Student Activities Association Spring Concert Canceled

OXFORD, Miss. — The Student Activities Association has canceled the annual spring concert in the Grove due to current weather conditions and the threat of inclement weather throughout the day on Sunday, April 30.

The decision was made after consulting with university officials and event personnel after taking into consideration current weather conditions and the continued threat of severe weather forecast by the National Weather Service throughout the afternoon on Sunday.

“While we were excited about having Gucci Mane and Mix Master Mike in the Grove this afternoon, our primary concern is the safety of our students, concert attendees, the artists and event staff,” said Brady Ruffin, Director of the Student Activities Association. “We have been looking forward to a great show, but with the threat of flash flooding and potential for tornadoes this afternoon, we decided to do what is best for everyone involved.”

There is no alternative event scheduled for the spring concert.

UM School of Pharmacy Named Smart Financial Value

Graduates enjoy lower debt, comparable salaries as national averages

The UM School of Pharmacy has been ranked 12th nationwide for financial value, based on average salaries and student load debt for graduates. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy has been named one of the best financial values in the country among pharmacy programs, based on a study by personal finance and loan refinancing company SoFi.

The School of Pharmacy ranked 12th nationwide and best in the Southeastern Conference, based on the ratio of its graduates’ average salaries to their average student loan debt.

The study used data from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy on first-year tuition and fees and student loan debt from more than 60 programs around the country, as well as from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on median salaries of 2016 graduates.

“Our focus as a school continues to be on value, which we measure by cost and quality,” said David Gregory, associate dean for student affairs at the School of Pharmacy. “We are grateful for this recognition and will continue to work to advance on the value scale for pharmacy education.”

The average salary for an Ole Miss pharmacy graduate is $120,269, which is just under the national median pharmacist salary of $121,500. However, UM pharmacy graduates have an average of $98,051 in student loan debt, almost 40 percent lower than the national average of $157,425 for pharmacy students.

This 1.2-to-1 ratio of salary to debt accounts for the program’s high rank in the SoFi study.

Starting salaries for UM pharmacy graduates are on the rise, which may be due to the shortage of health care professionals in Mississippi, especially in more rural areas. In 2015, the Mississippi Legislature addressed this issue by expediting licensure for rural practitioners.

Mississippi is ranked fifth nationwide in demand for pharmacists, according to the Pharmacist Demand Indicator.

“In order to continue to recruit student pharmacists to take on public health issues, we must be competitive in all areas,” said David D. Allen, pharmacy dean. “Being a good value in addition to being an outstanding program enhances our ability to attract the top students.”

UM Sophomore Wins Entrepreneurial Spirit of Mississippi Scholarship

Mary Eveleen Brown honored for accomplishments, involvement with $2,500 award

UM sophomore Mary Eveleen Brown (center) is presented with the 2017 JAMAS Entrepreneurial Spirit of Mississippi Scholarship by (from left) Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration; Madison Turnage, daughter of JAMAS CEO Ben Turnage and an Ole Miss senior; Karen Turnage, Ben Turnage’s wife; and Don Duckworth, senior adviser with JAMAS Capital Management. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – JAMAS Capital Management, a private investment firm based in Jackson, has named University of Mississippi sophomore Mary Eveleen Brown as the recipient of the 2017 JAMAS Capital Entrepreneurial Spirit of Mississippi Scholarship.

A native of Brentwood, Tennessee, Brown got an early start in entrepreneurship at age 12, when she made and sold purses to raise money for a charity that provides plastic surgery to burn victims. In high school, she started an online business making and selling headbands to raise funds to attend camp.

Most recently, Brown immersed herself in a start-up jewelry business, which was “transformative in my understanding of the business environment of today,” she said.

“I discovered that the most crucial question in today’s business environments is, ‘Why do we do things this way?’ It encourages people to look at their business from a different point of view.”

Brown is majoring in integrated marketing communications with a minor in business administration. She has become involved in the Ole Miss community, serving on the Student Activities Association Executive Council, the Associated Student Body Marketing and Engagement Board, and the Student Alumni Council.

She recently served on the sponsorship committee for RebelTHON/Children’s Miracle Network annual fundraiser, which raised more than $100,000.

“Mary Eveleen has demonstrated the motivation to create and succeed in new business opportunities while also serving her community,” said Ben O. Turnage, founder and CEO of JAMAS Capital Management. “We at JAMAS are proud to contribute to the success of this impressive young woman, who has a bright future as a pioneering business leader.”

Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration said, “We are very proud of Mary Eveleen’s accomplishments so early in her college experience and are confident she will continue to build on this success at Ole Miss and well beyond graduation.

“We are also thrilled that JAMAS Capital Management is funding this important scholarship that supports our Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and our entrepreneurship major.”

The $2,500 JAMAS Entrepreneurial Spirit of Mississippi Scholarship helps Ole Miss students pursue their education and goals to create successful businesses after graduation. For more information, visit http://jamascapital.com/.

UM Recognizes Three Employees with Frist Service Awards

Honorees are modern languages and political science professors and admissions director

Robert Brown, who teaches in the Department of Political Science and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, shares this year’s Frist Award for UM faculty. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Following glowing letters of recommendation from students, fellow faculty members and parents, three University of Mississippi employees have been chosen to receive prestigious honors for their exceptional service.

The Thomas Frist Student Service Awards are presented annually to Ole Miss faculty and staff members who have “gone the extra mile” in unwavering dedication and service to students.

Two faculty recipients share this year’s honor: Donald Dyer, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts and professor of Russian and linguistics, and Robert Brown, professor of political science. Whitman Smith, director of admissions, is the staff award recipient.

“The Ole Miss family is fortunate to have so many outstanding individuals who go above and beyond to serve our students,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “All three of this year’s Frist Award recipients exemplify this core value.

“We applaud their unwavering commitment to student engagement and exceptional level of personal attention to student success. These three are very deserving of this special honor.”

Examples of exemplary service include student guidance and mentorship above and beyond those expected of faculty and staff as part of their job responsibilities. Any full-time faculty or staff member, except previous winners, is eligible for the award, which includes a $1,000 prize and a plaque. The winners also are acknowledged during the university’s overall Commencement ceremony.

Each recipient said he was surprised to receive news of his honor.

“I was also humbled and a little bit embarrassed by it,” Smith said. “I am honored to be recognized as someone who serves students. I have nothing I can compare it to.”

Both Dyer and Brown expressed similar feelings.

“When he (Vitter) gave me the news about the Frist Award, I felt incredibly honored … and humbled,” Dyer said. “This (honor) means that my interaction over the years with students has positively influenced someone.

“The success of the students I have been privileged to teach and to advise has always been as important to me or more important than anything else I have achieved as a professor.”

Brown said he is grateful to know students who have made him want to be a better teacher and better person.

Whitman Smith, UM director of admissions, is this year’s staff honoree for the Frist Award. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“This award is a reminder of how lucky I am to be a teacher, and to work with and care about the students I teach,” Brown said. “They have given me so much, and I am glad to be able to give back to them if I can.”

The decision to choose a faculty recipient was difficult due to the stellar praises expressed for each in the nomination letters, said Luca Bombelli and Anne McCauley, both previous Frist winners and co-chairs of the selection committee.

“Reviewing nomination letters for the Frist Award is an inspiring and uplifting task because all the letters express heartfelt gratitude for faculty and staff members who have really made a difference in a student’s life,” said McCauley, assistant director of the Office of Sustainability.

“Both were so equally deserving that selecting one over the other would have involved a degree of arbitrariness that most did not feel comfortable with,” said Bombelli, chair and professor of physics and astronomy. “Therefore, we made the unusual move to recognize both of them.”

Brown, who has been nominated for the award in previous years, teaches in both the Department of Political Science and at the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

In a nomination letter for him, one student wrote, “He has gone above and beyond as a professor, his dedication to his students shining every step of the way. Dr. Brown has visited sick students in their hometowns, gifted books to other students just because he thought they would enjoy, and has become a faithful campus voice outspoken against sexual assault.”

Don Dyer, professor of Russian and linguistics, is a faculty recipient of a 2017 Frist Award. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

When the student had doubts about her career path, “He sat with me and compiled a list of possible majors, helped me schedule appointments with deans and professors in each department, showing up to introduce me to each of them.”

Dyer, who had multiple nomination letters written by both students and faculty, was commended by a colleague for “having taken the language and linguistics programs to exceptional heights.

“He has always been supportive of new ideas and innovations in teaching languages, including less commonly taught languages, such as Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. Thanks to his hard work, professional and personal skills, the Department of Modern Languages has achieved great success, national and international recognition and respect.”

A student wrote that Dyer’s service has included funding graduate students’ trips to conferences in Idaho and New Mexico, teaching more than his required number of courses when necessary and even teaching a much-needed summer course for free as a gesture of good will.

“Dr. Dyer leads by example; he is ready to do what is best for the students and the university,” the student wrote.

