UM Physics Student Wins Prestigious Research Award

Wanwei Wu headed to FermiLab to further study particle physics

UM physics grad student Wanwei Wu conducting research in one of the departmental labs.(Submitted photo)

UM physics graduate student Wanwei Wu conducts research in one of the departmental labs. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – As scientists worldwide continue delving into the secrets of the universe, a University of Mississippi graduate student joins the ongoing exploration of particle physics, studying the most infinitesimally tiny pieces that comprise matter.

Wanwei Wu of China has been selected to receive a Universities Research Association Visiting Scholar Award of $25,920 for his proposal, “Beam Dynamics in the Muon g-2 Storage Ring.” The prestigious honor from the consortium that manages Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will fund 12 months of on-site research at the facility starting Nov. 1. This award is for the reimbursement of salary and university fringe benefits.

In the three years since the university joined URA, the research group led by Breese Quinn, associate professor of physics, has received two URA Visiting Scholar awards (postdoctoral researcher Jim Kraus also received the honor in 2013) and a FermiLab Intensity Frontier Fellowship (given to Quinn, also in 2013). Several other URA members have yet to receive an award.

“Wanwei’s proposal was selected in competition with postdocs and professors from the top universities in the nation,” Quinn said. “This record for Mississippi demonstrates that we are benefiting greatly from membership in URA, and the U.S. particle physics program is benefiting from the quality researchers that Mississippi is sending to work at FermiLab.”

Wu, who applied for the fall 2016 URA Visiting Scholars Program Award in August, said he was glad when he heard his proposal was approved at the end of September.

“I am glad that the URA offered me this award,” Wu said. “I will work hard and make sure the project completed on time.”

Wu’s work is based on the FermiLab Muon g-2 Experiment, which could produce important advances in particle research, Quinn said.

“We are measuring how much the muon precesses, or wobbles, when it moves in a magnetic field,” he said. “If we find that the amount of wobble is different than what we expect, it will be a discovery that there are definitely other particles in the universe that we have never seen before.

“Wanwei’s specific work is to produce an extremely high-quality and well-understood muon beam to measure.”

A graduate of Sichuan University in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Wu said his intrinsic love with physics leads him to keep studying and exploring the amazing secrets of nature. He came to Ole Miss because he said attending here is the best way for him to pursue such a goal.

“The courses on physics I took at UM are important and helpful to start my research,” Wu said. “The academic spirits I learned from professors at the department really encourage me and my research with belief.

“The theoretical training on particle physics I got from Dr. (Alakabha) Datta (associate professor of physics and astronomy) is extremely useful to understand the phenomena on experimental particle physics. I really appreciate all the professors, as well as graduate classmates, at the department for their help.”

Wu’s award attests to the strength of the department and the quality of its faculty, said Luca Bombelli, chair and professor of physics and astronomy.

“All three of our URA Awards demonstrate that the University of Mississippi is leading the way in finding answers to the most complex questions everyone has about the universe and its origins,” Bombelli said. “As our reputation for excellence grows, I feel confident the department’s faculty and students will continue to attract researchers who excel in their studies.”

By building some of the largest and most complex machines in the world, FermiLab scientists expand humankind’s understanding of matter, energy, space and time. The organization is at the forefront of research into neutrinos, ubiquitous but hard-to-catch particles that might point to a better understanding of the first moments after the Big Bang.

The proposed international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, to be based at FermiLab, will be the world’s largest experiment for neutrino science and proton decay studies.

FermiLab is also heavily involved in research at the Large Hadron Collider and serves as the U.S. headquarters for the CMS experiment there.

FermiLab scientists are at the cutting edge of research in dark matter and dark energy, which helped shape the universe and will continue to guide its evolution into the future. Fermilab is a base for exploration of the fundamental particles and forces that govern our world on the smallest scales.

For more information about the UM Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit For more information about Fermilab, go to

UM Pharmacy Researchers Launch Diabetes Self-Management Project

Effort supported by $214,000 grant from independent research institute

UM School of Pharmacy researchers Meagen Rosenthal (left) and Erin Holmes meet with a diabetes patient as part of their PCORI-funded diabetes study. Photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

UM School of Pharmacy researchers Meagen Rosenthal (left) and Erin Holmes meet with a diabetes patient as part of their PCORI-funded diabetes study. Photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. ­– Researchers from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy invite diabetes patients from three north Mississippi communities to meet with physicians, pharmacists, nurses and others in a nonclinical environment to talk about where they struggle with diabetes self-management.

The effort to help patients self-manage their health is funded by a Eugene Washington Engagement Award of $214,084 from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

The researchers are seeking people with diabetes from Oxford, Charleston and Saltillo to meet with medical professionals. Together, they will brainstorm patient-centered research questions aimed at improving strategies for diabetes self-management.

“Traditionally, people with diabetes have been the receivers of information about how they can better manage their condition,” said Meagen Rosenthal, UM assistant professor of pharmacy administration. “This project is designed to turn people with diabetes from receivers of information to the generators of information.

“We will ask people specifically about areas where they struggle with diabetes self-management and use that information to develop research projects that specifically target those concerns.”

