University Health Officials, MDH Urge Zika Precautions

Special precautions advised for people traveling to affected areas

University of Mississippi and Mississippi Department of Health experts urge precautions against Zika virus and have released a set of recommendations to prevent contracting the virus. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

University of Mississippi and Mississippi Department of Health experts urge precautions against Zika virus and have released a set of recommendations to prevent contracting the virus. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Though Zika virus isn’t common in Mississippi yet, those who travel to areas where the illness has been reported should take precautions, advise experts at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi Department of Health.

The illness is a threat for those who travel to Miami and other endemic areas, said Dr. Travis W. Yates, director of University Health Services. Travel-related cases of Zika virus infection have been confirmed in Mississippi, but no locally-transmitted cases have been reported in the state.

“We have had one (local) patient with recently confirmed Zika, who became infected during travel to a Caribbean island,” Yates said. “The Zika illness is usually mild, with symptoms resolving within a week, but it poses a great risk to a developing fetus, including brain damage, hearing and vision loss. Therefore it is of great concern to any woman who is pregnant or planning pregnancy.

“Anyone traveling to a Zika-involved area should adhere to strict protective guidelines which are widely published.”

The University Health Center and other health care providers can arrange for Zika testing through the MDH Public Health Laboratory. The MDH has released information about Zika to warn the public to take precautions.

Zika infects people through the bite of a mosquito, and the virus can be sexually transmitted. About 80 percent of cases display either no symptoms or mild symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Zika can cause fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

In a pregnant woman, Zika can cause her child to suffer severe or fatal birth defects. It damages the brain of a developing baby, causing it to be born with a much smaller head and brain, vision and hearing problems or other neurological disorders. In some cases, the virus can cause stillbirth.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued travel advisories for those visiting affected areas. The Caribbean and areas of Mexico and Central and South America are seeing large outbreaks of the illness. Zika virus has infected many travelers returning to the U.S. from these areas, including Mississippians. In Florida, Zika has been found in mosquitoes.

MDH recently issued these precautionary measures and general information about the illness:

– Pregnant women should not travel to Zika-affected areas.

– Pregnant women should not have sex with any man who has traveled to a Zika-affected area without using a condom during sex throughout her entire pregnancy.

– Because Zika can be transmitted sexually, men who have traveled to or who live in an area where Zika virus is actively being transmitted should abstain from sex with pregnant women, or use condoms properly every time they have vaginal, anal and oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

– Men can transmit the virus sexually to both women and men, and women may also transmit the virus to other women through sexual activity.

– Men should use condoms every time they have any type of sex for at least eight weeks after travel to Zika-affected areas.

Before traveling, check for countries where Zika virus is actively being transmitted. Women, whether pregnant or not, should take strong protective measures against mosquitoes when traveling in those areas. While there is no vaccine to prevent Zika, travelers can protect themselves by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites.

When traveling to countries where Zika virus has been reported:

– Use insect repellent.

– Wear long sleeves and pants.

– Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

– Sleep under a mosquito net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

If you return from an area where Zika virus is being actively transmitted, protect others by following these steps:

– Take special precautions to avoid mosquito bites for three weeks after you return home to prevent the transmission of the virus to local mosquitoes. This includes using mosquito repellent whenever you are outdoors, avoiding areas with mosquitoes, dressing in long pants and sleeves, and staying indoors as much as possible.

– Do not remove standing water in your yard yourself for three weeks after you return home. This has a greater chance of exposing you to local mosquitoes. After three weeks, removing standing water around your home is recommended to reduce mosquito breeding.

– Men should not have sex of any type with a pregnant woman for the duration of her pregnancy, or use condoms consistently until the end of pregnancy.

– Men should use condoms every time they have any type of sex for at least eight weeks after they return home.

– Men who develop symptoms of Zika should use condoms for six months after the onset of symptoms.

– Pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area with Zika should talk to a health care provider about their travel even if they don’t feel sick. They should be tested for Zika after returning home, even if they don’t develop any symptoms of the disease. If a fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes are present during the trip, or within two weeks after returning home, see a doctor as soon as possible.

– Women wishing to become pregnant should wait eight weeks after travel to Zika-affected areas, or wait eight weeks after any Zika symptoms appear before trying to conceive.

Meet Bradley Jenkins, September’s Staff Member of the Month

Bradley Jenkins. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Bradley Jenkins. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Bradley Jenkins, a transfer admissions specialist in the Office of Admissions, has been selected as Staff Council’s Staff Member of the Month for September. To help us get to know him better, Jenkins answered a few questions for Inside Ole Miss.

IOM: How long have you worked at Ole Miss?

Jenkins: Five-and-a-half years.

IOM: What is your hometown?

Jenkins: Oxford.

IOM: What is your favorite Ole Miss memory?

Jenkins: My favorite Ole Miss memory is when Ole Miss beat Florida in 2002. It was such an upset. I will never forget hearing the band play and watching the goalposts come down.

IOM: What do you enjoy most about your position or the department in which you work?

Jenkins: Being a transfer student myself, I love the fact that I get to help transfer students be admitted and begin their dream of earning a bachelor’s degree.

IOM: What do you like to do when you are not at work?

Jenkins: I like to spend time with my wife and daughter.

IOM: What is one thing on your bucket list?

Jenkins: I would love to go to England.

IOM: What is your favorite movie?

Jenkins: I have two: “Varsity Blues” and Disney’s cartoon version of “Robin Hood.”

