Three University of Mississippi seniors have been named recipients of the 2016-17 Outstanding Senior Leadership Award in the School of Engineering.
Chosen are Dustin Dykes of Madison, Alabama; Holly Pitts of Indianola; and Adam Schildhammer of Alpharetta, Georgia. Each recipient was selected through a competitive nomination process in his or her respective department. Nominations are based on the students’ records of academic achievement, leadership, professional development and community service. The students also delivered a presentation to the selection committee about their undergraduate experiences while pursuing their engineering degrees.
“Adam, Holly, Dustin and the additional nominees represent some of the best and brightest students that Ole Miss Engineering has to offer,” said Alex Cheng, dean of the School of Engineering. “We are always excited to celebrate this tradition of recognizing outstanding students pursuing degrees within the School of Engineering.”
A civil engineering and general studies major (minors in studio art, mathematics and business), Pitts has maintained a 3.99 GPA as a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges, she serves as vice president of the Engineering Student Body Leadership Council, the Institute of Transportation Engineers and Engineers Without Borders. Pitts also serves as president of Chi Epsilon civil engineering society and has been selected to Phi Kappa Phi honor society, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership society and Tau Beta Pi engineering society.
She received the Outstanding Junior Award from the Department of Civil Engineering as well as the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award from Order of Omega Greek honor society. She served as an intern with the Mississippi Grammy Museum and the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center. Pitts is involved with the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, serving as a Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Scholar. She has volunteered with RebelTHON and the Green Grove Initiative.
In addition to the leadership award, she was named the university’s representative to the Mississippi Engineering Society’s Outstanding Senior award program in Jackson. There she was also the recipient of a Mississippi Engineering Society scholarship. After graduation, Pitts plans to earn a master’s degree in business administration and a master’s in fine arts to combine her interests in engineering, business and art. She hopes to become an engineer for a custom fabrication and engineering company.
Dykes, a mechanical engineering major, has maintained a 4.0 GPA and is a recipient of the university’s Distinguished Senior Scholarship. He serves as president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has served as secretary-treasurer of the Engineering Student Body Leadership Council as well as vice president of the Baptist Student Union. He has been selected for membership in Phi Kappa Phi and Tau Beta Pi. He was also named to Who’s Who.
An active member of the Ole Miss Army ROTC, Dykes has served as battalion commander. In 2016, he was ranked as the No. 9 cadet in the nation and received the 2016 Association of the United States Army scholarship for top cadet in the nation. Dykes also received the National Defense Transportation Award in 2016 as well as the Society of American Military Engineers scholarship in 2014 and 2015.
He has volunteered with the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society and participated in the Oxford First Baptist Church choir.
After graduating summa cum laude, Dykes plans to be commissioned as a second lieutenant. He also hopes to attend graduate school to study aerospace engineering and serve as a U.S. Army test pilot.
A geological engineering major, Schildhammer was named the Outstanding Freshman in Geological Engineering in 2013. Since then, he has been named to the Chancellor’s and Dean’s honor rolls and has been inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Order of Omega honor societies. Schildhammer serves as a teaching assistant for engineering geology, sedimentology and stratigraphy, and physical geology under professors Zhen Guo and Brian Platt. He has also participated in field camps in New Mexico and Oklahoma.
He has served as scholarship chairman for his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, where he implemented a plan to increase his chapter’s GPA and received the Outstanding Scholar Award. He also assisted with the planning of the fraternity’s annual philanthropy, which raises funds for Batson Children’s Hospital. Additionally, Schildhammer has served as a team manager and practice player for the Ole Miss women’s basketball team.
He has plans to attend graduate school in petroleum or geological engineering.