Physical Acoustics Summer School Hosted by UM

School explores acoustics, from bubbles to bottle rockets

Josh Gladden, interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs at the University of Mississippi, leads a demonstration at the National Center for Physical Acoustics during the 2018 Physical Acoustics Summer School. Photo by Kevin Bain/University Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Sometimes the quickest introduction to cutting-edge physical acoustics is questioning why a whistling bottle rocket whistles.

That’s why Greg Swift, a member of the Condensed Matter and Magnet Science Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, held a bottle rocket – unlit – in a ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss earlier this month (June 3-8) during the 2018 Physical Acoustics Summer School, or PASS.

The summer school included 43 physical acoustics students and lecturers from around the country as well as the United Kingdom and China, who gathered on the University of Mississippi campus to discuss various physical acoustics subjects, from thermoacoustics to active noise control. During the week, graduate students got the chance to meet with experts and discuss physical acoustics topics they rarely encounter at their own colleges and universities.

“PASS is an intensive week where graduate students from around the world get exposed to a wide variety of fundamental topics in physical acoustics taught by world-class experts,” said Josh Gladden, UM interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs.

“In addition to the broad technical knowledge, [the school] provides a wonderful opportunity for the graduate students to form relationships with their peers and professionals in the field. As a PASS 2000 graduate, I still keep in touch with my classmates.”

While Swift’s presentation on thermoacoustics kicked off the week of physical acoustics subject matter, the school also included six more presentations, covering topics such as the acoustics of bubbles and bubbly fluids, biomedical ultrasound and active noise control.

Later during his demonstration, Swift pulled out a blowtorch and heated a glass tube, recreating the “singing tube,” an invention by Charles T. Knipp. A longtime University of Illinois physics professor who died in 1948, Knipp was well-known for his experiments in rainmaking and the conduction of electricity through glass.

The tubes are useful in demonstrations to showcase the conversion of heat energy into sound through a vibrating air column.

Throughout his demonstration, even while going over complex acoustical physics problems such as Fourier’s law of heat conduction, Swift kept the students – from 16 U.S. and two international universities – and lecturers enthralled.

Josh Gladden, interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs at the University of Mississippi, leads a tour of the National Center for Physical Acoustics during the 2018 Physical Acoustics Summer School. Photo by Kevin Bain/University Communications

Early on, he told the group members that he expected them to participate and peppered his presentation with questions such as “Why do some of these bottle rockets whistle?” “What’s the meaning of the question: Why does it whistle?” “What’s the scientific approach to a puzzle like this?” “What is still missing from our explanation here?”

Swift even showed a cutaway of a whistling bottle rocket that he cut out himself, which was why the cuts were so jagged, he joked.

Students gradually worked through an explanation of why a whistling bottle rocket whistles that involves the bottle rocket’s pyrotechnic composition, shape and combustion dynamics.

During a session on active noise control, Scott Sommerfeldt, a professor in the Brigham Young University Department of Physics and Astronomy, posed more questions to the students.

“Where did the energy go?” he asked. “Are we violating physics here?”

Sommerfeldt is researching methods for reducing unwanted sounds by matching sound against sound to create silence. The research has practical applications from quieting noisy propeller-driven aircraft to hushing air-conditioning systems and office equipment. His talk ranged from an introduction to inventor Paul Lueg, a German generally credited with beginning active noise control in the 1930s, to modern research into noise-cancellation methods.

One afternoon, the students and lecturers toured the National Center for Physical Acoustics, which serves as the Physical Acoustics Archives for the Acoustical Society of America and coordinates the biennial school.

The group toured labs and learned more about the center’s research in areas such as aeroacoustics and porous media, including the study of how to use acoustic waves to detect buried objects and structures such unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devises, and tunnels, and how to use acoustics to measure the sediment payload carried by rivers and streams.

The 2018 edition of the Physical Acoustics Summer School received high marks from attendees, said Gladden, who recently was elected as a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America for his service to and leadership in the field of physical acoustics.

“Having PASS on the Ole Miss campus gives us the chance to show off our physical acoustics facilities right here in Oxford,” he said. “Students got to see cutting-edge acoustics research and ask senior scientists detailed questions.”

This year’s school was supported by the Acoustical Society of America, National Center for Physical Acoustics at UM and Applied Research Laboratories at the University of Texas.

Grenada Graduate Earns UM Student Teacher of the Year Award

School of Education recognizes Mary Courtney Self for outstanding work

Mary Courtney Self of Grenada (left) is honored by UM education Dean David Rock with the 2018 Robert W. Plants Student Teacher of the Year Award. Self worked this spring as a student teacher in Diane Brewer’s first-grade class at Grenada Elementary School. UM photo by Bill Dabney

GRENADA, Miss. – Mary Courtney Self, of Grenada, was caught off-guard when her name was called for a special award during the University of Mississippi at Grenada’s annual graduation celebration earlier this spring.

