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INFLUENCE Alumni Newsletter

College of Agriculture & Life Sciences Mississippi State University

2015 Reserve Grand Champions Page 6




Alumni Newsletter

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Mississippi State University

Mark E. Keenum MSU President Gregory A. Bohach Vice President, DAFVM George M. Hopper Dean Scott Willard Associate Dean D EPAR T MEN T H E AD S

Jonathan Pote Agricultural & Biological Engineering Keith Coble Agricultural Economics John Blanton Animal & Dairy Sciences Jeff Dean Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology & Plant Pathology Will Evans Food Science, Nutrition & Health Promotion Michael Newman School of Human Sciences Sadik Artunc Landscape Architecture Mike Phillips Plant & Soil Sciences Mary Beck Poultry Science EDI TOR

Karen Brasher D E SI G N

David Ammon WR I T ER S

Vanessa Beeson Karen Brasher Sarah Buckleitner PH OTOGR APH Y

David Ammon Megan Bean Russ Houston Kevin Hudson Kat Lawrence Tom Thompson Beth Newman Wynn

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is a unit in the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University. Discrimination based upon age, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, or any other status protected by federal or state law is a violation of University policy and will not be tolerated.

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What’s Inside 03

Letter from the Dean


Alumnus of the Year


Alumni Fellow


Reserve Grand Champions


Leaders in Agriculture


A Vision Realized


Providing a Sense of Place


Special Deliveries


CALS Milestones


Service, Learning and Research in Ghana


Student Spotlight

36 Development 38

Faculty News and Awards


Alumni Updates


Alumni Breakfast

Letter from the Dean


hat a great year 2015 was in the College of

Agriculture and Life Sciences at Mississippi State University. We are one of the fastest growing colleges at the university with an eight percent growth in enrollment this year. Fall 2015 welcomed nearly 2,000 undergraduate students and over 400 graduate students. As we continue to grow, we look toward the future with new and exciting curricula to prepare our students for a new era in agriculture and life sciences. We entered into a 2+2 agreement in precision agriculture with Hinds Community College. This program will allow students to transition from Hinds to the precision agriculture concentration offered in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. We have plans for a precision agriculture certificate in the college. Our student body continues to excel. Our enrollment in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program increased from 22 students in 2014 to 30 students in 2015. The student dietetics program in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion and the Landscape Architecture major in the Department of Landscape Architecture both received re-accreditation this year. Additionally, two student groups participated in Study Abroad this year. The Fashion Design and Merchandising students in the School of Human Sciences participated in a Farm to Fashion Tour of Italy while Landscape Architecture students spent three weeks in Italy, exploring landscapes. I am happy to announce that Dr. Will Evans has joined the university as the new department head in Food Science,

Nutrition and Health Promotion. A master certified health education specialist and certified wellness practitioner, Evans brings experience and leadership in health promotion and wellness. Veteran Agricultural Economics department head Dr. Steve Turner recently became the permanent director of the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University. Dr. Keith Coble is serving as the interim head while a national search has commenced to fill this position. During the course of 2015, we were fortunate to hire 16 new faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. We were also very successful in fundraising this year with nearly $7 million given through 787 unique gifts to the college. Your support for our students and programs is greatly appreciated. I hope you enjoy this issue of INFLUENCE . I am proud to have alumni who provide extraordinary leadership in agriculture, a world-renowned faculty who lead by example and a great student body who continue to excel. Thank you for your continued support. Hail State!

George M. Hopper Dean and Director C O L L E G E O F A GRIC ULTURE AND LIFE SC IE NC E S



2015 Alumnus of the Year Richard B. “Dick” Flowers, III The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences salutes

Richard B. “Dick” Flowers, Sr. of Tunica, Mississippi, as its 2015 Alumnus of the Year. Flowers earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Mississippi State in 1956, and since that time has enjoyed a rich history with the university. His devotion to MSU began during his days as a student. He helped organize a farm equipment club, which was one of the first organizations to sell cowbells on campus. Flowers is well known throughout the state of Mississippi and the region for his expertise in agriculture. He was co-owner of Mississippi Seed and Sure-Grow Seed, which merged into Delta Pine and Land Company. At present, he oversees Flowers Foundation, Inc. and is a part owner of Mattson Gin. He has a farming operation that extends into six counties in northwest Mississippi. Flowers’ professional and civic duties are many. He has been a commissioner for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Joint Water Management District. He has been a member of both the Mississippi Cotton and Soybean Promotion Boards.

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2015 CALS Alumni Fellow M. Todd Jarvis Because of his impressive accomplishments, M. Todd

Jarvis has been selected as the 2015 Alumni Fellow for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Alumni Fellows program recognizes Mississippi State’s most distinguished alumni by showcasing their talents and accomplishments. The program brings outstanding graduates to campus to share professional experiences and provide career guidance to students firsthand. Jarvis earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business. He credits the mentors who invested in him and pushed him beyond what he thought his boundaries and limits were for his success. “The MSU experience provided me the foundation and confidence to pursue challenges which later became successes,” he said. “My greatest accomplishment at MSU was getting a good education and meeting friends that continue to be part of my life today.” Jarvis is an executive with more than 20 years of experience in the Clean-Tech sector and currently serves as the chief operating officer for Chateau Energy Solutions in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a certified energy manager, and his extensive management experience includes responsibility within both publicly traded firms and privately funded businesses.





Grand Champions MSU’s horse judging team off to a winning start By Sarah Buckleitner


ississippi State’s new

Horse judging team broke out of the starting gate at a gallop. Formed and coached by Dr. Clay Cavinder, associate professor in Animal and Dairy Sciences, the team was named Reserve Grand Champion at the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, the largest horse show in the world. Horse judging is the process of assessing the appearance and performance of a horse in comparison to the breed standard. The ability to judge an animal’s conformation and movement is an important skill to have in the horse world. “How an animal is built dictates its performance. We call it form to function. Being able to look at a horse and logically analyze how it is put together helps you know what discipline the animal is suited for. The ideal cutting horse is built very differently than the ideal show jumping horse,” Cavinder explained. Horse judging has existed as an 6  IN FLUENCE 2015

individually recognized sport—apart from livestock judging in general—since the 1960s. However, MSU’s horse judging team has been dormant for many years. While the team might be new to the arena, they take competition seriously. “I have a motto I live by,” Cavinder said. “It is not important that we win. It is imperative that we prepare to win.” Perhaps because of this motto, Cavinder wasn’t surprised by their early success. “The students took that to heart; they took initiative and practiced. Leading up to Congress, people would ask how I thought the team was going to do and I told them—we’re good. The students made the decision to know their stuff and that paid off,” Cavinder said. Determination and drive are what has defined this team from the very beginning. “Our department needed something competitive to get involved with, and so this team attracted the best of the best. Their intelligence combined with their

desire to be involved led to success. Now we just have to keep it up,” Cavinder said. The typical horse judging competition consists of students ranking four horses, and then orally defending their decisions to an expert in a session called Reason. This practice not only teaches students how to assess horses for physical and performance faults, but it teaches them to justify their decisions through effective communication—a skill that many of the team members feel has impacted every facet of their life. CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U


“I tell the girls that horse judging is 90 percent life-skill development and 10 percent horses. We emphasize how to communicate confidently, but with respect for those you interact with.” In an inter view posted on their Facebook page, junior Animal and Dairy Science major, Samantha Miller stated, “Being a member of the team has impacted me as a person. I’ve gained exponential amounts of confidence. And I’ve learned to bridge the gap between mind and mouth, as Dr. Cavinder would say. I

find it easier to speak to people, so I’m a lot more outgoing, and a lot happier.” The team placed third in the American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in the Merial AQHA World Championship Collegiate Horse Judging Contest on November 18th.  ❖

A B O V E : Horse judging team enjoys downtime with Dr. Cavinder's horse at the Equine Unit on the H.H. Levick Animal Research Center (South Farm).

To meet the team and learn more about horse judging, visit




LEADERS IN AGRICULTURE CALS alumni lead at state and national level By Vanessa Beeson


state of Mississippi is vast. In 2015, the farm-gate value of agricultural and forestry production in the state totaled $7.4 billion and agricultural and forestry production resulted in $16.1 billion value-added to Mississippi’s economy. Agricultural research expenditures at Mississippi State University totaled $99 million, ranking the university eigth in the nation. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has its finger on the pulse of agriculture throughout the state and beyond. In 2015, several alumni of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences went on to serve in leadership roles at the state and national level. The leadership of these alumni plants seeds of economic viability and community prosperity throughout Mississippi and beyond.

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Glenn McCullough, Jr., was appointed as the executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority.

Sledge Taylor was elected as chairman of the National Cotton Council.

Allen Eubanks was selected as the Mississippi Farmer of the Year.

John Gordon Campbell was designated as the Deputy Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.




