Twenty-Two UM Freshmen Named FASTrack Summer Scholars

Award covers tuition for one 3-hour course

OXFORD, Miss. – Twenty-two University of Mississippi freshmen have been selected to receive Foundations for Academic Success Track summer scholarships.

FASTrack is a first-year learning community that helps students make a successful transition from high school to college. Students benefit from smaller and enhanced classes, individualized advising and mentoring and a community of supportive peers.

Participating students earn higher GPAs, go on academic probation less often and return for the sophomore year at higher rates than their peers.

“This scholarship, created to honor the Hill and Landrum families, covers one 3-credit hour course during any summer session,” said Suzanne Wilkin, FASTrack academic mentor. “Recipients are in good academic standing and have demonstrated how FASTrack had a profound and positive impact on their first-year college experience.”

Scholarship recipients are: Tyshionna Benson, of Taylor; LaKymbreya Buckner, Jocelyn Knox and Makayla Scott, all of Jackson; Leona Craig and Mercedes Pride, both of Gulfport; Gabrielle Dunn, Jacelyn Frierson, Isam Orabi and Melissa Presley, all of Oxford; Bettia Hankins and Yakia McKinnie, both of Holly Springs; Jessica Johnson, of Macon; Akeeriyanna Jones, of Greenwood; Delvin Kimmons, of Sardis; Cole Kinnamon, of Alpharetta, Georgia; Kyeisha Mells, of Ruleville; Jonathan Roberts, of Olive Branch; Larry Stokes, of Clarksdale; Caylyn Tate, of Pearl; Eddy Thompson, of Como; and Dajanique Wade, of Lyon.

Recipients represent a variety of majors, including accountancy, biology, biomedical engineering, communication sciences and disorders, dental hygiene, elementary education, exercise science, forensic chemistry, general business, general studies, mechanical engineering, nursing and political science.

For more information about the FASTrack program, go to

Communication Sciences and Disorders Workshop for Parents of Children with Disabilities Set for Saturday

Clinician and educator address children's behavioral problems as potential sensory issues

OXFORD, Miss. – The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Mississippi will offer a free parent workshop on Saturday, June 16 from 10 a.m. to noon to help families better understand if their child’s behavioral issues are actually sensory issues.

“A child’s tantrums or inattentiveness are not always strictly behavioral problems – they can be sensory issues,” said Amy Livingston, a UM instructor and speech-language pathologist with the HILL Lab, an on-campus learning-language program for children with moderate to severe receptive and expressive language disorders.

A joint presentation by a licensed special education teacher and a licensed speech-language pathologist will offer strategies for parents whose children with disabilities may have a sensory issue such as being hypersensitive to sights, sounds, textures, flavors, smells and other sensory input.

The program will be held at Willie Price Lab School on UM’s Oxford campus in 107 Kinard Hall. Free child care will be available for children of all abilities.

A “Sib Shop” will offer free games, snacks and activities for siblings (ages 6 and up) of children with disabilities.

The HILL program specializes in maximizing children’s language-learning capabilities while providing clinical training for undergraduate and graduate students seeking careers as audiologists, speech-language pathologists and SLP associates. The program works to engage with the community and conduct research that positively affects the lives of children in Mississippi and beyond.

For more information about this event, contact Livingston at or call 662-915-2942.

Applied Sciences Recognizes Schoolwide Honors and Awards Winners

Students lauded for academic excellence, service and leadership

The UM School of Applied Sciences produced a record number of 2018 graduates, including dozens of winners of school and university awards. UM photo by Sarah Sapp

OXFORD, Miss. – The School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi recently wrapped awards season for the 2017-18 academic year. The following students were honored for academic achievements, service and leadership:

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Marianne Tillman Scholarship in Speech and Language Pathology Endowment – Rebekah Bosley, of Southaven; and Marianne Rivers Wylot, Prosper, Texas

McRight Biology Scholarship Award – Meliah Grant, Jackson; Destiny Hodges, Baldwyn; Bailey Clare McLemore, Madison; Carolyn Brooke Owens, Brandon; and Emily Claire Reedy, Horn Lake

Patricia Ann Ridgway Endowment Award – Madison Taylor Savoy, Southaven; Leah Margaret Strope, Bolivar; and Peyton Willoughby, Tupelo

