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Inclusion | Removing Barriers: Thinking Differently Together

A Publication Of The College of Arts & Sciences MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY®


Welcome to the winter 2018 edition of Vision. In late spring of 2017 I had the honor of being selected as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, having previously served in the Dean’s Office since 2012 and as a faculty member at the university since 1993. In my 24 years at MSU I have seen many changes. The physical appearance of our campus has been transformed, our faculty has grown in number and increasingly our students come from many more places than when I began. I have also seen important changes in the ways we go about preparing our undergraduate students for life after MSU. One of the changes is the emphasis on what is often termed “value-added” experiences. These experiences include studying abroad, engaging in an extended research project, participating in an internship or co-op and other similar programs. These opportunities are transformative in the education of young people, as they often open the door to their first job or their preferred graduate school. They enable students to see theory come to life and understand at a deeper level their gained knowledge as a student. These opportunities provide students the courage to realize that there are no bounds on where an MSU education can take them. In this issue (see “Undergraduate Research” on page 25) you will meet three students who had the opportunity to work in biology, chemistry and physics research labs this past summer. Their experiences in these labs truly left deep imprints on their present and future academic careers. Last summer, our students studied abroad in more than a dozen countries, interned in political offices and public relations firms, participated in archeological and geological field schools around the country, shadowed physicians and lawyers, and spent many hours in research labs at MSU and at other universities participating in these value-added opportunities. Although some receive pay for their work, many students may feel that travel and living expenses can be daunting. So, I want to point out two recent developments in our college that are aimed toward making these opportunities available to a broader range of students. The college is in its first year of hosting the Henry Family Undergraduate Excellence fund, a college-wide program designed to support students pursuing these value-added experiences. In this first year we had more than 40 applications and were able to support 15 students. Additionally, the Department of Political Science and Public Administration recently expanded its support to students through the Dr. Tip Allen Memorial Scholarship. This fund is named after a long-time political theory professor whose work helped train almost two generations of MSU students for careers in law, politics and public service. One of those beneficiaries was Mac Portera, a young student back in the late 1960s who credits Dr. Allen with playing a pivotal role in shaping his development. Just recently, Dr. Malcolm Portera, the 16th President of MSU, honored Dr. Allen by providing a gift to the Dr. Tip Allen Memorial Scholarship that enabled the department to support six students this past summer who served in a variety of political and public service internships this summer. The efforts of the Hunter Henry family, Dr. Malcolm and Ms. Olivia Portera, and other donors are making a difference in the preparation of our students. Continuing to provide these opportunities and seeking further financial support for expanding these opportunities are just a part of what we are dedicated to in the College of Arts and Sciences. Thank you for your support. Please keep in touch and come visit when you can.

Hail State!

Rick Travis Dean

Table of

CONTENTS Teaching and Writing Together

Study Seeks To Better Understand Social Rejection In High School


African American Studies Celebrates First Decade On Campus


Preparing For Professional Success




College Speaker Series Continues Conversation About Race, Change


For One MSU-Meridian Student, It Was Never Too Late


MSU History Department Welcomed Global Guests For June Conference


Community, Personal Effort Keys To Success


A Ministry of Teaching


Pursuing A Passion Across Borders


Can A Scientific Uncertainty Finally Be Precisely Measured?


Dean’s Student Advisory Council



Director of Development Letter


DEAN & LEADERSHIP: DR. RICK TRAVIS Dean DR. NICOLE RADER Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

BARBARA STEWART Academic Coordinator TRACY BRITT Academic Coordinator


Promotions & Retirements

SARA FREDERIC Director of Development

MEGAN PECK Student Worker


DR. TOMMY ANDERSON Interim Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs

Donor List

KATE MARTIN Student Worker

DR. TOMMY ANDERSON Interim Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs

DR. NICOLE RADER Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Dean’s Executive Advisory Board Members


ABI YANN Student Worker



RICHARD HILL Student Worker

DR. GISELLE THIBAUDEAU (MUNN) Associate Dean for Research

ALISA SEMMES Administrative Assistant to the Dean

Society of Scholars

DR. GISELLE THIBAUDEAU (MUNN) Associate Dean for Research KIM RAYBORN Contract & Grant Specialist SILAS KNOX Contract & Grant Specialist

NIKKI ROBINSON Advancement Coordinator BUSINESS AFFAIRS: SHERYL KINARD Business Manager LATOYA ROGERS Business Coordinator MICHELLE BATTLE Administrative Assistant

KEISHA KNOX Administrative Assistant




KARYN BROWN Director of Communication SARAH NICHOLAS Writer

HANNAH BATEMAN Admissions Coordinator

TYLER POWELL Communication Graduate Assistant

GRETCHEN CRAWFORD Academic Programs Assistant

JOANNA BAUER Student Graphic Designer

MAGGIE DAVIS student Worker

KALI HICKS Communication Student Worker




Direct comments or questions to: KARYN BROWN | 662.325.6650 P.O. Box AS | Mississippi State, MS 39762

Te a c h i n g a n d Wr i t i n g To g e t h e r By Claire Winesett




hat’s it like for a successful writer to be married to another successful writer?

“It’s totally great, and neither of us know anything otherwise because we met on the first day of grad school,” Michael Kardos said, laughing. Kardos and Catherine Pierce first met while pursuing master of fine arts degrees at the Ohio State University. After going on to complete doctorates at the University of Missouri, the couple came to Starkville in 2007 for tenure-track faculty positions with Mississippi State’s Department of English. Today, the associate professors and published authors also co-direct the university’s creative writing program. Kardos’ focus is fiction, and his most recent work is a suspense novel titled Before He Finds Her (Grove Atlantic/ Mysterious Press, 2015). Pierce specializes in poetry, and her most recent collection is The Tornado Is the World (Saturnalia Books, 2016). While the careers are similar, their individual paths leading to this point were quite different. Each grew up with an interest in writing, but it only was a hobby for Kardos at first. His introduction to writing fiction came about when his mother challenged her children to compose a new story each week over a summer. “I always liked doing it,” Kardos said, adding that “it wasn’t until I was out of school for a while that I wanted to obsess over it.”

For Pierce, the study of creative writing began at Susquehanna University, a small liberal arts institution in Pennsylvania, where she “began to understand that world a little bit more.” Later in graduate school, she began understanding “what it might be like to actually be a published author.” She said dedication to a particular creative genre developed because she felt a little more comfortable in the world of poetry. “It came a little more naturally to me, and I really enjoyed it.” Additionally, poetry “offers both a freedom within the parameters of it, but also this structure that I really like,” as well as the challenge to “fit everything that I want to fit into a pretty small space.” But make no mistake – Pierce continues to read, teach and write fiction. In the latter case, it’s only a limited amount and for fun.

“Writing prose or writing a book of fiction can be a long process to create something that may or may not ever be out there in the world.” - Michael Kardos

Though he initially studied music at Princeton University, Kardos found that creative path diminishing when he “was pushing 30 and playing the drums in New Jersey.” It was time for “a re-boot,” he recalled.

While Kardos and Pierce publish in separate categories, their writing styles contain underlying parallels. An ability to bring their creations to life is one of the most prominent similarities.

Eight years after his Princeton graduation, Kardos decided to pursue a master’s in creative writing. It did not take long to realize, however, that writing was the exact career he had been seeking, Kardos said.

Pierce said there is one distinct challenge she faces during this process. “Every time I sit down to write a new poem, I’m sitting down to write a ‘new’ poem,” she said. While challenging, “it can be exciting sometimes, too,” she added.



Mi ch ae l Kardos

Because she tends to produce a large number of poems together rather than a limited number of long-fiction novels, Pierce said she must remain “constantly aware of my own writing tendencies.” These include “being careful not to repeat myself ” and “falling back on devices or tricks that I’ve used before.” For Kardos, “it takes a long time to write a long thing, and if you go down the wrong road, there can be a lot of time that feels wasted even if it’s not,” he said. Also, “writing prose or writing a book of fiction can be a long process to create something that may or may not ever be out there in the world.” While some challenges faced by the couple may be unique to the particular writing styles, Kardos emphasized how the building blocks of both genres “are often the same” since each requires a “focus on relevant detail, imagery, [and] sensory imagery.” Picking up his point, Pierce noted how “attention to language” is vital for both. Along with “trying to make sure that, on the level of language, it’s as precise as it can possibly be,” language must be “doing what you want it to be doing to convey the idea or the emotion to the reader,” she said. Another similarity in their composition processes is a need to draw inspiration from the world around them. Kardos said that he doesn’t usually start writing any chapters of his book until he has spent around a year mulling over ideas. “It’s kind of free form, but also kind of deliberate,” he said. Pierce said thinking and walking play big roles in the development of her ideas. She further explained, “A lot of times for me, it comes out of reading and specifically out of language. I’ll be reading a book that I like or a poem that I like, and I’ll find an image in there that sparks something in my own head.” She said by writing about what interests her and trusting it will come together to make something a little more cohesive, “I follow what my own obsessions are and trust that they will lead to something.”

Cath e ri n e Pi e rce



Michael Kardos and Catherine Pierce first met while pursuing master of fine arts degrees at the Ohio State University. After completing doctorates at the University of Missouri, the couple came to Starkville in 2007 for tenure-track faculty positions with Mississippi State’s Department of English.

Student writers are an important inspiration source, and Pierce said constant involvement with them provides “a way to stay constantly engaged with what’s being written right now.” Pierce and Kardos said membership in the Mississippi State community is yet another key influence that enhances their writing careers in multiple ways. “It’s nice working at a university for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that you have access to experts in fields,” Pierce said. “We talk to people every day in our own department or in other departments who are experts in their fields,” which helps “keep your own engagement with the world” and “makes you want to be better at what you do.” As an example, she cited The Tornado is the Wind, a collection of 45 poems about the dangerous and often deadly weather systems. To prepare, she visited with Jamie Dyer, a professor of meteorology and climatology, to make certain “I had my

details right and that the design that I was using could be believable and things could actually happen.” For Kardos, “being in an environment where people will value writing and reading” is critical, and he feels “so fortunate” to be “around people who are supportive of what I’m doing.” Their individual teaching and writing disciplines may not be identical, but Pierce said their joint careers positively influence one another. “I don’t think that I put one before the other because they’re both really important to me, and I don’t think that I would do either as effectively without doing the other one,” she said. “Teaching helps me be a better writer, and writing helps me be a more effective teacher.” Kardos agreed: “It’s a whole package.”





Study Seeks To Better Understand Social Rejection In High School By Claire Winesett




esponses by current high school students to social rejection is the focus of a three-year Mississippi State research project funded by the U.S. Justice Department’s research, development and evaluation agency. Associate professors Colleen Sinclair and Rebecca Goldberg co-lead the interdisciplinary investigation for the National Institute of Justice that was begun last year and titled the School Safety Project. Their team works from the Social Relations Laboratory of the university’s nationally recognized Social Science Research Center. For more, see In addition to being an SSRC research fellow, Sinclair is a member of the psychology department in the College of Arts and Sciences. Goldberg is a member of the counselor education faculty in the College of Education’s counseling and educational psychology department. Both shared a professional interest in the study of rejection and aggression, but Goldberg said neither “could find much research about responses to rejection other than antisocial ones. I study relational aggression, and we wanted to investigate multiple sources of aggressors and different types of aggression.” As far as they know, “this is the first investigation into multiple motives and responses for the rejection-regression link,” the University of Florida doctoral graduate said.



