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Fall 2014 Vol: 8 No. 1

CSET News TURNING DATA INTO KNOWLEDGE College of Science, Engineering and Technology

The Ph.D. Computational & Data Enabled Science & Engineering is an interdisciplinary program, which includes Biology, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Statistical Sciences, and Public Health. It is designed to provide students with advanced theoretical, analytical and applied interdisciplinary research training in the Big Data fields. The Ph.D. Engineering program consists of seven emphasis areas including Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computational Engineering, Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Geological Engineering. This program is designed to provide students with research intensive training in Engineering to prepare them to be the driving force of our economy. Questions? Contact Angie Jackson at or 601-979-1802. Apply online at

Apple Distinguished School for 2013-2015 Recognized by Apple as a distinguished school for innovation, leadership and educational excellence.

Challenging Minds, Changing Lives

JSU Offers New Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Disciplines C S E T

from 5 percent for electronics engineers to 22 percent for environmental engineers. The trend indicates a need for highly educated engineers with terminal degrees who can either join the workforce or become educators to support the need. Dr. James C. Renick, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said the program would significantly enhance the university’s engineering research capability, which is consistent with the designation of JSU as a “high research activity” institution by the Carnegie Foundation. “This new program should facilitate increased research conducted by our faculty and doctoral students,” Renick said.


N E W S Beginning fall 2014, Jackson State University will offer four

new degree programs in its College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), two of which are exclusive to JSU.

The Computational and Data-Enabled Science & Engineering program includes the disciplines of biology, chemistry, computer engineering, computer science, civil and environmental engineering, industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering, materials science and engineering, physics, mathematics, technology, public health, economics, finance and other non-STEM disciplines. This initiative responds to The White House’s Big Data Priority for government and the nation enhancing the nation’s capabilities to create knowledge from its vast and rich data resources that will lead to major societal benefits such as cancer cures, new engineering designs and better weather prediction.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning approved JSU’s proposals today to offer a Ph.D. in Engineering, a Ph.D. in Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Statistics. The Ph.D. in Chemistry was the last CSET doctoral program approved by IHL in 1996.

Labor statistics show biomedical engineering is the thirdfastest growing occupation in the country. In Mississippi, the employment of biomedical engineers is projected to increase by 80 percent by 2018, which is above the national average.

The B.S. in Biomedical Engineering will be the only undergraduate program currently offered in the state. The U.S. Department of Labor indicates that the need for statisticians will grow, with a projected increase of 25 percent from 2008 to 2018.

The B.S. in Statistics will help increase the number of students seeking degrees in the STEM academic fields and the number receiving STEM degrees. It also will improve the potential for JSU graduates to land high paying jobs in the data sciences, said Dr. Richard Aló, Dean of JSU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

“These new programs will enrich the inventory of academic offerings available to our students,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers. “The programs also are consistent with the mission of JSU to produce graduates capable of addressing critical challenges in our society.” The Ph.D. in Engineering program’s emphasis areas include computer engineering, industrial engineering, electrical engineering, computational engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering and geological engineering. U.S. Department of Labor statistics show the demand is strong for engineers in the disciplines that the program covers,

The Biomedical Engineering Program also fits well with the state’s plans for a Healthcare Corridor in Jackson.

“The program provides students with a strong foundation in mathematical and statistical methodology,” Aló said. “The program will provide courses that prepare students for careers in business, government and private industry as statisticians and data scientists and for graduate training in statistics and related fields.” The degree provides the fundamental training in statistics for entry-level career jobs in statistics and the data sciences and preparedness for rigorous advanced degree work in statistics at other universities.

Re tire s e $ t a 50,0 n o D dD 00 epartment Chair Retired chemistry department chair Dr. Richard Sullivan presented a $50,000 check on behalf of he and his wife during the opening session of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology’s 2nd Annual Research Symposium.


The donation is for establishing the Richard and Hursie Davis Sullivan Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will support students in the chemistry and biochemistry department. The endowment will increase to $100,000 through JSU’s Title III Matching Gift program.



Sullivan joined Jackson State in 1974. Shortly after, he was promoted to chair of the chemistry department. During his tenure, Sullivan helped secure the first grant from the National Science Foundation for the Louis Stokes Mississippi Alliance for Minority Participation (LSMAMP) program. The program aimed to increase graduation rates and numbers of students from all science and math areas. “He helped develop so many programs that benefited thousands of students,” said Hongtao Yu, chair of the department of chemistry and biochemistry. “LSMAMP alone benefited thousands.” During his presentation, Sullivan spoke briefly about both the history and current standing of the department. “It is with great pleasure that I stand here and see the continuing success of this program, which I’m very proud of. I’m very proud to have had a hand in it,” Sullivan said. The Research Symposium showcases faculty-mentored research of undergraduate and graduate students. Students from JSU and other institutions of higher learning in Mississippi present both oral and poster presentations that will be judged by experts in their respective fields.

