Kids in the Capitol Program Gives Fifth-Graders a Look at Government

UM McLean Institute, Department of Political Science collaborate to create opportunities

UM McLean Institute and Department of Political Science collaborate to take fifth-grade students from Charleston Middle School on a field trip to the Capitol in Jackson during the legislative session.

The UM McLean Institute and Department of Political Science collaborated to take fifth-grade students from Charleston Middle School on a field trip to the Capitol in Jackson during the legislative session.

OXFORD, Miss. – Dozens of middle school students have gotten a close-up look at their state government in action this spring, thanks to the Kids in the Capitol program, developed by the University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement and Department of Political Science.

The goal of the outreach project was to increase political awareness by taking fifth-grade students from Charleston Middle School on a field trip to the Capitol in Jackson during legislative session. Daniel Fudge, a McLean Institute graduate fellow, and Sue Ann Skipworth, an instructional assistant professor of political science, collaborated on the program.

Fudge said he developed the idea based on his own experience as child in Arkansas, when his class was taken to the state Capitol in Little Rock.

“I can recall sitting up in the gallery and being mesmerized at watching policy in action, knowing that the work done in the legislative chambers could impact the lives of many across the state,” Fudge said. “That memory has stayed with me throughout the years and I wanted a chance to give that same opportunity to students right here in Mississippi.”

The project was funded by both the McLean Institute and the political science department.

“In learning more about the poverty levels in the Delta and combining this with my personal desire to help educate young students about the political process, I helped to forge a partnership with the McLean Institute and the Department of Political Science,” Fudge said. “This allowed me to put this trip together and give the fifth-grade class of Charleston Middle School the opportunity to see their government in action, meet their legislator and, furthermore, see the state capitol.”

The students were given an architectural and historical tour of the Capitol building, allowed to sit in the gallery for the House and Senate to witness the political process firsthand and met with their district representative, Tommy Reynolds.

“This outreach project was successful on many fronts,” Skipworth said. “It was an opportunity to expose students to a different environment. For many of these students, the largest town they had been to was Grenada or Batesville, so it was quite an experience to see a much larger city like that of Jackson.

“The success of this outreach project would not be possible without the help of the political science department and the McLean Institute, as well as the administrative staff and teachers at Charleston Middle School.”

Skipworth hopes to have continued support from the Department of Political Science and the McLean Institute to carry the project forward for many years.

‘Operation Magnolia Lightning’ Teams Up ROTC, Arabic Students

UM language program and military cadets both benefit from realistic simulation exercise

Ole Miss ROTC students teamed up to sharpen their skills Photo by Rusty Woods

UM Arabic language students teamed up with ROTC cadets to help sharpen their language and mediation skills. Photo by Rusty Woods

OXFORD, Miss. – Two neighboring Muslim villages – one Sunni and one Shia – were locked in a dispute after one of the communities accused the other of intentionally contaminating its drinking water.

Fourteen students from the University of Mississippi’s Arabic Language Program and 250 ROTC cadets from UM and four other Mississippi universities found themselves in the thick of it. But the conflict wasn’t real; rather, it was only a drill to sharpen their language and mediation skills.

The simulated dispute was part of “Operation Magnolia Lightning,” staged at the Mississippi National Guard’s sprawling Camp McCain Training Center near Grenada.

The Ole Miss students came up with the water dispute storyline and spent a week in class developing key roles they chose to play in each village, said Allen Clark, assistant professor and director of UM’s intensive Arabic program. ROTC cadets were the military force dispatched to intervene.

“There were sectarian differences and ideological differences between the two villages,” Clark said. “The students had to figure out how to bridge the gap between English and what we know as cultural norms, how to cross that bridge and also what behaviors were accepted by the Arabs and the Muslims.

“The ROTC cadets had to figure out how to find certain common elements within these two villages and solve their problems at a shura (negotiation).”

Being thrust into the conflict forced the ROTC students and the Arabic students to rely on one other’s skill sets, much like they would in the “real world,” Clark said.

“The ROTC students have to depend on our knowledge of Arabic, and we depend on their knowledge of military science to make this work,” he said. “It leads to what we hope to be close to a real-life scenario, like experiential language learning for us and experiential real-world military training for them.”

