Welcome Month Offers Dozens of Activities for Students, Community

Expanded annual event scheduled through Sept. 14

Students dance the night away at the Silent Disco as part of 2017 Welcome Week festivities. Photo by Thomas Graning/ Ole Miss Digital Imagaing Services

OXFORD, Miss. – As the 2018-19 academic year draws near, members of the University of Mississippi community have plenty of activities to get them plugged in during Welcome Month, which runs through Sept. 14.

“The start of the year is always a special time for Ole Miss, with new students and faculty, new relationships and new classes,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “There’s an unmistakable upswing in the vibrancy of our campus when the student body returns in full force each fall; it’s truly energizing.”

Coordinated by the Ole Miss Student Union and Student Activities Association, the schedule features nearly 100 events and activities, ranging from movies in the Grove to fitness events.

“More programs and events are offered than ever,” said Bradley Baker, Student Union director. “We hope to welcome students to the Ole Miss campus with many ways to get involved and become engaged while here.”

Partners include the Office of the Chancellor, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Center for Student Success and First Year Experience, Associated Student Body, Campus Recreation, Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Fraternal Leadership and Learning, National Panhellenic Council and Office of Leadership and Advocacy.

Among the scheduled events:

  • Thursday (Aug. 16): Splash Into Ole Miss, 7 p.m., Turner Center
  • Friday (Aug. 17): Ole Miss Theatre Audition Workshop, 1 p.m., Isom Hall, Room 110
  • Saturday (Aug. 18): New Student Kick-Off Picnic, 5:15 p.m., the Grove
  • Sunday (Aug. 19): Grove-In Movie Series, 8 p.m., the Grove
  • Aug. 20: Ball Pit with Strangers and Bungee Jump, 10 a.m. in the Circle and Galtney-Lott Plaza, respectively
  • Aug. 21: Get Involved Fair, 11 a.m., Lyceum Circle; and Fall Convocation, 7 p.m., The Pavilion at Ole Miss
  • Aug. 22: Silent Disco, 9 p.m., the Grove
  • Aug. 23: Cards Against Hypnosis, 7 p.m., Student Union Ballroom
  • Aug. 24: StudentsFIRST Meet and Greet, 11:30 a.m., Martindale Hall, third floor; and Welcome Back Concert, 8 p.m., the Grove
  • Aug. 25 – Pride Camp, 10 a.m., Bryant Hall
  • Aug. 27: LOU Day, all day on Galtney-Lott Plaza
  • Aug. 28: Creed Day, all day on Galtney-Lott Plaza
  • Aug. 29: ASB Day: all day on Galtney-Lott Plaza
  • Aug. 30: Throwback Thursday, all day on Galtney-Lott Plaza
  • Aug. 31: Flagship Friday, all day on Galtney-Lott Plaza
  • Sept. 5: Are You Ready? Dialogue Series: Let’s Start the Conversation, Bryant Hall, Room 209
  • Sept. 6: Rock Out the Grove, 6 p.m., the Grove
  • Sept. 9: Ole Miss vs. Southern Illinois: 3 p.m., Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
  • Sept. 11: Mini Destress Fest, time and location to be determined
  • Sept. 16: Fall Fair: Food and Fun with RHA, 4 p.m., Kincannon Hall yard
  • Sept. 28: Fall Favorites with Chicken-on-a-Stick, 11 a.m., Stewart Hall yard

Other activities include a double-decker bingo tour, campus recreation hiring fair, laser tag, passport to diversity, free challenge course, game night, African-American male networking luncheon, wellness day, fraternal leadership discussion, Greek forum, women’s soccer and volleyball games, a barbecue, water polo, paddleboard yoga class and snow cone giveaways.

The UM Student Activities Association is formed by students to promote special events, Homecoming and musical entertainment. For more details and a full list of events, visit http://union.olemiss.edu/welcome/.

Larry Grantham Memorialized on Highway 27

Late Ole Miss, New York Jets football great was Super Bowl III champ with Joe Namath

Family and friends of former Ole Miss Rebels great Larry Grantham attend the dedication of a portion of Highway 27 in Crystal Springs in his memory. The group includes (from left) June Grantham, James Larry Grantham II, Debbie Greer, Kayla Grantham, Rick Williams, Ann Grantham Greer, LeAnne Grantham Williams, Carlene Grantham Ainsworth, Rep. Gregory Holloway, Sr. (R-Dist. 76), Mayor Sally Garland, Carey Grantham, Peggy C. Grantham, Susan Greer, James Larry Grantham III and the Rev. Chris Teasley. Photo courtesy Mississippi Department of Transportation.

