UM Student Receives Udall Scholarship Honorable Mention

Kendall McDonald, a junior public policy major from Diamondhead, is among 50 national honorees

Kendall McDonald

Kendall McDonald

OXFORD, Miss. – Kendall McDonald , a public policy leadership major at the University of Mississippi who has worked on campus environmental issues while maintaining a 3.96 grade point average, recently was awarded a prestigious Udall Scholarship honorable mention.

McDonald, of Diamondhead, is a junior enrolled in the university’s Sally McDonell Barksdale Honors College and works as an intern in the Office of Campus Sustainability. She has helped operate the UM football game day recycling program, which involved establishing a new partnership with an international recycling company. She also oversaw the production of UM’s Green Week, including the construction of an 8-foot cube of waste educational exhibit.

She studies environmental issues, including participating in an experimental class about the lower Mississippi River. A member of Delta Gamma sorority, she is also active in campus environmental campaigns and “green” student groups.

“Being named an honorable mention to the Udall scholarship, which signifies the top 20 percent of applicants nationally, is very encouraging to me,” McDonald said. “It affirms that I am on the right path in pursuing environmental advocacy and it also places me within the larger network of Udall scholars and honorable mentions. I am so grateful for the support this network provides, and for the opportunity and assistance provided by the Office of National Scholarship Advisement.”

McDonald is the daughter of James Steven McDonald, of Lexington, Kentucky, and Shellye McDonald, of Diamondhead. She is the university’s third student to be recognized by the Udall Foundation. Taylor Cook was named a Udall Scholar in 2012 and Alecia Waite was named a Udall Scholar in 2008.

This year, the Udall Foundation’s 14-member independent review committee picked 50 students from 47 colleges out of more 489 candidates nominated to make up the 2014 scholars class. The foundation, which was established by Congress in 1992, makes its selections based on the students’ commitment to careers in the environment, American Indian health care or tribal public policy, leadership potential, academic achievement and record of public service. Scholars received up to $5,000 for tuition, room and board or other educational expenses. The committee also awarded 50 honorable mentions and those students receive access to the Udall Alumni Network.

McDonald’s application for the Udall Scholarship was supported by UM faculty members and employees, who wrote letters endorsing McDonald’s achievements.

Anne McCauley, UM assistant director of the Office of Sustainability, said McDonald is deserving of the recognition.

“Kendall McDonald is a talented individual who I have truly enjoyed working with and getting to know,” McCauley said. “Though she is intelligent, creative and a natural leader, she is humble and service-oriented. I trust her to represent the Office of Sustainability when she meets with student groups as well as staff members on campus. She has proven herself as capable as a professional colleague, which is exactly how I regard her.”

Joseph “Jody” Holland, UM assistant professor of public policy, said that as one of his students, McDonald completed an extensive research project that examined the barriers and opportunities for building recycling plants in Mississippi. But McDonald is also a well-rounded student who does more than just focus on work in the classroom, Holland said.

“She exemplifies a well-rounded student, who participates in multiple areas of service work on campus and in the community,” he said. “While being a full-time student, Kendall has volunteered for nine service projects over the years at Ole Miss and around the community. Her efforts are constantly focused around environmental policy and contemporary policies issues. As a student worker, she has work closely with the Office of Sustainability in many capacities. Even with that, she still maintains her academic performance as a top scholar.”

David Rutherford, UM associate professor of public policy and geography and executive director of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance, said McDonald is “an outstanding student but is also committed to work that improves the planet’s environment at local to global scales.”

“One of my classes in which Kendall enrolled is titled ‘Global Environmental Issues,’ and she demonstrated a strong desire to understand these issues and earned an A for the course,” Rutherford said. “Her performance in the course not only demonstrated high-level skills in reading, understanding and writing but also showed her insightful thinking about contemporary issues and her discerning identification of action steps needed to develop solutions.”

Three Students Receive Critical Language Scholarships

Trio set to study in China this summer, hope to use experience to further career goals

Photo by Nathan Latil

Photo by Nathan Latil

OXFORD, Miss. – After a competitive application process, three University of Mississippi students have been selected for the prestigious U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship program this summer.

Susannah Slimp of Meridian, Abigail Szabo of Brandon and Steven Mockler of Ocean Springs have been awarded the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to study critical needs languages this summer in China.

The CLS program is a part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Participants in the fully-funded program will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes receiving intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences.

This, however, will not be the first trip abroad for the UM students.

“Last summer, I studied abroad in Qingdao, and while I was there I took a few trips to Beijing,” said Slimp, a sophomore in chemical engineering. Slimp will study this summer at Zhejiang University of Technology in Hangzhou.

“After the trip of a lifetime in Seoul, South Korea, I knew that learning a critical language was key to an international lifestyle,” said Szabo, who also was a participant the U.S. Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth in high school. “After a whole summer of intensive Chinese under my belt, I decided to stick with it. Now, two years later, I have come so far in such a short time that there is no turning back.”

Szabo, a sophomore majoring in political science and Mandarin Chinese with a minor in environmental science, will be studying at Suzhou University-Dushuhu Campus, in Suzhou, Jiangsu.

“Being in China while learning Chinese is completely different than an Ole Miss setting, for in China, the world is my classroom,” Szabo said. “Intensive language programs abroad offer an invaluable opportunity for building language skills.”

Mockler, who is a second-time recipient of the CLS, has traveled to China three times.

Every street has at least a thousand years of history, and, from this American’s perspective, Chinese society is filled with so many contradictions that I wanted to dedicate myself to understanding the language and culture so I could build more trust and understanding between our two nations,” he said.

Mockler, a rising senior majoring in Chinese and international studies, will be studying in Guangzhou at Sun-Yatsen University.

“The Department of Modern Languages is very proud of the students who this year have received a Critical Language Scholarship to study in China,” said Donald Dyer, chair of the department. “Ms. Slimp, Ms. Szabo and Mr. Mockler have all demonstrated their linguistic prowess over the years and are very deserving of this award, which puts them in an elite category of students to receive this honor.”

CLS participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills to their future professional careers.

After graduation, Slimp plans to attend graduate school in engineering and hopes to work in the petroleum industry, while Szabo plans to go to graduate school, studying Mandarin and environmental science. Mockler plans to attend graduate school and hopes to work in government on Chinese issues related to education, cultural exchange and diplomacy.

Six UM Students Named Outstanding Freshmen

Omicron Delta Kappa honors students for leadership

John Brahan

John Brahan

Joesph Bell

Joesph Bell

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society has selected six students for Outstanding Freshman honors for their exceptional academic, service and leadership roles at Ole Miss.

Recipients are Madeleine Achgill of Indianapolis, Joseph Bell of Gloucester, Massachusetts, John Brahan of Hattiesburg, Terrius Harris of McComb, Chase Moore of Horn Lake and Austin Powell of Corinth.

“We are fortunate to have such outstanding young leaders here at the university,” said Ryan Upshaw, ODK adviser and assistant dean for student services in the UM School of Engineering, “They already exemplify the attributes that Omicron Delta Kappa looks for in potential members.

“These students have contributed to our campus in a myriad of ways very early on in their undergraduate experience: performing arts, community service, sustainability and campus government, to name a few. I look forward to seeing their continued leadership on our campus.”

Chase Moore

Chase Moore

Madeleine Achgill

Madeleine Achgill

Achgill previously attended United World College-USA in Montezuma, New Mexico. At UM, she is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Chinese Flagship Program. An international studies and Chinese major, Achgill is also a vice chair of Ole Miss Students for a Green Campus and a Stamps Scholar.

Bell attended the Thacher School in Ojai, California. He is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Lott Leadership Institute. Bell, an international studies and public policy leadership major, is also a campaign chair of Ole Miss Students for a Green Campus and Real Food Rebels.

Brahan, a public policy leadership and theatre arts major, attended Presbyterian Christian School in Hattiesburg. He is a member and scholarship recipient of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Lott Leadership Institute. He’s also a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class, Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Chancellor’s Honor Roll. He is an Associated Student Body senator and has performed in UM theater productions.

Terrius Harris

Terrius Harris

Austin Powell

Austin Powell

Harris attended McComb High School. At UM, he is a member of the Associated Student Body Freshman Council, Ole Miss Model United Nations and Student Activities Association. A marketing and corporate relations major, Harris is also vice president of administration for the UM Residential Housing Association and had a program selected for the “Top 20 Program” at the South Atlantic Affiliation of Colleges and University Residence Halls.

Moore is a graduate of Horn Lake High School, and since being enrolled at UM, he is a member of the University of Mississippi Gospel Choir, the Student Activities Association and the Luckyday Residential Hall Council. Moore is also a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Chancellor’s Honor Roll.

Powell attended Corinth High School. Majoring in public policy leadership, he is a recipient of the Lott Leadership Scholarship and Coca-Cola Foundation Scholarship. Powell is also a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class, Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Chancellors Honor Roll. He is an ASB senator and secretary of the ASB Freshman Council.


Two UM Students Land Prestigious Boren Scholarships

Awards provide $20,000 apiece for year of study abroad

Alison Bartel

Alison Bartel

William Bumpas

William Bumpas

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi students William Bumpas III and Alison Bartel have been awarded Boren Scholarships to study in China for the academic year.

Bumpas, of Dyersburg, Tennessee, and Bartel, of Harvest, Alabama, both international studies and Chinese majors, will use the scholarship to complete their capstone year in the Chinese Language Flagship Program.

“Mr. Bumpas and Ms. Bartel are two of the strongest students in our Chinese Language Flagship program and very deserving of a Boren Scholarship,” says Donald Dyer, chair of modern languages. “They have worked hard to develop their language skills and have high proficiencies in the language to show for it. The Department of Modern Languages and, indeed, the University of Mississippi community are very proud of their accomplishments.”

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

“I am happy but not surprised Alison Bartel and William Bumpas both won Boren Scholarships,” said Kees Gispen, executive director of the Croft Institute for International Studies. “They are among the very strongest students in the Croft Institute for International Studies at the university. These are two fantastic students, shining examples of what it is possible to accomplish at the University of Mississippi.”

Bumpas, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree earlier this month, plans to pursue a graduate degree after studying in Nanjing for a year. He is a Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Scholar and member of both Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, and he credits the Croft Institute for the opportunity to combine his Chinese language skills with a nuanced understanding of the evolving world.

“I’m excited to take what I’ve learned at the University of Mississippi and put it to use during my time as a Boren Scholar and also in my career,” Bumpas said.

“William was a terrific student to work with these past few years and he wrote a superb senior thesis on the mass expansion of enrollment in China’s higher education system,” says Joseph Howard, Croft associate professor of history and international studies. “I am so proud of him that he received a Boren fellowship to continue his studies at Nanjing University this coming fall.”

Bartel, a rising senior, will continue her study of the language and focus on refining her understanding of governance from the Chinese point of view through an internship in Nanjing. A member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Bartel hopes to pursue graduate studies in international relations and public policy and then work in government service.

“Alison is one of those great students who seems to excel at everything she does,” says Carl Jensen, director of the UM Center for Intelligence and Security Studies. “A few years ago, she and another student took first place in a briefing competition at a prestigious conference in Washington, D.C. We’re very proud but not at all surprised that she was awarded the Boren.”

Bartel and Bumpas are the university’s 15th and 16th Boren Scholars since 2000. Last year, Kevin Scott (China, Mandarin) won a Boren Scholarship.

Students interested in applying for a Boren Scholarship or Boren Fellowship are encouraged to contact Andrus Ashoo, Boren campus representative, at

UM-Tupelo Honor Graduates Discover Passion for Education

Taylor Medal recipients both took unconventional paths to earning their degree


Bethany Wray and Will Knight are pictured with Chancellor Dan Jones.

TUPELO, Miss.­­ – During the University of Mississippi’s annual honors convocation, two students from the university’s Tupelo regional campus were awarded prestigious Taylor Medals for academic achievement. Both honorees plan to share their passion for education with the next generation of students.

Bethany Wray, of Pontotoc, and Will Knight, of Mantachie were among the recipients of Marcus Elvis Taylor Memorial Medals at the April 10 ceremony in Oxford. Taylor Medals are awarded to no more than 1 percent of the Ole Miss student body each year. Recipients must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.90.

Wray, who was awarded one of only four medals that went to 2014 graduates of the UM School of Education, walked across the stage to accept her college diploma nearly 25 years after she walked in her Pontotoc High School graduation in 1989.

“It took me all these years to realize the passion I have for teaching children,” Wray said. “And I couldn’t imagine doing anything else for the next 25 years.”

After working as an office manager at a furniture supplier and later as a medical transcriptionist, Wray was inspired by the impact that educators were making in the life of her son, who had been diagnosed with autism.

“I saw how my son’s teachers were so dedicated to his education and how they never gave up on him,” Wray recalled. “I knew if I could do for just one child what my son’s teachers were doing for him, then I would be a success.”

Wray applied for a kindergarten teacher’s assistant position at Pontotoc Elementary School. She says that after her first few days at work, she went home and told her husband that she planned to teach for the rest of her life.

Wray continued working while starting her first college classes at Itawamba Community College in Tupelo. She thought it might take seven or eight years to complete her education but later found out about a way to keep her job and complete her bachelor’s degree through the Ole Miss-Tupelo campus.

“I have a very supportive family,” Wray said. “My husband would work all day at North Mississippi Medical (Center) while I was working as a teacher’s assistant in Pontotoc. I would leave work to pick up the kids, feed them, start on homework and then drive over to Tupelo. The kids and I would meet my husband in the Ole Miss-Tupelo parking lot and switch the kids into his car.

“Then I would head to class for the evening, and he would head home. It took some juggling, but we made it work.”

This month, Wray completed her UM coursework and classroom observation at Pontotoc’s D.T. Cox Elementary to earn her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She has applied for teaching positions for this fall and hopes to land a job as a third- or fourth-grade language arts teacher.

“I will encourage my students to strive to do their very best, but I will also understand individual success,” Wray said. “Sometimes a student bringing up a ‘D’ grade to a ‘C’ grade is a big accomplishment. Those students need to be praised. I want to let my students know that I believe in them. I want to inspire them and help them realize that with a little hard work and determination they can succeed.”

Discovering a passion for the life-changing effects of education also came for Knight after an adjustment in career paths.

As a student at Mantachie High School, Knight first visited a local funeral home for a class project. He saw how the funeral directors were carefully providing a service to those who were grieving. He soon talked his way into a part-time job with Holland Funeral Directors in Tupelo.

“I just felt that serving in this field seemed like such a fulfilling job and an honest day’s work,” Knight recalled. “I found out that you could do so much to help others.”

Knight thought he would spend his career helping families through the process of planning funerals, but he soon found a new calling. He transferred to the Oxford campus in fall 2011 after completing his associate’s degree at ICC.

“I enjoyed working with the community and helping families through the difficult times after a loved one passed,” Knight said. “But when I met Ole Miss English professor Colby Kullman, he really made a strong impression on me. He stressed the importance of the education profession and sharing your passion and knowledge with others.”

After Knight’s first semester in Oxford, his grandfather became ill, so he moved back to Mantachie to help his family. He enrolled at the Ole Miss-Tupelo campus in August 2012, doubled up on classes and earned his bachelor’s degree in English in August 2013.

He was accepted to both the Ole Miss and Mississippi College law schools, and planned on returning to UM but later decided to accept a spot in the Master of Community College Education program at Mississippi State University. He teaches freshman writing and composition, and plans to teach English at the college level after completing his graduate degree.

“Education, especially at the college-level, can be infectious,” Knight said. “It’s the atmosphere that is electric. Everyone is learning, discovering and working hard to achieve the same goal. It’s just really special. I think that opportunities are endless when you actually feel what you can achieve.”

For more information on programs available at the UM-Tupelo campus, go to http://www.

Ole Miss Agency Wins $2,000 Award in AT&T Challenge

Competition provides real-world experience for integrated marketing communications students

Students from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media placed second in a recent AT&T student competition.

Students from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media placed second in a recent AT&T student competition.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Agency student marketing group won second place and a $2,000 award in the EdVenture Partner AT&T SEC Campus Brand Challenge.

The University of Mississippi students created and presented an integrated marketing campaign to AT&T to introduce and market the new SEC network on AT&T’s U-Verse services. The campaign is a part of the AT&T Campus Brand Challenge, a program designed to provide students with real-world business experience by designing and implementing an integrated marketing communications plan.

“I didn’t know that I could do so much,” said JJ Townsend, campaign strategy director for the Ole Miss Agency. “I have learned a lot about working on a marketing campaign from start to finish and everything in between. I cannot wait to see the hard work coming to life.”

The campaign was designed to increase awareness and purchase of AT&T U-verse TV and the new SEC Network, which is set to launch in August. The Ole Miss plan features several innovative and engaging tactics to increase awareness of AT&T U-verse by highlighting its features.

The campaign includes the characters Harry and Jerry. Harry has U-verse. Jerry does not. Both characters are avid SEC fans, but only one can win the title of “best SEC fan.” The campaign encourages Twitter users to select whether they are #TeamHarry or #TeamJerry by following @YTYT_OleMiss on Twitter.

Each of the six schools participating in the AT&T Campus Brand Challenge is competing for an opportunity to present its ideas to AT&T executives at the term’s conclusion.

The Ole Miss Agency is a student-run marketing agency composed of students from the UM School of Business Administration and the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. The agency branched off of the Ole Miss Marketing Association in 2013.

Members of the agency from the journalism school who worked on the project include Chun Wu, a graduate student in the integrated marketing communications program, and Tiffany Odom, a senior IMC major from Richton. Wu led and presented the research that served as the foundation for the campaign, and Odom created the public relations portion of it.

UM Students Dominate State Public Relations Association Awards

Meek School of Journalism and New Media wins all three top awards and 10 of 11 awards overall

University of Mississippi public relations students in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media won the three top awards in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition and 10 out of all 11 awards presented. Pictured from left to right, are (front row) Bridget Quinn, a journalism major from Alpharetta, Ga. and Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen, a marketing communications major from Stockholm, Sweden; and (back row) Lauren McMillin, a journalism major  from Madison, Miss.; Caty Cambron, a journalism and Spanish major from Rome, Ga.; Wil Yerger, a marketing communications major from Jackson, Miss.; Olivia Rearick, a journalism major from Glen Ellyn, Ill.; Robin Street, lecturer in journalism and public relations; Katie Davenport, an integrated marketing communications major from Wiggins, Miss.; Madison Hill, a journalism major from Auburn, Ala.; and  Emily Crawford, a journalism major from Horn Lake, Miss. Not pictured: Laura Gaziano, an integrated communications major from Atlanta, Ga. Photo by Stan O'Dell.

UM public relations students in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media won the three top awards in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition and 10 of 11 awards presented. Pictured from left to right, are (front row) Bridget Quinn, of Alpharetta, Georgia; and Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen, of Stockholm; and (back row) Lauren McMillin, of Madison; Caty Cambron, of Rome, Georgia; Wil Yerger, of Jackson; Olivia Rearick, of  Glen Ellyn, Illinois; Robin Street, lecturer in journalism and public relations; Katie Davenport, of Wiggins; Madison Hill, of Auburn, Alabama; and Emily Crawford, of Horn Lake. Photo by Stan O’Dell.

OXFORD, Miss. – Public relations students in the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media won the three top awards in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition and 10 of 11 awards presented overall.

Journalism major Olivia Rearick of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, won both Student Best of Show for the best entry in the entire competition and the top award in her category, called a PRism. Marketing communications major Wil Yerger, of Jackson, also won a PRism. Those students won the only PRisms presented.

In addition, eight other students and their instructor, Robin Street, all won awards, which were presented April 25 at the PRAM state conference in Hattiesburg. In each category, the award a step below the PRism is the Award of Excellence, followed by the Award of Merit.

“Having 10 of our students get awards sets a record for us,” said Street, a lecturer in journalism and public relations. “It was overwhelming that the judges only chose 11 students’ work from all over the state, and 10 of those were ours.

“Our students demonstrated that they excel in the diverse set of skills needed to succeed in PR such as producing quality journalism, planning strategy and conducting research. That is a real tribute to the preparation they received from all the faculty members at the Meek School.”

Winning Awards of Excellence were Lauren McMillin, a journalism major from Madison; Madison Hill, a journalism major from Auburn, Alabama; Caty Cambron, a journalism and Spanish major from Rome, Georgia; and Street.

Awards of Merit were presented to Katie Davenport, an integrated marketing communications major from Wiggins; Sofia Hellberg-Jonsen, a marketing communications major from Stockholm; Bridget Quinn, a journalism major from Alpharetta, Georgia; Emily Crawford, a journalism major from Horn Lake; and Laura Gaziano, an IMC major from Atlanta.

The students entered public relations campaigns they produced as final projects in an advanced public relations class taught by Street. Each campaign required multimedia journalism skills, including writing news releases and feature stories, as well as creating video, photos, blogs and social media.

For more information on the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, visit or email

UM Student Receives Golden Key International Society Scholarship

Lorin Dawson plans to use funds to continue studies in Brazil


Lorin Dawson

OXFORD, Miss. – Among the beautiful beaches and carnival celebrations, University of Mississippi junior Lorin Dawson is hoping to gain practical experience in the Brazilian business environment with the help of a scholarship from Golden Key International Honour Society.

Dawson, of Lafayette, Indiana, is a recipient of the Joan Nelson Study Abroad Scholarship, which provides recipients with $2,500 for study in the country of their choice. Each year, Golden Key gives out only one Joan Nelson award.

“Since 1977, Golden Key has recognized over 12 million graduate and undergraduate students in the top 15 percent of their class and has awarded over $10 million in scholarships and awards to its members,” said Brad Rainey, executive director of Golden Key. 

Dawson, who has been in Rio de Janeiro since July 2013, chose the country to supplement a Latin American focus in international studies in the university’s Croft Institute for International Studies. Besides pursuing international studies, Dawson is also majoring in economics and minoring in Spanish, Portuguese and mathematics.

“I believe a strong business partnership with Brazil will become increasingly more important to the United States and other developed countries as Brazil continues to capitalize on its abundant natural resources and develop its economy,” Dawson said.

A member of the UM Croft Institute and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Dawson is enrolled at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, earning academic credit towards his Ole Miss degree.

“I chose Ole Miss because I felt that the faculty is focused on what students need to excel and have a positive collegiate experience,” Dawson said. “The Croft Institute was one of the major factors for choosing Ole Miss due to its selective admission and rigorous program.”

“He is one of our most determined and ambitious students, and we are lucky to have him in our program,” said Kees Gispen, executive director of the Croft Institute and professor emeritus of history, “I am thrilled for Lorin and, based on his hard work and his academic achievements, I’m not surprised that he was ‘discovered’ and has now been recognized for his extraordinary potential and achievements.”

Besides his academic endeavors, Dawson has been involved with St. Anthony Hall’s philanthropic efforts as well as acting as assistant scoutmaster for a local Boy Scout troop. After graduation in May 2015, Dawson plans to pursue a master’s degree in finance.

“We’re very proud to send students like Lorin to study abroad because they are such impactful ambassadors for our school to the wider world,” said Brad Noel, UM study abroad adviser. “I have every reason to believe that Lorin, with his motivation and talent, will continue on to make a positive impact in his career field after graduation and will continue to be an ambassador for the University of Mississippi of which we can all be proud.”

Dawson’s parents are Douglas and Jill Dawson of Lafayette, Indiana.

Golden Key is the world’s largest honor society, with more than 2 million members and more than 400 chapters around the world. The society offers education-based scholarships and awards for service and leadership achievements, about $1 million each year for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Fulbright Award Winner to Use Teaching Enthusiasm in Hungary

Katie Shuford heads to the Zoltan Kodaly Pedagogical Institute of Music in August

Hickory, North Carolina native Katie Shuford awarded 2014 Fulbright scholarship.

Hickory, North Carolina native Katie Shuford awarded 2014 Fulbright scholarship.

OXFORD, Miss. – Katie Shuford’s interest in the Kodály philosophy of music education has helped her land a 2014 Fulbright U.S. Student Award.

Shuford, a recent University of Mississippi graduate from Hickory, North Carolina, said she wanted to further her studies and experiences abroad, specifically in Hungary, beyond the typical semester. The Fulbright provides a perfect opportunity.

“When I learned that I had been chosen as a Fulbright recipient, I was stunned,” Shuford said. “I worked hard on the application, but I knew the competition was very steep. I am so honored and excited to begin this journey.”

Shuford leaves for Kecskemet, Hungary, in August and will remain there for a full academic year. She said she is looking forward to studying and working in another country, as well as forming and strengthening relationships with partners at the U.S. Embassy and Hungarian colleagues and friends.

Shuford will be a student in the institute’s Diploma Course. Her studies will include composer Zoltan Kodály’s educational philosophy, lectures about his life’s work, methodology, musicianship, folk music, voice, choir and piano.

“My research will also lead me to observe in local schools in Kecskemet,” she said. “I’ll be observing the use of technology, standards and assessment in Hungarian music classrooms and comparing what I find to observations of American music classrooms.”

Shuford uses her lifelong experience in the philosophy of music education to craft thoughtful, engaging lessons for her students, said Debra Spurgeon, UM associate professor of music.

“Katie certainly deserves this honor,” Spurgeon said. “As a freshman, she volunteered to work with the Oxford Children’s Chorus, which has helped develop her conducting skills. This year, she became their primary conductor, choosing repertoire and running rehearsals.

“Katie is not afraid of hard work. I know she will be very successful at the Kodaly Institute.”

She served as the guest director of the Oxford Children’s Choir for the 2013-2014 season after observing and assisting Andy Paney, UM assistant professor of music and OCC director, for three years.

“Dr. Paney gave me the opportunity to take over the director responsibilities,” Shuford said. “Directing this choir has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my collegiate career. I am extremely grateful he recognized my love for working with children and encouraged me to take over.”

Shuford, who also received the Outstanding Undergraduate Vocal Music Education Award at the music department’s awards ceremony, found out she had gotten the Fulbright during the hectic time of completing her student teaching.

“I hope to leave the institute a more accomplished musician and confident teacher,” said Shuford, who graduates Saturday (May 10) with a bachelor’s degree in music education as a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. “I also hope to take away a love for Hungarian culture. I’ll be living in Kecskemet for nine months, which gives me the opportunity to get involved in the community and form lasting relationships with the people I meet.”

Upon her return, Shuford hopes to become an elementary school music teacher, where she will implement the Kodály philosophy while navigating the American desire for more standards, assessment and technology.

“My mother is an elementary music teacher and Kodály music educator,” said Shuford, who was a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda as well as a UM choral scholarship and UM Patrons of Music scholarship recipient. “She teaches elementary school during the academic year, and spends her summers training music educators in the Kodály philosophy and methodology.

“She is so good at what she does and has been the perfect model for the kind of music teacher I want to be. I also plan to pursue graduate work with a concentration in the philosophy.”

Robert Riggs, chair and professor of music, agreed that Shuford deserves the award because her skills, patience and leadership experience will serve her students well.

“Throughout her undergraduate years, Katie Shuford has stood out as one of our most outstanding music majors because she possesses the rigorous discipline that serious study of music requires,” Riggs said. “The faculty and students of the music department are very proud that Katie has received this honor, and we are confident that she will make full use of this opportunity to help launch a distinguished career in music education.”

Shuford is the university’s 13th Fulbright U.S. Student Award winner since 2000. Last year, Ryan Ezelle won a Fulbright to serve as an English teaching assistant in the Dominican Republic.

“I could never have successfully applied for the Fulbright without the guidance and unrelenting support I have received from my professors, friends and family at Ole Miss,” said Shuford, the daughter of Larry and Karen Shuford. “Especially those in the SMBHC who have always encouraged us to investigate the world around us and have provided us with the knowledge to do so responsibly.”

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 people of the U.S. and those of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Students interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Award are encouraged to contact Andrus Ashoo, the Fulbright Program adviser of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement, at

Journalism Senior Lands Two Final Semester National Fellowships

Bracey Harris gains valuable experience telling compelling stories using multimedia formats

Bracey Harris

Bracey Harris

OXFORD, Miss. – Bracey Harris of Byram is slated to graduate May 10 from the University of Mississippi with an impressive record of achievement, including two recent prestigious national journalism fellowships.

Majoring in broadcast journalism in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, with a minor in business administration, Harris was awarded a CBC-UNC Diversity Fellowship and a fellowship to attend the New York Times Student Journalism Institute.

The former was an intensive weeklong workshop, held in March at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The annual competitive fellowship opportunity, for 12 top students from throughout the nation, is led by UNC journalism faculty and professionals at Capitol Broadcasting Co.’s WRAL in Raleigh. The program is geared toward seniors and graduate students finishing their programs and pursuing careers as producers, reporters, photojournalists and online editors.

The workshop provided valuable hands-on experience, said Harris, who is a student in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and a Luckyday Scholar.

“I trained as a producer at WRAL-TV, a CBS affiliate,” she said. “At the end of the week, I produced a newscast that was put on by fellows in the program.”

In late May, Harris travels to Dillard University in New Orleans for the New York Times Institute. The institute selects 24 student journalists from throughout the nation to cover real news for two weeks under the leadership of staff from The New York Times, The Boston Globe and the host university.

“I will be responsible for writing an enterprise story about New Orleans,” Harris said. “By the end of the program, we will produce a newspaper. I have seen copies of past publications and can tell the expectations are high. What’s really exciting is that the paper will contain The New York Times masthead.”

The work is in line with her career aspirations, she said.

“Ultimately, I want to produce in-depth multimedia projects,” she said. “Writing and telling stories is what makes me happy.”

Considering Harris’ impressive student resume, reflecting the skills she has gained over her four years at Ole Miss, there’s no doubt she is ready to compete not only at the institute but also in the job market.

At the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center, manned by journalism students, Harris is multimedia editor of The Daily Mississippian newspaper and a former anchor for the live half-hour television broadcast “NewsWatch.”

In summer 2012, Harris and two other Meek School students, enrolled in a magazine writing class, taught by Dean Will Norton, producing a publication with students at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa. She was named Best Magazine Writer by the Southeast Journalism Conference, and her internships include print and television work in Jackson.

“Bracey is a student with strong journalistic ability and uncommon insight into human behavior,” Norton said. “She is a person of integrity whose work reflects her character.”

Listed on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll, Harris is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the university’s highest academic honor across all disciplines, and she belongs to Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society. She was secretary of the Columns Society, a group of 24 students who serve as official hosts for the university, and she has served on the Judicial Board for Panhellenic and risk chair for her sorority Kappa Alpha Theta.

As Harris looks back on her four years at Ole Miss, she recalls her first attraction to the Oxford campus.

“I came to the campus my sophomore year in high school for the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association and immediately fell in love with it,” she said. “After attending the MOST conference as a senior, my mind was set. I had the opportunity to talk with current students and admission employees and ask important questions. When I left, I knew that Ole Miss was the place where I wanted to spend perhaps the four most important years of my life.”

A graduate of Terry High School, she is the daughter of Rozelia Harris and the late Frederick Harris, both natives of Vicksburg.