“I was shocked,” Self said. “I had no idea I was being considered for this honor.”

During the evening’s program, Karen Davidson-Smith, assistant clinical professor of education, announced Self as the recipient of the 2018 Robert W. Plants Outstanding Student Teacher of the Year award. She was chosen for the award from hundreds of senior education majors graduating from five different Ole Miss campuses.

“Mary Courtney excelled at every opportunity to make and extend connections between teaching theory and teaching practices,” Davidson-Smith said. “She used a variety of teaching methods and techniques this semester that helped her students learn in the ways that suited each student best.”

The annual award is named for longtime UM faculty member Robert W. Plants, a former chair of the curriculum and instruction department. Each year the School of Education recognizes an exceptional student who stood out during their semester-long student-teaching practicum with the award.

“Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Self said. “I felt like my instructors were invested in me and my future, and I wanted to do the same for others.”

While student teaching and completing classes at the University of Mississippi at Grenada, Self also was caring for her 2-year-old daughter, Sawyer Grace. Submitted photo

Self graduated from Grenada High School in 2013 and enrolled at Holmes Community College’s Grenada campus. In fall 2014, she took a break from her studies and spent a semester working in the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World in Florida.

“I wanted to have an experience,” she said. “I worked at different restaurants and had the opportunity to meet a lot of different people from all over the world.”

Upon her return to Mississippi, Self enrolled in the junior year of the Bachelor of Elementary Education program at the university’s Grenada regional campus.

“Going to UM-Grenada was the best thing for my daughter and myself,” she said.

Diane Brewer, a teacher at Grenada Lower Elementary for more than 20 years, served as the lead teacher and clinical instructor in the first-grade class where Self interned this spring.

“Mary Courtney has the natural instincts to be a great teacher,” Brewer said. “She would see a few students lagging behind in a concept we were teaching, and she would spend the extra time working with them until they understood.”

Self said she will be fulfilling her lifelong dream when she begins teaching sixth-grade English at Grenada Middle School this fall.

“I’m not just teaching English and grammar,” Self said. “I’m helping to mold students into the people they are going to become.”

Couple’s Gift Honors Late Professor Charles Noyes

Harvey and Di Ann Lewis make donation to support UM libraries

The late Chuck Noyes (right) and his close friend and colleague, John Pilkington, senior professor of American literature, examine documents in the Archives and Special Collections department of the J.D. Williams Library. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Harvey and Di Ann Lewis, of St. Petersburg, Florida, are supporting the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library while honoring the late Charles E. Noyes, professor emeritus of English.

“Dr. Noyes and I had a very professional and personal relationship while I was executive vice chancellor and he was my associate vice chancellor,” Harvey Lewis said. “His in-depth knowledge of the university and long years of managing the Friends of the Library membership and fundraising with Dr. John Pilkington (distinguished professor emeritus of English) were noteworthy.

“Di Ann and I grew to love Chuck and Ruthie (his wife), and we appreciate Chuck’s great sense of humor and ability to write.”

The Lewises married in 1961 when Harvey Lewis also graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in banking and finance. He continued his education at the University of Arkansas, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees. He worked in leadership at the University of Central Florida, UM and MSU.

Di Ann Lewis earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Mississippi State University. She was director of special education, gifted and reading for the Lafayette County School District and later joined Mississippi University for Women as an assistant professor of education.

She also served eight years as executive director of Gear Up Mississippi with the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

The Lewises hope their gift to the Charles E. Noyes Library Endowment Fund will provide a steady stream of income that library Dean Cecilia Botero can use to enhance the library’s collections and update its technology.

“Generous gifts such as this one allow the library to provide our students and faculty with exciting new resources that further advance their studies and research activities,” Botero said.

Noyes, a Natchez native, spent most of his youth in Memphis, Tennessee, where he attended Rozelle Grammar School and Central High School. He completed both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Missouri and earned a doctorate at the University of Texas. He was a member of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.

Noyes served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946, attaining the rank of major. His service included the post of assistant chief of staff of the Third Army Airways Communications Wing, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska.

Before joining the Ole Miss faculty, Noyes taught at the University of Missouri and the University of Tennessee. His career in the classroom focused on Restoration and 18th century English literature.

He also served UM in the roles of provost, acting vice chancellor, associate vice chancellor and director of the summer session.