The event showed Army ROTC cadets how to interact with a given populace despite language and cultural barriers, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. E. Scott Walton, UM professor and department chair of military science and leadership. The complexity of the conflict and longstanding divisions between the two groups also forced them to adapt and think critically.

arabic1“If they didn’t display proper customs and courtesy, properly use their interpreter or take into considerations the local’s needs, the scenarios became much more challenging,” Walton said. “Much of which is very relevant today as these students will very soon go on and lead soldiers in various countries with differing missions.

“Having the Arabic department out there was essential for achieving these outcomes.”

Sabrina Kosloske, a UM senior linguistics and Arabic major from Stafford, Virginia, worked as a translator for one of the villages. She quickly came to understand the difficulties of overcoming language barriers in a tense environment.

“It opened my eyes to how important translators are,” Kosloske said. “They can soften someone’s words or make them more offensive. Cultural customs were hard to get across.”

James Stubbs, a junior Arabic and political science major from Bolton, played the role of a sheik, which is the social and religious leader of an Arabic tribe, family or village. He represented his village in negotiations with the other village, which were held exclusively in Arabic and translated to the cadets acting as soldiers who facilitated the shura.

“Operation Magnolia Lighting not only gave the UM Arabic department a chance to practice our language skills, but also to help members of the Army ROTC better understand the culture of the Near East and value of communication, which is essential to the success of operations overseas,” Stubbs said.

Corey Fuller, a senior Arabic major from Pinson, Alabama, is also an ROTC cadet in charge of operations for the ROTC program. His role in Operation Magnolia Lightning was to use the “Military Decision Making Process” with other members of his battalion staff to come up with a scenario that would be mutually beneficial to the cadets and the Arabic students.

We accomplished this through the help of our cadre and the Arabic department,” Fuller said. “The cadets were forced to adapt in a both culturally and linguistically different environment to make decisions that would drive their mission success.”

Zach Crosby, a freshman Arabic and international studies major from Baltimore, played the Shia imam at the shura. He answered many questions about his village, never straying from speaking in Arabic. 

“I was able to speak to many soldiers about mundane things, but it allowed for the creation of a more cohesive image of the village,” Crosby said.

“Having very few people around me who spoke Arabic made it easy for it to fall right off my tongue. This was because I was no longer held back by the fear of making a mistake. It was definitely a great feeling to speak without limitations.”

For more information about the Arabic Language Program at UM, go to http://www.olemiss.edu/arabic/Academics/minor.htm.

UM Section of American Chemical Society Honored for Book Club Program

Group wins ChemLuminary Award for engaging activity

April Steen and Ryan Sessums (UM Chemistry and Biochemistry graduate students) participate in an ACS book club meeting.

UM chemistry and biochemistry graduate students April Steen and Ryan Sessums participate in an ACS book club meeting.

The University of Mississippi’s local section of the American Chemical Society has been awarded the 2015 ChemLuminary Award for its Common Reading Experience program.

The award, for “Best Activity or Program in a Local Section Stimulating Membership Involvement,” honors the Ole Miss section’s dedication to member development and outreach through book club activities. More than 60 people participated in the program that allowed members to meet and discuss the scientific, historic and social aspects of the books distributed to the club.

The books “Warmth Disperses, and Time Passes,” “The Alchemy of Air” and “The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York” consistently drew in at least 30 participants in the discussions, including many students and young faculty members.

Susan Pedigo and Nathan Hammer, faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, organized the program. The feedback from members has been extremely positive, and many members want to continue the program in coming years, said Jason Ritchie, councilor of the Ole Miss Local Section and UM associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Pictured (left to right): Martin Rudd, Chair of the ACS Committee on Local Section Activities; Jason Ritchie (UM Chemistry), John Wiginton (UM Chemistry), Ed Movitz (UM Health and Safety), Donna Nelson, President of the ACS

On hand for the awards are (left to right) Martin Rudd, chair of the ACS Committee on Local Section Activities; Jason Ritchie, UM professor of chemistry and biochemistry; John Wiginton, instructional associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Ed Movitz, UM research and environmental compliance officer; and Donna Nelson, ACS president.

“It worked out very well,” Ritchie said. “Rather than coming to local section meetings and listening to guest lectures, members participated in a common reading experience and shared their thoughts and what they learned with each other. We learned that members really enjoyed this new social meeting model and were excited about continuing it.”

Ole Miss Local Section Chair Jared Delcamp, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, became involved in the local section during these book club activities.

“I found the book club program to be exceptionally useful in meeting ACS members I had previously had few interactions with,” Delcamp said. “Providing a central discussion focus through the provided books made approaching members I had not interacted with exceptionally simple.