Glenn McCullough


o v e r n o r P h i l B r ya n t

the Fair Park District and the Pontotoc, appointed Glenn McCullough, Union, Lee Alliance – just two points Jr., 1977 agricultural economics of pride in his long list of achievements. alumnus, as the executive director of “I’ve been fortunate to work with the Mississippi Development Authority talented leaders. Many public and priin summer 2015. vate leaders in Tupelo were visionary in “O ur goals at the Mississippi their support of the Fair Park District, Development Authority are acceler- which created a new face for the city,” ating growth, strengthening the econ- McCullough said. omy, and attracting more and better He discussed the team effort of the career opportunities, which can enable Pontotoc, Union, Lee Alliance, which Mississippians to achieve a higher quali- helped make the dream of the Toyota ty of life,” McCullough said. “Economic Motor Manufacturing Mississippi plant development is a team sport, and our job a reality. at MDA is to work with partners across “The TVA played a leadership role the state.” working with local, regional, and state Currently, McCullough oversees 250 leaders to help make Mississippi the only team members focused on supporting state in the country with both Nissan and communities, industries, and business- Toyota automotive plants,” McCullough es throughout the state to achieve their said. “Today, the Toyota plant in Blue goals. He explained the Mississippi Springs, Mississippi, produces a Toyota Development Authority works in tan- Corolla every 72 seconds. The team there dem with multiple organizations in order assembled 500,000 Corollas faster than to achieve those goals. Partners include any other Toyota plant in the country. the state’s economic development pro“When Mississippians set their sights fessionals, the Mississippi Department on a goal, it will happen,” he continued. of Transportation, the employment se- “I have great faith in the people of my curity commission, and others. home state.” “We also rely on community colleges, McCullough said his time at MSU research institutions, planning and de- offered a great opportunity to learn and velopment districts, and government at expand his horizons. all levels,” McCullough said. “Agricultural economics is a great gateHe spoke specifically to collaboration way to business, and how business relates with the state’s public universities. to agriculture, a major target sector of the “While I graduated from Mississippi Mississippi economy,” he said. “It was a State and I am forever maroon, I am fairly diverse major. Being exposed to a proud of all our institutions of higher lot of different segments afforded me learning,” McCullough said. “Mississippi opportunities down the road, includhas eight public universities, all distinct ing working for an international comin their roles and advantages. It’s a unique pany as well as in my family’s business, opportunity to work with all of them.” McCullough Steel Products, based out McCullough’s economic development of Tupelo.” experience is vast. He is a former chairMcCullough appreciates his former man of the Tennessee Valley Authority, or professors. TVA, one of the largest regional economic “I am forever grateful for my professors, organizations in the country, which pro- Dr. James Hamill, Dr. Verner Hurt and vides energy across seven states. Prior Dr. Warren Couvillion,” McCullough to his tenure at TVA, he was mayor of said. “They had my best interest at heart, Tupelo, Mississippi. McCullough cur- and as I look back, I appreciate even more rently serves on two corporate boards. how much they tried to guide me down He’s proud to have been a part of the right course.” 10  INFLUENCE 2015

McCullough is part of a proud Bulldog family. McCullough’s wife Laura attended MSU. His two sons, Vance, assistant editor of social media for ESPN’s SEC network, and Glenn Thomas, called “G.T.,” first base coach at Northwestern State University, both attended MSU. Vance’s wife, Rachel, and G.T.’s wife, Sally Beth, are also alumni. Glenn and Laura McCullough have two young granddaughters, Bailey Louise and Sally Grace. “I am proud of MSU,” McCullough concluded. “Not only does the university excel in providing the learning experience, research, and discovery of new knowledge, Dr. Keenum is also attuned to the service role of the university; certainly in Mississippi but beyond to the country and the world.” CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U


John Gordon Campbell


ohn Gordon Campbell, 2001

agricultural pest management graduate, was designated as the Deputy Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce in 2015. He serves as deputy to Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith and helps oversee the management of the agency’s divisions, including administrative services, development and implementation of policy and budgets, marketing of agricultural products, regulation of agricultural industries, and investigations of agricultural-related crimes. “These functions are aimed at providing efficient and effective services to Mississippi’s consumers, farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses. In addition, I always strive to fulfill the Commissioner’s vision of supporting and advancing agriculture in Mississippi,” Campbell explained. He says he looks forward to building on the Commissioner’s successes since taking office in 2012 and credits his predecessor, Andy Prosser, former deputy commissioner and MSU alumnus, as laying a solid foundation of accomplishments that allowed for a Glenn McCullough (far right) with Governor Bryant (center) and others at the grand opening of the Yokohama Tire Company in West Point. The group broke open a cask of sake to commemorate the occasion. BEL OW: Campbell speaks to EPA officials about cotton production in Mississippi.



smooth transition into his current role. “As a personal challenge, I’ll work to foster teamwork, encourage professional development, and provide career opportunities to our employees thus increasing our productivity, ensuring the best use of taxpayer dollars, and delivering better services to the citizens of our state,” he said. Specifically, he has set his sights on the Mississippi State Fairgrounds and the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. “Both of these facilities are invaluable because, whether it is for a 4-H or Future Farmers of America livestock show or one of the many other agricultural events, both venues attract thousands of children each year allowing our next generation of leaders to witness the story of agriculture and its impact on the state,” he said. From an overall agricultural perspective, he looks forward to continuing his work opening new markets for Mississippi’s agricultural commodities as well as addressing the many issues producers currently face. “In light of today’s regulatory climate, I plan to dedicate significant time on issues impacting agriculture. I believe in order to be effective on policy issues, it is important for Mississippi to have a seat at the table ensuring our voice is heard when decisions are being made on agricultural policy,” he said. His advice to current students is to take advantage of a unique time in the agricultural industry. “With a growing world population and fast-paced technological advancements, it is the ideal time to pursue a career in the agricultural industry. The opportunities are endless in traditional and non-traditional agricultural fields such as precision agriculture and incorporating unmanned aerial vehicles into the industry, which lead to other areas such as software development, law, and engineering just to name a few,” he concluded. CALS 11


Sledge Taylor


ledge Taylor, 1974 agricul-

tural engineering, technology, and business graduate, was elected as the National Cotton Council chairman for 2015. “The chairman is the top industry leadership position. There are seven industry segments: producers, cotton ginners, the cottonseed industry, warehousing, marketing cooperatives, merchants, and textile manufacturers. Although I am also a producer, my involvement in the NCC developed through the cotton ginning segment,” Taylor explained. Taylor serves in the position for one year. The National Cotton Council represents the industry before lawmakers in Washington. “We work on funding for priority programs of the cotton industry through the appropriation process. Our goal is to make sure our priorities are funded,” he said. This year, Taylor worked on Farm Bill implementation and education, including addressing technical details of the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) program. “We are hoping to split irrigated and non-irrigated cotton acreage in STAX next year,” he said. He also provided testimony for the House Agricultural Committee, Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee on the Environmental Protection Agency’s The Waters of the United States ruling. When he is not in the nation’s capital, he attends meetings around the country, visiting leaders from various cotton industry segments. One such meeting was the Annual Conference of the International Textile Manufacturers Federation, held in the U.S., in San Francisco, for the first time in nearly 20 years. “The NCC has a dedicated and professional staff, including a president who is the chief staff officer, to carry out our priorities, but it also takes active participation by members in the cotton industry,” he said. “I like to travel as much as I can to different industry segments to listen to any concerns. I also feel that I need to communicate what the NCC is doing and keep people 12  INFLUENCE 2015

Taylor meets with congressional members during a trip to Washington, DC.

updated on our issues and achievements.” He says this role has helped illustrate how important it is to educate the general public about cotton. “It amazes me the number of people, who do not understand agriculture. As each generation gets farther from the fields where families may have once lived and farmed, it is increasingly critical to try to educate the public on what we do as farmers and as the cotton industry,”Taylor said. “There are a lot of misconceptions out there. It’s vital to communicate the good things we do, both as producers and within different segments of the industry. “The NCC works on a broad range of issues within the cotton industry and agriculture,” he continued. “It has been a busy year and I am proud of the staff and all that we have accomplished and the proactive attitude between staff and industry leadership.” Taylor is also president of the Como Consolidated Gin Co., Inc. in north Mississippi and owns Buckeye Farms, in Como, Mississippi, where he grows cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat, peanuts and raises cattle. “I have been around a cotton gin for as long as I remember. We run an efficient, upgraded gin that fills a need in the community,” he said. “As a producer, we are very committed to cotton. We have 1,800 acres dedicated to cotton in northwest Mississippi. One farm is west of Como in the eastern edge of the Delta; we also farm east of Como in the Hill Region.”

Taylor explained how his degree at MSU helped him develop as an agricultural leader. “It was a broad degree that gave me a solid background in a range of fields like accounting, animal science, soils, business law, economics, and biology. You see it at work on my farm—we have a very diverse operation.” Taylor encourages current MSU students to select a career path they enjoy. “I’ve gone through tough times in farming, but I enjoy it. Pick something that you love to do,” Taylor recommended. “Don’t get discouraged. It takes a long time to get enough experience to figure things out. I have been farming for 42 years and the older I get, the more I realize how much I have to learn.” Taylor and his wife have three sons and two grandsons. “I have a lot of good help,” Taylor said of his many endeavors and multiple hats. “I have a son on the farm, a gin manager, and great employees. The fact that I have such good people helping me, allows me to do all of the things I do. “The NCC position has been a great learning experience. It is amazing how much I continue to learn about the cotton industry, within this country and internationally. There are a lot of really great people in the cotton industry and their economic impact on local communities is significant. A financially sound rural America is one of my primary goals and I enjoy working through the NCC to bring that about,” he concluded. CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U


Allen Eubanks


llen Eubanks, 1992 agricul-

tural economics alumnus, was selected as 2015 Mississippi winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award. His operation, Eubanks Produce, is one of Mississippi’s largest vegetable farms. He has acreage across six counties and into Alabama. In addition to Eubanks Produce, he and his wife Janice own Charlie’s U-Pik, where customers hand select their own harvest, and Farm Fresh Gourmet, an entity that provides products, recipes, and canning and preserving tips. Charlie’s U-Pik, named after his father Charlie Eubanks, is a 100-acre produce farm where customers can pick their own fruits and vegetables. Farm Fresh focuses on developing recipes and creating products, like green tomato relish, pickles, and strawberry pepper jelly.

