Journalism Students Gain Valuable Media Experience

UM partnerships with media help students get their work published, aired

Rachael Walker and Katie Williamson interviews Frank "Rat" Ratliff in front of Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale, Miss., March 15, 2013. Ratliff passed away 13 days after University of Mississippi students interviewed him about the hotel. Photo by Phillip Waller

OXFORD, Miss. – Students at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media have been gaining valuable work experience through partnerships with print and broadcast media outlets across the state.

Each year, about 60 students participate in newspaper reporting trips on which they spend a weekend writing stories or shooting photos for different papers. Broadcast students also have been working on pieces for Tupelo’s WTVA-TV and a local news website as part of the program.

In September, several students went to the Leland Progress newspaper and wrote pieces that will be used to create a magazine for visitors and newcomers. The students brought a fresh perspective, as many of them had never been to the small Delta town, said Stephanie Patton, editor and publisher of the Progress. That perspective is particularly useful for the magazine, which is also geared toward people who may not have been there before.

“It’s a great program, not just for the communities and the benefits Leland gets out of it, but it’s great for the students to get out and see different parts of Mississippi they haven’t been exposed to and also have this interaction with real business and city leaders,” Patton said. “That’s great real-world experience that you can’t always get inside a classroom.”

While in Leland, the students did a piece on Muppets’ creator Jim Henson’s ties to the area, the blues music scene and other stories.

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UM Anthropology Professor Wins Prestigious Faculty Award

Maureen Meyers’ SEAC recognition heralded by colleagues

Maureen Meyers

OXFORD, Miss. – Maureen Meyers is the recipient of a prestigious regional award recognizing her outstanding archaeological research.

The University of Mississippi assistant professor of anthropology was presented the C.B. Moore Award for Excellence in Archaeology by a Young Scholar in Southeastern Studies. The award was presented at the 70th annual Southeastern Archaeological Conference meeting in Tampa, Fla.

“This award is one of the highest honors in Southeastern archaeology, and I am humbled to receive it,” Meyers said. “Personally, it is gratifying to have my research and archaeological experience recognized, especially at the start of my academic career.”

The award was begun in 1990 by members of the Lower Mississippi Survey, a group of archaeologists from the 1950s who undertook large-scale archaeological survey in Mississippi, and whose work is now a hallmark in Southeastern archaeology.

“To be able to bring this award home to Mississippi means a lot, and I hope demonstrates that the Department of Sociology and Anthropology continues to set an academic standard in Southeastern archaeology,” Meyers said.

UM colleagues expressed great pride in Meyers’ achievement.

“Dr. Meyer’s prestigious award indicates to scholars and students alike, that this is an excellent department to study Southeastern archaeology,” said Kirsten Dellinger, chair and professor of sociology and anthropology. “It is a real honor to have a faculty member recognized for her research contributions so early in her career.”

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UM Accountancy Alumni Find Success in International Tax Practice

Trio recently helped establish new London office for Butler Snow

Barry Cannada

OXFORD, Miss. – Three graduates from the Patterson School of Accountancy at the University of Mississippi are doing big things in the world of international tax law practice. They helped establish Butler Snow‘s first overseas office, which opened in London earlier this year.

Brad Westerfield, Samantha Moore and Kurt Rademacher are attorneys who also hold accountancy and tax degrees from UM, as well as LL.M. degrees in taxation from New York University and their law degrees. They are among four lawyers on the staff of Butler Snow UK LLP.

R. Barry Cannada, chairman of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada’s business department, holds both accountancy and law degrees from UM. He said the new UK office has an impressive list of clients, including billionaires from around the world who trust Westerfield, Moore and Rademacher.

“They are as good as anyone in the world at what they do,” Cannada said.

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Start the New Year with ArtZone 2014

ArtZone classes at UM Museum provide education, artistic development for young children

2014 ArtZone program to begin on January 24.

OXFORD, Miss – The New Year summons Oxford-area students to the University of Mississippi Museum‘s ArtZone program. Designed for children in grades K-6, the 12-week program runs from Jan. 28 to April 24 and offers participants an opportunity to explore their own creativity.

“ArtZone is a unique after-school program in that it combines engaging art projects inspired by rarely seen artifacts from our collections with truly enriching educational material,” said Emily Dean, the museum’s curator of education.

Parents can choose Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday classes, all of which run 3:45-5 p.m. Each week, students use inspiration from a museum exhibit or artifact to create their own masterpieces.

“The highlight of the semester is a final reception where student work is exhibited in the museum and families are invited to celebrate the young artists,” Dean said.Read the story …

UM Museum to Create Interactive Learning Space

Grant provides funding for expansion of education programs

Emily Dean (R) reviews plans for the new interactive learning space in the UM Museum with volunteer Tierney Charlton.

OXFORD, Miss. – A recent grant from the Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow is helping the University of Mississippi Museum continue to build its educational programming.

The museum plans to use the LOFT grant for $3,993 to create an interactive educational area within its existing classroom space. The goal will be to facilitate discovery and exploration for young museum visitors.

