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MSU, American Cancer Society teaming up to ‘TACKLE CANCER’

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 17:20

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University and the American Cancer Society are inviting members of the campus and surrounding communities to attend the inaugural “TACKLE CANCER” Kickoff Event.

Taking place Thursday [Oct. 8] at Davis Wade Stadium’s Gridiron Club, festivities begin at 7 p.m. Cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served. The event also will feature a silent auction and special appearances by The Famous Maroon Band, new Bully mascot Jak and MSU cheerleaders.

Straton Karatassos, MSU associate athletic director for development, will serve as emcee.

Tickets are $50 per person. To purchase tickets, make a general donation or obtain sponsorship information, contact Libba Hardwick at or visit

“Mississippi State is the first school in the SEC to launch the new ‘TACKLE CANCER’ breast cancer awareness program benefitting the American Cancer Society,” said Julia Meyers, corporate relations account manager for ACS Mid-South Division in Birmingham, Alabama.

Victoria A. “Tori” Wilson, co-director for the MSU Student Association’s health and sustainability committee, said breast cancer awareness activities have been scheduled for the week leading up to Saturday’s [Oct. 10] “Think Pink” home football game against the Troy University Trojans.

Fans in the upper levels of Davis Wade Stadium are encouraged to wear white, while those in the lower levels are asked to wear maroon.

Breast cancer survivors also will be honored during the game. Those who would like to be recognized are asked to contact Meyers at (404) 538-6069 or

The week’s events include:

Oct. 7—Wellness Wednesday on the Drill Field

The SA’s health and sustainability and community and governmental relations committees will pass out stickers, hashtag #TACKLECANCERMSU bracelets and fast fact sheets to raise breast cancer awareness. Additionally, committee members will be promoting a #TACKLECANCERMSU Instagram contest. Prizes will be awarded.

Oct. 8, 4-6 p.m.—The Pink Dawg Walk, Chadwick Lake walking track at Joe Frank Sanderson Center

MSU’s Department of Health Promotion and Wellness again is sponsoring this free, family-friendly breast cancer awareness event. The first 350 people who complete the walk will receive a free t-shirt. Breast health and cancer prevention information will be available at various educational stations. Participants also can enjoy samplings of healthy recipes and other free treats. Prizes will be awarded to those deemed the best dressed in pink attire.

Oct. 9—Pink Friday

In addition to supporting the university’s “Maroon Friday” tradition, interested members of the campus community are encouraged to wear pink all week to promote breast cancer awareness.

For more details, contact Wilson at

Additional information about MSU Athletics may be found at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Breast cancer awareness Pink Dawg Walk returns to MSU

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 16:53
Jordan Ramsey walks the 2014 Pink Dawg Walk with her father, Lynn Reinschmidt, and her son, Ryan. The family participates to promote awareness and preventative measures, as well as in memory of Judy Reinschmidt, who passed away in 2003 from breast cancer. (Photo by Lee Bryant)

Contact: Georgia Clarke

Jordan Ramsey walks the 2014 Pink Dawg Walk with her father, Lynn Reinschmidt, and her son, Ryan. The family participates to promote awareness and preventative measures, as well as in memory of Judy Reinschmidt, who passed away in 2003 from breast cancer.

STARKVILLE, Miss.—In recognition of an illness that affects more than 200,000 American women each year, Mississippi State’s Department of Health Promotion and Wellness is hosting the second Pink Dawg Walk on Thursday [Oct. 8] as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

From 4-6 p.m., all are encouraged to dress in their most creative pink attire for the mile-long walk around the Chadwick Lake walking track.

In addition to the walk, educational stations will be available with information on breast health and cancer prevention. The first 350 people to complete the walk will receive a free t-shirt.

Pumpkin decorating, healthy fall treats and recipes and special appearances from MSU’s mascot Jak and the Chick-Fil-A cow will contribute to the fun.

“So many people are affected by breast cancer. Everyone knows at least one person who has been diagnosed with it. The survival rate continues to increase partly due to people being more aware and learning more about early detection. Events like this are designed to increase awareness but have a little fun while doing it,” said JuLeigh Baker, a health and wellness educator for University Health Services.

“This is a great event for the MSU family to come out to show support and create more awareness for breast cancer and its survivors,” she added.  