The entire operation encompasses approximately 2,800 acres; crops include cantaloupe, watermelon, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn, squash, and soybeans. This past year, Eubanks planted sweet potatoes for the first time. A farmer for more than 20 years, Eubanks is a fourth-generation farmer and the legacy continues on with his entire family. “I’ve loved farming for as long as I can remember. My grandfather held me as a baby and told everyone I would be his ‘little farmer’,” he said. “I am honored and greatly blessed to be able to carry on the family farm tradition. My wife, Janice, and our children, Andrew, Allison, Joshua, and Jacob are all involved in the farm. Janice handles all of the accounting and office staff which is huge in our business. All of our kids are heavily involved in our U-Pik operation during

Allen Eubanks co-owns Eubanks Produce Farms with wife Janice. Eubanks grows diversified truck crops of fruits and vegetables, as well as classic row crops and is the 2015 Mississippi Farmer of the Year.


the summer. Some of them will probably carry the torch to the next generation, but time will tell.” Eubanks and his family give back to the community in several ways. He has served on the boards of the George County Co-op and Southern Ag Credit and was a member of the USDA Farm Service Agency state committee. He’s also been recognized by the Mississippi Public Health Association and is a member of several organizations including the National Watermelon Association, Produce Marketing Association, and United Produce Association. Janice makes sure the operation is compliant with the Produce Traceability Initiative and Good Agricultural Practice. She also serves on the Ivy League Garden Club, on the board of the United Way for Jackson and George Counties, and is a 4-H volunteer. Recently, they held a farm-to-table dinner, which raised $3,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Eubanks said his time at MSU helped him prepare for a career in farming, which has evolved over the years. “Farming has changed drastically since I began. We have many more tools available and are able to manage down to the square foot now,” he said. Eubanks uses precision agricultural tools including GPS, precision spraying, land leveling, and drain tile installation. He also uses drip irrigation. “My degree provided a solid base. At MSU, I learned a lot about agriculture and economics, but more importantly I learned about the world and how things flow. I learned how to get the answers I didn’t know.” He says since then he’s reached out to MSU Experiment Station scientists and extension personnel for help multiple times with a particular problem or question. His advice to current students is to figure out what you like to do and do it with passion. “My favorite place to be has always been the field,” he said. “I enjoy seeing the seeds get planted in the ground and develop into crops that feed thousands.” ❖ CALS 13


A vision realized CALS Alumna Dr. Marion Flowers reflects on her time at MSU By Sarah Buckleitner


very year, students enter

the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences carrying dreams of making the world a better place. With the assistance of excellent mentors and a rigorous education within the college, many students achieve that goal through successful careers within their chosen fields. Dr. Marion Harris Flowers, 2008 Biochemistry graduate from MSU and recipient of the R.C. and Sophie E. Paige Endowed Scholarship, the Minor S. and Helen D. Gray Scholarship, and the Dr. Will. D. Carpenter Endowed Scholarship, is now able to reflect on the route she took to accomplishing her own dream of becoming a doctor, and what it means to have achieved her goals. Since graduating from MSU, Dr. Flowers went on to earn her Doctor of Optometry Degree from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee, and now provides eye care through the Shelby County school district to children aged 4-18. “The best part of my job is providing eye care to children who don’t otherwise receive the care they need. I also love that I’m taking care of something people hold near and dear to their hearts: their vision,” she said. Dr. Flowers works in a mobile optometry setting in Shelby County, Tennessee, where she travels between schools to assess each child’s vision. During her time not spent within the school district, she works in a private practice with patients of all ages, where she performs routine eye exams, manages ocular diseases like glaucoma, and treats urgent conditions, such as infections and inflammations of the eye. 14  INFLUENCE 2015

While she loves her job, she didn’t come into MSU immediately knowing that she wanted to be an optometrist. “I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but optometry was just one of the options,” she said. Dr. Flowers eventually narrowed her focus to the specific study of optometry with her strong mentors within the CALS department there to help every step of the way. “When I changed my major from biological sciences to biochemistry and molecular biology, then department head Dr. Boyle made the transition very easy. I can recall a conversation we had regarding my plans for medical school, and I remember how direct and honest he was with me. I still to this day remember every word he said, and I am so appreciative of his advice. After Dr. Boyle retired, Drs. Scott Willard and Kenneth Willeford made sure I was on the right track for graduation and that I was academically prepared for optometry school admission,” explained Dr. Flowers. It is not just the people she recalls fondly. “The student union and drill field were my two favorite places on campus. The union offered a place where I could catch up with my friends and grab a bite to eat, or just find a quiet place to relax. And I love the drill field because it’s simply beautiful. No matter how good or bad class was on a particular day, I could come to the drill field and feel a sense of freedom,” she said. Flowers attributes some of her success as an optometrist to the support of the university, both educationally and financially. “MSU supported me by providing a curriculum that prepared me for optometry

school, and simultaneously helping to fund my education via scholarships. The MSU career center was also a great resource. They helped with the mock interview I did in preparation for optometry school admissions. I ended up being awarded a scholarship to help with the cost of attendance—with one of its requirements being a good interview—so I feel that mock interview really paid off,” Dr. Flowers commented. Throughout her time at the university, Dr. Flowers was passionate about giving back. As a CALS ambassador, she helped spread the word about the college by planning events and participating in recruitment activities such as high school days, where ambassadors visited high schools and spoke to the students about Mississippi State University and CALS. “I always enjoyed our ambassador meetings,” Dr. Flowers said. “There were great team building games and wonderful food. And I enjoyed our recruiting events because I was able to share with others how much I love Mississippi State University.” If she had to offer one piece of advice for current students looking to go into the medical field, Dr. Flowers said it would be to never give up. “No matter what happens, never give up on your dream. It’s going to be tough and sometimes you may feel like taking an easier route. I remember crying several times and questioning my decision. However, I always encouraged myself by remembering two things: anything worth having is never easily obtained, and the harder you work for something the more you will appreciate it. They both held true.”  ❖ CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U




An aerial photograph of the Fallen Heroes Memorial in Alabama. The brown and tan bricks represent the fatigues worn by service men and women during the War on Terror. The concrete and rock salt paving symbolizes the sand on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Photo submitted by WAS Design)

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PLACE Providing a Sense of

WAS Design celebrates 10 years as Landscape Architecture alumni return to roots By Vanessa Beeson



landscape architecture students got to

know each other in their design-build class at Mississippi State. They joked how they should go into business together. That joke developed into an idea that turned into an eventual business venture. Through smart strategy, hard work, and dedication, the business celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. CALS 17



had Watkins, Jared Acy, wading area with fountains. The nearby

and Troy Strunk, landscape architecture alumni who attended MSU from 1996-2001, are the three principals of WAS Design. The firm’s corporate headquarters are situated in Foley, Alabama with satellite offices in Mobile, Alabama and Jackson, Mississippi. After graduation and a few years in the workforce, Watkins and Acy took jobs in the same small firm in Gulf Shores. Strunk was working for a firm in Pennsylvania. “We started talking and decided we could go out on our own,” Strunk said. “I moved down from Pennsylvania. We, along with our families, took a leap of faith and trusted we could get enough work. It started out with just the three of us in a small rented space in Gulf Shores.” The firm now consists of the three principals, three more licensed landscape architects, two designers, a draftsman, a graphic designer, and an office manager. WAS Design offers three primary services: traditional landscape architectural design, community and land planning consultation and design, and marketing services including three-dimensional perspectives and site plans. They have a broad client base which includes industrial, governmental, institutional, and hospitality sectors. They also work with private developers and public planners on residential and community design. One particular emphasis is destination design, which describes the project the group recently executed at the new Courtyard by Marriott in Starkville. The project is adjacent to the Mill at MSU, a $40 million economic development project that transformed the historic John M. Stone Cotton Mill – formerly known as Mississippi State’s E.E. Cooley Building – into a 10,000 square-foot conference and meeting complex. The Courtyard by Marriott’s outdoor features a uniquely-shaped pool that includes a 18  INFLUENCE 2015

whirlpool spa includes a waterfall feature and sitting area. Just outside of the pool area, guests can cozy up to one of two fireplaces or take a seat around the outdoor bar. Watkins spoke to returning to their roots in Starkville for this project. “It’s neat to get to do some work back where we spent so much time, to play a part in a revitalized, reimagined area of Starkville is exciting,” he said. He explains how destination design translates across sectors. “Destination design is something we incorporate beyond a hospitality setting. We also utilize the concept in residential and tourism design,” he said. “It is about creating a quality of experience, whether you are at home or on vacation.” Watkins considers three noteworthy projects among highlights over the course of the last ten years: the Centennial Plaza and Bell Tower, commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the city of Foley, Alabama; a complete landscape renovation of the Pensacola International Airport; and the Welcome Center for the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau in Gulf Shores, Alabama. “We designed a water feature for the Welcome Center that was unlike anything we’d done before,” Watkins said. “It is a fountain with three dolphins coming out of the water. It was designed as a landmark and traditionally, you would characterize it as a photo opportunity. Now those opportunities are called selfie spots. We designed the fountain for an optimum selfie, staying current and relevant regarding how people memorialize their trips today.” While Watkins is proud of the successes of the last ten years, he said the firm also had its share of challenges. He explained how strategy and caution helped them weather those storms. “We started off really lean, began as inexpensively as possible, and we do

our best to keep costs as low as possible,” Watkins said. “When the economic downturn of 2008 hit, which especially hurt housing starts, hospitality, and tourism, three of our core markets, we were prepared. Then the oil spill hit, and that impacted the market even more, and we were able to get through that. Running lean really served us well for that three or four year stretch.” Now, however, the company is growing and expanding, opening a new office in Mobile in 2015 and recently expanding into the Jackson market. “Having been in business for ten years, we have a track record. It’s easier to sell what you’ve done than what you can do. I am looking forward to expanding deeper into our market verticals like hospitality and expanding across different sectors within the communities we already serve,” he said. “You can’t get the experience until you’ve been given a shot and we are thankful to those people who gave us that shot.” He said his degree at MSU has been beneficial. “About two years in, I realized I learned an awful lot, the further into my career, CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U