Sinclair, holder of a University of Minnesota doctorate, said a strong link “between being socially rejected and engaging in anti-social behavior” is something she repeatedly has witnessed in past research. “One question that lingered was ‘Does rejection lead to aggression?’ because, while everyone goes through rejection, not everyone acts out with anti-social behavior,” she explained. According to Sinclair, one research model developed several years ago predicted three sets of behaviors that an individual might display after being socially rejected: aggression, relationship repair or withdrawal. Also according to the model, the context of rejection reflects which of the outcomes most likely will take place. To adequately assess the link between rejection and aggression, the MSU scientists agreed all options needed to be studied. Other team members include Megan Stubbs-Richardson, an SSRC research associate; David May, a professor of sociology; Tawny McCleon, associate professor of counseling and educational psychology; and Chelsea Ellithorpe, manager of the lab. Also working with them are graduate research assistants Sierra Nelson and Alexandra Krallman, as well as a number of undergraduate research assistants and Starkville High School psychologists and student interns.

In the survey, students in grades 9-11 are asked about experiences within the past six months involving four types of bullying: physical, verbal, social and cyber. “We conduct that survey each year,” Sinclair said. “We’re also conducting daily diaries with a sub-sample. For two weeks, a subsample of students carry around little diaries to report at the end of the day whether or not they had any bullying experiences.” As the study’s second year got underway, investigators added what Sinclair called an “experimental survey.” Students were presented hypothetical vignettes with different rejection scenarios, then asked to report how a “typical student” might respond. This was designed to help determine whether the presence of the certain variable increases chances of an aggressive response.

Goldberg said investigators are “discovering interesting links between groups of students and who is targeted as a victim.” Data from the first year’s longitudinal survey showed an average 47 percent of students claiming some degree of friendship with their aggressor. Additionally, the stronger the friendship, the higher the psychological and social costs of the bullying, especially cyber bullying. In year two, the researchers witnessed an increase in the number of students that viewed their aggressor’s group identity as a significant role in the bullying actions. “Bullying and aggression seem to be heavily influenced by group membership and perception of others, and students need to know so they do not continue to perpetuate old bad habits,” Sinclair said.

The NIJ project is scheduled to end in December 2018. A social experiment component during the final year brings high schoolers to the SSRC lab to take part in a version of the Cyberball paradigm designed by Kipling D. Williams, a psychological sciences professor at Purdue University.

Though conceding bullying and rejection are facts of life that “are going to happen,” she expressed profound hope that the MSU study can help education professionals and others become better equipped to deal with these situations.

“This paradigm creates the experience of being rejected by having the students play alleged video games with other players who eventually stop including the students in the game,” Sinclair said. “It’s been neuroscientifically validated to activate the pain centers of the brain, which is what social pain activates.”

“Ultimately, if you can identify pathways to pro-social and antisocial behavior as a response to rejection, then presumably you could construct interventions that increase the factors that lead to pro-social outcomes and decrease those that lead to anti-social outcomes,” Sinclair said.





Bailey Bullock:

Pu rsu i ng a Pa s s i o n A c ro s s B o rd e rs By Claire Winesett


ailey M. Bullock began her Mississippi State studies feeling she might not be “college material.” Three years later, that brief self-doubt was only a memory as the Crystal Springs, Mississippi, native graduated in May 2016 with a summa cum laude bachelor’s degree in sociology.

Bogotá, Colombia

In March 2017, Bullock received another major honor with selection as a finalist for an English Teaching Assistant grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the international scholar opportunity sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. She was one of two from the university chosen for the wellknown student exchange that involves more than 155 countries. This July, the College of Arts and Sciences alumna relocated to South America to be an English Teaching Assistant with Fulbright Colombia in Bogotá, the country’s capital city. She works alongside professors in the Modern Languages Program at Universidad ECCI (Colombian School for Industrial Careers) and is simultaneously gaining knowledge and awareness on the topic that led Bullock to this point: language identity and diversity.



Bailey Bullock enjoys sightseeing during her time in Bogotá, Colombia.

Bullock said her interest in languages developed during her middle and high school years, during Spanish and Latin classes, through a fascination with etymology, the study of word origins and how their meanings have changed over time. When Bullock first came to MSU, she was immediately drawn to the linguistics courses offered through the Department of English. In addition to majoring in sociology, Bullock sought a minor in linguistics and a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate. Through serving as a resident adviser, involvement in an international peer mentor program and being a conversation partner through MSU’s English Language Institute, Bullock formed friendships with peers from Brazil, Japan and many other countries. After graduation, Bullock moved to Massachusetts to serve with City Year, an AmeriCorps national service program that places 17-24 year olds as mentors and role models into high-need schools. Her assignment was the Spanish component of a Boston fourth-grade class at a dual-language—English and Spanish—institution. “I knew that doing full-time service was something that I was really interested in,” Bullock said, also noting proudly



how those established international friendships had helped prepare her to be successful. “I was working with native Spanish speakers and a lot of students who were international,” she said. “Our school had a strong emphasis on culturally responsive curriculum.” Looking back, Bullock credited MSU’s TESOL classes for helping her understand “how to teach a language,” which proved helpful when working in a Spanish language arts classroom. She said her MSU TESOL classes also enabled her to conduct undergraduate research on bilingual identity and attitudes towards bilingual education, something she knew little about at the time but now has a much “clearer vision” of after her time in Boston. She additionally expressed appreciation for Lyn Fogle, a former assistant professor of linguistics at MSU, who once discussed in class how she had been a Fulbright Scholar in Russia. David Hoffman, an associate professor of cultural anthropology, also assisted Bullock in the process of attaining the Fulbright scholarship. Bullock and Hoffman researched potential destinations that could coincide with Bullock’s interests and chose Colombia because of the multitude of Spanish dialects

Bailey Bullock at her school, Universidad ECCI (Colombian School for Industrial Careers), in Botogá, Colombia.

spoken there. Bullock says she has experienced a stigma in the U.S. in response to her Southern dialect, and she felt that the nation of nearly 50 million at the southern continent’s northern tip would provide an opportunity to learn about language diversity in a different context, giving her the space to combat negative language ideologies about people from other regions or lower socioeconomic status in the classroom. “It’s a really good fit because I’m coming out of a teaching assistant position [with City Year], so I feel really confident in this role,” Bullock said. Initially nervous about the south-of-the-border move, she credits time in Boston and daily use of Spanish there for easing her entry into the international adventure. “My Spanish has gotten exponentially better, so I’m really looking forward to being able to speak Spanish outside of school.” While her undergraduate research at MSU was enjoyable, Bullock said the Fulbright “will let me do my own social project.” Under scholarship rules, she must spend 10 hours each week on social research. In composing a purpose statement for this project, Bullock proposed to work with Colombian students in planning and creating a project that documents linguistic diversity in the

community. “I just feel like they’d be a wealth of knowledge,” she said. Bullock also said an important part of her linguistic work will be to help students understand that they don’t have to sound just like her; they need only to sound like themselves as they learn to be more comprehensible speakers. Bullock spends her volunteer time tutoring recent high school graduates in the intensive English program as they prepare for international English exams, as well as volunteering at the Robin Book Foundation, which offers free English classes and civic engagement opportunities based on human rights concepts. “I’m really passionate about linguistic diversity in English, and I really want to learn more about what that looks like in Spanish and what that looks like specifically in Bogotá,” Bullock said. For a former student who once felt she wasn’t college material, “Mississippi State really gave me this incredible stepping stone to where I didn’t have to leave Mississippi, but was able to connect with international opportunities,” asserted the now-Fulbright Scholar with major global aspirations.



Speaker Series

continues conversation about race, change By Emily Gouin




uring the 2017 fall semester, Mississippi State’s College of Arts and Sciences continued a faculty-led campus initiative launched the previous year. Titled the Race in America Lecture Series, this ongoing program is organized by the college’s sociology department and Gender Studies program, along with the Critical Race Studies Group, an interdisciplinary campus body working to enhance and expand academic research

on race in America. Support is provided by the Marion T. Loftin Fund of the university’s nationally recognized Social Science Research Center. The series is the brainchild of sociology department head Leslie Hossfeld and assistant professor Margaret Hagerman. Their primary goal: to create opportunities for sociology graduate students to interact professionally with nationally recognized scholars with a shared interest.



“It is so important to cultivate an intellectual community at Mississippi State University focused around issues of racial inequality and racial injustice,” Hagerman said. Hossfeld thanked Dean Rick Travis and other college administrators that “have been so supportive during this process. It would not be what it is today without them.” Visiting lecturers visit for two days. On the first day, they meet with various faculty members and make their formal presentation. The second-day schedule includes a luncheon and social time with graduate students. Hagerman said she and Hossfeld decided to create the lecture series after “it became very apparent that students now are wanting to learn more and talk about race.” Today’s young learners “want to talk with people who have conducted research and thought carefully about these controversial topics,” “hear perspectives” and “be a part of the conversation as a community,” she added. The largest program to date was held last October by Amanda Lewis, associate professor of African American studies and sociology and director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Titled “Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools,” the lecture described her research on racial achievement gaps in a suburban high school that had examined factors within the school rather than such external ones as poverty and family stability. Lewis drew a “huge crowd of people, not just in our college but in the College of Education as well,” Hagerman said. Among those attending and applauding was Adriene Davis, an MSU doctoral student from Indianapolis, Indiana. Noting that the speaker is “one of the premier scholars on race and education,” she said “considering the turnout, I feel many students were able to relate to that topic.” Davis said this and other luncheons had helped to greatly broaden her horizons. “We were able to receive informative advice about such topics as life in graduate school, conducting research and the academic job market, as well as miscellaneous



information about the scholars’ careers and experiences,” she said. Elizabeth “Izzy” Pellegrine of Jackson, another sociology doctoral student, shared Davis’ sentiments. “It’s been exciting to see how other sociologists and other scholars outside of my discipline bring different academic perspectives to studying racial justice and white supremacy,” she said. Other lecture guests have been: —David Brunsma, sociology professor at Virginia Tech University and founding co-editor of Sociology of Race and Ethnicity Journal. His program, “Publishing in Sociology of Race and Ethnicity: Demystifying the Process,” included practical advice on the world of academic journals. —Ibram Kendi, award-winning historian and assistant professor of African American history at the University of Florida. In

“Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” he called on Americans to develop a better understanding of how and where racist ideas developed, and how they now are disseminated and preserved in society. —Matthew Hughey, associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut. In “Make America White Great Again: The National Logic of White Supremacy,” he illustrated how the topic’s popularity is a natural consequence of the country’s social, political and economic commitment to white dominance. —Adia Harvey Wingfield, professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis. Through “No More Invisible Man: Professional Black Men’s Gendered Interactions in Predominantly White Male Workplaces,” she addressed the underrepresentation of African Americans in high-status positions—and how more access does not automatically lead to advancement opportunities for black professionals.