The project, titled “PaRTICIpate in Diabetes Self-Management Research Collaborative: A Conference Series,” will build on research that shows improvement in the health of diabetes patients when they are able to self-manage their treatment. (The “PaRTICI” in “PaRTICIpate” stands for “Patient Centered Research to Improve Community Involvement.”)

Rosenthal is leading the project, along with Erin Holmes, associate professor of pharmacy administration, and Donna West-Strum, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Administration.

The initial meetings are set for 6-8 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Stone Center in Oxford, 1-3 p.m. Nov. 1 at Saltillo Pharmacy and Solutions in Saltillo and 6-8 p.m. Nov. 3 at the James C. Kennedy Wellness Center in Charleston. Food and gift cards will be provided free for participants.

Mississippi has the second-highest rate of adults with type 2 diabetes in the nation. This prevalence is a major concern for pharmacists and one of the reasons for the study.

“Through these discussions, we hope to develop new research projects that matter to patients,” Rosenthal said. “These projects will develop evidence that is meaningful to people with diabetes, making the research more likely to be adopted and used to improve their health.”

The project is one in a portfolio of projects approved for PCORI funding to help develop a skilled community of patients and other stakeholders from across the entire health care enterprise and to involve them meaningfully in every aspect of the institute’s work.

“This project was selected for Engagement Award funding not only for its commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to increase the usefulness and trustworthiness of the information we produce and facilitate its dissemination and uptake,” said Jean Slutsky, PCORI’s chief engagement and dissemination officer.

“We look forward to following the project’s progress and working with the UM School of Pharmacy to share the results.”

The UM School of Pharmacy project and the other projects approved for funding by the PCORI Engagement Award program were selected through a competitive review process in which applications were assessed for their ability to meet the institute’s engagement goals and program criteria.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization that funds comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, caregivers and clinicians with evidence needed to make better-informed health care decisions.

For more information or to RSVP for the initial discussion sessions, contact Rosenthal at 662-915-2475.

Faculty and Friends Remember Ron Borne as ‘Quintessential Educator’

Memorial service set for 3 p.m. Sunday at Paris-Yates Chapel

Ronald F. Borne

Ronald F. Borne

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi faculty, staff and alumni are remembering Ronald F. Borne, 77, beloved professor emeritus of medicinal chemistry, who died Tuesday (Oct. 18). He was known as a friend to all and a constant source of encouragement to his students.

A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 23) at Paris-Yates Chapel on the UM campus. The family will receive friends in the chapel from 1 p.m. until service time. A private inurnment will follow at Oxford Memorial Cemetery.

Borne joined the School of Pharmacy faculty in 1968 and retired nearly 40 years later in 2004. He won the universitywide Outstanding Teaching Award in 1970 and the School of Pharmacy’s Outstanding Teaching Award six times from 1982 to1998. He served as chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and as the university’s interim vice chancellor for research from 1998 to 2001, yet he always returned to teaching.

After retiring, he came back to the School of Pharmacy to help teach as needed, even keeping an office in the school until the time of his passing.

He won the Mississippi Professor of the Year Award from the national Council for the Advancement and Support of Education in 1992.

“I have to walk across the Grove to teach, and when I go in there, there are 115 students who are motivated and want to spend the rest of their lives helping somebody,” Borne said. “They’re bright, they’re intelligent, they’re curious. I get to interact with them for an hour, and the amazing thing is, they pay me to do this. Think of how many people would like to have this situation.”

Borne’s son, Michael Borne, remembers clearly his father’s utmost dedication to teaching and to the university.

“He loved Ole Miss,” he said. “Aside from his family, the thing I think he was most proud of was when he won the schoolwide teaching award. He got most of his validation from teaching. He always loved being a teacher.”

John Rimoldi, professor of medicinal chemistry, was mentored by Borne and remembers him as a champion of students who went out of his way to make people feel special.

“Talk about a complete faculty member. He was it,” Rimoldi said. “He was everywhere. He seemed to know everyone, past and present. It was just amazing.

“He always took the time to get to know you, and he never missed an opportunity to be generous in his compliments and encouragement. He was the quintessential educator.”

Besides his tremendous impact on students and faculty, Borne contributed to the university’s research mission. His own research focused on the effects of drugs on the central nervous system, and he conceptualized and established the Laboratory for Applied Drug Design and Synthesis. During his time as interim vice chancellor for research, he significantly increased the university’s external funding.

“I really have to think that he was instrumental in moving us towards gaining the Carnegie (R-1) research designation,” said Chris McCurdy, interim chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences. “He was a tremendous ambassador for not just the School of Pharmacy, but for the university and for the state of Mississippi’s pharmacy profession.”

Borne won the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Robert K. Chalmers Distinguished Pharmacy Educator Award in 1996. When he won the Rho Chi Lecture Award from the American Pharmaceutical Association in 1994, he made the university one of only two schools nationally to have three recipients of the award.

