UM Team Competes in Archaeological Ethics Bowl for First Time

Three honors students debate ethical dilemmas faced by archaeologists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crawford Crowned a Queen of Engineering

Alumna's successes at Lockheed Martin earn her a second Black Engineer of the Year Award

Tamara Crawford (right) ins congratulated by Marilyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman/president/CEO.

Tamara Crawford (right) is congratulated by Marilyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman/president/CEO.

Tamara Crawford knows she’s been blessed. So when she entered her 13th year of employment at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, the University of Mississippi mechanical engineering alumna wasn’t the least bit superstitious about her steady stream of career achievements coming to some unfortunate end.

Crawford’s confidence, creativity, leadership and endurance were recently rewarded when she was honored with Special Recognition for Career Achievement during the 2016 Black Engineer of the Year Awards. She previously won the 2014 Black Engineer of the Year Outstanding Achievement Award-Science Spectrum Trailblazer.

This year is the 30th anniversary of BEYA, a national award regarded as “one of the most prestigious and competitive honors in science, engineering and technology management.” Fewer than 1,000 individuals have achieved the distinction of being a Black Engineer of the Year honoree.

“As a 13-year-old girl from a small Mississippi town, in eighth grade, I decided to become an engineer,” said Crawford, who is a board member of the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering. “My junior year in college, I declared, ‘I’m moving to Texas to work for Lockheed Martin. My parents taught me that all things are possible when you believe in God and yourself.”

She set out with no job, family, interviews or connections and with only $292 in her pocket.

“Fast forward 13 years, and here I am,” Crawford said.

An advanced technical leadership program senior, Crawford is responsible for work product quality, including the assessment of system processes, and product performance for the C-130, C-5, P-3, F-16, F-22 and F-35 fighter programs.

She previously was the lead systems engineer for the F-22 Raptor, the world’s only fifth-generation fighter. When it reached the end of production, Crawford was responsible for overseeing the dismantling of that production line, preserving and storing those production components for future use. With no standard model for doing this, hers will be the blueprint for going forward.

A member of the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame (Outstanding Young Alumni of the Year) and Ole Miss Alumni Association Life Member, Crawford credits her Ole Miss engineering education for her success.

“I knew that an engineering degree earned from the University of Mississippi would be respected globally,” she said. “Ole Miss provides its students an amazing juxtaposition of experiencing a world-class education in your own backyard.”

The partnering of rigorous engineering study in a liberal arts environment has proven immensely beneficial to Crawford and her career, she said.

“Upon graduation, I was prepared as an engineer and a leader,” Crawford said. “Innovation, teamwork and the art of effective communication are key skills I developed as a students and continue to demonstrate as a professional.”

She serves on the Ole Miss Engineering Advisory Board, lectures in Dean Alex Cheng’s Leadership and Professionalism course and maintains a close relationship with UM engineering faculty who taught her.

“(This is) yet another impressive award on your yet young, but abundantly fruitful career,” wrote Jeff Roux, professor of mechanical engineering. “Your public speaking skills are excellent and highly refined. You are our hero and we are proud of you and love you.”

ME professor Ellen Lackey expressed similar sentiments to her former student.

“Congratulations!” she wrote. “I always enjoy receiving emails from you and finding out about your continued success. I hope to see you soon.”

Crawford acknowledged Lackey, Roux and others as having been instrumental to her career success.

“If Dr. Lackey hadn’t assigned my class to read ‘Skunk Works,’ I may not have moved to Texas to work at Lockheed Martin,” she said. “Dr. Roux (and many others) all taught me well. It means a lot to have their love and support.”

Tamara Crawford (second from right) surrounded by (from left) her brother, Kendrick Crawford; mother, Jeanelle Crawford; and father, Archie Crawford.

Tamara Crawford (second from right) surrounded by (from left) her brother, Kendrick Crawford; mother, Jeanelle Crawford; and father, Archie Crawford.

As both a woman and a minority, Crawford has been a trailblazer in the world of professional engineering.

“Service is inextricably woven into the tapestry of my life,” Crawford said. “My joy is inspiring youth through STEM. I must give back. I love witnessing the ‘light bulb’ moments for younger people … the realization they can be creators of technology, not merely consumers of it.”

Crawford was also selected as a member of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Advanced Technical Leadership Program. ATLP exists to develop future technical leaders for Lockheed Martin Corp. The purpose of the two-year program is to accelerate the technical, professional and leadership development of selected intermediate career-level individuals through stretch assignments, strategic research projects, training, mentoring and networking.