In addition to MSU’s Department of Health Promotion and Wellness, sponsors of the event are Baptist Hospital Cancer Center, Gentiva Home Health and Hospice, Center for Breast Health and Imaging of Starkville and Aramark.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

First female African American MSU architecture grad memorialized

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 14:28

Contact: Addie Mayfield

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Nashville, Tennessee, resident is honoring the memory of a family member who made history at Mississippi State.

Betsy Jackson, along with her siblings, recently established the Sheila Rene Jackson Memorial Endowed Scholarship in the university’s College of Architecture, Art and Design.

In 1984, Sheila Jackson became the first female African American receiving a bachelor’s degree from the School of Architecture. She went on to a professional design career with the City of Atlanta and Georgia Institute of Technology Research Institute, among other organizations.

“The School of Architecture is honored to be the recipient of this generous memorial scholarship,” said school director Michael Berk. “She was a pioneer in helping to break gender and racial barriers in the architectural profession, and remains an incredible role model for us all.”

Berk, who also holds the school’s F.L. Crane Endowed Professorship, said the Jackson Scholarship will be awarded to a worthy student completing the final year of the school’s traditional five-year undergraduate program. Among other criteria, preference will be given to female African American majors, he added.

“My sister believed in helping others,” Betsy Jackson said. “My siblings and I wanted to do something that would not only honor Sheila’s legacy at MSU, but also would do what meant the most to her, help others.”

Established in 1973, MSU’s architecture school offers the only accredited professional degree of its kind in Mississippi. Housed in downtown Jackson, the senior-year study requirement was the nation’s first self-contained, fifth-year program in the major.

For information on creating scholarships through the College of Architecture, Art and Design, contact Perry K. “P.K.” Thomas, the college’s development director, at 662-325-2464 or

For more about the School of Architecture and other College of Architecture, Art and Design academic programs, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

'CTL 101: Best Practices in Online Instruction' sessions to begin Oct. 12

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 13:54

The Center for Teaching and Learning at Mississippi State will offer "CTL 101: Best Practices in Online Instruction" from Oct. 12 to Nov. 8.

The online course will highlight best practices in online education for both experienced and first-time instructors. It is designed to address critical issues in online delivery that are key elements of quality instruction.

The training will be taught completely online using myCourses — — over the four-week period. Completion of this course leads to CTL certification in distance instruction.

Space is limited to 15 participants in each session. To register, please visit

If you would like additional information about this course or require special assistance relating to a disability, please contact Linda Morse at 662-325-2083 or

Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra presents ‘Jazz at Renasant’

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 13:08
Charles E. “Charlie” Sorto, a senior music education major from Pontotoc, performs at the Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra’s annual Jazz at Renasant concert last year. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Charles E. “Charlie” Sorto, a senior music education major from Pontotoc, performs at the Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra’s annual Jazz at Renasant concert last year. (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.— The Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony Orchestra will present “Jazz at Renasant” during a Tuesday [Oct. 13] evening concert at the city’s Renasant Bank plaza.

Free and open to all, the 6 p.m. outdoor performance sponsored by the Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony Association features a nine-piece band and vocalists performing jazz, swing, blues, Latin and ballad standards.

Vocalists include MSU assistant professor Tara Warfield, lecturers Jeanette Fontaine and Chris Jordan, senior music education major Corinne D. “Cori” Reece of Aberdeen and junior music major Abby L. Weinstein of Marietta, Georgia.

Other soloists include associate professors Richard Human and Cliff Taylor, also MSU associate director of bands, on trombone; instructor Sheri Falcone, Armstrong Middle School and Starkville High School band director Doug Thomas, and senior music education major Tyler J. Stallings of Pontotoc, on saxophone; Myra Wingo, MSU summa cum laude music education graduate now teaching at Richland Elementary School in Richland, on piano; James Nail, MSU music graduate and serials specialist in Mitchell Memorial Library’s Office of Thesis and Dissertation Format Review, on bass; and senior music education major Kevin R. West of Byram, drums.

Michael Brown, MSU music professor and SSO music director, will play trumpet and conduct the band.

Selections for the evening concert include “Take the A Train,” “The Nearness of You,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Round Midnight,” “Blues in Hoss Flat,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” and “Misty.”