IOM: What is a fun fact about you?

Jenkins: I am a huge Chicago Cubs fan.

IOM: If you could have lunch with anyone alive or dead, fictional or real, who would it be and why?

Jenkins: I would love to have lunch with President John F. Kennedy. I love history and that time period of American history is intriguing to me. I would like to know what he was thinking during all the events during his presidency.

To nominate a colleague for the Staff Member of the Month, email with the name of the individual you’d like to nominate as well as why you feel he or she should be recognized.

Overby Events this Week Include Brokaw, Barbour, Ford

Discussions to provide perspective, reactions to presidential campaigns

The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi will host notables figures in national politics and journalism to discuss the 2016 presidential race.

The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi will host notable figures in national politics and journalism to discuss the 2016 presidential race.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi will host Tom Brokaw, former Gov. Haley Barbour and a Mississippian who ran Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, among other notables, for spirited political reactions to Monday’s presidential debate.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 27) at the Overby Center, Stuart Stevens, who managed Romney’s presidential campaign, hosts “A Critical Eye on the Campaign.” Tom Brokaw, longtime NBC correspondent and former “NBC Nightly News” anchor; Andy Lack, president of NBC News; and political notables Barbour and Harold Ford Jr., former Democratic congressman from Memphis, will participate in a discussion titled “Election Countdown” at 6 p.m. Friday (Sept. 30) at Nutt Auditorium.

The two events are part of the Overby Center’s fall series lineup. Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie notes this week’s panels are perfectly timed since the first presidential debate of 2016 is set for 8 p.m. Monday at Hofstra University.

“This may be the best lineup of programs we’ve had in the 10-year history of the Overby Center,” Wilkie said. “Coming on the same week as the first presidential debate, we hope the programs will bring some of the political drama back to Oxford that we enjoyed in 2008 when Ole Miss hosted the first presidential debate.”

Stevens, a Jackson native, has been a force in GOP politics for decades. In addition to leading Romney’s 2012 efforts, he’s managed senate and gubernatorial campaigns and was involved in President George W. Bush’s campaign. He’s offered sometimes biting commentary on Republican nominee Donald Trump’s candidacy in some of his frequent national TV appearances.

Two years ago, “The Last Season,” Stevens’ affectionate book about attending Ole Miss football games with his aging father, was released. Stevens has released a new novel about a political insider; “The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear” is available in bookstores.

Lack and Brokaw are no strangers to Ole Miss. Lack, who has ancestors from Greenville, is one of the founders of Mississippi Today, an online news source launched earlier this year that is also cosponsor of the event. He is a strong supporter of UM’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

Brokaw, one of the best-known faces on TV, was UM’s 2016 Commencement speaker. He first came to Ole Miss 16 years ago – for a friend’s birthday party in connection with an Ole Miss game – and he and members of his family have returned repeatedly over the years.

Barbour, a two-term governor of Mississippi, remains one of the dominant figures on the national GOP scene. Before winning office in 2003, he served as national chairman of the party and worked in President Ronald Reagan’s White House. He is a lobbyist in Washington and Jackson.

Ford, a member of the most prominent Democratic family in Memphis, served five terms in Congress. Though he works on Wall Street, Ford – like Barbour – still holds major clout in his party and often appears as a guest commentator on national TV programs.

The fall series began Sept. 16 with an appearance by U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. Other events on the schedule will feature discussions on the civil rights movement, UM students who worked on projects in Africa and also among Mississippi’s Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, and other topics.

Here’s a rundown of the remaining Overby fall series events:

– Oct. 11, 6 p.m. – “Mississippi Freelance” an irreverent monthly that poked fun at Mississippi politicians and exposed many irregularities 50 years ago, will be fondly remembered by its founders, Lew Powell and Ed Williams, Ole Miss graduates who went on to careers at the Charlotte Observer.

– Oct. 14, 9 a.m. – “The Embassy,” a new book about earlier turmoil in Liberia, will be discussed by its author, Dante Paradiso, an American Foreign Service officer posted to its capital, Monrovia, at the time.

– Oct. 19, 8 p.m. – “The Last Debate” will be shown on the Overby Center screen, to be followed by a public discussion.

– Oct. 27, 2:30 p.m. – “Mississippi Indians” will be discussed by Overby fellow Bill Rose and students on his team in the latest in-depth reporting assignment, an annual course that has produced a series of prize-winning magazines.

– Nov. 1, 6 p.m. – “The March Against Fear,” James Meredith’s idea that led to an assassination attempt on him and a fractious finish by competing civil rights leaders in 1966, will be recalled on its 50th anniversary by Aram Goudsouzian, author of “Down to the Crossroads” a book about the march, UM political science professor Marvin King, Overby and Wilkie.

– Nov. 2, 6 p.m. – “Ole Miss in Africa” will feature UM journalism students who traveled earlier this year to Zimbabwe and Namibia on a photo expedition and study of wildlife management.

– Nov. 15, 6 p.m. – “The Outcome” of the 2016 presidential campaign – and its impact on the future of the two major parties – will be the subject for a final discussion.

Registration Open for Campus Recreation’s Rebel Trail Challenge

Proceeds benefit Bill Kingery Outstanding Student Scholarship Fund

Registration is now open for the 2016 Rebel Trail Challenge.

Registration is now open for the 2016 Rebel Trail Challenge.

Are you ready for an epic adventure race?

