Stamps Scholar Recognized by Autism Science Foundation

Dylan Ritter completes second summer conducting brain development research at Texas A&M

Scoot Dindot,left and Dylan Ritter, right.

Scoot Dindot,left and Dylan Ritter, right.

OXFORD, Miss. – Dylan Ritter, a junior majoring in biochemistry at the University of Mississippi, has been recognized by the Autism Science Foundation as one of the top five undergraduates in the nation working on groundbreaking projects in the field of autism.

Ritter, a Stamps Scholar and member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, is spending two months at Texas A&M University this summer working on an independent project to study brain development in mice with chromosome 15q11.2-13.1 duplication syndrome, a type of autism commonly known as Dup15q. It’s a condition that hits close to home for Ritter.

When Ritter was just 4, his youngest brother, Travis, was diagnosed with Dup15q. While Ritter had an interest in learning more about the condition, he never really considered the possibility of pursuing autism research. Coming to Ole Miss with his eyes set on medical school, Ritter read an article on research being done to analyze Dup15q syndrome in mice being conducted by Scott Dindot at Texas A&M.

Inspired by what he read, Ritter contacted Dindot and was offered a summer job in Dindot’s lab after his freshman year. After working with Dindot, Ritter consulted with his UM mentors, Nathan Hammer, UM associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College, who gave him the assistance and encouragement needed to change his major.

“Dr. Hammer has helped me figure out where I wanted to go, leading me towards the biochemical track of the chemistry degree and offering any help I needed,” Ritter said. “DSG helped me become interested in UM since my first visit on campus and has helped me explore the world outside Ole Miss by encouraging me to pursue opportunities I might usually be hesitant to.”

“Dylan Ritter breaks the mold,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “An incredible problem has gripped his soul and he is pouring his life into its solution. Dylan demonstrates how we should live as citizen scholars in our world today.”

Ritter completes his summer at Texas A&M as one of the top undergraduate researchers in his field. The prestigious honor from the Autism Science Foundation is accompanied by a grant to help fund his research. He received grants from the Honors College to fund his first trip and said they played an important role in his return this summer.

A native of New Jersey, Ritter plans to take a break to go home and visit with friends and family before returning to UM in a few weeks for his junior year.

Watching Their Steps

UM scientist's patented technology measures changes in walk of elderly, which may help prevent falls

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi-patented sonar technology, which can be used to measure and score the movements of the elderly, may soon become a “game changer” for those concerned about aging parents or patients.

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The Collie Home Health Walk Signature SystemTM is a smart sensor created by UM research scientist James Sabatier, who began developing sonar technologies in the 1980s. Still in the pre-prototype phase, the small, wireless device can be attached to the wall of any room in a building. Once in place, Collie regularly measures and assesses walking speed, leg and torso motion and other parameters related to balance and gait. This data is used to calculate a person’s “fall-risk” score.

“Collie is the first product of its kind to bring the precision of expensive equipment used in research hospitals to the home in a single, affordable, noninvasive smart sensor,” said John Rogers, Collie Home Health’s chief operating officer. “This is important for seniors, as the National Council on Aging identified lack of preventive treatment and changes in lifestyle as the major factors contributing to falls.”

Collie’s fall-risk scores are indicators of stability, with higher scores indicating better stability and a lower risk of falling. If a person’s score dropped over a period of time, it might signal a problem, said Sabatier, Collie Home Health founder, chief executive officer and inventor.

“A fall-risk score is a standardized measurement, like blood pressure,” he said. “It gives a snapshot of a person’s stability. Over longer periods, trends in the score provide insight into changes in a person’s health.”

By responding to these changes with prescribed interventions, such as physical therapy, a cane or walker, patients may improve their walking ability or at least lessen the probability of having a debilitating or deadly fall.

For example, if someone’s parent or grandparent had a fall-risk score of 68, and over time it decreased to 42, clearly preventive intervention would be needed.

“But why wait until it’s 42?” Rogers said. “By measuring fall-risk every day, you see her score drop below 60. And even though you may not see a change in her stability with your naked eye, you know it is time to schedule that doctor’s appointment. Then, through physical therapy or the addition of a walking aid, her score jumps back up to 72 over the next few weeks.”

Sabatier is collaborating with other UM scientists and staff in perfecting Collie. John Garner, interim chair and associate professor of health, exercise science and recreation management, compares Sabatier’s research with similar data yielded by experiments in UM’s Applied Biomechanics Laboratory. The equipment includes eight cameras used to capture all body motions of test subjects in three dimensions.

