Crowdfunding Campaign to Fund Literacy Program

Communication Sciences and Disorders' 'Ready to Read' fundraiser to benefit children

UM communication sciences and disorders graduate students Emily Reedy (in red), of Pontotoc, and Lauren Stantz (in blue), of Houston, practice reading skills with area youth in preparation for the upcoming Ready to Read Literacy Program. UM photo by Sarah Sapp

OXFORD, Miss. – The speech-language pathologists who operate the University of Mississippi’s Speech and Hearing Center are bringing their expertise to a communitywide literacy program designed to improve children’s reading skills before they reach third grade.

“We know that if kids aren’t reading on grade level by the time they get to the third grade, they are four times more likely not to graduate high school,” said Suzanne Ryals, Oxford School District early childhood reading development director.

Opportunities are limited for many first- and second-graders to continue advancing their reading skills over the summer, Ryals said. Faculty in the UM Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders, recognizing the deficit of programming geared toward this particular age range, have launched an initiative to fund a summer and after-school literacy program addressing the problem.

A 30-day Ignite Ole Miss crowdfunding campaign is being launched to provide financial resources for the “Ready to Read” program. Those interested in contributing to the campaign can choose from six levels of giving: $25 Sight Word Level; $50 Phonics Level; $75 Chapter Book Level; $100 Novel Level; $250 Graduate or $1,000 Ph.D. Level. Contributions to the campaign will directly benefit program participants by covering the costs of materials, books and scholarships.

The Ready to Read summer camp will serve rising second- and third-grade children and will operate for six weeks, June 4-July 27, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. daily.

“Before camp begins, the children will be scheduled for a reading diagnostic assessment, followed by a series of criteria-referenced assessments where the child’s skill level in five different areas – phonological awareness, phonetics, word attack skills, reading fluency and reading comprehension – will be identified,” said Brad Crowe, UM Speech and Hearing Center co-director and clinical instructor. From these assessments, each child will have a list of reading goals that will be taught during camp.”

Following the summer camp, the speech-language pathologists and graduate clinicians hope to provide an after-school reading program for children with reading disabilities.

“Since we can identify children at risk for reading disabilities with greater reliability than ever before, we would like to offer a preventive program for kindergarten and first-graders in the long term,” Crowe said.

One clinical faculty member will be present at all times to supervise up to four graduate students as they provide individualized and small-group instruction to the children, said Ann Michael, interim chair for CSD.

“First, the faculty member will observe the instruction and interact with the student and the child,” Michael said. “They will then meet with each graduate student to review each child’s achievement for the day and work with the graduate student to modify the child’s plan as needed for the next day.

“This process will ensure the children receive quality services and that the graduate student is pushed to develop critical thinking and research skills in order to transform the lives of others.”

Gloria Kellum, CSD professor emeritus and vice chancellor emeritus for university relations, explained the camp’s importance to UM graduate students studying to become speech-language pathologists.

“It has long been known, and the research is very clear that a child with any type of speech, language or hearing difference is going to have reading challenges, so speech-language pathologists need to be educated about that,” Kellum said. “Part of our program is to educate SLPs and audiologists on the necessary role of early speech and language intervention for children to be sure that they are hearing, speaking correctly and learning the language skills.”

“We have the skill set to work with children who have reading difficulties,” said Lisa Ivy, literacy program director, speech-language pathologist and clinical instructor with the Speech and Hearing Center. “We know that the sounds that we use to talk are the same sounds we match with letters when we are sounding out words, and that helps with reading.”

The camp is centered on themes, such as ocean animals, community helpers and insects. The camp clinicians also make time for science experiments, snacks, crafts and playground time.

“We will read books together and discuss vocabulary,” Ivy said. “The children will have breakout sessions where they work on their individual skills. Then we may read as a group.”

Kelle Sumrall, a seventh-grade science teacher at Lafayette Middle School, understands firsthand the critical importance of early literacy for future educational success. Her son Ben attended three weeks of literacy camp during last summer’s pilot program.

“As a teacher and a mother of someone who struggles with reading, I think the program does a wonderful job of attending to my child’s needs and helping him grow, build better self-esteem and be more successful,” Sumrall said.

“Ben loved the themes of the week. He was very excited about what he was going to take, what they were going to talk about and what they were going to do each day. That was one of the things that got him really excited about going.

“When SLPs are running this program, they have a better grasp of what to connect to the child, and they get to know the child personally. They realize their strengths and weaknesses, so that they can develop the program to better suit the needs of the child.”

For more information about giving to this campaign, visit Those who prefer to contribute by mail can do so by writing the program’s name in the check’s memo line and sending it to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

For more information about attending the literacy summer camp or after-school program, contact Ivy at or 662-915-7950.

Student Pharmacists Present Research at National Conference

Five UM students showcase their work at APhA annual meeting

The UM School of Pharmacy. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Five University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy students each presented their own research at the recent American Pharmacists Association annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

The students are Anna Crider, Erin Hoevelmann, Yiran Rong, Victoria Miller and Kelsey Raymer.

“This was an excellent opportunity for these students to share their work at a national level,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “To have five of our students presenting at the APhA annual meeting is a testament to our student body’s dedication to making a positive impact on patients and the profession.”

Crider, a second-year student from Brentwood, Tennessee, presented her analysis of whether pharmacists need more education regarding the treatment and care of children with ADHD. She plans to work as a clinical inpatient pharmacist after graduation and hopes that her research will improve the care of children with ADHD.

“Presenting at this conference helped to further my knowledge of opportunities within the profession,” Crider said.

A second-year student from St. Louis, Hoevelmann presented her survey results of pharmacists’ willingness to offer rapid diagnostic testing in the community pharmacy setting. She first presented this project in March 2017 as her thesis for the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

“I was very excited to be able to present this work to a national audience,” Hoevelmann said. “This my first experience with research, and it has offered me so many opportunities, even a year later.”

Pharmacy administration graduate student Yiran Rong presented a research poster that examined community pharmacists’ perceptions on implementing a weight management program in their practice settings.

“It was really helpful for me to practice explaining a study in a short amount of time,” Rong said. “I met pharmacists, faculty and researchers who shared their ideas about real-world practice from different angles, which were very valuable and illuminating.”

Second-year student Miller’s work identified a lack of medication knowledge among many incoming college students and how pharmacists can provide education about medicines and health management to that age group. The Hartselle, Alabama, native hopes to pursue a residency and a career in hospital pharmacy upon obtaining her Pharm.D.

“Presenting at the APhA annual meeting allowed me to network with other professionals and show them my passion for patient care,” Miller said. “Completing this project has helped me develop research skills, which will be extremely valuable in a residency program and in my future career.”

Raymer, a third-year student from Hendersonville, Tennessee, presented on the differences in how pharmacy managers and pharmacy staff members impact and manage their own work environments.

“I am absolutely honored that my research was chosen for a podium presentation at the APhA annual meeting,” Raymer said. “This presentation helped me to build connections with pharmacists who have similar interests and big ideas for the future of pharmacy.”

Crowdfunding Effort Aims to Offer Music as Medicine

Columns Society campaign focuses on pediatric health care

Batson Children’s Hospital School teacher Allyn Self works with patient Colin Henderson of Brandon. Photo courtesy UMMC

OXFORD, Miss. – Organizers of an online crowdfunding campaign want to supplement medicine with music for young patients being treated at Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Members of the Columns Society, a group of UM students who serve as the university’s official hosts and hostesses, have created an Ignite Ole Miss campaign, hoping to raise $1,400 to cover the cost of Rhythm Pax gifts for children undergoing treatment at Batson.

A Rhythm Pax is a canvas sack filled with age-appropriate percussion instruments and other music-related items. The proposed gifts include a kalimba, a thumb piano; sound shapes; rain sticks; bells; triangles; hand bells; a Blue Man Group/”Stomp” DVD; finger drum; an iTunes gift card; and more.

“The therapeutic benefits provided by music are endless and allow families to cope and be together while creating and enjoying the gift of music,” said Ingrid Valbuena Alcina, philanthropy chair of the Columns Society and a senior majoring in integrated marketing communications.

Though acknowledging the role of music in addressing illness is not new, recent research is illuminating how music affects the brain and other body systems in a measurable way. Using that knowledge, practitioners can now integrate music with medicine to augment healing.

Leading the research in this area is the Johns Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine in Baltimore.

“It’s fascinating and powerful to think that music, something that has been floating around in our environment forever – that this natural, omnipresent human activity has demonstrable benefit as treatment,” said Sara Hoover, the center’s co-director.

Batson Children’s Hospital is the only medical facility in Mississippi devoted exclusively to the care and treatment of sick and injured children and adolescents. The hospital averages 9,000 admissions a year and nearly 80,000 children are treated in its clinics and emergency room annually.

Patients come from all of Mississippi’s 82 counties to receive comprehensive medical care for everything from common childhood illnesses to serious trauma and life-threatening or chronic illnesses.

Batson Hospital provides care in more than 30 specialty areas, including newborn medicine, pediatric cardiology, neurology and surgery. It houses the state’s only pediatric intensive care unit and emergency department along with Mississippi’s only pediatric treatment programs for cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, congenital heart defects and more.

Ground has been broken on a $180 million new pediatrics tower adjacent to Batson Children’s Hospital, further expanding top-tier medical care for Mississippi’s youngest citizens.

To join the Columns Society’s effort to provide Rhythm Pax to hospitalized children, click here to visit the campaign’s Ignite Ole Miss page.

MPB’s ‘Conversations’ Features Chancellor Robert Khayat

Program premieres Sunday evening

Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat is the next guest on MPB’s ‘Conversations’ series. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat reflects on his life’s work and achievements for the next installment of “Conversations,” premiering at 5:30 p.m. Sunday (April 8) on Mississippi Public Broadcasting Television.

Host Marshall Ramsey, who interviewed Khayat for the segment, said he’s wanted to have the former chancellor on the program “for a long time.”

“I wanted to have him on not just because of his incredible career and what he’s done at Ole Miss, but because of the difference he’s made for the entire state,” Ramsey said. “He made amazing contributions to making life better for people all across Mississippi.”

“Conversations,” a regular program on MPB dating back to the 1970s, features interviews with a variety of notables, including politicians, athletes, entertainers, inventors and business leaders. Khayat stands out among the people featured on the show because of his natural leadership style, said Ramsey, who took over as host three years ago.

“He definitely does leadership just by walking around,” he said. “Chancellor Khayat once told me that when he’s out for a walk, if he sees a piece of trash, he has to pick it up and throw it away because that’s the example he wants to give others. That’s real leadership.”

Encore presentations of the episode are set for 10 p.m. Thursday (April 12) and 11:30 p.m. April 15 on MPB stations. The show also can be streamed after the premiere at

Dual-Campus Research Day Fosters Collaborative Science

Researchers from Oxford and Jackson share ideas, results

Caroline Canarios of the Center for Population Studies talks with Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter (left) and Josh Gladden, UM vice chancellor for research, about the ‘Right! from the Start’ breastfeeding program, which includes investigators from the Oxford and Medical Center campuses. UMMC Public Affairs photo

JACKSON, Miss. – Members of the Jackson and Oxford research communities gathered April 4 for the fourth annual UM/UMMC Research Day in the Norman C. Nelson Student Union at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Research Day, held in alternating years at University of Mississippi’s Oxford and Medical Center campuses, is an opportunity for members of the university community to learn more about the scientific and scholarly research being conducted on both campuses. More than 150 attendees learned about the work of more than 80 faculty, administrators and trainees, ranging from artificial neural networks to health in Zambia.

“Research is the glue that holds our university’s missions together,” said Dr. Richard Summers, UMMC associate vice chancellor for research. Without the new knowledge generated by research, advances in education, health care and service would stall.

“The future is in our hands,” Summers said.

“I cannot overstate my confidence that we, as an institution, will continue to grow,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.

The day’s presentations took the form of three-minute lectures, poster sessions and keynote addresses. Some presenters discussed their resources and results, inviting new partners to join in their work.

“How can we more actively treat patients, as opposed to seeing them in a doctor’s office every three to six months?” asked Kourtland Adams, nurse manager for the UMMC Center of Telehealth. His lecture discussed the potential of remote patient monitoring for managing chronic health conditions.

After providing patients in Sunflower County with digital monitors for daily check-ins, Telehealth’s diabetes project observed a decreased HbA1c after three months, he said.

Others arrived at Research Day with explicit requests for help.

“I came here looking for a medical physicist, and my presentation happens to follow one,” said Dwight Waddell, UM associate professor of electrical engineering.

Jeremiah Blough (left), a graduate student in the School of Applied Sciences, discusses his research with Jeremiah Reese, a first-year medical student, during a poster session. UMMC Public Affairs photo

Waddell, director of the new undergraduate biomedical engineering program, shared his “first-world” problem: lots of qualified students, but not enough research opportunities for them in Oxford alone. What better place to find potential mentors than the Medical Center, he said.

This year’s Research Day also included a forum on the Flagship Constellations, an initiative formalized in November 2017 to cluster research teams around broad challenges. Co-leaders from the Big Data, Brain Wellness, Community Wellbeing and Disaster Resilience constellations updated attendees on plans for cross-disciplinary work.

Nowadays, research requires this kind of collaborative approach. The image of a solo scientist bent over a lab bench is faded and outdated.

“One thing we have learned about research is that no man or woman is an island,” Summers said. “We need to leverage our strengths to make progress.”

“There’s no more low-hanging fruit in research,” said Josh Gladden, UM vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. “We are now looking at complex, multidimensional problems that require a multidisciplinary approach.”

Gladden illustrated the importance of forums such as Research Day with a story about a meeting between UMMC clinicians and Ole Miss acoustic researchers that occurred a few years ago. He saw an engineer and a neurosurgeon “huddled at a table drawing on a napkin,” he said, sketching out an idea for a device.

That kind of informal brainstorming can be the start of great ideas and partnerships, he said. With that, he encouraged Research Day attendees to find their own tables.

“We have plenty of napkins,” he said.

Pharmacy Graduate Student Wins Scholarship for Alzheimer’s Research

Award allows Purnendu Sharma to present results to experts in the field

Purnendu Sharma (left), a UM graduate student in pharmaceutics, discusses his research with S. Narasimha Murthy, his adviser. UM photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. – Purnendu Sharma, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, received an Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation Young Investigator Scholarship for his research on the natural product resiniferatoxin, or RTX.

Sharma’s project, titled “Effect of Resiniferatoxin, a TrpV1 Receptor Agonist on Neuronal Cells and evaluating it In vitro Neurotrophic Activity for Neurodegenerative Disorders,” showed the potential of RTX to help in the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

ADDF is one of the most prominent nonprofit organizations in the world that provides funding to scientists conducting innovative Alzheimer’s disease drug research. The scholarship allowed Sharma, originally from Hyderabad, India, to attend ADDF’s 12th annual Drug Discovery for Neurodegeneration Conference in Washington, D.C., in February and present his research poster.

“This award is a great recognition,” Sharma said. “Being able to present to and interact with experts on this subject and receive feedback will have a great impact on this research and my career.”

Sharma works under the supervision of S. Narasimha Murthy, professor of pharmaceutics in the School of Pharmacy. He also had collaborative support from Babu L. Tekwani, principal scientist in the National Center for Natural Products Research, as RTX is a chemical found in a cactus-like plant in Morocco and Nigeria.

“Purnendu is a highly-focused and hard-working student,” Murthy said. “He was very deserving of this award for his novel findings on neurotrophic activity of nanoformulations of resiniferatoxin. I am confident that Purnendu will have a successful career as a pharmaceutical scientist.”

Sharma’s work on other projects, including evaluating the microstructure of topical creams, has been recognized by the FDA and American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, Murthy added.

Alumni Association Names New Board Additions

Members serve three-year terms that expire at Homecoming

The Ole Miss Alumni Association welcomes 16 new board members. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Alumni Association has named new members of its board of directors. One-third of the board is appointed each year by the association president and serves a three-year term.

New members are: LaToya Green (BBA 02) of Seattle; Ravonda L. Griffin (BAccy 01, MEd 05, JD 12) of Olive Branch; Tiffany Cox Hawkins (BBA 99) of Canton; Lawrence B. Johnson Jr. (BBA 79) of Madison; Stephen D. Johnston (BA 93) of Jackson; Mary Catherine McClinton (BA 11) of New Albany; Lt. Col. Sheldon Morris (BBA 00) of Fort Benning, Georgia; Linda Moore Newell (BAEd 77) of Greenwood; Abb Payne (BBA 98) of Hattiesburg; Forrest C. Phillips Jr. (BBA 82) of Hattiesburg; Bill Reed (BA 72, JD 77) of Jackson; Woody Sample (BBA 79, MURP 72) of Oxford; Ivory Shelby (BS 78, MURP 80) of Laurel; Jody Varner (BAccy 85, MAccy 86, JD 88) of Jackson; Bruce Ware (BBA 99) of Dallas; and Jill Waycaster West (BA 06) of Tupelo.

“We are very fortunate to have these individuals as board members,” said Bobby Bailess (BBA 73, JD 76), Alumni Association president. “They have already contributed invaluable advice and insight, both individually and collectively. They are proven sources of energy and wisdom.”

The new members are set to participate in their first board meeting Friday (April 6) at the Triplett Alumni Center.

Green recently relocated to Seattle with Amazon Consumer Retail. She serves as the global leader of performance for retail systems. She previously was director of technology for Walmart Point of Sale and Payments in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Griffin is a partner at Perry Griffin PC in Southaven. She serves as the city attorney and prosecutor for the town of Como.

Hawkins recently relocated to Madison, where she was promoted to regional vice president for FCCI Insurance Group’s Gulf Coast Region. She is immediate past chair of the Ole Miss Insurance Advisory Board and past president of the Ole Miss RMI Society.

Johnson is the energy efficiency manager for 45 counties and public affairs executive for Entergy Mississippi Inc. He also serves as a lobbyist for the Mississippi Legislature.

Johnston is CEO of Global Development Group, a strategic advisory firm headquartered in Jackson. He is also the producer of “Same Kind of Different as Me,” a feature film released in October 2017 by Paramount Pictures.

McClinton is pursuing a second degree from Ole Miss in elementary education and serves as the Union County Alumni Club president.

Morris recently assumed command of 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia. He previously served as the director of strategic communication for the U.S. Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Newell is a former communications and public relations officer. She serves as a member of the UM Education Alumni Board.

Payne is CEO and president of Camellia Home Health and Hospice. He is also a founder of InfusionPlus and is the chairman of the Area Development Partnership for the Hattiesburg Chamber of Commerce.

Phillips is a sales representative for the Robert Allen Duralee Fabric Group.

Reed is a shareholder in the law firm Baker Donelson and served as president and COO of the firm from 1998 to 2005.

Sample is a real estate agent for Sample and Poole Properties LLC in Oxford. He previously was founder and owner for 32 years of Sample and Associates, a consulting firm in Jackson.

Shelby is a resource development specialist for the Laurel Housing Authority. She previously served as the executive director for Community Connections Inc. in Hattiesburg and as the deputy chief administrative officer and director of housing and community development for the city of Jackson.

Varner is an attorney with Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes PLLC in Jackson, where he practices tax law.

A native of Newton, Ware is a corporate vice president with DaVita Inc., a Fortune 500 health care company. He also serves as an advisory board member for the UM McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement.

West serves as an adviser for WestGroup, an owner-operator in the garment and textile manufacturing sector. She previously served as a regional development officer for the university.

Terms of the new members expire at Homecoming 2020.

Isom Center Hosts 18th Annual Gender Conference

Interdisciplinary sessions explore how gender, race and socioeconomic status intersect

OXFORD, Miss. – The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies hosts the 18th annual Isom Student Gender Conference, with a theme of “Liberty and Justice for All,” this week at the University of Mississippi.

The interdisciplinary conference, which explores the way gender, race and socioeconomic status intersect, was the first on campus to feature undergraduate research.

“Each year it’s gotten bigger and better and that’s exciting to see,” said Theresa Starkey, the center’s associate director. “It a good chance for students to hear their peers and learn about their research and writing interests. It’s a vibrant place for interdisciplinary work.”

Here is a full schedule of events:

Wednesday (April 4)

Feminist and Queer Methods in the World – 2 p.m., The Inn at Ole Miss. Graduate students in English and Southern studies discuss their research in a panel discussion, moderated by Jaime Harker, Isom Center director.

East Asia Study Abroad: Case Studies of Conflicts with Cultural Identities and the American Dream – 3:15 p.m., The Inn at Ole Miss. Modern language graduate students discuss the topic on a panel, moderated by Minjoo Oh, associate professor of sociology.

Memory, History and Symbols – 4:30 p.m., The Inn at Ole Miss. Undergraduate and graduate students from Ole Miss and Millsaps College discuss their research on a panel moderated by Amy McDowell, assistant professor of sociology.

Intersectionality and Institutionalization – 6 p.m., The Inn at Ole Miss. The keynote address about gender, social race, socioeconomic status and experiences of health and disease in the Mississippi State Asylum in Jackson will be delivered by Molly Zuckerman, associate professor of anthropology and Middle Eastern culture at Mississippi State University.

Thursday (April 5)

Creative Writing Panel – 8 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. Undergraduate students will discuss their creative work, led by moderator Melissa Ginsburg, assistant professor of English and creative writing.

Feminism and Affect – 9:15 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. Undergraduate students in theater, English, gender studies and anthropology from UM, Millsaps and Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania will discuss their research, moderated by Jaime Hovey, adjunct instructor in gender studies.

Pop Culture Panel – 10:30 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM and Millsaps undergraduates will discuss gender in pop culture, moderated by Starkey.

Space, Objects and Surveillance: Mapping Queer Desire in Southern Gothic Fiction – 11:30 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM English graduate students will discuss queer representation in Southern literature, moderated by Harker.

Provocative Porter, Wild Welty: Dignity Visibility and Body Politics – 1 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. English graduate students will discuss the topic, moderated by Annette Trefzer, associate professor of English.

Creative Writing Panel, 2:15 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. English professor Beth Ann Fennelly will moderate a panel of undergraduate English students joined by LaToya Faulk, instructor in writing and rhetoric.

Toni Morrison’s “Sula” and “The Bluest Eye”: Fresh Readings from Generation Z – 3:30 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. Millsaps undergraduate students will discuss Toni Morrison’s work, moderated by Millsaps English professor Anne MacMaster.

Cross-Talk between the Sciences and Humanities: The Case of Human Emotions – 6 p.m., Farley Hall, Room 202. The keynote address will be delivered by Laura Otis, professor of English at Emory University.

Friday (April 6)

Literary Panel – 8 a.m. Oxford-University Depot. Millsaps professors will be joined by a UM English graduate student to discuss gender in literature.

Fear and Phobias: The Intersection of Evolutionary Adaptation and Socially Constructed Fear – 9:15 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. Undergraduate students from Champlain College in Vermont will discuss their research in a panel discussion, moderated by Leslie Delassus, UM adjunct instructor of gender studies.

Sexual Assault: A Discussion – 10:30 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM undergraduate psychology students will be joined by a criminal justice graduate student and UM alumna to discuss the topic, moderated by Carrie Smith, instructional associate professor of psychology.

Creative Writing Panel – 11:45 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. Millsaps and UM professors will discuss gender in literature.

Cultural Narratives and Gendered and Raced Methodologies – 1 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM graduate students will discuss their research related to the topic, moderated by instructional assistant professor of gender studies Elizabeth Venell.

Re-presenting Slavery: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Black Cinema – 2:15 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM undergraduate students will discuss the topic, moderated by Delassus.

Queering and Feministing the Archive – 3:30 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM English graduate students will discuss their research, moderated by Jessie Wilkerson, assistant professor of history and Southern studies.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

UM Departments Collaborate to Host ‘Radical South’ Series

Events include lectures, discussions, film screening and more

OXFORD, Miss. – The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi is hosting “The Radical South,” a conversation series this month that explores the complexity of Southern history and identity.

The Isom Center, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement are sponsoring nearly a dozen events, including lectures, debates, screenings and roundtables to expand the community’s understanding about narratives of the South and Southern identity.

“It’s distinctive that the University of Mississippi has brought this emotional conversation to campus so we can have discussions that aren’t reductive,” said Jaime Harker, Isom Center director. “Through this interdisciplinary collaboration, we can contribute as a university to historical depth and knowledge by using actual facts to find out the bigger context. We can all learn from it.”

Here is a full schedule of events:

Tuesday (April 3): The Great Debate: “Should the Standard of Sexual Consent be an Affirmative Verbal Yes?” – 5:30 p.m., Bryant Hall, Room 209. Deborah Mower, associate professor of philosophy, and her students wll moderate a debate about sexual consent, followed by a reception in the Bryant Hall rotunda.

Wednesday (April 4): “New Orleans and the New Southern Food Movement” – Noon, Tupelo Room, Barnard Oberservatory. Catarina Passidomo, assistant professor of Southern studies and anthropology, will speak about her research interests of social justice, food systems, critical race studies and social movement at a brown bag lunch.

April 9: Invisible Histories Project – 4 p.m., Tupelo Room, Barnard Observatory. Josh Burford, from the Invisible Histories Project in Alabama, will discuss the importance of LGBTQ archives.

April 10: Visiting Documentarian Series – 5:30 p.m., Tupelo Room, Barnard Observatory. Documentarians Emily Yellin and Darius William will talk about their project “Striking Voices,” a multimedia journalism project about the 1968 Memphis sanitation strikers and their families.

April 11: “‘Cautious but Solid Character’: Southern Feminists and the State” – Noon, Tupelo Room, Barnard Observatory. Historian Jennifer Gunter discusses the interactions between feminists and the state from 1966 to 1985 at a brown bag lunch.

April 13: The Future of Labor – 10 a.m., Overby Auditorium. Civil rights era Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leader Bob Zellner, United Automobile Workers-Nissan campaign veteran Richard Bensinger and Rose Turner, who organized the Delta catfish workers in the 1990s, will discuss labor issues and the social movement involved.

April 18: Saving Slave Houses – Noon, Tupelo Room, Barnard Observatory. Preservationist Jobie Hill will discuss her research examining slave dwellings and the influence those dwellings had on inhabitants, as well as the importance of preserving slave history.

Mississippi Bicentennial: Emergent Voices, Our Next Chapter of History – 4 p.m., Lamar Hall, Room 404. Blue Magnolia Films spoke with more than 100 diverse community leaders around Mississippi between ages 14 and 91. The Isom Center is hosting a screening of the resulting film, “Celebrating Storytellers,” followed by an interactive discussion with project participants.

April 25: Queer Mississippi: Oral History Presentations and Exhibit – 7 p.m., Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center. Students from a Southern studies course will share their work that documents local queer histories in the form of film, poetry and performance.

April 26: Ideas on Tap: What Do We Commemorate and Why? – 5:30 p.m., Proud Larry’s. In this partnership with the Mississippi Humanities Council, a panel discussion featuring Chuck Ross, UM director of African American studies; Anne Twitty, associate professor of history; Alysia Steele, assistant professor of multiple platform journalism; Cindy Gardner, administrator of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and moderated by Graham Bodie, visiting professor of journalism instruction, will explore how society decides which events and people to commemorate, why we do it and the purpose and implications.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

UMMC Distinguished Professor Earns SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Jane Reckelhoff honored for teaching and research

Jane Reckelhoff

JACKSON, Miss. – Jane Reckelhoff, Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor and chair of cell and molecular biology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, is the 2018 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award winner for the university.

“I am truly honored to receive this recognition and am humbled to be a part of this distinguished group of scholars,” Reckelhoff said. “I extend my gratitude to those who nominated me for this distinction.”

To be eligible for the SEC Faculty Achievement Award, an individual must hold the rank of full professor at an SEC university. They must also have an extraordinary teaching record and be a nationally or internationally-recognized scholar in their field.

A graduate of the Medical College of Virginia with a Ph.D. in biochemistry, Reckelhoff joined the Medical Center in 1991 as an assistant professor of physiology and biophysics. She rose to the rank of full professor before becoming chair of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology in 2017.

Reckelhoff researches sex- and gender-based differences in blood pressure control and kidney function, as well as the mechanisms responsible for postmenopausal hypertension. Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1998.

She is co-principal investigator on a multi-institutional award to study hypertension in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. She also serves as principal investigator on a National Institute for General Medical Sciences grant to study perinatal health and disease.

Reckelhoff is dedicated to training the next generation of biomedical scientists, mentoring students ranging from high schoolers to postdoctoral fellows. Many of her former trainees have gone on to become faculty members at universities in several countries.

Reckelhoff is director of the Women’s Health Research Center and director of the Mississippi Center for Excellence in Perinatal Research at UMMC. She also served as president of the American Physiological Society in 2016.

“Dr. Reckelhoff is a distinguished scientist and teacher widely respected by her peers and loved by her students,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “These qualities and her outstanding leadership on our campus and in the broader scientific community make her exceptionally deserving of this honor.”

“Dr. Jane Reckelhoff helps define excellence at the University of Mississippi and we are so pleased she is being recognized and honored as an SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “This recognition is a testament to her outstanding contributions as an award-winning researcher, respected academic leader, nationally-recognized health advocate and an empowering mentor.” 

Selected by a committee of SEC provosts, the Faculty Achievement Awards are part of SECU. This academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students at its 14 member universities.

SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners receive a $5,000 honorarium from the conference and become his or her university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award. The SEC Professor of the Year, to be named in April, receives an additional $15,000 honorarium and recognition at the SEC Awards Dinner.

Reckelhoff is the third UMMC faculty member to win the Faculty Achievement Award for the university.

Dr. John Hall, Arthur C. Guyton Professor and Chair of physiology and biophysics, received the honor in 2014 and was later named SEC Professor of the Year. Dr. Joey Granger, professor of physiology and biophysics and dean of the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, received the honor in 2016.