ALUMNUS Spring 2022 - Mississippi State University

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Campus NEWS Christopher B. Robinson, a senior biological engineering major and Shackouls Honors College Presidential Scholar, is MSU’s latest finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. A first-generation Mississippi State student from Brookhaven, he was the sixth MSU honors student in seven years to receive a prestigious Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute Fellowship. He also was named a finalist for the coveted Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Loren W. “Wes” Burger, a W.L. Giles Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology in MSU’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, is the new dean of the university’s College of Forest Resources and director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center. He had served in these roles on an interim basis since July 2020. Don Zant, Mississippi State University’s vice president for finance and administration, and chief financial officer, is the recipient of a statewide leadership honor given annually by the Mississippi Business Journal. He is among a group of 20 receiving the MBJ’s 2021 Leader in Finance award which recognizes those who have helped in shaping the finance, banking and accounting sectors in the state. Lis Pankl, a longtime educator and librarian with extensive academic leadership experience, is the new dean of libraries at Mississippi State. She comes to MSU from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she was professor and dean of Library and Information Services. Renee Clary, an MSU professor in the Department of Geosciences, is the recipient of the National Association of Geoscience


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Dudy Noble Field at Mississippi State, home to the NCAA Baseball National Champion MSU Bulldogs, is the 2021 College/University Field of the Year. Awarded annually by the Sports Turf Management Association, national Field of the Year recognition goes to natural grass fields that exhibit excellent playability and safety, and whose managers utilize innovative solutions, effectively use their budgets, and have implemented a comprehensive agronomic program. More than $2 million in federal grant funding is helping Mississippi State University-Meridian continue its training of public school teachers to fill over 3,000 current vacancies. The Mississippi Teacher Residency (MTR) program, introduced in 2018 and administered by the Mississippi Department of Education, is a free, two-year program designed to recruit underserved college students to work toward their degree in elementary education and Mississippi teacher certification. For the academic year, participants receive full scholarships, testing fees, books and mentor stipends. Teachers’ 2021 Transformation Award, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to geoscience education. She is director of MSU’s Dunn-Seiler Museum as well as director of the 15 Degree Laboratory, the EarthScholars Research Group and co-founder of the GeoViz Laboratory. Qiana Cutts, a Mississippi State assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Foundations, is one of only 27 faculty and administrators nationwide named a fellow in the IAspire Leadership Academy. The program works to help mid-career STEM faculty from underrepresented backgrounds ascend to college and university leadership roles and is part of the Aspire Alliance’s Institutional Change Initiative, led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the University of Georgia.

The Mississippi Museum of Art and Mississippi State University announced a new partnership that includes expanded educational opportunities and professional growth for MSU students. Through the new partnership, MSU faculty have the opportunity to extend learning and research beyond the classroom, along with access to MMA archives and education resources. Department of Art Head and Professor Critz Campbell was also named to the museum’s board of trustees. Mississippi State’s Cobb Institute of Archaeology has appointed MSU alumnus and veteran scholar Edmond A. “Tony” Boudreaux III as director of curation, overseeing archaeological collections and cultural resources management.