“Ours is the ‘gold standard’ in motion capture,” Garner said. “So far, the Collie system replicates our standards on a much smaller scale and shows great promise for the health care industry. We’re just glad to provide our ‘toys’ to assist his efforts.”

Jeremy Webster, an engineer at the university’s National Center for Physical Acoustics and a consultant on the software aspects of the project, voiced similar positive findings.

“At this point, we can very accurately measure the strides of people,” he said. “The next requirement on the road to making Collie available to the public will be a better understanding of when these changes begin to take place. Once we have that, we can test the prototype in a small number of homes for several months. By that point, we should have a unit for consumers to purchase.”

Two UM students, Demba Komma of The Gambia and Forrest Gamble of Birmingham, Alabama, also work with Sabatier on Collie testing.

Sabatier was the first tenant of the Innovation Hub at Insight Park, a 62,000-square-foot high-tech center that provides support and infrastructure to startup companies in the knowledge business, including biomedical and pharmaceutical industries. The company is an outgrowth of his life’s work as an acoustical physicist at NCPA. With the Innovation Hub as his base, he was able to take advantage of in-house resources to develop his research into a viable business.

“It was bred into me as a graduate student that this was what I was supposed to do, but I struggled to know how to do it,” Sabatier said. “I’m a university faculty member by career, trying to become a businessman. The Innovation Hub provides all of the pieces I need.”

“Falls are traumatic and when a loved one falls, she desires the best emergency care possible,” he said. “But the best treatment is to avoid the fall by taking preventive action.”

For more information, email info@colliehomehealth.com with “Collie Launch” in the email subject line or register for the mailing list at http://www.colliehomehealth.com.

‘CSI’ Gets Real at UM Forensics Camp

Students get hands-on experience with technology to help solve simulated crimes

CSI Summer Camp participants look for potential evidence in a staged crime scene. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

CSI Summer Camp participants look for potential evidence in a staged crime scene. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The crime scene was cordoned off. A methamphetamine lab operator there had been killed in an apparent botched robbery attempt. Samples were taken to be analyzed, which helped investigators identify a suspect. The situation played out like the plot in a TV crime drama.

But the blood wasn’t real – it was only barbecue sauce and ketchup – and the corpse was a CPR training dummy. The scenario was all part of a weeklong Crime Scene Investigation Camp and Forensic Teacher’s Conference. The event was hosted by the University of Mississippi Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and its forensic chemistry program in cooperation with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, or AAFS, and the UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Education.

“By the time the students leave here, they have a good idea of what it’s like to be a forensics expert,” said Murrell Godfrey, associate professor of chemistry and director of the program. “They also understand that ‘CSI’ (the TV show) isn’t real. There’s a lot more that goes into it. You can’t just solve a crime in one hour.”

UM has one of three forensic chemistry programs in the nation that is accredited through the AAFS. The camp put 32 students from across the country and 10 teachers on the case. At UM July 19-24, they participated in crime scene processing, ballistics, gunshot residue testing, DNA and fingerprint lab analysis and other criminal investigation techniques. They also had all the high-tech tools of the trade at their disposal.

“Students get to use equipment and technology that they normally wouldn’t have access to,” Godfrey said.

Students learned about proper chain of custody procedures and the paperwork associated with evidence in a criminal case. They also worked with instructors from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and even had to testify in a mock trial at UM’s School of Law to present their evidence before a jury. Tucker Carrington, director of the Mississippi Innocence Project based at UM, talked to the students about his group’s efforts to use DNA testing to free people who were wrongfully convicted.

Caroline Spencer, a UM doctoral student in chemistry and graduate teaching assistant, helped with the camp. She gave students instructions on the DNA lab work they were doing Monday, which involved using a sophisticated method known as gel electrophoresis to analyze DNA. The method uses an electrical current to separate macromolecules such as DNA, RNA and proteins to be analyzed. Spencer said the camp offers students an opportunity she wishes she’d had at their age.

“They did great,” Spencer said. “They’re learning a lot of techniques that you don’t learn until the college level, like pipetting with gel electrophoresis. I didn’t learn that until my sophomore year of college. They’re getting a really early start with that and they’ll be way ahead of their peers.”

Camp instructors also drive home the importance of studying science, math, engineering and technology.

