Author and Alumna to Present Hartman Lecture

Susan A. Cantrell to speak Thursday on pharmacy practice

Susan A. Cantrell

Susan A. Cantrell

OXFORD, Miss. – Pharmacy alumna and author Susan A. Cantrell will deliver the 2015 Charles W. Hartman Memorial Lecture on Thursday (April 2) at the University of Mississippi.

Sponsored by the School of Pharmacy, the lecture will be held at 11 a.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. It is free and open to the public. Cantrell plans to discuss “The Patient Is In: Pharmacy Practice in the Era of Patient Empowerment.”

“We can’t wait to have Susan on campus as our 2015 Hartman lecturer,” said David D. Allen, dean of the school. “She is dedicated to mentoring student pharmacists, and we are thrilled that she will be able to interact with some of our students during her visit.”

Cantrell, who resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, is senior vice president and managing director of Americas for the Drug Information Association in Washington, D.C. She graduated from the pharmacy school with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1983.

Her recent book, “Letters to a Young Pharmacist: Sage Advice on Life and Career from Extraordinary Pharmacists,” shares insightful stories from seasoned professionals to help better prepare future pharmacists.

Involved in numerous professional organizations, Cantrell completed an American Society of Health-System Pharmacists-accredited hospital pharmacy residency program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She received her Certificate in Public Health from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health.

Cantrell is excited about returning to Oxford and visiting the School of Pharmacy.

“As a student, I was a recipient of a great deal of support and mentorship by so many outstanding faculty of the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy, without which I know I could not have been successful,” Cantrell said.

The Hartman Lecture was established at UM in 1973 to honor the late Charles W. Hartman, who was dean of the pharmacy school from 1961 until his death in 1970. Former lecturers include American Board of Medical Specialties President and Chief Executive Officer Lois Margaret Nora, former Mississippi Gov. William F. Winter, and U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott.

For more information or assistance related to a disability, email sopdean@olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7267.

UM Team Wins North American Championship in Space Law

Title is second major victory for school's moot court teams this year

Ian Perry (left), C.J. Robinson, and Olivia Hoff

Ian Perry (left), C.J. Robinson and Olivia Hoff

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law has won its second national moot court championship for 2015, this time in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

Technically, Ole Miss earned the title of North American Champion and with it, the right to represent the continent at the world finals in Jerusalem in October.

“A success like this, in the world’s oldest and most prestigious space law competition, stands out as a highlight on a student’s resume,” Dean Richard Gershon said. “As an international leader in this unique emerging area of law, Ole Miss helps propel students into careers at government agencies like NASA and the CIA, as well as position students for opportunities in the growing private space industry and at companies like Bigelow Aerospace and SpaceX.”

This victory, on March 21, builds on a string of successes for the law school’s advocacy programs, which include winning the nation’s pre-eminent environmental law moot court competition for the fourth time in five years, winning four national championships in 2014, earning a top 14 national ranking for the school’s moot court board in 2014, receiving second place at the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition last fall and achieving a top 8 finish at the moot court National Championship in January at the University of Houston Law Center.

As North American space law champions, the Ole Miss team will compete in the world finals against schools from Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Three members of the International Court of Justice will serve as judges and hear arguments in a hypothetical case involving an asteroid mining dispute and liability for a failed attempt to divert an asteroid from colliding with Earth. In its 24th year, the competition takes place under the auspices of the International Institute of Space Law, headquartered in Paris, and attracts more than 60 law schools from around the globe.

On the road to the championship, the UM law school triumphed over a field that included teams from Georgetown, Nebraska, Hawaii, Temple, St. Thomas, Florida State, University of California at Davis, Arizona State, George Washington University, McGill (in Montreal) and Universidad Sergio Arboleda (Bogota, Columbia).

While all these law schools focus on international law, Ole Miss stands out as one of just a few to offer a program devoted to the law governing aviation, space exploration and satellites. In fact, the School of Law pioneered the field of space law over 45 years ago and the New York Times has recognized it as “an international center for space law studies.” The school’s expertise is embodied in its Journal of Space Law, the conferences it hosts, the service of its graduates in the field and in its curricular programs.