The bank is located at the intersection of East Lampkin and South Montgomery streets.

Seating is limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition to lawn chairs and blankets, patrons are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy during the twilight performance.

For additional concert information, contact Brown at 662-325-3070 or

Founded in 1969, the Starkville-MSU Symphony Association is a non-profit volunteer organization whose members work to educate, enlighten and share classical music with the city, university campus and other communities in the Golden Triangle region. Producing high-quality musical events and increasing awareness for the arts are its primary missions. For more, visit and

In addition to MSU and the City of Starkville, major association contributors include the J.W. Criss Foundation, Mississippi Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Renasant Bank, Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Columbus-based Gildea Foundation.

The association accepts tax-deductible donations via the MSU Foundation. To contribute, contact Lynn Durr at 662-325-8918 or

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

McGee joins Mississippi State alumni staff

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 15:42
Casey McGee (Photo by Russ Houston)

Contact: Amy Cagle

Casey McGee (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The 130-year-old Alumni Association of Mississippi State University is welcoming a new professional staff member. Starkville native Casey McGee began her duties Sept. 21 as the new assistant coordinator for chapter and recruitment programs.

The Alumni Association was founded June 17, 1885, by the first three graduating classes of what then was Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College. The association strives to foster lifelong relationships through programs, activities and events for the university’s alumni, and McGee will play a key role in carrying out this mission.

McGee will provide guidance and advice for the university’s 95 alumni chapters and their leaders. In her role, she also serves as a liaison between the Alumni Association and the Office of Admissions and Scholarships, and will personally work with alumni to further the role of this group in student recruiting. Mississippi State currently has more than 132,000 living alumni.

“Casey brings great knowledge of and passion for MSU to this position,” said Jeff Davis, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association.  “I am confident she will be a strong asset to the Division of Development and Alumni and our Alumni Association team.”

McGee received her bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in public relations in 2015 from Mississippi State. While a student, she was communications manager for the EcoCAR 3 team and served as vice president of public relations and as scholarship committee chair for the association’s Alumni Delegates.

“My time of service as an Alumni Delegate developed a strong passion in me not only for Mississippi State, but also for the mission of the Alumni Association,” McGee said.

McGee comes to the Alumni Association from A2H Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee, where she served as marketing coordinator. 

For more on the MSU Alumni Association, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

MSU administrators, faculty named SEC academic leadership fellows

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 14:55

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Greg Hall (Photo by Megan Bean)Linda Cornelious (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Four Mississippi State administrators and faculty members are among 50 selected as 2015-16 Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program Fellows.

Since its inception in 2008, the professional development program has worked to identify, prepare and professionally advance academic leaders for key roles at each of the 14 SEC-member universities.

The MSU honorees include:

—Linda Cornelious, professor in the instructional systems and workforce development department.

—Greg G. Hall, professor and associate dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design.

—Ron McLaughlin, professor and associate dean for administration in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

—Linda W. Morse, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and professor in the counseling and educational psychology department.

Linda Morse (Photo by Megan Bean)Ron McLaughlin (Photo by Tom Thompson)

Through this academic initiative, the athletic conference works to sponsor, support and promote collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students. Providing an online platform to showcase achievements of these individuals on regional, national and international levels is among its primary missions.

Designated by provosts at the respective institutions, ALDP liaisons serve as the conference’s primary point of academic contact.

“The individuals selected by their SEC universities to participate in the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program represent the future of higher education administration,” said SECU Executive Director Torie Johnson. “The leadership skills they already possess are sure to be enhanced by the SEC ALDP experience.”

Cornelious is a Florida State University doctoral graduate who was named in 2003 as Outstanding Faculty Woman of the Year by the MSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women. A published author, she regularly serves as presenter and leader at national, regional and state professional conferences. Her primary areas of research include, among others, instructional technology, educational leadership, multicultural education and community service learning.

Hall is an award-winning architect, educator and administrator with extensive local, regional and international experience. He holds a doctoral degree from University of Hong Kong and bachelor’s degree from University of Texas at Austin, both in architecture. Along with receiving a certificate in Japanese language from Osaka, Japan-based Kansai University of Foreign Studies, Hall completed liberal arts studies at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa. In addition to cross-departmental undergraduate and graduate courses in such areas as design and construction technology, he has developed and taught courses on architecture design management and global architecture practice.

