UM Graduate School Dean Receives NASA Honor

John Z. Kiss to be awarded Outstanding Public Leadership Medal

From left: Ariel Dauzart, Kathy Millar, Dr. John Kiss, Logan Williams, Neel Patel.

From left: Ariel Dauzart, Kathy Millar, Dr. John Kiss, Logan Williams, Neel Patel.

OXFORD, Miss. – The dean of the University of Mississippi Graduate School is the recipient of NASA’s Outstanding Public Leadership Medal.

John Z. Kiss is being awarded the prestigious honor, which recognizes nongovernment employees for notable leadership accomplishments that have significantly influenced the NASA mission. The renowned scientist has worked with NASA for nearly three decades, having served as vice chair of the International Committee on Space Research.

As TROPI (an experiment to investigate the growth and development of plant seedlings under various gravity and lighting combinations) spaceflight project director from 2004 to 2010, Kiss supervised 36 scientists and engineers at four NASA centers and two centers of the European Space Agency. These efforts resulted in two successful projects on the International Space Station.

“I have worked with NASA for 27 years and feel humbled and honored to receive this medal,” Kiss said. “We have had seven spaceflight projects, which have been on the space shuttle and now the International Space Station. Thus, this award is shared by the numerous colleagues, co-workers, undergraduates and graduate students who have been part of these exciting projects.”

Kiss’ Seedling Growth-1 experiment was aboard SpaceX-2, which brought the payload to the ISS last year. A professor of biology, he is principal investigator on “Novel Explorations into the Interactions between Light and Gravity Sensing in Plants.” Part of the Fundamental Space Biology program at NASA, the program is designed to study light and gravity signaling in plants, and their effects on cell growth and proliferation. It also has potential for improving crop species on Earth to obtain increased production and sustainability.

“I feel very privileged to contribute, in a small way, to the excitement of space research and to be part of NASA’s broader mission to educate and inspire the next generation,” Kiss said.

The OPLM award honors sustained leadership and exceptionally high-impact leadership achievement in advancing the agency’s goals and image in present and future terms.

Two NASA officials said Kiss is most worthy of the award.

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing John for about 10 years and all during those years, I’ve been impressed with John as a leader,” said Sidney Sun, chief of NASA’s Space Biosciences Division. “He’s been a leader in plant physiology, identifying how plants respond to different lighting and gravitational conditions.”

Kiss is a pioneer in studying plants in fractional (or reduced) gravity, research that is impossible to do on Earth, Sun said.

“His leadership of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology was critical during a time when scientific funding became precariously low,” he said. “I’ve also seen him be a tremendous mentor and professor to young scientists, helping them grow in their career paths.”

Marianne Steele, project manager at Lockheed Martin, said Kiss is an excellent researcher in plant biology, well known internationally and nationally for his critical questions and results in exploring and understanding the fundamental behaviors and underlying mechanisms of plants.

“Dr. Kiss is a people person of great integrity who steps-up to challenges, follows through and is accountable,” Steele said. “It has been and continues to be a very positive personal and professional experience for me to work with him.”

Kiss and his colleagues are continuing to work with NASA-Ames on the Seedling Growth-2 project, which is scheduled to launch Sept. 19 on the SpaceX-4 mission to the ISS.

“Since plants will be a necessary part of bioregenerative life support needed to send humans to Mars and beyond, the knowledge obtained from our spaceflight experiments will be critical for developing ways to effectively use plants in these life-support systems,” Kiss said.

Kiss collaborated with F. Javier Medina of Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas in Madrid. UM post-doctoral researchers Kathy Millar and Josh Vandenbrink, and undergraduates Neel Patel of Water Valley, Logan Williams of Collinsville, Tennessee, and Alison Neel of Hattiesburg, assisted Kiss. Private contractor SpaceX is responsible for launching the experiments.

The hypothesis of their research is that positive red-light sensing, which was known in older plant lineages, is masked by normal 1-g conditions in more recently evolved lineages. Through the experiment, the scientists aim to confirm and characterize the red-light-dependent phototropic response (how the seedlings germinate under the deep-space illumination) in flowering plants.

The experiment was conducted with different genotypes of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana in experimental containers placed in the European Modular Cultivation System, a large incubator that provides control over the atmosphere, lighting and humidity of growth chambers to study plant growth on the ISS. The experiment containers contained white, blue and red lights that can be controlled from the ground to expose the plants to different kinds of light.