“The goal here is to show students that you need a strong foundation in science, math, engineering and technology education to go into forensic science or forensic chemistry,” Godfrey said.

Hunter Crane, a seventh-grade science teacher at Oxford Middle School, led a session on ballistics, mainly the different types of bullets and how various guns leave different marks on bullets as they leave the barrel. Crane also helped students perform gunshot residue tests on the hypothetical suspect. Those tests help police determine whether a suspect has fired a gun recently.

Crane said the opportunity to use the camp and the popularity of “CSI” to get the students more interested in STEM fields is incredibly valuable.

“It’s just a great opportunity,” Crane said. “There was already an interest with the ‘CSI’ TV show. But just from what I’ve been involved with, I know the TV show isn’t actually what CSI is. The interest is there and being able to get them involved with the camp here at Ole Miss is a step in the right direction. Science is an important subject that they need.”

Ole Miss Alumnus Achieves Success on Capitol Hill

Ole Miss alumnus Stephen Worley is working on Capitol Hill as the deputy communications director of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Ole Miss alumnus Stephen Worley is working on Capitol Hill as the deputy communications director of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

An education from the University of Mississippi can lead to success anywhere, and Ole Miss graduate Stephen Worley is a perfect example.

Worley is deputy communications director for the Senate Appropriations Committee, a committee chaired by another Ole Miss alumnus, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, in Washington, D.C.

The Jackson native works daily to provide the external communications of the committee’s operations. This is no easy task, as the committee handles all the financial expenditures from the federal treasury.

But Worley has been preparing for this career since he arrived at Ole Miss. He was a member of both the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Croft Institute for International Studies. During his time at Ole Miss, he was involved in the Associated Student Body, interned on Capitol Hill as a student for U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and was inducted into the 2010-11 UM Hall of Fame.

“I had a lot of great experiences with students and professors that taught me more than just textbooks ever could,” Worley said. “My education at Ole Miss taught me to think critically and apply thoughtful reasoning to a wide range of problems.”

He graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in both international studies and Spanish, which led to careers in government relations and directing communications for a Texas congressman.

Earlier this year, he moved up to Capitol Hill for this phase of his career, which he reached thanks to the education he received at Ole Miss.

UM to Honor First Doctoral Recipient in English

Kenneth Holditch slated to present lecture at annual Faulkner conference

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‘Galatoire’s Biography of a Bistro’ by Marada Burton and Kenneth Holditch

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will honor its first doctoral recipient in English, Kenneth Holditch, during his presentation at this year’s Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.

Holditch, a professor emeritus of English at the University of New Orleans who earned his doctorate at UM in 1961, is coming to Oxford for the 42nd annual conference to present a lecture on “Growing Up in Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha Country.” During the program, Jay Watson, the UM Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies and professor of English, will unveil the Holditch Scholars Award, which will be given annually to a graduate student in the Department of English.

Holditch’s lecture is slated for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday (July 22) in the Faulkner Room on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library. It is free and open to the public.

“The creation of the Holditch Scholars Award is exciting news indeed for the English department,” Watson said. “This award will be an important source of support for deserving graduate students in our program, and a lovely way to honor the distinguished career of the man who received the very first Ph.D. granted in English at the University of Mississippi.”

Ivo Kamps, UM chair of English, praised the efforts of Holditch and the university for the timely announcement.

“The English department is proud and pleased to recognize its first Ph.D. graduate, Dr. Holditch, with the creation of a graduate student award in his name,” Kamps said. “We are equally pleased that Dr. Holditch will be on campus for the announcement later this week, and that he will be sharing his work during the annual Faulkner conference.”

Watson asserted the fittingness for Holditch to attend and present his lecture at this year’s conference.

“That the announcement of the award fund will come during the summer’s Faulkner conference is another wonderful bit of serendipity, since Professor Holditch pursued his Ph.D. studies at a time when Faulkner was still living in Oxford and since he went on to become an accomplished scholar of Faulkner’s works in his own right,” Watson said.

To contribute to the Holditch Scholars Award, contact Angela Barlow Brown, UM director of development for special projects, at 662-915-3181 or ambarlow@olemiss.edu.

Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference at UM Starts July 19

'Faulkner and Print Culture' boasts strong conference lineup

faulkner copy

The annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference will begin on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at the University of Mississippi.

OXFORD, Miss. — The University of Mississippi will host its annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference July 19-23 bringing scholars from all over the country to Oxford to discuss “Faulkner and Print Culture.”