African American Studies

Celebrates First Decade on Campus by Sarah Nicholas

late 2017 conference concluded Mississippi State’s yearlong celebration of the decadeold—and growing—African American Studies program.



Part of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, AAS is an interdisciplinary curriculum leading to an undergraduate minor and offering a range of study opportunities in the history, literature, politics and other aspects of black life and culture.

Vernon Smith, a leading figure of the 1960s Black Studies movement in higher education, speaks at MSU.

Donald M. Shaffer Jr., a 1995 magna cum laude English graduate of Jackson State University who completed master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is an MSU associate professor who has been involved with

the African American Studies program since the beginning. In addition to a joint appointment in MSU’s Department of English and AAS, he is a mentor to Shackouls Honors College Presidential Scholars.



Earl Lewis, president of the New York-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Jerry Varnado, activist, attorney and San Francisco State University graduate. Irene Smalls, an award-winning author who twice has performed her stories by invitation at the White House. Vernon Smith, Newsweek magazine’s Atlanta bureau chief and national correspondent.



“Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the program has been its incredible growth over the last 10 years,” Shaffer said recently. From the fall of 2008 when “AAS classes typically enrolled about 10 to15 students,” he said an introduction to African American studies course “now routinely fills to its enrollment capacity of 60 every semester. We have had to offer two to three sections of AAS 1063 every semester, as well as sections in the summer, to meet this growing demand.” Shaffer said other significant increases have taken place in the upper-level courses. “We also have grown the AAS minor, designated four of our courses as part of the common core and created more programing on campus that promotes the university’s mission of diversity and inclusion.” For graduate students, a concentration combining course work, teaching assignments and community engagement efforts leads to a certificate of completion, he added. The 10-year celebration got underway last January with campus visits by Irene Smalls and Vernon Smith, leading figures of the 1960s Black Studies movement in higher education. Smalls is an award-winning author who twice has performed her stories by invitation at the White House. Smith, a Mississippi native, is Newsweek magazine’s Atlanta bureau chief and national correspondent. “Black studies programs are important because they provide us a chance to break down, examine and recognize the implicit biases that we all have,” Smalls said in her remarks. “By looking at history, scholarship and actual accomplishments, we have the ability to make changes as people,” she emphasized. “We need black studies to continue and flourish for all of our futures and for the country’s well-being, because it’s only when we really understand who we really are as a people that we can grow and develop into who we need to be as a people.” Smith said he is proud to have been involved so early in the movement “because when I look at the landscape of America today, I see the value in imparting this knowledge to whosoever will. I think it makes us better people to know the full picture of our history because when you have knowledge that is real and all encompassing, you reduce stereotypes and bring people closer.”

In emphasizing the importance of developing abilities to make an impact, Williams encouraged listeners to “constantly educate yourself about history and the present, and then strategize about the campaigns or interventions that you are going to make that go hand and hand. When you have conversations with others and collectively think about issues, all of that helps lead us toward a society that cares about other human beings.” September featured a presentation on the South’s black arts movement led by James Smethurst, a professor in the AfroAmerican Studies department and Graduate Program director at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Nowhere did black arts have more grassroots impact and a greater lasting influence than in the South, including Mississippi, birthplace of the Free Southern Theater and one of the first major Black Arts institutions,” Smethurst said. The celebration concluded in November with a two-day Black Studies Conference. Anthony Neal, MSU assistant professor of philosophy, moderated the first panel dealing with historically relevant issues, among them creation of nationwide AAS programs and related civil rights issues. Shaffer led a session on contemporary issues in African American studies that addressed such topics as the Black Lives Matter movement and African Americans within the American legal, political and educational systems. Assistant English Professor Andrea Spain’s group dealt with future issues in AAS and spotlighted successes at other programs around the country. Among featured conference guests were Frank Dawson, film co-director of Santa Monica College’s Center for Media and Design; Jerry Varnado, activist, attorney and San

Francisco State University graduate; Earl Lewis, president

of the New York-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Bernard Stringer, a San Francisco State College graduate and first U.S. student to earn a black studies degree; and Irene Smalls, who made a second visit to campus. Looking back, Shaffer said he felt the 2017 celebration succeeded in acknowledging many accomplishments of the national black studies movement, as well as lifting up current and planned future efforts that “help us to understand our current historical moment in this country.”

For more, visit

Rhonda Y. Williams, the first black salutatorian in University of Maryland’s 187-year history, came to discuss the importance of having black women speak out on critical issues of the day.

In March, Rhonda Y. Williams, the first black salutatorian in the University of Maryland’s 187-year history, came to discuss the importance of having black women speak out on critical issues of the day. “Throughout history and now, black women have too often been silenced, overlooked, obscured or even excised from the historical and contemporary record, and yet black women have refused to be silent,” she said.



For one MSU-Meridian student, it was never too late By Lisa Sollie

Barbara Bosarge began her college career at 80-years young. She successfully ended her journey as she walked across the stage at the MSU Riley Center during Mississippi State UniversityMeridian’s fall commencement in December 2016.



In December 2016, the 80-year-young Meridian resident joined more than 90 other students receiving bachelor’s degrees from Mississippi State UniversityMeridian. Taking nine years to complete, the achievement was all the more special since her diploma in interdisciplinary studies carried the designation summa cum laude—with highest honors. Barbara B. Bosarge later recalled that her quest began in 2007 while driving on State Highway 19 North and noticing a brimming parking lot at Meridian Community College. Despite the urge to keep going, she headed instead for an MCC parking space and got out. When she returned to her vehicle, Bosarge officially was a college student. Wisely, the then-71-year-old chose to limit the number of early courses so as not to become overwhelmed and be tempted to give up.

Barbara B. Bosarge is walking, talking, smiling proof that completion of a higher education degree has no age barrier. After concluding MCC studies in 2011 and being named to Phi Kappa Phi national honor society, Bosarge enrolled at MSU-Meridian, where she took immediate advantage of tuition and fee waivers available to students 60 and over. Much credit for her determined effort is given to a school teacher grandmother who taught her to read, and in the process, instilled a love of learning. “I also am quite stubborn, so quitting was not an option,” she said. “I waited a long time to begin this journey, and I wanted to see it through.” For any inclined to question her decision, she could respond with stories of how so many young, traditionalage students provided encouragement along the way.

Though there might be “a lot of negative talk about young people today,” Bosarge emphasized how warm feelings of support at MCC and MSU-Meridian caused her to regard those she knew as “adopted grandchildren.” “Once they realized I wasn’t their instructor, they cheered me on and were very helpful,” she added, with a laugh. As for instructors, classroom leaders like Toby Bates, MSU-Meridian associate professor of history, also was among those appreciating Bosarge’s determination. “Each semester, every professor secretly hopes for that one student whose drive and hunger for learning reminds them why they chose to teach,” Bates said. “Mrs. Bosarge, who was in four of my classes, is the epitome of that professional hope. “She not only was a nontraditional student,” he continued, “but her generosity and encouraging example for other students, as well as her unfailing cheerfulness” made her “indeed a non-traditional person that I truly enjoyed teaching.” Of course, Bosarge’s family members formed the most important cheering section. This contingent was led by husband Bo—whom she married 63 years earlier—and their children, grand- and great-grandchildren. “I’m not sure they knew what to think at first, but I think they are very proud of what I’ve accomplished,” she said. Having completed her education mission with highest accolades, Bosarge initially considered seeking a master’s degree, but decided against it. “Don’t forget, it took me nine years to earn my four-year degree,” she said. “Maybe I’ll just bask in this accomplishment for a little while.”

For more information about MSU-Meridian, visit www. MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at




Welcomed Global Guests for June Conference by Sarah Nicholas

Cheiron members took a road trip to the Delta, with Greenwood’s Museum of the Mississippi Delta and Clarksdale’s Delta Blues Museum and Ground Zero Blues Club part of the tour.


ore than 40 participants from some 10 nations gathered at Mississippi State this past summer for the annual conference of an international society promoting the study of behavioral and social sciences. Founded in 1968 and headquartered at the University of Akron, the organization called Cheiron is open to all those interested in conducting and sharing research about the two academic fields. Named after the


wise, youth-nurturing centaur of Greek mythology, the group focuses on all aspects of the history of the human, behavioral and social sciences, or related historiographical and methodological issues. For more, see The university’s Department of History was host for the June 22-25 event. Society organizers earlier had announced that the 49th conference would be “exploring issues related to LGBTQ+, as well as gender, race and ethnicity, disability and other


marginalized communities,” said Courtney Thompson. Thompson, an assistant professor in the department, was conference coordinator. Department head Alan Marcus, along with colleague and associate professor Alexandra H. “Alix” Hui, provided assistance. Thompson acknowledged that selection of a Magnolia State site during last year’s conference in Barcelona, Spain, was not well received by some society members.

Given anti-LGBT laws now in place and continuing Confederate symbolism on the state flag, “a few senior members advocated that Cheiron participate in a cultural boycott of Mississippi,” she explained. Other senior Cheiron members rejected the idea and voiced support for MSU. She said the latter group saw the site as a way to “push back against some of these cultural trends.”

Travis also expressed appreciation for Thompson and Hui’s “instrumental roles in bringing this conference to MSU,” adding that their efforts were a “testament to their academic stature and their powers of persuasion.” As part of his responsibilities, Marcus organized a field trip to the Delta, with visits to Greenwood’s Museum of the Mississippi Delta and Clarksdale’s Delta Blues Museum and Ground Zero Blues Club among other stops.

She applauded Marcus’ field trip selections,

Though smaller than many academic societies, Cheiron “allows for more closeness and generosity of spirit among its members,” observed Thompson, a former Cheiron Young Scholar Award winner. Having the conference in Starkville was “a way to give back to the broader discipline while also showcasing and promoting my institution.” “I feel we succeeded in presenting MSU to its best advantage while helping to advance the work of this society,” she emphasized.

Information about the MSU history department, its leader and faculty members is found via the “About Us” and “People” links at

Conference sessions took place in Mitchell Memorial Library and McCool Hall. One highlight was the Elizabeth Scarborough Lecture, a keynote honor named for Cheiron’s founder. Katherine Crawford, professor of women’s and gender studies and history at Vanderbilt University, was the 2017 keynote speaker. Also director of the private institution’s women’s and gender studies program, Crawford shared her thoughts on the ethics of sexual citizenship. Announcement of the annual Cheiron Book Prize was another major moment. Susanna Blumenthal, Julius E. Davis Professor

Cheiron members visit between conference sessions at Mitchell Memorial Library at MSU.

While visiting the Crossroads Cultural Arts Center, also in Clarksdale, blues performer Joshua “Razorblade” Stewart stopped by unexpectedly. After initially only chatting with the visitors, the Coahoma County native, who has performed since age 6, suddenly began an impromptu concert. “It was an unscheduled and remarkable moment,” Thompson said.