Notably, the School of Law features both a J.D.-level certificate program on remote sensing, air and space law, and an advanced LL.M. degree in air and space law. Indeed, Ole Miss offers the only advanced law degree program in the United States combining both aviation law and space law. For more information on these programs, visit http://law.olemiss.edu/academics-programs/llm/ and http://law.olemiss.edu/academics-programs/certificate-programs/remote-sensing-air-space-law-certificate/

The UM championship team includes Olivia Hoff of Gulfport and C.J. Robison from Lubbock, Texas, both second-year law students in the space law certificate program. Joining them is Ian Perry of Ellis County, Texas, a 2013 J.D. recipient who is working on his space law LL.M.

“I believe a great deal of our success stems from our knowledge of general international law and space law,” Robison said. “Ole Miss has some of the best resources and professors in the country for such study. Our success is definitely a testament to the university’s leadership in this area.”

“I am extremely proud of these students,” said Jacquie Serrao, director of the LL.M. program. “I know they will represent North America and our law school brilliantly at the finals in October. C.J., Ian and Olivia are each examples of the caliber of space law scholars and future attorneys which the J.D. and LL.M. programs produce.”

For Hoff, a physics and mathematics graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, the space law certificate program offered a path to become a lawyer while staying focused on the sciences. “To some degree, pursuing the certificate makes me feel as if, even though I changed fields, I am still staying true to my roots.”

The team is coached by Michael Dodge, who graduated from the UM space law program in 2008 and teaches U.S. and international space law at Ole Miss. Joining Dodge as assistant coach is Michael Mineiro, an adjunct professor who holds a J.D. from North Carolina along with an LL.M. and D.C.L. from McGill University, and works on space law issues for numerous federal agencies and international organizations.

“I am tremendously proud of the team’s achievement,” Dodge said. “In the upcoming months, I look forward to working to prepare them for the next stage of the competition. I know they will compete admirably, and skillfully represent the University of Mississippi and its long association with space law.”

Dodge also praised the student body of the space law program and the school’s placement efforts.

“Our professors have decades of contacts in academia, government and private industry,” he said. “Accordingly, many of our graduates have gone on to realize their dreams, working for such diverse employers as NASA, the FAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, congressional offices, Bigelow Aerospace, Spaceport America, consulting firms, higher education and, of course, private law firms.”

Honors College Class Explores ‘Who Owns The Past?’

Classics class visits Metropolitan Museum of Art, Christie's and other antiquities sites over spring break

A Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College classics class studying antiquities took an educational trip to New York over spring break.

An Honors College classics class studying antiquities took an educational trip to New York over spring break.

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi class focusing on “Who Owns the Past?: Ethics in Archaeology” recently traveled to New York to learn about the financial, legal and political considerations in the ongoing international battle to properly preserve ancient artifacts.

Hilary Becker, a UM assistant professor of classics, teaches the 300-level class made up of Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College students. Over spring break, the class visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art, and Christie’s Department of Ancient Art and Antiquities, among other educational attractions in New York.

“This is an opportunity to look at ethical dilemmas, using current events and case studies involving antiquities and ancient sites,” Becker said. “There are cases like the famous Elgin Marbles that once graced the Parthenon, but they’re in London now. The fact that they’re in London means millions of people can see them each year, but the Greeks think they should be in Athens because they would attract people there, and the marbles are also part of their heritage.”

The Honors College provided funding for the course and the trip. It funded another class this semester, a cinema studies course on New York City in film, which also traveled there during spring break.

The archaeology class’ visit to New York gave students an opportunity to see antiquities and also to explore questions of who can or should “own” these objects and care for them. The sessions in New York, as well as the ongoing class discussions, expose students to the wide range of legal and ethical issues over ownership of cultural heritage.

Preservation issues have recently made global headlines. The terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is looting artifacts and selling them on the antiquities market and also destroying cultural sites in the process. The money they make from the looting of historically important pieces helps to fund their terrorist operations.

ISIS is only one group responsible for plundering historical sites. Scholars, curators, archaeologists and others are battling this problem by trying to ensure artifacts are scientifically excavated with care to preserve information about the dates and locations in which those pieces were found. This information is often lost when artifacts are illegally and haphazardly removed.

“You can buy a cuneiform tablet through eBay, but it could be that it was looted by ISIS and, very indirectly, you could be funding ISIS,” Becker said. “Everyone agrees we don’t want to fund ISIS. That’s the worst case, but at the very least, if you have an undocumented object without a pedigree, far too often, it was probably looted from some site and it’s now devoid of context. … If you have that object out of context, you lose most of the information about it.”

The class also met with Nancy Wilkie, a professor emerita at Carleton College who serves on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee for the U.S. State Department. The committee advises the president and the State Department about cultural heritage and protects sites and archaeological objects around the world that are at risk of being looted.