Noyes, who died in 2008 at age 91, is widely credited with providing invaluable assistance within the UM administration during and after the university’s tumultuous integration in 1962, when he composed speeches for then-Chancellor J.D. Williams.

Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat described Noyes as being “among the most loved people at Ole Miss.”

“Chuck Noyes established extraordinary relationships with students, staff, faculty and alumni for more than 50 years,” Khayat said. “Blessed with a keen mind and a clever wit, he was known among his students for his life-enriching teaching style and within the community for his remarkable personal relationships.

“He devoted most of his retirement years to attracting financial support for the library. He was a bright, funny man who quietly gave most of his personal resources to the university. He will be missed and fondly remembered as a loyal son of the university.”

Noyes remained faithful to Ole Miss throughout his retirement years. In 2006, he notified UM officials that he had designated a bequest to benefit the university. He was a noted benefactor of the J.D. Williams Library and was for many years membership chair of the Friends of the Library.

The Ole Miss Alumni Association honored Noyes with membership in its Hall of Fame in 1991, and former student David Arnold and his wife, Barbara, of Yazoo City, honored him by establishing the Noyes Library Endowment.

To make a gift to the Friends of the Library or the Charles E. Noyes Library Endowment Fund, send a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visit; or contact Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or

Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Honors UM Center

Southern studies staff lauded for work on Mississippi Encyclopedia, foodways studies

Jimmy Thomas, Ann Abadie, Odie Lindsey and Ted Ownby accept the Special Achievement Award on behalf of the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the MIAL banquet. Photo courtesy of Brian Hull

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture garnered two awards at this year’s Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters awards banquet, held June 2 at Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson.

MIAL presented Ted Ownby, Charles Reagan Wilson, Ann J. Abadie, Odie Lindsey and James G. Thomas Jr. with a Special Achievement Award for their work on the Mississippi Encyclopedia, published in May 2017 by the University Press of Mississippi.

Also receiving an award was John T. Edge, director of the center’s Southern Foodways Alliance. Edge is the winner of MIAL’s nonfiction award for his recent book, “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South.”

The Mississippi Encyclopedia, a 9-pound reference book, features 1,500 essays by nearly 700 authors on all things Mississippi, from academics and agriculture to Zig Ziglar. It is the product of more than a decade of work at the center.

“We are particularly pleased to get an award from MIAL both because it suggests the encyclopedia did a good job with creativity – coverage of art, architecture, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, foodways and other topics – and also because we got to spend time with creative people on the night of the banquet,” said Ted Ownby, the center’s director and senior editor of the Mississippi Encyclopedia. “We appreciate any award, but this one is especially gratifying.”

MIAL, begun in 1978, supports, nurtures and recognizes Mississippi’s artists, including fiction and nonfiction authors, visual artists, musical composers, photographers and poets. Each year, the institute honors creative individuals with an award in their specific field.

The prestigious awards, first made in 1980, are presented in seven categories, and the institute’s juried competition is unique in the state.

Nancy Davidson LaForge, president of MIAL, said she was delighted with the winners and honored to have been able to recognize them this year. The Special Achievement Award has been given only five times in MIAL’s 39-year history, so it has particular significance.

“It is an award initiated by the board of governors of MIAL and may be presented to an individual or group for a significant and unique literary, artistic or other creative accomplishment,” LaForge said. “The board of governors recognizes the depth of achievement in this volume and that it is thorough in its details of our history and culture. 

“The entries, from the everyday to the extraordinary, tell the complex story of the state of Mississippi, her places and her people.”

For the second time in four years, MIAL honored the center for its work in publishing, and Ownby said he is pleased that the award recognizes the shared efforts of a large group of people.

“It’s an award for all the authors and editors because they were all part of a collaborative process, so we accept with all of the contributors in mind,” Ownby said. “So many people contributed to the book that it’s nice to win an award that recognizes all of their hard work.

“The online version also comes out this month so it was good to share with an audience who cares about Mississippi.”

MIAL presented the center with a Special Achievement Award for its work on The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (University of North Carolina Press) in 2014. The Mississippi Encyclopedia has also won an Award of Merit from the Mississippi Historical Society and the Heritage Award from the Mississippi Heritage Trust this year.

Edge has written or edited more than a dozen books, including the Foodways volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.

In the “Potlikker Papers,” he traces 60 years of how the food of working-class Southerners became a pivotal part of American cuisine. The book has been roundly praised by major news outlets and made National Public Radio’s list of 2017’s Great Reads.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution review asks, “Is the ‘Potlikker Papers’ a history of the South by way of food stories, or a story about Southern food by way of our history? By the time you come to the end of this rigorous volume, you’ll know that the two are indivisible.”