Ole Miss Campus Recreation is preparing for its third annual Rebel Trail Challenge, coming up Nov. 12. The race, open to University of Mississippi students and anyone in the surrounding community, combines distance, teamwork and plenty of obstacles for runners to climb, crawl and conquer.

The 5-mile course along the South Campus Rail Trail on Chucky Mullins Drive will take runners on and off the beaten path to navigate obstacles including a wall scramble, rope climb, spider web, low crawl, jug carry and tire sprint.

The race has grown each year, with about 80 participants the inaugural year, and 102 tackling the challenge last fall. The event is open to anyone 10 and older.

So pick your partner and register here. The early entry fee is $25 per person and participants get a T-shirt and race bag. After Oct. 31, registration increases to $35.

All profits benefit the Bill Kingery Outstanding Student Scholarship Fund, given to Ole Miss Campus Recreation student employees. Last year, runners raised more than $2,000 for student scholarships.

For more information, click here.

Second Annual Sarahfest Kicks Off Sept. 25

Festival to feature indie musician Jessica Lea Mayfield and artist Claudia DeMonte

sarahfestOXFORD, Miss. – The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi will showcase live music, film, art installations and more at its second annual Sarahfest arts and music festival, which runs Sept. 25-29.

Headliners include acclaimed indie musician Jessica Lea Mayfield and artist and activist Claudia DeMonte.

The festival provides participants with cultural events that are unique and educational, which foster community building and learning while offering a glimpse into the Isom Center’s work regarding gender and women’s issues, said Theresa Starkey, the center’s associate director.

“The festival is an opportunity for us to acquaint the community with the work we do at the center and have fun while we’re doing it,” Starkey said.

The five-day festival kicks off Sunday (Sept. 25) with a special edition of “Thacker Mountain Radio” at 7 p.m. on the lawn of Rowan Oak, featuring New Orleans musician Maggie Koerner, Memphis musician Marcella Simien and poet Raquel Flowers Rivera. The event is free and open to the public, and attendees are encouraged to bring blankets or folding chairs.

In partnership with the Powerhouse Community Arts Center and the UM Museum, a monthlong exhibit of Claudia DeMonte’s work will be displayed at the Powerhouse in an exhibit titled “The Art of Making the Invisible Visible: A Retrospective.”

DeMonte’s interest in exploring women’s roles in society, perceived gender expectations and beauty standards resulted in this exhibit. More than a dozen pieces will be on display.

The artist will attend a reception at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Powerhouse in conjunction with the Oxford Arts Crawl.

Other appearances throughout the week include local musicians Gina Sexton, Anne Freeman and Kit Thorn, and UM graduate student Alicia Marie Venchuk performing at Proud Larry’s.

The festival will culminate with a Sept. 29 performance by Mayfield at Proud Larry’s. Mayfield is known for her distorted guitar tones, crashing drums and heavy riffs, reminiscent of early ’90s rock, while singing of emotions and confessions. Oxford’s Kate Teague will also perform at the 9 p.m. show.

The event is possible through partnerships with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Proud Larry’s, Thacker Mountain Radio and the Oxford Film Festival and co-sponsorships from the UM Department of Art and Art History, University Museum, Rowan Oak, Department of Archives and Special Collections, and student organizations including FEMISS and OutGrad.

For more information about the Isom Center and the full schedule of events, visit

Local Senior Citizens Invited to Learn Something New this Fall

Variety of noncredit classes available through UM Communiversity Program

Oxford residents can learn more about taking and sending photos, texts, and much more during the UM Communiversity class, 'iPhone, iPad, iWhat?' offered Thursday (Sept. 8) in Weir Hall. Communiversity is a noncredit enrichment program open to the community with no tests, papers, or grades.

Oxford residents can learn more about taking and sending photos, texts, and much more during the UM Communiversity class, ‘iPhone, iPad, iWhat?’ offered Thursday (Sept. 8) in Weir Hall. Communiversity is a noncredit enrichment program open to the community with no tests, papers or grades.

OXFORD, Miss. – Senior citizens in the Oxford area who would like to try out a new hobby or learn a new skill are invited to check out the University of Mississippi’s fall Communiversity schedule, which is packed with a variety of classes that anyone in the community can try.

Senior citizens can take advantage of a special discount for people ages 55 and over.

“There are no tests, papers or grades,” said Sandra Sulton, UM Communiversity coordinator. “These classes are for those who want to have fun and learn something new.”

If you are still trying to figure out your iPhone or iPad, a special course for senior adults will be offered from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 8) in Weir Hall. The course, “iPhone, iPad, iWhat?” is designed to help users feel comfortable with basic settings and navigation of your devices. The cost is $45.

“We have a lot of grandparents enroll in this class so that they can communicate with their grandkids through their cellphones,” Sulton said. “They want to learn to take photos and send them and to keep in contact via their phones, computers and iPads.”

The opportunity to learn more about computers and computer programs such as Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint will be offered 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 13, 15 and 20 in the computer labs in Weir Hall. The cost for all three sessions is $85.

“Digital Photography Basics” will be led by award-winning UM photographer Robert Jordan. The class meets 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 and 9-11:30 a.m. Oct. 15. The cost is $85.

Topics in this class include efficient use of manual modes, quick-shooting techniques for more professional-looking shots and, most importantly, how to have fun with your camera. The instructor will touch on post-production editing and enhancing images, as well as hardware options for archiving and printing.

If sewing is a hobby you always wanted to explore, check out two classes being offered this fall by Oxford artist Andi Bedsworth. Learn more about the basics of using your sewing machine with “Sewing 101: Introduction to Using a Machine,” offered from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 12 in Lamar Hall, Room 133. The cost is $59.