McLaughlin, a board-certified veterinary surgeon who specializes in small animal surgery, started at MSU-CVM in 2000 as an associate professor and chief of surgery. He became head of the department of clinical sciences in 2006. A University of Missouri-Columbia veterinary medicine doctoral graduate, he provided leadership in establishing the college’s Veterinary Medical Technology program, one of only three 4-year veterinary technology programs in the country.

Morse is a Florida State University doctoral graduate with extensive experience in instructional design, development and evaluation. Along with being a John Grisham Master Teacher, she is a research fellow for the university’s Social Science Research Center, where her efforts focus on cognition issues and development.

For more about the SEC Academic Leadership Development program, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Benefits open enrollment underway

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 01:00

Starting Thursday [Oct. 1], benefits open enrollment will be available for eligible Mississippi State University employees. Open enrollment is required only if you are adding new coverage, changing existing coverage or canceling coverage. If you aren’t adding new coverage, changing existing coverage or canceling coverage, you do not need to participate in open enrollment, and your current benefits will continue into 2016.

The Human Resources Management (HRM) Web site -- -- provides information and resources needed for Open Enrollment.

For those who do not have access to a computer, please visit HRM in person at McArthur Hall, Room 150, or call 662-325-3713 to obtain this information.

Off-campus open enrollment options include:

Central Mississippi Research and Extension, Raymond
Monday, Oct. 5, 2015
10 a.m.-1 p.m.

North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, Verona
Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015
10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Delta Research and Extension Center, Stoneville
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015
10 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 12, 2015
3-6 p.m.

Coastal Research and Extension Center, Biloxi
Monday, Oct. 26, 2015
1-3 p.m.

All online elections must be completed by Oct. 25. Completed application forms must be received by HRM on Oct. 31 to be effective for 2016.

There are three ways to complete the open enrollment process:

Online Open Enrollment: Step-by-step instructions for completing Online Open Enrollment are available on the HRM Web site -- -- during the open enrollment period Oct. 1 through Oct. 25.

HRM Benefits Staff: If you need assistance from the HRM Benefits Staff, we encourage you to schedule an appointment by calling 662-325-3713. The Department of Human Resources Management, 150 McArthur Hall, will be open between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to assist employees as needed.

HRM Web site: You may refer to the HRM Web site,, to obtain product information and appropriate forms in the benefits section.

Planned power outage next week will affect limited number of frat houses, Tri-Delta house

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 17:46

A planned power outage has been scheduled for Monday [Oct. 5] from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to facilitate construction activities at the Delta Delta Delta sorority house at Mississippi State.

During the outage, the Tri-Delta house, as well as the Farmhouse Fraternity house, Phi Delta Theta house and Delta Chi house, will be without power.

MSU nutrition graduate students to compete in RICE Bowl

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 17:31
The second RICE Bowl will take place in Jackson on Oct. 27.

Contact: Georgia Clarke

The second RICE Bowl will take place in Jackson on Oct. 27.

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Three Mississippi State University graduate students will travel to the state capital Oct. 27 to take part in the second RICE Bowl.

An interdisciplinary health-care competition whose title is an acronym for Rural Interdisciplinary Case Experience, the 5:30-7:30 p.m. event takes place in the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s conference center at the Jackson Medical Mall.

Interested members of the general public are being encouraged to attend both the competition and reception that follows at the location. 

All pursuing master’s degrees and serving as dietetic interns in the food science, nutrition and health promotion department, the MSU team includes Tiffany M. Mihaliak of Clarksburg, West Virginia; Kayla E. Proctor of Ocean Springs; and Brooke A. West of Ashburn, Virginia.

Proctor is pursuing her third degree in the academic major from MSU, with a bachelor’s degree completed in 2013 and her first master’s the following year. Mihaliak is a graduate of West Virginia University; West, Virginia Tech University.

The Rice Bowl again is organized by UMMC’s Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities and Office of Population Health. The challenge was designed to provide an experiential learning opportunity for students from multiple disciplines working in teams to address complex rural health issues.

In addition to MSU and UMMC, institutions represented this year will include Belhaven and Jackson State universities, Mississippi College and University of Mississippi.