The Nobel Prize winning author and Oxford resident William Faulkner, who also studied at UM, once said that he wished his epitaph would simply read, “He made the books and he died.” However, Jay Watson, UM Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies and professor of English, who is also the director of the conference, notes those works weren’t made by Faulkner alone. This year, scholars will explore how others helped the author’s work reach such a massive audience.

“Faulkner’s novels, stories and other works were never something he made alone,” Watson said. “They didn’t just appear full-blown, out of his head, as pure products of his genius. They were the work not only of their spectacularly talented author but of agents, editors, printers, artists and illustrators, graphic designers, marketing teams, publishing houses large and small, translators, critics, reviewers and, importantly, readerships.”

Rich Forgette, interim dean of the UM College of Liberal Arts, said the conference is a celebration of Faulkner’s influence.

“The College of Liberal Arts is proud to support the 2015 Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, ‘Faulkner and Print Culture,'” Forgette said. “The conference is a celebration of Faulkner scholarship, as well as William Faulkner’s broad literary and cultural influence. We welcome all scholars, students and friends of Faulkner.”

Watson said this year’s topic has attracted a “particularly strong conference lineup.” Among the speakers are the literary biographer Carl E. Rollyson Jr., whose latest work is on Faulkner; Dartmouth Archivist and Book Historian Jay Satterfield; Erin A. Smith of the University of Texas, Dallas, who is an authority on working-class readers and popular literature; Greg Barnhisel, an expert on Cold War era print culture at Duquesne University; and Candace Waid, English professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“This summer’s conference is an important opportunity for Faulkner critics, teachers and readers to delve more deeply into the collaborative networks and relationships that made it possible for Faulkner’s books to see the light of day as commodities and works of art,” Watson said.

Registration for this year’s conference begins Sunday, July 19, at 10 a.m. at the Yerby Conference Center. Many of the panel discussions will take place at Nutt Auditorium, while some other events will be held at Faulkner’s home Rowan Oak, as well as other sites around Oxford. A full list of the events can be found at this link

UM Hosts Joint Language Workshop with French Embassy

Sessions focus on using games as learning tools

OXFORD, Miss. – The Department of Modern Languages at the University of Mississippi and the French Embassy in the United States recently hosted a joint workshop at UM to train educators to use games as a pedagogical tool in French classes.

Haydée Silva, tenured professor at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City, led a joint workshop at the University of Mississippi and the French Embassy, which was held at UM.

Haydée Silva, tenured professor at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City, led a workshop sponsored by the University of Mississippi and the French Embassy on the UM campus.

The embassy’s Cultural Services Division helped put on the conference, which brought 24 K-12 and university teachers from seven Southeastern states to campus last week for three days of intensive learning. They learned how to diversify their “pedagogical supports” and their techniques of using animation in class. Donald Dyer, UM chair and professor of modern languages, said his department was “thrilled and honored” to host the workshop for French teachers.

“Our department considers teaching – and the development of second language skills in its students – its primary mission, and we are always in search of ways to better what we do in that regard,” Dyer said. “Marta Chevalier, who has organized this workshop, and the rest of our French section are truly leading the way in making the University of Mississippi one of the premier French-teaching institutions in the South.”

The information covered is useful for teaching French language and French culture, said Chevalier, a UM lecturer in French.

“This program is an extremely valuable learning experience for the teachers involved,” Chevalier said. “The structure of the workshop not only provides a platform that fosters the development of innovative teaching methods, but also gives us a forum in which to exchange ideas and techniques of second-language instruction.”

One of the priorities of the French Embassy is to support the professional development of French teachers. The embassy covered the cost of tuition for this and many other workshops, with participants paying only for their transportation, lodging, parking and meals. Participants received a certificate from the French Embassy and continuing education credits if requested. 

“This workshop has equipped me with a wealth of resources and ideas to implement in my French classroom,” said Stephanie Coker, assistant professor of French at Oral Roberts University. “I greatly appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues, to share tips and techniques and to benefit from three days of French immersion.”

Haydée Silva, trainer of teachers since 1992 and tenured professor at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City, led the UM workshop. On Monday (June 29), she led a spirited discussion of games for use in the classroom. Participants intently played along.

Play is important in the classroom to keep students engaged, and educators often need help with ideas, she said. The session included information on using technology, as well as simple games with low-cost materials.

“Sometimes teachers want to play, but they don’t have ideas or solutions about games,” Silva said. “My aim is to give them some theoretical and practical issues for the best use of games in the classroom.”

Daniell Mattern Chosen for Coulter Professorship

Organic chemist is fourth recipient of distinguished endowed honor

Dr. Daniell Mattern.  Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Dr. Daniell Mattern. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A renowned organic synthetic chemist is the newest recipient of the Margaret McLean Coulter Professorship at the University of Mississippi.

Daniell Mattern is the fourth UM faculty member to be awarded the endowed position, which was established in 1983 through a bequest in the will of the late Victor Aldine Coulter, for whom Coulter Hall is named. Coulter served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1936 to 1957 and was a professor of chemistry.

“I was stunned,” Mattern said after receiving the news from his department chair. “I thought perhaps he was joking, but he assured me he was not. The previous holders have been so impressive; it did not cross my mind that this was in the cards.”

The Coulter Professorship recognizes a professor in the department who has excelled in teaching and research. The award includes the honorific title “Margaret McLean Coulter Professor” and includes a yearly stipend that can be used as a salary supplement or for research support and travel.

Mattern was chosen for this distinction as a result of his outstanding achievements in research about organic electronic materials and his unparalleled success in teaching a difficult branch of chemistry to a myriad of UM students. Previous recipients include the late Charles A. Panetta, retired professor Jon F. Parcher and associate provost Maurice R. Eftink.

“It is rare to find anyone who has graduated from our university and pursued a career in the health professions, such as pharmacy, medicine or dentistry, who has not been touched in some way by Dr. Mattern,” said Charles Hussey, chair and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “He is well known for his engaging teaching style in which he makes a game out of learning organic chemistry. Students quickly forget that they are studying a subject which had seemed so formidable to them in the beginning.”

Mattern joined the UM faculty in 1980, when Coulter Hall was just a few years old.

“Victor Coulter was alive at the time, although I never met him,” he said. “The position offered a good blend of teaching and research opportunities, and I have been able to keep engaged with both of those facets of being a professor for my 35 years here.”

Mattern was promoted to professor in 2004 and is a founding member of the UM chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. He has a long record of instructional excellence, having received the UM Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1992. He was recognized as College of Liberal Arts Teacher of the Year in 1998.

“The Coulter Professorship is the first recognition I have received that speaks to the full spectrum of a professor’s responsibilities: research, teaching and service,” Mattern said.

The honoree has published extensively about the synthetic routes to organic molecular rectifiers, (such as electronic components that are composed of certain arrangements of organic chemical compounds instead the usual silicon-based electronic materials). Mattern’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation.

“Making a particular molecule a tiny bit smaller, solely by putting deuteriums in place of its hydrogens, has to be among the most personally fulfilling among my research achievements,” Mattern said. “I’d been fascinated with this concept as a graduate student and saw a way to demonstrate it by modifying a molecule we were using in another study. So this little side project satisfied a longtime quest for me.”

Equally gratifying for Mattern was a service task he took upon himself when he was on the Undergraduate Council: a complete revision of the undergraduate catalog.

“It had been assembled piecemeal over the decades and had accumulated a great deal of conflicting, awkward and obsolete passages,” he said. “I found it hard to use as a council member, and I’m sure students found it difficult, too. It took a couple of years, but we got every section reworked and approved.”

When it comes to instruction, Mattern said probably the most fun he has in teaching organic chemistry is on the last day of class.

“We have a course review in the form of a quiz show,” he said. “Teams of students try to answer questions to expose the ‘hidden reaction’ so they can ‘name that product.’ I wear a tux, and we give away goofy prizes to the winners.”

Mattern received a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College in Michigan and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Stanford University. He did postdoctoral research at Tufts University Medical School in Boston and the University of California at San Diego before joining UM as an assistant professor in 1980. Mattern teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in organic chemistry.

He is married to Elaine Gelbard, a dance teacher and arts educator. They have two adult daughters, Sierra and Jillian.

Mattern has been a cellist for 50 years and plays with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. An author, he has written a few Ten-Minutes Plays that have been produced by Theatre Oxford. Mattern also enjoys hiking in mountains and riding his bike around campus.

For more about UM’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, go to http://chemistry.olemiss.edu.

Cohen Named Dean of UM College of Liberal Arts

The former Texas Tech psychologist will lead university’s largest academic division beginning Aug. 1

Lee Cohen

Lee Cohen

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has hired Lee Cohen, professor and chair of Texas Tech University’s psychological sciences department, to become the next dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He is set to begin his new post Aug. 1. 

Cohen, who will also teach psychology, said he’s excited and humbled by the selection and looks forward to beginning his work at UM.

“I know that the appointment of a new dean is an important decision and I very much appreciate being given the opportunity to lead the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi,” Cohen said. “I am excited to get to work and learn all I can about the college as well as the traditions, legacies and history of Ole Miss.

“I am also very much looking forward to building upon existing relationships and forging new ones within the college and across the university and local community.” 

Cohen has demonstrated exemplary personal and professional qualities as a leader and an educator, and the university’s faculty and administration look forward to his arrival, said Morris Stocks, UM acting chancellor. 

“We are extremely pleased that Dr. Lee Cohen will be joining the University of Mississippi,” Stocks said. “He has excellent qualifications that will serve him well as he leads the College of Liberal Arts into the future. Dr. Cohen will bring a deep understanding of the values of a liberal education, as well as focused energy and enthusiasm for the continued transformation of our university.”

Acting Provost Noel Wilkin touted Cohen’s success as an administrator and also his distinguished career as a faculty member. 

“Dr. Cohen understands the important roles that faculty play on our campus and brings with him valuable experience that will serve him well as he assumes leadership of our largest academic unit on campus,” Wilkin said. 

Cohen holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of California at San Diego. He earned his master’s degree and doctorate in psychology from Oklahoma State University. For the past 15 years, he’s been a faculty member at Texas Tech. There, he has also served in administrative roles, which includes director of the nationally accredited doctoral program in clinical psychology, in addition to serving as chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences.

He has taught both undergraduate and graduate-level classes, and also has been involved in important research on nicotine addiction. He established a research program that explores the mechanisms that contribute to nicotine use, withdrawal and dependence. He said he has mainly been interested in identifying healthy alternative behaviors that complement smoking cessation efforts.

His wife, Michelle, is an occupational therapist and an assistant professor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. The couple has three children: Ross, 12, Rachel, 9, and Rebecca, 3.

UM History Professor Named Distinguished Lecturer

Jarod Roll is third UM faculty member chosen for honor by the national organization

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi history professor Jarod Roll, who teaches about modern America, the South, religion and the working-class experience, has been named a 2015-2016 distinguished lecturer by the Organization of American Historians.

Jarod Roll

Jarod Roll

“The distinction came as a complete surprise to me,” said Roll, an associate professor at UM. “It is certainly an honor to be listed among so many terrific historians, and also very humbling. I look forward to sharing my work and insight into the historian’s craft with the audiences this program is intended to reach.”

The OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program is a speaker’s bureau dedicated to American history, which helps groups identify and contact leading historians who can share their expertise. The lecturers speak across the country each year, visiting both college campuses and undergraduate and graduate student conferences. They also appear at public events sponsored by historical societies, museums, libraries and humanities councils. The group named 48 OAH Distinguished Lecturers for 2015-2016.

Ted Ownby, UM professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and UM Professor of History Emeritus Sheila Skemp previously served as OAH distinguished lecturers.

Roll wrote “Spirit of Rebellion: Labor and Religion in the New Cotton South,” which won the Herbert G. Gutman Prize, the Missouri History Book Award, and the C.L.R. James Award. He’s also coauthor of “The Gospel of the Working Class: Labor’s Southern Prophets in New Deal America,” which received the H.L. Mitchell Prize from the Southern Historical Association.

His current project, “Poor Man’s Fortune: America’s Anti-Union Miners,” explores the long history of working-class conservatism in base metal mining.

Some of Roll’s lectures are “The Other Lost Cause: Southern Labor and Working Class History,” “Missouri Miners Breaking Bad: How the ‘Show-Me-State’ Got Its Name,” “Labor’s Southern Prophets in New Deal America” and “The Alchemy of America’s Lead Rush: When Miners Turned Hard Rock into Gold.”

Joseph P. Ward, professor and chair of the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History at UM, said the honor for Roll is no surprise. 

“This is a fantastic honor for Professor Roll, who in his short time on our faculty has already built upon his strong reputation as a scholar and teacher of modern American history,” Ward said. 

The group, which was founded in 1907 and is headquartered at the historic Raintree House on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, is described as the world’s largest professional association dedicated to American history and scholarship. It has more than 7,800 members from the United States and abroad.