“I’ll show you what all the buttons and knobs on your sewing machine are for,” Bedsworth said. “You’ll learn how to sew in zippers and button holes, thread your machine, change out your bobbin and all those little things that may be intimidating when you take your machine out of the box.”

Bedsworth’s next course in the series, “Sewing: Basics and Beyond,” will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 17, 18, 24 and 25, and Nov. 1. The cost is $145 for all five sessions and will show participants how to use patterns, make simple garments and upgrade their sewing skills.

Ann Saxon from Oxford’s Knit1 store will lead the “Knitting for Beginners” class from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 20 and 27 and Nov. 3, 10 and 17 in Lamar Hall. This class will cover beginning knit and purl stitches, how to cast on and bind off, and increasing and decreasing. The cost is $45.

New this year are the “Happy Holiday Hour” lecture-and-learn classes held during the noon hour for those who want to explore new decorating ideas for this holiday season, but are short on time. The classes cost $10 each.

Kicking off the series on Oct. 26 will be tutorials for taking the perfect Christmas card photo with photographer Robert Jordan. The class meets in the HR Training Room at Insight Park.

If you have always wanted to have a Christmas tree like the ones you see on Pinterest, stop by the Oxford-University Depot on Nov. 16 for the “Tips for Trimming Your Tree” class.

On Nov. 30 at the Depot, Whitney Pullen from Oxford Floral will show you how to transform your mailbox into a festive decoration that your whole neighborhood will enjoy.

The final holiday hour class will be, “Designing a Christmas Tree for the Birds.” This class will demonstrate what beautiful elements to use in decorating a tree that can later be moved outside for the birds to enjoy. This will be taught Dec. 14 at the Depot.

The fall Communiversity class schedule is full of many more great classes, including the popular CPR certification and Safe Sitter courses, public speaking and self-defense for mother and child.

To find out more, visit or call 662-915-7158.


Tech Companies Collaborate with UM Electrical Engineering Students

Experience gives participants confidence in their professional skills

X2 Biosystems, NASA, C Spire, Cadence, UM Athletics and the University of Mississippi Medical Center have been getting help with complicated projects from University of Mississippi electrical engineering students. Submitted photo.

X2 Biosystems, NASA, C Spire, Cadence, UM Athletics and the University of Mississippi Medical Center have been getting help with complicated projects from University of Mississippi electrical engineering students. Submitted photo.

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi electrical engineering students are working with a range of corporate and governmental entities on several research projects in which the students offered engineering solutions to complicated real-world endeavors.

The team of UM students, led by Matthew Morrison, assistant professor of electrical engineering, has helped solve real engineering issues, just as experienced, full-time employees would, for X2 Biosystems, NASA, C Spire, Cadence, the Ole Miss Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The group has also helped mentor high school students who are interested in engineering careers.

“It’s really incredible to see how far they’ve come in terms of their professional development,” Morrison said. “Not only in terms of how much they are learning as engineers and scientists and completing a project, but also in terms of mentorship in terms of working with the high schoolers.

“They may have to convey an idea to someone who may not be a technical expert. They quickly learn this teaching thing is not as cut and dried as you would think it would be.”

The team worked with NASA’s Human Research Program to develop a method for sensing and detecting head impacts upon re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere from the International Space Station.

They also worked with C Spire and the Medical Center’s neurological intensive care unit to design a sleep-monitoring system for severe traumatic brain injury patients, and to convey data to nurses and doctors securely and reliably.

The athletics department and the Center for Health and Sports Performance used the team’s expertise on a design for a new water delivery system for practices for student athletes. The goal of the system is to reduce power consumption, while adding safety and reliability.

Cadence Design Systems used UM student engineers to integrate Cadence Internet Learning Services tools into the Department of Electrical Engineering’s new computer engineering curriculum.

The team has also worked with X2 Biosystems to develop a secure wireless protocol for low-power transmission of wireless sensor data. X2 makes the Head-Trax system, which is being used to monitor possible head injuries in athletes.

The system has been shown in multiple independent peer-reviewed studies to help significantly reduce the incidence and risks of head impacts and related injuries. “X-Patch” is a sensor by X2 that can be worn behind the ear to study cumulative brain damage from head impacts.

The companies got to see firsthand what the students can do with the training they’ve received at Ole Miss, Morrison said. Representatives of several companies and organizations that worked with the students were so impressed they wanted their resumes.

“They got to interact with them and help them improve their product,” Morrison said. “To be able to do that at a junior and senior level, that’s pretty rare.”
The students learned quickly that they aren’t just students, but also experts because they’re able to address obstacles to making a product or idea successful through engineering.

“All of these students had an ‘I belong’ moment,” Morrison said. “Their eyes get really big and they go, ‘Oh, I just had an idea that can help X2 Biosystems. Oh, I just had an idea that can help NASA.”

“That’s something they wouldn’t have even dreamed of nine weeks ago, and now they’re actually doing it and are able to run with it,” Morrison said. “They’re starting to grasp what an opportunity this is and how it is going to be able to help them in the future.”

Xavier Pittman, a senior electrical engineering major from Batesville, said getting the experience and adding to his resume means a lot to him, especially because he got to use new technology that isn’t available to most people. He was part of the team that worked with X2 Biosystems.