P R O VI D I N G A S E N S E O F PLA C E LEFT: Left to right: Chad Watkins, Jared Acy, and Troy Strunk at the Courtyard by Marriott in Starkville, Mississippi.

the more I look back on the things I’ve learned and resource that knowledge,” he said. His advice to current students is to think big. “Think bigger when you get into that first job. You are not just a production employee. Everything is about solving problems and finding solutions,” he said. “A young person can be a real asset to whoever they are supporting. Pay attention. Our field is a visual field; landscape architecture is all around us. The power of observation will provide more growth in this field than any time at a desk.” Acy agreed that field experience is essential for a burgeoning landscape architect. “When you are in school, go to work for a successful working firm where you can get the hands-on professional experience,” he recommended. Acy said the firm has stayed busy in the field, and discussed specifically the company’s expansion into the Mississippi market. He is the principal who oversees the firm’s Jackson office. “Being in a capital city like Jackson has diversified our portfolio significantly,”

Acy said. “We are currently engaged in a broad spectrum of projects that include a government facility, college campus, and a nonprofit entity within the state.” The firm recently began working on the Mississippi Department of Transportation District-1 Headquarters in Tupelo, Mississippi. The project’s scope includes planning a gated main entrance, outdoor gathering areas and green spaces, and irrigation. The firm is also designing a pedestrian corridor for the heart of campus at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Also in Copiah County, WAS Design is helping make a camp for kids with disabilities come to life. According to the foundation’s website, Mississippi’s Toughest Kids Foundation will be the only fully-accessible camp for children and adults with serious illnesses and physical, mental, and emotional challenges. “The core of the camps will feature two central greens or pedestrian parks. All of the main facilities and cabins will front the greens and will be connected by a series of covered walkways,” Acy described. “Other amenities include a pool and lazy river, ball fields, a Christmas tree farm,


equestrian center, ropes course, natural creek, a fifteen-acre lake, archery, wildlife observation, star gazing, a garden, and a series of multipurpose trails.” The year-round facility will work in partnership with special needs groups to provide great camping experiences for children throughout the state. “Working with organizations like the “Mississippi’s Toughest Kids Foundation” means a lot to us as a team,” Acy said. “It gives us a chance to help and honor members of our community who need it most.” Another community-based project, The Fallen Heroes Memorial, in Alabama seeks to honor those who served, and ultimately, lost their lives for their country. Located at the U.S.S. Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama, the memorial was designed and constructed to honor all of the men and women from the state of Alabama who died while serving the country since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S. The symbolic design incorporates all five branches of the U.S. military, includes an etching of the names of each service member who died, and pays tribute to the twin towers of the World Trade Center, while drawing an emblematic connection to American soil. Acy said as the company continues to fulfill the needs of the communities in which they serve while also expanding into markets across Alabama and Mississippi, as well as parts of Florida; the team looks forward to growing the business in the next ten years and beyond. “At some point, we are kind of teetering on that edge of being able to transition from working in the business every day to working on the business every day,” he said. “That’s one thing from a strategic standpoint that we would like to move toward. Projects always take precedent over how we can improve our market and expand our footprint. We’d like to grow in that manner.”  ❖ CALS 19


Special Deliveries Katie’s plates brings healthy meals to customers’ doors By Donna Cornelius


atie Strickland prepares

burrito-style spaghetti squash. She loves coming up with fresh takes on healthy food for her Katie’s Plates menus, she said. Strickland’s goal is her own show on the Food Network. She also wouldn’t mind owning a restaurant – maybe two. “I’d like to have one restaurant with healthy food and another where I can go all out with no limitations,” she said. Those may be lofty ambitions. But Strickland already owns her own thriving food business. And she’s only 24-years-old. With Katie’s Plates, the MSU Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion 2013 graduate offers healthy, home-cooked meals delivered in a range that includes much of the Over the Mountain area, located just north of Birmingham. Prospective customers can visit her website and sign up to have lunches and dinners brought to their homes Monday through Friday. Her company has grown since she started it, mostly for family and friends in the beginning, in January 2014, she said. “In November 2014, I had to quit my job at Iron Tribe and take on my business fulltime,” she said. “I just jumped into it. I feel very lucky.” She’s also hired a driver to help her with deliveries, she said. Strickland grew up in Homewood and attended Homewood High School until her sophomore year, she said. Her family moved to the Oak Mountain area 20  INFLUENCE 2015

to have room for horses. She did English eventing competitions and still has two horses, she said. Her AP English teacher at Oak Mountain High School was a Mississippi State University graduate, Strickland said, and invited students for a visit to the Starkville campus. “I told my friend, ‘There’s no way I’m going to college in Mississippi,’ and she said, ‘At least you’ll get a day out of classes,’” Strickland said. “I ended up falling in love with Mississippi State.” She originally intended to become a dietitian, she said. “But Mississippi State is so focused on food service, and I took a class called Quantity and Quality in Food Production, which was about cooking for large groups,” she said. The class led to a discovery of a passion for cooking and food science, she said. During her summers as a college student, Strickland worked as a nanny and personal assistant for Amanda LeBlanc, a Birmingham-based professional organizer who starred in her own television show, “The Amandas.” “I’d cook dinner, and we’d do grocery shopping together,” Strickland said. “Amanda said to me, ‘Katie, what if you started some kind of meal service?’” Operating on the belief that many families want to eat healthy but just don’t have time to do so, Strickland started Katie’s Plates. “You can get meals for singles, which kind of sets me apart, for couples, or for families – three to five servings or six

to nine servings,” Strickland said. “I do lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks. I also have a weekly dessert and a breakfast, usually a quiche.” Healthy eating doesn’t mean boring eating to Strickland. She loves tweaking recipes and making them full of flavor as well as nutritious, she said. “I don’t cook just plain old chicken breasts with broccoli,” she said. “I do things like a chicken parmesan that’s breaded with almond flour and served over spaghetti squash.” Other recent offerings included maple-walnut crusted salmon, turkey bolognese over zucchini noodles and strawberry-balsamic pork tenderloin. “I love to get emails from customers saying things like ‘My kids loved the spaghetti squash,’” she said. Strickland’s success hasn’t come without demands. She works almost every day, she said, beginning to cook at noon. Her work isn’t over until at night after deliveries are made. In addition to her own business, she writes paleo breakfast and lunch menus for eMeals. “That gets my creative juices flowing,” she said. She’s working toward a storefront, too, she said. “There are days when I think, I’m not going to be able to get all this food out,” Strickland said. “But I do. And I love what I’m doing.”  ❖ This article first appeared in Over the Mountain Journal in Alabama. CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U





CALS Milestones University Florist celebrates 80 years at MSU By Sasha Steinberg


or more than eight decades,

the University Florist has provided a fun, enriching environment for MSU students to gain the work and management skills they need to be successful in the floral industry and beyond. “A university florist like this one is not common on college campuses,” said Lynette McDougald, who has served as florist business manager and plant and soil sciences instructor for 17 years. She explained that in addition to being a full-service flower shop, the florist serves as a hands-on, instructional laboratory for students majoring in floral management. The university also has a student chapter of the American Institute of Floral Designers, which connects students to future employers and internship opportunities. “The strength of the program is that all of that comes together and provides all of those learning opportunities,” she said. In addition to McDougald and about 15 students each semester, the florist is staffed by Jane Johnston who assists McDougald on a part-time basis with overseeing the flower shop’s day-to-day operations. Whether they aspire to go into retail floristry or pursue a “non-traditional shop” career, McDougald said the university’s floral management program and florist provide graduates with the experiences and skills they need to be successful. “If you really want to manage your commodity and do it well, you need some science background with it,” she explained. “I think the strength of the floral management curriculum is that the students get horticulture, which collects that science base for them, and then they also take art and business classes.” From processing flowers and filling orders to learning how to price and 22  INFLUENCE 2015

Mississippi State University seniors Renee Wright (center) and Camille Tedder (right) brought home the overall baccalaureate school award from the recent American Institute of Floral Designer’s Student Floral Design Competition. Tedder took top individual honors at the competition and earned a $3,000 scholarship to use toward her AIFD accreditation process. Both students work for The University Florist on campus. Lynette McDougald (left) is the faculty adviser for MSU’s Student AIFD chapter.

develop a budget, working at the florist “gives students a taste of retail, but also prepares them to go on to do things like wholesaling, event planning, brokering, and product development,” McDougald said, adding that the program has a high job placement success rate. McDougald said selling locally made products is another point of pride for the florist. One of the business’s most popular products is Merigold-based McCarty’s Pottery. “In 2009, we started selling McCarty’s Pottery and that changed the entire profile of this place,” McDougald said of the

purchase that has inspired her to bring in more local gift lines, such as Wolfe Birds from the Wolfe Studio in Jackson. “For our students, if we have something from Jackson or Madison or the Delta, they can connect with it. It gives them a sense of home. For our guests who come to campus to visit, buying something made in Mississippi is a natural kind of thing and allows them to take a piece of our state with them.” ❖