“Through this program, I developed friendships across several Ole Miss departments while reading some interesting books.”

Through partnerships with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Ole Miss Local Section of the ACS advertised the activity through flyers, class announcements and emails to all graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in chemistry, as well as to area chemistry professors and scientists.

UM Team Competes in Archaeological Ethics Bowl for First Time

Three honors students debate ethical dilemmas faced by archaeologists

The UM Archaeology Ethics Bowl team is made up of UM juniors Alicia Dixon, Zachary Creel, and Libby Tyson

The UM Archaeology Ethics Bowl team is made up of juniors Alicia Dixon (left), Zachary Creel and Libby Tyson.

OXFORD, Miss. – Earlier this month, three University of Mississippi students spent the day putting themselves in the shoes of professional archaeologists, debating issues of ownership, trespassing, reporting, stewardship, commercialization and sexual harassment in Orlando, Florida.

The students, all juniors in the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, are the first Ole Miss team to compete in the Society for American Archaeology’s annual Archaeological Ethics Bowl. The event pits teams from universities across the country to discuss and debate various scenarios representing ethical quandaries professional archaeologists may face in their work.

“These dilemmas included real problems that archaeologists face when conducting fieldwork, as well as issues relating to conservation and preservation of cultural heritage,” said Hilary Becker, UM assistant professor of classics and adviser for the team.

The Ole Miss team – Alicia Dixon, Zachary Creel and Libby Tyson – decided to enter the competition after taking Becker’s honors class in classics, “Archaeological Ethics: Who Owns the Past,” where they argued cases from previous Archaeological Ethics Bowls.

“The most exciting part of competing was hearing different sides to the cases and thinking about how we might think outside the box for next year,” said Dixon, a classics and philosophy double major from Baldwyn. “We were also very excited to meet the other teams, who we know put in time and effort learning the cases, just like we did.”

Dixon, Creel and Tyson worked since last summer to prepare for the competition, meeting at least weekly since June. The team conducted their own research on the legal and ethical implications of various archaeologist cases, in addition to debating amongst themselves.

“There’s something awesome about working really hard for an extended period of time and then seeing that work pay off when a judge smiles because of a point your team just made,” said Tyson, of Hazlehurst, who is majoring in classics and English.

Four teams competed in this year’s competition: UM, the University of Georgia, the University of Puerto Rico and California State University at Los Angeles. The competition was conducted in three elimination rounds. First, UM faced the University of Georgia, and the second round matched UCLA with the University of Puerto Rico. In the finals, Georgia defeated the University of Puerto Rico.

Despite the UM team being all undergraduates, they competed against five graduate anthropology students from the University of Georgia.

Although they did not win the championship, which carries an American Institute of Archaeology membership for each member of the winning team and a school trophy, the experience has them already planning for next year’s event.

“We competed well and learned a lot so that we will certainly be even more competitive next year,” said Creel, a classics and art history major from New Orleans.

Meek Honored for Excellence in Online Instruction

Paragon Award winner encourages students to work collaboratively in writing course

Jane Meek

Jane Meek

OXFORD, Miss. – Jane Meek, a writing and rhetoric instructor at the University of Mississippi, has been named the recipient of this year’s Paragon Award for Excellence in Distance Teaching, honoring her work in teaching Writing 102: First Year Writing II online.

“Teaching online has been the biggest, but best, challenge of my career,” Meek said. “I have learned to connect with students in a very different way, but it has helped me to stay in sync with technology and the ways that students of today are grasping concepts.”

In its sixth year, the annual Paragon award is designed to recognize UM faculty who use online learning technology effectively through good practices in course design and innovative use of technologies. Nominees’ efforts are acknowledged for engaging students as well as their commitment to providing them with a quality education. The honor includes a $1,000 award.

This is not Meek’s first award applauding her dedication to education. In 2013, she received the Kramer Outstanding Teacher Award that is presented annually within the UM Department of Writing and Rhetoric.

Meek’s strong teaching skills in the face-to-face classroom have translated well into her online classes, said Robert Cummings, director of the UM writing and rhetoric department.

“One of the hallmarks of Jane’s teaching, which led to her acknowledgement through our department’s annual Kramer award, is her ability to intuitively understand the challenges of learning from a student’s perspective,” Cummings said.