“Edge manages to combine an appreciation of food as a measure of class and race in the post-World War II American South with a real zest for the comestibles themselves,” said Harold Selesky, this year’s nonfiction judge.  

The award recipients, chosen by out-of-state jurors prominent in their respective fields, were all honored at the recent awards banquet.

Other award winners with Ole Miss connections include the fiction award for “Eveningland” to Michael Knight, who was the 2005-06 John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence; and the poetry award for “The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded: Poems” to UM M.F.A. graduate Molly McCully Brown.

For more information, visit the MIAL website at

UM ‘Corpse Flower’ Will Soon Bloom with Smell of Death

School of Pharmacy offering live stream of rare blooming event

A titan arum, a flowering plant known as the ‘corpse flower,’ is soon to bloom at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Faser Hall. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Just keep watching – that’s the best advice for witnessing the soon-to-blossom, towering titan arum housed in the atrium of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Faser Hall. The odd-looking plant, which has the largest unbranched flower cluster in the world, is expected to bloom any hour now.

When it does, the 5-foot-tall flowering plant (Amorphophallus titanum) will appear even more otherworldly, with its now-lime-green spathe unfolding to display a dark burgundy. The species also emits a decomposing flesh odor when it blooms, a smell intended to attract pollinators but a putrid smell nonetheless that has earned titan arum the nickname “corpse flower” or “corpse plant.”

Lal Jayaratna, a research and development botanist with the Maynard W. Quimby Medicinal Plant Garden of the National Center for Natural Products Research, where the plant is usually housed, said he believes the plant will blossom Thursday or Friday.

On Thursday morning, a steady stream of onlookers viewed the titan arum in person in the UM School of Pharmacy, some even posing for pictures. A live stream of the titan arum is also available at the Ole Miss Pharmacy YouTube page

The plant, native solely to western Sumatra and western Java in Indonesia, is grown at the garden as a collection and also for research by NCNPR scientists on the chemistry of different parts of the plant. The garden is home to three mature titan arums and a few others.

The blooming of the plant is a rare sight, with the titan arum taking about five or more years to start flowering. It then subsequently blooms infrequently, once in three or four years, and even more rarely in cultivation. In 2014, UM housed two plants that bloomed within weeks of each other.

Bowlin Named Inaugural Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy

Distinction honors professor's excellence in teaching and research

Kendall Bowlin (at podium) teaches a class in the UM Patterson School of Accountancy. Photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy has named Kendall Bowlin as the inaugural holder of its Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy.

An associate professor and UM alumnus, Bowlin joined the faculty of the accountancy school in 2008 after earning a doctoral degree at the University of Texas. His primary teaching and research interests are in the field of auditing.

Before his doctoral studies, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the UM School of Business Administration and a master’s degree in accountancy from the Patterson School in 1998 and 1999, respectively. He worked four years as an auditor with Ernst & Young in Memphis, Tennessee.

“Being named the first Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy is a tremendous honor, and I am grateful for Mr. Krei’s generous support of our school, faculty and students,” Bowlin said. “The success that our students and faculty have had, and continue to have, is a result of the wonderful financial support and friendship provided by Ed Krei and other alumni.”

Barbara and Ed Krei, of Edmond, Oklahoma, established the Edward Krei Lectureship in Accountancy in 2009. In 2015, they generously elevated their endowment to the chair level, with more than $1.5 million committed to sustaining and strengthening the school’s faculty.

The endowment provides salary supplements, research and creative activity support, and other funding deemed appropriate by the dean.

“We are deeply grateful to Barbara and Ed Krei for establishing the Krei Chair of Accountancy at Ole Miss,” Dean Mark Wilder said. “Ed has enjoyed an exceptional career, and we are proud to have him as an alumnus and also as a member of the Patterson School Hall of Fame.

“We are humbled by the Kreis’ generosity. Their vision to support our faculty will enable the Patterson School to continue building on its strong teaching and mentoring tradition, a trademark of our program and a key reason for the successes that we enjoy.”

All three degree programs at the Patterson School are among the top 10 in the 2017 annual national rankings of accounting programs published by the Public Accounting Report. The undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs are all ranked No. 8 nationally.

The master’s program leads the Southeastern Conference in the rankings and the undergraduate program is second in the conference. One or more Ole Miss accountancy programs have led the SEC in the rankings in each of the past seven years.

Bowlin’s appointment to the chair is well-deserved, Wilder said.

“Dr. Bowlin is enjoying an outstanding career at Ole Miss,” he continued. “He is one of the bright young minds in our profession and is a national leader in auditing research. His presence on our faculty has enabled us to attract other top faculty and doctoral students to the Patterson School.”