He helped to found the annual medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy meeting known as MALTO (Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma). In 1988, he won a National Service Award from the National Institutes of Health, allowing him to be a visiting professor of pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Since golf was his foremost hobby, Borne made the most of his time in Scotland. He also initiated a golf tournament at the School of Pharmacy, and the Mississippi Pharmacists Association named its annual golf tournament after him.

An avid fan of Ole Miss athletics, Borne served as a faculty representative on the university’s Athletics Committee in 1978-84. He helped found the Ernie LaBarge Bullpen Club and attended every Ole Miss baseball game for many years, keeping his own scorebook.

As a younger faculty member, Borne played on basketball, baseball and football teams within the School of Pharmacy, along with Dewey Garner, professor emeritus of pharmacy administration.

“For about 10 years, we had a softball team, a football team and a basketball team, and we all played together up until we were older,” Garner said. “We had a really strong team. One year we played on a slow-break basketball team sponsored by McDonald’s, and we had matching yellow uniforms.”

Borne once explained his philosophy of teaching in a university article: “A coach teaches his players the techniques and the fundamentals and then motivates them to succeed. That’s basically what good teaching is. You provide your students with the basic skills and concepts and then you motivate them to do their best. I don’t care if they can name every tree in the forest, but I want them to understand the beauty of the relationship between chemistry and the pharmacological sciences.”

Such turns of phrase made Borne an exceptional writer. He authored many professional articles, as well as “Troutmouth: The Two Careers of Hugh Clegg,” a book about the namesake of Clegg Field at University-Oxford Airport. His writing style produced profound observations told in clear, steady prose that revealed an appreciation for recording special moments and turning them into memories.

In 2005, one year after his retirement, the School of Pharmacy honored his living legacy with an annual lectureship in his name, featuring speakers from the field of medicinal chemistry. David D. Allen, the school’s dean and a longtime friend, remembered Borne as a frequent attendee at school lectures.

“Dr. Borne had an immensely positive influence on not only the School of Pharmacy but also the entire university,” Allen said. “This lecture was the perfect way for the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Medicinal Chemistry to recognize all he had done.”

Borne received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Loyola University, his master’s degree in organic chemistry from Tulane University and his doctorate in medicinal chemistry from the University of Kansas. He also was a fan of the Kansas Jayhawks.

Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Carolyn Hartdegen. He is survived by his cherished companion, Deborah Freeland of Oxford, daughter Debra Price and her husband, Greg, of Jackson, son Michael Borne and his wife, Ashley, of Jackson, daughter MerriBeth Catalano and her husband, James, of St. Charles, Missouri, two brothers and nine grandchildren.

Memorial contributions in Borne’s memory can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

For more information or to sign an online guestbook, visit or call 662-234-7971.

UM Creative Writing Program Ranked Among Nation’s Top 10

Award-winning authors, talented students, unique opportunities key elements in latest recognition

The UM Department of English and its MFA in Creative Writing Program, housed in Bondurant Hall, has just been ranked in the "Top 10 University for Aspiring Writers" by Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The UM Department of English and its MFA in Creative Writing Program, housed in Bondurant Hall, has been ranked among the 10 vest programs for aspiring writers by Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Less than a decade ago, the University of Mississippi was ranked as one of five “Up-and-Coming” Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing programs by The Atlantic magazine.

Apparently, the program is reaching its full potential, with UM recently being named a “Top 10 University for Aspiring Writers” by

“I am extremely happy for our English department, MFA program and our current and former students,” said Derrick Harriell, assistant professor of English and MFA program director. “A lot of this foundation was laid well before I arrived here four years ago in Barry Hannah’s vision for the program, Beth Ann Fennelly’s dedication as our long-standing director and the full support of Ivo Kamps, our extremely supportive chair.”

At No. 6, the university is ahead of such prestigious rival institutions as the University of Virginia, Emory University, the University of Chicago and New York University. Ranked ahead of UM are Wesleyan University, the University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University and the University of Iowa.

“Ole Miss boasts of notable alumni John Grisham and William Faulkner and tries to re-create the literary geniuses their programs housed in the past,” wrote author Isabella Senzamici. “The Creative Writing program admits only a small amount of students so each student receives optimal attention. Their student publication, The Yalobusha Review, an online journal that breaks the traditional norms of mainstream media, is considered one of the best student publications in the nation.”

Acclaimed author Kiese Laymon is one of the newest hires in the MFA in Creative Writing Program. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Acclaimed author Kiese Laymon is one of the newest hires in the MFA in Creative Writing program. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

UM students transform their passion for writing into a catalyst for social change, Senzamici wrote.

They teach community writing workshops, read at retirement homes and judge writing contests to help budding writers understand the value and impact of their words. Ole Miss equips students with the Oxford Conference for the Book, a program that puts writers and students in contact with an author they admire or helps market their writing collections.”

Kamps said he was excited to read the College Magazine piece because it confirms the upward trajectory of the university’s writing program.

“We have an extraordinary group of creative writers on the faculty, and our students know it,” he said. “Our entire faculty is dedicated to the success of the students. The recent addition of Kiese Laymon and Melissa Ginsburg only confirms that.”

While numbers and rankings aren’t everything, it does mean a lot for UM as a fairly young program, Hariell said.