50 Years of Turfgrass Management By Dr. Jay McCurdy, Wayne Philley, and Dr. Barry Stewart


half century of turfgrass

research, education, and service officially began with a single course in Turfgrass Management offered in 1965. Today, 450 graduates, many of whom have helped shape the role of turfgrass management throughout the nation, are among the elite Bulldog Turf alumni. Turfgrass research and education grew simultaneously at Mississippi State. While the first turfgrass field plots were initiated in 1958, initial research efforts were spurred by forage and pasture research conducted for Mississippi beef and dairy production. Dr. Louis Wise conducted the earliest turfgrass research program. He was hired in 1950 to head the new Pasture Management research and teaching program. His simultaneous interest in turfgrass is appropriately credited with founding MSU’s earliest turfgrass research program. Dr. Corwin Johnson joined the university in 1956 and contributed to the program through his research on “wintergrass” overseeding varieties for putting greens. In 1958, an article in Golfdom expressed the following, “Good wishes

for a successful turf program to Dr. Louis N. Wise at the Mississippi State College at Starkville. Dr. Wise runs the first successful and only seed training school of its kind in the world.” Numerous faculty and staff helped build the turf management program. Jeff Krans came to the university in 1975 and pushed for a Sports Turf Management track within the Turf program. Four years later, he hired Wayne Philley as a research technician, and together the duo developed several popular bermudagrass cultivars. Philley and Krans developed numerous popular bermudagrass cultivars. Many of the turfgrasses developed by Philley and Krans were patented by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. The Rose Bowl field, the Arizona Diamondbacks field, and several prestigious golf courses are covered with MSUMAFES turf. In 1993, the program’s name changed to Golf and Sports Turf Management, and the curriculum underwent reforms

that are still reflected today: a mandatory co-op program was introduced, and students were allowed to select a primary focus—either sports turf or golf. Students played an important role in shaping the program’s rich history. K. V. Estes was the first person to graduate with an interest in turf in 1957. He went on to design the “SoilReliever” aerification device. The first student to receive a graduate degree was Ben Fleming, who completed a master’s degree in agronomy in 1960, and the first bachelor’s degrees were awarded in 1967, to Harold Walker and Charles Winstead. The first student to start and finish under the Turfgrass Management major was Randy Nichols, a 1969 graduate who spent most of his career as director of golf course operations at Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta. Nichols also served as GCSAA president. The present day program continues to emphasize cutting-edge turfgrass research. Foremost, though, the emphasis of MSU Turf is still on the students and producing quality turfgrass professionals.  ❖ This is an excerpt from a longer article that originally appeared in the summer 2015 edition of Mississippi Turfgrass. Dr. Jay McCurdy, assistant professor in the MSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, wrote the article with collaboration from Wayne Philley, senior research associate; and Dr. Barry Stewart, associate professor in Plant and Soil Sciences. L E F T:

Spring 2015, Golf Course Operations class; File photo from department in 1985.





Service, Learning, and Research in Ghana CALS alumna embarks on ag mission in Africa By Glenda Caudle


CALS alumna is volunteering

in Ghana until summer 2016. Kelsey Barnes, originally from Tennessee, graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science at Mississippi State. Currently, she calls the small village of Gbulahagu in northern Ghana home. When she returns to the states, she will pursue her master’s degree at Texas A&M. In the meantime, she is committed to an international volunteer agricultural experience that is playing out far away from home, thanks to AgriCorps, whose mission is to connect American agriculture volunteers to the demand for experiential, school-based, agricultural education in developing countries. The organization’s partnership with 4-H Ghana is giving Barnes a life-changing opportunity she never imagined could happen to a smalltown girl from Tennessee. She was encouraged and inspired by her father and her sister: her dad is a farmer in Tennessee and her sister pushed her to pursue international interests. Her passion for international agriculture, she says, was also inspired by MSU professors Dr. Gaea Hock and Dr. Laura Lemons. “Neither of them persuaded me to 24  INFLUENCE 2015

become involved in such an enterprise. They just spoke so highly of their own experiences and had so much passion for their teaching and for agriculture that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it, as well.” A professor told her about AgriCorps, and she realized the program for volunteers fit her idea of mission perfectly. Founded by past national FFA president Trent McKnight of Texas, AgriCorps partners with 4-H Ghana and 4-H Ethiopia and works to help communities through agriculture and farming. While the focus of their work is youth, they also put farmers in touch with different resources that can help them increase production. When Barnes mentioned the possibility of combining her volunteer efforts in Ghana with work on her master’s degree, her advisor was all for the idea. As a result, she will not only be helping an agrarian society grow stronger, she will also be doing research about the barriers that have to be overcome if agricultural efforts are to be successful in West Africa. She is working as an extension agent, 4-H advisor, and agriculture instructor.

She teaches agriculture and English at the village school and helps with the 4-H club. She also helps farmers address problems with crops. “For example, I have a farmer with Striga, a very invasive weed in corn, on his farm, so I met with a weed scientist at a local institute and got him to come see the problem and develop a plan to control the weed before it destroys the farmer’s whole crop,” she explained. “I am kind of the connector between agricultural knowledge and technology to the future farmers, the agriculturists, and today’s farmer,” she said. The students she works with are from 13-20 years old and it is her job to teach them leadership skills and critical thinking. “We want them to become innovative and self-reliant. We want them to look at farming as a profitable business, as opposed to just getting by. Most farmers I deal with are male, but there are a lot of female farmers. They range in age from 20-65, although most of them don’t know their birth dates.” Barnes said when she first arrived in Ghana, full of enthusiasm, she had lots of goals, and most of them were CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U

Barnes instructing one of her students.

L E F T:

B E L OW: Barnes getting water from the well. (Photos submitted)

measurable: increase yields by 10 percent, introduce different seed varieties, decrease post-harvest loss, introduce grain bins, increase the number of 4-H members by 10 percent, and increase female attendance in school. However, after being “in the field,” she has adjusted her thinking. Now her goals are less tangible and include inspiring the whole community, motivating the farmers to have higher yields, and giving her students hope. ❖ This is an excerpt of a longer story that originally appeared The Union City Daily Messenger in Tennessee. C O L L E G E O F A GRIC ULTURE AND LIFE SC IE NC E S


Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight Recognition

Animal and Dairy Sciences

Agricultural and Biological engineering

Representing MSU at Farm and Gin Show Faculty, staff and students in

Agricultural and Biological Engineering introduced Precision Agriculture at the Farm and Gin Show in Memphis, Tennessee. The department used the show as an opportunity to recruit future students and demonstrate the precision agriculture technologies being used at Mississippi State University.

Agricultural Economics

Grad student honored with national award Yunkyung Lee received the 2015

Richardson-Applebaum Award for Best Master’s Thesis from the Food Distribution Research Society. The Richardson-Applebaum Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually by the Food Distribution Research Society for outstanding graduate student research in food distribution and marketing. Lee’s thesis is entitled, “Does Experience Overcome Perception Bias for Consumers of Grass-Finished Beef.” He is advised by Dr. Matthew Freeman. 26  INFLUENCE 2015

MSU Livestock Judging Team celebrates success at Keystone International Livestock Exposition The MSU Livestock Judging team won big at the

Keystone International Livestock Exposition in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in October 2015. Team member Claylee Chism garnered 5th high individual honors in sheep judging. Team member Tucker Wagner was the high individual in swine judging and 4th high individual in the sheep division. Team member Jay Slater received a perfect score on a set of reasons, a feat that is virtually unheard of in collegiate judging. The team finished inside the top-ten in every division highlighted by a 5th place finish in the sheep division. The MSU team was the 8th high team overall.

Eventing Team Founded in 2014 The Eventing Team, or “Equestrian Triathlon,” is MSU’s newest equestrian club sport, founded in the fall of 2014. The introduction of the Eventing Team to MSU follows that of the introduction of the Equestrian Team in 2001. The Eventing Team began its season in April 2015. In its first competition, the MSU Eventing Team placed fourth overall in competition against teams from the University of Alabama and University of Georgia. CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U


Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology

Undergraduate student learns research ropes in flu lab An honors student at MSU is the

lead author on a research study published in the December 2014 edition of an international medical journal. The report in Virology by university junior Lucas J. Ferguson focused on a new influenza virus and its impacts on bovine production systems. Ferguson, a double-major in microbiology and biochemistry, placed first in the 2014 MSU's Undergraduate Research Symposium competition; he is also a President's List Scholar and Shackouls Honors College member. As part of a research effort guided by Dr. Henry Wan, an associate professor with MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine, he and others investigated a novel influenza virus distantly related to human influenza C virus to which nearly all humans have been exposed at some point.

food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion

Recent graduate receives state honor A May 2015 honor graduate of

Mississippi State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is being recognized by the state's leading dietetic association. Anna Laurin Harrison of Ocean Springs recently became the fourth student in five years from the land-grant university to be named the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' (MAND) Outstanding Student of the Year. MAND is an affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Harrison received a bachelor's degree, cum laude, in food science, nutrition and health promotion. Nutrition was her academic emphasis. C O L L E G E O F A GRIC ULTURE AND LIFE SC IE NC E S


Student Spotlight

Human Sciences

Landscape Architecture

Recent landscape architecture grad wins national community service award Travis R. Crabtree accepted an honor award in the community service category from the American Society of Landscape Architects for his work on the “read” sculpture installed at the Starkville Public Library. He was among five landscape architecture majors that designed, constructed and installed four

wooden letters spelling “read” at the library. Nearly 330 students representing more than 80 schools around the world were considered for this year’s awards. Crabtree, who graduated in May 2015, is now enrolled in the urban design master’s degree program at the University of Michigan.