“It actually made me feel like I was an actual engineer and not just a student,” Pittman said. “Wow. I’m a skilled worker. I’m actually having to think about how I am going to solve this problem and having to use everything I’ve learned over all of these years and actually have the opportunity apply it.”

Pittman said he is thankful to be chosen for the program.

“I never imagined things like this would come up,” he said. “It’s amazing we have these opportunities here and they’re easily accessible. The instructors will reach out to you and give you these opportunities.”

Maisha Sadia, a senior electrical engineering major from Bangladesh, also worked on the X2 Biosystems project.

“It literally set the foundation for the company, so it was a big deal for us,” Sadia said. “We felt a little like superheroes. We did that for them. It is also amazing to know I could actually do that. I put in work for two months and we came up with that. It was a very cool feeling.”

The required presentations and public speaking, as well as a large dose of professional writing that was required helped Sadia develop her workforce skills. She has also enjoyed mentoring female high school students who want to become engineers.

She told the students about the confidence she’s gained by working with X2.

“(I told them,) you can do it, too,” Sadia said. “If you set your heart to it, you can be a superhero, too.”

Ole Miss Market Days Start This Week

Green Fund project brings fresh produce, local foods to campus

Leonard Brown, owner of Brown's Farm helps Ole Miss student Katie Flannigan select a cactus plant at the Food Day Festival sponsored by the Office of sustainability. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Leonard Brown, owner of Brown’s Farm, helps Ole Miss student Katie Flannigan select a cactus plant at the Food Day festival sponsored by the Office of Sustainability. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Fresh produce and other local goods will be available for purchase during Ole Miss Market Days, a series of events scheduled throughout the fall semester at the University of Mississippi.

The markets, set for Aug. 25, Sept. 8 and Oct. 6, will take place from noon to 3:30 p.m. on the Student Union plaza.

Funded by the UM Green Fund, the project was proposed by senior civil engineering student Sarah O’Brien.

“Farmers’ markets are such a great way for people to buy locally grown food,” O’Brien said. “There are so many benefits from eating local. It’s a chance for the Ole Miss community to get a unique personal interaction with the farmers that grow their food.”

Ole Miss Market Days will feature local farmers selling a variety of produce, as well as vendors offering local honey, fresh bread and Gulf seafood. The October market coincides with the university’s annual Food Day festival.

The UM Green Fund committee selected the project because of its positive potential contribution to campus sustainability.

“As a member of the Green Fund committee, I’ve been asked several times about a campus farmers’ market by my peers who have trouble making it to the community markets,” said Grace Sullivan, a senior social work major from Madison who served on the Green Fund last year as the Associated Student Body sustainability representative.

“Since we have started following up with this proposal, it has been exciting to answer my peers with an enthusiastic, ‘Yes, it’s in the works!'”

In O’Brien’s Green Fund proposal, she noted an environmental, health and economic case for supporting farmers’ markets. The distribution and transportation of conventionally grown food is responsible for five to 17 times more carbon dioxide emissions than local or regionally produced food, according to the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems.

Farmers’ markets have been proven to contribute positively to the economy, O’Brien said, citing a 2009 survey conducted by the Mississippi State University Department of Agricultural Economics and the National Agricultural Marketing Association. The national survey indicated that communities that hosted farmers’ markets saw a 70 percent increase in sales, a 66 percent increase in employment and a 29 percent increase in wages.

Ole Miss Market Days are open to all members of the Oxford and UM community. For more information, visit

Two UM Colleagues United by Kidney Transplant

Decades-long friendship yields lifesaving surgery, lifelong connection

Kidney transplant recipient Charlotte Pegues (right) gets a warm embrace from her living donor and friend Leslie Banahan. (Photo by Robert Jordan, UM Imaging Services)

Kidney transplant recipient Charlotte Pegues (right) gets a warm embrace from her living donor and friend Leslie Banahan. (Photo by Robert Jordan, UM Imaging Services)

OXFORD, Miss. – A crisis situation often reveals who one’s true friends are. University of Mississippi colleagues Charlotte Pegues and Leslie Banahan discovered the depths of their friendship recently when a health crisis for the former brought the latter to her rescue.

Three years ago, Pegues’ kidneys began to fail, eventually placing her in dire need of a transplant. Soon after hearing the news, Banahan volunteered to donate one of her own kidneys. Physicians determined the two were a match and the successful operation was performed June 9 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“I feel like Leslie is my sister,” said Pegues, assistant provost for academic affairs and registrar. “I want to repay her in some way, but she said this was a gift. It’s a God thing!”

Banahan, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, said she is grateful and honored that she was able to be there for her friend.

“I wouldn’t have done this for just anyone, but Charlotte is an amazing woman, someone I wanted to help so she could live a full, long, happy life with her husband, family and friends,” Banahan said. “We have a special connection now – sisters, really – as we have shared this journey together.”

Because becoming a living organ donor is a life-changing decision, Banahan said it was not a choice that she made quickly or without a great deal of research, prayer and consideration.

“Ultimately, my faith in God and my love for Charlotte led me to be a living organ donor,” she said.

When Pegues was referred to UMMC’s transplant team by her nephrologist in Oxford, she told them that she had a potential live donor, said Dr. James Wynn, professor of transplant surgery who performed Pegues’ kidney transplant.

“That’s the best transplant circumstances – when you can have a living donor,” Wynn said. UMMC’s procedure is to give the person in need of a transplant information to pass on to the potential donor. That person contacts UMMC to say they’d like to donate a kidney.