Bowlin’s research focuses on the strategic aspects of interactions between auditors and client managers. He is particularly interested in the ways in which institutional features of the audit environment affect the auditor’s ability to anticipate and respond to the manager’s possible tendencies toward financial misreporting.

Ed Krei

“I very much appreciate Mr. Krei’s and Dean Wilder’s confidence in appointing me to hold the Krei Chair, and I hope to justify their confidence through a devotion to our students, our alumni and my colleagues in the Patterson School,” Bowlin said.

“The establishment of the chair represents continued and growing faculty support from our alumni. This support allows the Patterson School to recruit and retain high-quality faculty, who will, in turn, commit to the development of our students and accounting leaders of the future.”

Krei enjoyed an outstanding career as managing director and board member for the Baker Group in Oklahoma City. The Baker Group is an institutional fixed-income firm that serves community banks throughout the nation. For 21 years, he has represented the Baker Group, helping client organizations develop strategies and plan for the future.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accountancy from Ole Miss in 1973. He said the endowment is meant to provide an “eternal flame,” commemorating the education he received.

“I think the Patterson School is an excellent investment because of its faculty members,” Krei said. “Their passion is so evident, and they really excite students about their field. And now, with the speaking engagements I have, I find myself emulating what I learned from them.”

The Kreis met at UM as freshman members of the Pride of the South Marching Band. Barbara Krei graduated from what is now the School of Applied Sciences and has enjoyed a career as a speech pathologist in the Putnam City Schools in Oklahoma City.

“The Kreis’ investment in our faculty will provide benefits for many generations of future Ole Miss accountancy students,” Wilder said.

The Ed Krei Lectureship in Accountancy Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655; or visit

For more information on ways to support the Patterson School of Accountancy, contact Denson Hollis, executive development director, at 662-915-5092 or

Center for Inclusion Creates Lasting Impact for Graduating Seniors

CICCE celebrates four years of service to students

UM students participate in the CICCE’s Celebration of Achievement, a graduation ceremony for students from historically underrepresented populations. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – During their college careers, many students find an organization, resource or mentor that influences the person they become and affects them both academically and personally. For several of this year’s graduates, the University of Mississippi’s Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement served as all three.

The CICCE was established in 2014 to provide services that foster an inclusive campus environment. The students graduating this year were freshmen when the center first opened, and it became a haven to them for mentorships and conversations.

“The class of 2018 is especially special to me, as many of the undergraduates were only freshmen when the CICCE opened during the fall 2014 semester,” said Shawnboda Mead, the center’s director. “Four years later, the center has contributed to the university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, yet I know there is still more work to be done.

“My hope is that with each class, we will continue to see progress towards making the university a more welcoming place for all students.”

The center’s mission is to create open and continuous communication to deepen the understanding of self-identity and the identity, culture and heritage of others for all students. The center’s staff also works to create a space that is nurturing and welcoming for students from historically underrepresented groups.

Over the last four years, the center has assisted with growth and retention of underrepresented students. In 2016, UM’s retention rate for African-American students was more than 85 percent. This rate was the highest among institutions in Mississippi and higher than the Southern University Group average.

The center also has developed programs and leadership initiatives for underrepresented students and hosted events to promote cross-cultural interactions among the entire student population. Among the most successful of those programs is the Mississippi Outreach to Scholastic Talent Mentoring program, a partnership with the Office of Admissions that pairs incoming freshman and high school seniors of color with an upperclassman mentor.

The annual MOST Conference, held each summer for high school seniors, aims to expose prospective African-American students to academic offerings, campus resources and leadership opportunities. The conference has grown each year, and more than 850 students have applied for this year’s event, scheduled for July.

Terrence Johnson graduates with a degree in journalism from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communication

Of students attending MOST in 2015 and 2016, about 30 percent enrolled at Ole Miss.

Hundreds of students have volunteered to serve as mentors in MOST, as well as other leadership programs including UM CONNECT, which matches African-American, Latin American, Native American, Asian-American, multiracial and first-generation college students with a mentor.

The African American Males Enrolling Retaining Graduating Initiative provides mentoring, community outreach, and personal and professional development opportunities for students. The Inclusion Team of Peer Diversity Educators allows any student to volunteer as an advocate for diversity, multiculturalism and social justice.

“The participation of students has been instrumental in allowing our small staff to expand our reach across the campus and fulfilling our mission,” Mead said.

The CICCE, in collaboration with campus partners, also hosted a Lavender Graduation for the last three years to celebrate the achievements of LGBTQ students. The center also develops programs for Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, LGBT History Month and Native American Heritage Month, among other celebrations.

Students who entered the university during the center’s inaugural year have directly benefitted from those services during their time at Ole Miss.

Terrence Johnson, broadcast journalism major and African American studies minor from Shuqualak, said the center eased his transition into university life and allowed him to participate as a MOST mentor.

“The center was the first place that I was able to call home,” he said. “It was one of the best things that happened to me because it gave me the privilege to invest in students like I had been invested in.

“I know that through this position, it led to other opportunities on campus that really solidified my undergrad experience. I am so thankful for the center and everyone who’s a part of being a change agent for our campus. The center changed me.”

Nekkita Beans, social work major from Philadelphia and outgoing president of the Black Student Union, said the center was the backbone of her UM experience.

“As a freshman, I struggled to find my footing as a black student who attended a predominantly white high school and now a predominantly white institution,” she said. “I did not know what it meant to be too black or not black enough.”

That year, the CICCE took a group of students to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, which filled Beans with many different emotions: rage, happiness, sadness and pride. After the trip, Mead and Melinda Sutton Noss, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, sat down with students to discuss their experiences over dinner.

“The center has always had a way of bringing upper-level school administrators down to the table with students,” Beans said. “That is something that I have always admired about that place.

“With my newly found black pride in tow, I boldly marched into sophomore year more comfortable and confident than the previous year.”

Beans also developed a home at the center, where she had daily conversations about race, pop culture, campus climate and current events. She said these conversations allowed her to learn much more beyond the classroom.

Caitlynn Hamilton, a 2018 UM graduate, credits the CICCE with teaching her best practices for inclusion. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

“One of the biggest lessons that I have come to learn through the CICCE is the importance of intersectionality,” she said. “The center is a place where all aspects of identity is explored. 

“Having this space equipped me with the confidence and tools that I needed to address injustice, inequality and ignorance within my community and on campus.”

The CICCE serves as the advising office for the Black Student Union. This is just one way the university has shown that it values and respects students of color, Beans said.

“We are able to mentor other students of color as they enter and matriculate at the University of Mississippi,” she said. “This shows that the University of Mississippi is willing to truly invest in the success of its students. I have no doubt that this is the direct result of the CICCE.”

Besides providing resources to underrepresented students, the center also has shaped the way students view peers of different backgrounds.

For Caitlynn Hamilton, a general studies major from Hernando, the center was a turning point in understanding her own privilege and the lack of opportunity for underrepresented populations.

“Being a part of the iTeam has allowed me to learn many different strategies for best practicing inclusion, but also how to break those ideas down for the students we present to,” she said.

Being involved with the center shaped Hamilton into a person who cares about students on a deeper level and has led her to pursue a career as a student affairs professional, she said.

“I think the center’s impact in my life is reflected in my friend group as well, considering not a single one of them is just like me,” Hamilton said. “I have found comfort in being uncomfortable at this university, because of the center’s work in challenging me to find differences and embrace them.”

For more information about the center and its resources, visit

DéLana R.A. Dameron is UM Summer Poet in Residence

Brooklyn resident working on latest collection of poetry

De’Lana R.A. Dameron

OXFORD, Miss. – An award-winning poet is coming to the University of Mississippi this summer to work on her next collection of poetry.

DéLana R. A. Dameron, a writer and arts and culture administrator, is the 2018 Summer Poet in Residence in the university’s Department of English.

Dameron’s second collection of poems, “Weary Kingdom” (2017), is part of the University of South Carolina Palmetto Poetry Series. Her debut collection, “How God Ends Us” (2009), was selected the 2008 South Carolina Poetry Book Prize and was a finalist for the 2009 Foreword Review Book of the Year.

“Only lately have I been able to articulate, or understand, that I moved away in order to know how to love the South – and myself – better,” said Dameron, a South Carolina native who moved to Brooklyn, New York, a decade ago. “I’d like to know what my writing would look like in an extended time in the South, and this opportunity would provide such a chance.”

Dameron’s residency dates are June 15 to July 16. Her last such experience was in 2009.

Her plans include continuing to write “My ___ is Black” poems, which are meditations on what it means to be black and American. She also will work on a long poem about her paternal grandparents in Charleston, South Carolina, and go through another round of edits for her latest novel.

“Most of my writing for the last eight years has happened in the interstices of full-time work, full-time family and other pursuits,” Dameron said. “I felt immediately a sigh of relief and gratitude that there will be a place for me to read, breathe, write and be in a community of writers for an extended period.”

She also anticipates going fishing, an activity she hasn’t done since she was a child.

“I am looking forward to having the weight of a rod and reel in my hands, casting out into the water and seeing what comes back,” Dameron said. “Writing is not unlike this process.” ​

Dameron earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina and a master’s degree in poetry from New York University. She has conducted readings, workshops and lectures all across the United States, Central America and Europe.

“DéLana’s poems are filled with arresting imagery and narrative arcs that are concerned with home, migration, black Southern life, history and traditions,” said Nadia Alexis, a graduate instructor and MFA candidate in creative writing who judged applications and is the SPiR administrator.

“We found her project incredibly compelling, and we’re excited about having her here for a month – writing poems and engaging with undergraduates, the MFA community and local community through class visits, an MFA salon and a reading at Square Books.”

Dameron’s June 28 appearance at Square Books begins with book signings at 5 p.m. and reading at 5:30. The event is free to the public.

“Graduate students in the English department are excited about the opportunity for undergraduate students from their summer courses to learn from DéLana,” said Helene Achanzar, a colleague of Alexis who is assisting with logistics and setting up class visits for Dameron. “During her class visits, DéLana will share her poetry, answer questions about the craft and content of her work, and deliver short presentations related to the course material.”

As a culture maker and arts administrator, Dameron founded Red Olive Creative Consulting in 2013 and brings over a decade of experience in nonprofit fundraising and program development in the areas of arts and culture and education. Besides consulting for small and mid-sized arts and culture organizations on building capacity and sustainability, she is the founder of Black Art Futures Fund and serves on the board of directors of Alice James Books.

“My relationship to the South has remained complicated and loaded, but there will always be reverence and love,” Dameron said. “I had to put distance between us to know how to love it, to appreciate what it gave me and to understand what it might have taken away.”

Beth Ann Fennelly, professor of English and Mississippi’s poet laureate, said that “it’s a blessing that the English department has been given the house formerly owned by John and Renee Grisham to support literature in Mississippi.

“Summers can be slow in Oxford, but because of this great house and the generous funding from the department, (Division of) Outreach and College of Liberal Arts, we’re entering our 11th year of inviting a promising young poet to live in Oxford for the month, visiting classes and meeting with students,” said Fennelly, founder of the SPiR program.

“We’re especially excited to have DéLana Dameron and grateful to our talented MFA student, Nadia Alexis, who did the hard work of bringing her here.”

For more about the UM Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, visit

National Science Foundation Funds Further Lightning Research

UM professors studying the mysteries of how lightning starts

Thomas Marshall (pictured) and Maribeth Stolzenburg, a pair of University of Mississippi professors of physics and astronomy, have been granted two National Science Foundation awards to study lightning initiation.Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Science has revealed several fascinating things about lightning. For instance, a lightning flash can heat the surrounding air to temperatures around 50,000 degrees – five times hotter than the sun’s surface.

Lightning bolts roar toward the ground at speeds of 200,000 mph. And an American has about a one-in-14,600 chance of being struck by lightning during an 80-year lifetime.

Questions remain about lightning, though, including how lightning starts, and that’s a secret two University of Mississippi professors are working on unraveling.

Two recent National Science Foundation awards will assist the scientists – Thomas Marshall, professor of physics and astronomy, and Maribeth Stolzenburg, research professor of physics and astronomy – as they pursue the mysteries of lightning initiation.

Knowing how lightning begins could lead to a better understanding of where it might strike and being able to better warn people of approaching weather conditions conducive to lightning strikes. Marshall and Stolzenburg are not working on predicting lightning strikes, as the first question to answer is: How does lightning initiate?

“We’re going to try to get a better understanding about how lightning starts, and then how it moves through the cloud,” Marshall said. “But the starting part is especially interesting because air is not a conductor and when you see the big, bright … return stroke of a lightning flash, that’s a big current and it needs a good conductor.

“How a lightning flash can change a thin path of air from a non-conductor to a conductor has eluded explanation for a long time.”

Stolzenburg said scientists have to have puzzles, and “one of those puzzles is that we’ve known that lightning has existed forever, but all the detailed physics of what has to happen to get that started … is really poorly understood.”

“In terms of why should society care about this research, the answer is: Better understanding of lightning processes may allow us to better predict when lightning will happen or at least understand where it’s going to happen,” she said. “Being able to do that means we may eventually be able to give better warnings about when to get off the golf course or the soccer field.”

Marshall is principal investigator of an award that is for $154,222 for its first year and titled “Lightning Initiation and In-Cloud Electromagnetic Activity in Mississippi Thunderstorms.” Stolzenburg is the co-principal investigator for the award, No. 1742930. Expected future NSF support for the award is $95,419 each year in 2019 and 2020.

The second award is titled “Collaborative Research: High-Speed Slitless Spectroscopy Studies of Natural Lightning Flashes” and is for $154,476 for its first year. Stolzenburg is principal investigator for the award, No. 1745931, and Marshall is co-principal investigator. The award is a continuing grant with an estimated total award amount of $440,314. 

The second project is a collaboration between Ole Miss and Texas A&M University professor Richard Orville and will collect new lightning data, including high-speed video data and lightning spectra.

Thomas Marshall, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Mississippi, captured this lightning strike in New Mexico. Two new National Science Foundation awards are allowing Marshall and Maribeth Stolzenburg, research professor of physics and astronomy at UM, to further study lightning initiation. Photo courtesy Tom Marshall

“Lightning is one of the most dramatic natural events, observed through countless generations, but it’s still not fully understood,” said Josh Gladden, UM interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. “Drs. Marshall and Stolzenburg have deep expertise in lightning initiation, and this NSF grant will help them take our knowledge to the next level.”

The first award allows the duo to analyze data collected in the spring and summer of 2016 in north Mississippi, also funded by the NSF. That award was granted after Marshall and Stolzenburg conducted lightning studies at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2010 and 2011.

In the summer of 2016, lightning data was collected at seven sites in north Mississippi. One of the sites was at the UM Field Station, and another was on the Ole Miss campus.

The data collected is some 20 terabytes of computer memory, enough to max out the storage capacity on about 312 iPhone Xs with 64-gigabyte storage capacities.

The lightning data is on a time scale of less than one-millionth of a second.

The second award will collect new data on lightning initiation using three high-speed video cameras and the seven sensors. The data collection will focus on the initial sparks (with durations of only 5- to 60-millionths of a second) that occur during the time needed to form the lightning channel, roughly the first 3- to 10-thousandths of a second of a lightning flash.

The video cameras will record the initial pulses as they develop.

“Essentially, we are trying to understand all this fine detail in the lightning data to see if it fits with the theories of how lightning starts,” Stolzenburg said. “Or, if it doesn’t fit, then there is something wrong with the theory, so we need to modify the theory.

“Eventually, we need to understand how a flash is able to go from initiation to a conducting channel that travels to ground. Fortunately, we have a lot of lightning data collected in 2016, including data from traditional lightning sensors and from new lightning sensors, to help us investigate how lightning initiation works.”

According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, from 2006 through 2017, 376 people were struck and killed by lightning in the U.S., with almost two-thirds of the deaths involving outdoor leisure activities such as fishing, being on the beach, camping, boating, or playing soccer or golf.

Center Director Named William Winter Professor of History

Ted Ownby selected to be third holder of prestigious position

Ted Ownby

OXFORD, Miss. – As director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, Ted Ownby fulfills many roles. He recently added one more to the list as the university’s William F. Winter Professor of History.

In 1992, the University of Mississippi Foundation established an endowment fund to promote and recognize excellence in historical scholarship and to honor former Gov. William F. Winter, a staunch supporter of public education. Ownby, professor of history and Southern studies, is the third faculty member to be appointed to the position; the previous two being professors Winthrop Jordan and Charles Eagles.

“Gov. Winter has been a leader in education, in racial reconciliation work, in Mississippi history, and he believes in continuing to work for progress of multiple kinds,” Ownby said. “Winter is Mississippi history’s most accomplished governor, and he is a great example for all of us.

“It’s exciting as a scholar and teacher and encyclopedia editor to be connected to him.”

Winter graduated from UM in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree in history, then earned his law degree in 1949. While at Ole Miss, he was in Army ROTC, a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and editor of The Daily Mississippian. During law school, he was chosen for the Phi Delta Phi law honorary and the Mississippi Law Journal staff.

A committee composed of full professors of history selected Ownby for the prestigious position. A faculty member at UM since 1988 and director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture since 2008, Ownby is widely regarded as a leading scholar in the area of Southern history.

He has authored three books, “Subduing Satan” (1990), “American Dreams in Mississippi” (1999) and “Hurtin’ Words: Ideas of Family Crisis and the Twentieth-Century South,” which will be published this fall by the University of North Carolina Press, and is editor or co-editor of eight other books, including The Mississippi Encyclopedia, published last year by University Press of Mississippi.

Ownby has been a pillar of the graduate programs in both history and Southern studies during the past three decades, said Jeffrey Watt, acting chair of history. He has directed to completion 28 history doctoral dissertations and approximately 50 M.A. theses in history and Southern studies.

“Although the Winter chair is not specifically designated for a specialist in Southern history, Ownby definitely writes the type of history that fans of William Winter are bound to enjoy,” Watt said. “Simply put, Ted Ownby is an invaluable asset to the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History and is most worthy of this honor.”