“By using the two centrifuges in the EMCS, it was possible to carry out the experiment in microgravity and fractional gravity, along with the 1-g control, within the same space environment,” Kiss said. “Following a six-day time course in the EMCS, the samples were either frozen or chemically fixed and returned to us. Additionally, images were taken throughout the whole experiment and downloaded real time.”

For information, on the latest mission, go to http://www.nasa.gov/ames/research/space-biosciences/seedling-growth-2/.

Hastings’ Donations Support Summer Geology Camps

Gifts were given to support benevolent faculty in creating student programs

The Hastings Family Fund is comprised of John, his wife Sarah, and sons Harrison, and  Andrew '16.

The Hastings Family Fund  was created by John Hastings (left), son Harrison, wife Sarah and son Andrew, a senior at UM.

When it comes to generosity toward the University of Mississippi School of Engineering, the Hastings family of Houston, Texas, is a shining example.

The Hastings (John, his wife, Sarah, and sons Harrison and Andrew) made an initial unrestricted gift of $15,000 for the greatest need within the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering. Recently, the couple donated an additional $5,000. Both gifts were made through their Hastings Family Fund.

With these two gifts, geology department administration and UM Foundation staff collaborated to create the Department of Geology Faculty Support Fund specifically to address anticipated teaching needs and opportunities. The financial support has already enhanced tailor-made classes and programming for the department and the engineering school.

“For more than two decades, we have relied on a consortium of universities organized by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to conduct the traditional field camp experience for our students,” said Gregg Davidson, chair and professor of geology and geological engineering. “A year ago, the faculty decided that in order to meet the particular needs of our students, we needed to start our own field camp.”

This decision required two GE faculty members, Terry Panhorst and Robert Holt, to invest several weeks of their own time in Oklahoma and New Mexico to develop field exercises.

“The timing of the Hastings gift was perfect, as it allowed us to offset the cost of their travel and to compensate the instructors for their time.” Davidson said. “They gave $15,000 that has gone toward the development of our own summer field camp program.”

Two camps were held: an introductory one and a more advanced camp.

“The introductory camp (GE 301) required two sessions because of the large number of students needing to take it,” said Panhorst, an assistant professor. “The first session ran the second half of May, and the second session was the first half of June. Both sessions were held in the Arbuckle Mountains of south central Oklahoma, which is about midway between Oklahoma City and Dallas.”

Thirty-eight students attended the first session, and 21 students were in the second session.

The advanced camp (GE 401) will be operated by Holt, an associate professor. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the camp runs during the first half of August. About 35 students attended the inaugural session.

“The camps are designed to give the students experience in the field with basic geologic procedures, such as measuring and describing rock units, creation of geologic maps based on field observations and application of engineering fundamentals to evaluating sites for development,” Panhorst said.

Giving to Ole Miss engineering comes naturally for the Hastings. John is a lifelong geologist and has immensely enjoyed his profession. Both sons are pursuing careers in geology and geological engineering. Andrew is a senior geology and geological engineering major at UM.

“We as a family want to help support Ole Miss and specifically the geology and geological engineering department within the university,” John Hastings said. “We are pleased to be able to help the department in their efforts to produce engineers who will go out into the world and make positive impacts through their professional passion and excellence.”

Hastings worked for Shell Oil Co. from 1984 to 1994 and for Edge Petroleum from 1994 to 2005. He is owner and executive vice president of exploration for Paloma Resources LLC. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a bachelor’s degree in earth sciences and from Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in geology.

The Hastings’ donation has already proven very beneficial to the program, said Panhorst, who spent the week of spring break in Oklahoma attempting to find suitable places for meaningful projects where he and about 40 students could gain access.

“Altogether, I spent about 16 days in the Oklahoma field area, spread between January, March and April, attempting to generate a coherent set of projects,” he said.

Charitable gifts are the foundation for many School of Engineering activities.

“With the impending growth that has steadily become the norm at the School of Engineering, donations of any type are very well-received, especially ones for faculty support such as the gift from John and Sarah Hastings,” said Kevin Gardner, development officer for the School of Engineering. “The Hastings’ timely generosity is helping to accomplish the provision of unique prototype programs for the School of Engineering.”

Matthew Morrison Joins Electrical Engineering

Newest faculty member heading computer engineering emphasis

Matthew Morrison

Matthew Morrison

Matthew Morrison has proven his leadership abilities both in the U.S. Navy and at the University of South Florida. As a new assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Mississippi, the award-winning teacher and researcher is overseeing the department’s new emphasis in computer engineering science.