Engineering, Computer Science and Technology Programs Receive Accreditation



N E W S The computer engineering, civil and environmental engineering and computer science programs were recently accredited by the Accreditation Commission of ABET. The technology program was accredited by ATMAE. Dr. Richard Alo, dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, said the programs are relatively new. “This is a real hallmark to be able to get out and say that within a ten-year period we pulled off accreditation and a new stellar building that’s recognized for using green technology.” Dr. James C. Renick, JSU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said the accreditation assures students they’re getting a quality education at the university. “We have dedicated faculty, staff and students in these very important programs. We are delighted with the continuing success of these programs that are critically important to our state, region and nation.”

Alo said JSU’s programs have experienced “tremendous growth.” “Our enrollment in engineering has increased by 20 percent or more a year. We’re bucking the national trend. We’re drawing students from all over, which is an indication of the reputation of the program.” Alo said the programs are diverse, drawing students from across the U.S. and from China, India and South America. ABET accredits over 3,100 applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology programs at more than 670 colleges and universities in 24 countries worldwide. ATMAE, the Association of Technology Management and Applied Engineering, sets standards for academic program accreditation, personal certification, and professional development for educators and industry professional involved in integrating technology leadership and design.

Two JSU Professors Selected for National Leadership Program

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Jackson State University professors Dr. Jacqueline Stevens and Dr. Carolyn Howard were recently accepted to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Leadership onlineblended program, which is part of the Opportunities for Under Represented Scholars (OURS) Program.

funded by the National Science Foundation.

The one-year post graduate certificate in academic leadership will incorporate applied instruction and practical experiences in such topics as contemporary issues in higher education, financial and budgetary issues affecting HBCUs, institutional advancement and With funding from the National Science Foundation, governance, as well as personal attributes that enhance The Chicago School of Professional Psychology opportunities and success in academic leadership. launched the OURS Program in 2012 to address both the national need to attract more women to the Science, Stevens and Howard were also selected as OURS Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Program Fellows. The fellowship will provide tuition, workforce and the related need to provide female role fees and travel support for the three face-to-face models in STEM disciplines for the large percentage residencies in Washington, D.C. They will also each of female students on Historically Black College and receive a $3,000 stipend. University campuses. Both Stevens and Howard are associate professors of biology and part of the JSU Advance program, which is a leadership development program for women faculty

JSU Chemistry and Biochemistry Researcher Awarded Three Grants C S E T



Jackson State University Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Dr. Victor Ogungbe has recently been awarded three grants to support his research in the areas of chemical biology, drug discovery and structural biology. The grants include close to $400,000 from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, for the project, “Solution Structure and Novel Inhibitors of T. brucei Cathepsin L.” The grant research and engaging the community.” will be distributed over three years. Dr. Loretta Moore, interim vice president for Research Ogungbe also was awarded a $36,224 National Science and Federal Relations, said Ogungbe is doing an excepFoundation Mississippi ESPCoR (Experimental Pro- tional job garnering support for his work. gram to Stimulate Competitive Research/Institutional Development Award) grant for the project, “Chemin- “Dr. Ogungbe serves as a model of what we’d like formatics and Biomolecular Structure Simulation.” to see junior faculty achieve in terms of research and The ESPCoR award complements Ogungbe’s current scholarly engagement,” Moore said. “He’s demonstratproject on dietary polyphenols, which is supported by ed how the Academy can help faculty focus on their the Jackson State University Center for Environmental research while securing funding from different sources Health (RCMI). to support their work.” Ogungbe’s third grant comes from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. This grant will support his collaboration with partner institutions in West Africa to develop a chemical library at Jackson State University. The chemical library has the potential to serve as a treasure trove for the discovery of new antibiotics and chemical compounds that can serve as templates for new therapeutic drugs. Ogungbe, who joined the faculty in January 2013, credits JSU’s Academy for Research and Scholarly Engagement for helping him develop his winning proposals. “The Academy gave me an opportunity to think about my projects, describe them to others who are not in my field, and convey the message for them to understand,” Ogungbe said. “The other important component was that I got to see what the university requires in terms of conducting research, bringing in money to support

Launched in 2012, the JSU Academy for Research and Scholarly Engagement is an academic-year program that includes a series of workshops, collaboration with academy coaches and scheduled interactions with program officers from funding agencies and foundations. Each faculty participant is paired with an academy coach selected from active researchers at JSU. Ogungbe participated in Cohort II of the Academy, which concluded in April. Cohort III will start in fall 2014. The purpose of the Academy for Research and Scholarly Engagement is to advance the careers of promising young researchers and emerging scholars by ensuring that they establish a compelling research agenda, participate in a community of scholars, and obtain external funding.