Student fashion designer MSU receives federal support for ‘RainWorks’ demonstration project receives national recognition With a $20,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant, Mississippi

Fashion design and merchandis- State is creating a green infrastructure

ing major, Taylor M. Howell, took Best of Show in the undergraduate division of the recent 2015 Apparel, Textiles and Design Community Juried Showcase and Exhibition for her upcycled garment. The competition was part of the Virginia-based American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences’ 106th annual conference. ABOVE: Taylor Howell’s award-winning ensemble is

modeled by Brittany Henderson, also a senior MSU human sciences major in the fashion design and merchandising concentration.

28  INFLUENCE 2015

demonstration project. A collaborative effort between faculty and students in the university’s landscape architecture, civil and environmental engineering, and art departments, the project involves construction of a 1,500 square-foot bioretention basin—rain garden—that will be the first of its kind on campus. The 2014-15 challenge is a separate project that features Cory Gallo’s landscape architecture students partnering with MSU graphic design and civil engineering undergraduates, biological engineering and civil engineering graduate

students, MSU Extension Service representatives and Pearl River Community College Honors Institute students. Three teams are developing stormwater mitigation plans for the Pearl River Community College campus sites in Poplarville. CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U


Other Awards and Honors:

Plant and Soil Sciences

Phillip L. Vines, (entomology) recent master’s graduate, won a $5,000 grant from the Dr. James Watson Fellowship Program of the Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America. Sandra Schachat (entomology), a doctoral student working with Dr. Richard Brown, placed second in oral presentation categories at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America. Chad Abbot (agronomy) won the Future Leaders in Science Award from the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.

MSU floral design team takes top national honors Horticulture/floral manage- in both the body flowers and duplicate

ment majors, Camille Tedder and Renee Wright, received the overall baccalaureate school award at the 2015 American Institute of Floral Designer’s Student Floral Design Competition. Tedder received top individual honors, with highest overall scores and a first-place finish

Drake Copeland (agronomy) placed first in the inaugural student poster contest (Master of Science category) at the 2015 Weed Science Society of America annual meeting. Chase Samples (agronomy) placed first in the agronomy and physiology category at Beltwide, an international forum coordinated by the National Cotton Council.

design categories. Additionally, she and Wright placed in the top 10 for bridal bouquets. Tedder also won the professional organization’s first scholarship Yemi Olojede (poultry science) received that provides $3,000 toward her AIFD the Award of Excellence in Student Competition, oral presentation from accreditation process. the Poultry Science Association.

Poultry Science

Undergraduate research scholar receives award of excellence

Dana Dittoe, an undergraduate

research scholar in Poultry Science, received an Award of Excellence in student competition at the Poultry Science Association annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky for her poster presentation on windrowing poultry litter after a broiler house is sprinkled with water. Dittoe is under the direction of Dr. Aaron Kiess, associate professor in poultry science. C O L L E G E O F A GRIC ULTURE AND LIFE SC IE NC E S


Student Spotlight

CALS Abroad

Farm to fashion

Fashion Design and Merchandising students spent 13 days on a

Farm to Fashion: Agricultural and Apparel Supply Chain Tour of Italy. For centuries, farming and fashion have played integral and connected roles in developing and building global economies. Fashion and farming go hand in hand. Students investigated the role agriculture, foreign trade, and policy have in developing and supporting globalized apparel and textile industries.

Shelbie Dalton visits Africa with Mississippi FFA In January 2015, 75 state FFA of-

ficers traveled to South Africa for a oncein-a-lifetime adventure during the 2015 International Leadership Seminar of State Officers (LSSO). State officers spent 10 days experiencing local culture as they developed a better understanding of international agriculture and the global marketplace. Shelbie Dalton, MSU agricultural information science major in the School of Human Sciences, was one of the FFA officers. R IGH T: Dalton with a young student from the Kliptown Youth Program in Soweto.

A tour of Italian landscapes Landscape Architecture students spent 18 days looking at historical architecture, urban parks, squares, landscapes, and exploring the culture of Rome and the surrounding area, including excursions to Florence and Siena. Students visited many landmarks while walking and sketching these cities. Emphasis was placed on exploring urban agriculture.

R IGH T: From left to right: students Abigale Jenkins, Justin Gandy, Terak Winborne, Lindsey Winborne, Taze Fulford (associate professor), and Polly Fulford in front of a fountain at the Villa d’Este in Tivoli.

30  INFLUENCE 2015



Travel abroad through donor support Stephanie Sigman, a graduate student in

Landscape Architecture, spent a month in Haiti during summer 2015. Her trip was made possible through the generous support of Wayne Wilkerson. Wilkerson is a former professor in Landscape Architecture and a generous donor to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He established the travel abroad scholarship in honor of his parents.



Student Spotlight


Beefing up the Bulldogs Mississippi State’s head football coach Dan

Mullen, along with his daughter Breelyn, gave a calf a bottle; freshman Alec Murphy and other members of the Mississippi State University football team play with a goat during the fifth annual Beefing Up the Bulldogs event at MSU on Aug. 16, 2015. Event sponsors included the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, the Mississippi Beef Council, First South Farm Credit and the MSU Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences.

32  INFLUENCE 2015



Kindergartners enjoy ‘Afternoon on the Farm’

Fashion design students reap what they ‘sew’

T h i r t e e n s e n i o r s i n t h e A service-learning class at Department of Animal and Dairy Science hosted more than 60 kindergartners at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center, commonly called the South Farm, on May 1, 2015. The program was part of a service-learning project students organized as part of the capstone course in Animal and Dairy Science courses.

Mississippi State University taught clothing design students much more than just how to construct a dress. Caroline Kobia’s Apparel Design 1 students joined Oktibbeha County 4-H members to learn the basics of clothing construction. This was the second semester the MSU Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence linked MSU students with community partners in a sewing project.

MSU Historic Costume and Textile Collection celebrates 30 years To mark the 30th anniversary of the MSU historic Costume and

Textile Collection, select items were on display in March and April 2015 at the university’s Cullis Wade Depot Art Gallery. Founded in 1985 by retired human sciences professor Catherine Boyd, the collection is home to more than 1,000 garments, hats, accessories, and pieces of footwear representing a range of historical periods and styles dating from the mid-1800s to the present. The MSU exhibition and related programs are made possible by the School of Human Sciences and the College of A Mississippi State student- Architecture, Art and Design’s art department. founded nonprofit provided nearly 20 life-saving trauma kits to the university’s police department in 2015. Blue Forever Inc. is a registered 501(c) (3) organization founded by Kellie M. Abbott of Princeton, Louisiana, a sophomore biochemistry/forensic sciences major. Following the death of friend Tim Prunty, a Shreveport Police sergeant, from traumatic bleeding, she created the organization with the mission to increase awareness for law officer safety. For more about Abbott and Blue Forever, visit

MSU student donates lifesaving trauma kits to campus police



Student Spotlight


Undergraduate Research Scholars

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences undergraduate research scholars program continues to help develop and prepare CALS students to become the researchers of tomorrow. The initiative, now in its third year, has more than 30 undergraduate research scholars in the college. Here are just a few of the exciting projects currently underway.

Anna Laurin Harrison

Ben Bishop

Recent Food Science, Nutrition

Ben Bishop sought to determine The goal of Brynnan Russ’ re-

and Health Promotion graduate Anna Laurin Harrison, assessed the attitudes of participants who attended the 2014 Fun with Food camp, a weeklong summer camp at MSU. Twenty camp participants participated in a pre-survey administered the first day of camp, as well as a 9-month follow up survey. The pre- and follow up surveys were analyzed for changes in self-efficacy of food preparation and dietary behaviors. Dr. Sylvia Byrd, professor in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, served as Harrison's advisor.

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the persistence of antibiotic resistant genes in Salmonella enterica. This resistance is an increasing concern for public health. By studying the DNA from twenty Salmonella isolates found in ground turkey, he hoped to identify the prevalence of antibiotic resistant genes which will help scientists better understand this pathogen's antibiotic resistance. His research was under the direction of Dr. Chander Sharma, assistant professor in the Department of Poultry Science.

Brynnan Russ search is to determine how BHV-1 and M.h. might affect each other’s gene expression. Bovine herpesvirus-1, or BHV-1 infects cattle​. Mannheimia haemolytica (M.h.) is a gram-negative bacteria that normally lives in the upper respiratory tract of cattle. This research will help researchers to better understand the Bovine Respiratory Disease. Russ is a senior biochemistry major under the direction of Dr. Florencia Meyer, assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology.



Find complete reports on these projects and other student research at

Other research projects include: Katie Brown, human sciences major with a concentration in fashion design and merchandising studied cotton and sustainability under the direction of Dr. Charles Freeman, assistant professor in the School of Human Sciences. Ethan Cartwright, agricultural economics major, studied the economic factors influencing Farm Policy preferences under the direction of Dr. Keith Coble, professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. Jonathan Gunn, animal and dairy sciences major, studied pollinator exposure to insecticides through turfgrass guttation under the direction of Dr. Jay McCurdy, assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Dana Dittoe

Lauren Gamblin

Dana Dittoe sought to deter- Lauren Gamblin, junior hortimine if windrowing, an in-house poultry management practice, impacts litter quality when a broiler house utilizes sprinklers. Dittoe is a senior poultry science major. She is under the direction of Dr. Christopher McDaniel, professor; and Dr. Aaron Kiess, associate professor, both in the Department of Poultry Science.

culture major, quantified annual soil invertebrate community fluctuations. Dr. John Riggins, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biolog y, Entomolog y and P lant Pathology served as Gamblin’s advisor.