A three-time alumnus of USF, Morrison will be teaching Advanced Digital Design this fall and CMOS/VLSI next spring. His other courses scheduled later include Low-Power Digital Design, Digital Circuit Synthesis, VLSI Algorithms and Design, Testing and Fault Tolerance, Embedded System Design, Foundations of Hardware Security and Foundations of Engineering.

“The University of Mississippi provided me with a unique opportunity to apply my teaching and research skills toward updating the computer engineering program within the electrical engineering department, and building the graduate program for both master’s and doctoral students,” he said. “I am committed to excellence in both research and teaching, and believe that improving education at all levels will lead toward enhancing the future of Mississippi and its young women and men.”

As a graduate assistant at USF, Morrison taught seven classes totaling 391 students. Awarded the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Teaching Assistant, he implemented many of the teaching methods developed at Naval Nuclear Power School, which he found engendered greater creativity in students.

“My teaching vision is to develop one of the best computer engineering programs in the world at Ole Miss by imbuing students with world-class study habits by combining Navy teaching methods with modern engineering teaching tools,” Morrison said. “This will allow us to develop students academically, creatively and morally, and to engender ideals of integrity, professionalism and lifelong learning and teaching in order to graduate engineers who are dedicated to a career of utilizing the principles of science for humanity’s benefit.”

Morrison’s research is in the areas of CMOS/VLSI, embedded systems, low-power hardware design and hardware security.

“My vision is to help improve the security, safety, reliability and efficiency of computer architectures, embedded systems and application-specific designs for the benefit of humankind,” he added. “Additionally, I will get to work with outstanding faculty who are cordial and genuinely work well together in a positive environment.”

Ramanarayanan Viswanathan, chair and professor of electrical engineering, said he is pleased that Morrison accepted the position here after completing his doctorate in May.

“Dr. Morrison will take a lead role in revising the BSEE computer engineering emphasis curriculum and in putting together a new computer engineering emphasis within the M.S. engineering science program,” he said. “Matt is very passionate about teaching and research in the broad area of computer engineering. He has a keen interest in K-12 education and its role in preparing students to pursue an engineering major at colleges.”

Morrison won the Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award in U.S. Navy Recruit Training. The award is presented to the graduating recruit who best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military appearance and behavior, self-discipline and teamwork.

“I am proud of this award because I realized during boot camp that I have the potential to lead, give to my community and achieve excellence through hard work and dedication,” Morrison said. “Receiving this award marked a significant milestone in my life, and every achievement since has been the result of the same enthusiasm and discipline that I developed in boot camp.”

While a USF student, Morrison was involved with the Student Bulls Club, which is the student athletics fan group. He attended many home games for football, soccer, baseball, basketball, softball and tennis. He enjoys watching late-night comedy shows and “Doctor Who,” attending blues concerts, running and biking.

His parents, Alfred and Kathleen Morrison, live in North Venice, Florida, and are the chief scientist and chief financial officer, respectively, of Missile Systems Engineering. Morrison’s brother, James, is a project manager for Walsh Group and is working on the new U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway.

Morrison has authored several refereed journal articles and holds memberships in the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers and the Association of Computing Machinery.

Engineering Students Shadow at UMMC

Gordji and Vaughnn participated in Honors College summer program

UMMC

Roya Gordji and Joella Vaughnn

Two students in the School of Engineering took full advantage this summer of an opportunity to closely shadow physicians at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, thanks to the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College’s Physicians Shadowing program.

Juniors Roya Gordji, of Oxford, and Joella Vaughnn, of Rockville, Maryland, spent a month shadowing and observing physicians working in a variety of areas. The program is meant to give prospective medical students, regardless of major, a chance to personally experience the fast-paced environment of a hospital. The Honors College provides stipends to assist students with living expenses in Jackson during their rotations.

“The clinical shadowing program allows potential medical students the opportunity to experience the daily life and rhythms of one or two medical fields,” said John Samonds, associate dean of the Honors College. “It also exposes students to the health issues so prevalent in Mississippi.”

A general engineering major, Gordji became aware of the program through the Honors College’s weekly newsletter when she was a freshman.