“This is a great opportunity for graduate students and dietetic interns to practice their critical thinking skills while participating in a friendly multidisciplinary case study competition and working with graduate students in other healthcare disciplines,” said MSU professor Diane Tidwell.

Tidwell directs the department’s didactic program in dietetics. For more on the department, visit

Complete details on the Rice Bowl are found at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading research university, available online at

MSU research center fellow selected for prestigious Japanese program

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 16:59
AnnaMaria Cornelia of Belgium and Emily Roush-Elliot of Mississippi State are pictured during a week in Japan as participants of The Outstanding Young Persons Program of Osaka’s Junior Chamber International organization. (submitted photo)

Contact: Christie McNeal

AnnaMaria Cornelia of Belgium and Emily Roush-Elliot of Mississippi State are pictured during a week in Japan as participants of The Outstanding Young Persons Program of Osaka’s Junior Chamber International organization. (submitted photo)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—An architect with Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design recently returned from a week-long collaborative learning experience in Japan as part of an international group of young professionals.

Emily Roush-Elliott was selected for The Outstanding Young Persons Program of Osaka’s Junior Chamber International organization. She is the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow at the Fred Carl Small Town Center, the research arm of MSU’s School of Architecture.

Since 1981, the Japanese organization has worked “to encourage mutual understanding and communications beyond national frameworks.” Annually, it invites less than a dozen individuals representing a variety of career fields throughout the world to gather, discuss, learn from and encourage each other.

This year’s TOYP program covered a range of critical issues and was designed to expand the participants’ knowledge of and appreciation for the Pacific island nation’s highly evolved culture.

Roush-Elliot expressed appreciation for being selected, adding that she was “particularly excited” about this year’s program theme, “Designing Society for Equity.”

“Utilizing design thinking to respond to the globe’s most complex social equity challenges is at the core of my work and the work of the organizations of which I am a part,” she said.

“It was a great honor to be chosen as a participant. The JCI Osaka members were gracious and attentive hosts who introduced us to Japanese culture while also engaging us around issues of national importance, such as gender inequity and a parallel decline in population and economic growth,” she added.

In 2012, the Carl Center became one of only four national organizations designated to receive an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow.

Roush-Elliot arrived at MSU early the following year and since has lead the Baptist Town Neighborhood Reinvestment project in Greenwood. She holds degrees in design from Arizona State University and architecture from the University of Cincinnati.

During her time in the Leflore County seat, Roush-Elliot has focused on planning and constructing a park, playground, streetscapes and signage. She also has opened a community center and organized participatory activities in the Central Delta community.

Additionally, her multi-disciplinary MSU team had completed an 11-unit modular housing project in which low-income families were able to purchase new homes from the Greenwood-Leflore Fuller Center for Housing.

Roush-Elliot joins nearly 200 that have been selected for the prestigious Japanese program since it was established more than three decades ago. Among others are Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc.; former presidential aide Roger B. Porter; and Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity.

Greg G. Hall, associate dean of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, was a 1994 selection. He described the program as a valuable opportunity to discuss critical issues with colleagues from around the world, as well as Japanese business leaders.

“We’re excited that Emily was invited to participate,” he added. “Her experience as an architect and her work with the Carl Small Town Center in the Mississippi Delta provide an especially important viewpoint.”

The national Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship was created to provide a select group of the nation’s most outstanding early-career architects with opportunities for first-hand training and experience in sustainable community design work. For more, visit The Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship.

Complete information about MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design is found at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

MSU researcher receives national grant for HIV study

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 12:10
Kristina B. Hood (Photo by Russ Houston)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Kristina B. Hood (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A new national research grant is supporting a Mississippi State faculty member’s investigation of HIV intervention efforts focused on African American women.

Kristina B. Hood will use the two-year award totaling more than $280,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health for her project titled “Increasing rural substance-using African American women’s access to evidenced-based HIV intervention.”

According to the assistant professor of psychology who came to the university in 2012, HIV/AIDS continues to be a major public health threat, particularly for rural areas with limited access to prevention resources.

“Condom use is an effective method of preventing HIV transmission, and a number of interventions have been developed to increase condom use among sexually active individuals,” she said. “Such interventions have been shown to increase condom use intentions and behaviors, but they have limited reach, thus using time and resources without notable large scale impacts on HIV efforts.”

Hood said findings from her study could help spotlight the use of social media “as a wide reaching, cost-effective method to implement evidence-based, group-level HIV interventions for individuals with limited access to prevention services.”

As a result, she said “increased scalability and reach of HIV programing could aid in preventing new HIV infections, particularly in populations of increased risk.”

Founded in 1887, the NIH is recognized as the world’s foremost medical research organization. In addition to conducting investigations in its own laboratories, the agency supports the efforts of non-governmental professionals like Hood working at universities, medical schools, hospitals and other research institutions throughout the country and abroad.

Along with HIV prevention and preventative health behaviors, Hood’s research interests include gender roles and beliefs, substance use and misuse, and the promotion of positive health outcomes among underserved populations.

MSU’s psychology department is part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

In congratulating Hood for receiving the NIH honor, Dean R. Gregory Dunaway said the “very competitive and prestigious award will allow her to make a significant contribution in understanding the impact of HIV on African American women.”

Her achievement is the latest example of the psychology department’s “excellent research reputation,” he observed.

Hood is a psychology graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. Along with social psychology master’s and doctoral degrees, she also holds criminal justice and sociology master’s degrees.

For more on the NIH, visit

To learn more about MSU’s psychology department, see

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R03DA039744. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Federal grant enables MSU-led study of early childhood data

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 10:32

Contact: Carol Gifford

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A recent $6.5 million federal grant is supporting a Mississippi State-led examination of best practices in early-childhood educational services.

Funding for the award comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to the Mississippi Department of Education and the university’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center.

The project involves the collection and application of statewide early childhood data to conduct research aimed at improving early-childhood outcomes. Both the delivery and effectiveness of services for preschool children will be examined, along with how early learning impacts long-term outcomes as children enter the K-12 system.

“Mississippi is committed to engaging in scientific research as an important vehicle to improve the quality of early childhood outcomes,” said Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, NSPARC executive director.

“This project will allow us to determine the effectiveness of specific services to preschoolers,” he said, adding that state policymakers “will be able to use our research to strategically allocate resources that lead to better outcomes for our children.”

Parisi said Mississippi was among 16 states chosen to receive the grant from a national pool of 43 applicants. Specifically, it should allow Mississippi to enhance its capacity for providing data for research and evaluation that builds on earlier efforts establishing a secure data system necessary to study educational programming.

John Q. Porter, chief information officer in MDE’s Office of Technology and Strategic Services, said the federal award “will enable a level of collaboration never before achieved in Mississippi.

“We will use the grant to hire professionals to develop dashboard analytics and provide professional development to nurture a culture of data literacy and sharing from the pre-kindergarten classroom to college, university and workforce provider,” Porter said.

Parisi observed that NSPARC’s collaboration with MDE and other state agencies illustrates how the university’s academic and technical expertise continues to provide innovative solutions for complex education issues.

“Children and families will ultimately benefit from this collaboration,” Parisi emphasized. “Families will be able to make more informed choices about the services they want and the outcomes they expect.”

For more about NSPARC, visit Parisi may be reached at 662-325-9242.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Panola County junior at MSU authors national research study

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 17:34
Lucas J. Ferguson (Photo by Tom Thompson)

Contact: Karen Templeton

Lucas J. Ferguson (Photo by Tom Thompson)

STARKVILLE, Miss—A Batesville honors student at Mississippi State is the lead author on a research study being published in the December edition of an international medical journal.

The report in Virology by university junior Lucas J. Ferguson is titled “Influenza D virus infection in Mississippi beef cattle.” A new influenza virus and its impacts on bovine production systems is the article’s focus.

Ferguson, a double-major in microbiology and biochemistry, is a graduate of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus. A first-place winner earlier this year in MSU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium competition, he is a President’s List Scholar and Shackouls Honors College member.

As part of a research effort guided by Dr. Henry Wan, an associate professor with MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, he and others investigated a novel influenza virus distantly related to human influenza C virus to which nearly all humans have been exposed at some point.

In 2011, a related virus called IDV was found in swine in Oklahoma. Later detected in bovine in the United States, France and China, it most recently has affected cattle populations in Texas, California, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

“We wanted to learn more about IDV’s epidemiology and if it was present at any point in Mississippi cattle,” Ferguson said. “We also wanted to understand the impact of beef production management on virus infection and maintenance.”

The MSU-led team included Drs. Bill Epperson, Carla Huston and David Smith, and Li-Ping Long, all with the veterinary college. Others were Drs. Richard Webby and Laura Eckard with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ferguson said the team has determined that IDV has existed in Mississippi beef cattle since 2004. Data also suggests that weaned, comingled calves transmit the virus more rapidly than other cattle populations, he explained.

Having studied influenza viruses since his graduate work in China, Wan said this latest investigation “will help us know where to look for influenza cases.” Cattle producers also will have information “to help them better control transmission,” he said.

As an MSMS senior, Ferguson first learned basic biosafety and laboratory research skills while working in Wan’s CVM laboratory. To expand his developing scientific skills, he enrolled at MSU after graduation and continued working with the CVM’s influenza research program.

Wan established the research program in 2009 after coming to MSU from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. He currently focuses on the ecology, evolution and host-pathogen relationship for emerging and re-emerging infectious and zoonotic diseases.

Zoonotic diseases are those communicable between animals and humans.

As a senior next year, Ferguson said he plans to continue studying the ecology of influenza viruses—that is, how they interact with their environment and spread among their hosts.

“Influenza is so versatile, so research in this area could potentially be beneficial to making better vaccines and protecting human and animal populations,” Ferguson said.

Wan said he typically recruits two to three undergraduates each year like Ferguson who have shown a strong interest in microbiology, biochemistry, engineering or related fields.

Over the past four years, more than 10 undergraduates have worked in his campus influenza research program. In addition to MSU, they attended Hiram College, Mississippi Valley State and Spring Arbor universities and the universities of Memphis, Michigan and Southern Mississippi.

To read the report by the MSU research team, see

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

New federal policy in place for dual use research of concern

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 16:56

On Sept. 24, the U.S. Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) went into effect. The issue of DURC is a shared responsibility between the federal government and institutions receiving funding for life science research.

Mississippi State University through the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) has been reviewing research using biohazardous material for dual use potential since 2011. Based on the federal DURC policy, a subset of the IBC called the Institutional Review Entity (IRE) will now officially review this type of research.

While a subset of the IBC will act in the capacity of the IRE, they are both separate and distinct with different charges, responsibilities, policies and procedures.

The 15 agents/toxins that comprise the material with dual use potential are all select agents, and 14 out of 15 require a minimum of biosafety-level 3 containment. The lone toxin, if used below a certain quantity, does not require select agent registration and may be used at biosafety level 2 if the risk assessment determines that it is safe to do so.

In order for research to be considered DURC, two conditions must be met:

* The research involves one of the 15 listed agents/toxin; and,

* Can produce one or more of the effects listed in the seven experimental categories described in the U.S. government policy.

Mississippi State's Institutional Review Entity will review all research identified by the principal investigator as having dual use potential following the procedure outlined in IRE-SOP-001.

Please direct any questions to Patricia Cox at 662-325-0620 or

California artist named new MSU-Refuge artist-in-residence

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 16:52
“Vulnerability Rocks!” by Nancy Mizuno Elliott

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

“Vulnerability Rocks!” by Nancy Mizuno Elliott

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State’s newest artist-in-residence is beginning her 11-day stay at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge.

Through her scheduled October 6 departure date, watercolor artist Nancy Mizuno Elliott plans to conduct research and host small discussions on her artwork. She also will visit classes and interact with art students at the university.

Located 12 miles south of the Starkville campus, the more than 48,000-acre federal land reserve spanning Oktibbeha, Noxubee and Winston counties was established in 1940. It serves as a feeding and resting area for migratory birds and resident wildlife, including white-tailed deer, alligators and beaver. Wetlands, cypress groves, prairie grasslands and forest also are among its many features.

A watercolor instructor at City College of San Francisco, Elliott attempts to create personal urban folk art through the use of common materials and discussions of everyday situations that make up a life.

“In general, my work examines intimacy, power and human behavior,” she said. “I confront embarrassing moments, unpleasant feelings and difficult situations, while maintaining a wry humor that tempers the discomfort of my subject matter.”

Elliott said images often come to her in the form of reactionary flashes to what she has heard, seen or experienced.

“My work is a visual diary, brimming with suffering and sap that rests in the space between memory and imagination,” she said. “Through the use of confessing characters and tattletale personas, I guide the viewer down a multi-layered narrative path.”

Currently residing in Oakland, California, Elliott holds a Master of Fine Arts with Distinction from the University of Georgia, as well as bachelor’s degrees in psychology and art from University of California at Berkeley. For more biographical information, visit

In addition to the MSU art department, the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife artist-in-residence program is a collaborative effort of the refuge and its Friends organization, along with the Starkville Area Arts Council.

Previous participants in the artist-in-residence program have included painter and Webster County native William “Bill” Dunlap; printmaker Kathryn Hunter of Decatur, Alabama; Pennsylvania ceramicist Lilly Zuckerman; mural artist and illustrator Michael Roy of Jackson County; New Orleans artist and critic Marian S. McLellan; New York artists Caetlynn Booth and Tyson Washburn; Mississippi Audubon Master Naturalist and artist Robin Whitfield of Grenada; Iowa artist Barbara Fedeler; MSU fine arts/sculpture graduate Shelby Nichols of Aberdeen; and San Francisco artist and curator Jenny Balisle.

Complete refuge information is found at,, and

Part of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, the art department offers a bachelor of fine arts degree, with concentrations in graphic design, photography and fine art (ceramics, drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture). For more information, visit, and

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Residence hall construction to close parking spaces temporarily

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 15:30

The ongoing construction of new residence halls at Mississippi State will temporarily close several parking spaces.

Beginning Friday [Oct. 2] at 8 a.m., approximately four parking spaces in the Memorial Hall parking lot will be closed until Wednesday [Oct. 7] at 8 a.m. No thru-traffic will be allowed during the closure. Please see the accompanying map for details.

Thank you for your patience during this temporary closure.

Oktibbeha Countian assumes MSU Foundation leadership role

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 15:08
Ally Walker (Photo by Russ Houston)

Contact: Amy Cagle

Ally Walker (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Sidney A. “Ally” Walker is Mississippi State’s new associate director of annual giving.

In a new role that began earlier this month, the Starkville native is working to secure major annual giving commitments, assist with special campaigns and focus on specific university programs such as the Compass Scholarships.

Walker is a 2009 MSU communication/public relations graduate with a minor in marketing.

Focusing on business development, outside sales, and project management, she worked previously at Beech Street Capital in Bethesda, Maryland, and Skyline DFW Exhibits and Events in Grand Prairie, Texas.

“Ally brings knowledge and a lot of enthusiasm to this position, and I am confident she will be a strong asset to the Annual Giving team,” said Jana Berkery, director of annual giving for the MSU Foundation. “Her skillset and passion make her an excellent addition to our professional staff.”

As a fourth-generation MSU graduate, Walker said she is excited “to be working for the university I love."

“I’m looking forward to partnering with many dedicated alumni and friends to advance Mississippi State for its students, faculty and programs,” she added.

The MSU Annual Fund provides an avenue for donors to support any area of the 137-year-old land-grant institution. Gifts may be designated specifically for a college or school, academic department, scholarship fund or any other area.

The program also includes a telefunding center employing more than 50 students that make telephone solicitations of alumni and friends. In addition to solicitations, center staff members work to update MSU Alumni Association records during the contact process.

Mississippi State currently has more than 132,000 living alumni.

Offices for the MSU Foundation are located in the Hunter Henry Center. For more information on campus fundraising activities, visit Walker may be contacted at or 662-325-5977.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

'Avoiding Trouble with International Travel' seminar set for Wednesday afternoon

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:56

As a globally engaged institution, Mississippi State encourages its students, faculty and staff to pursue research and academic opportunities around the world. While there is an inherent risk associated with all travel, certain destinations call for heightened caution and additional preparation.

Join the university's Office of Research and Economic Development for an "Avoiding Trouble with International Travel" seminar on Wednesday [Sept. 30] from 1:30-3 p.m. in the Bost Extension Center theater.

Session topics include:

* The U.S. Passport — Your Most Valuable Travel Document

* Do's and Don'ts of Photography

* Legal and Illegal Gifts

* Ins and Outs of Hotels

* Traveling with Medications

* And more.

Neal Lewis, director of the Office of Research Security at Mississippi State, will lead the presentation.

Online registration for this session and others is available at


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