“To be mentioned in the same breath as long-established programs is something we can hang our hat on,” he said. “Additionally, we can share this information with prospective students in hopes to continue improving our recruitment efforts.”

Renowned poet Melissa Ginsburg is also a new faculty member in the program.

Renowned poet Melissa Ginsburg is also a new faculty member in the program.

The latest news comes as verification that UM’s program is doing everything right, Fennelly said.

“For many years, we’ve believed that what has been happening in our classrooms, with our students, is very, very special,” said the award-winning poet, professor of English and Mississippi poet laureate. “But of course, it’s nice to have the confirmation! All I know is, our mojo is working. And this year, I’m happy knowing in his (Harriell’s) hands, our program will grow even stronger.”

Poets and fiction writing students in the MFA program were also ecstatic to learn about the ranking.

“I’m not at all surprised to find Mississippi ranked so highly, but I’m absolutely thrilled by it, mostly because it’s a recognition of how hard our faculty and staff work to make this an incredible place to be educated as a writer, and of all the remarkable and exciting work my colleagues are doing,” said Molly Brown, a third-year poet from Amherst, Virginia.

“From the moment I arrived in Oxford, this place, and these people, have been on my team in every conceivable way. My colleagues and my teachers have made me want to be better and do better work every day.”

Fellow student Matt Kessler agreed.

“I knew I would receive a great writing education, but I didn’t realize just how much I’d also learn about literature and about how to teach,” said Kessler, a third-year fiction writer from Chicago. “That’s what I’m excited about: the quality of the writing that my classmates and teachers have shared with me.”

Since the Ole Miss program was launched in 2000, it has stayed small and selective, attracted outstanding students, retained its exceptional faculty and been supported financially by generous benefactors such as John and Renee Grisham.

For several years, students in the program have garnered inclusion in “Best New American Voices,” an anthology of the best of fiction workshops across the country. Other student recognition includes the Association of Writing Programs Intro Award for Non-Fiction, the Iron Horse Discovery Award for Poetry, the Best American Poetry award and publication in a number of national magazines.

Locally, the MFA program was also awarded a Graduate Schools Diversity Award a couple of years ago.

For more information about the UM Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, visit

New York Times Columnist to Deliver Honors College Keynote

Popular journalist-opinion writer David Brooks to reflect on presidential campaigns

New York Times columnist David Brooks speaks at UM Thursday for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Fall Convocation. (Submitted photo)

New York Times columnist David Brooks speaks at UM Thursday for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Fall Convocation. (Submitted photo)

OXFORD, Miss. – David Brooks, acclaimed author and New York Times columnist, is the keynote speaker Thursday (Oct. 20) evening for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College’s Fall Convocation at the University of Mississippi.

The public program begins at 7 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s annual assembly is among the signature investiture events for the university’s 17th chancellor, Jeffery S. Vitter.

“It is truly an honor for the university to host David Brooks as the keynote speaker at the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Fall Convocation,” said Vitter, who will introduce Brooks. “It is an exciting time in the life of our university, especially with the 20th anniversary of SMBHC coming up in the spring.

“The opportunity for our students to hear from a well-known and critically-acclaimed commentator and author like David Brooks is illustrative of the transformative power of higher education.”

Brooks’ comments promise to be intriguing and insightful, especially at this pivotal point in U.S. history, said Douglass Sullivan-González, Honors College dean.

“Mr. Brooks is a gifted columnist, frequent commentator on ‘PBS Newshour’ and he will reflect on the coming presidential election and its impact on American politics,” Sullivan- González said. “With the third debate concluded Wednesday evening, Mr. Brooks will provide us his insights on the tectonic shifts in U.S. politics and the possible directions and repercussions on a Clinton or Trump presidency.”

An American political and cultural commentator, Brooks has worked as a reporter and later op-ed editor for The Wall Street Journal, as a senior editor at The Weekly Standard from its inception, as a contributing editor at both Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly.

He is the author of several books, including “Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There” (Simon & Schuster, 2000), “On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense” (Simon & Schuster, 2004), “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement” (Random House 2011) and “The Road to Character” (Random House, 2015).

Born in Toronto, Brooks spent his early years in the middle-income Stuyvesant Town housing development in lower Manhattan. His family moved to the Philadelphia, and he graduated from Radnor High School. He earned a degree in history from the University of Chicago and later was awarded honorary degrees from Williams College, New York University, Brandeis University and Occidental College.

Upon graduation, Brooks became a police reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago, a wire service owned jointly by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times. He applied and was accepted as an intern on William F. Buckley’s National Review. After his internship, Brooks spent some time at the conservative Hoover Institute at Stanford University and then landed a job writing movie reviews for the Washington Times.

Brooks was hired by the Wall Street Journal, where he worked first as an editor of the book review section. The WSJ posted him as an op-ed columnist to Brussels, whence he covered Russia (making numerous trips to Moscow), the Middle East, South Africa and European affairs.

On his return, Brooks joined the Weekly Standard and edited an anthology, “Backward and Upward: The New Conservative Writing” (Vintage Books, 1996).