Robert Guy Millis Endowment Award – Sydney Gully, Saltillo; Lexy Lindsey Pharr, Golden; and Courtney Walden, Booneville

Tommy and Susan Thames Communicative Disorders Endowment Award – Kathryn Calahan Grisson, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Jennifer Ann Grove, Forest; Sara Kingsley Tolson, Lynn Haven, Florida; Emma Thome, Peachtree City, Georgia; and Amy Walker, Batesville

Patricia Ann Ridgway/Sue Hale Scholarship – Lacie Preston, Aberdeen

Graduate Achievement Award in Communication Sciences and Disorders – Molly Grace Williams, Corinth

Clinical Speech-Language Pathologist Award – Shelby Elisa Whitsell Edmonds, Holly Springs


Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management

Robert Blackburn Graduate Award in Exercise Science – Samuel Louis Buckner, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Leon Garrett Achievement Award in Health Promotion – Emily Frith, Stanford, Kentucky

Ryan P. Malone Undergraduate Achievement Award in Exercise Science – David Edward Green, Gautier

Graduate Achievement Award in Health and Kinesiology – Scott Dankel, Howell, New Jersey; and Emily Frith, Stanford, Kentucky

Gordon McMurray Graduate Achievement Award in Sport and Recreation Management – Alison Hovatter, Meridianville, Alabama; and Sydney Elizabeth Malone, Tuscumbia, Alabama


Legal Studies

Columbus B. Hopper Scholarship Endowment Award – Natalie Swords, New Albany

Chief Richard Michael Popernik and Joan Grisham Popernik Legal Studies Scholarship Award – Janice Dewitt, Renton, Washington

Robert Langley Memorial Scholarship Award – Adrianna Cheyenne Guin, Guntown

Robert T. Warren Outstanding Criminal Justice Student Award – Jason Hunter Robbins, Shannon

Outstanding Legal Studies Graduate Student Award – Kirby Rhodes, Bay St. Louis

Outstanding Criminal Justice Student Award – Allison Dillon, Belden; Ja’Michael Handy, Water Valley; and Maryana Tyshkivski, Olive Branch

Outstanding Paralegal Student Award – Emma McNair, Brandon; and Hunter Story, Oxford


Nutrition and Hospitality Management

Outstanding Coordinated Program Student in Dietetics – Virginia Ellen Mitchell, Memphis, Tennessee

Outstanding Student in Dietetics and Nutrition Award – Elizabeth Baylee Edwards, Birmingham, Alabama

Outstanding Student in Hospitality Management Award – Mallory Kaitlyn McAlister, Southaven

Outstanding Graduate Student Award in Nutrition and Hospitality Management – Prabhdeep Sandha, Jalandhar, Punjab India

NHM Faculty Award for Student Service – Charles Sheriff, Marietta, Georgia

Sydney E. Pucheu HM Scholarship – Elizabeth Hurdle, Oxford; Nadia Radowick, Munster, Indiana; and Harley Saxton, Water Valley

Ole Miss Hospitality Management Scholarship – Danielle Foster, San Antonio, Texas; and Katherine Grizzel, Lorton, Virginia

Susan Haskins Scholarship – Emma Cousins, Plainfield, Illinois; and Chandler Law, Birmingham, Alabama

Tommy Ramey Scholarship – Caroline Acomb, Pass Christian; Meghan Bullock, Columbia; and Marlee Young, Oxford

Louise Burnett Scholarship – Katelyn Tarr, Pawnee, Illinois

Vasilyev Family Scholarship – Danielle Foster, San Antonio, Texas; and Chandler Law, Birmingham, Alabama


Social Work

Velmer Stanley Burton III Memorial Scholarship – Ericka Barnes, Greenwood Springs

Liz Triplett Walker Scholarship – Austin Conner, Batesville; Alexandra Eben, Olive Branch; and Ashleigh Jones, Oxford

“We are so proud of these students and all they’ve accomplished,” said Teresa Carithers, interim dean of applied sciences. “We commend them and wish them continued success in all of their academic endeavors.”

For more information about the School of Applied Sciences, visit or call 662-915-7900.

Communicators Lauded at Statewide Conference

Staff recognized for newswriting, design and creative partnership

Sarah Sapp (left), communications specialist for the UM School of Applied Sciences, accepts her first-place award in the senior division news story category at the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi’s annual conference. Photo courtesy Holmes Community College Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Communications officers from the University of Mississippi’s School of Applied Sciences and Division of Outreach and Continuing Education were recognized at the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi’s annual conference and awards ceremony for outstanding writing, design and creative partnership.