Six Students Selected for Cyber Security Internships Science at JSU, will intern at Y-12 in Oakridge, Tenn. She will assist with environmental cleanup activities and unneeded materials inventory. Antranella Pendleton, who is pursuing an M.S. degree in C Computer Science at JSU, will intern at Los Alamos National S Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Her duties will include E providing general network and infrastructure engineering and T computer support.

Six Jackson State University computer science students and graduates have been selected to participate in cyber security summer internships at national agencies located around country. The internships are part of a capacity-enhancing effort between the JSU Department of Computer Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Massie Chair in Cyber Security Program. NNSA, an agency within the Department of Energy (DOE), enhances national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, reduces global danger from weapons of mass destruction, provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion, and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. The JSU Department of Computer Science has participated in this capacity-enhancing effort since 2010. The Massie Chair program provides an opportunity to further develop minority students and faculty in the area of cyber security, which includes information assurance, computer security, computer/digital forensics and intelligence analysis. This summer, the following JSU students and graduates will participate in these internships: Bernard Aldrich, who received a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Jackson State University and is an incoming graduate student at JSU, will intern at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif. He will participate in the Cyber Defenders program that will provide him with practical experience in understanding computer systems, network operations, computer security, information protection and cyber policy. Allison Gray, who is pursuing an M.S. degree in Computer

Tymia Jackson, a rising junior in the Computer Science 7 Department at JSU, will intern at Universal Research Services (URS) in Aiken, South Carolina. Her tasks will include conducting property walk-throughs, computer validations, conducting inventory of accountable and non-accountable N equipment, comparing electronic records to inventory and E reporting any issues found. This opportunity will expose her W to the technical tracking of inventory and the management of S property in a government contract environment. Lacey Wicks, a rising junior in the Computer Science Department at JSU, will intern at the Office of Environmental Management (EM) in Oakridge, Tenn. Her responsibilities will include providing assistance with evaluating the Oak Ridge NPL Site Administrative Record (AR) contractor procedure and tying the AR documents containing characterization data to the appropriate data within the Oak Ridge Environmental Information System (OREIS). Devonte’ Robinson, a rising junior in the Computer Science Department at JSU, will intern at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. His duties will include assisting employees and scientists at NNSA with management and defense computer systems and other cyber security related projects. The Massie Chair project encompasses three major components: faculty training, faculty and student research, and student practical training through hands-on exercises employing tools and techniques used in the cyber security industry. Each of these components are seamlessly integrated through studentfaculty interactions in classrooms, in research laboratories on and off campus, through interactions with role models and peers, and through exposure to a diverse group of scientists. To better prepare students for industry, the program provides cyber security certificates to students who successfully complete specified course requirements.

JSU Alum Wins Top Level Appointment at Lockheed Martin Vernon has been with Lockheed Martin for more than 23 years, most recently serving as Director of Workforce Strategy, Analytics and Acquisition where he was responsible for workforce strategy, workforce planning and staffing for MST. Prior to that role, Vernon served as Director of Talent & Organizational Capability for IS&GS. He has extensive experience in areas of STEM, formal training programs aligned with business goals and overall mission, and higher education. He designed and launched the Lockheed Martin Cyber Security Talent Management Initiative including the Lockheed Martin Cyber University. He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from Jackson State University, a Master’s degree in Computer Education from Philadelphia University, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Innovation from Wilmington University.




Dr. Vernon Ross, Jr., 1982 Jackson State University Computer Science graduate and member of the CSET Advisory Council has been appointed Director of STEM & Generations Engagement at Lockheed Martin. In his new role, effective June 16, Vernon Ross will develop and lead STEM higher education and generational initiatives across the Corporation. Specific responsibilities include partnering with Talent Acquisition to implement a comprehensive higher education program and developing programs across Lockheed Martin that will address generational issues.

Speaking of


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Rachel Curtis is a traveler. Born in Illinois, she has lived in St. Louis and Belleview, Wash. Now, as a student at Jackson State University, she calls Mississippi home.

The original CSI series sparked Chris Copeland’s interest in E chemistry. He recalls watching the TV program and thinkW ing, “I want to be that guy.”

The biology major originally thought she wanted to be a pharmacist, but decided against it. Her adviser, Dr. Carolyn Howard, suggested she pursue a master’s in biology.