The New York Times’ editorial page editor, Gail Collins, recruited Brooks as a replacement for outgoing columnist William Safire, and he joined the staff in September 2003.

For more information about the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, visit

UM Pharmacy Professor Honored for Service

Stuart Haines receives award from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy

Stuart Haines

Stuart Haines

OXFORD, Miss. – Stuart Haines, director of the Division of Pharmacy Professional Development and professor of pharmacy practice in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, is being honored with the Robert M. Elenbaas Service Award from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

The award, named for the founding executive director of ACCP, is given to someone who has devoted exceptional time and energy to the organization, which works to advance clinical pharmacy. Haines was president of ACCP in 2006-07 and has served continuously in some capacity over the past two decades.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized by ACCP,” Haines said. “I’ve long admired Dr. Elenbaas. Not only was he an extraordinary practitioner and educator, but he was truly committed to advancing pharmacy as a clinical discipline. To receive an award named after him means a great deal to me.”

Besides his work at the university and with ACCP, Haines is editor-in-chief of, an online journal for ambulatory care pharmacy specialists, as well as a scientific editor for the journal Pharmacotherapy and for the textbook “Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach.”

“Stuart is an incredible example of the power of professional service,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “His dedication is not only an asset to the profession, but it demonstrates the value of service for our student pharmacists as well.”

Haines’ other accolades include an education award from ACCP, teaching awards from the University of Maryland and the University of Texas, and recognition as a fellow and distinguished practitioner of the National Academies of Practice.

“At this point in my career, I hope that I can help talented student pharmacists become engaged in professional associations.” Haines said. “I’ve witnessed what we can accomplish collectively through professional association work.”

Haines will be recognized at the ACCP annual meeting Oct. 23 in Hollywood, Florida.

Sixteen UM Students Awarded Engineering Scholarships

Scholars are recipients of prestigious Brevard, John G. Adler and Harper Johnson awards

Sixteen UM freshmen have been awarded engineering scholarships this fall. They are (front row, from left: Katelyn Franklin, Olivia Lanum, Jordan Wescovich, Taylor Bush, Katie McLain, Maria Zamora, Sarah Berry, Lane Colquett, (back row, from left) Chris Zhao, James Spalding, Donald Hopper, John Owen Upshaw, Irwin Nelson, Brennan Canton, Alexander King and Cole Borek.Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Sixteen UM freshmen have been awarded engineering scholarships this fall. They are (front row, from left: Katelyn Franklin, Olivia Lanum, Jordan Wescovich, Taylor Bush, Katie McLain, Maria Zamora, Sarah Berry, Lane Colquett, (back row, from left) Chris Zhao, James Spalding, Donald Hopper, John Owen Upshaw, Irwin Nelson, Brennan Canton, Alexander King and Cole Borek.Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Sixteen University of Mississippi students have been named as recipients of major scholarships this fall in the School of Engineering.

Representing Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, they are this year’s Brevard, John G. Adler and Harper Johnson scholars. This exceptional group of students posted an average ACT score of 32.3 and an average 3.92 high school grade-point average.

“Each year, our incoming classes increase in quality and quantity,” Dean Alex Cheng said. “These students are just a sample of the outstanding students choosing to enroll at the university and pursue a degree within the School of Engineering.”

“Receiving the Brevard scholarship is really what sealed the deal for me,” said Jordan Wescovich, a chemical engineering major from Ocean Springs. “I realized that Ole Miss engineering really wanted me in Oxford, and that the flagship university is where I truly belonged.

“I knew that engineering at Ole Miss would give me the attention and tight-knit community that I would need to succeed. The uniqueness of Ole Miss’s engineering program appealed to me much more than being just another number in a huge engineering program.”

A National Merit Finalist, Wescovich was named salutatorian and STAR student at St. Martin High School. She was junior class president, captain of the quiz bowl team and member of the golf team. She is also a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Additional recipients of the Brevard Engineering Scholarship are Sarah Kathryn Berry of Brandon, Brennan Canton of Jackson, Katelyn Franklin of Ocean Springs, Alexander King of Booneville, Olivia Lanum of Brandon, James Spalding of Gulfport, John Owen Upshaw of Vicksburg and Yucheng “Chris” Zhao of Oxford.

Berry participated in the 2015 Lott Leadership Institute from Northwest Rankin High School, where she was named to the Hall of Fame. She was captain of the swim team and vice president of the National Honor Society. She is pursuing a degree in general engineering as a member of the Honors College.

Canton was a member of the National Honor Society at Jackson Academy as well as the JA football, soccer and cross country teams. He was also a participant in the 2015 Heads in the Game summer research program at Ole Miss. He plans to pursue a degree in general engineering.

Franklin was home-schooled and participated in the 2016 National SeaPerch Challenge underwater robotics competition and the 2016 Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program at the Stennis Space Center. She will pursue a degree in mechanical engineering as part of the Honors College and the Center for Manufacturing Excellence program.

Named STAR student at New Site High School, King was a member of the Technology Student Association and attended Mississippi Governor’s School. He plans to study computer science as part of the Honors College.