In a nomination letter for Smith, written by the parents of a UM student, he was praised for having “rewritten the playbook” for the role of admissions director.

“Whitman went well beyond introducing students to the university and helping them acclimate to the college environment,” they wrote. “He built a relationship with (our son). Had it not been for Whitman and his ceaseless encouragement and open door, he may not be graduating in May.

“Whitman’s voice of reason and understanding encouraged him when it seemed nobody else could.”

The parents noted Smith has “a deep passion” for working with Ole Miss students.

“More than once, we have phoned Whitman at home and on his cell number after office hours. Whitman consistently goes beyond the role of a director of admissions, providing guidance and mentorship that serve students like our son every single day.”

All three recipients said they plan to give their stipends back to the university.

“I will donate half to the Larry Ridgeway scholarship fund and half to the Max Miller scholarship fund,” Smith said.

“I plan to give it to the Department of Modern Languages to help students in need of financial support to study abroad,” Dyer said.

“Half will go to the Department of Political Science and half will go to the Honors College to use for student projects and development,” Brown said.

The Frist Student Service Awards were established with a $50,000 gift from the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist of Nashville, a 1930 UM graduate. Past winners of the Frist Award include faculty members Brett Cantrell, Denis Goulet, Aileen Ajootian, Don Cole, Charles Eagles, Ellen Meacham, Terry Panhorst, Ken Sufka and Eric Weber, and staff members Lindsey Bartlett Mosvick, Carol Forsythe, Thelma Curry, Dewey Knight, Valeria Ross, Marc Showalter and Linda Spargo.

Volunteers Sought to Fight Poverty in Mississippi

North Mississippi VISTA Project accepting applications for terms of service beginning in August

Jeffrey Peavey, a former VISTA with Delta State University, and Shannon Curtis, co-leader of the North Mississippi VISTA Project, visit while working on a community project. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The North Mississippi VISTA Project is recruiting members to begin a yearlong term of service in August. The Volunteers in Service to America Project sponsors 14 organizations and can recruit up to 25 full-year VISTA members to serve throughout north Mississippi and the Delta.

The University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, directed by Albert Nylander, professor of sociology, works with the Corporation for National and Community Service and to lead the North Mississippi VISTA Project.

VISTA members commit to one year of service, where they focus on building sustainable capacity within community-based organizations and delivering a measurable impact on the impoverished populations they serve.

“My years serving with VISTA have been two of the most enriching and fulfilling professionally and personally of my life,” VISTA leader Shannon Curtis said. “My time in service with the North Mississippi VISTA Project has allowed me to hone skills and knowledge that allows me to build capacity for my sites, as well as my own resume, while working toward eradicating poverty in Mississippi.”

The North Mississippi VISTA Project is recruiting for several organizations based on campus and in Lafayette County, including sites such as the University Museum and the United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County. Positions outside the county include Title I school districts and nonprofit organizations such as the North Panola School District and Sunflower County Freedom Project.

Prospective applicants must be motivated, reliable team players who are 18 years or older and have earned at least a high school diploma or GED. Interested individuals are invited to visit http://vista.olemiss.edu/ for application instructions. The priority deadline for applications is May 1.

Project leaders plan to continue to develop host sites around north Mississippi, cultivate projects and place VISTAs with community partners that fight poverty through education. In the 2016-17 program year, the VISTA project contributed more than $650,000 to the region.

Alumna Lauryn DuValle, who served as a VISTA with at the UM School of Education before becoming a North Mississippi VISTA leader, is an Eli J. Segal Policy Fellow at the Service Year Alliance in Washington, D.C.

“My experience with the North Mississippi VISTA Project helped me garner the resilience necessary to succeed in life,” DuValle said. “The supportive collaboration of university students, faculty, staff, Mississippi’s many communities and the passion led by my fellow VISTAs helped in solidifying the theory of serving your fellow man as a means of us all succeeding. We are only as great as the least of us.”

Many North Mississippi VISTA alumni have gone to graduate programs at Harvard University, New York University, Princeton University and Stanford University, as well as to find work in the public, nonprofit and private sectors.

For more information on VISTA service opportunities, contact VISTA leaders Sara Baker and Shannon Curtis at VISTA@olemiss.edu or 662-915-2397.

C Spire Tech Experience to Bring Immersive Demonstrations to UM

Mini-SXSW event April 27 at The Pavilion at Ole Miss features immersive demonstrations

Lee Eason (left), Ethan Luckett and McKennon McMillan experiment with virtual reality eyewear in Adam Jones’ laboratory. Submitted Photo

OXFORD, Miss. – A major technology event featuring nationally acclaimed speakers and cutting-edge demonstrations is scheduled for April 27 at the University of Mississippi.