“Consistently Jane’s students comment on her ability to understand their challenges in approaching literacy, and her gift for organizing her class online to facilitate their learning.”

In 2013, family matters required Meek to move to Miami. As she prepared to resign from her Ole Miss position, representatives from her department approached her about teaching online courses.

“I enjoyed teaching live classes on campus in Oxford,” Meek said. “When switching to online courses, I was worried that I would miss the class chemistry of lively discussions with my students, but really students have to be more engaged in an online course. Students can’t hide in the back of a classroom.

“Now I am hearing from all of my students, not just the ones who are confident enough to raise their hands in class.”

Originally from the Delta town of Cleveland, Meek completed her undergraduate degree in English from UM and earned a graduate degree in English from the University of Alabama, as well as a graduate degree in women’s gender and sexuality studies from the University of Cincinnati. She joined the UM faculty in spring 2011.

Meek’s online course is the second part of the required freshmen-level writing course that serves as an important building block for Ole Miss students. The course is designed to prepare students for the various writing tasks they will need throughout college.

“It is a pretty demanding course,” Meek explained. “But, I take pride in giving students the tools and confidence to be able to write well for any of their future college courses. We want them to be successful.”

Most students in Meek’s class are freshmen, so she focused on helping them stay organized and ready for each week’s assignments through weekly to-do-lists and calendars.

She also says she created her course to appeal to the different learning styles of students.

“I presented information in a variety of formats from readings in textbooks, short videos, narrated PowerPoint presentations, links to online articles and still images,” Meek said. “The class assignments were similarly diverse, requiring that students post to discussion boards, attend videoconferences with me, conduct research using the library’s databases, as well as write and revise essays with the aid of Blackboard online tools.”

Meek demonstrated her commitment to providing quality education in her online course by requiring that each student attend a one-on-one video conference to discuss their writing assignments. Several students liked working with her in this way and requested more than one feedback session.

“In these conferences, students could see on their own computers what I was looking at on my computer screen,” she said. “We would discuss my detailed feedback on their drafts, and I could pull up examples to show them.

“This just helped me to make a more personal connection and engage students as we worked together to improve their writing skills.”

After a previous semester of online teaching where students seemed to lag behind, Meek created a student manual to help students adapt to online learning.

“I wanted to offer students more resources than what a traditional syllabus provides,” Meek said. “My department has since asked me to develop this manual into an orientation document for new online instructors in the writing and rhetoric program.”

Staying involved with other UM faculty members has also been key to success for Meek. She says her teaching development circle gathers together online every two weeks in a virtual meeting between six or seven faculty members.

“We get together to share resources, talk about issues that might arise in our courses and serve on committees,” Meek said.

The connection with other UM faculty and with support she receives from the UM Online Design and eLearning department has been a great resource for her transition from a traditional classroom instructor to an online one, she said.

“Jane’s insights have helped all of our online classes develop and grow,” Cummings said. “Her growth as an online teacher has served as a catalyst for the entire department.”

Particle Physics Topic for April 26 Science Cafe

UM physicist Breese Quinn to include discussion of discovery of Higgs boson

Breese Quinn teaches his physical science class.

Breese Quinn teaches his physical science class.

OXFORD, Miss. – Approaches used in the discovery of new subatomic particles is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the UM Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The spring semester’s final meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. April 26 at Lusa Bakery Bistro and Bar, 1120 North Lamar Blvd. Breese Quinn, UM associate professor of physics and astronomy, will discuss “Particle Physics: The Sledgehammer and the Tweezer.” Admission is free.

“Particle physics is the field of research that seeks to discover and understand the most fundamental building blocks of the universe, and how they interact to form everything around us,” Quinn said. “One way to do this type of research is using the biggest machines in the world to smash particles together as hard as possible, and see what new comes out.”

Quinn’s 40-minute presentation will include discussions of the discovery of the Higgs boson to examine this sledgehammer approach.

“Another method is using very sensitive tools to make high-precision measurements of extremely rare processes,” he said. “An introduction to the new Muon g-2 experiment will demonstrate this ‘tweezer approach.’ We will discuss Ole Miss’ role in both of these efforts, as well as why it all matters.”

Quinn has been involved in particle physics research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab for more than 23 years, since he was a graduate student at the University of Chicago. Recently, his Ole Miss group was part of the analysis team that reported the first evidence for the Higgs boson particle.

