correspondent Sarah A. Topol. She was exceptional and I’m grateful for the opportunity!”

To her, greatness means … “Robine Philmon. My mother-in-law is who comes to mind when I hear the word ‘greatness.’ Her selflessness astounds me. From cooking dinners to those in need, volunteering hours at church or community events, to cancelling her own plans at moment’s notice to help someone, she does it with pride and not a word of complaint. Anonymously, she had paid other’s bills just because she can. Robine is more than my mother-in-law. I consider her my best friend, a light in my life, and a role model. I hope my daughter will learn and live by all the good she represents.”    

In five years … “I’d love to be either at 13WMAZ or WGXA as a field reporter. I want to begin making my mark in covering local stories. I’d love for my professors, family members, friends, and current colleagues, who had seen me work hard toward this ultimate goal, see my name come across their TV screens in the morning or afternoon news report.  I also have an important personal role as a new mom that I cannot wait to fully devote my time towards. My daughter is a blessing I have prayed for. The time that I’ll gain back once graduated will be dedicated to her.”