CTX – the C Spire Tech Experience – begins at 2 p.m. in The Pavilion at Ole Miss. The mini-SXSW expo features Brian Uzzi, a Northwestern University professor and artificial intelligence expert; Michelle McKenna-Doyle, chief information officer for the National Football League; and Randi Zuckerberg, founder of Zuckerberg Media and former chief marketing officer of Facebook.

Demonstrations for some of the leading technology innovations in the U.S., including virtual reality and artificial intelligence, and a “sneak peek” of C Spire’s forthcoming streaming digital television product are also planned. The VR demonstrations will feature advanced work by faculty and students in the UM School of Engineering and the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence.

Brian Uzzi

Partners for the event include the UM schools of Business Administration and Engineering, Associated Student Body, the CME and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“We’re excited to partner with an industry leader in hosting a major high-tech event on campus,” Chancellor Jeffery Vitter said. “It will help spur ideas and innovation that will enable our students and faculty to more fully participate in the new digital economy.”

C Spire CEO Hu Meena said the Mississippi-based telecommunications and technology services company is likewise pleased to be coming to the university.

“As the region’s technology leader, we’re uniquely positioned to bring to life an event at the intersection of music and technology,” Meena said. “In the new digital economy, these are some of the leading innovations that hold promise for greatly improving the quality of our lives.”

Besides providing the venue and additional support for CTX, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will have two demonstrations set up in the vendor area.

Randi Zuckerberg

“One is our virtual reality kiosk, which allows viewers to put on a headset and go on the Walk of Champions, inside the locker room and other Rebels’ sports-related scenarios,” said Michael Thompson, senior associate athletics director of communications and marketing. “The second one is our Rebel Rewards app, which gives faithful patrons and users several discounts on Ole Miss Athletics merchandise.”

A group of nearly 40 students in UM’s virtual reality class is working on demonstrations for CTX.

“These students are from all across the state, nation and world,” said Adam Jones, assistant professor of computer and information science. “This class is the first of its kind at Ole Miss and is the only regular class in the state dedicated to developing virtual reality systems.”

Jones’ Hi5 Virtual Reality Lab students, his research group, also will show some of their projects.

“These students will be demonstrating novel mixed reality and augmented reality experiences that bring elements of the real world into VR with you,” he said.

CME students’ demos include a table that showcases the NASA Student Launch rocket project in which they participated.

Michelle McKenna-Doyle

“Our research project was devoted to designing, constructing and launching a high-powered rocket to a target altitude of 1 mile,” said Dillon Hall, a senior mechanical engineering major from Saltillo and leader of the 12-member team. “Our rocket also had to carry an experimental payload apparatus designed to protect a fragile cargo installed into the launch vehicle throughout an entire flight.”

In addition, CTX 2017 includes a music concert that evening at The Lyric Oxford, near the Square. Featured performers include Passion Pit, a highly-regarded alternative indietronic band from Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Weeks and the Lonely Biscuits, both from Nashville, Tennessee.

CTX’s technology focus will help kick-off the 22nd annual Double Decker Festival, set for April 28-29. The two-day event attracts thousands of visitors and features nearly 200 arts, crafts and food vendors, along with live music and other entertainment.

For discounted student tickets, see https://twitter.com/CSpire/status/850355745833050112. For ticket availability, pricing and more information about CTX 2017, visit http://cspire.com/ctx or follow C Spire on Twitter.

Marty Stuart to Headline Concert at Mississippi Bicentennial North

June 24 event also features Mac McAnally, Steve Azar and salute to state's musical heritage

UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter (left) and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant join country singer Steve Azar, Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson and Craig Ray, director of Visit Mississippi, at Rowan Oak to announce plans for the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration North, set for June 24 in Oxford. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Country and Americana music legend Marty Stuart will headline the Governor’s Concert at the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration North, set for June 24 in Oxford. The free event is part of celebrations around the state during 2017.

“In a state known for master storytellers, Oxford is a literary capital,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “There is no better backdrop for a celebration featuring some of Mississippi’s greatest songwriters than the land of William Faulkner, where our literary tradition thrives.”

Stuart will lead the Governor’s Concert lineup at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi. The Philadelphia native began his career as a sideman for country legends Lester Flatt and Johnny Cash before striking gold and platinum in his solo career, which spans more than three decades.