“Engineering has a unique curriculum because of the real-world applications that exist in all areas of engineering,” she said. “I think this foundation will be helpful for me because in medicine, every problem is a real-world problem. It is immediate and right in front of you, so learning how to apply the things I’ve learned in the classroom to actual situations will be beneficial.”

Gordji and Vaughnn shadowed in the emergency and anesthesia departments in separate two-week rotations. Both observed a variety of real-life situations and interacted directly with physicians.

“The ER was fast-paced and the cases that came in were really interesting,” Gordji said. “I saw cases that varied in severity from a black eye to a crushed foot. The doctors were also very happy to teach.

“In anesthesia, I spent most of my time in the operating room. I was also able to do a few hands-on things there, like manually ventilating a patient. Although I didn’t know what to expect coming into the program, the entire experience was great.”

A chemical engineering major, Vaughnn learned about the program after seeing it on the Honors College’s website.

“I am going to need the engineering analysis tools to solve problems in medicine because medicine is not about having the perfect answer; medicine is about recognizing similarities between cases in order to help the patient as much as you can,” she said.

“A student can read about pulmonary embolisms as long as they want, but they have to be trained to recognize them in patients, even if they do not present 100 percent of the symptom list.”

Her experience gave her a better sense of the hospital environment and of areas that fit her interests.

“During the first two weeks in Jackson, I spent time shadowing an anesthesiologist in the operating room,” Vaughnn said. “There were several different ORs that I got to visit, including the main OR, day surgery center, maternity OR and the pediatric OR.”

Initially, Vaughnn planned on becoming a neurosurgeon, but after watching three different neurosurgery cases, she quickly changed her mind. Her favorite types of surgery to watch were knee, hip and shoulder replacements.

Before participating in the physician’s shadowing program, Gordji spent last summer doing computational research that involved designing tumor-targeting nanoparticles. She was able to present her research at the 2013 Mid-South Annual Engineering and Sciences Conference.

This fall, she begins research for her honors thesis. She also completed UMMC’s Community Health Advocacy Program and volunteered at Northeast Mississippi Baptist Hospital ER as an ambassador for the School of Engineering.

Vaughnn participated in a medical mission trip to Bolivia, where she organized a handout of reading glasses to a local tribe. She is also actively involved with the American Medical Students Association and her social sorority. Research for her honors thesis combines her interests in engineering, medicine and art.

Both students plan to apply for medical school during the upcoming academic year.

By Any Other Name

The C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum, commonly known as “Tad Pad,” is coming to an end. Soon it will be replaced by a larger, improved basketball arena with a new name. Eventually, the building that looks like a blue flying saucer will be razed and the site repurposed. As they say, that’s progress.

Of course, building renovations, new constructions and the subsequent renaming of said facilities is nothing new at Ole Miss. I can remember when Crosby Hall was known as New Dorm, a moniker it held for more than two decades before finally getting a “real” name. During that time, several campus legends speculated on names that were suggested – and discarded – for the campus’ largest women’s residence hall.

Before its renovation and dedication as Brevard Hall, the building that houses the School of Engineering’s administrative offices was known for years as Old Chemistry or Old Chem. Before the Department of Journalism, now the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, found residency in Farley Hall, the “J School” and The Daily Mississippian were housed in Brady Hall, a small, renovated house with a popular porch swing on University Avenue. That building was torn down to make way for the Thad Cochran Research Center.

For two years after I began working here, my wife and I lived in one of several antique houses on what was then Faculty Row. Those houses were all moved off campus and later sold to establish a subdivision off Molly Barr Road. On the land where they once stood are the Residential College and the Luckday Residential College.

The main theater in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts became the Sam and Mary Haskell Theatre. A student lounge in Bondurant Hall became the (Barry) Hannah-(Richard) Ford Room for Writers. The downstairs microform room in the J.D. Williams Library was renovated and named Ainsworth Commons.

Buildings and rooms aren’t the only things that get named (and renamed) on campus. What has been known as Confederate Drive soon will be called Chapel Lane. The Black Student Union Choir that I once sang in as a student years ago has evolved into the University of Mississippi Gospel Choir. The Black Studies program of the 1970s has become the African-American Studies Program. The old Y Building, which housed programs for international students and religious life, is known as the Croft Institute for International Studies.

Names and titles are always subject to change, but functions and operations often remain the same. This is particularly true when it comes to behaviors and social norms. Identity must be based on who we are, not just the names to which we respond or react. Hopefully, when we reach that level of understanding, we can divest ourselves of the emotional attachments and associations we often make to names and labels, respecting and honoring ALL.