Sarah Sapp, communications specialist for the School of Applied Sciences, won first place in the senior division news story category for her story, “UM Students and Faculty Help Children Develop to their Potential.” Sapp also brought home first-place accolades in the admissions and recruitment piece category for the School of Applied Sciences’ departmental program handouts.

The Division of Outreach brought home awards in the single piece of artwork and creative partners categories. Anna Sayre, web developer and senior graphic designer, won second place for her StudyUSA design, while Pam Starling, assistant director of creative services and marketing, and Kris Zediker, web developer and senior graphic designer, brought home second for their Two-Plus-Two Grenada marketing project with Holmes Community College.

Starling was nominated to represent Ole Miss on the CPRAM board of directors for the 2018-19 academic year.

Twelve Mississippi four-year colleges and universities competed, submitting more than 100 entries to the competition.

Pam Starling (left), assistant director of creative services and marketing for the UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, accepts a second-place award in the creative partners category at the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi’s annual conference. Photo courtesy Holmes Community College Communications

Robin Street, UM senior lecturer in journalism, presented the opening conference session about the Meek School of Journalism and New Media‘s internal public relations campaign, “It’s all about (Me)ek.”

Ole Miss alumni representing colleges and universities from across the state met with Street following the presentation. The group included Donna Thomas of Itawamba Community College; Julie Bauer of Northwest Mississippi Community College; Steve Diffey, Barin von Foregger and Mary Margaret Busby of Holmes Community College; Natalie Davis of Copiah-Lincoln Community College; Nell Luter Floyd of Millsaps College; and Cathy Hayden of Hinds Community College.

For more information about the conference, visit

Prominent Higher Ed Theorist to Deliver Keynote at UM Conference

Vincent Tinto is featured speaker for Monday professional development event

OXFORD, Miss. – A noted theorist in higher education is the keynote speaker for a professional development conference Monday (May 14) at the University of Mississippi.

Vincent Tinto, a distinguished university professor emeritus at Syracuse University, is set to speak at the event, which begins at 7:45 a.m. at the Jackson Avenue Center, 1111 West Jackson Ave.

“Dr. Tinto is a prominent figure in higher education, with a special focus on retention and persistence,” said Hope Tulchinsky, UM assistant director of admissions. “Staff in the Division of Student Affairs, Department of Higher Education faculty and higher education graduate students will attend.”

Tinto earned his doctorate in education and sociology from the University of Chicago, a master’s degree in physics and philosophy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Fordham University. He also is a senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education in Washington, D.C.

He previously was a visiting scholar at Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in Stanford, California, an assistant professor of education at Columbia University and a visiting lecturer at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.

Tinto’s awards include the Academic Leadership Award from the Council of Independent Colleges, the NISOD International Leadership Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development and the Distinguished Fellow of the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Association. He has received grants from the National Postsecondary Education Cooperation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education.

Sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, the conference is co-sponsored by the Department of Student Housing, Office of University and Public Events, Department of Campus Recreation, Student Union, FASTrack, Office of Institutional Research, Effectiveness and Planning, Department of Higher Education, Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, and the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education.

Red and Blue Celebration of Achievement Set for May 9

Inaugural event to recognize 32 UM staff for earning degrees while working

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi staff who earned degrees while working will be recognized for their accomplishments Wednesday (May 9) at the inaugural Red and Blue Celebration of Achievement.

Thirty-two employees who are receiving either a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree during doctoral hooding on Friday (May 11) and at Commencement on Saturday (May 12) will be honored. The celebration, which is free and open to the public, begins at noon in Auditorium A of the Jackson Avenue Center, 1111 West Jackson Ave.

Co-sponsors include the Office of the Provost, Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, Office of University and Public Events, and the UM Staff Council.

“This is an opportunity for the university community to come together and honor staff members who have successfully navigated the college experience while simultaneously working as an employee at the university,” said Anne Klingen, who co-organized the event. “During the ceremony, we will honor graduating seniors and graduate students with red-and-blue cords and a reception.”

The event was conceived after orientation for new Staff Council members in April 2017. Klingen and Kevin Cozart, operations coordinator in the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, began discussing ideas about how to recognize staff member achievements.