OXFORD, Miss. – Before Eli, even before Archie, there was Larry Grantham.

The Manning family’s two-generational association with Ole Miss Rebel football, the NFL and Super Bowl championships is legendary. Yet the late Crystal Springs native’s track record was no less stellar. And as Manning Way honors their family’s legacy on the University of Mississippi’s campus, a portion of Highway 27 in Copiah County recently named in Grantham’s memory will do the same for his family.

Grantham died June 17, 2017. Exactly 13 month later, the Mississippi Department of Transportation made the dedication. The brief ceremony was the culmination of a request from state Rep. Gregory Holloway Sr. to the Copiah County Board of Supervisors that a portion of Highway 27 be designated in memoriam to the deceased football legend.

Following the supervisors’ approval, Holloway made the proposal as a resolution to the Mississippi Legislature, which approved the request as House Bill No. 1150 during its regular session in March.

“As Larry Grantham’s great niece, I feel so thankful that Uncle Larry has been honored with the highway being named after him,” said Rebecca Phillips, director of university and public events. “It’s a proud moment for our family, the University of Mississippi and for the whole state of Mississippi.”

Susan Greer, a niece of Grantham’s, spearheaded the effort to designate the highway in Crystal Springs in his memory. She made contact with Holloway, himself a lifelong fan of Grantham, who gladly helped push the measure through.

“Larry knew that if he had any hope of attending college, it would be up to him to get some kind of scholarship,” Greer said. “Ole Miss came scouting and eventually offered Larry a half-scholarship in baseball and a half-scholarship in football. After that, he was an Ole Miss Rebel for life.”

Born Sept. 16, 1938 in Gatesville, a small community near Crystal Springs, Grantham graduated from Crystal Springs High School. A football champion at Crystal Springs High School, which won the South Little Dixie Conference, he went on to play for the Rebels.

Larry Grantham was named All-SEC, a member of the SEC Team of the Decade and Ole Miss Team of the Century. Submitted photo

Grantham’s college highlights and honors included being named All-SEC, a member of the SEC Team of the Decade and Ole Miss Team of the Century, and induction into the Ole Miss Athletics Hall of Fame.

“Next to God and his family, nothing was more important to him than Ole Miss and his beloved Mississippi,” said Peggy Grantham, his widow. “Until his health prevented him from doing so, he attended every home football game at Ole Miss.”

After Ole Miss, Grantham played professional football for 13 years and was part of the New York Jets Super Bowl III championship team in 1969, was named the Jets MVP in 1970 and served as AFL Players Association Representative for 10 years. His Jets record of 43 takeaways still stands.

He was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 and into the prestigious New York Jets Ring of Honor in 2011. Grantham was honored in 2016 when he presented the Super Bowl III gold football to his high school alma mater.

Grantham was preceded in death by his parents, Carl Cornelius Grantham and Mable Julia Whittington Grantham, and brother Ronald Grantham. He is survived by his wife, Peggy Carlin Grantham; daughter LeAnne (Rick) Williams; son Jamie (June) Grantham; stepdaughter Angie (Phil) White; seven grandchildren; three great-granddaughters; three sisters; a brother; a sister-in-law and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

Student Health Pharmacy Changes Name, Expands Operations

Renamed Student and Employee Pharmacy Health Services offers options for faculty and staff

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Student Health Pharmacy has changed its name to Student and Employee Pharmacy Health Services and expanded its offerings to provide pharmacy services to employees.

“The main goal of Pharmacy Health Services and the pharmacy school is to improve health care and make it more available,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “Providing pharmacy services to the entire Ole Miss community was a natural next step in fulfilling the school’s mission of improving health, well-being and quality of life.”

The renaming better reflects the scope of services and target population, said Chad Westmoreland, a pharmacist at the center.

“Up until this year, our prescription services were limited to current Ole Miss students, but now we have expanded to provide services for university students, employees and employee families,” he said.

“We will provide the same services as always – prescriptions, medication counseling, immunizations – with the addition of on-campus delivery upon request to faculty-staff and the option for payment through payroll deduction.”

Hours of operation are 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays. For more information, call 662-915-5279, visit https://healthcenter.olemiss.edu/pharmacy/ or email umpharmacy@olemiss.edu.

David A. Puleo Named New Engineering Dean

Former Kentucky associate dean brings years of leadership experience, vision to position

David Puleo

OXFORD, Miss. – David A. Puleo, an administrator nationally respected for his activities in both academics and research, has been named the new dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Mississippi.

“Thanks to its leaders over the past 120 years, the (UM) school has a strong foundation, educating generations of engineers, computer scientists and geologists,” said Puleo, who assumes his duties at Ole Miss on Aug. 27. “The School of Engineering will play a key role in the university’s inspiring Flagship Forward strategic plan, and I believe my experiences at a large, public flagship university in the Southeast enable me to lead the school forward to ‘ever-increasing excellence.'”

A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, he was the associate dean for research and graduate studies at the University of Kentucky. Puleo, who was a professor in the F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering at UK, also founded Regenera Materials LLC, in Lexington, Kentucky.

In providing leadership for research activities, Puleo’s responsibilities included approval of all proposal submissions, oversight of College of Engineering centers and institutes, management of facilities and cultivation of research partnerships with academic and nonacademic units. Related to graduate programs, Puleo supervised academic policy development and implementation, new course and program development, graduate student recruitment in partnership with UK’s Graduate Studies Team, selection and awarding of College of Engineering graduate student fellowships and graduate program assessment.

“Our School of Engineering remains an integral component of academic excellence and scholarship at the University of Mississippi,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “David Puleo’s direction will enhance our already strong and competitive position among institutions of higher learning around the country and beyond its borders.”

Puleo’s plans are to immerse himself in the culture of Ole Miss and the engineering school. This exercise will set the stage for drafting a strategic plan for the school using a “collaborative visioning” approach that involves stakeholders from all constituencies.

“A key strength of the school is the broad-based and ‘high-touch’ approach to undergraduate education,” Puleo said. “We must maintain that quality of educating the next generations of engineers, computer scientists and geologists while also expanding our graduate programs and the highly-related research enterprise.

“The close proximity of multiple other schools, as well as the not-too-distant UM Medical Center, provide outstanding transdisciplinary educational and research opportunities.”

The new dean’s track record includes being a fellow in the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. A member of the Advisory Board for Viking Scientific Inc., Puleo received UK’s Excellence in Teaching in 2011, 2013 and 2015 and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2013.

During his 20-year tenure at UK, Puleo also served as assistant and associate professor of biomedical engineering, adjunct associate professor in the College of Dentistry and professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery for Content Management, both in the College of Medicine at the UK Medical Center. He also served as director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering before becoming chair after its conversion to a department.

Puleo and his wife, Sue, have two adult children, Nick and Angie, who are in medical school and college, respectively.

For more information about the UM School of Engineering, visit https://engineering.olemiss.edu/.

Archives and Special Collections Displays Jack Reed Sr. Gift

Aug. 23 event spotlights artifacts of the late Tupelo business leader, civil rights movement icon

The papers and memorabilia of the late Jack Reed Sr. of Tupelo have been donated to the UM Department of Archives and Special Collections. A public preview and announcement is scheduled Aug. 23 on campus. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Selected memorabilia and artifacts belonging to the late Mississippi business leader and civil rights movement icon Jack Reed Sr. will be displayed this fall at the University of Mississippi.

A display prepared from a larger collection of Reed’s papers opens Aug. 23 on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library. Scheduled presenters for the 5 p.m. event include Scott Reed, Jack Reed’s youngest child; Andy Mullins, the UM chancellor’s chief of staff emeritus; Vaughn Grisham, professor emeritus of political science and founding director of the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement; and Jennifer Ford, the library’s head of archives and special collections.

Other members of the Reed family expected to attend include children Jack Reed Jr., Camille Reed Sloan and Catherine Reed Mize, and several grandchildren and cousins.

“Special Collections is extremely honored to house the papers of Jack Reed Sr., and we are indebted to the Reed family for this gift,” Ford said. “Work has already begun to catalog the extensive collection to make it available for scholarly use by early 2019.

“We wanted to take this opportunity to announce the recent donation, as well as draw attention to the significance of Mr. Reed’s life and work.”

Reed was a Tupelo retail owner who became a strong voice and guiding light that significantly affected the peaceful integration of Mississippi schools in the 1960s.

“Our father was chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee that created the Mississippi State Board of Education and served as its chairman for most of the 1980s,” Scott Reed said. “He was also a part of the Methodist Church National Committee on Religion and Race that charted the course for the Methodist response during that time.”

Reed Sr. served as chairman of President H.W. Bush’s National Advisory Committee on Education Research and Improvement. He was known for his excellent public speaking skills and his ability to combine humor, wit and insight into very serious subject matter.

In 1987, Reed ran as the Republican nominee for governor, using his staunch support of public education as a major platform for the election, which he eventually lost to Ray Mabus. He also was active throughout his career in the Mississippi Economic Council, serving as president in 1964.

Throughout his career, Reed’s contributions in the realms of public education, economic and community development, and race relations spanned the state and region.

For more information on the Jack Reed Sr. Collection, call Jennifer Ford in the Department of Archives and Special Collections at 662-915-7408 or email archivesdept@olemiss.edu.

Reinemann-Goss Returns to Alma Mater as Faculty Member

Accomplished alumna is newest assistant professor in burgeoning biomedical engineering program

Nikki Reinemann-Goss, a 2012 UM alumna, returns to her alma mater as assistant professor of chemical engineering in the new biomedical engineering program. Submitted photo

Even before Dana Nicole “Nikki” Reinemann-Goss graduated from the University of Mississippi, she sensed that one day she would return to her alma mater – not as a student but as a faculty member.

Starting Aug. 17, the university’s 13th Barry M. Goldwater Scholar will be an assistant professor of chemical engineering in conjunction with the university’s new biomedical engineering program.

“I applied for this position for a number of reasons,” said Reinemann-Goss, who earned bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry from UM in 2013 and her Ph.D. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Vanderbilt University last May. “The prospect of building the new biomedical engineering program at Ole Miss from the ground up was an exciting opportunity I could not pass up. In addition, I would be able to return to my home state and alma mater to pursue exciting scientific areas.”

Reinemann-Goss’ research interests include probing the intersection of biology, physics and engineering by investigating higher-level cytoskeletal architecture and its constituent motor proteins.

“These are important for vital life processes such as cell division and motility,” the Batesville native said. “We can start probing how cell environmental factors or potential cancer drugs alter a certain cellular system and thus potentially make more effective therapies in the future.”

Starting this fall, Reinemann-Goss will teach a course, Biological Transport, for juniors. Her short-term goals include being effective in the classroom, establishing a biomolecular engineering lab and being a mentor to the BME students. Her long-term goals are helping the BME department develop its final curriculum, involving students more heavily in research across campus and publishing results (from both undergraduate and graduate students) in high-impact journals.

“I plan on achieving these goals by really getting to know my students and recruiting them early to work in the lab,” Reinemann-Goss said. “By obtaining and retaining students starting in their sophomore (or even freshman) year, they have time to develop really substantial experimental results that are publication worthy by their junior or senior year.”

Reinemann-Goss said to be an author on a journal article as an undergraduate is quite an accomplishment and could help foster love for continuing down the research track.

“Even if they ultimately don’t chose that path, this experience would be invaluable in applying for national scholarships, graduate school or medical school,” she said. “At the end of the day, I want to help my students be as successful for their chosen career path as they can be.”

Hiring Reinemann-Goss was a ‘rare opportunity,’ said Dwight Waddell, associate professor of electrical engineering and the BME program’s director.

“Not only is she incredibly qualified having graduated with her Ph.D. from a prestigious biomedical engineering program at Vanderbilt, she comes to us already attuned to life at Ole Miss and Oxford,” Waddell said. “Dr. Reinemann-Goss has expertise in biomolecular engineering, which will be immediately put to use through a shared research agenda with multiple departments on campus including biochemistry, biomolecular sciences in the School of Pharmacy as well as chemical engineering. We are thrilled to have her back, and we hope it still feels like home.”

Reinemann-Goss’ former professors recalled her academic achievements and dedication.

“I had the privilege to mentor Nikki from her first day in college,” said Nathan Hammer, associate professor of chemistry. “Because of her dedication and unique aptitude in chemistry, I recruited her to work in my research group.

“From day one in the lab, her natural abilities to perform high-level science were evident. She developed her research project on her own without any assistance and has operated on the level of a graduate student for the past few years. She’s a brilliant young scientist who has a bright future ahead of her. Her success is due not only to her intelligence and aptitude for science but also her unparalleled work ethic.”

Charles L. “Chuck” Hussey, chair emeritus and professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry, echoed those sentiments.

“Nikki is a multidimensional, exceptionally talented student,” said Hussey, now associate dean for research and graduate education in UM’s College of Liberal Arts. “She sees and understands concepts that most of her peers may never understand. We are very lucky that she chose to seek a degree in chemistry with us. She is destined for a great career in science or engineering.”

A Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College alumna, Reinemann-Goss also held memberships in Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and American Chemical Society. Conducting research under the supervision of Hammer, she presented at the 242nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society and the 41st International Conference on Environmental Systems of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Her extracurricular activities included serving in the Society of Women Engineers and the university’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, and playing trumpet in the Pride of the South marching band.

In addition to having been a Goldwater Scholar, Reinemann-Goss’ said her most gratifying personal achievement was to receive a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

“Receiving this funding allowed me to pursue the research path I wanted throughout graduate school and thus helped shape and build my scientific toolbox that I plan to use at Ole Miss,” she said.

She was also involved in the Engineering Ambassadors Network at Vanderbilt.

“Through this organization, I co-coordinated an Engineering Day at Vanderbilt for local eighth-grade students who come from low-income, high-risk environments to expose them to a variety of engineering disciplines,” Reinemann-Goss said. “They chose three disciplines and then performed related hands-on activities led by graduate students. Seeing their confidence in themselves and in STEM work grow throughout the day was an outstanding experience.”

Reinemann-Goss is married to Timothy Goss, a band director for the South Panola School District in Batesville. The couple has a son, Will, who starts first grade this fall. Her hobbies include spending time with her family and playing trumpet in local ensembles and at church.

 

 

Mechanical Engineering Student Completes Co-Op in Germany

Matthew Wirt spent the summer working at Fraunhofer ICT

Matthew Wirt, a senior mechanical engineering major in the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence, spent a summer as a co-op intern at Fraunhofer ICT in Germany. Submitted photo

Many engineering students seek cooperative education opportunities to gain real-world experience. Matthew Wirt, a mechanical engineering major at the University of Mississippi, decided to obtain his real-world experience in another country.

The Madisonville, Louisiana, native recently completed a co-op experience with Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology in Germany. According to its website, the company is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization. Its research is geared to people’s needs: health, security, communication, energy and the environment.

Wirt sought this opportunity after learning that a previous UM mechanical engineering student earned a Fulbright scholarship to Germany. He also received guidance from Ellen Lackey, UM professor of mechanical engineering.

A student in the university’s Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence, Wirt spent a year completing the co-op experience under Lackey’s supervision. He worked with the polymer engineering department and collaborated closely with Ph.D. students and project leaders to complete experimental trials for manufacturing fiber-reinforced plastic parts. Many of these parts were being made for automobile manufacturers.

Wirt said his experiences at CME prepared him for the work with Fraunhofer. Although he enjoyed his experience, it also presented challenges.

“The language barrier was probably the most apparent difference to working abroad compared to being in the United States,” Wirt said. “It affects everything from how you interact with your co-workers to how you are able to present ideas and how you live outside of work.”

Wirt also identified many cultural differences that required him to adjust to life and work in a foreign country. He learned that bikes are generally used to go everywhere with many people traveling cross-country by bike due to the supporting infrastructure. He also found that public transportation is more abundant and reliance on cars is less prevalent than in the U.S.

Overall, Wirt found the experience as a co-op student abroad helpful as he has recently graduated and considers his opportunities.

“I have learned what direction I want to go with my career,” he said. “I enjoyed gaining research experience as well as valuable skills related to my field that you just cannot get in the classroom.”

Wirt encourages other engineering students to pursue the co-op experience because it allows them to try out different functional areas where they may be thinking they would like to pursue full-time work.

“The co-op experience provides a way to connect what you do in the classroom to what you will be doing as a full-time engineer,” Wirt said. “It is worth putting off graduation for a semester or two to gain this experience.”

Wirt enjoyed his time abroad so much that he is planning to travel abroad again. He would like to go to Madrid to teach English for a year and then apply to graduate school as well as pursue a full-time position in engineering, using the skills he gained from his undergraduate education and his co-op experience.

 

 

Undergraduate Students Conduct Summer Data Science Research

Students use data science to combat sexual harassment and make complex data easier to consume

Undergraduate students involved in the Mississippi Experimental Research Laboratory have been using the summer to hone their research skills. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Thanks to an internal grant to the University of Mississippi’s Department of Computer and Information Science, five computer science majors are conducting paid, faculty-mentored projects as part of the new Ole Miss Summer Undergraduate Research Experience.

Each student is spending 10 weeks conducting a data science-themed research project. By the end of the summer, all of the students should be able to describe the fundamental concepts and techniques of data science, analyze real-world problems and model them for application of data science techniques, and document and effectively communicate methodology, results and observations of the project.

Naeemul Hassan, UM assistant professor of computer and information science, wrote the grant proposal that led to the funding, and is serving as the mentor for one of the student projects. Hassan and Amrit Poudel, a junior from Nepal, are developing tools to identify online cries for help from those who may have experienced sexual harassment or mistreatment.

The duo has collected more than a million sexual harassment-related tweets from Twitter. Using natural language processing techniques, they have identified 15,000 of the tweets as sexual harassment outcries.

“The problem is the current design of the social network systems does not have any mechanism to bring these harassment reports to the attention of authorities or support service providers,” Hassan said. “We are working on developing tools to make social media a more supportive place for victims to talk about what they have experienced.”

Four other students are conducting separate mentored research projects under the summer data science program. Under the mentorship of professor Conrad Cunningham, Hao Zhou, a junior from China, is developing a tool that can take a common input format and create documents in multiple output formats that are accessible to a wide range of readers – including those with disabilities.

Under the guidance of professor and chair Dawn Wilkins and professor Yixin Chen, seniors Garrett McClure of Madison, Mississippi, and Abigail Garrett, of Birmingham, Alabama, are evaluating and developing tools to reduce the size of large unwieldy datasets to just the most essential features needed for the task at hand. And senior Khoa Anh Tran of Vietnam is doing research toward the development of virtual reality visualization tools for three-dimensional data; this project is being mentored by assistant professor Adam Jones.

Naeemul Hassan, assistant professor of computer and information science, is directing student Amrit Poudel as part of an Undergraduate Summer Research Grant he received for his Data Exploration and Research Laboratory. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“The mentors have a diverse set of data science expertise including machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, software architecture, data mining and virtual reality,” Hassan said.

“As artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality are being incorporated in an increasing number of knowledge domains and practical applications, we can only imagine the demand of data science increasing in the foreseeable future.”

Indeed, for the third year in a row, data scientist has been named the best job in America, based on earning potential, job satisfaction and the number of job openings. according to Glassdoor’s 50 Best Jobs in America for 2018 list.

The funding for this summer’s program was in the form of a competitive internal seed grant, with initial monies coming from the Provost’s Office and matching funds provided by the School of Engineering and the CIS department.

“We believe that the sooner we can expose students to the research and applications in their chosen fields, the more likely they are to continue research in graduate school,” said Greg Easson, UM professor of geology and geological engineering and associate dean for research and graduate programs for the School of Engineering.

“The Department of Computer and Information Science was early into undergraduate research, having already developed the C-REX (Computer science Research Experience) program last year. With this support from the Provost’s Office, they have been able to do even more with students.”

To extend the data science program for future summers and students, Hassan and his collaborators in the department have their eyes on several external funding opportunities, including the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.

Meanwhile, the next steps will be guiding this summer’s students in writing and disseminating their discoveries and prototypes through poster presentations, conference presentations or peer-reviewed journal articles. Look for more on these students and their project outcomes in future editions of this newsletter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wade Stinson’s Unwavering Support Helps Engineering Students

Civil engineering alumnus's most recent donation funds student scholarship

Wade Stinson (BSCE 78) has been a faithful donor to the UM School of Engineering since his graduation. Submitted photo

By the time Wade Stinson (BSCE 78) received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, he had already decided he would be a lifelong supporter of the University of Mississippi. Forty years later, the Memphis, Tennessee, native is still generously giving financial assistance to his beloved alma mater.

“I’ve always felt it was important for me to give back to Ole Miss engineering,” Stinson said. “In the early years, my contributions were fairly meager as I was just beginning my career. As soon as I was in a position to give more, I joined the Woods Order. After fulfilling my initial Woods Order pledge, I have continued to give at a similar level.”

Most recently, Stinson donated $25,000 to fund a scholarship for a deserving undergraduate civil engineering student in need of financial assistance. Stinson said he realizes that not everyone is as fortunate as he was.

“I earned several scholarships and my parents paid for my college education, so I only worked during the summers to earn spending money,” he said. “I had a roommate and good friend who was not as fortunate and worked several jobs while taking a full course load in civil engineering. I observed firsthand how difficult it could be to work your way through college.

“By establishing this scholarship, I hope to ease the burden for a deserving student like my former roommate.”

Stinson’s ongoing generosity is greatly appreciated, said Denson Hollis, UM Foundation development officer for the School of Engineering.

“For four decades, Wade Stinson has proven a faithful and generous benefactor of Ole Miss engineering,” Hollis said. “The School of Engineering in general and the Department of Civil Engineering in particular are deeply grateful to him for his gifts and his valuable counsel as a member of the Engineering Alumni Advisory Board.”

Stinson’s journey to the university began as a teenager following his family to Oxford to attend college basketball games.

“My dad received his engineering degree from the University of Tennessee,” Stinson said. “Since we lived in Memphis, he would frequently take me to Oxford to see his Vols play basketball. As we all know, once you’ve seen the Ole Miss campus, nothing else quite compares.”

When he was a senior in high school, Stinson went to Oxford and met with School of Engineering Dean Karl Brenkert and Department of Civil Engineering chair and professor Sam DeLeeuw.

“I was always pretty good in math and science, so CE was somewhat of a natural choice for me,” Stinson said. “Meeting with these two extraordinary gentlemen and educators sealed the deal for me, and I made the decision to attend Ole Miss. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted.”

After graduation, Stinson spent a nearly 40-year career in the electric, natural gas and water utility industry. The first 27 years, he worked for Memphis Light, Gas & Water eventually becoming its vice president of construction and maintenance. After retiring from MLGW in 2005, Stinson joined City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri, where he worked over 12 years as operations executive. He retired in September 2017 and now works part time as a consultant in the energy industry.

“Ole Miss provided me with an excellent technical engineering education, without a doubt,” Stinson said. “My time at Ole Miss also helped prepare me for future leadership roles, which proved invaluable in my career. We learned teamwork from working in groups on various projects.”

As an undergraduate, Stinson served in leadership roles through organizations such as Tau Beta Pi, Chi Epsilon and the American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter. He considers being selected to serve as chairman of the board for the American Public Gas Association as his most significant professional accomplishment.

“APGA is the nationwide association for municipal and community-owned natural gas utilities and has over 700 members in 37 states,” Stinson said. “After serving on the APGA board for several years, I was elected chairman in 2012. This was a very busy yet rewarding year as my duties included meeting with members of Congress, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy.”

Stinson and his wife, Christy, live in Olive Branch. The couple has two adult children and four grandchildren. In addition to keeping up with the grandkids, he enjoys golf, traveling and attending Ole Miss sporting events.

“Some of our favorite travel destinations are the California wine country, Hilton Head and the Gulf Coast beaches,” Stinson said. “I recently rejoined the Engineers’ Club of Memphis, which has allowed me to reconnect with many friends and former colleagues. I also have more time to spend on physical fitness and try to work out frequently at the DeSoto Athletic Club.”

 

CSI Camp Creates Forensic Summer Fun

Students use tools, techniques on imaginary case for learning experience

Participants in CSI summer camp practice lifting fingerprints from objects. The camp, for middle and high school students, is hosted by the forensic chemistry program in the UM Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – A dead body, blood spatter, guns, bullets and DNA samples – all fake – offered gifted high school students opportunities to test their forensic skills recently at the University of Mississippi.

Thirty-six 10th- through 12th-graders visited Ole Miss as part of a weeklong camp on forensic science. The event drew students from Mississippi, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Canada.

Led by Murrell Godfrey, director of the university’s forensic chemistry program, and his graduate and undergraduate students, the group spent a full day honing detective skills while examining the “evidence” throughout select classrooms and labs in Coulter Hall.

“The case this week involves a murder that has taken place in a clandestine drug lab,” Godfrey said. “At the crime scene, the students learned about the proper techniques for collecting evidence, the proper protective equipment to wear to prevent contamination, and how to document and take notes at a crime scene.”

The students collected multiple pieces of evidence including: blood from bloody footprints believed to be left by the suspect that could contain the suspect’s DNA, duct tape used in the crime to test for fingerprints, a threatening note left by the suspect for ink analysis, a gun to test for fingerprints, bullets to perform ballistics comparison with a bullet from the suspect’s gun and drug samples found at the scene that were tested using analytical techniques to determine their identity.

“Throughout the week, forensic experts, graduate students and UM faculty lectured on the procedures for analyzing the evidence found at the crime scene,” Godfrey said. “Students then attended various laboratories where they had the opportunity to analyze their samples and learn more about high-tech instrumentation firsthand.

“We had a mock trial Friday morning where students had to defend their evidence/analysis in court. Students served as expert witnesses, prosecutors, defense attorneys, jury and so forth.”

At the conclusion of the camp, participants received certificates of completion from the American Academy of Forensic Science and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, T-shirts and bags from AAFS.

Graduate student Caroline Spencer of Decatur, Alabama, coordinated the camp. Other staff included Ann-Elodie, of Ocala, Florida, and Kardazia Murry, of Houston, as camp counselors; Brandon Stamper, of Brandon, camp teaching assistant; Mina Brandon of Wood Dale, Illinois, Daj’ai Ashford, of Choctaw, Beau Black, of Weatherford, Texas, and Austin Scircle, of Knoxville, Tennessee, camp volunteers.

Speakers and forensic experts included Jim Cizdziel, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Ken Winter, adjunct instructor of legal studies and former director of the Mississippi Forensic Laboratory; Leslia Davis, forensic biologist from MFL in Pearl; Velveda Harried, drug chemist from MFL in Biloxi; and Don Stanford, assistant director of the UM Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who gave a double-decker bus tour of the marijuana field and medicinal garden.

This forensics summer camp, which was sponsored by AAFS, the Council of Forensic Science Educators, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, Department of Legal Studies, the National Center for Natural Products Research and the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, was the fifth hosted at the university.

“Our goal is always to encourage these gifted young minds to become STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors once they enter college,” Godfrey said.

Several students said they’ve learned a great deal through their experience.

“This whole week has been amazing,” said Luke LeBlanc, a 10th-grader from Lafayette, Louisiana. “My favorite thing has been learning blood analysis and ballistics in the labs. I’m definitely planning on returning to CSI camp here next year.”

Kalen Klatte, a sophomore from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said she was expecting only a few females to attend.

“I was pleasantly surprised when I found that there are more girls than boys,” said Klatte, who has been interested in forensics since she was age 11. “This has been a great experience for me and I hope I can do it again.”

Junior Kaitlin May Wong, of Montreal, Quebec, said the camp helped her cement her future career path.

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities to study forensics in Canada,” she said. “Being here this week has solidified in me that a career in this field is definitely what I want. I’m returning home with a lot more knowledge of forensics and memories of my new friends made this week.”

Caliah Cope, who was an “expert witness” in presumptive drug analysis for her forensic team, said she was excited to see how all the aspects of crime scene investigation come together to solve their case.

“I’m really looking forward to giving my testimony and seeing the suspect be convicted for the crime committed,” said Cope, a junior from Grand Prairie, Texas.

Other students in the camp included Michaela Anderson, of Tupelo; Carrington Carter, of Batesville; Alexia Hartley, of Hazlehurst; Dani Janus, of Starkville; Brennan Teeter, of Madison; Jasmine Van Velkinerg, of Clinton; Lauren Barrouquere, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jacqueline Schlamp, of Sulfur, Louisiana; Ashlyn Belcher, of Marietta, Georgia; Madeline Cusick, of Atlanta; Victoria Buckley, of Dayton, Maryland; Jazmyn Cameron, of Houston, Texas; Rachel Ledington, of Austin, Texas; Marisa Chapa, of Dallas; Mi’Kayla Cornelious, of Marianna, Arkansas; Tiernan Dautle, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Andra Durgee, of Boca Raton, Florida; Julia Ann Kepley, of Tampa, Florida; Emma Stovall and Erin Stovall, both of Ft. Myers, Florida; Grace Gibson, of Teustin, California; Jerry Gutierrez and Itzel Medina, both of Healdsburg, California; Katie Martell, of Irving, California; Raychael Gross, of Memphis; Sierra McLaurin, of Nashville, Tennessee; Karen Guo, of St. Louis; Colin O’Connor, of Louisville, Kentucky; Lakadar Quelhaci, of Detroit; and Abby Wannamaker, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

By allowing the students to visit the department and experiment with the equipment, UM faculty said they hope to pique their interests in forensic chemistry and possibly recruit them to the university. The strategy appears to be working.

“I’m definitely considering coming to Ole Miss and studying forensics,” said De’Monica Dumas, of Shreveport, Louisiana, who attended the 2017 CSI camp. “As a result of the first camp, I came back wanting to learn more about fingerprinting. And this week, I did.”

For more information about the forensic chemistry program within the UM Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, visit http://chemistry.olemiss.edu/undergraduates/forensic-chemistry/.