Now that will be TRUE progress.

UM Engineers Without Borders Works In Africa


Contrary to what news reports have said, there are better things happening in Africa than an epidemic ebola outbreak, starvation and mass genocide at the hands of anti-government guerillas. One of those good news events is the ongoing work of the University of Mississippi chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

For going on six years now, EWB-UM has been working diligently to improve educational opportunities and living conditions for those living in Hedome Village in Togo, West Africa. Four separate trips taken at the beginning of fall and spring semesters have yielded the successful design, construction and completion of a new, more modern school facility in the remote area. Most recently, a team of students and faculty returned to begin preliminary work on a drinking water treatment system.

The cross-cultural connections being formed between Togo and Ole Miss have proven equally beneficial to both communities. West Africans and North Americans are discovering that while there are huge differences in language, customs and environments, the humane and emotional similarities that unite them are even larger.

As a University Communications specialist who regularly writes news releases and edits publications for UM’s School of Engineering, I have chronicled EWB activities from its formation in 2009 to the present. Obviously, the names and faces of students have changed with each commencement, but the dedication of the faculty and staff to supervising and assisting these eager young volunteers in their quest to change the world one country at a time remains constant.

I am truly inspired whenever I interview EWB team members about the work they are doing. It challenges me to accept the frequent opportunities I find to make the community where I live and work a better place as well.

To read stories about Ole Miss Engineers Without Borders, visit and search either the Ole Miss News Desk  or the UM School of Engineering website.

Medicinal Plants Topic for August Science Café

Director of National Center for Natural Products Research is inaugural fall speaker

The August Science Cafe will take place on August

The August Science Cafe is set for Aug. 19.

OXFORD, Miss. – The use of medicinal plants in disease treatment is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the UM Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The fall semester’s first meeting of the Oxford Science Café is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 19 at Lusa Pastry Cafe, 2305 West Jackson Ave. Larry Walker, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at UM, will discuss “Plants as Medicines: New Insights for Old Remedies.” Admission is free.

“Medicinal plants have been staples in most human societies for all of recorded civilization,” Walker said. “Plants and plant-derived preparations shaped the medical pharmacopeias of Indian, Chinese, Arabic, native Americans and many other ancient cultures.”

Walker’s 30-minute presentation will review how 19th and 20th century experimental pharmacology has evolved in the 21st century.

“Pharmacology was largely based on observations of the effects, often toxicity, of plant-derived alkaloids,” he said. “Our constructs of the sympathetic nervous system, neuromuscular transmission, pain pathways and cardiac contractile mechanisms, among many others, were developed in this way. In the post-genome era, a number of exciting developments, new therapeutics are being developed based on plant-derived products.

“Understanding these elegant and complex pathways and their modulation by natural products holds rich promise for the future.”

Walker earned his bachelor’s degree from Oglethorpe University, a degree in pharmacy from Mercer University and a doctorate from Vanderbilt University. His other UM appointments include research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and professor of pharmacology. He is also associate director for basic sciences at the Oxford campus of the UM Medical Center Cancer Institute.

Walker’s research interests include renal and cardiovascular pharmacology, drug discovery techniques for natural products and evaluation of the safety and efficacy of medicinal plants.

For more information about Oxford Science Café programs, go to http://www.phy.olemiss.edu/oxfordsciencecafe. For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/physics_and_astronomy or call 662-915-5311.

Wongs Create Chemical Engineering Scholarship

Alumnus and widow's donation to be matched by ExxonMobil

The family of a University of Mississippi chemical engineering alumnus is helping future students attend his alma mater through a generous development gift.

The Lorna and Phillip J. Wong Chemical Engineering Scholarship Endowment was established with the couple’s $6,500 gift, which is to be matched 3:1 by ExxonMobil for a total of $26,000. Students applying for the annual award must be enrolled full-time, majoring in chemical engineering and have a 3.0 or higher grade-point average.

“The graduates of chemical engineering reflect highly on the department, our educational mission and all those who make it work,” said Clint Williford, chair and professor of chemical engineering. “Jack did so through his professional and personal life. And now that generosity of spirit will continue to uplift many young people into the future.”

Unprecedented growth in enrollment and quality of students challenged the department to offer the same personal, quality experience that benefited Wong.

“This generous gift will directly ease the financial burden of a good student, lessening hard choices among work, grades and student loans,” Willford said. “Speaking for the faculty, past and present, we all appreciate the good refection of a life well-lived that still continues to pass it on.”

Phillip Jack “PJ” Wong, 57, of Waller, Texas (formerly of Nederland, Texas), died June 22. A native of Cleveland, Mississippi, he graduated salutatorian from Cleveland High School and attended Ole Miss, where he received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

Wong accepted a job with Mobil Oil Co. and moved to Beaumont, Texas, in 1979. He gave his commitment to the company and traveled through several stations, including Saudi Arabia and France in fulfillment of his duties as an engineer. He retired from ExxonMobil in 2014, after 35 years of service.

The Wongs built their dream retirement home in Magnolia, Texas, where they enjoyed the peace and quiet of a country setting in the last few weeks of his earthly life. They took several vacations, including trips to Boston, Maine, Vermont and other places in the United States, as well as abroad in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and many other countries.

Besides his wife, Wong is survived by two brothers, Richard Jack Wong and his wife, Shirley, of Dallas and Jack Hing Wong Jr. and his wife, Lenee, of Beaumont; a sister, Patricia Jack Wong Wolf and her husband, Otto, of Cleveland, Mississippi; nephews, Trey Wong and his wife, Hillary; Trevor Wong; Trent Wong; and Troy Wong, all of Beaumont; and Matthew Wong of Dallas; and many lifelong friends.

Geological Engineering Student Wins National Scholarship

Corey Schaal interning at Geotechnology Inc. in Memphis

Schaal

Schaal

University of Mississippi senior Corey Schaal of Paris, Tennessee, is the recipient of a national scholarship from the Underground Construction Association of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration.

The scholarship was established to encourage undergraduate and graduate students to pursue careers in the fields of tunneling, underground construction and associated disciplines. He was officially notified in March that he was a scholarship recipient and traveled to Los Angeles in June to accept the award.

Schaal was urged to apply for the award by Joel Kuszmaul, associate dean for academic and student affairs and associate professor of geology and geological engineering.

“I have known Corey since he was a freshman,” Kuszmaul said. “I was happy to recommend him for this scholarship. Corey has always been an excellent student and is worthy of this major scholarship with national recognition.”

Schaal chose to enroll at Ole Miss as a result of a campus visit and the opportunities available through the geological engineering program.

“I really appreciated the personal treatment offered by every faculty member during my campus visit,” he said. “The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering sent a lot literature that really caught my attention. Combine all of that with a generous scholarship offer and enrolling at Ole Miss was a no-brainer.”

During summer 2013, Schaal completed an internship with Geotechnology Inc. in Memphis, where he was able to put his classroom knowledge to good use.

“I worked in the soils lab and as a construction materials testing technician, but I spent most of the summer working on the back of a drill rig as a field engineer,” he said. “I want to pursue a career as a geotechnical engineer, and I was able to apply information I learned in the classroom to develop important skills through this internship.”

Schaal was asked to return to Geotechnology for a second internship position this summer. He is conducting analysis work and collaborating with the engineering department.

A Provost Scholar, Schaal has maintained a 3.94 GPA while being involved in several campus and community activities. He holds leadership roles in Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity and is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, Order of Omega and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies. He is also involved with the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Because of his outstanding record, Schaal was named Outstanding Geology/Geological Engineering student during his freshman and junior years. He also received a competitively-awarded Distinguished Senior Scholarship sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor and the Office of Financial Aid.

Schaal is slated to graduate in May 2015. His plans are to marry and move to Knoxville, Tennessee, to pursue graduate studies in geotechnical engineering.

Saying Goodbye to Summer at Ole Miss

With the beginning of Fall semester 2014 less than a month away, the time has come to slowly begin saying goodbye to the joys of summer at Ole Miss.

Farewell abundant parking places near buildings where we work at any given time of day. It’s been great knowing that if I occasionally want to sleep in, there’s still likely to be at least one available spot when I arrive on campus. But I realize it won’t be much longer until University Police officers have more opportunities to write tickets for the various violations that come with increased traffic.

So long hot, humid temperatures. With unseasonal cold fronts already passing through the region, the climate has begun to chill. Thankfully, it’s also been just the right amount of sunshine and rain for those long walks around our award-winning grounds.

Adios to lighter work loads. Most of the faculty, staff and students I serve have been absent the past two months. I know all that will change come mid-August.

Hotty Toddy!