Sarah McNair, animal and dairy sciences major, studied artificial insemination and hormones in beef cattle under the direction of Dr. Jamie Larson, associate professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences. Taylor Szasz, biological engineering major, studied targeted drug delivery via magnetic nanoparticles in hopes of pioneering treatment of osteosarcoma, under the direction of Dr. Raj Prabhu, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.



Development Kroger Co. sponsors MSU food camp with $50,000 gift A gift from The Kroger Co. is

funding scholarships for the Fun with Food Camp at Mississippi State University. Kroger's Delta Division formally presented the $50,000 gift at the weeklong camp on June 16, 2015. Teresa Dickerson, public affairs manager for Kroger's Delta Division, attended the camp for the first time and said the camp reflects Kroger's mission of educating children about nutrition. “Kroger has three main focus areas dedicated to service: feeding hungry families, education, and health initiatives," Dickerson said. "Healthy children become healthy adults so we are thrilled to sponsor this camp that educates young people about nutritious food.” The Fun with Food Camp, led by

Dr. Sylvia Byrd, extension professor, is hosted by faculty in the university's Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The camp, which has served over 200 children since its inception, immerses children in hands-on food preparation and lessons about food from farm to table. Afternoon field trips illustrate lessons learned in the morning sessions, including trips to the Mayhew Tomato Farm and several MSU facilities including the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center, the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center, and the Custer Dairy Processing Plant. Kroger has provided support for the university camp since its inception in 2007.

Staggers joins MSU Foundation Will Staggers has joined the MSU

Foundation as the new assistant director of development for the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the MSU Extension Service, and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education from MSU in 2010. Will’s diverse experience in education, insurance sales, and with MSU will be assets to the position, which he began December 16, 2015.

First South Farm Credit Scholarship Recipient Britton Walker of Starkville Pictured with this year's Fun with Food campers are, back from left, Dr. Reuben Moore, associate director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station; Dr. Sylvia Byrd, professor and camp director; Teresa Dickerson, public affairs manager for Kroger's Delta Division; and Jud Skelton, director of development for MSU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 36  INFLUENCE 2015

was selected as the recipient of the First South Farm Credit Endowed Scholarship. She is a sophomore in food science, nutrition, and health promotion in the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.


D evelopment

Imogene C. Triplett Gardens The College of Agriculture and

Life Sciences and the Garden Clubs of Mississippi, Inc., formally dedicated the Imogene Triplett Gardens at Dorman Hall on October 21, 2015. Pictured from left to right: Debby B. Cooper, president, the Garden Clubs of Mississippi, Inc; Dr. Glover Triplett, research professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences; Dr. Richard Harkess, professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences; and Dr. George Hopper, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Dr. Glover Triplett donated funds for the garden in honor of his late wife, Imogene.

Will D. Carpenter Graduate Assistantship John Buol and Lucas Franca are

recipients of the Will D. Carpenter Distinguished Field Scientist Graduate Assistantship. The assistantship, funded by the Monsanto Company, is named after Dr. Will D. Carpenter, a 1952 agronomy graduate of Mississippi State University, who spent 34 years with the Monsanto Co., retiring as vice president and general manager of its new products division. He and his company’s team are credited with helping to greatly increase

global food production through the development of two weed- and grass-control products, RoundUp® and Lasso®. Buol (right) is pursuing a master’s degree in weed science under the direction of Dr. Dan Reynolds. Franca (left) is pursuing a doctoral degree in weed science under the direction of Dr. Darrin Dodds. The assistantship pairs both with industry mentor, Dr. Anthony Mills (center), a Monsanto distinguished field scientist who focuses on weed management.

Diane Hawks Precision Agriculture Endowment As the global population con- Agricultural and Biological Engineering. tinues to grow, new methods of agricultural sustainability and production are needed to feed and fuel the world. Diane Hawks, a 1980 graduate of the University of Mississippi, established an endowment at Mississippi State to support education in precision agriculture, a farm management concept that uses advanced technology to optimize field-level operations to more closely match inputs to crop needs, reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, and boost competitiveness through more efficient practices. As a premier land-grant institution, Mississippi State is proactive in research, education, and outreach related to newly emerging agricultural technologies. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences currently offers a precision-agriculture concentration in the Department of

In the upcoming academic year, a full precision-agriculture certificate program will be added, pending approval by the faculty. “Through this program, students will garner a well-rounded capacity for understanding precision agriculture as it applies to their major and across the entire agricultural landscape,” said Dr. Scott Willard, CALS associate dean. T h e D i a n e H a w k s Pr e c i s i o n Agriculture Curriculum Endowment will help establish the certificate program. Hawks was raised on a farm in rural DeSoto County and continued working in agriculture into her adult life before pursuing an influential career in the political sector. Even after leaving the farm, her passion for advocacy in agriculture was evident through her professional and civic involvement in leading and serving the industry.


“My heart has always been in agriculture,” Hawks said. “I was raised on a farm, and I raised my children on a farm. I will do anything I can to promote agriculture for the next generations.” Nearly 25 years ago, during her time on the farm, Hawks participated in some of the early development and implementation processes of precision agriculture. She recalls the first laptop she ever owned, which spent most of its time with her in the cab of a combine. When Mississippi State presented the idea of a precision-agriculture program, she knew she wanted to be involved. “The greatest gift anyone can give to someone, besides spiritual guidance, is an education,” Hawks said. “By giving people behind us the tools to better equip and feed the world, we are raising the standard of living for society as a whole. It’s a ripple effect that is all positive.” CALS 37


Faculty News Agricultural Economics

Animal and Dairy Sciences

MSU professor to lead national beef organization Dr. Lurleen Walters was elected vice president of student programs for the Food Distribution Research Society at their annual meeting in October. She was recently appointed to the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Trust Committee, and is also ChairElect of the Committee on Women in Agricultural Economics (AAEA Section).

Dr. Jane Parish, an animal and

dairy sciences professor, is the new executive director of the Beef Improvement Federation, which works to connect science and industry to improve beef cattle genetics. Parish, who is based at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Prairie

Read more about Parish and her work at

Peter Ryan receives Dean of Students Award of Excellence

Dr. Daniel Petrolia is now the associate editor for the Journal of Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy. In recognition of his contributions to student well-being, Mississippi Dr. Barry Barnett finished his term as State’s associate provost for academic president of the Southern Agricultural affairs received the Dean of Students Economics Association at the annual Award of Excellence. Dr. Peter L. Ryan, meeting in Atlanta February 1-3. who has been at MSU for more than 15 years, becomes only the seventh recipient of the honor since its inception. In 38  INFLUENCE 2015

Research Unit, took over the leadership position at the 47th Beef Improvement Federation Annual Convention and Research Symposium on June 11, 2015 in Biloxi, Mississippi.

his role as associate provost, Ryan’s responsibilities include academic affairs and student services. A member of the university’s behavioral intervention team and associate dean’s council chair, he also is a professor of reproductive physiology in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences. CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U

Faculty News

biochemistry, Molecular biology, entomology and Plant pathology

Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion

Evans named head Brown honored for study of moths of FSNHP

Dr. Richard Brown, professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology and director of the Mississippi Entomological Museum received the John Abbott Award for Excellence in Lepidopterology from Southern Lepidopterists Society

Dr. Marion Willard “Will” Evans

Excellence Fund honors Davis and his research career A $50,000 gift from DuPont Pioneer will establish an excellence fund in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in honor of longtime Mississippi State University entomologist Dr. Frank Davis. The gift will help continue the insect rearing workshops founded by Davis and enhance the research facilities at Mississippi State.


has been named head of the Mississippi State University Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion. A master certified health education specialist and certified wellness practitioner, Evans brings experience and leadership in health promotion and wellness. After operating a private chiropractic practice for 17 years, Evans returned to academia and served in numerous positions, including dean of academics at the U.S. Sports Academy in Alabama and director of wellness initiatives at Parker University in Dallas, Texas. Most recently, he served as the executive vice president and provost of the University of Western States in Portland, Oregon. Evans earned his bachelor's degree from Indiana University and his doctoral and master’s degrees from the University of Alabama. He received a doctor of chiropractic degree from Logan University.

Buys named Distinguished Alumnus

Dr. David Buys, assistant exten-

sion and research professor with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and MSU Extension Service, was honored as Mississippi College’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for the Department of Sociology and Social Work. CALS 39


Landscape Architecture

Plant and Soil Sciences

MSU team wins EPA award Mississippi State University is

the 2015 neighborhood/community-level recipient of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4's Rain Catcher Award for its role in implementing the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum's rain garden program. The EPA Rain Catcher Award recognizes the efforts of more than 200 MSU undergraduate and graduate-level landscape architecture, landscape contracting, architecture, art, building science construction and graphic design students who designed and built the museum's green infrastructure and sustainable building technologies over a five-year period. Landscape architecture associate professor Cory Gallo served as lead faculty on the project.

Leland Community Service Award goes to MSU team The Leland Chamber of Commerce

recognized staff members and colleagues of the university's John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development and the Department of Landscape Architecture with the 2015 Community Service Award. Team members include Joe Fratesi, project director at Stennis; Jeremy Murdock, research associate for the Institute; and Taze Fulford, MSU associate professor of landscape architecture; as well as many MSU students and staff who have assisted in projects over the years. The students recommended the creation of a municipal park to run along Deer Creek that winds through the center of Leland. The city obtained a $25,000 grant to help fund a new Creative Park near the Jim Henson Museum, a tribute to the late Muppets creator who resided in Leland as a child. The MSU team contracted with Robert Poore, a 1986 MSU alumnus who is the principal landscape architect with Florabased Native Habitats Inc., who agreed to design the park. 40  INFLUENCE 2015

MSU weed science professor named Hartwig Chair Dr. Dan Reynolds has been se- provide full funding. Reynolds, a

lected to hold the Edgar E. and Winifred B. Hartwig Endowed Chair in Soybean Agronomy. In 2012, Reynolds was named scientist of the year by the Southern Weed Science Society of America. He is a doctoral graduate in crop science from Oklahoma State University, with bachelor and master's degrees completed at the University of Arkansas. In 2007, an initial contribution by Winifred Hartwig established the endowment. The Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board joined in 2013 with the Missouribased Monsanto Co. and Switzerland's Syngenta agrochemical company to

cropping systems researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, will focus primarily on weed science and agronomy in his research. Edgar Hartwig had a 47year career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service in Stoneville. He was responsible for developing many of the soybean varieties grown both in the South and locales around the world with similar climates. Prior to his appointment to the Hartwig Chair, Reynolds held the Dr. Glover B. Triplett Endowed Chair in Agronomy.

Faculty honored by Southern Branch of the American Society of Agronomy Dr. Normie Buehring and Dr. Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Christian Baldwin, faculty members in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, were honored for research and teaching, respectively. A 43-year research veteran, Buehring received the Career Award in Research for his work in agricultural production systems in north Mississippi. Buehring, a scientist in the Mississippi

Station, is stationed at the Northeast Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona. A relative newcomer to Mississippi State, assistant professor Christian Baldwin received the EarlyCareer Award in Teaching. Baldwin teaches turf grass science in the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U

Faculty News

MSU researcher named Triplett chair Dr. Jac Varco, a researcher

and professor with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been selected to hold the Dr. Glover B. and Imogene C. Triplett Endowed Chair in Agronomy. Varco’s selection as Triplett chair is the most recent in a line of other honors. In 2015, he received the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award Upper Division Undergraduate. He was also honored as the 2014 Conservation Systems Cotton Researcher of the Year presented by the 17th National Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference. In 2007, Triplett and his wife, Imogene, who died in 2013, established the chair as the first fully-funded faculty position in the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Varco, who has been with MSU for nearly 30 years, is a doctoral graduate in agronomy from the University of Kentucky, with bachelor and master's degrees completed at the University of Florida. He is the second faculty member to serve as the Dr. Glover B. and Imogene C. Triplett Endowed Chair in Agronomy.

Poultry Science

Poultry Science professor elected to international board Dr. David Peebles, poultry sci-

ence professor, was elected to a 3-year term on the Poultry Science Association’s Board of Directors, a position that places him among some of the top professionals in the poultry industry.

Awards & Honors Research Awards

Faculty Awards

MAFES/CALS Grantsmanship Award DR. GINGER CROSS , assistant research professor, Social Science Research Center.

Excellence in Teaching Awards

MAFES Outstanding Scientific Publication Award DR. WEN-HSING CHENG , associate professor in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion. Coauthors in the study were R. T. Y Wu, L. Cao, B.P.C Chen. MAFES Impactful Publication Award DR. MARK SHANKLE , plant and soil science research professor stationed at the Pontotoc RidgeFlatwoods Branch Experiment Station. Coauthor T. F. Garrett. MAFES Excellence in Research Award DR. JASON BOND , associate extension/research plant and soil sciences professor at the Delta Research and Extension Center. Sponsored by Mississippi Land Bank. Outstanding Research Support Award JOSH WHITE , manager of the Forage Variety Testing Program in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. MAFES Face & Image Awards Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station; Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station; and Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station won highest overall and Prairie Unit received most improved.


Graduate Level Teaching Award DR. BARRY BARNETT , professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. New Faculty Award DR. GAEA HOCK , assistant professor in the School of Human Sciences. Teacher of the Year Award, Lower Division-Undergraduate Teaching Award DR. CAROLINE KOBIA , assistant professor in the School of Human Sciences. Upper Division-Undergraduate Teaching Award DR. JAC VARCO , professor and endowed chair in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Diversity Awards Faculty Award, Overall Award DR. BILL EVANS , associate research professor at the Truck Crops Experiment Station.

Staff Awards CALS/MAFES Outstanding Professional Staff Award ANN HINDS , business manager for the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center. CALS/MAFES Outstanding Support Staff Award ROBERT DUKE , farm supervisor with the Prairie Research Unit.



CALS Alumni Updates

Bulldog couple shares adventures of a lifetime MSU 1943 Advanced ROTC Class Reunion CALS alumni, Steve and Patsy Fowlkes Brandon, Bill Nettles, Gordon Hazard, James Robertson, have traveled the world on photo safaris to exotic, challenging destinations. Steve graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Plant Pathology and Weed Science in 1972 and a Master of Science in Weed Science in 1973. Patsy Fowlkes Brandon graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry in 1974. MSU Alumnus magazine ran an article about their adventures in the summer 2015 issue of the magazine:

42  INFLUENCE 2015

and John Robert Arnold gathered in the spring of 2015 for a reunion of the MSU 1943 Advanced ROTC class to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the historic bond they shared. Many members of the original class were in the European theater during World War II; two were killed in action and three were taken prisoners. The group met in 1993 for the 50th anniversary of their school days together and kept in touch thereafter. Hazard and Robertson are alumni from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Read the full story in MSU Alumnus magazine: CA L S .MS S TAT E.ED U

A lumni U pdates

Travis B. Moore (Ag Economics, B.S., 1984; Banking and Finance, B.A., 1984; Ag Economics, M.S., 1986), regional president of The Citizens Bank, Hattiesburg, has been named among the 2015 Leaders In Finance by the Mississippi Business Journal. Moore maintains offices in both the Hattiesburg and Biloxi locations of The Citizens Bank. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau of Mississippi, the Mississippi Gulf Coast  Honor Flight, the LaMissTenn District Foundation and the  Pine Burr Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, Moore is President of the Kiwanis Division 14 Foundation and is a member of the Greater Hattiesburg Homebuilders Association and the Hub City Kiwanis Club. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the LaMissTenn Kiwanis District and is a Kiwanis International Club counselor as well as an ADP Ambassador. Moore holds three degrees from Mississippi State University and is a graduate of the Gulf Coast Masters Leadership Program and the DeSoto Leadership Program. He has also completed studies at the Southeastern Commercial Lending School, conducted at Vanderbilt University. He is also a former recipient of Mississippi's Top 40 Under 40 recognition and was a three-time member of the Southaven Board of Aldermen.

Christopher Basic (Landscape Architecture, B.S., 1998) of Williamsburg, Virginia, is the new vice chairman of the James City County Planning Commission. Appointed by the county’s board of supervisors, he and other commissioners provide guidance and recommendations on all rezoning and special use permit requests, as well as planning studies and zoning ordinance amendments. He also is president of Greensprings Landscape Architecture. Thomas Griffin (Environmental Economics & Mgt, B.S., 2012) has enrolled at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Russell Solomon (Agricultural Economics, B.S., 1998) began as the North American director of sales and operations for Linamar Agriculture in January 2015. Prior to that, he was the Western U.S. and Western Canada sales manager for crop production for Case IH. Joonghyun "Cheetos" Hwang (Agriculture, M.S., 2013) is now the chief economist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). Aaron Rodgers (Agriculture, M.S., 2014) has been named director of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum.

Walter Porter, Retired Professor Emeritus of Agronomy at Mississippi State University and Superintendent Emeritus of the Delta Mississippi Agricultural Experiment Station passed away on December 17, 2014, at the age of 90 in Madison, Mississippi. Dr. Porter received his B.S. degree at Martha Scott Poindexter (Home Economics, Mississippi State and Ph.D. from the University B.S., 1989) of Washington, D.C., is the new vice of Wisconsin. He also received a diploma from the president for government and industry affairs with Federal Executive Institute. Dr. Porter was also a Bunge North America, which is based in the capital professor of plant pathology at Louisiana State city. With 21 years of public affairs experience, she University and associate director of the Mississippi previously was minority staff director for the U.S. Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at MSU. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and earlier worked for U.S. Senator Thad Cochran.

Camille Scales Young (Ag and Extension Education, M.S., 1996) has joined the board of directors of BankFirst Financial Services. A native of Shannon, Young is vice president at Cornerstone Government Affairs. C O L L E G E O F A GRIC ULTURE AND LIFE SC IE NC E S



Super Bulldog Weekend

April 18, 2015


CALS ambassadors host the annual Super Bulldog Weekend breakfast. BELOW

Alumni awards were presented at the breakfast. From left to right: Dean George Hopper, Jeff Tarsi (Agricultural Economics, 1984), ZonaDale Taylor (MSU instructor), Sammy Blossom (Animal Sciences, 1970), and Associate Dean Scott Willard.

44  INFLUENCE 2015


A lumni B reak fast


October 17, 2015


U.S. Representative Gregg Harper visits with CALS ambassadors. TOP RIGHT

Charles Weatherly (center), director of development emeritus for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, honored for Distinguished Service Award. Pictured with Dean George Hopper (left) and MSU President Mark Keenum (right). LEFT

Farm Bureau regional manager Jack Alexander (center) with Dean George Hopper (left) and MSU President Mark Keenum (right) for Distinguished Alumni Service award. Alexander is a 1968 Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business alumnus. P H O T O S B Y K A RE N BRASHE R






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PHOTO : The Veteran's Memorial Rose Garden at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center serves as a research, teaching, and demonstration laboratory.

CALS Influence 2015  

The annual alumni newsletter of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

CALS Influence 2015  

The annual alumni newsletter of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences