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THEY ARE SECURING YO U R F U T U R E A publication of the College of Arts & Sciences M I S S I S S I P P I S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y ®


Security is our theme for this issue of Vision. As a political

when you first showed up in Starkville as an 18 or 19-year-old. My

scientist who studies American foreign policy, the term immediately

guess is that it was with a sense of wonderment mixed with being

brings to my mind a narrow focus on the nation. Issues such as

overwhelmed about some things – great excitement tempered with

military preparedness, the maintenance of alliance partners, nuclear

certain concerns. We often talk about how different 18-year-olds are

proliferation, international warfare, failed states, terrorism, and other

today than when we were 18 (for me it was 1981), but in many ways

new and emerging national and international threats brought on

they are not. They are still essentially at the same levels of cognitive

by the depletion of food and natural resources and environmental

psychological, physiological and biological development; they are still

changes are the topics on which I dwell. However, I also know that

seeing and doing things for the first time.

security is a term which evokes varied ideas. Indeed, the Oxford

One of the challenges we face in this era of higher education

English Dictionary offers five somewhat different definitions of

is the balancing of building and promoting an environment in

security and it is this variation of definitions that I see reflected in

our classrooms that is “safe” in many senses, but also one that is

our Vision magazine.

challenging, demanding and perhaps anxiety producing. As a

In this issue, you will find articles that focus on some of the more

professor, I think a portion of our job is to make students a bit

common, contemporary understandings of security such as the

uncomfortable. Think of it this way: the safest component of

concerns about cybersecurity and food security. We often think of

preparing to play a football game is watching the game film of the

cybersecurity as a computer science-type issue, but without a greater

other team, but we know that alone is not the best way if one desires

understanding of the social and behavioral causes and consequences,

success. Indeed, success in football requires physical exertion and

we only understand a portion of the challenge we face as we confront

sacrifice during training. It requires us to be willing to be pushed in

this growing issue in an increasingly electronically-connected world.

practice by experts/coaches who know more about the game than

Food security within Mississippi is also an issue that our faculty is

we do. It requires a willingness to review our own game film and

helping address. Indeed, researchers at MSU are at the forefront in

listen to uncomfortable critiques of our performance.

both helping to understand the sources of hunger in the state and

So, too, in our classrooms, we find that success depends on a

in finding ways to establish food networks that meet these demands

willingness to be pushed. It is a faculty member’s responsibility to

while building opportunities for locally produced fresh food to find

push students to read more broadly, to think more deeply, to work

a market.

through problems on their own or to learn how to work with others

Different thoughts about security come to mind in the articles

who may approach challenges from very different perspectives. It

featuring the work of our faculty in the geosciences and chemistry

is a faculty member’s duty to expect students not merely to settle

departments. For many of us who have grown up in a tornado-

for what is easy in the short-run if they are to be their best in the

prone region, we have a deep appreciation for the work atmospheric

long run. I have now been at MSU for a quarter of a century, and

scientists are doing to increase our ability to predict - and to be safe

one thing I have learned is that Mississippi State Bulldogs are up to

during – severe weather events. However, we may have given less

any challenge as they prepare to build a secure future for themselves,

thought to the role chemists can play in helping make hospital visits

their families, their state and their nation. I am proud that we in the

safer by combatting bacterial infections commonly contracted from

College of Arts & Sciences get to play a role in this process.

medical equipment. The article beginning on p. 35 highlights the efforts of a young MSU scientist working on this challenge.

In this issue, you will also find other articles about A&S faculty efforts to strengthen mental health and well-being and our role in preparing MSU students to serve in the U.S. Air Force and as police officers. All of these things topics are related to various parts of the Oxford English Dictionary definition of security, but I want to close

Hail State!

by highlighting this specific one: “The state of feeling safe, stable, and free from fear or anxiety.” One aspect of feeling safe is to develop a sense of belonging. One of my favorite articles is the one on Black Voices because it describes how a group of students found a place that brought them this sense of connection and security. Recollect how you felt

Rick Travis Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

Table of


MSU faculty research shines a spotlight on women


Combating food insecurity



A common bond

McDavid’s MSU career leaves lasting legacy


Grisham Master Teachers


Black Voices



Mississippi State to shelter Phi Beta Kappa chapter



Securing a new narrative: understanding the perspectives of children and youth



NIH grant to study bacteria, surfaces and infections


49 50 51 Melody Fisher: empowering, encouraging, inspiring


Dean’s Executive Advisory Board

College of Arts and Sciences Ambassadors


Letter from Sara Jurney Frederic

Society of Scholars


Donor List

DR. NICOLE RADER Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

SILAS KNOX Contract & Grant Specialist

DR. GISELLE THIBAUDEAU (MUNN) Associate Dean for Research


DR. GISELLE THIBAUDEAU (MUNN) Associate Dean for Research

ASHLEY MILLER Contract & Grant Specialist

MICHELLE BATTLE Administrative Assistant

DR. TOMMY ANDERSON Interim Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs



ACADEMIC AFFAIRS: DR. NICOLE RADER Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

DR. TOMMY ANDERSON Interim Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs BARBARA STEWART Academic Coordinator TRACY BRITT Academic Coordinator HANNAH BATEMAN Admissions Coordinator KASONDRA HARRIS Academic Advisor KATE SAWAYA Administrative Assistant



ALISA SEMMES Administrative Assistant to the Dean

CAS scholars hit the road for life-changing learning experiences

Faculty Awards



Providing calm in the storm

KARYN BROWN Director of Communication


SARAH NICHOLAS Communication Specialist


TYLER POWELL Communication Graduate Assistant JOANNA BAUER Student Graphic Designer JULIA THOMPSON Student Graphic Designer KALI HICKS Communication Student Worker ANNA GALE ALEXANDER Communication Intern DEVELOPMENT & ALUMNI RELATIONS: SARA FREDERIC Director of Development NIKKI ROBINSON Advancement Coordinator



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





MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY ® distance.msstate.edu/arts

Mississippi State University is an equal opportunity institution. ArtsScncesMgznAd_Vision_O18MR3393.indd 1

Wednesday10/31/18 10:29 AM

Distance education program fulfills dreams, meets goals for MSU police officer By JoLee Clark

MSU police officer, Chantel Solis

What began as a dream of joining the military led Chantel Solis to Mississippi State University as a police officer. Now, she also is pursuing another goal of obtaining her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. Solis, 25, was born in California but moved to Mississippi as a 6-year-old. She fondly calls the move as “a summer trip that never ended.” In high school, she joined the JROTC and achieved the rank of second lieutenant, enjoying the program so much that she hoped to pursue a military career. However, as a high school junior, she underwent heart surgery, which ended her chances of enlisting. At the urging of her mother, an assistant jail administrator for the Oktibbeha County Sheriff ’s Office, Solis took part in the Explorers Academy offered by the Sheriff ’s Office to learn about law enforcement careers. The experience led Solis to a voluntary oneweek stint at the Southeastern Law Enforcement Explorer Academy in Gulfport, where she trained in various aspects of law enforcement, including vehicle stops, handcuffing techniques, radio procedures and more. The experience defined a new career path for her, and she found that law enforcement was a natural choice, given her desire to serve. “In the military, you serve and protect your country. In law enforcement, you serve and protect your community,” Solis said. At MSU, Solis now serves as a patrol officer and co-instructor for CPR and first aid, as well as an instructor for self-defense classes. She also volunteers as a co-instructor for the Rape Aggression Defense Systems training offered to the public at the Sanderson Center.

“I want to see females be more confident in themselves—for them to understand that they don’t need a man to defend them. They can do it themselves,” Solis said. Motivated by “being the change” in someone’s life, she enjoys opportunities to help educate students on campus. “Students, being on their own for the first time, they want to spread their wings and try new things,” Solis said. “Sometimes they aren’t aware of certain laws or make bad choices. I see it as an opportunity to help educate them about things to help them be safe and feel more secure.” Solis is working to finish her bachelor’s degree through MSU’s Center for Distance Education as she continues her role as a police officer. She said she chose the interdisciplinary studies degree program because of the transferrable hours she already had accumulated at an area community college. “It just helps for a person who is undecided to get that degree under your belt,” Solis said. Her studies include emphasis in the areas of criminology, sociology and general business. For her, criminology helped intertwine her firsthand knowledge with the academic side of law enforcement. Solis said sociology helps her better understand the reasons people do the things they do, such as why people commit crimes or become repeat offenders. Solis suggests the interdisciplinary studies program for anyone wanting to complete a bachelor’s degree. “I felt like the people I graduated high school with were passing me by. Soon, I too can say I have finished my undergraduate degree.”

A F R O T C C a d e t s Ka t y D a v i t a n d C o u r t n e y C o n w a y



R OTC CADETS SERVING United States and MSU By Anna Gale Alexander


ississippi State is one of the most militaryand veteran-friendly universities in the country, and the College of Arts and Sciences continues the university’s military tradition with a program that trains and equips undergraduate students to protect and serve the American people—the century-old Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC. In the early years of the university, then Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, each student was a participant in the Corp of Cadets, learning military tactics on the Drill Field. Although campus life has changed through the years, MSU offers both U.S. Army and Air Force ROTC programs, led by qualified military officers, providing rigorous training and meaningful service opportunities with exceptional educational courses, such as those in the aerospace studies program.

“MSU’s AFROTC program develops future leaders through a series of training events, field exercises and other milestones to ensure our members are prepared for military service to our country.” - Lt. Col. Joseph J. Cassidy II COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES | VISION SPRING/SUMMER 2019


Ka t y D a v i t

Courtney Conway



Celebrating its 70th anniversary at MSU this year, AFROTC Detachment 425 is led by Lt. Col. Joseph J. Cassidy II, also an aerospace studies professor. He said the program prepares cadets for the rigors of military life. “MSU’s AFROTC program develops future leaders through a series of training events, field exercises and other milestones to ensure our members are prepared for military service to our country,” he said. The aerospace studies program is a vital component of the AFROTC curriculum, required of every cadet, but also available to civilian students who are not in the ROTC program. Senior AFROTC mathematics major and Oxford native Courtney Conway said these classes cover broad information, as well as specific details about life as an active duty member of the Air Force. “For freshmen and sophomores, the courses consist of aerospace history that explores the early stages of flight, air power during WWI, and eventually the Air Force’s role during WWII, in Vietnam and the Cold War,” said Conway, who this year received the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s Maj. Gen. Robert Sadler Award. “For juniors and seniors,

the courses shift focus to leadership and management within the Air Force, and educate students on many programs and policies within the Air Force in preparation for active duty.” Senior AFROTC political science major Katy Davit is from a military family and claims numerous U.S. cities as her hometown. She said the aerospace studies program taught her a great deal about military basics and Air Force life. Davit said the program teaches students more than U.S. Air Force history, structure and duties, but also “helps us figure out our leadership style.” AFROTC students take aerospace studies classes along with courses pertaining to their individual majors. In addition to academic study, cadet life at MSU also includes physical and service-oriented training. Conway and Davit enjoy the challenge of balancing ROTC classes and training activities with their individual academic pursuits. “We have physical training at 6 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and we have leadership laboratory for two hours on Friday afternoons,” Conway said. “In addition to these mandatory events, we often host voluntary functions to assist cadets in their schoolwork and professional development.”

Many cadets serve through ROTC-related extracurricular activities, such as branch specific drill teams, honor societies and color guards. These often are done on a volunteer basis and showcase the skill and precision of cadet training. Cadets frequently participate in various service projects on campus and in the community, partnering with organizations including other ROTC programs across the country, as well as animal shelters and community centers. “Every year, we host a ‘24-Hour Service Relay’ that invites the Starkville community to run in honor of military and first-responders’ service to our country, as well as spread POW/MIA awareness. Continuously for the entire 24-hour period, there is at least one person running the relay to demonstrate the 24-hour commitment that men and women make every day,” Conway said, noting this service project directly supports the U.S. military. The presence of MSU’s ROTC program gives those who tread the Starkville campus a glimpse into the university’s military heritage, creating a sense of patriotism and pride as cadets and officers strive daily to live out the College of Arts and Sciences’ motto, “Learning Through Discovery.”







wo faculty members at Mississippi State are using their research backgrounds to shine light on women of the past and present, paving the way for the next generation of female leaders to create a new narrative on “a woman’s place.” Rachel Allison and Alexandra “Alex” Finley, assistant professors of sociology and history, respectively, have spent the last few years researching topics related to women’s roles in society for their dissertations. Each received prestigious prizes for their work and both have parlayed their research into book manuscripts. Their books reveal not only how society has shaped women, but also how they are breaking free from constraints of the past and altering the trajectory of female roles in the future.

Ra c h e l A l l i s o n

Allison’s book “Kicking Center: Gender and the Selling of Women’s Professional Soccer,” published by Rutgers University Press in 2018, examines the challenges and opportunities for a women’s soccer league breaking into the male-dominated center of U.S. professional sport. “I feel incredibly proud of this book, which took eight years to go from idea to finished product,” Allison said. A native of Walcott, Iowa, Allison received her Ph.D. and master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College. In 2018, her book received the Early Career Gender Scholar Award from Sociologists for Women in Society–South, an honor presented to a junior researcher

who has authored groundbreaking work advancing the scholarship of gender. “My research helps us appreciate both how far women have come in some ways and how far they have to go in others,” Allison said. “It sheds light on what is really a half-changed landscape for women, characterized by new opportunities and expanded definitions of femininity and womanhood, but also continuing ideologies and practices that disadvantage women and generate gender inequality. We can’t challenge and change gender inequality unless we understand how it is created, and I hope that my book is a step in that direction.” Allison said it is important to research women’s status in society because women

historically have been marginalized and their capabilities and accomplishments made less visible and valued than men’s. “It is particularly important to study women in sport because sport is constructed as one of the most ‘masculine’ of our social institutions. Women’s participation and excellence in sport challenges the idea that sport is somehow for men, and the processes of change that take place in sport can reverberate into other areas of social life,” Allison said. “In my book, I fundamentally challenge the idea that people are uninterested in women’s sports due to the supposedly lesser nature of women’s athletic abilities compared to men’s,” Allison said. “I call this the ‘ideology of interest,’ and show how



no part of its argument is true: women’s play is not less exciting or competitive than men’s, and there are many people deeply invested in women’s sports. This argument tears down what is a frequent narrative in professional sport that limits recognition of women players and fans and opens up the space for new narratives.” A soccer player herself since a young age, Allison remembers a turning point for women in sports – the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team team winning the 1999 Women’s World Cup. That success led to the formation of the first women’s professional league in the U.S., the Women’s United Soccer Association, which began in 2000, but floundered and ended in 2003. “When I heard that a new women’s pro league was returning in 2009, I also happened to be a graduate student looking for a dissertation topic,” Allison said. “I thought

that the question of how this league would be marketed, and to whom, was fascinating given the history of both success and failure in women’s soccer.” The U.S. women won the first ever Women’s World Cup in 1991, but almost no one in the U.S. knew about it, Allison said. “This couldn’t be more different than after the team’s win in the 2015 Women’s World Cup,” Allison said. “That team was the first women’s team to have a ticker tape parade in their honor through New York City.” Allison said young girls need to know the world they encounter is in many ways different and improved compared to the world their parents and grandparents faced, but that the work of expanding rights, opportunities and resources for women is unfinished. “Their task is to take up this effort together and in ways that recognize that some girls

and women already have more of these things than others. In soccer, for instance, it is primarily white girls from affluent families who are able to participate in the private club teams that get talented players in front of college scouts and coaches. Part of the work of equality in sport is expanding access along the lines of race and social class.” While her current book investigates how women’s pro soccer has been sold and marketed – and to whom – Allison said a next logical step for her is to understand how marketing efforts are received and interpreted, and how they shape the expression of fandom. Allison now has a new $15,000 FIFA award to travel to France this summer for the Women’s World Cup to study the atmosphere and community of women’s soccer fans.

Press, Finley’s manuscript has an anticipated publication date of 2020. A native of Belpre, Ohio, Finley received her Ph.D. and her master’s degree from the College of William & Mary and her

bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University. Finley’s dissertation, “Blood Money: Sex, Family, and Finance in the Antebellum Slave Trade,” received the 2018 Lerner-Scott Prize

Al exa n d ra Fi n l ey

Finley’s upcoming book examines the economic contributions of enslaved and free women’s domestic and reproductive labor from 1820 to 1865. Under contract with the University of North Carolina 7


for the best doctoral dissertation on U.S. women’s history from the Organization of American Historians. “I am particularly interested in the experiences of enslaved women and the economic significance of their labor,” Finley said. Her dissertation argued that women’s coerced, waged and unpaid household work, including sewing, washing, cooking, cleaning and nursing, formed the foundation upon which the rest of the antebellum Southern economy functioned. “Broadly speaking, I think that society today continues to undervalue women’s labor, both in the workplace and in the home,” Finley said. “Writers in the 19th century often celebrated a woman’s role in the household without acknowledging that housework was just that – work. Women still perform a disproportionate amount of housework, from cooking and cleaning to childcare.” Finley’s research also suggests that women usually perform the crucial emotional labor of the home, such as caring for a family member’s emotional well-being, sometimes to the detriment of their own, and that on average women are still paid less than men in the workplace. Researching women’s roles in history helps to “denaturalize” women’s roles in society, Finley said. “We often see ‘being a woman’ as a product of nature that has been constant over time, and we forget that ideas about womanhood have changed over time. The colonial ‘goodwife,’ for instance, lived under very different expectations than the Victorian wife and mother. Looking at how society’s expectations of women have shifted, and how society applied different standards to women according to race and class, helps us see how gender roles are a product of socialization, not biology.” Finley said the vast majority of wageearning women in the 19th century worked in some form of domestic labor, which she describes as some of the lowest

paying and least regulated work. In slaveholding states, Finley said enslaved women performed most of society’s crucial domestic labor. “This was difficult and skilled labor that often required intergenerational training,” Finley said. “Enslaved cooks, for instance, usually worked without recipes, remembering the ingredients for

have always played a crucial role in economic development. That role has often been devalued or dismissed, even in modern economic calculations. My study is one way of illuminating the importance of women’s work in the marketplace and the home, and I hope it will help readers consider other ways in which domestic labor is important. I also hope it illustrates

“I hope that I am showing that women have always played a crucial role in economic development. That role has often been devalued or dismissed...” - Al exa n d ra Fi n l ey

hundreds of meals that they later passed on verbally to their children.” “Domestic workers today, most of whom are women, particularly women of color, are not included in many of the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act, including minimum wage, overtime and sick leave,” Finley said. “I encourage everyone to look into the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which addresses many of the struggles domestic laborers continue to face today.” Finley’s message to the younger generation is to “never forget that achieving and maintaining equality is a constant struggle. In our daily lives, it’s easy to take things women have today for granted— even simple things, such as the ability to wear pants, play sports or attend college. But each of those issues, and many other rights we have today, were at one time major points of contention and social struggle. Women have to remain vigilant to maintain our current rights, as well to continue to push for more,” she said. “I hope that I am showing that women

that domestic work is not women’s ‘natural’ role but a skill that is learned over time. As such, it can be distributed more equitably within the family.” Finley said she has always been drawn to the human side of history and the millions of individual biographies that collectively created the present. “I think there is incredible value in uncovering the stories of people traditionally overlooked in the historical narrative, especially enslaved people and women,” Finley said. Finley’s focus as a historian of slavery, race and gender in the 19th-century South continues as she plans further explorations of the importance of domestic labor to capitalist development. “While researching for my dissertation, I found a lot of fascinating information from census records and court cases about women who ran boarding houses, worked as laundresses, served as maids and so on. Not all of their stories could make it into this manuscript, but they are the inspiration and foundation of my second project.” COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES | VISION SPRING/SUMMER 2019




L a u r a J e a n Ke r r , Ke c i a J o h n s o n , a n d Ke n y a C i s t r u n k

INSECURITY By Sarah Nicholas


Leslie Hossfeld with her group of local volunteers from t h e B o l i v a r C o u n t y G o o d Fo o d Re v o l u t i o n

inding food in the pantry is not difficult for a majority of Mississippians, yet for 22 percent of the state’s citizens, the cupboard is bare. Well above the national average of 14 percent, Mississippi’s rate of food insecurity is the highest in the nation. As defined by the USDA, food security is “access by all people at all times to have enough food for an active, healthy life.” On the flipside, food insecurity is “a lack of access to enough food to be healthy and active,” and indicates homes with disrupted eating patterns. What happens when people are hungry and there is no available food or chance of finding nourishment any time soon? Current studies by MSU faculty show food-insecure individuals have higher health care



costs, greater likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, increased rates of mortality, higher blood pressure and many other health concerns. Several faculty in MSU’s Department of Sociology within the College of Arts and Sciences have research backgrounds in poverty-related issues, which bring the devastating effects of poverty in focus. Awareness and a desire to help solve the hunger problem led the department to form the Mississippi Food Insecurity Project, launched in 2015 to document and examine food access and insecurity within the state. Assistant Professors Kenya Cistrunk and Kecia Johnson, both co-directors and co-principal investigators of the MFIP, provide leadership as the MSU team researches issues and provides solutions for the urgent needs of many Mississippians. Cistrunk, a licensed master social worker, said she has seen firsthand throughout her career the effects of poverty and how individuals and families struggle to make ends meet. “As a researcher, my hope is to make life better for this segment of the population, those living in the margins of our society,” Cistrunk said. “Food security research allows me to unpack the issues facing citizens who do not have access to healthy, affordable food options throughout our state.” Cistrunk said MSU President Mark E. Keenum’s appointment by President Donald J. Trump as chairman of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, or BIFAD, indicates Keenum “is working at a high level to address food insecurity from a global perspective. His appointment allows us [at MSU] a space at the table.” Cistrunk also pointed to MSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, where research is “focusing on how to address the needs of everyone, production, and all of the quality issues.” “We are focused on community engagement – how do we get people engaged and mobilized to creatively and systematically address their issues?” Cistrunk said of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Our goal is not to fix, but to find sustainable ways to address the problem so when we are gone [the communities we help] continue to thrive.” Laura Jean Kerr, a sociology doctoral candidate deeply invested in the MFIP, said building relationships is key to this work. “Our goal is to partner with whoever is there but not take it over,” Kerr said. “Many times, partnering organizations simply need an evaluation to secure funding. That’s our role – community engagement and research and evaluation.”

The MFIP’s inaugural research project was interviewing food pantry providers and volunteers to determine their needs. Johnson said, “That research led us to write a paper about how we, MFIP, can help – getting the lay of the land and conveying what food pantry volunteers need to serve their patrons. It was our first introduction to what is going on in the state.” Cistrunk said stakeholders “on the ground” are critical to the success of the MFIP. With the Mississippi Food Network already entrenched in food insecure areas of the state, the MFIP is able to partner with and provide support to groups already invested in communities, including groups like the Delta Fresh Foods Initiative and Bolivar County Good Food Revolution, a partnership secured through Leslie Hossfeld, MFIP founder and former MSU sociology department head. The MFIP works with local volunteers, training and equipping them for the tasks needed to help their communities. “We trained 23 older youth to go out in three towns in north Bolivar County – Mound Bayou, Shelby and Winstonville,” Kerr said. “The youth went out and talked with community members, asking about access to food and what they were hoping for.” Johnson explained the locals felt more comfortable talking with volunteers from their own community rather than strangers, which supported project goals of determining how best to support local food providers in those areas. “We trained the youth in the area to conduct the interviews and act as our ambassadors, but they also were escorted around the community by other community volunteers, which helped provide a sense of comfort when talking with different households about their food struggles,” Johnson said. “The community developing their solution for their residents based on what they want is our goal.” The Bolivar County Good Food Revolution works with local farmers, getting locally grown food included in a mobile market that accepts SNAP – the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This coordination with farmers to provide locally grown food at SNAP-accessible venues is “an example of the community creating their solution for residents based upon the needs of the community,” Johnson said. The MFIP research also suggests a link between food insecurity and health problems because parents often forego medicine to purchase food for their children, Cistrunk said.



“In many cases, parents are sacrificing their food so their kids can eat,” she added. “Those parents are then at risk for health problems, especially if they have issues with diabetes and are sacrificing purchasing their insulin medicines to save money to buy food for their kids.” Kerr said that when people eat on a limited budget, “you see more foods that aren’t nutrient rich.” She said a “food dessert” is an area without access to a grocery store or fresh foods within one mile in an urban area and 10 miles for a rural area. In these areas, people tend to buy their food at quick markets, such as gas stations or a dollar store, where snack foods are available, but few fresh or healthy foods are sold. Such food items do not promote growth or support health,



Kerr said. Add underlying health issues, such as diabetes, to an inadequate diet, and health issues increase. “Typically, children who are living with food insecurity are more likely to be absent from school, exhibit emotional problems and behavioral problems, and are more at risk for depression or suicide,” Kerr said. She explained these factors place them at risk of dropping out of high school or higher education. “Every individual who is food insecure has trouble focusing.” Locally, sociology colleague Diego Thompson is the director of the Oktibbeha Food Policy Council, which meets monthly and partners with MSU Extension. The group also seeks to utilize locally grown foods to address food insecurity

“Typically, children who are living with food insecurity are more likely to be absent from school, exhibit emotional problems and behavioral problems, and are more at risk for depression or suicide.” - Laura Jean Kerr

in the area. “Partnering with MSU Extension was a way for the farmers to see they had something to work with,” Cistrunk said. “We are ready to map the food environment – a research-based chart showing areas of food insecurity – in Oktibbeha County because, again, when people have input they have buy-in. They believe they can make a difference here. It’s not just researchers in ivory towers, but people on the ground ready and able to help.” While the MFIP is actively addressing food insecurity in Mississippi, Cistrunk, Johnson and Kerr said volunteers across the state also can help ease the food burden for struggling families.

Kerr believes the power of one person’s ability to effect change should not be underestimated. “I believe that Mississippi is a lovely and hope-filled place,” Kerr said. “I don’t believe our ranking in terms of health, poverty and education are a good reflection of the people who live in our borders and I want to do what I can to support Mississippians – even perhaps change some of these numbers and rankings so other people can see the good in Mississippi, too.” Interested individuals also can contact the MSU Maroon Volunteer Center to find opportunities to help. For a list of food pantries, or to seek volunteer opportunities, visit www.mvc.msstate.edu. For more information concerning MFIP research, visit https://mfip.msstate.edu/.



Zierra Long, MSU Senior 13


Black Voices: Faith, Friends and Family


djusting to college life and finding a place to fit in can be a daunting task for incoming students, many of whom are living away from home for the first time. Mississippi State’s gospel group Black Voices has proved to be a pivotal organization in helping three College of Arts and Sciences students feel at home at the land-grant university. Students Destinee Ashford, Kia Caraway and Zierra Long each arrived at MSU alone, uncertain, and looking for a place to connect. Through Black Voices, the women have been able to combine their talents with their desire to find community. Founded in 1972, Black Voices unites students “interested in using their vocal, instrumental or dance talents for praising and worshiping God through contemporary gospel on the campus of

By Sarah Nicholas

MSU and in the surrounding communities,” said Joy Bradford, former program coordinator for MSU’s Holmes Cultural Diversity Center and 2018 Black Voices adviser. Originally organized in celebration of the university’s Black History Week, Black Voices had its start, in part, due to the melodies created in the 1970s in Critz Hall as founder Ronnie E. Dottory heard male students singing in the residence hall and decided to put their talent on display. After recruiting women to join, Dottory organized a twice weekly rehearsal schedule, which continues today. For Ashford, Caraway and Long, joining the rehearsals and using their singing talents to worship God seemed like a perfect way to get involved at MSU.



A friend’s invitation led Long, a Tupelo native and community college transfer student, to join the group she now describes as “family.” Long immediately felt as if the students in the choir “could relate to my love for singing and commitment to the Christian lifestyle I’m trying to live.” Prentiss native Kia Caraway echoed that a personal invitation also was key to her joining Black Voices and she likewise was drawn to the group’s Christian aspect. “I felt as though I was lying dormant,” Caraway explained, “and I desperately needed to use what God had given me. Not only that, but I wanted to be around other true, young worshipers and make new friends who share some of the same interests and goals.” She now serves as the group’s vice president. For Louisville native Destinee Ashford, auditioning for Black Voices was an easy choice. She had learned about the group during freshman orientation. “I love gospel choirs, and I’m so happy I made the decision to join Black Voices.” The “family feel” and the “growth as a whole to be better than our past selves in Christ” are Ashford’s favorite parts of Black Voices. Caraway was quick to add they “pray for others, push one another to do and be better, and we bond so that we build a family. We are so much more than our voices – we are lights in darkness, truly.” “I’m so thankful that God has placed wonderful people to lead us,” Ashford said. “We’ve grown spiritually, mentally and closer together. We pray for each other and we travel a lot together.” Long and Caraway both fondly remember a mistake that became a special memory. Black Voices had been booked to sing at a church in Alabama, but went to the wrong church. “When we got there,” Long said, “their coordinator said, ‘we aren’t expecting y’all but come fellowship with us anyway!’” Caraway remembers that night as “worship that was unexplainable.” “I believe that’s when I knew without a doubt that I was in the right place among the right people, and



although we were at the wrong church, God had us there at the right time. The worship was explosive,” Caraway said. Bradford said Black Voices is one of the only campus groups which “spends as much time or more working in the community than they do on campus.” “Black Voices participates in community sporting events such as the Kickin’ Out Cancer softball series, organizes fairs for the community, participates in prayer gatherings around Starkville and hosts movie nights,” she said. Caraway added, “We not only sing, but we get out into the community to spread the love of Jesus whether it is by helping others as we did this past semester for The Big Event, passing out encouraging notes to students during finals week on the Drill Field, or attending services at other churches.” The most important work Black Voices does is “setting a good example for others as far as letting God have his way in your life and being a light for others,” Ashford said. “We have the awesome responsibility to show people that it’s possible to love Jesus and still have fun while being around so much peer pressure,” Long added. Bradford said although the group members are primarily African American, the organization is open to any student who desires to audition. The main focus of the group since its origin has been bringing together any students who want to sing. Songs such as “Wade in the Water,” “Soon I Will be Done,” “Oh Happy Day,” “Born Again: Long Ago,” and “Why was the Docky Born” were shared in the first Black Voices concert in 1972 held in Lee Hall. The constant chord over the last 40-plus years of Black Voices has been the family aspect, which Long said she will miss when she graduates. “I will miss the love! Black Voices is my family. Think about it—I’m with these people every Monday and Thursday from six to nine o’clock and sometimes longer. That’s 77 times in a year and over 231 hours. I’m going to miss the chemistry and the respect we have for one another.”

Senior psychology major Zierra Long of Tupelo, daughter of JB and Zell Long, said she always wanted to be a famous singer. “Everyone in my entire family sings,” Long said. “I have always enjoyed singing. It’s been a part of my identity since I was able to talk. I still would love to become a famous singer, but I would like to utilize my degree once I graduate.”





Caraway of Prentiss, daughter of Roy and Irene Davis, said she always wanted to be a singer. “I still sing and plan to pursue that further, but I also want to pursue something that allows me to help people in a more hands-on way like a lawyer or an FBI agent or criminal investigator.”

Junior criminology major Destinee Ashford of Louisville, daughter of Patricia and Charles Ashford, said she





childhood, but wants to focus on detective work – in addition to singing – when she graduates.

Zierra Long, Kia Caraway and Destinee Ashford



Security in a cyber-world‌ possible? By Sarah Nicholas 17


In a technological world, cyberattacks have the capability of crippling almost every aspect of modern society. Mississippi State researchers in the College of Arts and Sciences are examining not only how attackers are maneuvering, but their motivations, among other factors.

Understanding the reasons why “At its core, cyber threat is a people problem, and without involvement of the social scientists and humanists, cybersecurity research is doomed to fail,” said Giselle Thibaudeau, associate dean for research in the College of Arts and Sciences. “MSU, and the College of Arts and Sciences in particular, have the expertise and resources to engage, impact and succeed in cybersecurity research if we embark from a broadly defined social science context,” Thibaudeau said. David May, an MSU professor of sociology, teaches “Understanding White Collar and Cyber Crime.” The course explains causes, consequences and policy gaps in the areas of corporate, government and cyber crime from both a sociological and criminological perspective. May said cybersecurity is best understood as “actions, policies and practices taken by individuals and organizations to protect personal data from unauthorized use.” “Generally, cybersecurity breaches almost always result from a human that wants unauthorized access to data and another human making a decision that opens the door for ‘Human 1’ to gain access to those data,” May said. “All the computer science knowledge in the world cannot prevent cybersecurity violations if the humans don’t do their part.” May said social scientists can help understand the motives for cybercrime and other unauthorized access and help develop prevention strategies based on research about the human mind and behaviors. He said a number of social science faculty also are involved in efforts to better understand open source data, cyber crime, and cybersecurity law and policy. “Each of these areas are fertile ground for research and policy development to contribute to efforts to promote cybersecurity,” May said.

Prevention While MSU social scientists research and teach about the reasons cyber-attacks happen, the university provides tangible ways to fight immediate threats, including computer security personnel who provide technical defense to active network and malware attacks. May encourages everyone to be cyber-aware. “Close programs when done, log off the internet when not using it, avoid social

media sites, and limit online financial transactions, particularly from wireless networks and smart phones. Change your passwords regularly, and make them hard to guess. The less cyber-presence an individual has, the less likely they are to be victimized,” May said. Allen Parrish, MSU associate vice president for research and professor of computer science and engineering, said training is emphasized throughout campus so that MSU personnel can follow good “cyber hygiene” and “avoid things that may inadvertently introduce vulnerabilities.” Cybersecurity is an “important area where MSU can be of service to the community, state and nation,” Parrish said. He said MSU’s world-class faculty in the social sciences, humanities, business, engineering and agriculture provide meaningful expertise. “These faculty are engaged in a variety of projects that touch cybersecurity in areas such as deception, criminal justice data analytics, network security, security of autonomous vehicle systems and many others,” Parrish said. MSU hosts an annual “cybersecurity awareness week” in October with seminars on combating cyber-attacks and information about how to avoid becoming a victim. Featured speakers in 2018 included Commander Tracy Emmersen, chair of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Department of Cyber Science, who gave a seminar about her institution’s cybersecurity program. MSU’s Office of Research and Economic Development hosted “The Evolving State of Campus Cyber Security—Everyone is a Target!” The panel discussion highlighted areas of concern and defense. Tom Ritter, MSU senior security and compliance officer in the Office of Information Technology, spoke about the university’s strongest defense against cyber-attacks – Duo 2 authentication factor. “Duo 2 has greatly increased the security at MSU,” Ritter said. “It requires people to have two things – a password only they know and their cellphone. This greatly reduces the risk of ‘bad guys’ breaking in.” While MSU employees have been using Duo 2 for two years, the university now is requiring the added security measure for everyone on campus. Although Duo 2 has significantly increased cybersecurity on campus, Parrish said MSU is subject to cyber-attacks because “every large computing enterprise” is a target. However, he stressed that individuals are the first line of defense against any attack. “People need to practice good habits with regard to passwords, storage of confidential data and other digital practices,” Parrish said.





(From left to right) Rodgrick Anderson, Danita Willis and Bree Vaughn at the Justice Complex on the Choctaw Indian Reser vation in Philadelphia, Mississippi. (Photo by Lisa Sollie)

A common bond:

MSU-Meridian criminology students aim to serve others By Lisa Sollie


hree Mississippi State–Meridian students with a common heritage as members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians also share a bond in their desire to serve others. Rodgrick Anderson and Danita C. Willis, who each earned a criminology degree at Mississippi State’s Meridian campus in 2012 and 2015 respectively, want to help their fellow Native Americans touched by alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Breanna “Bree” Vaughn, who is currently a criminology major at the university, is interested in learning “why people do what they do.” All three are passionate about encouraging younger tribal members to use education as a way to better themselves and to make better life choices.



A father of three, 30-year-old Anderson joined the military after high school graduation and is a member of the Mississippi Air National Guard 186th Air Refueling Wing unit based in Meridian. A police officer for four years on the Pearl River reservation, he began working with Wildlife and Fisheries in September of 2014 and is now a sergeant with the agency. Willis, also 30 years old, recently began working as a new youth probation officer for the Choctaw Justice Court system after serving as a process server for more than five years. The mother of four, she grew up on the Bogue Chitto reservation in one of eight communities where approximately 10,000 members of the tribe live. At 24 years of age and the youngest of the student group, Vaughn not only balances school work and a full-time job, but she is also a member of the 185th Aviation Brigade, Company B, 1-111th Aviation Army National Guard unit in Meridian.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE Anderson always knew he wanted to enter law enforcement, but had no idea the winding journey he would take. After returning home from basic training, he became a case worker for Children and Family Services on the Neshoba County reservation. He also graduated from East Central Community College and applied to the tribal police department, but was not selected. Then, upon his return from deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Anderson was accepted into the tribal police department and began training at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Academy. After graduating from the academy and working as an officer for the Choctaw tribe, he began thinking about going back to college. He felt earning a bachelor’s degree would help him in his career, in the military and in life. When he learned from his wife that



MSU-Meridian offered a criminology degree, he immediately enrolled in the university knowing he could still work and commute from home. “I watched my wife work full time and earn her degree while our first two children were young,” said Anderson, “so I knew she would be supportive and understanding when I went back.” Anderson acknowledges his mother also played an important role in his decision to go back to school. Like many young people growing up on the reservation, his family was touched by domestic violence and alcohol abuse – two social issues he called “troubling” among some in the Choctaw nation. “It wasn’t easy for my mom with my dad out of the picture,” said Anderson. “She was very young when she had my brother and me, so she worked full time to support us and also put herself through nursing school. I admire how much she accomplished. Looking back, I know it wasn’t easy.” Raised primarily by his grandparents while his mother worked and went to school, Anderson said he especially looked up to his grandfather. “He really was my role model and the one who taught me to be a man,” he said. Knowing firsthand the effects of alcohol and domestic violence in the home, and being inspired by his grandfather and some uncles who stepped in along the way, Anderson said he became determined not to make the same mistakes in his own life. “I really think it was the issues I saw around me growing up that led me into the law enforcement field,” he said. “I feel I can make a difference, first and foremost with my own children, and ultimately with others around the reservation.”

RISE ABOVE For Willis, part of her job as a youth probation officer on the Pearl River reservation means understanding the struggles of young people she deals with each day.

“I can relate because I’ve been in their shoes,” she said. “I know where many of them are coming from, and I want to use my experiences and where I am now to encourage them to rise above the challenges they face.” Raised in a broken home amid alcohol abuse, Willis said she sought counseling to help her cope with the difficulties she faced as a young person, but at 18 and fresh out of high school, she left home to venture out on her own. Although uncertain of what she wanted to do with her life, she knew she wanted to go to college. “My grandma was one of the few in my family to encourage me,” said Willis. “Before she passed away in 2010, our conversations were always about God and school. One statement she made always stuck with me: ‘with changes to come in the future, a college degree will help you succeed in life.’” After her graduation from Meridian Community College, she continued working as a valet at Pearl River Resort, uninterested in furthering her education until she decided on a career field. With the birth of her son a year later, Willis started a second job, private process serving, to earn more money. Then, in the spring of 2012, she began working as a process server for the tribal court. After a year of learning about the different court systems, Willis said she knew it was time to finish her degree. “I thought about studying criminal justice like my cousin Moses Earl Thompson Sr., who was like a brother to me,” said Willis. “He became a police officer with the Choctaw Police Department, but passed away in 2011.” Willis instead found MSU-Meridian’s criminology degree program, and she decided to enroll because the campus was nearby and she could commute. The first in her immediate family to earn a bachelor’s degree, Willis fulfilled her promise to her grandmother, but she’s not stopping there. Recently promoted to youth probation officer for the Choctaw Justice Court system, she hopes to honor her late cousin in her new position.

“I like being able to give back to my community and help the future generation understand that they don’t have to let their past or even their present define them,” said Willis. “They can defeat the odds. I’m living proof.”

LEGACY OF SERVICE Vaughn’s interest in the field of criminal justice began as a child when her mother was the first woman appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court for the Choctaw tribe. Her childhood helped instill in her a strong sense of justice and even patriotism, but like many young people, Vaughn didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do after high school. “I joined the military first,” she said, “to fight for my country and to test how mentally and physically strong I was. I also needed direction, and the military provided that for me.” Her mother, who is an alumna of Mississippi State, also encouraged her daughter to go to college and earn a degree while she was young and unencumbered. “I can remember going on trips when I was young, and mom would often bring her work along,” said Vaughn. “At the time I didn’t understand she was doing school work and trying to juggle that along with work and a family.” As she continues her studies at MSU-Meridian, Vaughn is exploring career opportunities as either an appeal probation officer or background investigator. No matter what pathway she ultimately pursues, Vaughn desires to not only follow in her mother’s footsteps, but to learn from Anderson’s and Willis’ example of serving and giving back to the Choctaw community. For more information about criminology or any undergraduate or graduate degree programs at MSU-Meridian, visit www.meridian.msstate.edu. MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.



Mississippi State to shelter Phi Beta Kappa chapter


The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society, has awarded a chapter to Mississippi State University after a rigorous, multi-year review. Only 10 percent of U.S. colleges and universities shelter PBK chapters. Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is reserved for the best and brightest undergraduates majoring in the arts and sciences. They are chosen through a highly selective and meritbased invitation process. Since 2007, the application effort has been led by College of Arts and Sciences faculty member Robert West, a professor in the English department. He was inducted into the honor society as an undergraduate at Wake Forest University. The university’s first application was submitted in 1979 by Morris “Bill” Collins, the founding director of the Stennis Institute of Government. Nancy Hargrove, now a Giles Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, led the 1982 submission. Leslie Bauman, now professor emerita in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, led application initiatives in 1985, 1988, 2000 and 2003. West said his predecessors in seeking a PBK chapter remained supportive of his efforts for the past decade and encouraged him in his quest. “I think they and I – and pretty much all the Phi Beta Kappa members on the faculty – thought that our best students are as bright and hardworking as the best at other colleges or universities, and we thought they deserved the chance to be inducted into PBK.” West said he remained “cautiously optimistic” that MSU would secure the rights to shelter a PBK chapter during his most recent bid. “PBK’s committee on qualifications had responded to our previous application with the news that we wouldn’t go any further that cycle, but also with a remarkable degree of encouragement about the next cycle. So we applied again and received nothing but happy news at every stage of the process.”


The vote to grant Mississippi State a chapter came on August 3 during proceedings of PBK’s 45th Triennial Council in Boston. MSU President Mark E. Keenum and Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner joined West in Boston for the Triennial Council, along with Rick Travis, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Christopher Snyder, dean of the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College; and Molly Zuckerman, an associate professor of anthropology and PBK faculty representative. Charters are granted to PBK members of the faculty, not the university itself. For the chapter to be maintained, members should comprise at least 10 percent of the full-time arts and sciences teaching faculty. For decades Mississippi State’s top students have competed successfully for distinguished scholarships and fellowships. Recent examples from the past few years include Rhodes Scholar Field Brown of Vicksburg and two additional Rhodes finalists; Gates Cambridge Scholar Lucas Ferguson of Batesville; four Goldwater Scholars, including 2018 winner Nic Ezzell of Laurel, and five Goldwater honorable mentions; Boren Scholar Donielle Allen of McCalla, Alabama, and Truman Scholars Alicia Brown of Petal, Jamie Aron and Natalie Jones, both of Flowood; and several Fulbright recipients. Founded at the College of William and Mary in 1776, PBK members include 17 U.S. presidents, 40 justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and more than 140 winners of the Nobel Prize. Learn more about The Phi Beta Kappa Society at www.pbk.org. Additionally, Mississippi State has created a $1 million endowment to support the university’s new PBK chapter. For additional information about the Phi Beta Kappa Endowment, please contact Vice President for Development and Alumni John Rush at 662-325-9306 or john.rush@msstate.edu.

MSU psychology faculty provide critical mental health services for MSU, Starkville community By Sarah Nicholas

Faculty members in Mississippi State’s Department of Psychology are putting their skills into action—working to provide mental health services for the MSU and Starkville communities through their research, labs and the MSU Psychology Clinic.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates one in five Americans experience some type of mental health concern annually. Department of Psychology faculty address suicide, bullying, depression and many other areas of mental health concerns.

M S U P SY C H O L O G Y C L I N I C Mitchell Berman, professor and head of the psychology department, points to the MSU Psychology Clinic as one way his department is leading the charge in increasing mental health services in the area. “The MSU Psychology Clinic serves as a training site for students in our American Psychological Associationaccredited clinical psychology doctoral program,” Berman

said. He noted that the clinic provides an important outreach service for the university and Golden Triangle Community through delivery of scientifically based assessment and treatment services. He said the South traditionally has been underserved by mental-health care providers. Emily Stafford, clinic director and clinical assistant professor, said the university’s focus on serving the local



community is one of her favorite aspects of the land-grant institution. Stafford said the clinic provides both the campus and surrounding area with a variety of services, including individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, couple’s therapy and assessment services. Clinic services are supervised or delivered by MSU psychology faculty—all licensed professionals. “We also offer a sleep behavioral medicine specialty clinic, a mindfulness meditation group, and just started a pain management group. We see individuals from all walks of life and want the community to know the MSU Psychology Clinic is here as a resource,” Stafford said. “Every person can benefit from being mindful of

mental health and practicing coping skills to help with the daily challenges of life.” Stafford said one issue to be aware of is society’s constant access to information. While convenient, bombardment of particular messages can cause issues. “For example, if a person is the survivor of trauma and the news is filled with stories of trauma running on a 24-hour loop, that person might feel a heightened level of distress when watching the news at the end of the day,” Stafford said. “We want people to reach out to their support systems and ensure their mental health is being cared for and considered.”

SUICIDE Part of protecting an individual’s mental health includes providing resources, according to associate professor Michael Nadorff, who leads the clinical psychology doctoral program at MSU. “We are starting to investigate the impact of treating sleep disturbances on suicide risk, with our research demonstrating that suicidal thoughts may be improved through treating nightmares,” Nadorff said. “These findings help clinicians with two of our most difficult tasks, which are suicide risk assessments and suicide treatment.” Nadorff said suicide is one of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., and has increased every year for the last 12 years. Data released for the year 2017 shows the U.S. is up to 47,173 suicides per year, an increase of 2,000 from the previous year. “Not only is this a huge loss, but suicide also robs from us our best and brightest,” Nadorff said. “We will never know what invention never happened, or business was never started, because we lost the visionary who would have led it. To me, the greatest danger is what each death

costs us. It takes away a valuable person—someone’s father, mother, child.” Suicide touches every race, and every socioeconomic status, according to Nadorff, and leaves behind 6.6 million people annually who are affected by suicide. Nadorff believes suicide is commonly a problemsolving issue—the individual has a problem but cannot find any solution other than suicide, even if the solution is apparent to someone else. Nadorff said if the MSU Psychology Clinic can help individuals by offering support through challenging times, “we can often save lives.” “Perhaps this is a simplistic way of looking at it, but what came to mind immediately for me is the impact of psychological problems on a family,” Nadorf said. “I think almost all of us have seen the scars from substance use, domestic violence, or depression and anxiety. It isn’t an individual problem; it becomes a family problem, and that impacts performance in multiple domains.”

B U L LY I N G Associate professor Colleen Sinclair said bullying is another issue impacting society. While traditional forms of bullying have been on the decline, cyberbullying has been on the rise over the past 10 years, Sinclair said. Attributing the rise to greater technological



advancements and accessibility, Sinclair said a particularly active field is online identity-based bullying. “People are attacked because of the groups to which they belong—racial, political, religious, sociodemographic,” Sinclair said. “The problem there is that identity-

based bullying is most likely to lead to self-harm such as suicide. Intergroup bullying—bullying by members of one identity group against another group—is most likely to lead to aggressive retaliation against entire classes of people.” Bullying is most common in middle school, but violence is more common among high school students, Sinclair said, noting it extends beyond schools and into workplaces. “Those who experience bullying—particularly those for whom it is a chronic experience often starting

early—suffer lifelong consequences,” Sinclair said. The act of bullying provokes further aggression and violence, perpetuating an unhealthy cycle of interactions, she said. “By virtue of vicarious victimization, those who are a part of the same social networks as the victims are also affected—think of the parents of a child who commits suicide due to harassment. These are preventable deaths.” “Saving kids is saving our future,” Sinclair said.

DEPRESSION E. Samuel “Sam” Winer, associate professor and director of the Emotional Processes and Experimental Psychopathology Laboratory, is preparing research with implications for the treatment of individuals suffering from depression. “I have a theory of why some people become depressed, which I introduced with a graduate student, Taban Salem, now a postdoc at The Ohio State University,” Winer said. “My program of research helps evaluate what parts of this theory are right and should potentially be emphasized more in treatments, and what parts would benefit from being updated or changed.” Winer said the symptoms of depression interact, causing impairment that persists after what started that process of depression is gone. “For example, say you suffer a bad breakup with a partner who was a great source of support for you,” Winer said. “If you then find yourself losing interest in things you used to enjoy—known as anhedonia—that may in turn cause you to become hopeless, which in turn

makes it difficult for you to concentrate, which causes you to further lose interest, and this symptom loop feeds back upon itself. These feedback loops of symptoms then continue on after the bad breakup no longer is really affecting you, and thus you ‘have’ depression.” Winer noted that society is getting better at recognizing that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness, but there is still a long way to go. “It is a public health crisis. But there is hope. There are a number of psychological treatments that work for people in need, and increased technology brings the prospect of getting these treatments into the hands of those in remote areas who otherwise would have limited access,” Winer said. Ongoing research like the work Winer conducts in his lab gives mental health professionals a better sense of how to best conceptualize depression for different individuals, and in turn, how to create treatments personalized and tailored to help each person.

SEEKING HELP For individuals suffering with mental health issues, MSU’s Department of Psychology encourages community members to seek help. To initiate services at the MSU Psychology Clinic, call 662-325-0270. The clinic is staffed by second year doctoral graduate students within the American Psychological Accredited Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at MSU who are supervised by licensed

psychologists and a licensed professional counselor. Additional services also are offered through MSU’s Student Counseling Services, located in Hathorn Hall. A number of other campus offices are geared toward helping individuals with various needs, including Health Promotion and Wellness, Collegiate Recovery Community, and the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic.





McDavid’s MSU career leaves lasting legacy By Sarah Nicholas


or Starkville native Frances McDavid, joining the faculty at Mississippi State was not an original part of her career plan. A journalist working with local newspapers for 10 years in the 1970s and ’80s, McDavid didn’t see herself veering off that course. But an unexpected conversation led her to return to her alma mater, where she would spend the next 30 years training future journalists and securing a spot as an MSU legend. “I never planned to teach, but the opportunity presented itself when the main journalism instructor in the Department of Communication took a job elsewhere,” McDavid said. “He told me I should talk with the department head about teaching journalism classes.” In 1988, then-head of the communication department Sid Hill offered McDavid a one-year contract, something she viewed as a “break from the extremely long and unpredictable hours as a working journalist.” What started as a temporary position evolved into a lifechanging career for her and a great educational opportunity for her many students. Beginning her career as a college instructor was a daunting task, McDavid said. “At first, I was overwhelmed with preparing lectures and grading papers.” But after the first semester, McDavid discovered her students responded well to her style and she enjoyed teaching. She soon accepted a permanent position. Known for insistence that her students attend city council meetings as part of their newswriting assignments,



McDavid said she felt these experiences were valuable for them. “I realized early in my career that many of my students would not spend their full careers in journalism, but I thought the experience they gained from seeing how government works would be beneficial as they navigated life beyond school,” she said. “I’m a big promoter of civic engagement and responsibility, and those meetings served as a good entry point for discussions about that.” McDavid said one of the keys to her successful career was enjoying the “environment that promotes independent thought and allows faculty members the freedom to manage courses as they deem appropriate to fulfill the goals of courses.” “By its nature, the field of communication attracts collegial faculty members,” McDavid said. “In addition to working with students, I also loved working with colleagues to achieve common goals that would lead to student success.” “My best memories from teaching come from the relationships I developed with students, especially those who stopped by my office for help with stories they were working on,” she said. “I always enjoyed the one-on-one opportunities, and I was rewarded when students made the extra effort to succeed.” McDavid later transitioned into a natural role for the career journalist – faculty adviser for the student newspaper, The Reflector. She would hold that position until her retirement last year. Former student Tyler Stewart, Reflector editor-inchief from 2006-2008, said McDavid was the most important mentor in his life and career. “Without her, I don’t know where I’d be,” the Memphis native said, crediting McDavid for his success. Stewart lives in New York where he works as director of digital strategy for Galvanized Media. “She didn’t simply encourage me to do my best, she helped me understand what my best was,” Stewart said. “She unlocked my confidence, assuaged my doubts when I wasn’t sure how to handle a situation, and encouraged my passion to apply the ideals of truth-telling and ethics in journalism to our college publication. She was the best adviser and mentor I could ever ask for.” He said that as an instructor in the Department of Communication, McDavid was beloved. “She was a master of ethics and newswriting, was a brilliant educator, and always had her door open for you,”



Stewart said. He explained that as adviser of The Reflector, McDavid was a trusted confidant and mentor. “When it was all said and done, she was our friend. Frances will always be high in my mind as I progress through my career and my life, and I know that I shouldn’t speak for other people, but there is no question that every past Reflector staffer feels the same way.” Two decades as adviser for MSU’s campus newspaper left deep impressions on McDavid as well. “The Reflector will always remain special to me because it gave me my family,” McDavid said, explaining she and her husband Sammy started dating two years after they met as college journalists working for the same student newspaper. Under McDavid’s keen eye, The Reflector staffs over the years have been recognized regularly in state and regional contests for producing high quality publications. “I am proud of the success of the staffs and have enjoyed the comradery that develops among them each year,” McDavid said. “I loved helping them navigate challenges and solve problems as they developed critical thinking and decision-making skills.” McDavid said she always appreciated the university’s long-standing position that editors have complete control over all decisions about what to publish. “That is a tradition and policy that goes back decades,” she said. “Administrators have largely respected that, even when they disagreed with the editors’ decisions and were catching heat for choices made by the student staff.” Emmalyne Kwasny, current Reflector editor-in-chief, said when she first began her role and had to make difficult decisions, she realized that McDavid’s support was steadfast. “That was such a comfort to me,” Kwasny said. “I always knew she was on my side in all situations. I am so grateful for how she pushed me, but I am also so thankful for how she trusted me with so much.” Communication Department Head John Forde said McDavid’s journalism experience was a key factor in helping students learn the profession and land internships and jobs. “She spent a great deal of time mentoring students

in her role [at The Reflector],” Forde said, noting that McDavid worked very well with current students but also kept in touch with alumni. McDavid’s legacy within the communication department stems partially from her 30-year tenure on the scholarship committee. “She served as the chair of the scholarship committee for many years,” Forde said, “and I truly believe her relationships with many of our donors were key to enhancing our scholarship funds. As with everything she did, this was a passion for her, and she took it very seriously and was thorough.” McDavid said the committee awarded $35,000 or more each year to the department’s best students. “Seeing the quality of their achievements while at MSU has always been rewarding,” she said. McDavid’s MSU journey led her to one of the highest honors a faculty member can receive — the Robert E. Wolverton Legacy Award — which she accepted in spring 2018 before her retirement. Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Rick Travis said at the faculty awards ceremony, the “McDavid Standard” for journalism is one reason her legacy will continue at MSU into the future. “I got to know her in 2001 when I served on the Student Publications Committee. What I learned then — and since then — is that she brings unparalleled ethics, expectation and commitment to her students and to her craft,” Travis said. “A whole generation of journalists practice a commitment to speech, debate and discourse in an ethical fashion because of her influence,” he said. “In her time at MSU she has trained more than a generation of journalists both in the classroom and while serving as the faculty adviser for The Reflector. She understood that teaching entails letting students learn on their own, and sometimes this means learning from their own mistakes. It requires a great deal of patience and a deep understanding that a wise person is the opposite of a fool who rushes in to try and solve a problem,” Travis said. At the close of a three-decade career, McDavid said she will miss helping others “work through problems and challenges in classes, at work and elsewhere.” “I will miss hearing people’s stories on a daily basis. I’m a listener and will miss having so many opportunities to listen,” McDavid said.

McDavid is a 1975 graduate of Mississippi State with a bachelor’s degree in communication and a concentration in journalism. She earned a







administration in 1982, also from MSU. Throughout McDavid’s three decades at the university, she taught: Introduction to News Writing and Reporting; Advanced News Writing and Reporting; Feature Writing; Journalism Ethics; News Editing, Typography and Makeup. She is a member of the Mississippi Press Association, Journalists

the and

Society the



Professional Journalism

Conference. **A personal note from the writer:

I had

the privilege of having Mrs. McDavid for a newswriting class in the late 1990s. I will never forget many of the lessons she taught us in the basement room of McComas Hall. In fact, as I work with young writers today I pass on Mrs. McDavid’s lessons. Her legacy will continue long into the future as her lessons are passed from generation to generation.





At Mississippi State University, we are inspired to change the world. Providing education and opportunity to students from all 50 states and 80 countries, our diversity makes us stronger...better... more inspired. We are a place where the ideas of everyone are recognized and celebrated. And you can count on Mississippi State to build upon an already inclusive environment that is preparing students to live and work in a global and ever-changing world. M S S TAT E . E D U




ROBERT BANIK Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Joining a highly select group of role models and mentors for Mississippi State colleagues, College of Arts and Sciences faculty members Robert S. Banik and James C. “Jim” Giesen are recipients of the 2018 John Grisham Master Teacher Award. Banik is in his 11th year as an instructor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and Giesen is serving his 12th year as an associate professor in the Department of History. First presented in 1993, the Grisham Master Teacher honor is a


DR. JAMES GIESEN Department of History

tribute to classroom and instruction excellence named for the MSU alumnus and internationally recognized author who provided funds to endow the award. “The strengths of a great university are always in its people. I extend the thanks of the whole university to these faculty honorees for their outstanding contributions during the 2017-18 academic year,” said MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner at MSU’s annual faculty awards and recognition reception last spring.



Securing a New Narrative:

Understanding thePerspectives ofChildren andYouth

Social science research typically examines the thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and opinions of adults. While qualitative research with children and youth is not especially common, one Mississippi State University faculty member has made kids and their views the cornerstone of her research and new book. Margaret Hagerman, MSU assistant professor of sociology and faculty affiliate in both the African American Studies and Gender Studies programs, conducted research with 30 families with kids 33


By Kali Hicks

between the ages of 10-13 over a period of two years. Hagerman said her youth-centered research offers a different perspective on how the newest generation of young, affluent white people make sense of racism today—and how they will likely shape the future of racism in America. Her 280-page book, “White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America,” published by New York University Press in 2018, has garnered Hagerman a range of recognition in

national and international media outlets, including The Atlantic, LA Times, Time, Inside Higher Ed, NPR’s Marketplace and The Guardian. Through observations and in-depth interviews with affluent white children and their families, Hagerman documented how kids made sense of racism, inequality and privilege in their everyday lives. She also learned what they thought about topics like unequal educational opportunities and police violence. Based on this qualitative research, Hagerman’s book provides a detailed examination of the role that white children and families play in the reproduction of racism and racial inequality in America. “In a racially unequal and racially divided society, I began to wonder how white families communicate about race,” Hagerman said. “What kinds of messages do kids growing up in white families receive from their parents about race? How does racial learning unfold in white families? What do white kids actually think about race and racism? And how does all of this connect to the perpetuation or challenging of racial inequality?” Hagerman’s passion for researching inequality and power in America can be traced back to the English and sociology courses she took in college. Before joining MSU’s faculty as an assistant professor in 2014, Hagerman earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in sociology from Lehigh University, as well as a Ph.D. in sociology from Emory University. “I am very passionate about trying to understand how racism is reproduced, reworked and resisted from one generation to the next,” Hagerman said. “I am also passionate about bringing the voices of young people to the forefront of social science research so that research is conducted with kids rather than on them.” While in graduate school, Hagerman began researching the topic of racial socialization, or how families communicate about race. “For important reasons, most of this research historically has focused on how parents of black children teach their kids strategies for navigating racism and discrimination in America.” This graduate school research led Hagerman to her specific area of scholarly interest. Hagerman said her interviews gave her insight into what members of the younger generation think about today’s complicated and unequal social world. She said although she wrote a scholarly book published by an academic press, she intentionally wrote to attract people from outside of the academic community to become interested in the research. Hagerman said she hopes her work provides “new answers about how young people develop their ideas

Margaret Hagerman

about race” while also offering “new ideas about how inequality is reproduced in the context of everyday life.” By thinking critically about the issues of race and class in America, Hagerman also hopes parents will be impacted through her book. “I hope the book will encourage parents of white children to think more carefully and critically about the messages they communicate to their kids about race and to maybe re-think some of the choices they make insofar as how they set up their children’s social environments,” Hagerman said. She strives to explain, “that white kids notice all kinds of racial dynamics whether their parents talk about race with them or not. This research illustrates how parents’ actions rather than just words shape their children’s racial views.” While a great deal of racial socialization research focuses on how parents report teaching their kids about race and racism, Hagerman adds the voices of children themselves. “My book offers a new narrative in that the voices of children are centered,” Hagerman said. “I think readers will gain insights into how young, affluent, white kids are producing ideas about race and racism with their friends, their siblings, at soccer practice, and in their everyday lives. In addition, I think that to truly understand how systems of inequality are produced and reproduced, it is necessary to conduct research with groups in positions of power and privilege.” COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES | VISION SPRING/SUMMER 2019


MSU’s Fitzkee garners $1.8 million NIH grant to study bacteria, surfaces and infections By Sarah Nicholas

Millions of people seek medical care at hospitals each year, but dangerous infectioncausing bacteria can lurk in hospital settings. Mississippi State faculty member Nicholas Fitzkee and a team of university researchers are looking for ways to minimize this concern for patients. Fitzkee, a structural biophysicist and associate professor in MSU’s Department of Chemistry, received a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2018 to study how bacterial proteins attach to surfaces and impact MSU chemistr y associate professor Nickolas Fitzkee

public health.



Appropriated over five years, Fitzkee’s NIH R01 grant—the original and oldest grant mechanism used by NIH—will help the MSU researcher and his colleagues learn how to better protect individuals from contracting bacterial diseases while in the hospital. Formally titled “The structure, orientation and competitive interactions of S. epidermidis biofilm proteins on surfaces,” Fitzkee’s research investigates how bacterial proteins interact with and attach to plastic and glass surfaces.

Fitzkee said hospital-associated infections are a major problem, claim thousands of lives and

and write the early papers,” Fitzkee added. Three





cost billions of dollars annually. He said patients

undergraduates currently are assisting with

who receive implanted medical devices may be


especially vulnerable.

spectroscopic, microscopic and biophysical

“Bacteria can coat the surfaces of these devices, forming biofilms, which is the root cause





investigation of proteins on nanoparticles. “I work with very talented people—students, faculty and staff alike—and the facilities at MSU

of many infections,” he explained. the

are top-notch,” Fitzkee said. “I’m pleased that

molecular forces involved in bacterial attachment

this funding helps contribute to our department’s

to surfaces will help scientists develop medical

forward momentum.”





implants that are more resistant to biofilm formation.

Recipients of an R01 grant compete with faculty from elite universities across the country

“This project lies at the intersection of

and are typically determined to be in the top 10

surface chemistry, molecular biophysics and

percent of their field. In addition to his NIH R01

nanotechnology,” Fitzkee said. “All three are very

grant, Fitzkee has received funding from several

exciting fields to be working in right now.”

other sources, including the National Science

After Fitzkee joined the MSU faculty in 2011,

Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate

his research group—collectively known as the

Competitive Research Section (EPSCoR) and the

Fitzkee Lab—began studying the relationship

Henry Family Foundation.

between protein dynamics and function.

“Dr. Fitzkee is making deep impressions

“This grant has elevated the Fitzkee Lab and

on the academic community that works at the

MSU’s Department of Chemistry to the very top

intersection of chemistry, biology and physics,”

levels of competition within this leading agency

said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Rick

for health science and medical research,” said

Travis. “He is clearly becoming one of the

Dennis Smith, chemistry department head and

university’s leading researchers, and his work

professor. “Dr. Fitzkee continues to set the bar

is helping to increase our national reputation.

in all areas.”

We are grateful for the level of diligence Dr.

Training is a huge part of the Fitzkee Lab’s work and something of great personal importance to Fitzkee himself.

Fitzkee invests in his work and his dedication to students,” Travis added. A native of York, Pennsylvania, Fitzkee

“One of the things I love about MSU is the

received his Ph.D. in biophysics in 2005

ability to be passionate about both research

from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore,

and mentoring,” he said. “This project will give

Maryland. He received his bachelor’s degree in

students an opportunity to use cutting-edge tools

computational physics in 2001 from Carnegie

to work on a very practical problem.”

Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“I am particularly grateful to the former Ph.D.

MSU’s Department of Chemistry was founded

and graduate students who already have worked

in 1878 and hosts the state’s oldest program

in the lab because this funding is really a testament

accredited by the American Chemical Society.

to those who helped collect the preliminary data



State climatologist Michael Brown with MSU students Madison Campbell (left) and Lauren Pounds (right) 37 VISION SPRING/SUMMER 2019 | COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES



Longtime Mississippi State University professor and meteorologist Michael Brown wears many hats – teacher, leader, guide – and most importantly, protector. Brown, a native of Sherrard, Illinois, and 20-year faculty member in the Department of Geosciences, also is Mississippi’s state climatologist, a role that comes with many responsibilities. “Some days, I am the state’s weatherman,” Brown said. “You might catch me helping farmers make decisions based on rainfall or drought trends, but at other times I am working with cities or counties in Mississippi who might need climate impact studies in order to better attract new businesses to their region of the state.” As the state climatologist, Brown serves Mississippi’s citizenry and its local and state governments, and he also participates in research to enhance the safety of Mississippians. “Currently, we are looking at characteristics unique to tornado environments in the southeast U.S., as well as human-related heat stress,” he said. Brown also helps secure MSU’s campus during severe weather events and addresses other safety-related issues. In 2010, he worked with then-state climatologist Charles Wax to develop an all-encompassing hazard mitigation plan for the university. “We were the first public institution to identify not only weather hazards, but also man-made hazards – from pandemics to terrorism – and develop a comprehensive mitigation plan against these threats,” Brown said. “Our plan was approved by MEMA and FEMA and is now a living and guiding document for the university, often used for planning purposes. Our work also served as a template for many other public universities and colleges.” Brown and others in the geosciences department also raise weather awareness on campus by developing educational material and seminars for various groups, such as MSU’s fraternities and



sororities, new faculty and students in university residence halls. “So many of our students and faculty are from regions of the country or world where violent thunderstorms may not exist,” Brown said, noting his goal is to be involved long before a weather event occurs. Brown said the technical definition of “severe weather” is a storm that produces 1-inch or larger hail, and/or winds of 58 mph or stronger, and/or a tornado. However, he points out, “severe” can be subjective. “A 50 mph gust which knocks down a branch that breaks a window in your home might seem severe to the person experiencing it,” Brown said. “So when I talk to the public about severe weather, I like to use the real definition combined with the understanding that it can be relative to some folks.” Just because a storm is severe by definition does not mean it will produce damage; likewise, a non-severe storm can produce damage, Brown said. When severe weather is in the forecast or occurring, Brown works with MSU’s Crisis Action Team to ensure warnings and pertinent safety information are provided in a timely manner. He also frequently monitors the weather for university athletic events. “We are mostly concerned with lightning, tornadoes or strong winds,” Brown said. “Really anything that could injure or kill players or spectators.” Brown said preparation is key to staying safe during a severe weather event. “Have a plan and be ready to exercise that plan. Also, if you have children, know the plan that is in place at their school or daycare,” he advises. “I always encourage those in mobile homes to evacuate prior to any severe storm. While not unique to Mississippi, we do have a large portion of our population – nearly 20 percent – living

in mobile homes. These structures do not perform well in severe weather, especially tornadoes, even weak tornadoes.” Each summer, Brown leads a field methods/storm chasing course across the Great Plains region of the U.S., teaching students how to put what they learn in the classroom into action. “Each day, we will forecast both location and timing of severe weather across the Great Plains and then travel to those locations, monitoring the weather and modifying our forecasts as we move,” Brown said. Once storms develop, Brown and the students look at radar and surface observations to get themselves into a safe viewing position. “It is really quite satisfying for the students to work from seeing the development of storms on radar and satellite to viewing severe storms and possibly tornadoes in the field,” he said. “I think it gives them more confidence in their abilities.” When possible, Brown said he likes to tour areas with stormproduced damage to give students “a better appreciation of what their forecasts or broadcasts can do for people once they leave our program.” Although tornadoes typically get the most attention in the South, Brown warns that lightning and flooding often are underrated dangers. “If you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning, even when the skies are clear in that location,” he said. Brown said the power of moving water is tremendous and at no point should one try to cross an area of moving water by car. “People also need to be aware of secondary causes of injury and death due to weather, such as electrocution when power lines might be down, heart attacks from shoveling snow (not common in Mississippi), and heat-related sickness and death,” he said. In addition to using his skills as state climatologist, Brown

enjoys training the next generation of weather professionals in his MSU radar meteorology, mesoscale meteorology, advanced mesoscale meteorology and field methods/storm chasing courses. At MSU, students aspiring to a career in broadcasting can hone their abilities on the green screen by enrolling in four semesters of practicum.

“If you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning, even when the skies are clear in that location.”

- Michael Brown

“We have a suite of meteorology courses that are designed to produce a professional who can forecast, diagnose threats from radar and satellites, and have a solid understanding of Earth’s climate,” Brown said. “Our curriculum meets the American Meteorological Society and Civil Service requirements for a meteorologist. In other words, our graduates are qualified for government or private industry work.” One in three of today’s on-air broadcast meteorologists is a graduate of MSU’s nationally recognized meteorology program. In addition to providing distinctive contributions in the areas of weather, environment and natural resources, MSU’s Department of Geosciences teaches more than one-third of the university’s distance learning credit hours. The department is the only educational entity in the state that combines climatologists, geographers, geologists, geospatial experts and meteorologists in one department. For more information, visit www.geosciences. msstate.edu.



College of Arts and Sciences’ scholars hit the road for life-changing learning experiences By Sarah Nicholas


ith more than 5,300 students and 300 full-time faculty members, the College of Arts and Sciences at Mississippi State is the university’s largest academic unit and home to some of the institution’s most exceptional scholars. Many arts and sciences students also are part of MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College. Several have



been recognized over the past year with some of the nation’s most prestigious awards. From time spent in China, California, Washington, D.C., and more, MSU scholars have ventured across the globe to participate in selective fellowships and other programs, enhancing their studies, gleaning new insights into humanity and becoming leaders of their generation.

Barry Goldwater Scholarship Nicholas A. “Nic” Ezzell

For the fourth time in seven years, an MSU student has received the highly coveted Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Nicholas A. “Nic” Ezzell, a senior physics major from Laurel, is the land-grant institution’s newest recipient of this award and the only Mississippian to receive the honor in 2018. Established in 1986, the Virginia-based Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation serves as a memorial to the former U.S. Republican senator from Arizona and 1964 presidential candidate. In annually recognizing undergraduate majors in science, mathematics, engineering and computer disciplines, the award helps ensure a continuing source of highly qualified professionals in these fields. Ezzell is an aspiring computational physicist who has previously conducted extensive research with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. During the summer of 2018, Ezzell returned to ORNL in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to work on the development of simulations on quantum computers. He has since presented his research to the American Physical Society and is a listed author on a paper accepted into Biophysical Journal, among other research accomplishments. “The Goldwater Scholarship is an encouraging message that my trajectory has yet to falter and that more than just my adviser and immediate peers recognize my potential as a serious scientific researcher,” Ezzell said. “In short, it’s an affirmation that the work I do matters.” Ezzell said he was constantly learning new things during his summer internships, gaining knowledge about problem solving when encountering new obstacles. His research experience also led to “inspiring and career altering” moments. During his first summer, he met fellow intern Yousif Almulla who was working on quantum computing, or QC. “From my discussions with Yousif, I became enthralled with QC, so it is no accident that I decided to come back to ORNL for a second summer to work on simulations of many-body quantum systems on current quantum computers with Dr. Travis Humble and Paul Kairys,” he said. Ezzell said his research experience in QC has convinced him to pursue the field in graduate school. “Altogether, I aspire to be a full-time staff researcher at a national lab or a full-time professor and researcher at a university,” he said. Since its inception, the Goldwater Foundation has recognized a total of 25 Mississippi State students—17 with the Goldwater Scholarship and eight with honorable mention awards. This year, 1,280 students from 455 institutions were nominated for a Goldwater Scholarship, and the Goldwater Foundation named 211 new Goldwater Scholars. COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES | VISION SPRING/SUMMER 2019


David L. Boren Scholarship Donielle D. Allen



As MSU’s first Boren Scholar, senior microbiology major Donielle D. Allen of McCalla, Alabama, spent the fall 2018 semester in China with the School for International Training’s Health, Environment and Traditional Chinese Medicine program. Her study abroad experience was funded by a $10,000 David L. Boren Scholarship. Allen was one of 220 undergraduates nationwide awarded the Boren Scholarship to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests – but underrepresented in study abroad programs – including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars commit to work in federal government for at least one year after graduation. During her time abroad, Allen wanted to expand her knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine, an interest she developed while overcoming a challenging health experience. While growing up in Crystal Springs, Allen experienced inflammation and swelling in her joints. Doctors prescribed her different medicines, but none worked. Through independent online research, Allen learned about the healing properties of turmeric, an herb that has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. “I decided to give turmeric a try, and it worked. The pain was gone, and I was able to sleep better,” she recalled. “My interest in traditional Chinese medicine as a child made me want to become a doctor.” Allen said she would like to see a medical environment that gives patients more treatment and preventative care options. “I want to be on the forefront of helping to give patients who want another option, but aren’t so sure about Chinese medicine, a way to manage their health. I truly want to find a way where both Eastern and Western medicine can co-exist in the U.S,” she said. “No medical system is perfect, but I hope that by combining these medical practices, physicians can fill in some of the gaps in patient care.” Allen calls herself a “shy person,” but said she was excited about experiencing “life in a new place.” “There is a part of the program where students were sent to different places in Yunnan Province,” she said. “We had to find our own housing and food and perform certain tasks.” Allen was required to give a class presentation on her experience of “surviving and being independent in China.” “To me, this was the most intimidating part of the program, and the part that best prepared me to go back to China to attend graduate school, participate in another scholarship program or another study abroad program,” she said. “I wanted to intentionally learn to live a life in China, and this program offered the foundation to do just that.” Allen said she now realizes language, culture and traditional Chinese medicine are all intertwined. “It is difficult to understand one without the other, and it takes away the beauty if you do,” she said.

Hansen Summer Institute Elise Moore

As MSU’s first participant in the annual Hansen Summer Institute on Leadership and International Cooperation, senior communication major Elise Moore represented her university, state and country last July in San Diego for “a distinctive universitybased leadership experience and program in international cooperation.” A Madison native, Moore was the first Mississippian to participate in the Hansen Institute, which brings together students from around the world at the University of San Diego. One of five Americans taking part in the three-week program, Moore joined 25 students from 20 different countries for the program designed to “create an international community of young scholars who will use their summer experience as a foundation for developing lasting friendships and acquiring common, practical understanding of a more peaceful future.” Moore said an excursion to the U.S./Mexican border “broke [her] heart” and strengthened her resolve to make the world a better place. “I stood there realizing how blessed I was and how many people are seeking a better life in America,” she said. “I believe that everyone deserves a chance at a better life, and I do want to spend my life helping make other people’s lives better.” While the lectures she attended were “great and very informative,” Moore said she benefitted the most from experiences outside of the classroom. “It may sound crazy, but a really transformative experience for me was over watercolors with my new friend. She and I were talking while painting. I was getting to know her better and I was learning more of her story. We come from very different upbringings, but we found common ground to connect on,” Moore explained. “I have always thought I wanted to work with young women, but it really sealed the deal that I want to spend my time helping young women be all that they can be.” Moore said her summer experience was challenging and gave her a much bigger worldview. She encourages other students to participate in the program because it “will shape you in new ways.” “It really showed me how we all affect each other in one way or another. When you have a friend from these places, you start to empathize and try to understand what they have gone through. They are no longer news headlines. They are real people with real problems,” she said. “I think this program created an opportunity to understand more about people and to keep up with what is going on around the world.”



The Leadership Alliance Katelyn Jackson



Junior biological sciences major Katelyn Jackson of Starkville spent her second consecutive summer in New York City with the Leadership Alliance, a national consortium that engages approximately 300 undergraduate students, predominately from underrepresented groups across the U.S., in research experiences at the nation’s top research institutions. The Leadership Alliance aims to provide these hands-on experiences while training and mentoring a diverse group of students from a wide range of cultural and academic backgrounds to prepare for competitive graduate programs and professional research-based careers. Jackson spent the summer of 2018 studying at New York University and the previous summer working on an independent research project at Weill Cornell Medical College with the Gateways to the Laboratory Program. During the last week of the summer research experience, students in Jackson’s cohort attended the Leadership Alliance National Symposium in Hartford, Connecticut, where they gave presentations on their research results and significance. “The best part of my trip to New York was being able to present my research at the lab meetings of established scientist Dr. Martin Blaser, who was selected for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2015,” Jackson said. Standing before colleagues, doctoral scholars and administrators from across the U.S., Jackson shared the results of her project, “Antibiotic-Induced Changes in the Early Life Microbiota Composition and Susceptibility to Asthmatic Disease.” The experience, Jackson said, was one of the most memorable of the summer. “During my freshman year at MSU, I began looking for summer research programs and came across the Leadership Alliance online,” Jackson said. “By having connections at Weill Cornell Medical College from my research experience last year, I was able to go back to New York Presbyterian this summer and shadow an attending physician alongside medical students and residents.” Jackson, who aspires to become a physician and scientist, said being able to perform research and shadow physicians gave her insight into the life of an M.D.-Ph.D. student. She said this experience furthered her desire to return to Mississippi to serve a rural community as a participant in the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program, a competitive program which provides $30,000 per year for medical school.

Zeng, Herring, Desai

Andi Leadership Institute for Young Women Krishna D. Desai, Laura A. Herring, Feifei Zeng

During the summer of 2018, three MSU students honed their skills in advocacy, messaging, facilitation and leadership through peaceful discussions and conflict transformation exercises at the prestigious Andi Leadership Institute for Young Women in Washington, D.C. In learning from each other’s stories and those of other women around the globe, participants were inspired to bridge cultural divides by forging collaborative relationships and leading peacebuilding initiatives in their countries of origin and beyond. MSU was represented by three of the four U.S. students accepted. Krishna D. Desai, Laura A. Herring and Feifei Zeng were among a group of young women from the U.S., Albania, China, Ethiopia, India and Iraq who participated in the intensive workshop at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership. Desai is a junior political science and economics double-major and Spanish minor from Ridgeland. Herring, a senior management/ international business and foreign language/Spanish double-major, is from Panama City, Florida. Growing up in China, Italy and the U.S., Zeng graduated in August 2018 with a degree in foreign language and marketing/international business and supply chain management. ALI gives young women the toolkit and mentorship needed to become “more effective change makers in their communities,” Herring said. Along with focusing on professional development, the program connects women from different cultures and backgrounds and “allows them to grow lasting relationships and alliances,” Herring explained. Relationships were solidified through intensive workshops, exercises, site visits and dialogues. Desai said the experience provided participants with a path to self-discovery and an opportunity to learn how “we all can accomplish our shared goals.” “I was surrounded by young women who cared about each other – each one of us tried to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, so we can understand where we come from,” Zeng said. “The environment that we created was one where all can be vulnerable – matter of fact, we were encouraged to be. We grew to love each other and

support each other despite our differences in skin color, nationality, background, where we come from and the experiences we had. We had amazing leaders who made this program life-changing for us.” Herring said she found focus and direction through interactions with Melanne Verveer, former Ambassador to the United Nations for Global Women’s Issues. “Ambassador Verveer has been a role model for me from a distance, but having the opportunity to meet with her further inspired me to pursue a life of public service,” Herring said. “She told a story of how, as a young woman, she always wanted to be a translator for important diplomats at the United Nations. It was not until later in life that she realized she could do more than just translate conversations—she could become one of the important diplomats herself.” Verveer’s story was particularly meaningful to Herring because it helped her realize that becoming a female leader in the field of international affairs “is not an audacious goal—it is something that I am capable of pursuing and I do not need to settle,” she said. Desai said a particularly impactful life experience for her was a team assignment involving a harnessed jump from a tall pole. “Usually, I am not the first to volunteer for things like this considering my fear of…well, jumping off very tall wooden poles, I guess,” she said. “But, I was feeling a boost of confidence that day, surrounded by these incredible women, and decided to just try it.” Describing the jump as “a terrifying experience at first,” Desai said she can’t articulate “how amazing it was to have that feeling of conquering a fear and feeling the love and support of those people around me as I lowered to the ground.” “I gained not only the skills, but the confidence to pursue my goals,” she said. “Exposure to specific skills and careers allowed me to create a clearer definition of what I want to do as a peacebuilder, but it was the support, mentorship and friendships that allowed me to build the self-confidence and passion to feel like I can actually accomplish it.” COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES | VISION SPRING/SUMMER 2019


MELODY FISHER: Empowering, Encouraging, Inspiring By Sarah Nicholas

On a set trajectory, bound for higher education, Mississippi State faculty member Melody Fisher took a childhood goal and parlayed it into a career—using education to inspire and empower those around her. “Education was extremely emphasized and present in my childhood,” said Fisher, an assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Communication. “Both my parents received graduate degrees and both are retired educators.” With a father who was a high school administrator and a mother who was a college librarian, Fisher started her college experience early—her parents enrolled her in a preschool facility located on a college campus.



“I always knew that I would attend college. I was exposed very early in life.” From nursery school through graduate school, Fisher always wanted to share her thirst for knowledge. At MSU, she has added a new component to her quest— empowering her peers. Now, the third-generation Tougaloo graduate is investing in both co-workers and students. Co-principal investigator of a $57,000 National Science Foundation grant since 2017, Fisher is seeking to help minority female faculty members navigating the world of academia. “We want to increase the number of women who

advance from associate professor to full professor,” Fisher said, adding that helping more of these women attain tenure is the ultimate goal. “I wanted to get involved in this research after learning the alarming statistics about black female faculty members,” Fisher said. “There are a dismal number [of black women] in the college classroom, and even less receive promotion and tenure. As this is something that directly relates to me, it was natural that I would participate in increasing these opportunities for advancement.” Fisher’s research seeks to overcome barriers faced by black female faculty members, specifically, as they proceed through the tenure process. Tenuretrack positions are based on research, teaching and service. For minority female educators, breaking into the tenure-track presents obstacles many of their colleagues do not frequently face: racism, classism and sexism. “We also want to create awareness among administrators of these barriers and provide suggestions for how they can assist faculty members in overcoming and even eliminating these barriers,” Fisher said. She said having a faculty diverse in gender, race and ethnicity “brings different perspectives into the classroom and research environments which will ultimately yield diverse scholars and researchers who will contribute to the global marketplace.” In addition to seeking opportunities for advancement of minority female coworkers, Fisher also has a hand in research that extends beyond the world of academia. Part of her career as a public relations professional relates to the field of crisis communication, an area from which she pulls examples for teachable moments in the classroom. “My research generally explores how brands, organizations and individuals respond in crisis situations,” Fisher said, noting that crisis communication refers to how organizations respond to crisis situations, including how they share messages through various media outlets and address target audiences. “These are usually scenarios that garner national media attention and could negatively affect the stability of the organization,” Fisher said, pointing to the 2010

death of a SeaWorld trainer by an orca as an example. “The Blackfish documentary alleged SeaWorld’s mistreatment of orcas and even held the amusement park responsible for a trainer’s death,” Fisher explained. “SeaWorld’s response to these claims greatly altered its daily operations, as well as future programming. This case illustrates how organizations can eventually accommodate activism.” In 2015, Fisher received a first-hand look at how organizations handle crisis situations when MSU responded to reports of an active shooter on campus. Though reports of violence on campus were found to be false, Fisher points to the experience as a good example of how organizations can be prepared in advance for worst-case scenarios. “This research is important because it reveals patterns of information which can be instrumental in creating new paradigms. Public relations is not meant to reinvent the wheel. If something works in favor for a company, then it could possibly work for another, given similar factors,” Fisher explained. “MSU used Maroon Alerts, press conferences and social media to communicate with target publics,” Fisher said about the 2015 incident. She said these actions indicated how a well-developed crisis communication plan can be a valuable tool. As educators and researchers, Fisher said faculty need to stay relevant with their subject areas and use a variety of tools to maintain a grasp of what students find beneficial in the classroom. In 2017, Fisher was selected as one of 10 professors nationwide to participate in the Plank Educator Fellowship program, a two-week intensive research project exploring techniques to help students connect classroom instruction with real-world practices. “This was a way that I could be immersed in a department and connect that real-world experience back to campus,” Fisher said, explaining that her assignment to the Discover company in Chicago helped deepen her teaching and research skills. Fisher said she truly enjoys the classroom and all that comes with a career at a large university. “Being able to experience students’ matriculation first-hand is amazing. I also enjoy the practice and scholarship of public relations. Marrying the two drew me to the profession.”