Marcus said “having Cheiron here allowed attendees to get beyond simple stereotypes and learn just how rich, complicated and vibrant are the tapestries that comprise the people of Mississippi,” as well as the “breadth and quality of MSU.”

of Law and associate professor of history at the University of Minnesota, won for “Law and the Modern Mind: Consciousness and Responsibility in American Legal Culture,” a 2016 release by Harvard University Press.

“Razorblade” Stewart visits with members of the Cheiron group.

History is among 14 departments in MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. Rick Travis, a veteran political science professor and current dean, praised Cheiron’s governing board for ultimately choosing Mississippi, terming the decision “significant” because it was a “recognition of the quality of our history department.”

noting how they gave Cheiron members from among such diverse nations as Brazil, Spain and Switzerland “the chance to experience a number of aspects of Mississippi art and culture as a way to respond to the critiques of Mississippi by demonstrating that our state is more than the stereotypes about it.”



Undergraduate Research:

Preparing for Professional Success by Sarah Nicholas


enya Johnson is among a group deeply immersed in a special undergraduate research program offered at Mississippi State University.

Though a biological sciences major at Jackson State University, Johnson spent last summer elevating her academic studies under the guidance of Donna Gordon, an MSU associate professor of biological sciences. The Jackson senior was among participants from both on and off the Starkville campus enrolled in Research Experiences for Undergraduates: REU, for short.



“All students find value added from a research experience, regardless of whether or not they are going on to graduate school,” said Giselle Thibaudeau, associate dean for research in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Students that take advantage of research experiences in a positive way benefit from them throughout life.” A veteran faculty member, Thibaudeau said the research opportunities are designed to benefit both teachers and students. “Students who participate in an REU gain a huge ‘leg up’ for employment or graduate school, while faculty members benefit because the students contribute to the intellectual merit as well as the broader impact of the research,” she explained.

“In addition, involvement of students in research often leads to publications,” she continued. “This is beneficial for the student’s resume, as well as for faculty promotion and tenure, and is looked at favorably by outside funding agencies like the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.” Recognized as a Top 100 research institution by the National Science Foundation, MSU is among many U.S. higher education institutions providing opportunities for scientific investigations at every stage of a student’s time on campus. At an undergraduate symposium held on campus in July, Johnson was among students showcasing their scientific investigations. The event was co-sponsored by the offices of the Provost and Executive Vice President and Research and Economic Development, along with the Shackouls Honors College, Phi Kappa Phi national honor society and campusbased National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center.

Among those showcasing their work at the symposium were: Kenya Johnson of Jackson, Mississippi, a senior biological sciences major at Jackson State University working under the guidance of Donna

Mississippi State’s research reputation has made it a frequent host for students from other schools without REU opportunities. For example, the NSF award that brought Johnson, Powell and several others from sister institutions during the past summer successfully was leveraged by participating faculty to increase the final number of participants to 21.

Gordon, MSU associate

Tanner said REUs are important for undergraduates, especially in her field. “There are only two astronomers in the entire state and we don’t have a major research telescope,” she said. “An REU gives these students the opportunity to meet other astronomy students and visit professional astronomical facilities.”

Wisconsin, a senior

Niffenegger said he also found an REU beneficial in helping refine topics he wants to study in graduate school. The son of a science teacher who plans to pursue a doctorate in physics and an MBA, Niffenegger’s work with Tanner gave him “a bigger taste of the topic than just being in the classroom.” He added, “It also taught me skills I would not have learned in any courses and gave me insight into this field from working closely with my professor.”


Gordon, Kenya Johnson’s mentor, said she regards REUs as opportunities for faculty members to view students “in a different light.”

MSU associate professor of

professor of biological sciences; Randall W. “Randy” Niffenegger of Waldo, MSU astronomy major working under the guidance of Angelle Tanner, MSU associate professor of physics and

Maggie Powell of Mobile, Alabama, senior chemistry major at the University of Alabama at Birmingham whose research was directed by Todd Mlsna, chemistry.





A doctoral graduate of the Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Gordon observed how “students you have seen excel in the classroom have an opportunity to master a new set of skills and, with time, you get to see their confidence in their abilities grow.” Gordon said working with undergraduates provides additional opportunities to demonstrate how facts they have learned in the classroom can be put to use in a research setting. “I have been fortunate to have several undergraduate researchers stay to work in the lab for three to four semesters,” she said. “With this input of time and effort, their work has made a significant contribution to the ongoing research activities of my lab. In fact, the lab has just had a paper published in which three of the five authors were undergraduate students at the time of the work.” For her part, Johnson said working with Gordon and other MSU faculty members has made a large impact on her research experience and enabled her to receive hands-on training for the field she plans to pursue. Mlsna said REU is considered a “very selective program tailored for students who want to get into top-rated graduate schools” because they “offer an intensive research experience similar to what a student would find in a graduate program” and “can be helpful in confirming a student’s interest in this sort of career path.” Many who participate are able to present their findings at conferences around the country, acquiring publications to add to their resumes. Those experiences are especially appreciated by enrollment administrators at graduate schools and medical, veterinary, pharmacy and other professional schools. Mlsna said a high percentage of participants “use their research experience as a catalyst for their future career.” Whether seeking acceptance to graduate school or starting a career right out of college, “an REU program will look a lot better than the average summer job.”

student and hear her insight, as well as talking with other members of the graduate program, has encouraged me further in my studies.” At MSU, a majority of majors in biological sciences will go on to medical, veterinary or dental schools rather than graduate school. Whatever the choice, Gordon said problem-solving and criticalthinking skills learned in undergraduate research provide “useful competencies” for any advanced degree. Johnson readily admits she wasn’t considering graduate school before her REU experience. “Before this summer, I did not see myself attending graduate school,” she said. “Currently, I am looking into programs where I can study immunology and virology.” Thibaudeau said that, from an overall institutional prospective, “undergraduate research is one of the best indicators for success in graduate school.” Powell worked with Mlsna on a project titled “Fluoride Removal Using Mg/Al Modified Biochar.” According to the University of Texas doctoral graduate, “Maggie was one of about 80 students who applied to our program. Her strong academic record and personal statement set her apart, placing her firmly within the group of eight NSF-funded students.” Powell said participation in the REU allowed her to “get out of my UAB bubble and experience a different type of lab atmosphere. I have been working in an organic chemistry lab at UAB, and my advising professor recommended that I apply to the summer REU program at MSU. If I weren’t graduating in a year, I would be reapplying for next summer.” As a seasoned researcher who now works in the dean’s office, Thibaudeau said she considers “the encouragement and support of faculty who work with undergraduates on research projects to be a marker of success. Our faculty are so invested in the success of their students they consider being advisers to their research as personally rewarding,” the University of Kansas doctoral graduate said.

In supervising Powell, Mlsna was assisted by MSU chemistry graduate student Danielle Pitre of Macon. “She was able to help me with understanding graduate school, how to apply, when to apply, what to look for in a grad school,” Powell said of Pitre. “She answered my ‘real-life questions’ about graduate school.”

Students interested in participating in, mentoring for or supporting undergraduate research opportunities may contact the College of Arts and Sciences’ undergraduate coordinator at 662-325-2646, or reach Thibaudeau directly at 325-8534 or giselle@deanas.msstate. edu.

Powell said she intends to pursue graduate study in either organic or polymer chemistry. “Being able to spend time with my grad

For complete information on MSU’s largest and most diverse academic unit, visit



What types of projects can students work on? A recent REU Tanner developed proved to be a popular

Supervised by Mlsna, Powell and graduate student Pitre

draw for students. With funding from NASA’s astronomy

spent the summer working to develop a low cost material

data and analysis program, she and her research partners

called biochar that can be used to clean water. Their primary

are collecting the spectra of nearby stars to be placed in

focus was the removal of fluoride from water because,

an open-access Starchive database. The database will be

while small amounts help protect teeth from decay, chronic

used by many astronomers to look for extrasolar planets,

over-exposure may result in bone deformities in children

study binary stars and understand how stars and planets

and affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

form and die. Gordon and Johnson’s REU sought to better understand the Niffenegger teamed up with Tanner to study the natural

communication between organelles—tiny structures that

noise that occurs on the surface of stars and how that

perform specific functions—at the cell and molecular levels.

noise prevents scientists from identifying Earth-like planets orbiting around other stars as they search for signs of life.



When to begin an REU Niffenegger began seeking research projects during his freshman year. He found success after speaking with a fellow physics major “who informed me that many professors have research that they are happy to have undergraduates work on; all you have to do is ask.” “I would say it is never too early or too late to get involved in research,” the Eastern Wisconsin native said. “If someone is just looking for something to add to their resume, I would not suggest research. Doing it for the wrong reason is sure to make it unenjoyable. If you want to learn new skills, test yourself and test your knowledge, then working on research is one of the best and most rewarding things you can do while an undergraduate.” Powell joined her first research project the summer following her sophomore year. “Starting early gives you the opportunity to really invest a significant portion of your college career in something,” she advised. “On the flip-side, it allows you time to dive into other research labs and projects.” Johnson said she connected with MSU through the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence. “I heard about Mississippi INBRE from a friend who had completed the program the year before. I definitely would encourage others to do the same. My summer at MSU was a rewarding experience and I was able to experience a new campus as well as a new (lab) environment.” Johnson, who did not begin her research experiences until a junior, said she agrees that interested students really should become part of a REU as soon as possible, even if not planning to work in a research field after graduation.





Can a Scientific Uncertainty FINALLY BE PRECISELY MEASURED? By Claire Winesett

Stor y continued



“ T he Mount E ver es t of mea sur ement s.”


his is the phrase used by Dipangkar Dutta of Mississippi State to describe the multi-discipline quest to find a more accurate measurement of an empirical physical constant used to calculate gravitational force between two bodies. Nicknamed “Big G,” it is both the most frequently applied fundamental constant in science and the least precisely understood, he explained. A professor of medium energy nuclear physics, Dutta coleads a $148,000 project awarded to the university’s physics and astronomy department by the National Science Foundation. Launched in June as a collaboration with an Indiana University nuclear physicist, the research effort seeks to determine if there is an alternate material for measuring Big G.



“It is the supreme difficulty of the challenge that makes the pursuit itself worthwhile,” he observed. A member of the Duke University faculty before coming to Starkville in 2006, Dutta’s professional focus is the precise measurement of fundamental properties of nucleons. Just four years after arriving on campus, he was named by the College of Arts and Sciences as its Henry Family Dean’s Eminent Scholar, as well as being selected for an MSU State Pride Award. The following year, the college additionally included him in its researcher-of-themonth group. More biographical information is found at http://

Mark Novotny, MSU physics and astronomy department head, said

Again, what is Big G?

the project is an excellent example of an important investigation that crosses various academic disciplines. Not only that, but “it is impressive

When English mathematician and physicist Isaac Newton (16431727) discovered gravity more than 300 years ago, he introduced

to obtain NSF funding for a research project that is outside the normal research domain of any investigator,” he emphasized.

the placeholder G to represent gravity’s unknown strength. Dutta

said Big G “measurements have tended to disagree with each

Additionally, Novotny said the accomplishment clearly indicates

other” over time, even as precision factors continually improved.

NSF’s recognition of Dutta’s long research history with the U.S. Energy Department.

“Our measurements will help eliminate one of the known limitations of all previous measurements, or it could point to the

Project specifics:

incompleteness of (Albert) Einstein’s general relativity, which is our current best description of gravity,” the Northwestern University doctoral graduate explained. “The latter, if true, would have very significant consequences for our understanding of the universe.”

Dutta said traditional Big G measurements involve high-density metals in the shape of cylinders or spheres. Unfortunately, tiny cavities form within the metals and cause errors. The project will

For more about Einstein’s theory of gravity, see

be “helping mitigate this problem by developing high-density transparent crystals” to easier locate the cavities, he said.

Dutta said Big G is among the most important numbers in

Yet another benefit of the federal funding will be a new cavity-mapping

astrophysics because “its value influences everything from rate

facility where much of the work will be completed by MSU undergraduate

at which galaxies are formed to the expansion of the universe.”

and graduate students preparing for professional careers.

While important for understanding the cosmos, Big G measurement probably lacks precision because “it doesn’t have any practical benefits here on Earth,” he acknowledged.

“We will offer an intellectually stimulating environment for the scientific and educational activities to several undergraduates and graduate students in our respective universities,” Dutta said. The

This inconsistency of knowledge “exposes a lack of complete understanding of either the physics behind gravity, the physics of the instruments used to measure Big G or both,” which is why Dutta said the NSF chose to fund his research.

challenging project will provide an excellent atmosphere for firstrate education in experimental physics.” Among those already on board is Kofi Assumin-Gyimah, a doctoral student in applied physics from Ghana.

How did Dutta become involved?

“It is really exciting to be part of this project,” Assumin-Gyimah said. “Not only am I working under two of the best brains in physics,

Based in Washington, D.C., NSF is the federal agency charged

but I also get the opportunity to work independently.”

specifically with advancing the progress of science. Not long ago, it

established an “Ideas Lab” to encourage innovative collaborations

Novotny said providing “world-class research experiences to

among researchers from diverse scientific backgrounds.

students” like Assumin-Gyimah is something the department and College of Arts and Sciences “justifiably can be proud of.”

After participating in a lab session, Dutta was invited last year to a weeklong meeting in the capital city. There, he and the IU nuclear

NSF’s support “illustrates the leading-edge nature of the research

physicist—who had a similar but complementary concept—“pitched

performed by faculty and students in the department and the world-

our idea to experts who had organized the meeting and were invited

leading nature of the research performed by Professor Dutta and his

to submit a full proposal to NSF.”

research group,” the administrator noted.

Though his research primarily has focused on nuclear and particle physics and not gravitational physics, “I thought that I may have some

For complete information on MSU’s physics and astronomy department, visit

ideas to contribute,” Dutta said.



Make your giving go farther for MSU. There is no better time to consider Mississippi State University in your yearly charitable giving plans. Annual gifts benefit MSU immediately; however, by adding a planned gift, such as including us in your will, you can:

• • • •

I ncrease the impact of your giving. R  eceive greater tax savings. P  reserve wealth for you and your family. L  eave your legacy for Mississippi State’s future.

For more information on creating a planned gift, contact the MSU Foundation Office of Planned Giving.

MSU is an AA/EEO university.

Wes Gordon, Director of Planned Giving (662) 325-3707 |



Fo u r a l u m n a e a g re e :


Sharion Aycock

graduated from MSU in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. She continued her education at Mississippi College School of Law, obtaining a Juris Doctor degree in 1980. She was confirmed by a unanimous Senate in 2007 to be the first female Article III judge in Mississippi. Later, in 2014, she again made history as the first female Chief District Judge in the state.


n the eyes of four successful alumnae, Sharion Aycock, Debbie Rabinowitz, Camille Scales Young and Germany Kent, hard work and a strong community are the keys to success both during and after college. The lives of Aycock, Rabinowitz, Young and Kent display a variety of personal backgrounds, experiences at Mississippi State and post-graduate careers, but their common denominator is MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences and how the College helped pave their way for future successes. Shairon Aycock, the first female Chief District Judge in the state of Mississippi, stated one of her Arts and Sciences professors, Billy J. Eatherly, was the reason she was encouraged to go to law school. “I don’t know what I said or did during class that made him think I would be a good lawyer, but I’m so glad he directed me down that path,” Aycock said. “I loved law school and would have never pursued it if it wasn’t for him.” Through the encouragement of Eatherly, Aycock attended the Mississippi College School of Law and obtained a Juris Doctor degree in 1980. After graduating, she practiced law in the private sector until 2003 when she was elected to serve as a Circuit Court Judge on the First Judicial District of Mississippi.

Camille Scales Young earned her bachelor’s degree in communication management in 1994 and her master’s degree in agriculture and extension education with an emphasis in public policy in 1996, both from MSU. She currently is vice president of Cornerstone Government Affairs in Madison, Mississippi.

In 2007, Aycock was confirmed by a unanimous Senate to be the first female Article III judge in Mississippi. She again made history in 2014 by ascending as the first female Chief District Judge in Mississippi.



Aycock believes her time at MSU taught her the importance of hard work and kindness. “Work hard and be as kind to the janitor as you are to the CEO, and you will be successful,” Aycock said. As a freshman communication major, Debbie Rabinowitz found success through MSU’s Speech and Debate Team and the campus YMCA. During her college years, Rabinowitz was recognized as “The Best First Year Debater” at the end of her freshman year and was also named the first female president of the campus YMCA in 1968, just prior to her senior year. Rabinowitz still credits these organizations as being the most influential learning experiences during her time as an MSU student.

Germany Kent earned a bachelor’s degree in 1998 from MSU and a master’s degree in 1999 from the University of Alabama. For the past seven years, Kent has worked in entertainment as an actress, model, producer and entertainment journalist, interviewing A-list celebrities.

“My experience with the Debate Team taught me to think deeply about important issues and to be able to organize and express my thoughts coherently,” Rabinowitz said. “My experiences with the YMCA helped confirm and more deeply develop my personal values which have been foundational influences throughout my life,” she added. Participation in campus activities provided growth and self-confidence for Rabinowitz during her time at MSU, which aided in her application for graduate school at Columbia University in New York City. After completing her master’s degree in 1971, she worked as a social worker in New York City for seven years. She then became a professor of social work at Texas A&M University, where she worked for more than 25 years, also serving as a therapist and counselor for A&M’s student counseling services.

Deborah D. “Debbie” Rabinowitz of Westcliff, Colorado is a 2017 MSU alumni fellow. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from MSU in 1969. She joined Texas A&M as a psychologist, working there for more than 25 years until her retirement.



As a retired professional, Rabinowitz continues to support the MSU Speech and Debate Team through her endowment establishment for the organization. Rabinowitz chooses to give back so other students can experience personal growth and support like she did. She explains how it is difficult to quantify her professional accomplishments because they were not developed in the form of major awards or position titles, but rather her success came from the impact she made in the lives of many students.

“When I retired, I remember looking through the thank you notes that a number of students sent me. I remember the students who came to me looking for a change in major, students who came because they were suicidally depressed, students who were struggling with relationships and just needed to talk, and many others. I was not a miracle worker; however, I am satisfied that many of the students I worked with were better able to deal with the stresses of life as a result of our interactions,” Rabinowitz said. Like Rabinowitz, Camille ScalesYoung also explained that her dedication to school work and campus involvement at MSU prepared her to be successful in life after college. Young credits the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Communication for giving her both “book” knowledge and “practical” life knowledge that she continues to use in her everyday work and personal life. Young said that the faculty in her department “embraced me and nurtured me,” while they encouraged her to “step out of my comfort zone and try new opportunities.” “I worked at The Reflector, I taught public speaking, I volunteered on student committees, I served my sorority, and I worked on Capitol Hill one summer,” Young said. “All of those experiences gave me a background that put me head and shoulders over other college graduates. And, it prepared me to hit the ground running when I got my first full-time job.”

Young emphasized the influence the College of Arts and Sciences faculty had on her future career success, saying Sid Hill, the former department head and a professor in the Department of Communication, pushed her to maximize her full potential. Reflecting on her time at MSU, Young said, “Everyone can succeed at MSU. I came from a small town and walked into a big university… MSU believes in its students and offers numerous opportunities and the support to succeed. I’m grateful for my time at MSU and my continued association with my alma mater!” In Germany Kent’s opinion, “being a small town girl from Mississippi doing things nobody even thought I

could” has become her greatest success, and she thanks the “endless opportunities at State” for projecting her towards her post-graduate success. Throughout the past seven years, Kent has worked in entertainment as an actress, model, producer and entertainment journalist. Most notably, she has “interviewed over 200 A-list celebrities including Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy and Grammy-award winning performers and business moguls.” Kent also praised MSU faculty, describing them as “topnotch individuals who really support their students and are invested in their success,” crediting one faculty member in particular for instilling in her a desire to reach her full potential. “Dr. Jimmy Abraham, who taught the student recruiters at that time, was my favorite faculty member because he always led by example, kept his word, treated everybody the same, and instilled in me resourcefulness, excellence and perseverance,” Kent said. One of her greatest honors while at MSU was being elected to the student association as the first AfricanAmerican woman attorney general. This “afforded me opportunities to work with many campus departments and created an endless networking stream,” Kent said. Whether through MSU mentors or her time spent serving MSU through various organizations, Kent credits the “endless opportunities at State” for projecting her toward her career success as a best-selling and awardwinning author. “My love and respect for MSU has grown, and I feel it’s my duty to promote the bulldog spirit everywhere I go,” Kent said. Sharion Aycock, Debbie Rabinowitz, Camille Scales Young and Germany Kent and took widely different paths after their MSU graduations. However, the four women all agree their time at MSU was instrumental in affording them opportunities for success in life. In the words of Kent, “Hail State!”






Hank Flick visits with former student and MSU graduate Hillary Cook.


ome will recall the passionate teacher, others the skilled interviewing coach. Still others never will forget the public address voice of Mississippi State football and basketball, a valued faculty mentor or just a friend. Whatever the case, any who came to know longtime university professor Harry “Hank” Flick II likely will carry him always in their consciousness. An Oakland, California, native, he died at his Starkville home in mid-June of 2017 at age 73.

Survivors include son Harrison of Pelham, Alabama, and sister Bonnie Jeanne Perry of Concord, California. After completing bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Memphis State University (now University of Memphis), he was hired at Mississippi State in 1971 as an instructor in the communication department of the College of Arts and Sciences. Before retiring in 2016 after a 45-year career, he also had earned a doctorate at Southern Illinois University.

As Flick told it, he never took an education course or initially intended to become a classroom leader. Whatever the original plan, he would go on to become an award-winning teacher in what he termed his “ministry.” His impact reached all corners of campus and beyond, but his favorite place was the McComas Hall classroom where students flocked to hear his laugh-inducing commentaries that delivered serious scholastic and philosophical messages.