A native of Georgia, Copeland attended Georgia Southern where he earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He also spent a lot of time there focusing on athletics, working parttime as a basketball referee. It was that job, he says, that brought him into contact with Tommy Segi, the director of Intramural Sports. Segi, he says, encouraged him to focus on academics and develop his leadership skills.

Curtis, who will receive her master’s degree in May, threw herself into lab work during her first year of graduate school and never looked back. She now wants to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental science at JSU and eventually work in a corporate position as a research biologist. She says that the words of Dr. Greg Begonia, former chairman of the Department of Biology, have always stayed with her. “He was always looking out for me in college and told me to not let anything stop me.” Curtis is passionate about research and spends most of her waking hours in the lab. She has been working with the Nigerian Basil plant, ocimum gratissimum, and testing its ability to kill lung cancer cells. The results have been positive, and she is working with her mentor, Dr. Stephen Ekunwe, on a journal publication. Curtis says the wealth of knowledge that she has gained during graduate school has proven invaluable. Her biggest challenge, she says, has been time management. But that’s understandable when raising three children, a daughter, 12, and two sons, 5 and 6. Curtis says going to school and raising a family is made easier by the support of her family, particularly her mother, whom she calls her biggest fan.


Although he was offered an opportunity to join Jackson State University’s master’s program after graduation, Copeland opted to go into the workforce. After a six-month stint in a 9-to-5 job, however, Copeland took JSU up on the offer. “Having to work sparked the motivation to go ahead and get my Ph.D.,” he explains. Copeland says he thoroughly enjoys graduate school and its professional atmosphere, although he was at first surprised by the increased responsibilities. Now, he relishes both his classes and his time in the research lab. He particularly likes the “free-flowing” environment at JSU and that students are encouraged to bring their own ideas to the lab. Copeland’s field is computational chemistry, and his research involves using ab initio methods to study the fundamental properties of small molecules. He has made presentations of his work in California and in Washington, D.C. Copeland says he is looking forward to earning his master’s and then his Ph.D. at JSU. Eventually, he would like to work in academia, expanding the pathway for other students to obtain their degrees.





College of Science, Engineering and Technology Dr. Richard Alo`, Dean Phone: (601) 979-2153 (601) 979-3473

• Scholarships/Financial Assistance • Dedicated Faculty • Nurturing Environment

• Faculty Mentored Research • Peer Tutoring/Mentoring N • Research Apprenticeships/Internships E • Modern Facilities

Degrees Offered College of Science, Engineering and Technology 1400 John R. Lynch St. Jackson, MS 39217 Programs • • • • •

• • • • • •

Scholars Academy RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) LSMAMP (Louise Stokes MS Alliance for Minority Participation) NSF Scholarship for Service – Grad (National Science Foundation Scholarship to Produce African American Ph.D.’s in Mathematics) Bridge-Ph.D. (LSMAMP-Bridge to the Doctorate) Center of Excellence for STEM Education CREST REU PREM Summer Programs

Questions? Contact: Kristy Love at | 601-979-4044.

To submit your online application today, go to

B.S. Civil Engineering • Environmental Track • General Civil Engineering Track B.S. Computer Engineering B.S. Computer Science B.S. Electrical Engineering • General Electrical Engineering Track • Power Systems Track B.S. Biomedical Engineering M.S. Computer Science M.S. Engineering • Civil Engineering • Computer Engineering • Computational Engineering • Electrical Engineering • Environmental Engineering • Geological Engineering • Telecommunications Engineering B.S. Biology • Environmental Science • Marine Biology • Pre-Health Careers (Dentistry, Medicine, Optometry, •


Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Veterinary)

Pre-Health Careers Prerequisites (Pre-Dental Hygiene, Pre-Nursing)

B.S. Chemistry • Biomedical Science • Environmental Science • Forensic Science • Pre-Chemical Engineering • Pre-Health Careers (Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy) • Teacher Certification


B.S. Earth Systems Science B.S. Industrial Technology • Computer Technology • Electronics • Emergency Management • Manufacturing & Design Technology • Technology Management B.S. Mathematics B.S. Meteorology B.S. Physics B.S. Science Education B.S. Statistics B.S. Technology Education B.S. Ed. Mathematics Education M.S. Biology M.S. Chemistry M.S. Environmental Science M.S. Hazardous Materials Management M.S. Industrial Technology M.S. Mathematics M.S. Technology Education M.S.T. Mathematics & Science Teaching • Biology • Chemistry • Mathematics • Physics • Earth System Science Ph.D. Chemistry Ph.D. Environmental Science Ph.D. Computational & Data Enabled Science & Engineering Ph.D. Engineering

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2014newsletter sum  

Summer 2014 edition of CSET News from the Jackson State University College of Science, Engineering & Technology