“As someone who has earned more than one degree while working full time for the university, I understand the unique challenges that staff members face while on the path to a degree,” Cozart said. “I thought that it was time for graduating staff members to receive special recognition of their efforts.

“The Red and Blue Celebration and the red-and-navy honors cords are just a small way of achieving this goal.”

The cords will be presented by Donna West-Strum, chair and professor of pharmacy administration. Other program participants are Gazel Giles, immediate past president of the Staff Council; Je’Lisa McGee, Staff Council treasurer; Premalatha Balachandran, Staff Council scholarship coordinator; Deetra Wiley, Staff Council marketing coordinator; and Cozart, a Staff Council member.

Departments with graduating employees who have registered to participate are Applied Sciences/ Outreach, Athletics, Campus Recreation, Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience, Center for the Study of Southern Culture, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ford Center, Health Professions Advising Office, Marketing and Fan Experience, Office of Admissions, Office of the Chancellor, Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, Office of Information Technology, Sports Production, Student Disability Services, Technology and Interactive Video, Graduate School, The Inn at Ole Miss, UMMC-Office of Academic Affairs, University Communications and University Police Department.

Several of the graduating employees shared their stories.

“It was very challenging trying to work, go to school and be a full-time single mom with two boys,” said Sirena Morgan, senior secretary for the chemistry department who will receive her Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. “You have to find a balance in it all.

“I was so determined to get my degree, so I made it work. I would work eight hours a day, and after work, I would take care of my other responsibilities. It took a lot of discipline, but I did it.”

Learning to balance work, school, family and outside activities also was a challenge for Rebecca Lauck Cleary, a senior staff assistant at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture who will be receiving a Master of Arts in Southern Studies.

“I tried to focus on projects one week at a time so I never felt overwhelmed with anything,” she said. “Luckily, everyone I work with has been extremely supportive, which is nice.”

Completing a terminal degree, career advancement opportunities and a desire to make their families proud were all motivations for Sovent Taylor and Peter Tulchinsky, who receive their Ed.D. in Higher Education.

“My job isn’t always just 8 to 5,” said Taylor, assistant director of the Health Professions Advising Office. “I have student organizations that meet at night and recruitment events on the weekend. My children are involved in travel sports, so my time after work was spoken for as well.”

To overcome his challenges, Taylor worked during lunch, often late at night and during holiday breaks writing his dissertation.

“I am blessed to have a wife that helped pick up the slack while I was writing,” Taylor said. “She also had to deal with an exhausted husband quite often.”

Tulchinsky, director of campus recreation, agrees.

“I wanted to set an example for my kids,” he said. “I encourage them to do their personal best academically, and I felt that I could role model that expectation by going back to school and acquiring my terminal degree.

“It means a lot that they can call me ‘Dr. Dad’ and that I’ve been able to show them that you can accomplish your goals through effort and commitment.”

Having a great support system at home and at work is what helped Shayla Love McGuire complete requirements for her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

“A big motivation for me to complete my degree was for my children to see me being successful,” the UPD patrol sergeant said. “This degree will help me achieve promotions at work, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to finally graduate.”

For Jennifer Phillips, who receives her Ph.D. degree in higher education, writing her dissertation was her biggest challenge.

“Much of the Ph.D. is on your own after written comps,” said Phillips, assistant director for retention in the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience. “It was incredibly difficult to find the personal motivation to continue, especially when I also had trouble nailing down a topic.”

Phillips said she went to her adviser, Amy Wells Dolan, to quit last year after almost nine years of work.

“She inspired me to keep going by simply telling me she would not let me quit,” Phillips said. “Two weeks later, I had 25 pages written.”

Wiley, an applications analyst and business communications specialist who will be hooded and receive her Ed.D. degree, said the opportunity to earn her terminal degree at no cost while working full time was worth the hard work, determination and commitment.

“This is probably the most rewarding policy/program that any institution or place of work can provide to its employees,” Wiley said. “To God, I give the glory and honor. I give great thanks to the University of Mississippi for its further education policy.”

Annual UM Memorial Service Thursday

Ceremony honors those who died during the year

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi family annually remembers and honors the lives of students, faculty and staff members who died during the past year.

