Danielle Sims Awarded Mereese Ladson Diversity Scholarship

Recipient hopes to gain new insights for her work in UM student housing

Danielle Sims

Danielle Sims

OXFORD, Miss. – Danielle Sims, area coordinator at the University of Mississippi, is a 2015 recipient of the Mereese Ladson Diversity Scholarship, which is given by the National Association of College Auxiliary Services.

Sims, who works in the Department of Student Housing, said she’s looking forward to gaining new ideas and learning about resources through the scholarship that will benefit the university.

“I am honored and excited to receive this scholarship and represent the Department of Student Housing here at the University of Mississippi at NACAS,” Sims said. “This scholarship will allow me the opportunity to attend any NACAS conference of my choice, and I will be sure to return to campus with ideas and resources on how we can add to operational quality and use best practices in regards to auxiliary services.” 

The Mereese Ladson Diversity Scholarship was established in 2005 in honor of the late Mereese Ladson, controller at Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, New York. Ladson was a president and longtime leader of NACAS, and the scholarship is intended to further her work to promote the advancement of diverse, career-minded higher education professionals. Sims was honored with the award, along with Gino Galutera, director of auxiliary technology at The Citadel.

NACAS, headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia, is a nonprofit higher education association serving auxiliary services, student support services and ancillary services professionals at two- and four-year colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and around the world. NACAS provides opportunities for members to share ideas, develop business solutions, enhance programs and revenues, and develop meaningful professional relationships.

Sims is an important part of UM’s Student Housing team and is very deserving of the honor, said Lionel Maten, director of student housing and assistant vice chancellors for student affairs.

“I am proud for Danielle and all the hard work she put into receiving this honor,” Maten said. “It is my person belief that NACAS provides quality educational opportunities to its member institutions and continues to add value in preparing our next generation of senior auxiliary services professionals. I know Danielle will return from NACAS ready to further move students toward their potential.”

A Don of All Trades

Longtime pharmacy employee has many talents

OXFORD, Miss. – Whether at work or at home, Don Stanford is always looking for the next adventure.

Once featured on National Geographic’s website, this photo, shot by Stanford with a remote control camera, shows Stanford camped in a red oak.

Once featured on National Geographic’s website, this photo, shot by Stanford with a remote control camera, shows Stanford camping in a red oak.

“I really enjoy doing anything new or anything challenging,” Stanford said. “I’ll be right in the middle of those projects to try to shepherd things through and make things happen.”

Stanford is assistant director of the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, part of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. He first began working with the school as a senior research technician in 1980.

“Don has been an integral part of our team for years,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “His talent is impressive on multiple levels.”

As assistant director of RIPS, Stanford oversees and directs the school’s infrastructure and research operations. He has organized a team that is responsible for facilities and information technology. The team is in charge of everything inside the school’s buildings, including research equipment.

Outside the School of Pharmacy, however, Stanford is just as ambitious. He said he loves to be outdoors and will “take any excuse to be outside.” A professional tree climber, Stanford has climbed trees that are 200 feet tall.

“For a while, I was going to the annual rendezvous for Tree Climbers International,” he said. “They held it in different places, in Oregon and Nebraska and Colorado. I would stay a week, and we would camp up in the trees.

“We would use a ‘tree boat’ to camp, which is a heavy-duty hammock that you sleep in. You use a harness to get up into the tree, and then you are anchored to a limb up above. When you sleep, you stay in that harness and never come out of it.”

In the past, Stanford has acted as a certified facilitator for various guided tree climbs.

“I’ve taken people up into trees – I always had extra equipment to rescue them if they got stuck,” he said. “People have their ceilings when it comes to heights. For some people it’s 20 feet off the ground, and for others it’s much higher.”

Stanford is also a member of an 800-acre hunting club in Lafayette County, though not for the reason one might think.

“I hardly ever hunt; it just gives me an excuse to go sit outdoors,” Stanford said. “I photograph the interesting things I see. I really enjoy nature photography.”

Stanford is known around the school for his interest in hot air ballooning. He began flying in 1979 after watching a PBS documentary about wildlife photographers using a balloon to photograph African animals.

After earning a commercial pilot license, which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration for passenger balloon pilots, Stanford flew at festivals in Canada and France. One of his most memorable flights was for a presidential candidate.

“In 1980 when Ronald Reagan was the Republican nominee for president, his campaign people hired me to fly at an outdoor rally in Columbus, Mississippi, where Mr. Reagan was to speak,” Stanford said. “The plan was for him to make his opening remarks; I would launch and fly over the stage while the audience was still applauding. Because it was very windy, we had to rush the launch and I interrupted Mr. Reagan in the middle of his opening remarks. He paused, looked up and said, ‘Wow!'”

International Strongman Competitor Trains at Turner Center

Criminal justice major continues competing after life-changing accident

Ole Miss student John Stitt lost the lower part of his leg in a motorcycle accident in 2013, but that hasn’t stopped his from training for and competing in strongman competitions.

UM student John Stitt lost the lower part of his leg in a motorcycle accident in 2013, but that hasn’t stopped him from training for and competing in strongman competitions.

Following his accident, John Stitt had just two questions for his doctors: “When can I walk again?” and “When can I lift weights again?”

Stitt, a criminal justice major at the University of Mississippi, began training for strongman competitions in 2012. A year later, he competed in his first event and came in dead last. But he still loved it.

In November 2013, his training came to an abrupt halt. Just two days after his 23rd birthday, Stitt was in a life-changing motorcycle accident. He broke his left femur and left arm, fractured his pelvis, and his left leg was amputated immediately below the knee.

Even while lying in a hospital bed, all Stitt could think about was training again. In spring 2014, he received a prosthetic foot and began standing. A month later, he started weightlifting again.

“Originally, they said I’d never be able to lift weights again,” Stitt said. “Now, it’s a year-and-a-half later, and I’ve done two strongman competitions as a disabled athlete.”

Earlier this month, Stitt traveled to Iceland to compete in the World’s Strongest Disabled Man Competition. He left with two first place event finishes in the Hercules Hold and Arm over Arm Car Pull, and finished fourth in the world overall. By the end of the competition, he earned the nickname “John Vice Grip.”

A native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Stitt has lived in Oxford for the past six years while pursuing his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

He does most of his training for competitions at the Turner Center, where he has become an inspiration for many others.

“When people see him work out, they are compelled to ask him about his training and to comment on how impressive his accomplishments are,” said Charles Allen, coordinator of fitness for campus recreation. “In turn, this allows John the opportunity to share his story and training expertise with lots of people. His pursuit of fitness is a compelling example to us all that there really is no reason or obstacle that should prevent us from pursuing our own fitness, health and wellness-related goals.”

Stitt said his passion for the sport is what kept him pushing through his recovery.

“If I can inspire people doing this, it’s great,” he said. “But for me, I just love the sport so much, and I didn’t want anything to stop me from getting back to it.”

Stitt plans to compete in another competition this August in the United Kingdom.


More Academic Honors for Rebels

76 Named to SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll


Fedex Student Athlete Academic Support Center

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – With another successful athletics season in the rearview mirror, more academic honors keep coming for Ole Miss student-athletes, as 76 Rebels were named to the 2015 Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll announced by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, Tuesday.

A total of 1,191 student-athletes were named to the 2015 Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll. The 2015 Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll is based on grades from the 2014 summer, 2014 fall and 2015 spring terms.

While earning their 13th postseason appearance under head coach Mike Bianco, 14 members of the diamond Rebels made the SEC Academic Honor Roll, including three-time honoree Scott Weathersby, who graduated last month, was drafted and signed with the Houston Astros.

Men’s and women’s track and field combined for 31 on the honor roll, including three-time honoree Jonathan Redding, who graduated last month with a perfect 4.0 grade point average in his Ole Miss career.

Women’s tennis placed six of seven eligible student-athletes on the honor roll, including three-time honorees and graduates Julia Jones, Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven. Men’s tennis had four make the honor roll, including three-time honoree William Kallberg, who posted a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Nine softball players made the honor roll, including three-time honorees Allison Brown and Lauren Lindsey.

Men’s golf placed six on the list, including Academic All-American and SEC Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Forrest Gamble, who owns a perfect 4.0 GPA in physics and plans to attend medical school after graduation.  Women’s golf also had six make the honor roll, led by Taylor Medalist Stani Schiavone.

The following criteria must be met to be named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll: (1) A student-athlete must have a grade point average of 3.00 or above for either the preceding academic year (two semesters or three quarters) or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or above at the nominating institution. (2) If a student-athlete attends summer school, his/her grade point average during the summer academic term must be included in the calculation used to determine eligibility for the Academic Honor Roll. (3) Student-athletes eligible for the Honor Roll include those receiving an athletics scholarship, recipients of an athletics award (i.e., letter winner), and non-scholarship student-athletes who have been on a varsity team for two seasons. (4) Prior to being nominated, a student-athlete must have successfully completed 24 semester or 36 quarter hours of non-remedial academic credit toward a baccalaureate degree at the nominating institution. (5) The student-athlete must have been a member of a varsity team for the sport’s entire NCAA Championship segment.

Ole Miss – Sport – Major
Evan Anderson – Baseball – Exercise Science
Scott Ashford – Baseball – Exercise Science
Mitchel Babb – Baseball – Chemical Engineering
Brady Bramlett – Baseball – Biology and Science Education
Matt Denny – Baseball – Marketing
Cameron Dishon – Baseball – Accountancy
Sean Johnson – Baseball – General Studies
Jack Kaiser – Baseball – General Studies
Henri Lartigue – Baseball – Accountancy
Sam Smith – Baseball – Managerial Finance
Jacob Waguespack – Baseball – Managerial Finance
Josh Watkins – Baseball – General Studies
Scott Weathersby – Baseball – Biology
J.B. Woodman – Baseball – Managerial Finance
Drew Comer – M Golf – Managerial Finance
Forrest Gamble – M Golf – Physics
Chris Ingham – M Golf – Managerial Finance
Joe Lewis – M Golf – Management
Noah West – M Golf – Managerial Finance
Ben Wolcott – M Golf – Integrated Marketing Communications
Alison Hovatter – W Golf – Management
Abby Newton – W Golf – Geological Engineering
Taelor Rubin – W Golf – Risk and Insurance Management
Stani Schiavone – W Golf – Mathematics Education
Maria Toennessen – W Golf – Management
Katie Voll – W Golf – Geological Engineering
Allison Brown – Softball – Liberal Studies
Alyssa Invergo – Softball – Psychology
Lauren Lindsey – Softball – Chemistry
Natalie Martinez – Softball – Journalism
Jamie Morgan – Softball – Psychology
Bri Payne – Softball – Exercise Science
Melina Preciado – Softball – Communication Sciences and Disorders
Miranda Strother – Softball – Exercise Science
Courtney Syrett – Softball – Management
Ricardo Jorge Brito De Jesus – M Tennis – Economics
Vinod Gowda – M Tennis – Banking and Finance
William Kallberg – M Tennis – Managerial Finance
Joe Rogers – M Tennis – History
Julia Jones  – W Tennis – Accountancy
Mai El Kamash – W Tennis – Civil Engineering
Marija Milutinovic – W Tennis – Banking and Finance
Allie Robbins – W Tennis – Mechanical Engineering
Erin Stephens – W Tennis – Management and Marketing
Iris Verboven – W Tennis – Civil Engineering
Adam Aguirre – M Track & Field – Exercise Science
Barclay Angle – M Track & Field – Business Undeclared
Daniel Bulmer – M Track & Field – Exercise Science
Conrad Collins – M Track & Field – Philosophy
Kevin Conway – M Track & Field – Exercise Science
Trevor Gilley – M Track & Field – Civil Engineering
Tyler Harrison – M Track & Field – Managerial Finance
Julius Lembke – M Track & Field – Accountancy
Carl Lowe – M Track & Field – Pre-Pharmacy
Peyton Moss – M Track & Field – Chemical Engineering
Mitchell Narro – M Track & Field – Accountancy
Jonathan Redding – M Track & Field – Biochemistry
Jon Luke Watts – M Track & Field – Public Policy
Lyndsey Acree – W Track & Field – Dietetics and Nutrition
Saga Barzowski – W Track & Field – Political Science
McKenna Coughlin – W Track & Field – Exercise Science
Mary Alex England – W Track & Field – Accountancy
Scarlett Fox – W Track & Field – Journalism
Margaret Harkness – W Track & Field – Dietetics and Nutrition
Jhorden Hunter – W Track & Field – Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications
Taylor Irby – W Track & Field – Exercise Science
Tavyn Lovitt – W Track & Field – English Education
Fabia McDonald – W Track & Field – Social Work
Racquel Moses – W Track & Field – Exercise Science
Shari Russell – W Track & Field – Exercise Science
Kacy Smith – W Track & Field – Criminal Justice
Shannon Spence – W Track & Field – Criminal Justice
Arielle Wallace – W Track & Field – Art
Callie Watson – W Track & Field – Exercise Science
Kierra White – W Track & Field – General Studies
Leanne Zimmer – W Track & Field – Anthropology

Cohen Named Dean of UM College of Liberal Arts

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

Lee Cohen

Lee Cohen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UM, Oxford Work to Improve Safety for Cyclists, Pedestrians

Complete Streets pop-up experiment to affect sections of University Avenue in July

OXFORD, Miss. – Pedestrians, cyclists and motorists can take to the streets, all part of an innovative experiment throughout July when a section of University Avenue is temporarily transformed to include two bicycle lanes, mid-block crosswalks and other infrastructure.

Cyclists ride along University Avenue, where a Complete Streets Pop Up will be installed for the month of July. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Cyclists ride along University Avenue, where a Complete Streets pop-up will be installed in July. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The city of Oxford Pathways Commission and the University of Mississippi Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee are collaborating to implement Oxford’s first-ever temporary Complete Streets pop-up,” said Sara Douglass, post baccalaureate fellow in the university’s Office of Sustainability. “Complete Streets is a term referring to a street design that incorporates infrastructure for all users of the road to ensure that everyone gets from point A to point B safely no matter the mode of transportation.”

Communities across the country are using this type of approach to experiment with different types of streetscapes. The pop-up, which will be supported in part by crowd-source funding, will be installed on the section of University Avenue between Fifth Street and Grove Loop.

Donations are being sought to help implement the project. The Oxford Cycling Club and the UM Office of Sustainability will provide a 100 percent match for all donations, up to $2,000. All contributions will support the purchase of supplies and materials, such as temporary marking tape and equipment to install it.

The plan includes reducing four travel lanes to two and adding two to three pedestrian islands/crosswalks near St. John’s Catholic Church and the Music Building. Throughout the month, volunteers, the Office of Sustainability and the Pathways Commission will collect data to assess the project’s effectiveness.

“The goal of the Complete Streets pop-up project is to get a taste of what it would look like and how University Avenue would function if we conveniently accommodated bikes and pedestrians without having to invest in permanent infrastructure,” Douglass said. “We also hope to reduce motor vehicle speeds. The speed on that road is actually 20 miles per hour, but right now the average speed of motor vehicle traffic is at 32 miles per hour. We’d like to see that reduced because there are high numbers of pedestrians and cyclists on that section of University.”

The monthlong improvement recently received unanimous support from the Oxford Board of Alderman.

“I am a supporter of alternative means of transportation, other than motor vehicles, in our community,” said Jay Hughes, an Oxford alderman. “The pop-up project is a positive way to increase the percentage of bicycle users, which makes things safer for everyone. It’s rare that we get to test something such as this for its effectiveness before making a final decision about it.”

To make a donation or learn more, visit  http://green.olemiss.edu/popup/ .

Ole Miss Pavilion Parking Garage Opens June 22

The parking garage will open June 22 to faculty and staff. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The parking garage will open June 22 to faculty and staff. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The Pavilion Parking Garage at the university of Mississippi will officially open for use Monday (June 22). Faculty and staff members have an opportunity to participate in a free trial through July 31, before permits are purchased for the fall semester.

Some 275 trial spaces are available for faculty and staff. To park in the garage over the summer, contact parking@olemiss.edu. The garage will open for hourly parking later this summer.

Faculty and staff who buy permits for the Pavilion Parking Garage at the end of July will have the right of first refusal in future years. Vehicles with permits for the garage will be allowed to park there between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Questions about the process should be directed to parking@olemiss.edu.

UM History Professor Named Distinguished Lecturer

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

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

Jarod Roll

Jarod Roll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UM Offers Hybrid Doctorate in K-12 Leadership

Doctoral program designed for working principals, district administrators

Education-CPED-graphic[1] copy

UM School of Education launches a Doctor of Education degree in K-12 leadership in a hybrid format, combining online coursework and traditional seminars.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is accepting applications for a new doctoral program specially designed for senior-level K-12 administrators.

In August, the UM School of Education launches a Doctor of Education degree in K-12 leadership in a hybrid format, combining online coursework and traditional seminars on weekends to support the needs of working principals, superintendents and district-level administrators.

“You can think of the hybrid Ed.D. as a terminal degree with a built-in consulting group,” said Doug Davis, associate professor of educational leadership and director of the program. “Each cohort member will have different goals for his or her own school or district. Participants will have access to not only our faculty but other experienced leaders in the cohort who will help each other achieve their goals.”

The Ed.D. requires six semesters of part-time study over three years and all graduates will complete a “Dissertation in Practice,” which will allow doctoral students to align research with the institutional goals of their home school and/or district.

The coursework comprises 57 graduate hours including research methods, program evaluation, organizational leadership, finance, law and more.

“The Ed.D. is an exciting opportunity for education leaders,” said David Rock, dean of the School of Education. “We know that positive change doesn’t happen without quality leadership in schools. The School of Education is dedicated to providing better doctoral programs for these individuals. “

For admission into the program, applicants must hold an advanced degree in educational leadership with a graduate GPA of at least 3.5. Applicants must also possess a competitive score on the Graduate Record Exam, a school administrator’s license and full-time employment in an education leadership position at the school or district level.

Multiple financial aid options are available, including the use of bank hours awarded to schools from UM. Depending on the needs of the program’s first cohort, weekend seminars may be offered at different locations throughout the state.

The new program is the result of an ongoing collaboration with the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate, or CPED, a consortium of more than 80 institutions undertaking an examination of professional doctorates in education.

“CPED is allowing colleges and universities to work together to advance doctoral education designed to affect practice,” said Amy Wells Dolan, associate dean of education, who has worked with CPED as a UM representative since 2011. “Many doctoral students seek out terminal degrees for the purpose of professional practice. This allows us to be more responsive to those students’ objectives.”

The Ed.D. differs from the existing Doctor of Philosophy degree in K-12 leadership, which is designed for full-time study and allows doctoral students to focus more on individual research interests.

For more information about the Ed.D. in K-12 Leadership, visit http://education.olemiss.edu/academics/programs/ed_leadership_edd.html.

UM Students Land Fulbright and Boren Scholarships

Prestigious awards will allow three recipients to travel and study abroad

OXFORD, Miss. – Three University of Mississippi students, members of both the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Croft Institute for International Studies, have been awarded prestigious scholarships to teach and study abroad.

Joseph Troisi. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Jordan Troisi. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Jordan Nicholas Troisi of Wasilla, Alaska, and Colby Woods of Olive Branch were awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Awards to teach English as a second language, and Steven James Mockler of Ocean Springs received a Boren Scholarship to fund his capstone year in the Chinese Language Flagship Program.

The awards are not surprising because the University of Mississippi prepares students to pursue their ambitions outside the United States, said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College.

“These successes are evidence that the University of Mississippi nurtures students who are not afraid to test themselves at a global level, and that, here at UM, they will learn skills they’ll need in order to succeed in meeting those challenges,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said.

Troisi, a graduate student seeking a master’s degree in modern languages, also is the coordinator of recruitment and admissions for the Honors College. He plans to spend a year, and possibly more, in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, teaching English and conducting research on Turkish higher education. During his time at UM, he was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and an honorary inductee into Order of Omega. He plans to pursue a doctorate in international education upon his return from Turkey.

Troisi said he would have not applied or been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship had it not been for the faculty, staff and students of the Honors College.

“Receiving the Fulbright is not an end but a beginning, an unwritten book in which all of the Fulbright Scholars will write chapters,” Troisi said. “Ultimately, one year from now, as I am boarding a plane back to the United States, I want to be able to say that I made a difference in Turkey and that Turkey made a difference in me.”

Colby Woods. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Colby Woods. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Woods, a 2014 UM graduate in international studies and German who studied abroad as an undergraduate, plans to return to Germany to teach English and take classes at local university. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the Chancellor’s Leadership Class and Freshman Focus, and received a Taylor Medal. Woods developed a passion for teaching while working with the Sunflower County Freedom Project, a nonprofit organization that uses education to empower middle and high school students in the Mississippi Delta.

The Fulbright Scholarship presents an opportunity to continue what he has already started, Woods said.

“When I left Germany, there was still so much I wanted to see and accomplish,” Woods said. “Every day in Germany will present new challenges, especially with my high expectations for the year, but I’m really looking forward to it. I hope to use this opportunity to its fullest potential.”

Steven Mockler

Steven Mockler

Mockler, a 2015 graduate in Chinese and international studies, will use the scholarship to complete his capstone year in China. A member of Phi Kappa Phi and Order of Omega, he spent the fall of 2014 studying at Middlebury C.V. Starr School in Kunming, China. Upon his return from China, Mockler plans to fulfill his commitment to government service and give back to his community by volunteering with AmeriCorps VISTA.

The goals of the Boren Scholarship complement the work Mockler has done at UM and his career goals, he said.

“For a group that’s never met me, that doesn’t know me like my family, friends and professors do, to say they believe in me and trust me to be cultural ambassador for the United States and a future federal servant; well, it’s a huge vote of confidence and immensely satisfying, to say the least,” Mockler said.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between Americans and 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’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Boren Scholarship recipients receive up to $20,000 to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the national security arena of the federal government for at least one year.

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