Four UM Students Accepted into Rural Physician Scholarship Program

Scholars agree to serve in small Mississippi communities after graduation

University of Mississippi students (from left) Steven Smith, Katelynn McGowen, Conner Ball and Megan Buchanan have been selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program. Submitted photo

JACKSON, Miss. – University of Mississippi seniors Conner Ball, Megan Buchanan and Steven Smith, and junior Katelynn McGowen, have been selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program.

Ball is the son of Janyce and Scott Ball, of Madison. Buchanan is the daughter of Terri Buchanan, of Collinsville. Smith is the son of Brian and Denise Smith, of Terry. McGowen is the daughter of Hugh and Robin McGowen, of Moselle.

Created in 2007, Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program identifies college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become rural primary care physicians in the state. The program offers undergraduate academic enrichment and a clinical experience in a rural setting.

Upon completion of all medical school admissions requirements, the student can be admitted to the UM School of Medicine or William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

During medical school, each Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program scholar is under consideration for $30,000 per year, based on available funding. Consistent legislative support of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program translates to 60 medical students receiving $1.8 million to support their education this fall.

Additional benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural physicians and academic support. 

Upon completion of medical training, the scholars must enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology or pediatrics. The program scholar must provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 15,000 or fewer population located more than 20 miles from a medically served area.

The Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program provides a means for rural Mississippi students to earn a seat in medical school, receive Medical College Admission Test preparation, earn a $120,000 medical school scholarship in return for four years of service and learn the art of healing from practicing rural physicians.

For more information, contact Dan Coleman, MRPSP associate director, at 601-815-9022, jdcoleman@umc.edu or http://mrpsp.umc.edu.

Coker Accepted into Rural Dental Scholarship Program

UM student selected for prestigious academic opportunity

Kaitlin Coker

JACKSON, Miss – Kaitlin Coker, a recent graduate of Northwest Mississippi Community College and a junior at the University of Mississippi, has been selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program.

She is the daughter of Tray and Stephanie Coker, of Charleston.

Created in 2013 by the Mississippi Legislature, the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program identifies up to seven college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become rural pediatric or general dentists in the state. The program offers two years of undergraduate academic enrichment, including Dental Admission Test preparation and clinical experience in a rural setting.

Upon completion of all dental admissions requirements, the student can be admitted to the UM School of Dentistry.

During dental school, each MRDSP scholar may receive $35,000 per year, based on available funding. The program will award nine scholarships in 2018-19, totaling $315,000. With continued legislative support, administrators hope to grow the program to 12 scholarship totaling $420,000 by 2019.

Additional benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural dentists and academic support. 

After completing dental school, the scholars must practice general or pediatric dentistry in a rural, medically underserved community. The program scholar must provide dental services in a full-time clinical practice in an approved Mississippi community of 10,000 or fewer population located more than 20 miles from a medically served area.

The program provides a means for rural Mississippi students to receive Dental Admission Test preparation, benefit from mentoring, learn the art of oral health care from practicing rural dentists and earn a $140,000 dental school scholarship in return for four years of service.

For more information, contact Dan Coleman, MRDSP associate director, at 601-815-9022 or  jdcoleman@umc.edu, or go to http://www.umc.edu/mrdsp.

Three Graduates Receive Rural Physician Scholarships

Funding supports medical training at UM School of Medicine

Three recent graduates of the University of Mississippi (from left), Cal Wilkerson, Alison Redding and Kaleb Barnes, have been awarded Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarships. Submitted photo

JACKSON, Miss. – Three recent graduates of the University of Mississippi have been awarded Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarships valued at $30,000 per year for their medical training at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson.

Cal Wilkerson, Alison Redding and Kaleb Barnes were honored at the annual ceremony for the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program.

Wilkerson is the son of Mr. and Mrs. David Wilkerson, of Woodville. Redding is the daughter of James and Carolyn Cegielski, of Laurel. Barnes is the son of Rodney and Melissa Barnes, of Booneville.

Created in 2007, the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program is designed to provide more primary care physicians in rural areas of Mississippi. During medical school, each scholar receives $30,000 per year, based on available funding. Consistent legislative support of the scholarship program translates to 60 medical students receiving $1.8 million to support their education this fall.

“The Mississippi Legislature celebrates with these Mississippians from across the state in their commitment to improving health care for rural Mississippians by becoming rural primary care physicians,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Buck Clarke said.

Besides the legislative support, three privately funded scholarships were also awarded this year.

Other benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural physicians and academic support. 

Upon completion of medical training, the scholars must enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology or pediatrics. The scholar must provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 20,000 or fewer population located more than 20 miles from a medically served area.

The Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program provides a means for rural Mississippi students to earn a seat in medical school and to earn a $120,000 medical school scholarship in return for four years of service and learn the art of healing from practicing rural physicians.

For more information, contact Dan Coleman, MRPSP associate director, at 601-815-9022, jdcoleman@umc.du or http://mrpsp.umc.edu.

UM Student Earns Summer Internship at Library of Congress

Brandon native among 40 selected for distinguished program

Daniel Baxter

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi senior has a prestigious internship this summer as a junior fellow at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Accountancy major Daniel Baxter, of Brandon, was among 40 people chosen as junior fellows out of more than 700 applicants.

“It’s a very honoring and rewarding experience being chosen to be in this very important internship,” Baxter said. “I’m excited to be one of the interns able to represent the state of Mississippi and very excited to represent Ole Miss here at the Library of Congress.”

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States and extensive materials from around the world on-site and online. Its Junior Fellows Program allows interns to witness the extensive work done at the library.

The program, which runs from May 29 to Aug. 3, gives the students projects across the library’s divisions.

“The junior fellows help bring the Library of Congress’ unparalleled collections and resources to light through projects focused on expanded access,” said Eric Eldritch, program coordinator. “At the same time, they gain exposure to a broad spectrum of library work – preservation, digital initiatives, educational outreach, information management – under the mentorship of expert curators and specialists.”

Baxter is working on projects for the National Book Festival. Some of his job assignments include documenting the history of the festival, producing a video on the importance of the National Book Festival to help promote it and assisting during the festival’s event planning process.

For more information on the Junior Fellows Summer Internship Program at the Library of Congress, call 202-707-0698 or visit https://www.loc.gov/item/internships/junior-fellows-program/.

Three UM Students from Oxford to Intern in Asia this Summer

Meredith Brown, Emma Scott, Daria Herasymova are part of new program funded by Freeman Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – Meredith Brown and Emma Scott, both of Oxford, and Daria Herasymova, an exchange student from Ukraine who attended Oxford High School, are three of 17 University of Mississippi students who will be interning in East and Southeast Asia this summer, thanks to a substantial grant from the Freeman Foundation of Stowe, Vermont.

Brown is a junior in the UM Patterson School of Accounting, where her major is accountancy, and she has a second major in Chinese. She has an internship with FedEx in Shanghai.

Scott is a freshman in the UM College of Liberal Arts, where she majors in international studies. She has an internship with K Star Live in Seoul, South Korea.

Herasymova is a junior in the UM School of Business, where her major is economics, and she has a second major in managerial finance. She has an internship with Evotech Capital in Shanghai.

Brown, Scott and Herasymova are among the inaugural members of the UM Experiential Learning in East Asia program at the university.

This $100,000 program allows selected undergraduates to complete a summer internship of at least eight weeks in summer 2018. Each will receive $5,000 from the Freeman Foundation grant and an additional $2,500 provided by the university’s Office of Global Engagement and the students’ respective Ole Miss schools.

The goal of the Freeman Foundation’s grant is to help students gain real-life experience while interacting regularly with local populations. Established in 1994 by the estate of AIG co-founder Mansfield Freeman, the foundation’s general mission is “to strengthen the bonds of friendship between this country and those of the Far East” and “to stimulate an exchange of ideas in economic and cultural fields which will help create mutual understanding.”

Headed by Mansfield Freeman’s grandson, Graeme Freeman, the foundation donates approximately $50 million annually to programs such as study abroad scholarships for Asian and American students and the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia, which has supported the efforts of the UM Croft Institute for International Studies to strengthen teaching about East Asia for more than 15 years.

This grant lets the Croft Institute and other participating campus units deliver on the university’s commitment to educate and engage global citizens and to support experiential learning, two core principles in the university’s Flagship Forward strategic plan. Students chosen for UM Experiential Learning in East Asia will learn how a foreign culture affects the work environment and help prepare them to succeed.

The goal is to make the UM Experiential Learning in Eastern Asia program a permanent feature at the university.

For more information about UM Experiential Learning in Eastern Asia, visit http://www.croft.olemiss.edu/home/freeman-internships-in-east-asia. A more detailed news release about the program can be found here https://news.olemiss.edu/um-students-intern-summer-eastern-asia/.

Two Grandmothers Receive University’s Highest Academic Honor

From 'I can't go back to school' to earning Taylor Medals, new graduates aim to make a difference

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter and Lori Fain. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Lori Fain, of Sherman, and Brenda Raper, of Nettleton, are both busy mothers and grandmothers who not only spend time investing in their families but are beginning careers that also will allow them to invest in the lives of others in their community.

As students at the University of Mississippi at Tupelo, both ladies’ efforts are being honored this spring as recipients of 2018-19 Marcus Elvis Taylor Memorial Medals.

Only the top 1 percent of all students enrolled at the university receives this award each year. Recipients must have at least a 3.90 grade-point average to be considered and receive nominations from UM faculty.

“Brenda is truly one of those students I will never forget,” said Svjetlana Curcic UM associate professor of education. “We tend to assign a label of a ‘nontraditional student’ to those who enroll in college at a later day.

“In Brenda’s case, she has been a teacher of not only her own children, but other children in our community for years and by going back to school later in life, she has proven that she wants to become the best teacher she can be.”

Upon graduating from Itawamba Agricultural High School in 1980, Raper married and started working as a clerk at the Lee County Tax Collector’s office in Tupelo. She and her husband, Danny Samuel Raper, started a family and soon added three children to their home.

While raising children, she taught everything from 4-year old pre-K through fifth-grade classes in the private school housed at the Tupelo Children’s Mansion for 11 years. At the end of the 2012 academic year, the school program had to lay off employees, and Raper found herself at a crossroads.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter and Brenda Raper. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

“My husband encouraged me to go back to school and get my degree,” Raper said. “I told him that I didn’t think I could do that, but he was very supportive and encouraged me until I finally decided to try.”

So, in 2014 at age 52, she enrolled at Itawamba Community College and started her college career.

“I was very nervous, but on the first day everyone treated me kindly and like one of the other students,” she said. “I really enjoyed my classes and realized more and more that I was doing the right thing by going back to school.”

After excelling at ICC, Raper transferred to start her junior year of classes on the UM-Tupelo campus. During her time there, she stayed involved in student organizations and worked to maintain her 4.0 GPA.

This spring she served as a student teacher in a third-grade classroom at Rankin Elementary School in Tupelo.

“I just love seeing the students learn and grow,” Raper said. “It’s a special job that I feel I was made for.”

Fain attended East Union High School before getting married and moving to Washington in 1990. A few years later, she returned home to Sherman and earned her GED at ICC in 1993.

Her family soon began expanding with the addition of her four children. Throughout this time, she worked as a phlebotomist with United Blood Services and later as an office manager with a local dentist.

After a divorce and unexpected job loss, Fain began to experience financial issues.

Lori Fain celebrates winning a Taylor Medal, the highest academic honor at UM, with sons Adrian and Carson Hester. Submitted photo

“I lost everything,” she said. “I lost my house, my car, and had to move home with my mother. I had my pity party for about a year, until I decided I had to do something so I might as well get ahead.”

That’s when she decided to work toward earning her bachelor’s degree in social work.

Fain said she decided to major in social work because she wanted to help people who might find themselves in the same situations she had struggled with.

“People can get lost,” Fain said. “I want to help other people who may be going through some hard times just like I did.

“If I had known about some of the resources that were available to me, I might could have stayed in my house. I want to help people when they need it the most.”

During her senior year, Fain helped to organize a “Kids Fest” event at Ballard Park in Tupelo. The event had free games and prizes for children while raising awareness for child abuse prevention.

“Not only did Lori excel academically, she was a leader with peers,” said Shane Robbins, a social work instructor at the regional campus. “Her passion to help others and be a leader in this field has been evident throughout her time at UM.”

Brenda Raper (center, seated) celebrates winning a Taylor Medal, the highest academic honor at UM, with her family. Submitted photo

Because of Fain’s life experiences, she demonstrated a unique ability to problem-solve in real-world scenarios, said Jandel Crutchfield, an assistant professor of social work at UM-Tupelo.

“We need more social workers like Lori, who can use critical thinking to create the most effective interventions possible for their clients,” Crutchfield said. “I believe she will make an important impact in this field.”

Fain said she has learned so much about herself throughout her time at Ole Miss.

“Even though when I started college I knew I wanted to help people, through my studies and my internship experiences, I have learned a better way to look at myself and how to empathize with other people,” she said. “I’ve learned how to step out of my place and into someone else’s situation to work toward the best solution to meet their needs.”

Go Forth and Prosper: Croft Alumni Take on the World

Six graduates reflect on their experience

OXFORD, Miss. – On a Saturday afternoon in May 2001, the first five graduates of the Croft Institute for International Studies at the University of Mississippi received their diplomas. The group included the program’s very first graduate, Lauren Michelle Gent, a Gulfport native who had completed her degree in May 2000.

The ceremony was short. The graduates and guests gathered in the Joseph C. Bancroft Conference Room in the newly renovated Croft building. There were congratulatory remarks. Then the five students – Gent, along with Julie Anna Newton, Martine Louise Schaefer, Jenny Christine Senften and Emily Melissa Sindelar – were presented their diplomas. A reception followed.

Two decades later, as the institute celebrates the 20th anniversary of its 1998 opening, Croft boasts 520 alumni, including 33 who are set to graduate Saturday (May 12).

Croft was established in 1997 by a generous gift and funded annually by the Joseph C. Bancroft Charitable and Educational Fund. Each class has fulfilled Croft’s mission of broadening the international horizon, with students and alumni traveling around the world, from the Siberian pine forests of Russia to the shining metropolis of Accra, Ghana, to the towering skyscrapers in the financial heart of Hong Kong.

It is not easy to describe a “typical” Croft alumni, but the institute’s selective admission, exceptional academic program, small classes and first-rate facilities – along with the requirement that Croft students study abroad for at least one semester – attract motivated and intelligent students who leave the institute prepared to succeed on the global stage.

“From the inception of Croft, the overarching goal of its curriculum for the international studies major was to educate students who knew how to navigate an increasingly interconnected world,” said Oliver Dinius, Croft executive director and associate professor of history. “The pillars of the curriculum are learning a foreign language, studying one world region in depth and gaining a broad understanding of global dynamics.

“The foreign language is a tool for communication, but its study also provides an understanding of the cultural context. Taking courses in history, social science and economics about a region and beyond trains the ability to analyze problems from multiple perspectives, an essential skill in today’s global market.

“The signature elements of our curriculum – the mandatory semester of study abroad and the writing of a senior thesis – reinforce the commitment to the foreign language and to research-based analysis, and they also serve as the proof that our students are ready to go out into the world as global citizens.”

According to Croft, 55 percent of its graduates are employed in the private sector, with other alumni working in the public sector, nonprofits or education. Those in the private sector hold jobs in banking, finance, insurance and accounting; law; media, marketing and public relations; and other fields such as business and manufacturing, consulting and lobbying, and technology.

Public sector occupations include serving in the military, working for the U.S. Department of State or Congress, and being employed in various federal, state and local government agencies. Croft graduates working for nonprofits run the gamut, from the arts and education to international development and human rights.

About half of Croft alumni in the education field are professors, teachers and researchers, while the other half are administrators.

No two Croft alumni stories are alike. Here are six examples of what Croft alumni do:

Chris Lamont

Chris Lamont, Class of 2002 

Associate professor of international relations at Tokyo International University in Tokyo

Originally from Houston, Texas, Lamont attended the Croft Institute because of “a strong interest in international affairs.”

“Given the program’s focus on languages and study abroad, I thought it was a perfect fit,” he said.

What he found at Croft was a strong interdisciplinary foundation in international studies and rigorous research training, and the opportunity to study abroad, which he did in Croatia. That study abroad experience led to a Fulbright Program scholarship that allowed him to spend a year in Zagreb, Croatia, researching post-conflict justice processes in the former Yugoslavia, which ultimately led him to continue working on the topic for years to come.

“Pretty much every member of the Croft faculty encouraged me to embrace research interests that would remain with me throughout my career,” Lamont said. “The interdisciplinary focus of the major helped give me a broader foundation in international relations that went far beyond the narrow discipline specific training that is offered elsewhere.

“Also, Croft provided me with an opportunity to begin to gain early experience conducting fieldwork and to carry out my own research that would later allow me to get a head start on my Ph.D. dissertation research.”

Daniel Booth

Daniel Booth, Class of 2005 

Worldwide account manager at FedEx in Memphis

Booth, a native of Amory, does not hold back when talking about how Croft affected his life and career.

“Every class, professor and teacher had a positive impact on my life,” he said. “I truly believe the Croft Institute is one of the best undergraduate programs in the international studies field. Dr. Michael Metcalf, Dr. Peter Frost, Dr. Kees Gispen and Dr. Holly Reynolds all come to mind as being extremely impactful on my education and development.”

Also a licensed customs broker, Booth works for a global company that serves more than 220 countries and territories with more than 500,000 team members, moving more than 12 million packages a day.

Having a Croft degree positioned Booth for working on the international stage.

“For much of my life, I had a passion for all things international and different cultures,” he said. “I work with individuals inside of FedEx and customers all over the globe each and every day, and I have been afforded amazing travel opportunities. … I believe my international studies education and study abroad experience through Croft created a great foundation for me to be successful in my career.”

Susan Hedglin

Susan Lawrence Hedglin, Class of 2009 

Consultant for oncology research and development, and finance with Eli Lilly and Co. in Indianapolis

Growing up in Madison in the 1990s, Hedglin witnessed the daily headlines of a changing world, she said, from the post-Soviet economic transitions in Russia to China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001.

She entered Croft because she was drawn to government and policy, had several friends who went through Croft and raved about it, and knew of the program’s sterling academic reputation.

After graduation, Hedglin gravitated toward business instead of government, but her Croft education is always with her. Her consulting position includes quickly processing data from current events to policy changes to large amounts of internal company information. Croft’s rigorous academics prepared her for that.

Plus, her studies gave her extra benefits.

“I always love the look on people’s faces when I tell them I speak Mandarin Chinese,” she said. “They ask, ‘Where did you learn that?’ and the jaws drop when I say, ‘the University of Mississippi.’

“Even though I am based in the U.S., I work at a multinational company with business partners from around the world. Having knowledge of their background and culture helps me build effective relationships. Lots of people are curious about the world, but Croft helps students see it – and process it – in depth at a young age. It’s a valuable foundation to build a career on.”

Cooper Reves

Cooper Reves, Class of 2010 

Digital director for the office of U.S. Sen. John McCain in Washington, D.C.

Reves’ introduction to international studies started in high school in Madison, where he took a course on Chinese history and Mandarin.

“I learned a deep appreciation for cultures outside my own, and I wanted to continue exploring that curiosity into my college career,” he said. “Thankfully, Ole Miss offered an incredible program in international relations at the Croft Institute that I was able to take advantage of.”

But Reves’ education at Croft went beyond the borders of China; he learned history, economics and how to appreciate differences among cultures.

“But most of all, the Croft Institute taught me analytical reasoning skills that I have been able to adapt into my career in campaign politics and digital organizing,” he said. “No matter what you do after college, the skills you learn debating world issues with your fellow classmates in the Croft building will serve you in any capacity.

“At the Croft Institute, I developed the intellectual self-confidence necessary to thrive in the political world. I also know that the historical perspective on current world events that Croft teaches has been directly applicable to my work. Though I work in American politics, the historical echoes of our current political environment are undeniable, and being well-versed in recent world history has proven to be indispensable.”

Deeneaus Polk

Deeneaus Polk, Class of 2011 

Director of the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program for the Mississippi Community College Board in Jackson

While at Pascagoula High School, Polk spent time in Germany and decided there that he wanted to become ambassador to that country in the future. To reach that goal one day, Polk was drawn to Croft because he knew the strong interdisciplinary program would challenge him.

Still working toward his dream, Polk will begin working on a master’s degree in public policy this fall at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government on a full scholarship. The Pascagoula native said the Croft Institute is a large reason why.

In 2015, Polk became the first Mississippian to land an exclusive German Chancellor Fellowship that took him to Germany for a year of study and research, during which he sought to contextualize the German Vocational Education System to fit within Mississippi.

“There are two individuals who are no longer part of Croft that I would love to express gratitude towards,” he said. “I didn’t grow up with much and was the first in my family to go to college, but Dr. Michael Metcalf saw past all of that and urged me to apply to the Croft Institute while I was still in high school.

“Similarly, Dr. Kees Gispen implored me to apply to Croft. … He challenged me to dig deeper in expanding my academic capacity, because passion is only beneficial for others if it is refined and purposeful in its intent.”

Elizabeth Romary, Class of 2017 

English teacher with Peace Corps in Namibia

Only a year removed from her Croft studies, Romary is roughly 7,500 miles from her home of Hillsborough, North Carolina, teaching English and natural science at a primary school to sixth- and seventh-graders at a village in the southern African nation of Namibia.

Her teaching adventure in Namibia is partly because of Dinius, she said.

“Without Dr. Dinius’ guidance, I wouldn’t be here today,” she said. “So I am grateful for everything he taught me during my four years at Croft. I hope that I’m making him proud.”

Romary’s interest in international studies is an equation that includes an interest in international events, politics, cultures and languages from an early age.

“When I learned about the Croft Institute, I instantly knew that this was the program for me,” she said. “I loved the fact that we would be completely immersed in a language, get to broaden our global horizons on multiple levels and have the opportunity to study abroad in a different part of the world.”

Croft’s foreign language requirement came in handy when Romary was assigned by the Peace Corps to learn Khoekhoegowab, a local language that contains “clicking” sounds.

“It was an incredibly difficult yet rewarding process, and I feel that the language practice I had in Croft helped me to prepare for the classes I took here,” she said.

To read more about Croft alumni, visit http://www.croft.olemiss.edu/alumni/.

UM Students Sweep Public Relations Association of Mississippi Awards

Twelve Ole Miss students honored out of 14 winners, including Best in Show

Students Prepare for Careers through New York and D.C. Internships

UM program offers insight, connections and course credit

UM students share their experiences from the Washington and New York Internship Experiences program with Chancellor Jeffery Vitter (left) at the Lyceum. Joining Vitter are (from left) Graham White of Biloxi; Harris Ormecher of Austin, Texas; Gabriella Berlanti of Bradenton, Florida; Divya Gosain of Clinton; and Jesse Webb of Atlanta.

UM students share their experiences from the Washington and New York Internship Experiences program with Chancellor Jeffery Vitter (left) at the Lyceum. Joining Vitter are (from left) Graham White of Biloxi; Harris Ormecher of Austin, Texas; Gabriella Berlanti of Bradenton, Florida; Divya Gosain of Clinton; and Jesse Webb of Atlanta.

OXFORD, Miss. – Learning more about personal strengths and weaknesses is a big part of the college experience. The University of Mississippi‘s Washington, D.C., and New York Internship Experience programs in the Division of Outreach is helping more students have those learning experiences.

“Students involved in this program can gain so much from the real-world experience,” Chancellor Jeffery Vitter said. “An internship in the field they are interested in can really help them get the most out of their summer break.”

From attending the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to helping uncover the next New York Times best-seller, UM students who participated in the 2016 Internship Experience Program each had their own extraordinary moments. They shared these highlights recently with Vitter and program faculty during a special presentation in the Lyceum.

“The program is a two-way pipeline between these cities and our university,” said Laura Antonow, UM internship experience program director. “Our students get the opportunity to work with successful UM alumni in their field of interest. In return, these alumni have the opportunity to stay connected to the students and happenings on our campus.”

Networking and gaining professional experience are key roles of the program, which also helps students earn UM academic credit while they intern in a large metropolitan city. The 2016 class consisted of juniors and seniors majoring in criminal justice, public policy leadership, computer science, psychology, exercise science, political science, journalism and marketing.

Gabriella Berlanti, an Ole Miss junior from Bradenton, Florida, interned with Interpol Washington.

“It wasn’t as James Bond as everyone thought, but it was still very exciting,” she said.

Berlanti worked in the transnational organized crime unit, particularly the violent crimes division.

“We sent out notices around the world about violent criminals, their activities and whereabouts,” she said. “It was such an amazing learning experience.”

Berlanti is double-majoring in criminal justice and psychology with a minor in intelligence studies. During her internship, the bombings in Paris became a major topic within her workplace.

“After that incident, our supervisors decided that all personnel needed to participate in active shooter response training,” Berlanti said. “It was pretty eye-opening, and I learned when and how to run, hide or fight if needed.”

Berlanti shared housing and participated in group tours and events with fellow UM students interning in the nation’s capital. They included Linda Bardha of Tirana, Albania; Patricia DeFelice of Southaven; Allison Hemmer of Tuscola, Illinois; Harris Ormecher of Austin, Texas; Emily McKee of Dyersburg, Tennessee; and Camille Walker of Tupelo.

UM senior Linda Bardha, a computer science major from Tirana, Albania, spent her summer serving as an intern in Washington with the broadcasting organization Voice of America. VOA is funded by the U.S. government and works to supply accurate, balanced and comprehensive information to an international audience.

UM senior Linda Bardha, a computer science major from Tirana, Albania, spent her summer serving as an intern in Washington with the broadcasting organization Voice of America. VOA is funded by the U.S. government and works to supply accurate, balanced and comprehensive information to an international audience.

Interning with Washington, D.C., shadow Sen. Paul Strauss was an interesting lesson in the political world for Ormecher, who helped host town hall meetings to gauge the concerns of constituents in the D.C. area. He was also involved in the New Columbia Statehood Initiative, tracking policy to help the District of Columbia gain autonomy.

“Mr. Strauss does not have actual voting privileges in the Senate, but he is playing an integral role in making sure the needs and concerns of D.C. citizens are heard,” Ormecher said.

Five UM students headed to New York City over Memorial Day weekend for welcome week events and tours to get them acclimated. The group enjoyed a tour at Fox News headquarters and a meet-and-greet with Ole Miss journalism alumnus Shepard Smith.

Graham White, a senior marketing major from Biloxi, spent the summer interning at the White Space Group, a marketing and digital rebranding company in New York.

“It was eye-opening to be a part of important sales meetings and learn how branding happens on the front end of promotion,” White said. “I learned more about the fast-paced atmosphere of the marketing world.

“Being a part of this program showed me the importance of getting outside of your comfort zone and how beneficial it can be if you do that.”

Divya Gosain, an Ole Miss junior from Clinton, also worked in the city this summer. She is majoring in psychology with a minor in business and has taken a particular interest in industrial and organizational psychology to study human behavior in the workplace.

“By interning with the Interdependence Project, I helped with research to see if meditation during the workday had any effect on the increased productivity of employees,” Gosain said.

She also interned with the law firm of Dewan and Associates, hoping to learn more about employment law and legal issues concerning various workplace settings.

UM senior Harris Ormecher, a marketing major from Austin, Texas, attended the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer as part of his work with Washington, D.C., shadow senator Paul Strauss.

Graham White, a senior marketing major from Biloxi, lived in Brooklyn, New York, this summer as he participated in the UM New York Internship Experience Program. He served as a marketing intern for the White Space Group, a digital rebranding company.

“I definitely have a new perspective due to these experiences,” Gosain said. “I believe I have grown personally and professionally. I am more motivated than I was before. I want to be more involved in campus activities now because I just feel more comfortable with putting myself out there and getting to know people.”

Jesse Webb, a senior marketing major from Atlanta and member of UM’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, is interested in a career in publishing. He was accepted for an internship with the Inkwell Management Literary Agency.

“I feel that as a publisher, I could play a part in our culture and help effect it in a positive way,” Webb said. “I received feedback on reports I was asked to write that helped me learn how to discuss writing better. I got to see the process of how a manuscript becomes a published and marketed book from the very beginning.”

Webb read more than 30 manuscripts and queries, helped to plan a book tour for a new publication about yachting and learned about international contracts and the auction process.

“It was a neat experience to think I might have played a tiny part in helping to get an interesting book to the public,” Webb said. “I’m really happy to have had this experience.”

Also, interning in New York this summer were Lynley-Love Jones of Oxford and Breanna Lomax of Indianapolis.

The university’s Washington and New York Internship Program is taking applications for spring and summer 2017 participants. Juniors and seniors interested in the program should visit http://www.olemiss.edu/internships. The deadline to apply is Nov. 11.

Three UM Students Accepted into Rural Physician Scholarship Program

Scholars agree to serve four years in small Mississippi communities after graduation

Cal Wilkerson, Kaleb Barnes, and Judi Beth McMillen have been selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program.

Cal Wilkerson, Kaleb Barnes, and Judi Beth McMillen have been selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program.

JACKSON, Miss – Kaleb Barnes of Booneville and Judi Beth McMillen of Mantachie, juniors at the University of Mississippi, along with Cal Wilkerson, a senior from Woodville, have been selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program.

Barnes is the son of Rodney and Melissa Barnes, McMillen is the daughter of Tracy and Michelle McMillen, and Wilkerson is the son of Mr. and Mrs. David Wilkerson.

Created in 2007, MRPSP identifies college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become competent, well-trained rural primary care physicians in the state. The program offers undergraduate academic enrichment and a clinical experience in a rural setting.

Upon completion of all medical school admissions requirements, the student can be admitted to the UM School of Medicine or William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

During medical school, each MRPSP scholar is under consideration for $30,000 per year, based on available funding.

Consistent legislative support of MRPSP translates to 60 medical students receiving a total of $1.8 million to support their education this fall. Additional benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural physicians and academic support.

Upon completion of medical training, MRPSP scholars must enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology or pediatrics.

Each MRPSP scholar must provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 20,000 or fewer population located more than 20 miles from a medically served area.

MRPSP provides a means for rural Mississippi students to earn a seat in medical school, receive MCAT preparation, earn a $120,000 medical school scholarship in return for four years of service and learn the art of healing from practicing rural physicians.

For more information, contact Dan Coleman, MRPSP associate director, at 601-815-9022 or jdcoleman@umc.edu, or go to http://mrpsp.umc.edu.