The Governor’s Concert also will feature singer-songwriter Mac McAnally, a hitmaker for Kenny Chesney and Alabama and a longtime member of Jimmy Buffett’s backing band, plus Mississippi’s Music and Culture Ambassador, Steve Azar, and Shannon McNally.

“We Are Mississippi,” a salute to the state’s musical heritage conducted by Jay Dean, executive director of the Arts Institute of Mississippi, will kick off the concert. Additional acts in the showcase include Vasti Jackson, the Roots Gospel Voices of Mississippi, 2015 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest winner David Lee, the Mississippi Bicentennial Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Bicentennial Singers and the 200-voice Mississippi Bicentennial Chorus.

“As shown by our more than 200 Blues Trail and Country Music Trail markers, Mississippi is very fortunate to have generations of talented musicians to lead us in celebration during the bicentennial year,” said Glenn McCullough Jr., executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority.

The Bicentennial Celebration North officially begins from 5 to 6:30 p.m. June 23 with the “Mississippi: 200 Years of Statehood” exhibit in the Faulkner Room at university’s J.D. Williams Library. A live taping of Thacker Mountain Radio in the Grove will follow at 7 p.m.

“The state’s bicentennial celebration is a great opportunity to showcase the wonderful Lafayette-Oxford-University community and all of the north region,” UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “We appreciate all the hard work by the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration Commission and partner organizations to mark the 200th anniversary of Mississippi’s statehood.”

All events during the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration are free and open to the public. Due to limited seating, the Governor’s Concert is free with ticketed admission. Attendees must reserve tickets online at http://www.visitmississippi.org/200. Visitors are limited to two tickets each.

“By hosting these bicentennial events in three major regions of the state, we are able to celebrate with our towns and communities and showcase what makes Mississippi truly great,” said Craig Ray, Visit Mississippi director.

Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration events are also planned for Dec. 9 in Jackson during the grand opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. For more information on the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration, visit http//www.visitmississippi.org/200.

UM Catapult Competition Draws Top Guns

Tishomingo County High School teams defeated 16 others to take home top honors

Members of the Hot-N-Spicy team from Desoto Central High School experience the joy of victory during the Siege the Castle event at UM’s annual Catapult Competition. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Normally, tennis balls volley back and forth on the tennis court, but Wednesday afternoon (April 12), the fluorescent yellow balls were being catapulted in the C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum at the University of Mississippi.

The School of Engineering, Center for Math and Science Education and Division of Outreach and Continuing Education hosted the 11th annual Catapult Competition. Middle and high school students from across Mississippi designed and constructed catapults and brought them to campus to test their engineering skills.

Catapults, which originated as ancient engines of war, hurl projectiles at targets. Among the most powerful medieval weapons, catapults known as trebuchets use a counterweight to propel their payload. Modern catapults use tension, such as a spring or elastic band, that is suddenly released to fling a projectile.

“This is the 11th annual Catapult Competition, formerly Trebuchet Competition,” said Tiffany Gray, research associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and co-coordinator of the event. “We changed the rules on what the students were building last year, so last year we changed the name to reflect this.”

In the UM competition, students designed and constructed catapults of metal, wood and PVC to hurl tennis balls across the field. Registering for the event were 17 teams representing eight schools: Central Hinds Academy, Desoto Central High School, Guntown Middle School, Lafayette Middle School, Oxford High School, Tishomingo County High School, Water Valley High School and West Jones High School.

UM engineering graduate students weighed and measured the catapults to make sure specifications were met. Catapults not meeting specs either had to be modified or were penalized points for not meeting the criteria.

Teams competed in Design, Pop-A-Shot, Humpty Dumpty and Siege the Castle categories. Catapults were scored on their design process, safety features, construction, creativity and originality, and team interviews.

First place overall went to America’s Mitochondria from Tishomingo County High School. Second and third places overall went to Sojourn, also from TCHS, and Memengineers from Oxford High School.

Students on the Enduring Frustration team from Tishomingo County High School are in the zone during the Siege the Castle event at the annual UM Catapult Competition.Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Winners in Pop-A-Shot were America’s Mitochondria (first), Indeed from Lafayette Middle (second) and Ultimus from Guntown Middle (third). In Humpty Dumpty, winners were America’s Mitochondria (first), Shorts from Central Hinds Academy (second) and Enduring Frustration from Tishomingo County (third). Siege the Castle winners were America’s Mitochondra (first), Hot-N-Spicy from Desoto Central (second) and Memengineers (third). In Design, Sojourn placed first, America’s Mitochondria took second and B.L.A.G.H. from Desoto Central came in third.

The Pop-A-Shot required teams to launch four shots from three different locations at a regulation basketball hoop. The Humpty Dumpty event called for teams to launch tennis balls in attempts to knock three cardboard boxes off a wall of blocks without disturbing the wall. The Siege the Castle competition required teams to use catapults to knock down a cardboard brick wall.

The Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence created 3-D-printed desktop catapults for the overall winners. Plaques made in the Mechanical Engineering Machine Shop were presented for each category. The overall winner was the team with the highest total score.

Six Ole Miss graduate students judged the entries: mechanical engineering majors Damian Stoddard of St. Louis, Cody Berrey of Meridian and Zach Wallace of Batesville; civil engineering major Grace McMahen of Union; geology and geological engineering major Alex Weatherwax of Williamsburg, Virginia; and physics major Sunethra Dayavansha of Kandy, Sri Lanka.

The Sojourn team intentionally went for a more creative design for its catapult, said Samuel Zafic, a senior at Tishomingo County High School.

“Most everyone goes for the traditional arm and bar design,” he said. “Going a different route allowed me to experience some of what it’s like to be in the engineering profession.”

Davis Powell, a junior also from TCHS, described the annual Division of Outreach program as “amazing.”

“I entered the competition last year because it looked like it would be fun,” said Powell, who hinted he might return to the university as a biochemical engineering major after he graduates in 2018. “It is fun, but it is also challenging. I definitely plan on coming back for next year’s competition.”

Middle and high school students from across the state of Mississippi participate in the 11th annual Catapult Competition at Tad Smith Coliseum. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Before the day’s final competitive event, participants faced off in preliminaries and made adjustments to their catapults. Sometimes, the machines broke during this process.

“It is impressive to see the tools come out and students making repairs to get their machine up and hurling again,” Gray said. “That is what the engineering experience is all about.”

The catapult project encourages students to think and use the engineering design process, engineering school staff members said.

“Each year, I see familiar faces from previous competitions,” said Matt Nelms of Oxford, a UM staff member who serves as the event’s co-coordinator. “It’s very meaningful to see these high school and middle school students mature and the extremely impressive engineering solutions they come up with at such young ages. Their intelligence always exceeds our expectations.”

In medieval times, trebuchets were more accurate than other catapults, which use tension or torsion to fire projectiles. In modern times, trebuchets have become popular devices for hurling pumpkins, frozen turkeys or even junk cars in light-spirited competitions.

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

For more about the Center for Math and Science Education, go to http://umcmse.com/. For more about the Division of Outreach, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/.

Challenge Invites LOU Community to Explore Resources for Green Week

UM, Oxford to host annual sustainability observance April 17-22

A pair of Ole Miss students help Nathan Lazinsky (left) spread pine straw around an oak tree. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi and Oxford community will celebrate Green Week April 17-22.

The annual series of events focuses on bringing awareness to sustainability topics, resources in the area and the importance of living a resource-conscious lifestyle.

“We all want to make the world a better place, but knowing how to do it specifically can be a challenge,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director of the UM Office of Sustainability, which organizes Green Week.

“Green Week events help bring the field of sustainability to life in tangible, meaningful terms. We intentionally design our programming to represent many dimensions of sustainability to connect with people, no matter what their current knowledge is about the field.”

This year’s Green Week will kick off with guided tours along a portion of the Ole Miss Tree Trail and culminate on Earth Day with a free outdoor yoga session and satellite March for Science occurring on campus as part of the national event.

David George Haskell, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author and professor of biology at the University of the South, will deliver the keynote address, “The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors,” at 7 p.m. April 20 in the Overby Center Auditorium.

Haskell is author of a new book of the same name as well as the 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist “The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature” (Viking, 2012), which explores the diversity in 1 square meter of the forest floor in Shakerag Hollow, atop the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee over a calendar year.

This year, the Office of Sustainability is hosting an interactive Green Week Challenge to encourage participants to learn more about sustainability in the Oxford area.

Participants who complete the challenge, which includes activities such as riding an OUT bus, visiting a farmers market or checking out the Ole Miss Bike Shop, receive a free Green Week T-shirt – manufactured from recycled plastic bottles – and an entry to win a grand prize Yeti cooler. The challenge is open to all, including students, faculty, staff and community members. 

The Office of Sustainability also is hosting a Green Week Challenge for children. 

“The challenge is really meant to highlight the great sustainability resources and organizations in our area,” said Lindsey Abernathy, project manager for the Office of Sustainability. “Our intention is that participants try something new, whether that be riding the OUT bus for the first time or completing a carbon footprint quiz to learn how they can minimize impact in other areas.”