Lanum was home-schooled and earned membership in Eta Sigma Alpha honor society and the National Society of High School Scholars. Active in the FIRST Robotics Competition, she received the Robot Design Award and has volunteered in various roles with the organization. She is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering in the CME and is a Provost Scholar.

Spalding ranked sixth in his class at Gulfport High School, where he received the AP Scholar Award. He was also a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and the golf team. He plans to pursue a degree in chemical engineering as part of the Honors College and the CME.

Upshaw, a graduate of St. Aloysius High School, served as treasurer of the National Honor Society, secretary of the Key Club and captain of the football and basketball teams. He also received the St. Aloysius Service Award. He is pursuing a degree in chemical engineering as part of the Honors College.

A National Merit Commended Scholar and AP Scholar, Zhao was co-captain of the Science Olympaid team at Oxford High School. He was also a member of the Math and Science Club and debate team. He plans to pursue a degree in computer science as part of the Honors College.

Recipients of the Adler Engineering Scholarship are Donald Hopper of Oxford, Alabama; Katie McLain of Alexandria, Louisiana; Irwin Nelson of Hattiesburg; and Maria Zamora of Clinton.

Salutatorian of his class at Oxford High School, Hopper attended Alabama Boys State and participated in Youth Leadership Calhoun County. He was a member of the varsity baseball team. He is pursuing a degree in general engineering as part of the Honors College.

An AP Scholar, McLain graduated in the top 10 percent of her class at Alexandria Senior High School. She was a member of the student council and the cheerleading squad. She plans to pursue a degree in geological engineering as part of the Honors College.

A National Merit Commended Scholar, Nelson served as president of the Latin Honor Society and was a member of the cross country, track and soccer teams. He is pursuing a degree in general engineering.

Zamora ranked fourth in her class and served as vice president of the National Honor Society at Clinton High School and participated in the Mississippi Math and Science Tournament. She is planning to pursue a degree in chemical engineering as part of the Honors College.

Recipients of the Harper Johnson Engineering Scholarship are Brandon Cole Borek of Senatobia, and Taylor Bush and Virginia Lane Colquett, both of Greenwood.

A graduate of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, Borek served as an MSMS emissary and an SGA senator for two years. He also received the Spirit of MSMS Award. He plans to pursue a degree in chemical engineering as part of the Honors College.

Bush graduated from Pillow Academy, where she was valedictorian and STAR student. She was a member of Young Emerging Leaders of Leflore and also named to the Hall of Fame. She plans to pursue a degree in chemical engineering as a Provost Scholar.

Ranked in the top 10 percent of her class, Colquett graduated from Pillow Academy as a member of MAIS National Honor Society and the Hall of Fame. She served as president of Mu Alpha Theta and the Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists Club. She is pursuing a degree in general engineering as a Provost Scholar.

Students Gain Valuable Experience During Summer in Bolivia

Croft Institute, sociology and anthropology faculty start field school as study abroad opportunity

Founded in 2010, the Bolivia Field School is a partnership between the University of Mississippi and the Universidad Catolica Boliviana Social Science Field School in La Paz.

Founded in 2010, the Bolivia Field School is a partnership between UM and the Universidad Catolica Boliviana Social Science Field School in La Paz.

OXFORD, Miss. – Eight University of Mississippi students immersed themselves in the culture and history of Bolivia this summer as they explored ethnography, the study of the customs of people groups and cultures, and social scientific methods, all against the backdrop of the Andes Mountains.

Victoria Burrow, a junior from Pascagoula; Allie Gersdorf, a senior from Grossenaspe, Germany; Andrew Hayes, a senior from Saltillo; Caroline Malatesta, of Lyon, who graduated in August; Sarah Meeks, a junior from Madison; Thomas Moorman, a senior from Madison; Lizzy Pitts, a senior from Indianola;  and Alexis Smith, a junior from Picayune, spent four weeks in the South American nation.

Their time there included intensive hands-on training in the social scientific and ethnographic fields under the supervision of Kate M. Centellas, Croft associate professor of anthropology and international studies, and Miguel Centellas, Croft instructional assistant professor of sociology

“Bolivia is a fascinating place, very dynamic and diverse, so there are plenty of opportunities for a range of interests,” Kate Centellas said. “We also strongly value service learning and international experience, and we were particularly happy that a partner NGO, Fundación Suyana, took us to visit some of the families in the rural Altiplano that had benefited from their health promotion projects.

“This visit was powerful for our students and made the importance of social science research real for them in terms of how it can be applied to impact peoples’ lives for the better.”

The Bolivia Field School allows students to travel to La Paz, conduct individual research and study the politics, history and culture of the Andes through active and experimental learning.

The UM students used the Bolivia culture as a case study. Specifically, they studied the impact and implications Spanish colonization had on the culture and languages of South America.

The experience was particularly fulfilling for Pitts, who is majoring in Spanish and liberal studies with majors in society and population health, biology, and chemistry. Because Pitts is from the “flatlands of the Mississippi Delta,” she always found mountains appealing, and that is what initially drew her to the Bolivia program, she said.

The campus culture at Ole Miss prepared her well for studying abroad, Pitts said.