The program’s four major components are stretch assignments, a strategic research project, community service and training. Additionally, ATLP participants attend periodic learning and networking conferences and participate in a mentoring relationship as a mentee to someone in higher levels of leadership within Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

Candidates were considered from across the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics locations in Texas, California and Georgia. Only 10 candidates were selected. Crawford’s credentials, nomination and panel interview performance solidified her qualification for this exclusive leadership development opportunity.

Henry Brevard Receives Engineer of Service Award

Longtime benefactor recognized for generosity, philanthropy

Henry Brevard

Henry Brevard

For the past 25 years, Henry Brevard has been a pillar of support to the School of Engineering at the University of Mississippi. Fittingly, the chairman of the board of B&B Concrete Co. Inc. was recently presented the school’s Engineer of Service Award for the longevity of his efforts.

In 1991, he made an initial $1 million gift to the School of Engineering in order to establish the Brevard Family Scholarship Endowment in Engineering. Since the fall 1991 school semester, the endowment has provided partial undergraduate scholarships to more than 500 students.

In 2001, Brevard and his family established the Elizabeth B. Brevard Council Scholarship Endowment to provide academic scholarships for students to attend Ole Miss. The family established the Brevard Family Engineering Chair at UM in 2012.

To honor Henry Brevard and his family for their support for the engineering school, the university renamed the Old Chemistry Building as Brevard Hall in April 2011.

“Henry Brevard is a natural recipient for the Engineer of Service Award,” said Kevin Gardner, UM development officer for the engineering school. “While pouring foundations for decades, he has been methodically laying a firm foundation for the School of Engineering.

“His sacrificial involvement has abundantly strengthened our program. It is difficult to measure the height and breadth; but rest assured, his impact has and will continue to inspire and influence generations upon generations.”

In 1987, Brevard was named the UM Engineer of Distinction. The next year, he was inducted into the UM Alumni Hall of Fame. Brevard is also a member of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, the Ole Miss Associates, the Chancellor’s Trust and the Lyceum Society.

Brevard’s other contributions to his alma mater include serving as president of the UM Foundation, a president of the engineering alumni chapter, chairman of the school’s board of advisers and chairman and charter member of the Woods Order. He is also a former board member for UM’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture and a former member of the board of directors for the UM Alumni Association.

Brevard co-founded B&B, a concrete materials supply company with plants throughout north Mississippi, in Tupelo in 1949. Brevard is also president and chairman of the board of Concrete Industries Inc., a real estate firm with ready-mix concrete plant holdings in north Mississippi.

A native of Amory, he graduated from Amory High School in 1939. Later, Brevard earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UM in 1943. As a senior student, he served as a student instructor in the Department of Civil Engineering. He was also member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity.

Upon graduation, he enlisted as a cadet in the Army Air Force, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He was then selected to remain at the Hondo Air Field as an aerial navigation instructor. Just before the end of World War II, he completed B-29 aircraft combat training.

Brevard married the former Mae Elizabeth (Beth) Boozer, and the couple was married almost 67 years before Mrs. Brevard passed in 2013.

After his discharge from the service, Brevard was employed by the Design Section of the U.S. Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg. He worked for the Corps for almost a year, assisting in the design and development of such projects as the Grenada Dam and reservoir.

He later worked for the Mississippi Highway Department as a structural engineer in the Department of Bridge Design in Jackson. He moved to Tupelo, where he and his father-in-law, Riley Boozer, co-founded their concrete company. That same year, Brevard was admitted into the National Society of Professional Engineers. He is the oldest practicing Professional Engineer in Mississippi.

Active in community affairs, Brevard is a former chairman of the board of Mississippi Methodist Senior Services Inc., the North Mississippi Medical Center and North Mississippi Health Services. He is a founding trustee and former chairman for the North Mississippi Health Services Foundation (now the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi) and 50-plus-year volunteer for the Yocona Area Council of Boy Scouts of America, serving on the Camp Yocona redevelopment committee.

Other roles Brevard has filled include former president of the Yocona Area Council, former president of the Tupelo Kiwanis Club, a member of the board of directors of First Citizens National Bank in Tupelo and a local advisory board member for Deposit Guaranty National Bank. He is a former board member for the Mississippi Economic Council, the MUW Foundation, the Baddour Center, the CREATE Foundation, the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra, the Tupelo Art Gallery (now the Gumtree Museum of Art) and the highways and parkways committee for the Community Development Foundation.