The full Green Week 2017 schedule includes:

Monday, April 17
Tree Trail Walk – 10 a.m., meet at Quad fountain. Hosted by UM Department of Landscape Services and Office of Sustainability

Tuesday, April 18
Tree Trail Walk – 1 p.m., meet at Quad fountain. Hosted by Department of Landscape Services and Office of Sustainability

Oxford Community Market and Friends of the Market Social Hour – 3-6:30 p.m., Community Pavilion

Wednesday, April 19
Arbor Day Tree Planting – Noon, Grove. Hosted by Department of Landscape Services and Office of Sustainability

Garden to Pantry Dinner and Cooking Demo – 5 p.m., UM Garden (behind Residential College South). Hosted by UM Garden Club and Ole Miss Food Bank

Green Drinks – 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., the Growler. Hosted by Sustainable Oxford

Thursday, April 20
“UM Master Plan for the Oxford Campus: A Sustainable Vision of Campus Development” Lunch and Learn – 12:15 p.m., Lamar Hall, Room 323. Hosted by Department of Facilities Planning and Office of Sustainability

Earth Day Keynote: “The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors” by David George Haskell – 7 p.m., Overby Auditorium. Hosted by the UM environmental studies minor program and Office of Sustainability

Friday, April 21
Woodlawn-Davis Workday – 8-11 a.m., Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center. Hosted by Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center

Small Hall Music Series at Woodlawn-Davis – 6 p.m., Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center. Hosted by Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center

Saturday, April 22
March for Science – 10:30 a.m., Meet in the Circle. Hosted by Department of Physics and Astronomy

Earth Day at Strawberry Plains – 10 a.m.-noon, Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Holly Springs. Hosted by Strawberry Plains Audubon Center

Earth Day Yoga – 4 p.m., South Campus Rail Trail. Hosted by Ole Miss Outdoors

To learn more about Green Week and the Green Week Challenge, visit http://greenweek.olemiss.edu/.

Meek School of Journalism to Host Diversity Conference

Fox chief news anchor Shepard Smith among speakers for five-day series

UM public relations students, led by senior lecturer Robin Street (center), have planned It Starts with (Me)ek, five days of campus events celebrating inclusion and rejecting stereotypes. The committee includes (kneeling, from left) Emma Arnold and Brittanee Wallace, and (standing) Kendrick Pittman, Dylan Lewis, Street, Zacchaeus McEwen and Faith Fogarty. Photo by Stan O’Dell

OXFORD, Miss. – Just pause. Just pause before you assume you know me. Just pause before you stereotype me.

That’s the message of an upcoming series of events April 19-25 called It Starts with (Me)ek, hosted by the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Shepard Smith, a UM alumnus and chief news anchor and managing editor for Fox News Network’s Breaking News Division, is among the keynote speakers.

The five-day conference open to all students, faculty, staff and community members is designed to encourage inclusion and respect while rejecting stereotypes. It will feature panelists and guest speakers discussing race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and religion. A diversity fashion show and a festival also are included.

“This campaign is particularly important to our Meek School students because as professional journalists, public relations specialists or integrated marketing communications specialists, students will be dealing with and working with many different kinds of people,” said Robin Street, senior lecturer in public relations.

“We all need to learn the value of waiting before we make assumptions about other people. However, we also hope that everyone on campus and in Oxford will consider joining us for the programs.”

The program, designed to remind participants that one single factor does not define a person’s identity, was created by a 31-member student committee under Street’s direction. Through each panel and lecture, Street hopes all attendees will learn to approach individuals with understanding, dignity, respect and inclusion.

Both alumni and students will participate in panels about their personal experiences on race, sexual orientation, mental health, religion and disabilities. Smith will moderate an alumni panel, as well as provide remarks on April 21.

Other guest speakers include Michele Alexandre, UM professor of law; Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement; Mary Beth Duty, owner of Soulshine Counseling and Wellness; Jesse Holland, an Associated Press reporter covering race and ethnicity; Shawnboda Mead, director of the UM Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement; Sarah Moses, assistant professor of religion; Otis Sanford, political commentator and Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis; Jennifer Stollman, academic director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation; and Ryan Whittington, UM assistant director of public relations for social media strategy.

Duty, Holland, Sanford and Whittington are all Ole Miss journalism alumni.

Student committee members enrolled in a course specifically to design the campaign. The group met weekly to plan events, promotional videos, communications, pre-campaign competitions and social media posts surrounding the five-day conference.