This year’s ceremony is set for 4 p.m. Thursday (May 3) at Paris-Yates Chapel. Established by Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat, UM Memorial Day is observed on the last Thursday of classes.

The day is important for friends and family of the deceased, said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs.

“The university community mourns when we lose a member of our family,” she said. “This time together gives us a time to remember and reflect.”

The service will include music by the University String Quartet and remarks from Hephner LaBanc; Johnny Price, Staff Council president, Bryce Noonan, chair of the Faculty Senate; and Elam Miller, Associated Student Body president.

The ceremony, which is open to the LOU community, will honor:


Brennan Boone

Davis Cook

Kayle Griffith

Adam Pitts

Truett Primos

William Richardson

Tonino Vidal-Ellis

Jonathan Whalley

Thomas Winston


Faculty/Faculty Emeritus

Nolan Aughenbaugh

Mark Bing

George Cochran

Leland Fox

Grady Harlan

Charles Hufford

Paul Tobin Maginnis

Eldon Miller

Carolyn Ellis Staton



Edward Crawford

Murry Pegues

Jeanette Phillips

Sherrie Rikard


The bells of the chapel will toll once for each person lost.


Overby Program to Examine State’s ‘Brain Drain’ Crisis

Discussion to be led by UM alumnus and graduating senior who have studied the issue

OXFORD, Miss. – A public discussion Tuesday (May 1) at the University of Mississippi will tackle “brain drain,” the exodus of thousands of talented young Mississippians from the state, and how to stop it.

The program, which is free and open to the public, is set for 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. The event comes just days before the university’s spring Commencement ceremonies, where some 5,000 students are to receive undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The discussion will be led by Jake McGraw, a UM alumnus and public policy analyst for the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, and Savannah Smith, a graduating senior in the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. The program is expected to attract other students who have expressed concern about the flight of their contemporaries.

“This is a terribly relevant topic to consider at this time,” said Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie, who directed Smith’s Honors College thesis and taught McGraw earlier. “Jake and Savannah have devoted a great deal of study to our brain drain and have become experts on this issue that affects their generation in Mississippi.”

McGraw, who studied public policy and economics, graduated from Ole Miss with honors in 2010. As a Truman Scholar, he studied economics and social history at the University of Oxford in England before returning home. An Oxford native, he lives in Jackson and also edits Rethink Mississippi, a website featuring commentary about issues facing young Mississippians.

A native of Corinth, Smith is graduating with a double major in public policy and journalism. Her honors thesis was devoted to the staggering number of new college graduates who leave the state. She plans to pursue a graduate degree from New York University, where her studies will primarily involve magazines.

Art Students Display Emotions of ‘Macbeth’ in Video Installation

Project is available for viewing through the end of the week

OXFORD, Miss. – The Department of Art and Art History at the University of Mississippi is hosting a collaborative video installation this week at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

Students in a digital video course created “The Color of Tragedy,” which was themed around the Ole Miss Theatre production of “Macbeth.” The students focused on the variety of emotions found in “Macbeth” and created a looping video to convey those emotions.

“The students really committed to this project, and we were all thrilled to be able to show their efforts within the Ford Center,” said Valerie Guinn Polgar, art and art history instructor.

Each video is displayed in a grid format, inspired by the Rubik’s Cube, and will be available for viewing in the Ford Center lobby through the end of the week (April 27).

Graduate Students to Present LGBTQ Oral Histories

Wednesday performance will showcase students’ semester project

OXFORD, Miss. – Students in a Southern studies graduate seminar course at the University of Mississippi will present “Queer Mississippi: An Oral History Performance” at 7 p.m. Wednesday (April 25) at Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center.

Throughout the semester, eight graduate students interviewed LGBTQ Mississippians in Oxford and North Mississippi about their life histories. The interviews revealed themes of activism, religion, violence, finding community and continuity and change. The students have used segments of these interviews to create a dialogue, which they will perform Wednesday.

The event, part of the Radical South conversation series, is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the performance.

The course was led by Jessica Wilkerson, assistant professor of history and Southern studies.

“Our intent is to encourage reflection on and participation in an emergent historical discourse,” Wilkerson said.

Although she has taught courses in the past with an oral history component, this is the first of its kind.

“This is the most ambitious project I’ve ever done,” she said. “I’m thinking longer term with this and considering how to build the project and collaborations around the region.”

The performance will begin with a short documentary featuring parts of the interviews.