A faithful member of First United Methodist Church in Tupelo, Brevard has given the church a priority of his time and resources. He is a former lay leader, former chairman of the finance committee, former chairman of the long-range planning committee, former chairman of the building committee, former delegate to annual conference, former member of the administrative council, former member of the trustees, and former teacher in either the youth or adult Sunday school program for more than 45 years.

In 1997, Brevard and his family donated a 21-lot subdivision, equipped with utility hook-ups and a concrete street in Verona, to Northeast Mississippi Habitat for Humanity for use in building houses for worthy recipients. He and his wife established an endowment fund at the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi to support community health needs, such as school nurses and immunizations.

Brevard was awarded the Silver Beaver for Distinguished Service to Scouting in 1967. He was selected as the Yocona Area Council’s Eagle Class Honoree in 1992 and again in 2015. In 2002, Brevard was honored as a Distinguished Citizen by the council. He was named Tupelo’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Tupelo Junior Auxiliary.

Brevard was recognized as a fellow by the North Mississippi Health Services Foundation. Criteria for selection as a fellow included service, advocacy, volunteerism and philanthropy. He and his wife received a McLean Award for Philanthropy from the CREATE Foundation in 2007. Brevard was inducted as a member of the inaugural class of the Mississippi Concrete Industries Association’s Hall of Fame in 2013.

Henry and his late wife have two children: Elise Brevard Smith (Mike) of Ridgeland and David Brevard (Shawn) of Tupelo. They have three grandchildren: Riley Smith and Lizzie Brevard of Washington, D.C., and Stewart Brevard McMillan (Victor) of Tupelo.

Farhad Farzbod Joins Mechanical Engineering Faculty

Newest professor brings creativity, energy to students and colleagues

Farhad Farzbad (far right) enjoys some time with his wife, Rosita, and friends at YellowStone National Park.

Farhad Farzbad (far right) enjoys some time with his wife, Rosita, and friends at YellowStone National Park.

As technological advances continue, the imaginary line between fiction and reality is being erased. And that’s one of the reasons Farhad Farzbod is an assistant professor at the University of Mississippi.

“I looked for academic opportunities in the South and I found Ole Miss,” said Farzbod, who joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty last August. “When I visited the campus, I was attracted to the level of collegiality in the department and how helpful everyone was. Not to mention that the campus was much more beautiful than what I had in mind.”

Farzbod, whose research area is mainly actuator design and novel acoustic devices, has taught Dynamics and Mechatronics. He will teach Engineering Systems Analysis and Design and Linear Control next semester.

“My background is in different areas, from laser ultrasound and bio acoustics to mechatronics and sensor design,” Farzbod said. “Currently, I am pursuing a subset of these.”

Farzbod is a welcome addition to the ME department, said Arunachalam Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering.

“Dr. Farzbod brings incredible multidisciplinary characteristics and capability through his work experience with the Google Inc. and research work at the Idaho National Laboratory,” he said. “The use of micro-electro mechanical systems in mechanical/electronics components and all types of sensors necessitates a need for teaching mechatronics to our students.

“With faculty like Dr. Farzbod, the mechanical engineering department has now positioned itself to further modernize its curriculum so that our students could find better opportunity in the global market.”

After earning his Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology, Farzbod took a postdoc at Idaho National Laboratory. He was a research engineer at Google [x] Lab before coming to UM.

Farzbod’s most fulfilling professional achievement thus far is his second patent, which he filed while employed at Google.

“It is about using nose vibration to pick up speech signal,” Farzbod said. “I think it is really useful for wearable computers and it helps to personalize communication with wearable devices without much sacrifice for the power and the price.”

Although Farzbod enjoyed his time at Google, he found himself drawn to life in a college town more than the big city. “Those years of living in the South, with its green nature, warm weather and nice people made my best memories,” he said.

The new faculty member has already set short- and long-term goals for himself.

“My short-term goal is to bring outside research money to the department to provide for graduate student stipend, experimental setups and possibly some summer hours for undergrads,” he said.

“One of my long term goal is to reach out beyond Ole Miss and serve the state of Mississippi. Another long-term goal is to be somewhat well known in my area of research, to have a lab with state-of-the-art facilities to serve both my research and teaching activities.”