That’s what Banahan did. “We found that she was compatible with (Pegues) and also medically suitable,” Wynn said. “It’s great when that happens.”

Registered nurse Jessica Johnston served as Banahan’s living donor transplant coordinator. She arranged Banahan’s own surgery and pre-operative care, and made sure that she fully understood the risks – and that she could change her mind at any time.

“She was very intent on helping her friend,” Johnston said. “It’s a very selfless act to give up a kidney. There are risks to the donor, so these are pretty special people who volunteer to do this.

“It seems like a very short process, but it’s very intensive and very thorough,” Johnston said of the weeks leading up to the transplant.

The day of surgery, Banahan’s kidney was removed by Dr. Mark Earl, associate professor of transplant surgery. It was carried one operating room over, where Pegues was prepped for her own surgery. Within about an hour, Banahan’s kidney was transplanted into Pegues, Earl said.

The entire process took about three hours, Wynn said.

Part of registered nurse Mollie King’s job is to give post-surgery transplant patients emotional support and to answer their questions at any time. Pegues “always talks to me about Leslie,” King said.

“She’s nicknamed her kidney as Carlie – a combination of Charlotte and Leslie. We joke about how Carlie is doing. She’s grateful, very knowledgeable and she wants to know everything about all aspects of her care. She’s had her ups and downs, but she looks good and she feels good.

“Her transplant is working excellently. Carlie’s working well.”

Charlotte Pegues (center) talks with registered nurse Mollie King and surgeon Dr. James Wynn during a post-op exam at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where Pegues received a successful kidney transplant in June. Photo by Marc Rolph/UMMC Public Affairs

Charlotte Pegues (center) talks with registered nurse Mollie King and surgeon Dr. James Wynn during a post-op exam at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where Pegues received a successful kidney transplant in June. Photo by Marc Rolph/UMMC Public Affairs

Pegues’ nephrologist encouraged her to pursue being placed on the transplant waiting lists in December 2013. She told Banahan and her other friends at that time. She was listed at three centers since 2014, and began peritoneal dialysis treatments at home in January 2016.

“The treatment lasted for eight hours each night, and that doesn’t include time spent connecting and disconnecting to the machine,” Pegues said. “What a relief that those days are behind me!”

“Leslie is a confidant and I trust her,” Pegues said. “She is a very caring and generous person. She continually looks for ways to help people and improve upon what’s already being done.”

“Charlotte never, never complains about being sick or feeling bad, so it was a surprise when she told me that she was going to need a kidney transplant,” Banahan said.

Banahan said that she prayed that her friend would get a kidney and be healthy once again. But the kidney never came, Pegues’ kidneys failed and she had to go on dialysis.

“That’s when I first thought about the possibility of giving her a kidney,” Banahan said. “I spoke to a couple physicians and had several conversations with the living organ donor coordinator at UMMC.

“I decided not to tell Charlotte I was trying to be her donor until I had passed the first couple of medical tests. When those tests yielded encouraging results, I told her that I wanted to give her a kidney.”

Pegues was still amazed when Banahan offered the organ donation.

“I felt so grateful that she offered to give me such a generous gift,” Pegues said. “When she told me she had started the process of being tested, I was overjoyed. Even before it was determined that she was a match, I was so touched that she considered doing such a thing for me.”

The matching process took some time because of the extensive testing involved. After it was determined the two were compatible, they set a surgery date that worked with their schedules.

“My husband and family were thrilled, to say the least,” Pegues said. “My husband said that I really have a true friend.”

Before becoming a living organ donor, Banahan conferred with her family.

“I discussed the idea with my two adult children,” she said. “They were both so encouraging and supportive of my decision.”

Since the procedure, Pegues has been continuing her recovery at home.

“As one would expect, I experienced pain in the days immediately following the surgery,” she said. “I rested a lot because there was not much else I could do. Simple tasks wore me out, but I feel stronger each day.”

Banahan said her first couple of weeks after the surgery were challenging.

“There was quite a bit of pain,” she said. “Then, for me, it was a matter of regaining strength and stamina. At eight weeks after surgery, I feel good and am working full time.”

The two agreed that they received excellent care at UMMC and have learned several things through this process.

“First, there is a state law which grants up to six weeks of leave to an organ donor so that the individual does not have to use personal or medical leave,” Pegues said. “Second, there is a tax credit of up to $10,000 available to donors for expenses they incurred such as travel and hotel accommodations. Third and finally, all medical expenses (testing, hospital services) are charged to the recipient.”

“There has been no financial cost to me at all throughout this entire process,” Banahan said. “I hope our story encourages others to consider being a living organ donor.”

Live donors aren’t uncommon nationally, but it can be difficult to find good candidates in the Deep South.

“Part of our challenge is that we serve a predominantly African-American population, and diabetes and high blood pressure are very common,” Wynn said. “Even when we have family members or friends willing to donate, they frequently have medical reasons for not being able to donate.”

The main consideration, Wynn said, is that the donor and recipient must have compatible blood types.

Banahan and other live donors are advised on the front end of the risks of surgery. Both donors and recipients go through an evaluation process at UMMC to ensure that the donation is being made freely and without coercion, and that donors are doing it for the right reasons, King said.

“Facing a major operation is a worrisome thing, and a lot of our focus is to allay the fears” of both donors and recipients, Wynn said. “Because of the precautions we take, it’s the safest operation we do. There’s risk, but compared to any other major operation, it’s extremely safe.