While there were a range of courses over the decades, it was the personal interviewing and small-group communication classes—the latter featuring a well-known “norm violation” assignment—for which he became legendary. Mississippi State students adored Flick, and he adored them back even more. It was those shared feelings that resulted in his selection for a Carnegie Foundation national teaching award and campus recognition as a John Grisham Master Teacher, among other honors. After learning of his passing, former student Lonn Parsons wrote on Flick’s Facebook page: “I was fortunate to have Hank as a professor, but was even more blessed to receive his counsel outside of class. One thing I’ll always carry with me is his advice to carefully consider what you believe in—the ‘right’ thing to do—and once you decide, be willing to give it everything you have, and be wise enough to recognize and admit when/if it turns out you are wrong.” Parsons cited a particular situation where Flick had advised him to remain committed to a choice he had made and how “his wisdom in guiding instead of answering is something I carry with me always” because he “always was more about making you/helping you be a better you than providing ‘easy answers.’ ” To further make the point, he described the PA booth’s chaotic atmosphere where notes constantly were being handed to Flick as he announced outcomes of each homegame play. “Hank was determined to call as many names as people, because, as he used to say, ‘Everybody’s got a momma, and every momma wants to hear her son’s name called,’ ” Moore said. Outside the classroom, Flick’s influence was felt as he continually coached students preparing for important interviews ranging from evening-gown pageants to major institutional scholarships. He also was a faculty adviser to several student organizations. “He was at most Student Association Senate meetings during his tenure, helping with parliamentary procedure,” Abraham recalled. “He also spoke at hundreds of organization meetings and alumni gatherings and, of course, was the long-time public address announcer at football and basketball games.



“We all have our memories of Hank as public-address announcer for State athletic events,” Abraham continued. “How he gave nicknames to players: ‘the Mighty Dog,’ ‘Chuckie-Chuckie Evans’ or ‘Super D Daryl Wilson.’ And his signature ‘A good, good evening and welcome to Humphrey Coliseum here on the campus of Mississippi State University for an evening of BAAASketball, Mississippi State style,’ or ‘First-down, BULLdogs!’ “Or how he introduced our national anthem at basketball games with so much enthusiasm and passion in his voice: ‘For all we have, for all we are, for this great university and for this community we call home, with your right hand placed over your heart, please sing out loudly and proudly the words as our pep band leads us in our national anthem.’ ” Even the PA announcer role was part of his ministry, said Moore. “He loved students. It wasn’t that he loved being the announcer. He didn’t need any more accolades. He didn’t need anyone else to know his name. Hank did what he did with regards to the announcing truly because he loved students. “Hank did most of what he did at the university because he loved the students,” Moore observed. Abraham agreed, saying Flick “used his many talents to promote our beloved university and to make a difference in the lives of others, never wanting the spotlight.” “He could have gone anywhere else. He wasn’t a graduate, but came here and stayed here. He touched the lives of many students. They admired, respected and loved him,” Abraham emphasized. Flick no longer walks the campus sidewalks or teaches in 228 McComas Hall, but Abraham said that “familiar, unforgettable voice will resonate within us for the course of our lifetime. He has impacted so many and his footprints will forever be on our campus. There’s no question that he lived a life that mattered.” Or, as Parsons echoed, “Thousands of his students are better people, and the world is a little better because of it.”

OTHER ALUMNI MEMORIES —Carrie Crowder Doyle, who said “Dr. Hank Flick was an inspiration to me and many others. He was always encouraging, fun and giving. He encouraged his students to think beyond their own experiences and put themselves in the shoes of others.” —Beth Leech Moore, a member of Flick’s first interviewing class in the fall of 1983, who described him as captivating, kind, compassionate and “so funny in the classroom.” —Jimmy Abraham, a former associate vice president for development and alumni and MSU Alumni Association executive director. Earlier, as a senior administrator in the Division of Student Affairs, Abraham had members of the Roadrunners and Orientation Leader programs put down on paper how particular faculty members had impacted their lives. He said many chose Flick, contributing such observations as “He invests in me and takes a personal interest in me. He makes the learning environment a great place to be. He inspires while he teaches. His outlook on life has opened my eyes and has made my experience as a student that much more enjoyable.” Abraham praised Flick for being “committed to helping everyone at any time as much as he could, especially his students. Nothing pleased him more than to see them succeed.” —Cora Beth Hartfield, who shared Abraham’s appreciation when observing how Flick’s “job on this earth had meaning and impacted many lives.” —Kendall Moore, an engineering graduate who became Flick’s good friend and worked as a game spotter for 27 years when Flick was the athletic department’s public address announcer. “He was determined to do it well, to do it right, to be honoring with it and to engage the fans,” Moore said.

Hank Flick working the communication department’s annual golf tournament.






ArtsScncesMgznAdJu17MR3128.indd 1


Friday9/15/17 10:46 AM

Connie Gusmus:

NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassador

In 2016, Connie Gusmus stood beneath a modified Boeing 747 at the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy in Palmdale, California. A sixth-grade science teacher at Guntown Middle School, she was among the latest group of educators and scientists taking part in NASA’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program.

To be part of this “very golden” Golden State experience, Gusmus and Bob Swanson, an astronomy instructor at Itawamba Community College, teamed up to apply for the special NASA training. Of nearly 180 U.S. applicants in 2016, only 11 two-person teams were formed. The Northeast Mississippians were the contingent’s only Magnolia State residents.

Attired in a blue nylon jacket adorned with the space agency’s well-known insignia, Gusmus was on the experience of a lifetime. The plane was built for longflight passenger transport but now carries the world’s only flying infrared astronomy laboratory and telescope used to examine the invisible cosmic light spectrum flowing through Earth’s atmosphere.

After completing a required graduate course in astronomy, they joined a federal astronomy team for two 10-hour flights. For celestial study, the 747 cruises at approximately 45,000 feet and carries a specially fitted 100-inch telescope connected to a suite of seven powerful measuring instruments.

AAA is NASA’s professional development opportunity to help teachers enhance their classroom skills. By sharing the SOFIA experience, Ambassadors also can encourage young learners to consider taking advance courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics—STEM, for short. After having led mathematics classes for nearly two decades, Gusmus’s new journey began when she decided to switch to teaching science. With neither spare time nor schedule flexibility to become a traditional student, she nevertheless earned a master of science degree offered online through the College of Arts and Sciences at Mississippi State University. Gusmus chose the Teachers in Geosciences curriculum. Via computer, she followed TIG course lectures, completed classwork and took tests, all while continuing to work at Guntown Middle School. “I didn’t skip a beat!” said the secondary school veteran now in her 12th year as a science teacher.

Gusmus said her most memorable moments included watching from 43,000 feet the brightly dancing light streams of Aurora Borealis—aka Northern Lights— and following at 300 mph the winding path of famous Route 66. The Lee county resident credits the MSU graduate degree program for these and her many other Ambassador experiences. “I want to thank all the instructors in the online TIG program, without which I would not be teaching science today,” she said.

The TIG curriculum is among eight online degree and certification programs offered by MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. For more information, visit



College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Receive Awards The College of Arts and Sciences recently announced the recipients of four faculty member awards for the 2017 fall semester. During the Arts and Sciences fall faculty meeting, Dean Rick Travis recognized each winner with a plaque. Awardees include Nicholas Fitzkee, who received the Sanderson Excellence Dean’s Eminent Scholar Award. Fitzkee is an associate professor of chemistry.

Michael Nadorff received the Gary Meyers Dean’s Eminent Scholar Award. Nadorff is an assistant professor of psychology and director of clinical training for the clinical psychology Ph.D. program.

Clifford McKinney was awarded the Phil and Kari Oldham Outstanding Mentor Award. He is an associate professor

of psychology.

Julia Osman received the Beverly B. & Gordon W. Gulmon Dean’s Eminent Scholar Award. She is an

associate professor of history and the director of the Institute for the Humanities.



Beth Kowalczyk (secretary) – Broadcast Meteorology Sabrina Moore – Chemistry & Microbiology Jasmine Avery-McGuire – English Jeremy Burt – Chemistry & Biology Joy Cariño – English & Math Kim De La Cruz – Math Ben Emmich – Physics & Math Desiree Goodfellow – Anthropology Maria Hensley – Political Science Richard Hill – Communication Katelyn Jackson – Biology Phillip Keck – Chemistry Hasna Khandekar – Microbiology Bryce Krumke – Anthropology & History Sierra Laltrello – Geosciences Marisa Laudadio – Political Science & Communication

Dean’s Student Advisory Council


Julie Masterson – Communication Megan Peck – Psychology Sarah Adison Phillips – Criminology & Classics Joely Pugh – English Cheyenne Schettino – History Sydney Taylor – Chemistry

As Mississippi State University’s largest and most diverse academic college, the College of Arts and Sciences seeks to faithfully and accurately represent the wide-ranging interests and concerns of its students. The Dean’s Student Advisory Council, comprised of undergraduate representatives from the college’s 14 academic departments, seeks to serve that purpose as a connection between the students in the college and the dean’s administration. This prestigious group of students informs the college’s leadership on the thoughts and concerns of the student population. The Dean’s Student Advisory Council represents the College of Arts and Sciences to current and prospective students. Serving alongside representatives from the dean’s office, members of the council assist at recruitment events to relay how they have discovered their path to success through the College of Arts and Sciences. The Dean’s Student Advisory Council selects new members each spring.

Madelyn Barr – Microbiology Hannah Holetz – Psychology Jessie Lewis – Social work Randy Niffenegger (president) – Physics Alivia Roberts – Communication Trevor Sanford – Music Nia Sims – Biological Sciences Bobbie Jo Smith – Spanish and German Mary Ann Smith – Microbiology Madison Ward – History Melissa Weitzel (vice president) – Political Science Keyonna Wilder – Social Work




Reagan E. Arnwine

Jeffrey M. Jones

Robyn Ann Beattie

Joseph B. Kerstiens

Mary M. Denning

Anthony K. Laudadio

Maria L. Diener

Dukjae Lee

Margaret K. Eason

Lily F. McCrory

Ruth E. Fowler

Lauren A. Osborne

Robert W. Frey

Madilyn B. Petty

Courtney P. Hill

Sarah A. Phillips

Meredith A. Hilliard

Thomas A. Rogers

Morgan Hydrick

Francesca M. Wadlington

Anna C. Jackson

Rachel M. Ruth Weitzel

Haley N. Jenkins

Cole Wood


society of scholars


At the conclusion of each fall and spring semester, the Society of Scholars honor organization recognizes the highest achieving students in all academic majors. Each has demonstrated the highest standard of scholastic excellence while pursuing a broad exposure to courses in the arts, sciences and humanities. Individuals selected for the vigorous screening process must have demonstrated a sound foundation in languages, mathematics, sciences, oral and written communication, humanities and social sciences.

Laurie Williams (chair) Bachelor in Science in Communication, ‘79 Dr. Ralph Alewine Bachelor of Science in Physics, ‘68 Dr. Fred Corley Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, ‘68 Dr. Larry Grillot Bachelor of Science in Physics, ‘68 Hunter “Ticket” Henry Friend of the College Kitty Henry Friend of the College Dr. Karen Hulett Bachelor of Science in General Science, ‘72 Dr. William B. Hulett Friend of the College Hank Johnston Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, ‘65 Malcolm B. Lightsey Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, ‘61 Master of Science in Mathematics, ‘63

dean’s executive advisory board members The mission of the College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Executive Advisory Board is to provide leadership and support to the dean by utilizing our skills, financial resources, teamwork and diversity to strengthen the academic infrastructure, faculty and facilities of the college and university.

Dr. M. Diane Roberts Bachelor of Science in Zoology, ‘63 Master of Science in Zoology, ‘64 Llana Smith Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, ‘74 Cindy Stevens Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, ‘83 Dr. Randy White Bachelor of Science in Chemistry/Pre-Med, ‘66 Dr. David Wigley Bachelor of Science in Soil Science, ‘77 Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, ‘79 Dr. Thomas Wiley, Jr. Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, ‘73

College Representatives Dr. Rick Travis – Dean Sara Frederic – Director of Development Dr. Giselle Thibaudeau (Munn) – Associate Dean for Research Dr. Nicole Rader –Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Karyn Brown – Director of Communication



What an incredible year we experienced within the College of Arts and Sciences! Days spent visiting incredible alumni and talented students blessed my schedule. Breakthroughs in research and extracurricular success dominated conversations within the busy classroom walls, as professors attributed the progress to student initiative. At the College of Arts and Sciences, we recognize extracurricular activities, combined with academic coursework, provide a transformative academic experience for our students and faculty. Our alumni and friends sharing the same vision and understanding, like Dr. Malcolm and Olivia Portera, bring us true delight. The generosity of Dr. Malcolm and Olivia Portera, along with others in the political science field, established the Dr. Tip Allen Endowed Memorial Scholarship. One academic experience funded by the scholarship gave a student a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom to receive one-onone instruction. Of the experience, the recipient shared, “while it was extremely challenging, this individualized style of teaching helped me to understand the concepts I was learning much more clearly and enabled me to engage in lively debate with an expert on the topic I was studying.�

When catastrophic weather impacted many Bulldogs across the country, our devoted alumni and friends continued to give to Mississippi State University. After Hurricane Harvey threatened his home in Conroe, Texas, alumnus Homer Wilson made a gift to grow his endowment within the Department of Geosciences. With the MSU Foundation’s one-billion-dollar Infinite Impact Campaign approaching its last three years, I’m reminded of what this campaign truly means. By definition, infinite means limitless or endless. John Michael Shelton is the perfect example of why I’m so passionate about this campaign. John Michael Shelton thought his dream of poetry would never come to fruition until he met Dr. Price Caldwell, professor and founder of the MSU Creative Writing Center. Dr. Caldwell awarded him the Eugene Butler Creative Writing Scholarship, which enabled John Michael to attain his bachelor’s degree in English and continue his passion of writing poetry. John Michael Shelton was named the Mississippi Poet of the Year in October 2017 and credits his success to his mother, Dr. Price Caldwell and Eugene Butler. Eugene Brit Butler, Jr. continues to grow the creative writing endowment established by his father, Eugene Butler.

To this day, Dr. Price Caldwell’s family, Alice Carol, Delia and Michael Caldwell support students through the Price Caldwell Visiting Writers Series Endowment, bringing successful speakers from across the country to campus to meet and speak with students about their work ─ yet another value-added experience for our students and faculty. We recognize that our alumni and friends’ commitment to excellence and success proves to be the two driving forces setting them apart from constituents of other universities within the state and beyond. My dear alumni and friends, thank you for your tremendous impact on our students, faculty and for the infinite impact your relationship has on me each day. I’m grateful for every visit, phone call and message I have the opportunity to share with each of you and look forward to another year of successful opportunities through your vision, loyalty and generosity toward the College of Arts and Sciences.


Sara Jurney Frederic ’08, ’10, ’11 Director of Development College of Arts and Sciences



COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES DONOR LIST The following lists include members from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017

Abbvie Foundation

Ms. Susan B. Bell

Ms. Amanda R. Byrd

Dr. Renee M. Clary

Mr. and Mrs. James W. Abernethy Jr.

Ms. Mary E. Benincasa

Mrs. Alice Carol Caldwell

Dr. and Mrs. Edward J. Clynch

Mr. Gary F. Adams

Dr. Mitchell E. Berman

Ms. Delia E. Caldwell

Mr. and Mrs. James V. Cockrum, II

Mr. and Mrs. William A. Adams, Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. Jim Berscheidt

Mr. Michael Caldwell

Mr. and Mrs. John A. Cohen

Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Alewine III

Dr. and Mrs. Wade C. Bishop

Mr. Seth A. Cannon

Ms. Denise L. Coleman

Allianz Life

Mrs. Anita Bologna

Canon Solutions America

Mr. and Mrs. Gus W. Colvin Jr.

Altarum Institute

Mr. Robert B. and Mrs. Jeanne R. Boykin

Dr. Lilun Cao

Mr. and Mrs. Gus W. Colvin, III

Mr. Tommiw and Mrs. Susan Cardin

Dr. and Mrs. Trey Combs

Mr. and Mrs. Bobby J. Carollo

Dr. and Mrs. Leon L. Combs

Ms. Mary Evelyn Brantley

Dr. Kermit L. Carraway and Dr. Coralie C. Carraway

Mr. and Mrs. William B. Conway

Mr. and Mrs. John T. Breazeale

Dr. Joseph E. Carrithers

Mr. and Mrs. Fred N. Brown, Jr.

Dr. F. Perna Carter

Dr. Lewis R. Brown

Mr. Richard C. Carter, III

Dr. and Mrs. James R. Bryson

Dr. and Mrs. Richard C. Carter Jr.

Dr. and Mrs. Shannon D. Buford

Dr. Jon L. Cash

Bulldog Club, Inc.

Center for Mississippi Health Policy

Ms. Charisa Burkhead

Charitable Gift Fund

Mr. E. Channing Burns, Jr.

Mr. Benson B. Chow

Dr. Christopher and Mrs. Bette Behr

Mr. and Mrs. Christopher T. Bush

Clark Beverage Group, Inc.

Mr. Randy and Mrs. Pat Bell

Mr. and Mrs. George W. Butler, Jr.

Mr. Melvin Clark

American Cancer Society American Chemical Society American Heart Association Anadarko Petroleum Dr. and Mrs. James D. Ashmore Autumn Ridge Dental Mr. and Mrs. Matthew R. Bailey Mr. and Mrs. James L. Bailey Mr. Tim and Mrs. Libby Barber Mr. and Mrs. Gregory A. Barrick Ms. Amanda Batey and Mr. Bernard A. Margolis


Mr. Earl B. Brand, Jr. Mr. Richard R. and Mrs. Penny Brann


Cooper Dentistry Dr. and Mrs. David D. Cooper Mr. and Mrs. Brent S. Cooper Dr. Fred G. Corley Jr. Dr. and Mrs. William F. Coston Dr. Justin C. Courcelle Mr. and Mrs. Arnold B. Cox Mr. and Mrs. Brent J. Cox, III Mr. Natravis R. Cox Mr. and Mrs. Tom Crain, Jr.

Creek Run L.L.C. Environmental Engineering

Mr. and Mrs. Floyd H. Furr

Mr. W. F. Hornsby, III

Mr. and Mrs. James A. Lipsey

Mr. Robert E. Garner

Ms. Heather D. Hudson

Mr. and Mrs. James W. Long

Dr. Jay E. Gee

Mr. John E. Hughes, III

Ms. Rebecca J. Long

Mr. and Mrs. Alan C. Geolot

Drs. Karen and William Hulett

Dr. Chester C. Lott Jr.

Mr. Steven M. Geraci

Mr. Jason K. Humphrey

Mr. Derrick J. Lovett

Mr. and Mrs. Ralph B. Germany Jr.

Dr. and Mrs. Donald R. Hunt

Ms. Sherry Lozowski

Dr. Charles T. Ghany

Mr. and Mrs. James L. Hunt

Dr. Frances Lucas

Mr. and Mrs. David A. Gillam

Dr. C. M. Hutchinson International Paper

Dr. Marcus H. Pendergrass and Dr. Myrtis L. Lunsford

Dr. and Mrs. Jerry W. Dallas

Dr. Nina L. Glasgow and Mr. David L. Brown

Drs. Joseph and Judith Davenport

Capt. Edd L. Goodman, Jr.

Ms. Amy E. Davis

Mr. T. Duane Gordon and Mr. Matthew T. Dixon

Ms. Wendy L. Creel Mrs. Sara R. Crenshaw Mr. and Mrs. Curt J. Crissey Mrs. Virginia D. Croce Dr. and Mrs. W. Lawrence Croft Ms. Barbara C. Cropp Mr. Everett T. Culpepper

Mr. and Mrs. Harold P. Dean

Mr. and Mrs. Harold S. Ishee Mr. and Mrs. John P. Jaap, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Michael Scott Jackson

Lynn R. Hayes, LLC Dr. Diane Roberts Mrs. Paula A. Mabry Mr. Ryan O. MacKie

Mrs. Cynthia R. Greeley

Ms. Erica E. James

Mr. and Mrs. John W. Green Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel E. Jaudon

Lt. Col. Robert T. Green

Ms. Rachael L. Jeffcoat

Mr. and Mrs. Theron V. Griffin

Mrs. Linda J. Johnson

Mr. and Mrs. Dodd Griffith

Mr. Michael A. Johnson

Dr. and Mrs. Larry R. Grillot

Ms. Sandra H. Johnson

Ms. Anna Minor Grizzle

Dr. and Mrs. Warren T. Johnson, Jr.

Mr. Carlton K. Guillot, Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry E. Johnston

Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin A. Douglas

Dr. and Mrs. Charles L. Guyton

Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Jones

Dr. and Mrs. Donald N. Downer

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel P. Guyton

Mr. Chad M. Jones

Mr. and Mrs. James N. Downing

Dr. and Mrs. Steven R. Gwaltney

Dr. and Mrs. Gordon E. Jones

Mr. and Mrs. Terry M. Duke

Mr. and Mrs. Steven L. Gwin

Mr. and Mrs. Hunter Jones

Mr. Vance S. Durbin

Mr. and Dr. Michael Hackney

Mrs. Rebecca Harbor Jones

Dr. Lamiaa El Fassi

Mrs. Barbara J. Hamilton

Mr. Ronald Jones

Dr. and Mrs. John P. Elliott Jr.

Mr. Calvin D. Hampton

Mr. and Mrs. Louis M. Jurney

Mr. Nathan H. Elmore

Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas J. Hansen

Mr. and Dr. David P. Taylor

Dr. and Mrs. Gerald A. Emison

Ms. Laura Hardin

Mr. and Mrs. Russell B. Kegley

Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Erby

Mr. Jeffrey W. Hardy

Mr. and Mrs. John P. Keisman

Estate of Donald B. Morrison

Ms. Amy S. Hargrave

Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. King

Mr. and Mrs. C D. Evans

Mr. Benjamin P. Hart

Mrs. Parker Smythe Kline

Dr. Fred S. Evans

Mr. Walter R. Hart

Mr. and Mrs. John W. Laird

Ms. Nancy P. Farmer

Mr. Ewin and Mrs. Claudia Henson

Mr. and Mrs. Kirk Laird

Dr. Joe L. Ferguson and Mrs. Jean W. Ferguson

Dr. and Mrs. Barry W. Herring

Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Lake

Dr. Sharron Y. Herron

Mr. and Mrs. William P. Lampkin

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Heumann

Mr. and Mrs. Norman L. Lanier

Mr. Joshua L. Hight

Dr. and Mrs. James A. Lauderdale III

Mississippi Association of Grantmakers (MAG)

Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Hightower

Dr. Sue C. Lauderdale

Mississippi Corn Promotion Board

Mr. Kevin A. Hill

Mr. David W. Law

Mississippi Peanut Promotion Board

Miss Lee M. Hilliard

Ms. Carol J. Levy

Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board

Dr. and Mrs. Jeremiah H. Holleman, Jr.

Dr. and Mrs. Edwin A. Lewis

Ms. Tia Mitchell-Green

Mr. Jonathan W. Hollingshead

Mr. and Mrs. Baowei Wang

Drs. Todd and Debra Mlsna

Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth R. Holloway

Ms. Zheng Li

Dr. and Mrs. Harsha N. Mookherjee

Dr. Erin Jaye Holmes

Mr. Malcolm B. and Mrs. Joy Lightsey

Dr. Debra A. Moore

Ms. Denise M. Della Rossa Mr. and Mrs. Dan W. Derrington Sr. Mr. Hugh B. Devery Mrs. Page Dantzler Dickerson Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd G. Digby Mr. Jeff Donald Dr. Tracy L. Skipper and Mr. Randall Dong

Mr. Thomas W. Fewel Ms. Jacqueline A. Finch Dr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Fisher Ms. Julie S. Fleming Drs. John and Connie Forde Mr. and Mrs. Daniel K. Fordice, III Mr. Charles P. Fox Frank Chiles State Farm Insurance Mr. Stephen and Mrs. Sara Frederic Mr. and Mrs. William A. Friday

Macy’s Inc. Mr. and Mrs. David P. Madison, Jr. Dr. Charles V. Magee Mr. and Mrs. Jamie L. Mahne Mr. and Mrs. Michael H. Mahoney Dr. and Mrs. Alan I Marcus Dr. and Mrs. Charles W. Mastin Dr. and Mrs. Byron C. May Mr. and Mrs. Cinclair May Dr. and Mrs. David C. May Mr. and Mrs. William E. May Mr. Steven L. Mayo Dr. and Mrs. Robert T. McAdory, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Julius F. McIlwain Ms. Kellye J. McKendree Mr. R. Jeremy McLaughlin Ms. Sharon A. McLellan Mr. Michael S. McLendon Mr. and Mrs. Kelley R. McWhirter Mr. Eric P. Meitzler Capt. Hunter H. Mills and Mrs. Dee Anna Mills Mr. and Mrs. Jason E. Minor Mr. and Mrs. Paul M. Minor

Ms. Sara Morris



Ms Health Advocacy Program

Dr. and Mrs. Edward E. Rigdon

Mr. William L. Snook and Mrs.

Mr. and Mrs. Harold D. Walker III

Mr. and Mrs. Quincy O. Mukoro

Ms. Jessie M. Riley

Charlotte Hutchins

Mr. and Mrs. Gary L. Walker

Dr. Keith D. Mullin

Mr. Robert R. Roberts, Jr.

Society for Personality and Social

Dr. Diane E. Wall

Mr. R. David Murrell

Ms. Lisa N. Robinson


Mr. and Mrs. William S. Watkins

Dr. Beverly Myers Byrd

Dr. Kevin Rogers

Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd A. Solomon

Drs. Richard and Patricia Weddle

Mr. and Mrs. Troy J. Myers, Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. James D. Rowe

Dr. and Mrs. Jesse J. Sowell, Jr.

Dr. Heather A. West

Mr. and Mrs. Steven R. Nash

Mr. Gerald L. Rowles, Jr.

Paul and Mimi Speyerer

Ms. Megan T. White

National Academy of Sciences

Mr. James S. Rowles

Mr. Kenneth E. Springer

Dr. A. Randle and Mrs. Marilyn White

National Oceans and Applications Research Center

Mr. Abraham Rosman and Mrs. Paula Rubel

Ms. Cynthia Stevens and Mr. Linwood

Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. White

Mr. George R. Neal

Rufford Foundation


Mr. and Mrs. Robert P. White

Dr. Tonya T. Neaves

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Rule

Ms. Bobbie S. Stone

Mr. Garrett C. Whitehurst

Mr. and Mrs. James G. Newman, Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. Laroy M. Rushing

Drs. Randolph and Gwen Stone

Dr. and Mrs. Frank J. Whittington

North American Coal Corporation

Mr. and Mrs. Chess Rybolt

Mr. and Mrs. Stewart Stremler

Drs. David E. Wigley and Dana L. Fox

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew J. Novarini

Dr. Harrylyn Sallis and Dr. Charles Sallis

Mr. Danny H. Swink

Dr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Wiley Jr.

Mrs. Franceska Kyle Sybil

Major and Mrs. Frank J. Wilkerson

Ms. Lynda M. Samp

Mr. Chester A. Tapscott, III

Mr. Alan L. Williams

Dr. and Mrs. Ben Sanford Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Tardy

Dr. and Mrs. Clyde V. Williams

Mr. Clifton W. Sawyer

Dr. and Mrs. Stephen W. Tartt

Mrs. Laurie R. Williams

Mr. and Mrs. David L. Schroeder

Col. (Ret.) and Mrs. William D. Taylor

Ms. Wanda T. Williams

Mr. Wallace H. Scoggins

Dr. and Mrs. Douglas H. Taylor

Sessions Trust

Mr. and Mrs. Todd A. Terrell

Dr. James Williamson and Mrs. Linda Williamson

Dr. Stephen D. Shaffer

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. Timothy R. Shann

The Benevity Community Impact Fund

Mr. and Mrs. James W. Shannon, II

The Claiborne at Adelaide

Mr. and Mrs. Kirk C. Shaw

The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. David R. O’Brien Mr. and Mrs. Mark E. O’Koren Mr. and Mrs. John O. Owen Mr. and Mrs. Stanley S. Owen Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Owens, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Michael D. Pabst Mr. Michael C. Pace Ms. Susan Palmer Dr. and Mrs. Girish K. Panicker Mrs. Valerie Musick Park Mr. Earl B. Parker, Jr. Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi Mr. and Mrs. Howard E. Patrick Jr. Drs. Rodney and Allison Pearson Pelican River Watershed District Mr. Mark T. Pennypacker, Sr. Mr. Alan C. Permenter Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Philip Dr. Melinda W. Pilkinton Mrs. Dawn N. Plaisance Mr. and Mrs. Don Pomeroy, III Mr. Junrui H. Qian Drs. Philip and Deborah Rabinowitz Dr. Claude E. Peacock and Dr. Janet E. Rafferty


Dr. Wahnee J. Sherman Dr. Kathleen M. Sherman-Morris and Mr. John A. Morris Dr. Howard E. Shook, Jr. Dr. Justin H. Shows

Mr. and Mrs. W. Dal Williamson Mr. Homer F. Wilson, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Phil B. Wilson Mrs. Sarah B. Winterburg Dr. David O. Wipf

The Northrop Grumman Foundation

Dr. and Mrs. Perisco Wofford

The Precious Possum

Dr. and Mrs. Robert E. Wolverton

The Schwab Charitable Fund

Women’s Foundation of Mississippi

The Spencer Foundation

Woodward Hines Education Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. Henry W. Shurlds, III

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Siemens Foundation

Col. and Mrs. Jerry A. Thomas

Mr. and Mrs. James A. Yarborough

Dr. Kathryn L. Sigurnjak

Dr. Katie H. Thomas and Dr. Timothy N. Thomas

Mr. Brian S. Young

Mr. Adolph Simmons, Jr. and Ms. Brenda D. Gibson Simons Foundation Mr. and Mrs. John D. “Jack” Sistrunk Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie Sleeper Jr. Mr. C. Douglas Smith

Mr. Phillip R. Rafferty

Mr. and Mrs. Gregory C. Smith

Mr. William H. Ray

Mr. Jesse L. Smith

Research and Technology Corporation

Dr. Laura T. Smith

Mr. John W. and Mrs. Patricia T. Green

Ms. Llana Y. Smith and Dr. John B.

Mr. Richard M. Reynolds, II


Mr. and Mrs. John H. Richards Jr.

Mrs. Valerie C. Smith


Ms. Haley G. Thomason Thompson and Associates, L.L.C. Dr. and Mrs. B. M. Thorne Mr. and Mrs. Ralph W. Thornton Truist Ms. Amy Tuck U.S. Lawns of Starkville, LLC UPS Ms. Sara H. Vance Mr. and Mrs. William D. Vanderbrink Mr. Reynold J. Vandewege Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Wadlington

Mr. and Mrs. Mark A. Worthey

Mr. and Mrs. Keith L. Young Dr. Judy K. Young Dr. Dongmao Zhang and Ms. Dongping Jiang

PROMOTIONS & TENURE DEPARTMENT.............. NAME................................................................ PROMOTION Biological Sciences.................Justin Thornton...................................................... Associate Professor Chemistry.................................Nicholas Fitzkee.................................................... Associate Professor English......................................Wendy Herd............................................................ Associate Professor English......................................Andrea Spain........................................................... Associate Professor English......................................Shirley Hanshaw.......................................................................Professor English......................................Holly Johnson............................................................................Professor English......................................Kelly Marsh................................................................................Professor Geosciences.............................Jamie Dyer..................................................................................Professor History......................................Alison Greene......................................................... Associate Professor History......................................Jason Ward..................................................................................Professor

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Math & Statistics.....................Mohammad Sepehrifar........................................ Associate Professor Math & Statistics.....................Jonathan Woody..................................................... Associate Professor Philosophy & Religion...........Joseph Witt.............................................................. Associate Professor Physics & Astronomy............Angelle Tanner....................................................... Associate Professor Psychology...............................Robert McMillen......................................................................Professor Sociology..................................Nicole Rader..............................................................................Professor


As the largest college on campus, it is our privilege to showcase all that it has to offer. In order to do that, we need your assistance. Past issues have featured outstanding accomplishments of faculty, students, alumni, and organizations—their accomplishments, awards, and how each is making a difference on campus and in the community. If you have something that should be included, please send it to us!

Anthropology.......................................................................................................................... Jean Marcus Chemistry............................................................................................................................ Stephen Foster CMLL................................................................................................................................Carlos Espinosa English.................................................................................................................................Rich Raymond Physics.....................................................................................................................................Wenchao Ma Psychology......................................................................................................................Stephanie Doane

Send an e-mail or letter to: Karyn Brown

Director of Communication Mississippi State University College of Arts & Sciences P.O. Box AS Mississippi State, MS 39762



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Profile for MSU - Arts & Sciences

Vision-winter/spring 2018  

Vision-winter/spring 2018