The most gratifying part of the job for Farzbod is working with students.

“I am still on a learning curve about the level of students here,” he said. “Some of them definitely beat my expectations. But I have to find the average, to adjust my gears.”

Farzbod and his wife, Rozita, enjoy hiking and playing cards with friends. He looks forward to serving the campus community and beyond.

“I remember that when I was working at Google, we were encouraged to go out couple of days a year and tutor high school students in underprivileged schools in the Bay Area,” Farzbod said. “I think Mississippi, among all places, needs our help. The late Jim Chambers – God bless his soul – was active in this.”

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UM Engineering Computes for Tuan Ta

Senior CIS major becomes academic and research success

Tuan Ta at 2015 University Corporation for Atmospheric Research program, Boulder, Colorado

Tuan Ta at 2015 University Corporation for Atmospheric Research program, Boulder, Colorado

As a secondary school student, Tuan Ta sought admission to a research university and financial support to pursue an education in the United States. He found both opportunities through the University of Mississippi School of Engineering.

A graduate of Hanoi-Amsterdam High School, the Vietnamese native first learned of the university through the U.S. News and World Report website, which annually ranks higher education institutions. He found that Ole Miss matched his interests and enrolled in fall 2012.

“Computers and programming have been my favorite interests since secondary school,” Ta said. “I enjoy writing code to solve real problems, and I have always been curious about how computers work, which is what led me to study computer science here.”

Since 2013, he has been involved with the Heterogenous Systems Research Lab, led by Byunghyun Jang, assistant professor of computer and information science. His work in the lab has included designing more efficient coherence protocol for heterogenous CPU-GPU processors and parallelizing and accelerating d-ary heap construction on GPU using OpenCL.

Jang has been Ta’s academic and research advisor during his four years at the university.

“He has taught me how to conduct scientific research, how to think critically and gave valuable advice in my studies,” Ta said. “Without his support, I would not have achieved such success at Ole Miss.”

Jang said that Ta has been one of the best students that he has encountered during his time at UM.

“What impressed me more than his grades was his intellectual capability, thorough understanding of subjects and extraordinary desire for knowledge,” Jang said. “He possesses all the best qualities that college students, engineers and researchers should have to succeed. He is a role model of my research group.”

Jang also noted that Ta is assisting him in writing a National Scientific Foundation proposal and that he has maintained a perfect GPA among all of his research and academic activities.

Ta said his most rewarding experience since enrolling at the university was having his first scientific paper accepted for publication in 2015. The paper, “Accelerating DynEarthSol3D on Tightly Coupled CPU-GPU Heterogeneous Processors,” was published in the Computers & Geosciences Journal last June. Ta also presented a poster at the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium in 2015.

Last summer, Ta interned with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, where he worked in the Computational and Informational Systems Lab. His main responsibilities were optimizing scientific modeling programs and analyzing the efficiency of new processors in their supercomputer.

“I acquired a lot of technical skills in programming, code optimization and computer architecture, among others,” he said. “I had a special opportunity to master teamwork skills through daily collaboration with my mentors and other interns.”

Having maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his UM enrollment, Ta has received numerous academic awards, including the Outstanding Computer Science Student Award (during his sophomore and junior years) and the Computer and Information Science SAP Scholarship Award.

Ta was the recipient of a Taylor Medal, the university’s highest academic honor, and an Adler Engineering Scholarship. He has also served as vice president of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon computer science honorary society, treasurer and vice president of the Ole Miss Badminton Club. He has volunteered with the Vietnam Book Drive Initiative.

Meek Honored for Excellence in Online Instruction

Paragon Award winner encourages students to work collaboratively in writing course

Jane Meek

Jane Meek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Particle Physics Topic for April 26 Science Cafe

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

Breese Quinn teaches his physical science class.

Breese Quinn teaches his physical science class.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about Oxford Science Cafe programs, go to For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit or call 662-915-5311.

UM Student Physicist Awarded Second Fulbright of the Year

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

Hunter Gabbard

Hunter Gabbard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Croft Institute, Honors College Senior Named Fulbright Scholar

Maggie Hall scheduled to teach English in Germany next year

UM student Maggie Hall has enjoyed studying abroad several times.

UM student Maggie Hall has enjoyed studying abroad several times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UM Graduate Wins Grammy Award

Nina Cole Garguilo performs as part of acclaimed choral ensemble

Grammy photo 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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