Wilkie also gave a public lecture March 25 in Bryant Hall. She discussed looting and efforts to return those objects to their native countries.

The two classes were the fruit of proposals the professors submitted to the Honors College. The first was in 2013 and focused on the 2014 World Cup.

The experiential classes are an excellent opportunity for students, said John Samonds, associate dean of the Honors College. The college’s officials hope to continue funding  special topics courses each semester.

“We want them to engage with the world, not just spectate,” Samonds said. “We try to develop these experiential courses that allow students to grapple with issues, particularly with the classics course. There weren’t just issues of archaeologists taking things from Greece or taking things from Peru 150 years ago and displaying them in other museums. This is going on right now.”

Samantha Lund, a senior from Biloxi majoring in international studies and French, said the class has helped her understand the increasing focus on where artifacts came from, in addition to their actual financial value.

“There are countless unforeseen consequences to the discovery, distribution and legitimization of artifacts that influence a number of aspects of a nation’s identity and reputation,” Lund said. “Both public and private institutions will go to extreme lengths in order to prove legitimate provenance for a particular artifact and also to mediate conflicting claims of property rights.”

Jessie Smith, a sophomore liberal studies major from Jackson, called the trip “unforgettable,” particularly the opportunity to visit Christie’s auction house warehouse. There, the class met with experts from the antiquities department and carefully walked around golden tea sets and other artifacts.

“I’m still in shock that we got to very carefully pass around a small, scarab-shaped piece of carnelian with a soldier carved in intaglio on the other side (circa 500 B.C.),” Smith said. “This experience of holding such amazing and ancient objects in our hands was something that many other trips could never provide. I’m eternally grateful for this opportunity.”

Climbing Mountains in the Sky

Talented scholar Charlie King remembered with engineering scholarship

Charlie King

Charlie King

By the time he was 2, Charlie King had already started filling his pockets with rocks. At 25, he was honing his skills as a scholar in geological engineering and geophysics and filling his life with people, travel, music, the outdoors and the environment he loved.

The University of Mississippi graduate student lost his life after a climbing accident on Mexico’s Mount Orizaba in early 2014, but his life and spirit will continue to be interwoven with others through the Charles Dunbar King Memorial Scholarship Endowment. Created by his parents, Kerry and Terry King of Dillon, Colo., the scholarship will assist graduate or undergraduate students in geology and geological engineering.

“Charlie led a life that deserved to be remembered, and his love for Ole Miss and the School of Engineering inspired us to choose a scholarship,” Kerry King said. “Charlie had plans to work in the field for several years and then pursue a doctorate. We believe he would eventually have become a college professor.”

Adnan Aydin, professor of geology and geological engineering, was King’s undergraduate and graduate adviser, giving him “the privilege of knowing this extraordinary young person.”

“Charlie was a brilliant independent thinker, ready to embark on a great academic journey and to leave his lasting mark on the world,” Aydin said. “He was the most decent person, a perfect student, a dear friend and a young colleague.

“Charlie was fully aware of his capacity for a substantial contribution, and for him, that contribution had to be something that made a real and significant difference. He had the pure and selfless views of an ideal youth on all facets of academia and society at large. He was a compassionate and unifying person.”

The Kings, their son Matthew King and many other family members are Ole Miss alumni and appreciate the continuing support they are receiving from the UM School of Engineering since Charlie King’s death. The Oxford natives are quick to acknowledge the engineering program’s impact on his life.

“Charlie knew from a very early age what he wanted to do and never wavered,” Kerry King said. “He loved that program and it matured Charlie. He was like one of those rough rocks he collected all his life. The School of Engineering faculty helped smooth his edges, helping him to become a complete person.”

Robert Holt, a UM professor of geology and geological engineering, and his wife, Shari, became close to King.

“I chose Charlie as my teaching assistant because during his senior year he earned As in both of my courses,” Holt said. “He assisted me for several years in my course on geological subsurface site characterization. Charlie was excellent; he was so good at anticipating what we needed to prepare. He could have gone to graduate school anywhere. He had great scientific intuition and wrote very well, which set him apart. We lost one of our shining stars.”

Gregg Davidson, chair and professor of geology and geological engineering, said the department “greatly misses” the talented student who was plugged into the academic and the social life of the Ole Miss community.

“The scholarship established by his parents has been a wonderful way to keep him in our minds and not let the business of life dull our memories,” Davidson said. “We especially appreciate their wisdom in adding flow-through funds as the endowment is growing that enabled us to offer scholarships the same year the fund was established. By doing so, students who knew Charlie personally benefited from the scholarship in his memory.

“Two graduate students have been beneficiaries, Austin Patton and Zhen Guo. The scholarship for Austin was timely, because he had just months earlier lost everything he owned in an apartment fire. The Charlie King scholarship helped get him back on his feet much faster than would have been possible otherwise.

“Zhen was especially moved by the award and struggled with accepting a financial benefit from the loss of his friend. On learning of his concern, Charlie’s parents reminded Zhen of Charlie’s giving nature and assured him that it was a special privilege to be able to know that the scholarship was going to someone who knew and loved Charlie.”

Patton, an inaugural recipient and now a project engineer for an environmental remediation construction company in Houston, Texas, had every class with King from Geology 101 through graduate school, and their friendship developed over a shared enjoyment of adventure and the outdoors. Patton also benefited from King’s positive attitude and humor, saying, “Charlie was one in a million. … If you were having a bad day, he would most definitely find a way to cheer you up.

“Charlie seemed to excel in all his geology and engineering classes. It came to him naturally and was something he just ‘got.’ This was probably because he enjoyed it so much.”

Patton shared memories of an upper-level geological engineering course that he passed because of the time his friend dedicated weekly to teaching him the material.

“Charlie accomplished so much and influenced so many lives in the short time that God gave him on this earth,” he said. “Though quite a hackneyed expression, I truly believe that if the world was filled with more people like Charlie King, it would surely be a more enjoyable place. Charlie left this earth doing what he loved most. I will never forget his bright, jubilant demeanor as long as I live. A piece of Charlie will always be with his closest friends and his family members on any adventure we may seek. And rest assured we will all meet again soon, but as for now, Charlie is thoroughly enjoying himself climbing mountains in the sky.”

The reason so many fellow Ole Miss students, faculty members and others felt such fondness for Charlie King can be glimpsed through descriptions of his personality, hobbies and passions. He was an environmentalist, mountain climber, skier, cyclist, paddle boarder and musician who had goals of traveling the world. He brought back rocks from every place he visited, and his parents keep those rocks scattered throughout their home where they can be seen.

“Charlie was happy all his life,” Terry King said. “He went out of his way to help others and was very generous with his time. Not only did he enjoy tutoring other students, but he also enjoyed cooking Chinese and Indian dishes for them. Charlie was obviously serious about his academic studies, but he likewise appreciated the light moments of life.”

One such moment was recalled by Holt, who said Charlie had a “playful spirit with a rebellious streak.”

“I remember one field trip to Tishomingo State Park, we had about 100 freshmen on the trip,” the professor said. “We always take as many graduate students and faculty as we can to help corral this group. We were about to hike up along the highway on the Natchez Trace, so I used my very serious, drill sergeant tone and told the students how to conduct themselves, especially to stay off the road.

“A couple minutes later I look up and there’s this student, jumping on and off the road, over and over again. I’m ready to go yell at this disobedient freshman, and I get closer and realize it’s Charlie, just having some fun at my expense. He was always a rebel at heart.”

That humor was also countered with love and respect for others, his dad said. “Charlie was one of those rare human beings who never said an unkind word to anyone.”

King had been affectionately called “Charlie Bear” all his life, and his parents now give rocks with a Charlie Bear inscription to family and friends, particularly when they are traveling. The rocks have been placed on mountain peaks and many other places, and on the first anniversary of Charlie King’s death, a climber placed a memorial marker on Mount Orizaba.

Friends and family also joined to contribute to the scholarship fund.

“There was a great outpouring of support for the scholarship,” Terry King said. “We’re so happy the endowment continues to grow and serve as a tribute to our son. There are many students who find they are literally broke after earning college degrees, and we want this fund to help.”

Individuals and organizations can make gifts to the Charles Dunbar King Memorial Scholarship Endowment by sending a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visiting online at http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift; or contacting Kevin Gardner, development officer for the School of Engineering, at 662-915-7601 or kevin@olemiss.edu.

Ryan Upshaw Named Outstanding Staff Member by BSU

Assistant dean has long association with university

Ryan Upshaw receives the Outstanding Faculty and Staff Award from Briana O’Neal, president of the UM Black Student Union.

Ryan Upshaw receives the Outstanding Faculty and Staff Award from Briana O’Neal, president of the UM Black Student Union.

When Ryan Upshaw helped plan the University of Mississippi’s annual Black History Month observances, he had no idea that he would be honored during the activities.

The School of Engineering’s assistant dean for student services is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Faculty and Staff Award, presented by the Black Student Union.

“My reaction was pure shock, especially since a student I recruited was the one who presented the award,” Upshaw said. “This is the first award like this I have received as a professional. It means a great deal that the students involved in the BSU would choose to honor me in this way. There are so many faculty and staff members on our campus who could have been selected.”

As a student affairs professional, Upshaw said his goal is to help students have the best experience possible. Over the past eight years, he has worked to actively recruit, retain and graduate students as well as encourage them to be active alumni.

“I push students to perform well academically, but also to find their passions outside the classroom via campus or community involvement,” he said. “I also want to provide them with a sounding board when they are experiencing challenges.”

A UM alumnus, the Moss Point native earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in higher education. He hopes to pursue the new Doctor of Education in higher education soon.

“I chose to attend the university after visiting through an event called Scholars Day, hosted by the Office of Admissions, and being fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from the Luckyday Foundation,” Upshaw said. “I am thankful to have had mentors like Dr. Thomas Wallace, Mrs. Valeria Ross and Dr. Donald Cole who continue to inspire me as higher education professionals.”

Cole, assistant provost and special assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs, spoke highly of Upshaw.

“When the university recruited Ryan as a student here a number of years ago, I knew that it was a milestone event,” Cole said. “Ryan’s real impact on the university came when he decided to remain for employment with us. At UM, Ryan not only found an institution from which he could obtain a quality education and meaningful employment, he found a home.”

Before working with the School of Engineering, Upshaw worked for five years in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, where he coordinated recruitment efforts and the admissions process.

Briana O’Neil, president of the UM Black Student Union, has known Upshaw for almost five years. During this period, he has been her mentor and friend.

“He is a big reason that I chose to come to Ole Miss and he has been supportive ever since,” O’Neil said. “You can always tell that he cares about the students at Ole Miss and wants to see them succeed. He is friendly and welcoming, but also gives solid advice.”

Upshaw has always been willing to give students his time, said Benjamin Lapane, president of the UM Engineering Student Body. “I think that is one of the most admirable characteristics a student adviser can have,” he said.

“I really enjoy being involved in both the university and Oxford communities,” said Upshaw, a lifetime member of the Ole Miss Alumni Association. “At the university, I serve as adviser to a number of organizations, including the Engineering Student Body, Omicron Delta Kappa senior honor society, Lambda Sigma sophomore honor society and the RebelTHON board of directors.

He also serves on the university’s scholarship committee, housing appeals committee and judicial council. Outside the university, Upshaw has been on the board of directors for the United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County since 2009 and serves as chair of its Community Investment Committee. On the Leadership Lafayette program’s steering committee since 2010, he is also on the National Advisory Council for Omicron Delta Kappa society and the Region III Advisory Board for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. He is a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

Upshaw enjoys supporting Ole Miss athletics by attending sporting events whenever possible.

Pharmacy Administration Student Wins ‘Three Minute Thesis’ Challenge

Sujith Ramachandran takes 'Peoples' Choice' award during annual conference in New Orleans

UM pharmacy administration student Sujith Ramachandran (second from left) was one of the winners at the competition at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools held in New Orleans. He’s congratulated by  Donna West, Christy Wyandt and John Kiss.

UM pharmacy administration student Sujith Ramachandran (second from left) was one of the winners at the competition at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools held in New Orleans. He’s congratulated by Donna West, Christy Wyandt and John Kiss.

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi student’s “Three Minute Thesis” was the audience favorite at the recent Conference of Southern Graduate Schools annual meeting.

Sujith Ramachandran, a pharmacy administration student from India, won the “Peoples’ Choice” award during the competition in New Orleans. Audience members, rather than judges, selected his “Honey, We Drugged the Kids!” as the best and most interesting presentation.

“It was an amazing feeling to be standing up there with the best students from across the South,” Ramachandran said of his honor, which included a $250 cash prize. “I also feel like it was a very good conclusion to my thesis project. My department helped me put all of it together, from the project to the final presentation, and Dean Kiss helped me take it to the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools. So it was a rewarding experience for everyone involved.”

Ramachandran’s entry was based on his master’s thesis project, titled “Determining physician and patient characteristics that predict the use of atypical antipsychotics in children with mental health disorders.”

“It is an attempt to understand physician decision-making in the area of pediatric mental health,” he said. “My thesis is basically an insight into what causes physicians to prescribe new-generation antipsychotics (such as Abilify or Seroquel) to children under the age of 18.”

Twenty-six students from major universities throughout the South competed in the 3MT finals. Each has won his or her university’s title. Ramachandran qualified for the contest by winning the UM competition in November.

UM administrators congratulated Ramachandran on winning the honor.

“The competition was very intense in that the best students from other 26 major schools, such as the University of Virginia, Auburn University and the University of Kentucky, were represented,” said John Kiss, dean of the UM Graduate School. “Sujith’s win also is a testament to the interesting and vibrant graduate programs we are building at our university.”

Provost Morris Stocks said Ramachandran’s honor adds to UM’s reputation for academic rigor.

“Any recognition of UM research, particularly from fellow scientists, speaks to the high caliber of our students and our formidable faculty,” Stocks said. “Mr. Ramachandran’s achievement at the CSGS annual meeting is another bragging point for our already renowned standing as Mississippi’s flagship university.”

Ramachandran, who completed his master’s degree last year, is a doctoral candidate and is working on his dissertation.

“I hope to finish my Ph.D. within the next year or two,” Ramachandran said. “I plan to join the pharmaceutical industry after my graduation, but my long-term goal is to work in the health policy arena to help fix the problems with health care cost and quality.”

The Three Minute Thesis competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by doctoral students. Developed by the University of Queensland, the exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a nonspecialist audience.

“Our 3MT program has done a great job of highlighting our graduate level studies as well as promoted interdisciplinary research,” Kiss said.

For more information on the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools, go to http://www.csgs.org/. For more information on the 3MT competition, see http://threeminutethesis.org/index.html.

Pilobolus to Teach, Perform in Oxford

Pilobolus will perform at the Ford Center March 31 at 7:30 p.m.

Pilobolus will perform March 31 at the Ford Center.

The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi welcomes renowned dance company Pilobolus for a Monday (March 30) performance as part of its Artist Series.

Seating for the 7:30 p.m. show starts at $28 for the mezzanine and balcony levels and $35.50 for orchestra and parterre. Tickets are available on the Ford Center website or at the UM Box Office inside the Ole Miss Student Union.

Pilobolus, founded in 1971 by Dartmouth College students, challenges perceptions of modern dance by forming diverse collaborations that break barriers. The company has toured to more than 64 countries over the last 42 years and has been seen by more than 500,000 people. It physically and intellectually engages audiences through performance and education.

“Pilobolus is a very exciting dance company,” said Norman Easterbrook, Ford Center director. “They are very different from a typical modern dance company. The way they view movement and music and their use of space is very unique. It truly challenges the audience see things differently.”

Besides performances, the dance company also educates through workshops, classes, residencies and children’s programming. The Pilobolus@Play program allows children and adults with various levels of dancing experience to learn about improve, movements and choreography and are also invited to watch a show.

A community workshop is set for 2 p.m. Saturday (March 28) at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center. Children attending the workshops and students are invited to a Kids Show at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday (March 31) at the Ford Center.

“We are thrilled to partner with Pilobolus for their Pilobolus@Play program,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “It is great way to teach different audiences how dance and movement can be used examine themes and ideas found in daily life.”

Pilobolus is known around the world and has made appearances at the Academy Awards broadcast (2007), on “Oprah,” “Sesame Street,” “60 Minutes” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” It was received prestigious honors including a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Programming and the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement in Choreography.

Jim Newman is Soaring High

Civil engineering alumnus once worked for NASA, became distinguished professor at MSU

Jim Newman

Jim Newman

One of Mississippi State University’s most distinguished engineering faculty members happens to be an alumnus of the University of Mississippi.

Jim Newman received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Ole Miss in 1964. Since then, he’s evolved into one of the world’s leading fracture mechanics experts. Newman spent 37 years at NASA-Langley before coming to MSU in 2001.

“The education that I received at Ole Miss was the foundation for my future studies at Virginia Tech and my research work at the NASA Langley Research Center,” Newman said. “A job at NASA was a dream come true.”

Newman has received a legion of awards for his substantial contributions to fatigue and fracture mechanics, including the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and the NASA Superstars in Aeronautics Award. He is a William Giles Professor at MSU (the highest honor a faculty member there can achieve) and he was the first recipient of the Richard Johnson Chair in Aerospace Engineering.

“At NASA and MSU, I have continued my research in the area of fatigue and fracture mechanics for aerospace materials and structures,” Newman said. “Since arriving at MSU, Dr. Steve Daniewicz, Dr. Judy Schneider and I have built a world-class fatigue and fracture laboratory, with the support of MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering and the Office of Research and Economic Development.​”

Undoubtedly, Newman has earned the respect of his colleagues.

“Jim is an outstanding faculty member,” said Jason Keith, interim dean of MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering. “We are proud to have him in our college.”

“Jim is still very loyal to Ole Miss,” said Thomas E. Lacy Jr., professor and interim head of MSU’s Department of Aerospace Engineering. “When you meet Jim, I think you’ll find him to be a very genuine, kind, modest and down-to-earth person. That makes us feel especially lucky.”

A native of Memphis, Newman decided to attend UM because a cousin, Peggy Newman, and her husband, David Orr, attended Ole Miss a few years before him.

“I remember listening to the radio when Eagle Day was the Ole Miss quarterback,” he said. “As far back as I can remember, I was an Ole Miss football fan.”

One of Newman’s favorite engineering professors was C.C. Feng, who taught mechanics classes.

“I still have the notes that I took in his class and the homework assignments in my office at MSU,” Newman said. “I enjoyed his classes because he was tough and made us work a lot of homework. I believe in homework. That is the only way a student will ever learn the subject.”

Newman considers his selection as one of three engineers from Langley to be named Superstars in Modern Aeronautics (along with three engineers from several other NASA research centers) to be his greatest career achievement.

“I was placed on the same poster with Dr. Richard Whitcomb (Langley Research Center), the real superstar in aeronautics,” he said. “Dr. Whitcomb’s achievements were many times more significant than all of the others on the poster.”

Newman was married to Frances Mehan Newman, who passed away in January 2014. They had four sons.

“My mother, my sons and my grandkids are the greatest joy in my life,” Newman said. “My dad was my inspiration to become an engineer, but he passed away in January 1980. Ironically, after World War II, he was a ‘crack’ inspector for an airline in Memphis. And his son would become a world expert on ‘crack’ mechanics (the field of fracture mechanics).”

Teaching Program Fellows Study Education Policy in Nation’s Capital

Spring break trip offers policy perspective for education students

METP fellows in from the of the U.S. Department of Education. The group includes (left to right): Brenna Ferrell of Ocean Springs, Lydia Hall of Madison, Emily Reynolds of Brandon, Kaye Whitfield of Birmingham, Ala, Katianne Middleton of Selma, Ala., James Wheeler of St. Johns, Fla., Abigail Sudduth of Flowood,Shelby Knighten of Gauthier, Ben Logan of Sherman, Kaypounyers Maye of Gulfport, Rachel Parbs of Southaven,, Anna Claire Kelley of Madison,Bella Hutson of Liberty, Jenna Smiley of Meridian and Abigail Null of Corinth.

METP fellows gather in front of the of the U.S. Department of Education. The group includes (left to right): Brenna Ferrell of Ocean Springs, Lydia Hall of Madison, Emily Reynolds of Brandon, Kaye Whitfield of Birmingham, Alabama, Katianne Middleton of Selma, Alabama, James Wheeler of St. Johns, Florida, Abigail Sudduth of Flowood, Shelby Knighten of Gauthier, Ben Logan of Sherman, Kaypounyers Maye of Gulfport, Rachel Parbs of Southaven, Anna Claire Kelley of Madison,Bella Hutson of Liberty, Jenna Smiley of Meridian and Abigail Null of Corinth.

OXFORD, Miss. – Fifteen University of Mississippi sophomores from the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program spent spring break in Washington, D.C., getting a close-up view of how education policy is crafted and administered at the national level.

Throughout the 2014-15 academic year, the cohort has studied education policy issues on a variety of levels as part of specialized seminars designed for METP participants, or fellows.

“This year, our goal is to help fellows understand how policy decisions at the national and state level directly impact schools,” said Ryan Niemeyer, the program’s director. “We’re training students to be exceptional educators. This means equipping them with content knowledge and a pedagogical understanding of teaching. But it also means producing educators who recognize how governing bodies operate and how they can have a voice in policy discussions.”

Established in 2012 with nearly $13 million from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation in Jackson, METP is one of the nation’s most valuable teacher education scholarships, designed to attract the best and brightest into the field. The program, which has a partner chapter at Mississippi State, includes four years of tuition, room and board, books, study abroad professional development and more.

METP fellows (left to right) Rachel Parbs of Southaven, Bella Hutson of Liberty, Jenna Smiley of Meridian and Shelby Knighten of Gauthier stand in front of the Washington Monument in the District of Columbia.

METP fellows (left to right) Rachel Parbs of Southaven, Bella Hutson of Liberty, Jenna Smiley of Meridian and Shelby Knighten of Gauthier visit the National Mall.

During the trip, fellows toured the U.S. Capitol and met U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker. The group also visited the U.S. Department of Education, where they met with Melody Musgrove, a Mississippi native who directs the department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

On the first night, the group spent an evening discussing state and national education policy with Melody and her husband, former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, at their home in the district.

“I thoroughly enjoyed our evening with the Musgroves,” said METP fellow Ben Logan, a Sherman native who is majoring in both mathematics education and public policy leadership. “We gained an interesting perspective when we able to sit and discuss education policy with Gov. and Dr. Musgrove.”

Throughout the group’s stay, they also visited Arlington National Cemetery, Chinatown, Ford’s Theatre, the Library of Congress, the National Mall, multiple Smithsonian exhibits and more.

“We’ve jumped feet-first into education policy issues this year,” said fellow Rachel Parbs, a Southaven native majoring in English education. “So far, this program is going above and beyond my expectations. Our cohort is bonding and we’re getting to travel. I’m really looking forward to what’s next.”

To date, the UM chapter of METP has recruited 32 students from nine states with an average ACT score of 29.1. Each graduate makes a five-year commitment to teach in a Mississippi public school after graduation. Next year, METP plans to take a group abroad to study education issues from an international perspective when the fellows visit multiple countries within the United Kingdom.

“It was so encouraging to meet people who care about education issues and have ideas for the future,” said fellow Brenna Ferrell, an English education major from Ocean Springs. “Each experience we’ve had in the program has made me more excited to enter the classroom and make a difference.”

UM is interviewing applicants for METP’s third cohort, which will enroll this fall.

UM Researchers Evaluate if ‘Breast is Best’ in the Delta

Center for Population Studies joins interdisciplinary team to plan and study breastfeeding program

The 'Right! from the Start' initiative is a breastfeeding outreach program funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The ‘Right! from the Start’ initiative is a breastfeeding outreach program funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Center for Population Studies has been invited to partner with various organizations to plan, research and evaluate a program using breastfeeding to improve the health outcomes for low birth weight babies from the Delta region of Mississippi.

The “Right! from the Start” initiative is a breastfeeding outreach program funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. It works to address socioeconomic, racial, and geographic disparities in maternal-child health, and its partners have launched two projects to increase breastfeeding rates among mothers in the Delta.

Through a new W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant to the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, the initiative has been expanded to create a hospital-based project focusing on low birth weight babies from five counties: Bolivar, Coahoma, Leflore, Sunflower and Washington.  Mothers of babies from those areas who are admitted to the Level III neonatal care unit, or NICU, at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson will receive specialized services.

“We will be working directly with the mothers as it relates to breastfeeding while also helping to coordinate other services needed to ensure the mom is able to continue providing breast milk to her baby,” said Sandy Snell, director of Right! from the Start. “This includes providing transportation to the NICU and providing breast pumps to those not having access to one or the other.

“The objective is to ensure better health outcomes for mothers and babies and affect systematic change through a collaborative, multiagency approach.”

The Center for Population Studies will handle the research and evaluation aspects of the program.

“Working in collaboration with our colleagues at UMMC, we want to identify whether there are health benefits to low birth weight babies who are breastfed and the extent to which support services improve mothers’ abilities to initiate and continue breastfeeding,” said John Green, UM associate professor of sociology and director of the center. “We hope to identify the potential population health implications if such support services were made more widely available through changes in public policy.”

The outreach project’s rural setting is significant. Babies in Mississippi have long had a greater chance of dying before their first birthdays than babies in other states. Additionally, preterm and low birth weight rates are high in Mississippi, especially in the Delta region.

“I believe that collaboration is the key to change in the Delta,” Snell said. “We hope to work with agencies providing maternal and child health services to identify gaps in care and services and develop solutions to providing equitable, accessible services for low birth weight babies and their families.”

Other partners with this planning project include Mobolaji E. Famuyide from the Division of New Born Medicine at the UM Medical Center, Aurelia Jones-Taylor with the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center in Clarksdale, and other health centers in the Delta region.