“It taught me to love strangers more than I thought was possible; to embrace others for who they are despite our differences in political views, race, gender identification, sexual orientation or religion,” she said. “It taught me how to find joy in the difficult times when we blew big football games; it taught me to listen when others are speaking; it taught me to deal with adversity and move forward confidently.

“All of my experiences helped prepare me because Ole Miss prepares you for life outside of school and our quaint bubble of Oxford.”

Kate and Miguel Centellas founded the Bolivia Field School, which they co-run, in 2010. The school is in partnership with UM and the Universidad Católica Boliviana Social Science Field School in La Paz, where Miguel Centellas serves as the co-director of the joint program.

“The field school in La Paz, Bolivia, is an excellent study abroad opportunity for students who wish to gain hands-on research training in a range of social scientific research methods,” said Kirsten Dellinger, UM chair and professor of sociology and anthropology. “This program reflects our dedication to in-depth methodological training, engaged learning and global citizenship.”

The program’s goal is to provide students with firsthand experiences with archives, nongovernmental organizations and research institutions while developing a research project, Kate Centellas said.

The work “is a shining example the role faculty should be playing in university efforts to internationalize our curriculum,” Dellinger said.

The Croft Institute for International Studies, where both professors work, is a rigorous undergraduate program geared for students majoring in international studies and who are interested in developing an understanding extending beyond the borders of the United States.

Students choose a foreign language to specialize in, then a corresponding region and finally a focus, such as economics, politics or culture. Students in Croft are required to study abroad in their country of study for a semester.

Both Kate and Miguel Centellas are working to return to Bolivia in summer 2017 and include new opportunities for students, such as working in a rural health clinic.

Any undergraduates interested in the Bolivia Field School should contact Kate or Miguel Centellas at or Information can also be found at the Study Abroard office in Martindale Hall.

UM Engineering Senior Named Top 10 Army ROTC Cadet

Dustin Dykes follows award-winning path established 30 years ago by his father

UM Army ROTC senior Dustin Dykes (left) shares a moment with Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes, Commander of the Army’s Cadet Command during the recent luncheon. (Submitted photo)

UM Army ROTC senior Dustin Dykes (left) shares a moment with Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes, Commander of the Army’s Cadet Command during the recent luncheon. (Submitted photo)

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi engineering student is among the U.S. Army Cadet Command’s Top 10 graduates for 2017.

Dustin Dykes, a senior mechanical engineering major from Madison, Alabama, placed No. 9 on the list, outranking more than 5,000 other military seniors nationwide. Criteria included academics, physical fitness, leadership, and military and civilian extracurricular activities.

Dykes also has been awarded the Association of United States Army’s Army ROTC Cadet of the Year Award for 2016. He flew to Washington, D.C., recently to receive the $4,000 scholarship.

“I was overjoyed and very surprised upon learning I had been selected as the winner of the AUSA Army ROTC scholarship,” said Dykes, who after commissioning in May will begin active duty with the long-term goal of selection to the Army Aviation Corps. “I was surprised again a couple weeks later when I was informed I was among the top 10 cadets in the country.”

As Dykes called and texted his family to share the news, he was bombarded by congratulatory texts and social media posts from friends.

“It is a great feeling, having that kind of support from my family, church, ROTC and engineering friends,” he said.

It is an enormous honor for Ole Miss Army ROTC, which also had three other seniors in the top 10 percent of the graduating class, that U.S. Army Cadet Command recognized Dykes, said Lt. Col. Scott Walton, UM professor of military science and chair of Army ROTC.

“His outstanding performance in academics, physical fitness, leadership, and military and civilian extracurricular activities has been noticed and has served as an example for other cadets to emulate,” Walton said. “It has been an honor to mentor Dustin these last four years, and he will have a profound impact on others as an Army officer on active duty.”

A four-year Army ROTC National Scholarship recipient, Dykes maintains a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and is ranked No. 1 both in his engineering class of 88 students and among the 22 senior Army ROTC cadets.

Dustin Dykes (left) shares a proud moment with his dad, David. Submitted photo

Dustin Dykes (left) shares a proud moment with his dad, David. Submitted photo

“Army ROTC is something I knew I wanted to do fairly early in my childhood,” Dykes said. “Growing up as the son of an Army officer who flew helicopters, I easily had a role model to look up to. The great thing was my parents never pressured me into ROTC, and it was a decision I was allowed to pursue on my own.

“ROTC has taught me leadership, time management, and has provided me with a sense of belonging the past three-and-a-half years.”

Dykes’ academic achievements include being a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Tau Beta Pi honor societies, and he made the Chancellor’s List all seven semesters he has attended UM.

“I actually started at Ole Miss majoring in forensic chemistry, but early in my freshman year, I had this nagging feeling that it wasn’t my true calling and I wasn’t enjoying my classes as much as I knew I could,” he said.

“The one class I was incredibly passionate about was calculus. Combining that passion for calculus with my interest in aviation, I soon switched my major to mechanical engineering. It was easily the most important and positive decision I made in college.”

Dykes is shining example of leadership, patriotism and scholarship, agreed faculty members and administrators in the School of Engineering.