College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Award WINNERS The College of Arts and Sciences presents the recipients of the Dean’s Eminent Scholar awards for the 2018 fall semester. Dean Rick Travis presented each winner with a plaque. The Dean’s Eminent Scholar awards recognize “exceptionally meritorious faculty who have achieved national recognition and enhanced the quality and stature of academic programs.”

Raymond E. Barranco, associate professor of sociology, won the Gary Meyers Dean’s Eminent Scholar award. Catherine Pierce, associate professor of English, won the Beverly B. and Gordon W. Gulmon Dean’s Eminent Scholar award. Matthew W. Brown, assistant professor of biological sciences, won the Sanderson Excellence Dean’s Eminent Scholar award.



First row (left to right): Katelyn Jackson, Joy Carino, Cheyenne Schettino, Marisa Laudadio, Ben Emmich, Sam Sider, Kim De La Cruz

Second row (left to right): Krishna Desai, Allie Hanson, Alex Forbes, Shannon Falkner, Sierra Laltrello, Sofia Alvarez

Third row (left to right): Desiree Goodfellow, Sam Taylor, Abbie Kate Hancock, Bryce Krumcke, Emily Welch Fourth row (left to right):

College of Arts and Sciences Ambassadors

Madison Baima, Adrianna Genge, Lauren Scott, Olivia Murtagh, Avery

As Mississippi State University’s largest and most diverse academic college, the College of Arts & Sciences seeks to faithfully and accurately represent the wide-ranging interests and concerns of its students. The College of Arts & Sciences Ambassadors (CASA), comprised of undergraduate representatives from the college’s 14 academic departments, seek to serve that purpose as a connection between the students in the college and the college’s administration. CASA represents the College of Arts & Sciences to current and prospective students. Serving alongside representatives from their home departments, the ambassadors assist at recruitment events to relay how they have discovered their path to success through the College of Arts & Sciences. Our students serve as mentors to incoming students by staying in contact with prospective students, helping them discover future opportunities as Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Ferguson, Alanna Bond

Fifth row (left to right): Torrye Evans, Sydney Taylor, Nic Ezzell, Laura Ingouf, Blake Williams

Not pictured: Emily Tingle, George Crook, Dylan Smith



Jessica Lynn Milner

Larrah Johnson

Lily A. Hebert

Keirston M. Murphy

Kali M. Hicks

Ashley H. Luke

Jordyn N. Polito

Anna Catherine Fryar

Katherine E. Grafe.

Gentry Isabella Burkes

Olivia C. Williams

Anagha Gopakumar

Madison M. Smith

Benjamin Derek Pace

Rebekah Joy Bisson

Ryan A. Shoemake

Megan E. DeLisle

Steven M. Weirich

Caroline Danielle Coussens

Samuel Douglas Ozier

Madison Anne Rice Kathleen M. Riley Anne


R. Sumner Fortenberry Michael J. Sieja


society of scholars Twenty-four Mississippi State students were inducted in May 2018 into the university’s prestigious Society of Scholars in the College of Arts and Sciences. The honor organization recognizes top university students each semester from all majors who have demonstrated the highest standard of academic excellence, and who also possess a broad and rigorous exposure to courses in the arts, sciences and humanities. Those selected from the arduous screening process must have demonstrated a sound foundation in languages, mathematics, science, oral and written communication, humanities and social sciences.

(Front Row)

dean’s executive advisory board members

Dr. Ralph Alewine Hank Johnston Dr. Karen Hulett Dr. Larry Grillot Cindy Stevens

The mission of the College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Executive Advisory Board is to provide leadership and support to the Dean by utilizing individual skills, financial resources, teamwork and diversity to strengthen the academic infrastructure, faculty and facilities of the College and University.

Laurie Williams Llana Smith (Back Row) Dr. Bill Hulett Dr. Kirk Reid Dr. John Rada Dr. Fred Corley Hunter “Ticket” Henry Malcolm Lightsey Dr. David Wigley Dr. Randy White Not Pictured: Dr. Thomas Wiley, Jr.



Thank you Alumni and Friends As I walk throughout campus with our alumni and friends, no matter when they graduated or visited last, they point out change. We have experienced a lot of changes throughout campus in the recent years. Embracing change can be enlightening, but I’m fully aware that change can also produce feelings of uncertainty, confusion and even insecurity. That’s where I feel like my role is especially important. If you haven’t been to campus in a while, please come have a campus tour so we can show you around. I want everyone to see that the changing landscape is to accommodate student and faculty growth, research opportunities and academic excellence. Most importantly, I want everyone to know that even with growth and development the campus still and will always feel like home. To promote security and assurance at every level with change and growth, we must ensure prospective and current students have access to a strong and cost-effective education, vast student advancement opportunities to strengthen academic profiles and boost affiliation by providing networking opportunities between students, faculty, alumni and friends of the university. Where I have found complete harmony with access, advancement and affiliation this year has been through our Doctor Dawgs group. With the healthcare field rapidly evolving each year, it is important that all prospective and current students pursuing a healthcare concentration at Mississippi State University have a competitive edge. Dr. A. Randle “Randy” and Marilyn W. White recognize the importance of ensuring our students pursuing a healthcare concentration are given valuable academic guidance and direction, motivating them to generously establish the

Dr. A. Randle and Marilyn W. White Health Professions Resource Center (HPRC), a center they continue to support to this day. Regardless of the student’s academic undergraduate major, if they have listed a healthcare related concentration, they are encouraged to utilize the HPRC to work with prehealth advocates who can provide direction and support early in a student’s healthcare journey. Doctor Dawgs, a group of alumni and friends with robust healthcare experience, was established to give students the applied components to pair with their academic achievements to produce the ultimate medical school application. Through the HPRC and Doctor Dawgs partnership, these two resources proactively collaborate and are able to align shadowing opportunities, outline leadership opportunities throughout campus, service endeavors within the community, as well as outside the state and allow students to strengthen their healthcare knowledge and networks in various medical fields by attending events sponsored by the Doctor Dawgs group. These events are strategically centered around four important areas: recruitment, preparation and support, leadership and public service, and stewardship. All of these components were established to promote access, advancement and affiliation for our pre-health students. A special thank you to our fundamental leaders and supporters of the Dr. A. Randle and Marilyn W. White Health Professions Resource Center (HPRC) and Doctor Dawgs Group: Dr. Randy and Marilyn White, Dr. Tommy Byrd, Dr. John Davis, Drs. William and Karen Hulett, Dr. Dale Read, Dr. Hubert Parker, Brad and Amanda Reeves, Dr. William Harris, Dr. Kirk Reid, Dr. Thomas Wiley,

and the Seago Family. These supporters have provided opportunities throughout each of the four components along with many other new Doctor Dawgs joining in as we begin to span across the northern and southern region of Mississippi. Healthcare will always need competent, compassionate and dedicated individuals to assist the medical needs of Mississippians and through these two outlets our pre-health students are equipped with the knowledge and experience to thrive in their future health endeavors. Maintaining a close affiliation with classmates, professors, alumni and friends has proven to be invaluable for our students. The College of Arts & Sciences produces wellrounded graduates who are work-force ready. Whether it be within their specific field of study, or not, they are adapting and thriving from the educational foundation they received as students. I had the opportunity to listen to one of our 2015 anthropology graduates, Kaleigh Sandhu, an epidemiologist with the Department of Public Health Division of Epidemiology and Immunization. Kaleigh came back to campus to talk with students about her academic journey and how it led to her current career. She knew she wanted to utilize her degree in anthropology but add a healthcare component which led her to public health. After her discussion, she directed students on how they can utilize their time as an undergraduate and how they can pursue a master’s in public health post-graduation. I was very impressed with her clear direction and confidence as such a young alumna. She is definitely someone to watch and a great example of the strong affiliation she still has with the Department of Anthropology and Middle

Eastern Cultures and the College of Arts & Sciences. I am so proud of the academic opportunities the College of Arts & Sciences, in collaboration with other academic units throughout campus, is able to provide prospective and current students. As we continue to expand our reach, our goals of producing confident, compassionate and dedicated students hold true. We could not experience our accomplishments without your unwavering loyalty to the college. Every financial or other supportive opportunity you provide makes an impact and as we near the end of the Infinite Impact Campaign, I thank each of you for getting us this far and know the finish line is just around the corner to reaching our onebillion-dollar goal. Through your continued support, we are able to provide access, student advancement and affiliation in each of our 14 departments and I’m very excited to continue to see additional opportunities bloom from your vision, loyalty and generosity. I am sincerely grateful for your support, which provides our students, faculty and staff security within the College of Arts & Sciences. We are all better ambassadors because of you!


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



COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES DONOR LIST The following lists include alumni and friends who supported the college from July 1, 2017 – January 1, 2019

Abbvie Foundation

Mr. Gregory A. Barrick

Dr. Bobby N. Brewer, Jr.

Clark Beverage Group, Inc. MS

Mr. William M. Adams, Jr.

Dr. Kyle S. Bateman

Brinks Company


Battelle Memorial Institute

Mr. Milton L. Brock, Jr.

Classical Association of the Middle West and South

Agilent Technologies Foundation

Ms. Myra A. Bean

Mr. Frank L. Brooks

Airgas USA, L.L.C.

Mr. Jacob R. Beane

Mr. Erik R. Brown

Dr. William James Alexander

Dr. Christopher L. Behr

Mr. Kevin L. Bruce

Allianz Life

Mrs. Patsy B. Bell

Mr. Johnnie R. Butler, Jr.

Dr. LeAnn Allison

Ms. Susan B. Bell

Dr. Thomas R. Byrd

Mr. Jeffrey S. Alvey

Mr. Ray L. Bellande

Cadence Bank

American Chemical Society

Ms. Mary E. Benincasa

Canon Solutions America

American Heart Association

Dr. Mitchell E. Berman

Mr. Tommie S. Cardin

Anadarko Petroleum

Mrs. Jennifer L. Berscheidt

Mrs. Anita G. Carlock

Mr. Jan C. Anderson

Mr. Scott M. Bierly

Dr. Kermit L. Carraway

Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation

Mr. Michael Bograd

Dr. Joseph E. Carrithers

Mr. James L. Boomgarden

Dr. Ferita P. Carter

Mr. John W. Boutwell

Mr. William F. Caskey, Jr.

Mr. Robert B. Boykin

Mr. Reed E. Chandler

Mr. Earl B. Brand, Jr.

Mr. Shiching Chang

Mr. Richard R. Brann

Charitable Gift Fund

Creek Run L.L.C. Environmental Engineering

Brent’s Drugs

Mr. Sherman Chow

Ms. Wendy L. Creel

Mr. John H. Arledge Mr. James L. Bailey Governor Haley Barbour Mr. Greg J. Barker Mrs. Jeannine Barnett Ms. Elizabeth Barrett-Beiden



Coastal Environment Mr. John A. Cohen Dr. John Coleman Mr. Gus W. Colvin, Jr. Community Foundation for Mississippi Mrs. Mildred R. Conrad Dr. William H. Cooke, III Dr. David D. Cooper Mrs. Jil B. Cooper Dr. Fred G. Corley, Jr. Mr. Peter L. Corrigan Cotton Incorporated Dr. Justin C. Courcelle Mrs. Jessica Crawford Ms. Sarah F. Creecy

Dr. W. Lawrence Croft

Dr. John E. Forde

Mr. F. Ewin Henson, III

Mr. Malcolm B. Lightsey, Sr.

Mr. Perry V. Cupples

Foster Relations, Inc.

Dr. Barry W. Herring

Mrs. Reatha K. Linley

Dallas Printing, Inc.

Frank Chiles State Farm Insurance

Mr. Joel H. Herring


Dr. Jerry W. Dallas

Franks, Franks, Walden & Jarrell, PA

Dr. Nicholas P. Herrmann

Mr. James W. Long

Dr. Robert H. Dandino

Mrs. Lisa Franzen

Dr. Glyn R. Hilbun

Ms. Rebecca J. Long

Dr. Joseph Davenport, III

Mrs. Sara J. Frederic

Mr. Elbert R. Hilliard

Mr. John O. Loper

Ms. Michelle L. Davenport

Mr. Terry G. Freeze, Jr.

Miss Lee M. Hilliard

Ms. Sherry Lozowski

Ms. Amy E. Davis

Mr. William A. Friday

Dr. Jeremiah H. Holleman, Jr.

Dr. Frances Lucas

Honorable Jerry A. Davis

FTG Ventures LLC

Dr. T. Keith Hollis

Dr. M. Leigh Lunsford

Dr. John D. Davis, IV

Ms. Stephanie Fuehr

Mr. Kenneth R. Holloway

Mr. Robert K. Lusteck

Dr. Angus L. Dawe

Dr. Michael L. Galaty

Dr. Erin Jaye Holmes

Mr. Ryan O. MacKie

Mr. Hugh B. Devery

Gamma Theta Upsilon

Mr. Billy W. Howard

Mr. David P. Madison, Jr.

Mrs. Dru Dickensheet

Mrs. Peggy Gardner

Mr. William H. Howard, III

Mr. Jamie L. Mahne

Mr. Lloyd G. Digby

Dr. Howell C. Garner

Dr. William B. Hulett


Mr. C. Mark Doiron

Mr. Robert E. Garner

Dr. Donald R. Hunt

Dr. Alan Marcus

Ms. Aaliyah T. Donaldson

Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert

Insurance Associates of Starkville, LLC

Mr. George E. Marion

Mr. Byron R. Dong

Dr. Nina L. Glasgow

Iowa Soybean Association

Mrs. Ann H. Massey

Dr. Philip D. Doolittle

Mr. H. W. Glover, Jr.

Dr. William J. Ireland, Jr.

Mrs. Harriette P. Mastin

Dr. Donald N. Downer

Mr. Stacey W. Goff

Mr. John P. Jaap, Jr.

Dr. Byron C. May

Mrs. Doris S. Downing

Capt. Edd L. Goodman, Jr.

Mr. William R. Jackson, Jr.

Mr. Cinclair May

Drs. Sarsha, Williams, Dandino and Associates, Ltd.

Mr. Ben L. Green, III

Mr. Thomas R. James

Dr. David C. May

Mr. John W. Green, Jr.

Mr. Samuel E. Jaudon

Mr. Will E. May

Dr. Robert A. Green


Mr. Steven L. Mayo

Dr. Larry R. Grillot

Mr. White G. Jee

Dr. Robert T. McAdory, Jr.

Ms. Anna Minor Grizzle

Mr. Michael A. Johnson

McClaren Resources Inc.

Gulf of Mexico Alliance

Mr. Michael E. Johnson

Dr. Yancy B. McDougal

Ms. Gretchen Gulmon

Dr. Ray E. Johnson

Mr. Julius F. McIlwain

Dr. Willie H. Gunn

Mr. Henry E. Johnston

Mr. R. Jeremy McLaughlin

Dr. Charles L. Guyton

Mrs. Catherine K. Jones

Ms. Victoria McLaughlin

Mr. Samuel P. Guyton

Dr. Gordon E. Jones

Mr. Kelley R. McWhirter

Mr. Stephen L. Guyton

Mr. Hunter Jones

Ms. Carolyn C. Meaders

Dr. Steven R. Gwaltney

Mrs. Tish A. Jones

Mr. Eddy P. Meeks

Mr. Reggie V. Hambrick, Jr.

Judson Farm, Incorporated

Mr. William M. Meeks, Jr.

Mrs. Barbara J. Hamilton

Ms. Amanda N. Keeton

Dr. Charles E. Menifield

Mr. Joe Haney

Dr. Lisa G. Keeton

Ms. Lauren W. Miller

Mrs. Mary B. Hansen

Mr. John P. Keisman

Mississippi Health Advocacy Program

Ms. Laura Hardin

Mrs. Parker Smythe Kline

Mr. Jeffrey W. Hardy

Mrs. Kelly H. Kuyrkendall

Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Res Excellence

Mr. Charles F. Harger

Mrs. Leah P. Lanier

Dr. William J. Harris, III

Dr. Sue C. Lauderdale

Dr. Ruth J. Haug

Ms. Laura M. Ledet

Mr. Keith Heard

Dr. John E. Lee, Jr.

Mr. Christopher B. Heller

Mrs. Leslie Lenser

Dr. James V. Hemphill, III

Dr. Edwin A. Lewis

Mrs. Joan M.Henning

Ms. Sasha S. Liddell

Mr. Terry M. Duke Mrs. Laura H. Dunn Mr. Vance S. Durbin Mr Dwight Dyess Mr. Jason L. Edmonds Edwin C. Roshore Family Trust Dr. John P. Elliott, Jr. Mr. Robert H. Elliott Mr. Nathan H. Elmore Dr. Joseph P. Emerson Dr. Gerald A. Emison Environmental Defense Fund Dr. Jason N. Ervin Mr. C. D. Evans Mr. Anding Fan Ms. Nancy P. Farmer Dr. Joe L. Ferguson Ms. Jacqueline A. Finch Fisher Scientific Company LLC Mrs. Fay H. Fisher Dr. Nicholas C. Fitzkee Ms. Julie S. Fleming Flight Attendant Medical Research Center

Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board Dr. Joseph A. Mitchell Mr. Walter L. Mitchell, Jr. Dr. Todd E. Mlsna Dr. Debra A. Moore Mr. Roger L. Moore Mrs. Kimberly P. Morgan Ms. Sara Morris



Lt. Col. Joel T. Muirhead, M.D.

Mr. William L. Riley

Mr. Curtis W. Stover, Jr.

Ms. Megan T. White

Dr. Giselle T. Munn

RJ Young

Dr. Martha H. Swain

Dr. A. Randle White

Mr. R. David Murrell

Robert C. Fesmire, DDS, PC

Mr. R. Scott Swedenburg

Dr. Frank J. Whittington

Mrs. Lucy Nash

Mr. Robert R. Roberts, Jr.

Mrs. Franceska Kyle Sybil

Dr. David E. Wigley

Mr. John W. Nelson

Ms. Lisa N. Robinson

T. Blake Balzli, D.M.D., PA

Mr. Billy B. Wilemon, Jr.

NewSouth NeuroSpine

Mr. Mikal M. Rolph

Mrs. Eileen Y. Tabb

Dr. Thomas L. Wiley, Jr.

Mrs. Marie W. Nickles

Mr. James D. Rowe

Mr. Chester A. Tapscott, III

Major Frank J. Wilkerson

Northeast Exterminating

Dr. Jackie Rowland

Dr. Charles H. Tardy

William P. Guyton Foundation

Mr. Richard C. Nourse, Jr.

Mr. James S. Rowles

Dr. Stephen W. Tartt

Mr. Alan L. Williams

Ms. Emilie Whitehead Odom

Mr. Stuart D. Roy

Dr. Douglas H. Taylor

Mrs. Charlotte E. Williams

Oktibbeha County Co-op

Rufford Foundation

Dr. Gracy Taylor

Mrs. Laurie R. Williams

Mr. Stanley S. Owen

Mr. James H. Rule

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Mr. W. Dal Williamson

Mr. Ralph Owens, Jr.

Mr. Chess Rybolt

The Benevity Community Impact Fund

Mrs. Linda B. Williamson

Mr. Michael C. Pace

Mrs. Barbara A. Salvatore

The Bower Foundation

Willie Howard Gunn, Attorney-at-Law

Ms. Susan Palmer

Ms. Marcia Sanders

Ms. Mary M. Williford

Ms. Sheri A. Pape

Mrs. Stephanie Sarmiento

The Community Foundation of Louisville

Mr. Dipakkumar C. Parikh

Sasol North America, Inc.

The G. V. Sonny Montgomery Foundation

Dr. H. H. Parker IV

Mrs. Jennifer D. Schroeder

The Getty Research Institute

Mrs. Kari A. Wolff

Partners of the Americas

Mr. Robert J. Selfridge

The Johnston Living Trust

Women’s Foundation of Mississippi

Mr. Ercolani D. Pauline

Sessions Trust

Dr. Mirae C. Wood

Mr. Alan C. Permenter

Mrs. Daphne C. Shannon

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Dr. Gary L. Permenter

Mr. Jason L. Shedd

Mr. Bruce W. Peterson

Mr. Mark J. Shindala

Dr. Melinda W. Pilkinton

Siemens Foundation

Ms. Holly A. Piner

Mr. Adolph Simmons, Jr.

Pioneer Natural Resources USA, Inc.

Dr. Whitnee L. Simmons

Mr. William G. Poindexter, IV

Simons Foundation

Mr. Donald L. Price

Mrs. Sarah J. Skelton

Mr. John L. Prichard, Jr.

Mr. Ronnie Sleeper

Dr. Deborah D. Rabinowitz

Dr. Dennis W. Smith, Jr.

Dr. Nicole Rader

Dr. Laura T. Smith

Ramapo Trust

Ms. Llana Y. Smith

Ms. Christina M. Ramazani

Mrs. Renee S. Smith

Ms. Betty P. Ratliff-Parker

Ms. Sabrina A. Smith

Raymond James Charitable

Mr. Lloyd A. Solomon

Endowment Fund

Southern Ionics, Inc.

Dr. Richard Carl Raymond

Mrs. Mimi B. Speyerer

Ms. Tiffany R. Raymond

Mrs. Lynn P. Stallones

Dr. Dale G. Read, Sr.

Mr. Charles W. Stanback, Jr.

Dr. R. Kirk Reid

Starkville Area Arts Council, Inc.

Renasant Bank

Starkville Urology Clinic

Revocable Trust by John W. Green, Jr. or Patricia T. Green

Statewide Federal Credit Union

Richard and Donna Wolf Trust Richard Dean Charitable Trust Mr. Michael E. Richardson


Ms. Cynthia M. Stevens Dr. Sean L. Stokes Dr. Randolph Stone


The Schwab Charitable Fund Dr. Timothy N. Thomas Mr. Nicholas K. Thompson Mr. John Thornton Truist Mr. James T. Tyler Mr. William D. Vanderbrink Vanguard Charitable Mrs. Rae N. Vaughn Mr. Michael L. Vice Ms. Barbara M. Vlahakis W. K. Kellogg Foundation Mrs. Amy L. Walker Dr. Diane E. Wall Ms. Katherine E. Walton Mr. Chester C. Wasser, III Dr. H. Chris Waterer Dr. Alex G. Waterson Mr. William S. Watkins Watson Heidelberg Jones PLLC Dr. Donald Q. Weaver Mr. Tom Webb Dr. Charles E. Webster Dr. Richard Weddle Ms. Infanta C. White

Dr. David O. Wipf Dr. Perisco A. Wofford

Ms. Antionett Word Ms. Heather C. Worley Mr. James H. Worley Mr. Mark A. Worthey Dr. Xue Xu Mrs. Melissa L. Yarborough Mrs. Camille Scales Young Dr. Dongmao Zhang Dr. Cheng-Li Zu

PROMOTIONS & TENURE DEPARTMENT.............. NAME................................................................ PROMOTION Classical and Modern Languages and Literature......Keith Moser................................................................................Professor Classical and Modern Languages and Literature......Silvia Arroyo...............................................................................Associate Classical and Modern Languages and Literature......Brian Davisson..........................................................................Associate Classical and Modern Languages and Literature......Sol Pelaez....................................................................................Associate Classical and Modern Languages and Literature......Karim Simpore..........................................................................Associate English......................................Becky Hagenston.....................................................................Professor English......................................Robert West................................................................................Professor Geosciences.............................Shrinidhi Ambinaku................................................................Professor Geosciences.............................Renee Clary................................................................................Professor History......................................Mary Kathryn Barbier.............................................................Professor Physics and Astronomy.........Jinwu Ye.......................................................................................Professor Psychology...............................Michael Nadorff.......................................................................Associate

We Want Your News!

Psychology...............................E. Samuel Winer.......................................................................Associate Sociology..................................Raymond Barranco..................................................................Associate

RETIREES Anthropology & Middle Eastern Cultures.....................................................................Evan Peacock Chemistry............................................................................................................................ Andrzej Sygula Communication............................................................................................................... Mark Goodman Communication............................................................................................................Frances McDavid English.............................................................................................................................Shirley Hanshaw Geosciences........................................................................................................................Darrel Schmitz History.........................................................................................................................Stephen Middleton

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!

Mathematics & Statistics...................................................................................................Corlis Johnson Mathematics & Statistics........................................................................................................Nancy King Mathematics & Statistics.....................................................................................Thomas “Len” Miller Mathematics & Statistics...................................................................................................... Vivien Miller Mathematics & Statistics.....................................................................................................Patricia Shaw Political Science & Public Administration....................................................................Gerald Emison Communication.......................................................................................................................Donna Blair The Cobb Institute of Archaeology..................................................................................Koretta Reed Philosophy & Religion..................................................................................................Carolyn Andrews Physics & Astronomy......................................................................................................Connie Vaughn

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 kbrown@deanas.msstate.edu

Sociology......................................................................................................................................Pan Linley Sociology.........................................................................................................................................Jan Wells



2018-2019 Department Heads & Directors Aerospace Studies.....................................................................................................................Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. Cassidy II African American Studies........................................................................................................ Interim Director Donald M. Shaffer, Jr. Anthropology & Middle Eastern Cultures.................................................................................Department Head Hsain Ilahiane Biological Sciences..................................................................................................................................Department Head Angus Dawe Chemistry.................................................................................................................................................. Department Head Dennis Smith Classical & Modern Languages and Literatures................................................................Department Head Peter L. Corrigan Communication...................................................................................................................................... Department Head John E. Forde English......................................................................................................................................................Department Head Daniel Punday Gender Studies...........................................................................................................................................................Director Kimberly Kelly General Liberal Arts............................................................................................................................................................Advisor Tracy Britt General Science..........................................................................................................................................................Advisor R. Torsten Clay Geosciences....................................................................................................................................... Department Head John C. Rodgers History.......................................................................................................................................................Department Head Alan I. Marcus Interdisciplinary Studies...................................................................... Academic Coordinators Barbara Stewart and Tracy Britt Academic Advisor Kasondra Harris



Mathematics & Statistics...........................................................................................................Department Head Mohsen Razzaghi Military Science...................................................................................................................................Lieutenant Colonel David Sarrette MSU Meridian............................................................................................ Division Head of Arts and Sciences Richard V. Damms Philosophy & Religion..................................................................................................................................Department Head John Bickle Physics & Astronomy .................................................................................................................... Department Head Mark A. Novotny Political Science & Public Administration ..............................................................................Department Head P. Edward French Psychology..............................................................................................................................................Department Head Mitchell Berman Sociology................................................................................................................................... Interim Department Head Adele Crudden Cobb Institute of Archaeology.................................................................................................................................Director Jimmy Hardin Institute for the Humanities..........................................................................................................................................Director Julia Osman John C. Stennis Institute of Government ...................................................................... Executive Director Joseph “Dallas” Breen

Your savings, your legacy You have worked hard and saved for retirement. Now use your savings to create your legacy by making an IRA charitable rollover gift to the Mississippi State University Foundation. If you are 70½ or older, you can:

• • • • •

avoid taxes on IRA transfers up to $100,000; satisfy some or all of your required minimum distribution for the year; reduce your taxable income, even if you don’t itemize deductions; make a gift that is not subject to charitable contribution deduction limits; and use your rollover to make payments on an existing pledge to MSU.

For more information on IRA charitable rollover giving, contact the MSU Foundation Office of Planned Giving.

Wes Gordon, Director of Planned Giving (662) 325-3707 | wgordon@foundation.msstate.edu MSU is an AA/EEO university.



Post Office Box AS Mississippi State, MS 39762

Mailing Address: Post Office Box AS Mississippi State, MS 39762

Physical Address: 175 Presidents Circle Mississippi State, MS 39762

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Profile for MSU - Arts & Sciences

Vision (Spring/Summer 2019)  

Vision (Spring/Summer 2019)