Rachel Anderson, a senior double major in broadcast journalism and Spanish from Chesapeake, Virginia, is co-chair of events and will moderate one of the panels.

“These events give students the opportunity to understand the experiences of people both similar and different from them,” Anderson said. “Understanding the experiences of others can help you learn more about yourself and the world around you.

“I hope attendees understand that we all have our differences, but at the same time, we also share so much in common. There is much more to people than outside appearances. One trait does not limit someone’s entire identity.”

Dylan Lewis, a senior broadcast journalism major from Mooreville, will serve on the LGBTQ student panel.

“The things we say or think about people affect everyone around us,” Lewis said. “Stereotypes hurt specific people or groups being stereotyped, but in reality it hurts all of us because our friends are part of those marginalized groups. When they hurt, we all hurt.

“While this campaign may not end stereotypes completely, it is a way to start the conversation, hence our campaign name ‘It Starts With (Me)ek.’ I hope students come to just see the perspectives of these individuals and realize that just pausing, our key message, can make a difference when trying to understand someone.”

The conference concludes with a festival April 25 on the front lawn of Farley Hall. Students are encouraged to wear purple to show their support, while faculty and staff will wear 1960s-inspired outfits to celebrate the many activist movements of the decade.

Students wearing purple will get a free treat from Chick-fil-A. If students have attended at least two events throughout the week and have their program stamped, they will receive a free T-shirt.

All events take place in Overby auditorium or in the front lawn of Farley Hall. For more information, visit https://www.itstartswithmeek.com/ or follow the campaign on social media at https://www.instagram.com/itstartswithmeek/ or https://twitter.com/StartsWithMeek.

The full schedule for the series features:

Wednesday, April 19

10 a.m. – Opening ceremony

11 a.m. – Lecture: “Other Moments: A Class Photography Exercise in Honoring Difference at Ole Miss,” Mark Dolan, associate professor of journalism

1 p.m. – Lecture: “Making a Difference by Engaging with Difference,” Jennifer Stollman, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

2 p.m. – Lecture: “Tell Me a Story: Using Personal Narratives to Navigate Cultural Difference,” Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement

Thursday, April 20

9:30 a.m. – Panel Discussion: “From James Meredith to Millennials: Race Relations at Ole Miss,” moderated by Shawnboda Mead, director of CICCE

11 a.m. – Panel Discussion: “Red, Blue and Rainbow: An Inside Look at Being LGBT at UM,” moderated by journalism major Rachel Anderson

1 p.m. – Lecture: “Building Trust Within Professional and Personal Communities: A Workshop,” Jennifer Stollman

2:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “Sometimes I Feel Invisible: Living with a Disability,” moderated by Kathleen Wickham, professor of journalism

5:30 p.m. – Spoken Word Performance

Friday, April 21

10 a.m. – Lecture: “Race in America: A Journalist’s Perspective,” Jesse Holland, AP reporter

11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – Panel Discussions: “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” black UM journalism alumni discuss their experiences, moderated by Jesse Holland

2 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “Red, Blue and Rainbow Alumni,” LGBT alumni discuss their experiences, moderated by Shepard Smith

3 p.m. – Lecture: “My Journey from Farley Hall to Major News Events Around the World,” Shepard Smith, Fox News chief news anchor

4 p.m. – Reception for speakers and students

Monday, April 24

9 a.m. – Lecture: “Normal Does Not Exist, Mental Illness Does,” Mary Beth Duty, professional counselor

10 a.m. – Lecture: “From the Bible Belt to Baghdad: What Today’s IMC and Journalism Professionals Need to Know About the World’s Major Religions,” Sarah Moses, assistant professor of religion

11 a.m. – Panel Discussion: “Keeping the Faith,” members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths discuss challenges they face, moderated by Dean Will Norton

1 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “Mental Health and Me,” panelists discuss their experiences with mental health, moderated by Debbie Hall, instructor of integrated marketing communications

2 p.m. – Lecture: “Role of Individual and Institutional Accountability in Doing Diversity and Equity,” Michele Alexandre, professor of law

3 p.m. – Lecture: “Keeping it Real on Social Media: Guidelines for Handling Diversity Issues,” Ryan Whittington, assistant director of public relations for social media strategy

4 p.m. – Fashion Show: “Unity in Diversity,” entertainment on Farley Hall lawn

6 p.m. – Lecture: “Racial Politics in Memphis,” Otis Sanford, University of Memphis

Tuesday, April 25

10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. – Farley Festival Day