“Dustin Dykes has always been a model student and a model student leader,” said Arunachalum “Raj” Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering. “It is not surprising to see him as a model cadet also. As a former U.S. Army scientist, I absolutely believe Dustin will continue to be a distinguished member of the military in a fabulous career.”

Coincidentally, Dykes is not the first person is his family to attend UM and be nationally recognized for exceptional leadership in ROTC. David Dykes, a 1986 chemical engineering graduate and Dustin’s father, won the 1986 Hughes Trophy Award as the top Army ROTC cadet in the nation.

“Pat, a 1983 UM alum with a B.S. in accounting, and I feel blessed and are both very proud of Dustin receiving this recognition,” said David Dykes, program manager within Army Operations and Modernization at Science Applications International Corp. in Huntsville, Alabama. “He has put forth a tremendous amount of mental and physical effort to get to this point.

“In addition to his academic accomplishments, over the last three years, he has also trained with the German Army, graduated from the U.S. Army’s Air Assault School as the honor graduate and interned with an aviation battalion in Korea.”

Dustin’s older sister, Danielle Dykes, earned her bachelor’s degree in forensic chemistry from UM in 2013. The younger Dykes admitted to being a bit nervous joining Army ROTC at Ole Miss.

“I knew how much I had to live up to given my father’s achievements when he was at Ole Miss, especially as he is the only Ole Miss ROTC alumni to have won the Hughes Trophy,” Dustin Dykes said. “As a freshman walking onto campus, I immediately set the bar high and set goals I knew would be difficult to achieve, but that I would hold myself to.”

During his undergraduate tenure, Dykes said he achieved many of his goals.

“To be able to extend my father’s legacy, as well as that of Army ROTC and the Ole Miss School of Engineering, is an amazing feeling,” he said. “More importantly, I have proven to myself what I am capable of and what I have to strive for the rest of my time at Ole Miss.”

The elder Dykes said he understands his son’s initial mixed feelings.

“Much of my decision to pursue engineering and ROTC was based on my desire to follow my father and mother into an engineering career, and my father into the military,” David Dykes said. “I felt that an engineering degree would best prepare me to serve my country in a technical field such as Army Aviation or the Corps of Engineers.”

For more about the UM School of Engineering, visit For more information on UM Army ROTC, visit

UM Journalism Professor Presents Katrina Archive Work at UCLA

Cynthia Joyce will discuss efforts to recover and republish online writings from era after the storm

Cynthia Joyce, University of Mississippi assistant professor of journalism, will present her research on recovering lost Hurricane Katrina online blogs and articles Friday at the University of California Los Angeles.

Cynthia Joyce, UM assistant professor of journalism, will present her research on recovering lost Hurricane Katrina blogs and online articles Friday at the University of California Los Angeles. Submitted photo.

OXFORD, Miss. – A professor in the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media will present her work to discover and republish an archive of lost blogs, emails and other online writing from the years after Hurricane Katrina on Friday (Oct. 14) at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Cynthia Joyce is editor of “Please Forward: How blogging reconnected New Orleans after Katrina,” an anthology released Aug. 29, 2015, the 10th anniversary of the storm. The anthology mined blog posts and widely circulated emails from more than 75 blogs and online websites, many of which are no longer live. It weaves an intimate narrative of the first two years after the storm and the lives of the people who lived through it.

“The contributors to this anthology were so generous in allowing us to resurface their reflections from such a difficult part of their lives,” Joyce said. “We pulled those up and put them into print.

“Those posts – and the original blogs they were excerpted from – also deserve to be discoverable in an online context. Working with Archive-It made that possible.”

Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005 near the Mississippi-Louisiana state line, killed 1,833 people in five states, including 231 in Mississippi. It’s often referred to as the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history.

Joyce is participating in the “Dodging the Memory Hole: Saving Online News” forum at UCLA’s Young Research Library, hosted by Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. She is part of the lightning round of participants, in which each panelist has three minutes to deliver their message.

Will Norton, dean of the Meek School, said Joyce’s colleagues are proud of her work.

“Cynthia Joyce is a first-rate journalist who brings years of work at the cutting edge of new media to her presentation at UCLA,” Norton said. “It says a lot about the Meek School that our faculty members are making presentations at prestigious institutions with other pioneering innovators.”

Joyce and the others involved in the anthology project used Archive-It, a web archiving service of Internet Archive used by more than 450 libraries, archives, universities, governments and researchers to collect, preserve and provide ongoing access to cultural heritage materials published on the web.

The anthology, which was published by University of New Orleans Press, will also be accessible and searchable online via the Internet Archive’s Archive-It database later this year. Jefferson Bailey, director of web archiving at Internet Archive/Archive-It, is also presenting at the conference.

“The web is the most significant publishing platform of our era, democratizing the ability to document our lives and communities for a global audience,” Bailey said. “Yet content on the web is highly ephemeral, often eluding the traditional process of historical preservation.

“We are excited to be able to collaborate with researchers like Cynthia Joyce, who bring local expertise and community knowledge, and work together to identify, archive and provide access to these historically valuable resources so that they remain available long into the future.”