“The museum has seen significant increases in its programming for children and families, reaching more than 11,000 children so far this year,” said Emily Dean, curator of education. “The new interactive area will help us improve the overall experience for these and more children.”

The museum is among six local agencies benefiting from the $14,493 in grants from LOFT. The museum project is slated to be completed by summer 2014. This proposal for the area was generously co-sponsored with a $500 donation from the Friends of the Museum to support the production of Family Learning Guides for young learners visiting the museum.

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Ford Center Continues Annual Shakespeare Symposium

New schedule and performance will enhance the lecture program and strengthen campus participation

OXFORD, Miss. – With generous support from the Ford Foundation, the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts will continue the annual Shakespeare Symposium, a crowd-favorite from the discontinued Oxford Shakespeare Festival.

The symposium will be expanded to include a performance and will be rescheduled from the summer to the fall or spring semester to allow more participation from the university community.

“With the closing of the Shakespeare Festival, there was a desire on campus to continue the lecture portion of the summer festival for the benefit of the students and faculty,” said Norm Easterbrook, Ford Center director. “This symposium is important to our campus. The addition of the performance activity will enhance the lecture and capture the inspiration that began with the Oxford Shakespeare Festival organizers.”Read the story …

Pharmacy Students Organize Vitamin Angels Fundraiser

Donations will provide vitamin A to more than 4,500 children worldwide

Cutline: Pharmacy students collected money for Vitamin Angels in front of the Union during Student Body Week.

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi pharmacy students are doing their part to help combat global malnutrition by raising funds for Vitamin Angels, a charitable organization that helps at-risk populations gain access to micronutrients.

The organization’s mission is to mobilize and deploy private resources to increase availability, access to and use of these micronutrients, particularly vitamin A.

Deborah I. Torres Ratliff, a second-year professional pharmacy student, or PY2, is vice president of operations for the Ole Miss chapter of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists, or APhA-ASP. As such, she planned, organized and implemented the Vitamin Angels fundraiser.

“As health care providers, we understand the severity of not receiving the essential vitamins we need for our everyday functioning, and we feel a responsibility to help in any way possible,” said Ratliff, an Ocean Springs native. “These children deserve a chance for a brighter future. Who would have realized that a quarter could have such an impact?”

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UM Southern Studies Director Edits Book on the Civil Rights Movement

Two UM alumni among authors of essays in the collection

OXFORD, Miss. – A symposium at the University of Mississippi has culminated in a book of essays about the civil rights movement.

“The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi,” edited by Center for the Study of Southern Culture director Ted Ownby, is based on new research and combines multiple scholarly approaches. The 12 essays tell new stories about the civil rights movement in the state most resistant to change. An event that combined the Porter Fortune Jr. History Symposium and the Future of the South Symposium enabled the scholars to come together to share their work.

As a group, the essays in “The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi” introduce numerous new characters and conundrums into civil rights scholarship, advance efforts to study African-Americans and whites as interactive agents in the complex stories, and encourage historians to pull civil rights scholarship closer toward the present.Read the story …

Books and Bears Brightens Holiday Season at UM

Annual charity event provides toys for Physical Plant employees and their families

Demetria Hereford, Assistant Director of the McNair Program, helps set out toys to be given away to university employees at the annual Books and Bears distribution.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Christmas holiday season got a whole lot brighter for the children and families of University of Mississippi Physical Plant employees as they received gifts Thursday morning (Dec. 19) at the Ole Miss Union Ballroom.

Smiles abounded as members of the Black Faculty and Staff Organization distributed more than 400 gifts through the annual Bears and Books program. The items were donated by UM faculty, staff and students, and Oxford merchants over the past three weeks. Reception was enthusiastic.

“It’s really a blessing that the university does this for us each year,” said Sammy McEwen of Oxford, an employee in general maintenance who has been coming to the program since its inception. “Books and Bears means the university is willing to reach out and show how much they care about their employees.”

The donations were noticed and very much appreciated by BFSO officials.

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Three Charged with Capital Murder of UM Graduate Student

OXFORD, Miss. – Three men have been arrested today and charged with the capital murder of University of Mississippi graduate student Zach McClendon, 25, who was found dead Wednesday morning on Levee Road in Lafayette County near Oxford.

Two of the three suspects in custody are UM students. They are Steven Matthew Wilbanks, 22, who is majoring in French and graduated from high school in Burnsville, N.C., and Derick Richard Boone, 23, a banking and finance major who graduated from high school in Laurel. A third man, Joseph Bryant Lyons, 20, who isn’t enrolled at the university, was also charged. The three suspects have been denied bond.

The case is still under investigation by local law enforcement agencies.

McClendon, a native of Gulfport, was seeking his master’s degree in business administration.

“The University family is shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Zach McClendon,” UM Dean of Students Sparky Reardon said. “We feel pain and loss any time one of our students is taken from us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and we, as a University family, will do all that we can to support them.”