One of the first recipients of Fermilab’s new Intensity Frontier Fellowship, Quinn helped design a new Fermilab experiment that should help explain the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe.

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

UM Student Physicist Awarded Second Fulbright of the Year

Hunter Gabbard is a member of the LIGO group that helped discover gravitational waves

Hunter Gabbard

Hunter Gabbard

OXFORD, Miss. – Just when Hunter Gabbard thought things couldn’t possibly get any better, they did.

The University of Mississippi physics student participated in an international team of scientists’ discovery of gravitational waves announced in February. Fresh on the heels of that surreal achievement, the Austin, Texas, native learned that he is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to further study gravitational-wave astronomy at the Albert Einstein Institute in Hanover, Germany.

“I’m not quite sure ‘pure elation’ is adequate in describing how I felt once I read those first few words in the email, ‘Congratulations, you’re a Fulbright finalist!'” said Gabbard, who is the second UM student to be awarded the prestigious honor this academic year. Maggie Hall also received a Fulbright to Germany this spring.

Gabbard proposes to use a novel method-utilizing machine to better characterize and understand the non-astrophysical noise that can mimic gravitational-wave events in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave detectors. He will be supervised by Andrew Lundgren, co-chair of the detector characterization group and part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

“Ultimately, my goal is to do research and teach at the university level,” Gabbard said. “I would like to become an active researcher in gravitational physics, as well as take part in the design of next-generation detectors. This will become an important field, with much work to be done in both ground-based and later space-based observatories.”

Previously, Gabbard studied abroad in both the United Kingdom and France. A 2015 Goldwater Scholarship nominee, he is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Omicron Delta Kappa and Sigma Pi Sigma honor societies, and Phi Eta Sigma fraternity. He is active in the Society of Physics Students, Beta Theta Phi fraternity, Phi Mu Epsilon, Alpha Delta Lambda and the Library Ambassadors.

Gabbard is most deserving of his Fulbright, UM administrators and professors agree.

“This award is a testament to Hunter’s excellent work in his brief scientific career,” said Marco Cavaglia, associate professor of physics and astronomy and LSC assistant spokesman. “He has been a full member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for several years and only one of a handful of undergraduate students earning authorship on the LIGO paper reporting the first direct detection of gravitational waves and all related companion papers. He can truly be taken as a model for student dedication and hard work by all his peers.”

Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College, echoed Cavaglia’s sentiments.

“Hunter Gabbard represents what an SMB Honors student can accomplish at our great university,” he said. “His senior work in physics enabled him to co-author an extraordinary confirmation of Einstein’s theory, and he landed an amazing Fulbright. We are very proud of his determination, his imagination and resolve.”

Bruce Allen, professor and managing director of the Albert Einstein Institute, said Lundgren and other scientists there look forward to Gabbard’s arrival and research contributions.

“Mr. Gabbard has completed an impressive number of research projects in detector characterization, both during the regular academic year and through summer REU programs,” he said. “His proposed project at AEI will allow him to draw on this expertise while learning a new skill set of gravitational wave searches. This is a timely and important project and we’re excited to work with Mr. Gabbard on it.”

Gabbard said he shares the anticipation for working together with the world’s top physicists.

“Getting the opportunity to work at one of the leading institutions in the world for the study of gravitational physics (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics), and to represent the U.S. abroad is both an honor and a privilege,” he said. “The Fulbright allows me the freedom to pursue my current research interests in machine-learning applied to the now burgeoning field of gravitational wave astronomy. Following my Fulbright year, I hope to continue my research at a Ph.D. program in either physics or astrophysics.”

Gabbard’s interest in physics began in high school, but before joining the UM LIGO group he had no idea how scientific research was conducted. After his first exposure to data analysis, Gabbard said he was hooked.

“With the LIGO group, I assisted in improving the quality of gravitational-wave detection systems by developing and testing new techniques to classify transients, such as isolating outside disturbances from collected data,” Gabbard said. “Additionally, I developed the ‘Terramon’ monitor, which is used at the LIGO and Virgo control rooms to help predict the effects of seismic events at the LIGO sites.”

During 2014, Gabbard participated in a National Science Foundation IREU program in gravitational physics through the University of Florida. He presented his work at the American Physical Society April Conference a year ago before spending last summer conducting research at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley.

“Through these experiences, I learned what it takes to work in an international collaboration,” Gabbard said. “I’ve learned how to better adapt to new research environments and what it truly means to be a scientist. I want to be a research mentor and inspire many of our future science leaders as I have been inspired by previous mentors of my own.”

The son of Lisa and Kurt Gabbard of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Gabbard is the university’s 16th Fulbright U.S. Student Award winner since 2000.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Students interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Award are encouraged to contact the Office of National Scholarship Advisement at onsa@olemiss.edu.

Croft Institute, Honors College Senior Named Fulbright Scholar

Maggie Hall scheduled to teach English in Germany next year

UM student Maggie Hall has enjoyed studying abroad several times.

UM student Maggie Hall has enjoyed studying abroad several times.

OXFORD, Miss – Maggie Hall has already visited Germany twice, but that hasn’t kept the University of Mississippi senior from being thrilled about returning there. Soon, the Greenwood native will get her wish as a 2016 Fulbright U.S. Student Award winner.

An international studies and German major with a minor in mathematics, Hall has been granted a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. She’s not certain exactly which city she will assigned, but she will work with a teacher there, helping her or /him teach elementary-, middle- or high school-age students in English classes.

ETAs help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States.

“I was in the Kroger self-checkout when I happened to check my Gmail account,” Hall said. “I first saw the subject line of the email, got very nervous, and then dropped my phone into the basket when I saw the word ‘Congratulations!’

“After a couple minutes, I mostly just felt relief. I was thrilled, but relieved to know that the wait from October to now was finally over and the outcome was the best possible one.”

A member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Croft Institute for International Studies, Hall studied abroad in Potsdam, Germany, during her junior year, and in Jenna, Germany, in summer 2013.

Recently, she was awarded a Taylor Medal, the university’s highest academic award. Hall was also recognized as a Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities earlier this semester.

She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, as well as Phi Sigma Iota Honor Society, Order of Omega, Delta Phi Alpha and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Hall is president of the Ole Miss German Club.

“I have also been very involved in RebelTHON, the dance marathon organization that raises money for Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson,” Hall said. “I was on the founding board of RebelTHON my freshman year and have served as director of sponsorships, co-director of fundraising and chair of remembrance.”

A member of Delta Gamma sorority, she has played on many intramural teams in indoor-outdoor soccer, flag football and softball. Hall has been involved with Freshman Council, the Green Grove Initiative and Lambda Sigma Honors Society, all of which allowed her to be involved with community service projects such as Habitat for Humanity.

After graduation, Hall plans spend a year in Germany through the Fulbright ETA Award.

“Later, I hope to get either my M.A. in German or my MBA,” she said. “Having the experience of the Fulbright ETA program will enable me to further improve my German language skills while also learning more about the German culture.”

UM faculty members and administrators praised Hall’s focus, talent and accomplishments.

“As an undergraduate student in our international studies program, Maggie Hall has demonstrated a high level of talent, creativity and dedication,” said Margaret Ross Long, Croft Institute admissions coordinator. “She’s been a model for our program and is enormously deserving of this distinguished honor.”

Kees Gispen, executive director of the Croft Institute, said it’s been a pleasure for him to teach and know Hall.

“Maggie Hall has been exemplary and I am confident she will succeed in life as she has in college,” he said. “She is focused, hardworking, talented and versatile. She has won pretty much all the academic honors the university awards.”

“We are very proud of Maggie’s accomplishments as both scholar and citizen at UM,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College. “Capturing a Fulbright is a dream come true, and we could not be more elated for Maggie. We know that she will continue to reflect the high ideals of the SMB Honors College, Croft and our great university as she travels abroad for the coming year.”

Hall is the university’s 15th Fulbright U.S. Student Award winner since 2000. Joseph Nicholas Troisi and Colby Woods won Fulbrights to Turket and Germany, respectively, in spring 2015. In 2014, Michael Shea and Katie Shuford were awarded Fulbrights to Argentina and Hungary, respectively.

Her parents are Dr. Todd and Stacey Hall of Greenwood.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Students interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Award are encouraged to contact the Office of National Scholarship Advisement at onsa@olemiss.edu.

UM Graduate Wins Grammy Award

Nina Cole Garguilo performs as part of acclaimed choral ensemble

Grammy photo 2

Phoenix Chorale won the Grammy for Best Choral Performance at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.

OXFORD, Miss. – Nina Cole Garguilo, a 2011 University of Mississippi graduate, has added “Grammy winner” to her list of accomplishments. A member of the Phoenix Chorale of Arizona, Garguilo shared in the group’s 2015 Grammy for best choral performance, presented Feb. 15 in Los Angeles.

Garguilo attributes much of her success to date to the things she learned in the Department of Music.

“I am extremely grateful for my time at the University of Mississippi,” she said. “I had never really considered Ole Miss until I realized that all of the important musical role models in my life – from my voice instructor to my choir directors and family friends – were Ole Miss alumni.

“Because of this musical enrichment, I had cultivated a broad range of experiences that would ultimately shape me as an artist.”

Garguilo’s success comes as no shock, said Donald Trott, UM professor of music and director of choral activities.

“Nina is a very talented soprano, and it brings pride to all of us here at Ole Miss to see her excelling and performing at such a high level,” Trott said.

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Garguilo is in her fourth season with the Phoenix Chorale. While performing with the group, she also is pursuing a doctorate in vocal performance from Arizona State University.

Phoenix Chorale is no stranger to the Grammys. The group has been nominated for eight Grammys, winning three times. They are considered among the most talented choral ensembles in the country.

When not performing, Garguilo enjoys teaching students of all ages, whether they are just learning the fundamentals of singing or preparing for performances. As her grandfather and Oxford native, William Grundy Cole, instilled a love for music in her life, Garguilo strives to do the same for her students

“The recent Grammy win means so much to me,” she said. “The award-winning album, ‘Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil,’ is proof that with collaboration, hard work and sincerity, something can be created that is both wholly human and completely divine.”

Memorial Scholarship to Benefit UM Students in the Sciences

Fund honors alumna Rexine Henry

Rexine M. Henry

Rexine M. Henry

OXFORD, Miss. – A new scholarship at the University of Mississippi will support science majors in the College of Liberal Arts while honoring the memory of an Ole Miss alumna.

Working with the UM Foundation, Dr. D. Chan Henry, of Jackson, has established the Rexine M. Henry Memorial Scholarship Endowment.

“The main purpose was to have a permanent memorial to my wife and mother of my children,” said Henry, whose wife, Rexine, died in 2010 after a lengthy battle with cancer. “If this can also help deserving students accomplish their educational goals, that makes it extra special.”

The Henrys have strong ties to the university. Chan, Rexine and their two daughters, Ann Marie Lee and Julie Henry, all attended Ole Miss, as will the next generation.

“They are all big Ole Miss fans,” Chan Henry said of his five grandchildren, who range in age from 10 to 15. “They bleed red and blue.”

The Henrys each earned bachelor’s degrees from Ole Miss, hers in nursing and his in liberal arts with an emphasis on science. Chan Henry completed his medical degree from the UM School of Medicine in 1974.

Chan Henry is an anesthesiologist and partner with Jackson Anesthesia Associates, which was founded in 1961 and is the largest physician-only anesthesia group in the state.

Given Henry’s profession – in addition to the degrees he and Rexine earned at Ole Miss – he established the scholarship for incoming freshmen in the College of Liberal Arts, with first preference given to students majoring in the sciences.

“I hope someone who needs assistance will succeed with this scholarship,” Henry said, affirming that its intended focus is on the educational process. “It’s about helping deserving students who can’t afford the entire ticket on their own.”

Recipients are required to have a minimum high school grade-point average of 3.50 and exceptional need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid. Recipients may retain the scholarship for up to eight semesters, provided they maintain a minimum 3.25 GPA. Recipients will be selected by the College of Liberal Arts Scholarship Committee in consultation with the dean.

“Mom was a very selfless and giving person,” Lee said. “She always put others before herself. I think it’s very appropriate that Dad is giving back to students in her memory.

“It is a tribute to the generous person she was, and it gives our family a lot of joy, knowing that certain deserving students will be able to achieve their goals with the help of mom’s scholarship.”

Recipients will be Mississippi residents, with first preference given to students from Scott, Covington, Hinds and Madison counties – all locations in which Rexine Henry lived.

“Those counties were so special to her,” Julie Henry said.

But Ole Miss has been home to all of them. That’s why they chose to establish a permanent legacy in honor of Rexine Henry, one that will exist for her five grandchildren’s first day on campus and continue through their graduations and beyond.

“It means the world to me,” Julie Henry said. “She was such a special woman, a wonderful mother and a great friend. When he told me he was doing it, it just made my heart swell because I knew she would be so happy and so proud to be a part of this. It made me feel so honored to be her daughter.”

The endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655; or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.