“The more important question is, what’s the lifelong risk to the donor of having only one kidney? We know the risk is not zero, but it’s extremely small. We are careful to make sure we identify the potential donors who have problems that can put them at risk for kidney failure.”

While Pegues and Banahan made a model donation team, at least 700 people are on UMMC’s waiting list for a kidney transplant, Wynn said.

“We did 77 kidney transplants in the first six months of this year,” he said. “That shows there’s a large gap between the number waiting, and the number of donations available. Donation is a great thing.”

UMMC is making strides in growing its live organ donor program.

“It’s a beautiful gift to give upon your death, but we want to make more people aware that there’s the option of live donation,” Johnston said.

Pegues and Banahan have “such a beautiful friendship,” Johnston said. “When you are a living donor, that’s a gift that keeps on giving. Leslie will give this gift to Charlotte every day.”

Fatefully, it was a work crisis that initially brought the two Ole Miss employees together in the mid-1990s.

“Leslie was working in international programs and I was working in admissions,” Pegues said. “We were assigned to work on a very sensitive student issue.”

“The assignment required us to spend quite a bit of time together, and I was quickly impressed with Charlotte’s intelligence, professional knowledge and skills, and her no-nonsense approach to our work,” Banahan said. “We were a good team, and I knew she was someone I could trust and count on to make good decisions.”

Resolving the matter at hand, the two continued working together on various projects and committees. Both eventually served as assistant vice chancellors for student affairs, positions that afforded them the opportunity to work together on a daily basis. What began as a professional relationship developed into a strong friendship.

“Leslie is always kind and professional,” Pegues said. “Having both held positions of assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, we worked closely together for several years. We spent a lot of time working on very serious matters. From what I recall, I think we agreed on most things.”

Pegues is “a person of strong faith and personal values” who possesses a great sense of humor, Banahan said.

“I think we both are fairly optimistic people, and we both chose careers in higher education,” she said. “I’m sure we have disagreed occasionally, but I honestly can’t remember a specific disagreement. While our life stories are very different, we just connected and supported one another.”

UM Professors Earn Tenure and Promotions

Four academic departments, Croft Institute and Sarah Isom Center are under new leadership

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Four faculty members within the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi have been promoted to administrative positions, and more than 50 faculty members across campus have been granted tenure or rank promotions.

Also, Gregg Roman has been hired as chair and professor of biology, and Rebekah Smith has been hired as chair of the Department of Psychology.

Luca Bombelli, associate professor of physics and astronomy, has been named chair of the department, and Michael Barnett, associate professor of lighting design, is the new chair of the Department of Theatre Arts. Oliver Dinius, associate professor of history, is the new executive director of the Croft Institute for International Studies, and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies is under the direction of Jaime Harker, professor of English. All appointments became official this summer.

“I am pleased to announce the outstanding faculty that will assume these very important administrative roles within the College of Liberal Arts,” Dean Lee Cohen said. “I am confident that each of these units will flourish under their new leadership and I am excited to begin working with them.

“I would also like to thank those individuals who these individuals are following – all of whom served their respective units with exceptional leadership and resourcefulness.”

Though new to the university, Roman comes with both short- and long-term goals for the Department of Biology, which includes growing its faculty and increasing the number of high-impact research projects in diverse areas of the life sciences.

“Our team will accomplish this goal through a multipronged approach that includes improving our ability to conduct state-of-the-art research with new shared-use instrumentation facilities Roman,” said. “We are increasing our efforts at recruiting and retaining academically excellent, driven and curious graduate students. We will also increase the level of discourse with discipline specific journal club courses, a bolstered research seminar series and a departmental retreat.

These increases in research communication will help generate more innovation and provide both incentives and tools for even higher levels of multidisciplinary research, he said.

“By encouraging our faculty to work together in these tasks, we will elevate our research and develop national and international recognition for the areas of strength present in the biology department,” he said.

A member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty since 1996, Bombelli said he is fortunate to have stepped into the position at a time when the department has seen an increase in the number of regular, tenure-track faculty members.

“This has strengthened our already very active and prominent research groups, and put us in a position to attract even higher levels of funding,” he said. “We are a relatively small, friendly department, in which faculty carry out very exciting research, and we plan to use this to raise the quality and diversity of our applicant pool, in both our undergraduate and graduate programs.”

In terms of course offerings, the recent increase in faculty size has been offset by the number of sections needed to teach to serve a much larger overall student population.

“So my goal is to increase the size of the faculty further, to reach a level at which we can teach a really attractive variety of courses,” Bombelli said. “In the short term, this will require the development of a clear vision and expansion plan.”

Before coming to Ole Miss, Smith was professor and chair of psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“My goals are to provide leadership for growth in the department within the environment of UM as a leading research university by supporting faculty and students and through creative problem solving,” she said. “I am fortunate to have a strong positive foundation to build on, thanks to the work of Dr. Michael Allen, who served as department chair for 14 years and who continues to provide invaluable advice during the transition in leadership.”

Barnett joined the faculty in August 2007 and has served as assistant professor of lighting design, assistant chair of theatre arts, vice-chair of the Faculty Senate and chair of the Faculty Senate for the last four years.

“The department will work to ensure that our students have the resources to create wonderful pieces of theater, film and dance,” Barnett said. “They will learn about the artistry, professionalism and critical thinking necessary to generate substantive pieces of work and discover the ways in which they can make a positive difference in our community through the representation of our regional, national and global stories.”

Through collaboration with the other fine arts departments, the Department of Theatre Arts will serve as a cultural corridor through which the community is able to connect with the university, he added.

Dinius, who has been a UM faculty member since 2004, said his first and foremost goal is to make sure that the international studies major remains a program that stands for academic excellence as the number of students continues to grow.

“The Croft Institute now accepts 50 percent more students than it did in 2010, but its faculty has not grown, which means that we have to use our resources very wisely to give students the true ‘Croft’ experience and inspire them to perform at the highest level,” Dinius said.

“Over the next few years, I would like to reshape the curriculum in the international studies major to be more global in outlook, building on our strength in the study of four particular regions – East Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East – and finding ways to think beyond those regions.”

Another priority of Dinius’ would be to place even greater emphasis on undergraduate research, a skillset that has proven to lead to exciting careers for alumni, often in areas of the private sector that one might not immediately associate with research.

“In terms of Croft’s contribution to the university at large, I want to see us even more engaged in the internationalization of our campus,” he said. “This would include expanding the number of international events working with other units on campus, such as the Honors College, the Department of Modern Languages and the Office of Global Engagement, among others.

“Greater internationalization of campus benefits our majors, the student body at large and the Oxford community.”

Harker joined the faculty in 2003 and has been an assistant professor and associate professor of English. She was director of undergraduate studies in English, the department’s assistant chair and interim director of the Isom Center in 2014-2015.

“Our short-term goals include increasing the availability of courses in gender studies to serve the student body, creating partnerships with groups on campus and in the community regarding gender and sexual studies, and building financial support for programming and education,” she said. “We will build on partnerships with the Oxford Film Festival, the Powerhouse, the Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement, and many others within and outside of the university.”

Harker said her long-term goals are to extend the reach of the center’s educational programs through podcasts, social media and online programming, move to more accessible and visible space in Lamar Hall, and build a stronger endowment to support its educational mission.

Other faculty members earning tenure and/or rank promotions are:

  • Kim Griffin Adcock was promoted to professor of pharmacy practice and is director of faculty and academic affairs in the Department of Pharmacy Practice
  • Abbas Ali was promoted to principal scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research
  • Alan Louis Arrivee was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of theatre arts
  • Robert William Barnard was promoted to professor of philosophy
  • Edmond Boudreaux was granted tenure
  • Cecilia Botero was granted tenure
  • Qingying Bu was promoted to professor of mathematics
  • Joe Turner Cantu was promoted to professor of theatre arts
  • Tucker Carrington was promoted to associate professor of law and is director of the Innocence Project
  • Amber Jean Carpenter-McCullough was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of curriculum and instruction
  • Virginia Rougon Chavis was promoted to professor of art and is chair of art and art history
  • Allen Stanley Clark was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of modern languages
  • Svjetlana Curcic was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of special education
  • Charles Clay Dibrell was promoted to professor of management and is William W. Gresham Jr Entrepreneurial Lecturer
  • Victoria Lynn Dickinson was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of accountancy
  • Conor M. Dowling was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of political science
  • Micah Paul Everett was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of music
  • Joshua First was promoted to Croft associate professor of history and international studies
  • Laurie Warrington Fleming was promoted to clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice
  • Jennifer W. Ford was promoted to professor and is head of Archives and Special Collections at the J.D. Williams Library
  • Karen Forgette was promoted to lecturer in the Center for Writing and Rhetoric
  • Richard John Gentry was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of management
  • Kristy L. Gilliland was promoted to professor of law and is director of the Law Library
  • Bradley T. Goodwiller was promoted to research and development engineer II at the National Center for Physical Acoustics
  • Joan Hall was promoted to senior lecturer in English
  • Ralph Hugh Hamilton was promoted to instructional associate professor of management
  • John David Heffington was promoted to senior research and development engineer at the National Center for Physical Acoustics
  • John A. Holleman was promoted to clinical associate professor of higher education
  • Kate Hooper was promoted to lecturer in the Center for Writing and Rhetoric
  • Guy Krueger was promoted to lecturer in the Center for Writing and Rhetoric
  • Cecille Alista Labuda was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of physics and astronomy
  • Christopher J. Leary was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of biology
  • Theresa Hilary Levitt was promoted to professor of history
  • Soumyajit Majumdar was promoted to professor of pharmaceutics and research professor in RIPS and is associate dean for research and graduate programs and associate director of the PII Center for Pharmaceutical Technology
  • Charles D. Mitchell was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of journalism and new media and is assistant dean
  • Sathyanarayana Narasimh Murthy was promoted to professor of pharmaceutics and research professor in RIPS
  • Ahmed Mohamed Galal Osman was promoted to senior scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research
  • James J. Pitcock was promoted to clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice
  • Charles K. Ross was promoted to professor of history and is director of African-American studies
  • Stefan E. Schulenberg was promoted to professor of psychology
  • Carrie Smith was promoted to instructional associate professor in psychology
  • Rebekah Smith was granted tenure
  • Daniel Stout was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of British literature
  • Natascha Techen was promoted to senior scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research
  • Anne S. Twitty was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of history
  • Randy Mack Wadkins was promoted to professor of chemistry and biochemistry
  • Yanhong Wang was promoted to principal scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research
  • Ivonne Whitehead was promoted to senior lecturer in modern languages
  • Kathleen Wickham was promoted to professor of journalism
  • Louis George Zachos was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of geology and geological engineering
  • Yaoxin Zhang was promoted to senior research scientist at the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering