Gazel Giles Takes on Community Enrichment Position with UM

Oxford native looking forward to organizing inspiring programs and continuing education opportunities

Gazel Giles

OXFORD, Miss. – After graduating from Lafayette High School in 2002, Gazel Giles had a dream of helping others. She wanted to go into nursing, but family responsibilities and the need to work 40 hours a week left little time to attend college, so she trained for a position as a dialysis technician.

“I enjoyed working with patients,” Giles said. “Knowing that I was making a difference in their lives made it enjoyable to come to work.”

Giles took courses at Northwest Community College in Oxford part time when she could, and in 2011 she was ready to pursue her dream of a bachelor’s degree. She enrolled at the University of Mississippi to begin classes in the psychology program.

“I was thinking of working as a counselor or case manager,” Giles said. “I felt like I was called to continue making a difference in others’ lives.”

After graduation, Giles needed to stay in Oxford, as she was raising her children. She took a position in the Rebel Reserve temporary clerical pool and began serving as a secretary in the Ole Miss Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and later in the university’s Facilities Planning Office.

A full-time position became available in the facilities planning office, and Giles landed the job. As a receptionist there, Giles learned more about the SAP data management system, billing, organizing projects, and working with architects and contracts.

“I really enjoyed learning new things and meeting new people,” she said. “It was a great experience for me.”

In 2014, Giles joined the UM Staff Council to represent her department. Two years later, she was elected by her peers to serve as the president of the staff council for that year.

“I saw this as a way to represent my fellow staff members and help solve problems in a positive way,” Giles said. “I wanted to make a difference. This position taught me so much about working with university and community leaders.”

During this time, Giles continued her education by taking classes toward a master’s degree in higher education. She graduated in May.

This spring, Giles applied and was chosen for a position in the UM Division of Outreach as a coordinator of continuing education programs.

“I felt I could be a strong example of the benefits of continuing your education,” Giles said. “I took classes when I could, raised my family, stopped classes, worked and started classes again.

“I had a dream and just pursued it when the opportunity came along. I’m grateful that I had those opportunities.”

In her new position, Giles works with UM’s noncredit, professional development and lifelong learning programs. She will coordinate the Communiversity short-term, noncredit classes that support community members who want to learn new skills. These programs are open to anyone in the community, including retirees, Ole Miss students, and family members of all ages.

Giles’ outgoing personality and experience in event planning will be factors that will contribute to her success in this position, said Mary Leach, director of UM’s Office of Professional Development and Lifelong Learning.

“She has outstanding customer service skills,” Leach said. “She’s willing to go the extra mile in getting the job done.

“I think her experience as president of the staff council will add to our department’s mission by fostering relationships on and off campus that will help us provide quality programs to those that we serve.”

In a recent ballroom dance class offered by Communiversity, Giles said she was able to witness firsthand how this program is enriching other’s lives.

“I watched one participant who was nervous and unsure of himself as the class began, but by the end of the session he was smiling and happy. He was able to spin his wife around the dance floor with confidence.

“When I saw that, I knew for sure that this program was something I wanted to be a part of.”

For more information about the Communiversity program, visit http://outreach.olemiss.edu/communiversity/.

UM Multidisciplinary Degree Adds New Counselor

Audra Trnovec helping students navigate career path in new position

Audra Trnovec , new academic counselor in the UM Bachelor of General Studies program, works with Serenity Jones, a student in the program, on her schedule. UM photo by Larry Agostinelli

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – When she first started college, Audra Trnovec thought she wanted to be a cruise director like Julie McCoy on the ’70s television show “The Love Boat.” Although her career journey never took her out to sea, Trnovec’s path has had a few twists and turns.

The new academic counselor in the University of Mississippi’s expanding Bachelor of General Studies program, Trnovec ran outdoor adventure programs with two different universities for more than 20 years before making a change that would allow her to continue guiding students into unknown territory. The difference is that this journey winds up at their future careers.

“I like a challenge,” Trnovec said. “I guess that’s why I like my job. It’s similar to leading people in a ropes course. I’m helping students navigate academic and career decisions.

“It’s very rewarding when I get to see a student excited about completing their educational journey.”

Originally from northern Illinois, Trnovec attended Iowa State University to pursue a degree in recreation management.

“I found out that cruise directors had to work 18-hour days, so I changed my mind about that particular career goal,” she said.

Crediting her academic adviser for steering her in the right direction in her career and later suggesting graduate school studies, Trnovec said that she respected her adviser for asking her the tough questions.

“I had to really think about what I wanted to do with my life and analyze my skills,” Trnovec said. “I think having the opportunity to work in my field of study as a student also helped me to investigate opportunities and gain even more knowledge about the profession.”

It was her adviser who first mentioned the possibility of part-time work in the college’s recreation program. She took the job and worked as a student assistant in the program for the next three years.

“I was learning how to lead trips and handle equipment,” Trnovec said. “It really was the best job on campus for a student, and it helped me decide to pursue a career in student outdoor recreation.”

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Trnovec stayed on at Iowa State to complete a master’s degree in higher education and student development. Shortly after, she was offered a full-time position as the coordinator of outdoor recreation programs.

Part of Trnovec’s position included mentoring and guiding students through the undergraduate program, just as her mentor had done for her.

Audra Trnovec

“I wanted to help students prepare for their futures,” she said. “We worked on resumes, interview preparing, and training for not only our outdoor programs, but life.”

In 2001 Trnovec became the assistant director of outdoor recreation at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she oversaw the Seahawk Adventure program and helped facilitate travel programs, surfing workshops and fly fishing lessons.

After getting married, her next move was to Indiana State University, where she took a position in the college’s career center as a liaison for the College of Health and Human Services.

“This position allowed me to help students find ways to infuse career and life skills together,” Trnovec said. “I worked with faculty to help add professional and career services into their classes while we worked to help students after graduation.”

The next leg of her journey brought her to north Mississippi, when her husband, Bud Edwards, came to serve as the director of the UM Counseling Center.

“He went to Ole Miss and wanted to return home and help his community,” Trnovec said.

Upon coming to Oxford, Trnovec interviewed for a position as an academic adviser in UM’s Center for Student Success. She also began teaching the EDHE 105: Freshmen Year Experience course.

“This was a neat experience because along with teaching study skills and life management, there was a lot to learn about the campus and the university as part of this class,” she said. “As someone who was new to Ole Miss myself, I told my students that we were going to learn about all of this together.”

In the Center for Student Success, Trnovec worked with students who had yet to declare a major.

“This took a lot of guidance and working with the students,” she said. “I worked to help them find the right fit for their academic and personal goals.”

In March, another challenge came her way when Trnovec landed her new position with the Bachelor of General Studies program.

“I like the creativity of this degree program,” she said. “Our BGS students get to put together their varied interests and career goals in order to make a degree as unique as they are. I really believe in the viability of this major, and I love to help students plan their own career paths while earning this degree.”

With the addition of Trnovec, the BGS advising office has a great team assembled to guide students in their educational journey, said Terry Blackmarr, assistant to the dean in the Office of General Studies.

“Audra really complements and understands the nature of this program and the goals of our students,” Blackmarr said. “Her background in career services is bringing experience that helps our students throughout their career journey.”

When she is not working with students, Trnovec is a student herself, working on a doctorate in higher education at Ole Miss.

“My hobby is school,” she said. “I love learning and growing in my skills. I feel like I am right where I’m supposed to be.”

UM High School Offers Expanding Opportunities for Earning Diplomas

Program celebrates 2017 graduates, partners with local community resource

The University of Mississippi High School honored its 2017 diploma-route students during the annual graduation ceremony held May 20 on the UM campus. Students on hand for the ceremony are (from left) Jordan Taylor and Sydney Bishop, both of Columbus, Jamie McGee of Birmingham, Alabama, and Jacob Wilkerson of Greenville. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – High school students hailing from cities across Mississippi, various states and even a few foreign countries are taking advantage of the University of Mississippi’s online program to complete high school courses with the UM High School.

During the 2016-17 academic year, UMHS staff oversaw continuing efforts to provide academic excellence and continued outreach for students who want to earn their high school degrees in a nontraditional way.

“We aim to meet our students where they are,” said Ellen Shelton, director of UM pre-college programs. “We work to provide the highest quality education for students for whom the traditional classroom doesn’t work.”

A new partnership emerged this year between UMHS and the Oxford-based Stonewater Adolescent Addiction Recovery Center.

“We needed a nationally accredited program to provide our students with courses that not only keep them from falling behind on their studies, but also allow them to excel,” said Daniel Farmer, the center’s academic adviser.

“Choosing an online program such as the UMHS, which is ranked among the top 25 online high school diploma programs in the country, aligned with our goals because we at Stonewater strive to be one of the best treatment facilities serving adolescents.”

The program saw about six students from Stonewater enroll in classes during the first semester of the partnership, said Thomas Herrington, UMHS coordinator.

“The Stonewater coordinators wanted a way for students to keep on track for graduation while they were focusing on recovery,” Herrington said. “I feel like this was a strong partnership because we offer an accredited, flexible program for their patients. We have teachers and faculty who care and are very accessible to students.”

More than 280 students are enrolled in the UM High School. These students have chosen the program to complete high school courses online due to illness, moving, family military enlistments or any number of situations, Shelton said.

The program’s goal is to help students learn in the best way possible so that they can go on to be successful, she said.

“The program continues to meet the growing need for options that help students complete individual high school courses that fill in the gap for schools that may not have a particular class that the student is interested in,” Shelton said. “We also have students who enroll in a full slate of UMHS classes in order to earn their high school diploma.”

The diploma-route students were honored May 20 on the Ole Miss campus during the annual graduation celebration event.

Eight students who were enrolled full-time in the program earned their diplomas in 2017 and are heading to college and work opportunities. Four of those eight were able to attend the ceremony with their families.

During the event, Joseph Landry Smith was honored with this year’s M. Lynne Murchison Academic Achievement Award in the 2017 graduating class.

“I felt that the UM High School was a great opportunity for me to explore my maximum potential, even with a busy schedule,” Smith said. “Not only was exploration an option, but I was allowed to progress in a fast, efficient manner.”

Smith plans to enroll at the University of Southern Mississippi this fall to pursue his goal of becoming a neuropsychologist.

Graduate Jamie McGee of Birmingham, Alabama, was chosen by the faculty as the graduation speaker for the event.

“After moving to another state, I needed a new schooling option, and UMHS was the best thing for me,” said McGee, who plans to enroll at Troy University this fall majoring in psychology.

Rebecca Cantrell of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, said that the faculty members were a big part of the reason she excelled in the program.

“They challenged me, and it made me dig deeper to see what I was capable of accomplishing,” she said.

Cantrell will enroll at Southeast Missouri State University in the fall.

The UMHS program enrolls students anytime throughout the year and offers more than 50 online courses for high school credit. For more information, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/umhs.

UM-Tupelo Students Hit Top 10 in Bloomberg Stock Trading Challenge

Class project yields solid investing experience for group

Finance students at the UM-Tupelo campus placed in the top 10 among 265 teams from colleges around the country in the Bloomberg Business Stock Trading Challenge. The winning team includes (from left) Daniel Patterson, Zack Marcinek, faculty adviser Ivonne Liebenberg, Candy McDonald and Heather Couture. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – Managerial finance students at the University of Mississippi at Tupelo regional campus have been busy this spring managing a $10 million investment for the Bloomberg Business Corp.

Although the money existed only in theory, the students who participated in the 2017 Bloomberg Trading Challenge gained a real-world knowledge of financial trading principles that helped them bridge classroom theory with actual stock marketing trading.

“I had never participated in anything like this before,” said Zack Marcinek, a senior at UM-Tupelo from Corinth. “I enjoyed it so much that I’ve switched my career goals a bit from wanting to be a financial adviser specifically for individuals to now being more interested in becoming a corporate financial analyst for a larger corporation.”

Ivonne Liebenberg, UM instructional assistant professor of finance, said that when Bloomberg representatives reached out to her in fall 2016 about participating in their new collegiate stock market competition, she jumped at the opportunity for her students to garner investing experience.

“I knew this would be an exciting, interactive way for students to apply what they were learning in class,” she said. “They had the opportunity to learn more about how the stock market works, handling orders, learning about transaction costs and analyzing the outcomes.”

The Tupelo students named their trading team “I. Liebenberg & Co.” in honor of their instructor. Team members included Heather Couture of Mooreville, Zack Marcinek of Corinth, Candy McDonald of Guntown, Daniel Patterson of Pontotoc and Katie Watson of Shannon.

“We started out letting the students pitch their stock ideas,” Liebenberg said. “They had to give me a good reason to add their stock pick to the portfolio. Once we made our decisions, the students began analyzing and following their investments.”

To diversify their portfolio, each student focused on different stock areas to create a balanced investment. Marcinek said he focused on technology stocks and ultimately recommended Netflix and Adobe Connect.

“Both companies are tried-and-true,” Marcinek said. “Most of my friends use Netflix. It seems to be cannibalizing regular television.

“The university uses Adobe Connect in several of my classes. I think it’s only going to progress.”

Both his stock picks recorded gains during the competition.

The trading challenge introduced students to Bloomberg’s Stock Terminal, which is used to define market assumptions, develop a return-generating strategy and execute trades over a closed network.

“It was interesting seeing all of the tools that were part of the trading terminal and how they helped you assess your trades,” Marcinek said. “It wasn’t too complicated and coached us through.”

The competition continued for eight weeks, with students having opportunities to buy and sell stocks throughout that timeframe. The teams that generated the highest return and presented the best investment methodology at the end of the challenge were named among the top 10 finalists.

“We decided to go invest Warren Buffett-style, that is, to buy and hold,” Marcinek said. “We thought by diversifying well and staying patient, our strategy would pay off.”

The students had to keep a close eye on their stocks, but Liebenberg said she felt that trading too much might not garner the greatest return in the competition’s short eight-week timeframe.

In mid-April, Bloomberg representatives informed Liebenberg that the team was came in ninth among the 265 competing teams from 81 colleges around the country.

“I’m very proud of the students’ work, especially since this was their first time competing,” Liebenberg said. “I think they learned a great deal and came up with solid strategies to guide their trading.”

Street Awarded UM Online Teaching Award

Journalism instructor honored for innovation in online instruction

The Ole Miss Online office recently announced that Robin Street, center, is this year’s winner of the annual Paragon Award for Excellence in Distance Learning. Blair McElroy, left, UM director of study abroad and adjunct instructor in the legal studies department, and Jason Solinger, associate professor of English, were named as runners-up. UM photo by Pam Starling

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – Adjusting to the ever-changing world of public relations has been a constant in Robin Street’s career. Although she has taught at the University of Mississippi for more than 25 years, the courses she teaches and her teaching style are parts of that continual evolution.

Her efforts were recognized this month when she was awarded the eighth annual UM Paragon Award for Excellence in Distance Teaching.

“In some classes, such as history or math, the materials taught pretty much remain the same each semester,” Street said. “But this class looks at current public relations cases and situations. You never know when a situation will occur that creates a public relations nightmare for an organization.”

Last year, Street, a senior lecturer in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, worked to translate her Journalism 492: Public Relations Case Problems course into an online format. She credits her success in creating this course to looking at online course creation in a different way.

“I once attended a workshop on good writing called ‘Think Like a Fish,'” Street said. “The speaker, a renowned writing coach, explained the title. Her father was an excellent fisherman. When asked what his secret was, he replied, ‘I think like a fish.’

“In designing the online JOUR 492 class, I decided to think like a student. Today’s students have short attention spans and are very visual. They do not read lengthy documents, but prefer to skim instead. I thought about what would attract their attention in the class and filled the online class with folders, icons, charts, to-do lists and other visual reminders of what to do next.”

Each year, the UM Office of Online Design and eLearning recognizes a UM faculty member who has excelled in online teaching through the annual Paragon Award. The nominee must exhibit good practice in course design and innovative use of technologies. Nominees’ efforts are acknowledged for engaging students as well as their commitment to providing students with a quality education.

“While I expect that there will always be a need for an on-campus educational experience, the digital-immersive, online learning environment is growing and evolving,” said Noel Wilkin, UM acting provost, during the Paragon Award presentation April 7 in the Lyceum.

“In that realm, design and innovation enhance the educational experience. It is inspiring to see our faculty members dedicate considerable effort to innovate on this evolving platform.”

When asked about developing a successful online class, Street said that organization is key.

“The layout of the class was easy to follow and keep up with,” said Kailee Wilson, a December graduate from Allen, Texas. “The lesson folders were so convenient.

“We had everything for that week laid out so there was no reason or excuse for not knowing what to do. I especially loved the to-do lists that were posted each week.”

Street created a private Facebook page account where students were required to take part in weekly discussions about the class topics.

“I chose to use Facebook because the students were already comfortable with this medium,” Street said. “They were able to see photos and learn about each other from the very first post where they introduced themselves.

“They also responded and reacted to each other’s posts. Student comments about that experience were very positive.”

YouTube and other popular social sites also were used to give students a greater grasp on current PR situations and campaigns to discuss what strategies might be best for a PR professional in certain situations.

“Students are not just reading a text and listening to a lecture, but observing public relations at work,” Street said. “They can watch PR events take place in real time while visiting the sites of the organization being studied.

“Students are asked to watch videos to learn not just theory from the text, but realities of public relations practice and careers today.”

Sydney Rubin, a senior marketing and corporate relations major from Raleigh, North Carolina, said her favorite part of the class was creating PR plans.

“I am currently applying for jobs in public relations and companies are asking me for writing samples, “Rubin said. “Now, I have lengthy campaigns that I was able to create on my own and get feedback on as a part of this class. I now feel more confident applying for these jobs and submitting my work.”

By using multiple forms of media in the course, Street maximized student engagement and maintained their interests, said Wan Latartara, instructional designer and training specialist.

“Her course design did more than meet the eye,” Latartara said. “She strategically placed elements so to catch students’ attention and guide them through the course right from the beginning.

“By thinking like a student, Robin made a commitment to meet students where they are.”

This year’s runner-up category for the Paragon Award featured two online courses taught by Blair McElroy, UM director of Study Abroad and adjunct instructor in the UM legal studies department, and Jason Solinger, associate professor of English.

UM Summer Camps Help Students Explore Conservation and Ecology

Leadership program, day camps offer variety of experiences combined with fun activities

Second- through 12th-grade students are invited to learn more about environmental conservation and local ecology during special camps taking place at the UM Field Station this summer. The Ecology Day Camps run weekly from June 5 to July 14, and the Environmental Conservation Leadership Program is scheduled for June 4-9. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss.­­ ­– Students in second through 12th grades can participate in special camps this summer that focus on environmental conservation and exploration, offered by the University of Mississippi Field Station and the UM Office of Pre-College Programs.

Rising 11th- through 12th-grade students have an opportunity to explore environmental challenges facing Mississippi and the world as part of the Environmental Conservation Leadership Program scheduled for June 4-9.

Field Station Director Scott Knight says that he hopes this program can help students connect with nature and gain a better understanding of how our intertwined ecosystem functions.

“The camp provides a hands-on learning experience that teaches students more about how the planet works, how it heals, how it sustains all life and how we can live in balance with it,” Knight said. “If nothing else, I hope the participants will learn that their food doesn’t come from a grocery store but (from) a viable, living ecosystem.”

Participants will work with UM professors conducting research on issues associated with conservation, pollution control, water quality, ecosystem services and environmental stewardship.

The cost for residential students who would like to stay on campus during the camp is $500. The cost for commuter students is $350. Varying scholarships funds are available for participants, including Toyota Wellspring full funding for students who attend a public high school in Lee, Pontotoc or Union counties.

Younger campers can explore aspects of biology and environmental science during the 2017 Ecology Day Camps, also held at the UM Field Station. Students will participate in activities to identify species, learn about water quality, build bird nests, catch dragonflies and much more.

“I believe that one reason Ecology Day Camp is so popular is because of our great teachers and counselors,” Knight said. “And while they are teaching great lessons, our leaders never forget that it is summer and summer is a time for fun.”

Rising second- through fourth-graders can attend either June 5-9 or June 12-16. Rising fifth- and sixth-grade students will be attending June 19-23 and June 26-30. A special camp for older students, rising seventh- and eighth-graders, is set for July 10-14.

The camp runs 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and the cost is $175. Scholarship funds are available for children of UM faculty and staff.

Faculty member Melissa Dennis enrolled her son in Ecology Day Camp last summer for the first time.

“My son really enjoyed being outside and participating in activities with friends at the camp,” Dennis said. “I think one of his favorite activities was the parent-student cookout. I know I enjoyed it.”

For more information on these and other UM academic summer camp opportunities, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/pre_college.

Toyota Wellspring Scholarships Available for UM Summer Camp Programs

Middle and high school students in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties encouraged to apply

Several UM summer camps for middle and high school students, including ones focusing on engineering and STEM fields, have been chosen for the 2017 Toyota Wellspring Education Scholarship fund. The scholarships will pay full costs for select academic summer camps on the Oxford campus for students who attend public schools in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties. UM photo by Bobby Steele

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – Sixth- through 12th-grade students who attend public schools in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties can take advantage of special scholarships that will pay all costs associated with attending select University of Mississippi summer camps this year.

“We are so happy to see local students receive scholarships that will help them expand their knowledge and future opportunities during these various summer camps,” said Ellen Shelton, UM director of pre-college programs.

Numerous weeklong camps offered on the Oxford campus by the Office of Pre-College Program have been approved for 2017 funding by the Toyota Wellspring Education Scholarship Committee at the Northeast Mississippi CREATE Foundation.

“The Toyota Wellspring Committee believes that summer camps can provide important enhancement in the educational process,” CREATE President Mike Clayborne said.

Interested students can use the funding to attend one-week overnight camps on the Ole Miss campus. Some programs have an application fee of $25.

The scholarship will provide full funding for students interested in attending the university’s Engineering Camp, STEM Camp for Girls, “Summer Days of Intrigue” Intelligence Studies Camp, Environmental Leadership Camp, CSI Camp, “Code Monkeys” Camp, Rebel Chefs Cooking Camp and Theatre Camp.

Students also can receive the scholarship if they choose to attend the UM Summer Academy ACT Prep, Debate or Introduction to Engineering sessions. Summer Academy is a two-week residential experience on campus.

These particular camps where chosen for scholarship funds because the special emphasis areas can help students master areas such as career exploration, science, creativity, presenting, time management, design and problem solving

“The Toyota Wellspring funding will allow students to learn more about an area that they might not have access to at their schools,” Shelton said. “These scholarships help cover costs for families and provide students with an academic experience on the University campus that is fun and enriching.”

Interested students can visit the pre-college programs summer camps website at http://www.olemiss.edu/precollege for camp dates and more information. Students are asked to complete a program scholarship application and indicate Toyota Wellspring Scholarship on that form.

Faculty, Students Prepare for Learning Adventures Across the Country

StudyUSA program participants take courses in a variety of cities this summer

University of Mississippi students joined biology professor Erik Hom and education professor Renee Cunningham for a StudyUSA Biology course taught in Hawaii over the 2017 Wintersession. The StudyUSA program has a full course schedule of travel learning experiences for UM students and faculty members coming up this summer. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss.­­ – This summer, University of Mississippi students will be eyewitnesses to the raising of Tappan Zee bridge in New York City, meeting with Pulitzer Prize-winning staff at The Washington Post and visiting Google’s headquarters in California.

These are just a few of the learning adventures that students have opportunities to experience when they enroll in a StudyUSA course during UM summer school sessions.

“My StudyUSA experience is hands-down one of the best things I have ever been a part of,” said Jontae Warren, a UM junior majoring in pharmacy. “I never would have thought I would get a chance to do scientific research in Hawaii with my professors.”

Warren, of Booneville, took part in Biology 380: Hawaiian STEAM: Microbes, Symbiosis and Culture in Honolulu during the recent Wintersession. Led by Erik Hom, UM assistant professor of biology, and Renee Cunningham, assistant professor of education, the class journeyed throughout the island of Oahu collecting and processing samples in hopes of finding new species and developments.

“It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something like this,” Warren said.

Housed in the UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Studies, the StudyUSA program is designed to give faculty and students opportunities to learn about an academic subject firsthand outside the traditional classroom setting. These short-term domestic travel classes are typically offered during the university’s summer, winter and intersession terms. Ole Miss students can explore the United States while earning college course credit to use toward graduation requirements.

Several new classes are on the StudyUSA schedule for summer 2017. During May intersession, Chris Mullen, associate professor of civil engineering, will lead Engineering 497 to study bridge structures in New York City.

The class will meet on the Oxford campus May 17-19 and then travel to New York May 21-26. While there, students will meet with experts concerning the art and science of bridge design. They will also learn about construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of the Big Apple’s most famous bridges when they visit the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge and the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The 2016 election cycle and inauguration of a new president provides plenty of material for Marvin King’s StudyUSA course POL 389: Political Media, taking place May 21-26 in Washington, D.C.

“I’m hoping this class will help students gain a better understanding of how politics and journalism intersect,” said King, associate professor of political science. “They will have the opportunity to meet with media who cover our government in real time.

“Students can gain a greater understanding of the pressure journalists and politicians are both under when dealing with the public.”

Jontae Warren (left), from Booneville, combed the island of Oahu, Hawaii, collecting and processing plant and animal samples during UM’s 2017 Wintersession as part of the StudyUSA program. Submitted photo

In June, Jennifer Sadler will lead the new course IMC 353: Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. Students will learn about digital marketing tools and strategies while meeting with entrepreneurs and start-up business leaders to explore business development and digital marketing.

This program is for students majoring in integrated marketing communications, journalism or business, those minoring in entrepreneurship, and anyone interested in these fields.

“I hope this class will give students a broad worldview and help them to expand their network,” said Sadler, an instructor in integrated marketing communications. “We are planning visits to Google and Facebook headquarters and will be learning more about community action plans and partnerships.”

Also new this summer in the StudyUSA program lineup will be Writing 399: Travel Writing in Austin, Texas, set for Aug. 1-7. While visiting some of the city’s popular and off-the-beaten-path attractions, writing and rhetoric instructor Jeanine Rauch will teach students to apply a range of rhetorical methods for conveying their travels through the written word. Students will spend time gathering ideas, writing and recording their experiences.

A variety of courses for various majors and interests are being offered this summer. The full summer 2017 UM StudyUSA course listing can be found at http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/studyusa.

Scholarships are available. The application deadline for summer 2017 classes is April 6.

University to Host Open House for 2017 K-12 Summer Camp Options

Locals invited to stop by Feb. 7 for info about variety of academic summer programs available

RebelQuest participants watch as a counselor tests one of their Lego bridges by loading the structure with water bottles to determine how much weight it can bear. The Office of Pre-College Programs will host an open house 4-6 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Yerby Conference Center so parents can learn more about the more than 20 academic summer camp options available to K-12 students in a variety of subjects and formats. UM photo by Larry Agostinelli

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – Summer activities for school-age children are a hot topic this time of year as parents look to secure spots and decide on the best camp options for their children.

Local parents can get a head start on planning a fun academic experience for their children this summer when the University of Mississippi Office of Pre-College Programs hosts an open house Tuesday (Feb. 7) at the E.F. Yerby Auditorium.

The come-and-go event is set for 4 to 6 p.m. Camp directors and staff will be on hand to answer questions about the 20 different academic camps taking place at Ole Miss this summer for rising first- through 12th-grade students. Information will also be provided concerning costs, financial aid and payroll deduction options.

Anna Sayre, of Oxford, recently registered her 9-year-old daughter Nora for the university’s popular Rebel Quest weekly camps available for three age groups of elementary school children.

“I wanted my daughter to have a fun learning experience this summer,” Sayre said. “It is convenient for her to be on campus so close to my office, and the weekly camp options were reasonably priced. I think the variety and different subject matters will keep learning interesting for her over the summer.”

The camps provide opportunities for both academic and personal development for K-12 students.

The goal of these on-campus summer academic programs and camps is to bridge the gap between secondary and post-secondary education for area youth. Children have opportunities to develop skills and garner interest in a variety of academic areas.

“There can be this learning gap that takes place in the summer months,” said Matthew DeLoach, director of student services for UM Pre-College Programs. “That’s why these summer academic exploring opportunities are so important.”

CSI Summer Camp participants photograph and document a body in a staged crime scene as well at gathering data on other evidence at the University of Mississippi. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Along with Rebel Quest for younger ages, a variety of week and monthlong camps are offered for middle and high schoolers to sharpen their skills in a number of areas, including creative writing, ecology, engineering, math and theater.

Resume and transcript-building options also are available for high school students preparing for college.

The UM Summer College for High School Students provides an opportunity to enroll in six hours of college credit courses while developing friendships and independence. Session one is offered May 30-June 27, with session following on June 29-July 28.

As with all programs for middle and high school students offered by the Office of Pre-College programs, students have the option to stay on-campus or commute to campus during the sessions.

For more information about the variety of summer youth program opportunities, stop by on Feb. 7 or visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/summercamps.

UM Communiversity Classes Offer Variety of Enrichment Activities

Several new options this spring to include Latin dancing and sushi making

Dance instructor Arman Sahakyan will lead a four-week course in ‘Ballroom and Latin Dance with Arman’ at the Turner Center as part of the spring Communiversity lineup.

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – Trying something new this spring might be the spark that energizes you for the new year, and the University of Mississippi Communiversity program has a great lineup of classes ready to help you explore new subjects and hobbies.

A full slate of enrichment course opportunities are scheduled this spring to help participants learn more about technology, healthy living, baking, floral design, landscaping and more. The schedule even includes a free cooking class! The full spring class schedule can be found online at http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/funclassnews.

Last fall, Carol McGonagill gifted her sister Ginger Patterson, both of Oxford, with the Communiversity class “Intro to Essential Oils.” The two enjoyed learning about different plants and minerals beneficial to healing and good health.

“The class was awesome,” Patterson said. “I learned so many different ways to take care of my body without needing to turn to medication.”

Patterson is looking forward to learning more about this subject in the second part of the class, being offered this spring on the Ole Miss campus. The “Advanced Essential Oils-Lifestyle Change” class is offered from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, April 11, 18 and 25 in the E.F. Yerby Conference Center.

Participants get to try their hands at creating oil-based blends that are perfect for bath, body and home. They also will learn to safely replace household, personal care and wellness products with essential oils. Each person will leave with samples made in class. The cost is $85 plus a $9 materials fee.

The spring 2017 Communiversity schedule kicks off Feb. 1, with Jeff and Kathleen Taylor of Oxford’s Sweet T’s Bakery, who were contestants recently on Food Network’s “Cake Wars” program. Come find out all their secrets to decorating like the pros during the new “DIY: Make Award-Winning Cake Designs” from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Oxford-University Depot. The class cost is $75 plus a $9 materials fee.

Communiversity will host a free class Feb. 8 at the Institute for Child Nutrition on Hill Drive. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., registered dietitian Mariana Jurss will teach participants to make “Delicious Soups to Warm Your Body and Soul,” including such favorites as potato corn chowder and catfish stew. Although there is no charge for this class, interested people are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Seats are limited. 

Gardeners will have several opportunities to plan for their spring gardens and learn floral design from area professionals during the popular lunch-and-learn classes that return this spring. Each class, offered from noon to 1 p.m. at the UM Depot, costs just $10.

The lunch-and learn-series kicks off with guided tips for “How to Create a Beautiful Hummingbird Garden” taught by Mitch Robinson from Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. Learn how to attract and support hummers and other pollinators with native plants and habitat enhancement on March 22.

The following week, Jordan Brown, of Oxford’s Discount Building Materials design center, will share tips on easy-to-do, affordable tablescapes and eye-catching centerpieces. Learn how to decorate your Easter table on March 29.

Proper techniques for pruning trees and shrubs will be taught during “Spring Pruning with Jeff McManus” on April 26. McManus will share tips from his book “Pruning Like a Pro” during the final lunch-and-learn of the season.

Oxford Floral’s Whitney Pullen will demonstrate how to pair different flowers to complement any theme during the hands-on course, “Making a Beautiful Spring Bouquet,” set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. May 4 at the Yerby Center. Participants will be inspired to pair different flower variations and design ideas for weddings and home decorating, and everyone will design their own arrangement to take home. The cost is $69 plus a $10 materials fee.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, couples might enjoy “Ballroom and Latin Dance with Arman.” Learn step-by-step instructions with expert dance instructor Arman Sahakyan. The class will be taught 6-8 p.m. Feb. 16 and 23 and March 2 and 9 at the Turner Center dance studio. The cost is $69.

Arman will host a free meet-and-greet to discuss his class from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Turner Center. There is no charge for this introductory event, but registration is required, at http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/communiversity/classes_dance.html.

Many locals remember the popular Two Stick sushi restaurant on the Oxford Square. Sushi chef Jesse Mullin was trained by the owners of the former hot spot and will share tips on how to create your own Rebel Roll at home. Join him from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 10 at the Depot to learn to make the perfect sticky rice and sushi’s most popular sauces. The class fee is $39 plus $9 for ingredients.

Helping local first responders communicate effectively will be discussed in the new class, “Medical Spanish for Emergency Responders,” offered 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 3, 7 and 9 in Lamar Hall, Room 133.

The instructor starts with the basics of Spanish pronunciation and then moves on to simple words for everyday emergency situations. This class will provide basic knowledge needed when working with a Spanish-speaking patient. This class is perfect for first responders, EMTs, police officers and all medical personnel. The cost is $85.

A wide variety of classes are available for local professionals this spring, including “Marketing Your Business Using Social Media” offered from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13, 20 and 27 in Weir Hall, Room 104. The cost is $69. Learn to set up social media sites for your business, generate targeted leads using Facebook ads and increase traffic to your website.

Find out more about these and the variety of other classes available this spring at http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/funclassnews or call 662-915-7158 to request the spring class brochure.