UM Professor Lectures on African Music at University of Georgia

George Dor invited as fall speaker for the Institute for African Studies

George Dor works to promote diversity through music research and education. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – George W.K. Dor, professor of music at the University of Mississippi, recently delivered the fall lecture for the University of Georgia’s Institute for African Studies.

Dor was invited as guest lecturer by Akinloye Ojo, the institute’s director. The institute highlights a different discipline each year for the lecture series, and this year’s focus was music.

“African studies is highly multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary,” Dor said. “I gave a lecture that emphasized the interplay between music and other domains of culture and disciplines.”

His talk covered a multitude of related themes, including diversity in African indigenous music cultures, how historical evidence can be derived from music, and the common features across different genres of African music despite their differences. It touched on links between music and diverse fields such as history, politics, religion, gender and ecology.

Dor, who also is the UM McDonnell-Barksdale Chair of Ethnomusicology, is known throughout the community as founder and director of the Ole Miss African Drum and Dance Ensemble.

Increasing awareness of cultural diversity is the focus of Dor’s creative works. He initiated and coordinated the Black History Month concert at UM, even composing music for it.

Widely known in his home country of Ghana as a composer, performer and teacher of Ghanaian music, Dor has composed more than 60 choral pieces, a symphonic suite and five one-movement orchestral works.

Dor said he was “honored, but humbled” to be invited to lecture at Georgia, and while on campus, he also was interviewed as part the Athens public radio station’s 20th anniversary of its “African Perspectives” program.

“Our music department has been honored by George Dor’s invitation to be the guest speaker for the University of Georgia’s Institute of African Studies fall lecture,” said Robert Riggs, chair of the UM Department of Music. “He is one of our many outstanding researchers, and I am confident that he made an inspiring presentation.”

Eight Exceptional UM Students Named 2017 Croft Scholars

Honorees get $4,000 per semester to fund studies, travel

The 2017 UM Croft Scholars are (front, from left) Swetha Manivannan, Susanna Cassisa, Lucy Herron, Lea Dudte and Eli Landes, and (back, from left) Colin Isaacs, Isabel Spafford and Andrew Osman. Submitted photo by Joe Worthem

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Croft Institute for International Studies has announced this year’s winners of eight Croft Scholarships, which pay up to $32,000 over four years, making them among the most valuable and most prestigious on campus.

The Croft Institute selects outstanding incoming freshmen as Croft Scholars each year. Winners receive $4,000 per semester for four years, and the funds can be combined with other scholarships. Croft Scholars retain the funds as long as they stay in the international studies major and maintain a 3.4 GPA both in the major and overall.

“We are proud to welcome these exceptionally talented students as our newest cohort of Croft Scholars,” said Oliver Dinius, executive director of the Croft Institute. “It is a wonderfully diverse group, both in terms of their background and in terms of the foreign languages and regions of the world that they are studying.”

Of the more than 270 applicants to the Croft Institute this year, 110 were admitted, and from that pool the admissions committee selected 25 prospective students to be interviewed for the scholarship. They answered follow-up questions about their application essays and questions about current affairs, their intellectual interests and their motivations for wanting to earn a B.A. in international studies.

The 2017 Croft Scholars are: Susanna Cassisa, Lea Dudte, Lucy Herron, Colin Isaacs, Eli Landes, Swetha Manivannan, Andrew Osman and Isabel Spafford. 

Like all students in the international studies major, they have chosen a foreign language to study throughout their four years in Croft, as well as one of four regions: East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, or Latin America. All eight Croft Scholars are also members of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Oxford native Cassisa is a graduate of Oxford High School. Her regional focus is Europe, and she is studying German as her Croft language. 

“It is truly humbling to be chosen as a Croft Scholar from the many accomplished students in my cohort,” Cassisa said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue my education at such a distinguished institution that is allowing me to combine my passion for the German language with my interest in foreign cultures and politics.”

Osman, from Ocean Springs, graduated from Ocean Springs High School. His language is Arabic and he is focusing on the Middle East.

“I was honored to be named a Croft Scholar because I am passionate about international studies, and the Croft Institute has given me the ability to study what I find interesting,” Osman said. “I am surrounded by an incredible group of peers, all of which share the same passion I hold, and I am proud to say I am a member of the Croft Institute for International Studies.”

Also from Ocean Springs, Dudte graduated from Ocean Spring High School. She is focusing on Latin America as her region and has chosen Spanish as her foreign language.

“It was such an honor to simply be accepted into the Croft Institute, so when I received a scholarship from this highly-regarded program, I was very humbled,” Dudte said. “I am so grateful for the opportunities and connections that this institute provides its students with.

“The Croft scholarship is just one example of this. Through this scholarship I am able to further pursue my studies and travels.”

Herron, from Long Beach, graduated from Pass Christian High School. She has chosen East Asia as her region, studying Chinese in the university’s prestigious Chinese Flagship program.

Isaacs is from Dyersburg, Tennessee. A graduate of Dyersburg High School, he also focuses on East Asia, and his language is Korean, which is rather popular this year as a Croft language.

Manivannan is from Collierville, Tennessee, where she graduated from Collierville High School. She is studying Spanish and is deciding between Latin America and Europe for her focus.

From El Dorado, Arkansas, Landes graduated from El Dorado High School. He is learning French and focusing on Europe as his region.

Spafford is from Albuquerque, and is a graduate of Sandia High School. She is studying Arabic and focusing on the Middle East.

Pharmacy Student Receives National Scholarship

Alexandria Gochenauer hopes to someday work in veterinary or educational setting

Alexandria Gochenauer

OXFORD, Miss. – The National Community Pharmacy Association recognized University of Mississippi third-year student pharmacist Alexandria Gochenauer with a Presidential Scholarship during its annual convention’s awards ceremony last month.

The $2,000 award will go toward Gochenauer’s academic endeavors, as the organization selects scholarship honorees based on academic achievement, leadership qualities and an interest in independent pharmacy. The NCPA represents the employees of more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies across the country, which dispense nearly half the nation’s retail prescription medicines.

“In addition to being excited, I felt extremely honored and grateful to be a recipient of the NCPA Foundation’s Presidential Scholarship,” Gochenauer said.

Along with the Presidential Scholarship, Gochenauer also was recognized as Outstanding Student Chapter Member at the convention. Both accolades come as no surprise to Erin Holmes, the group’s adviser and associate professor of pharmacy administration.

“I cannot imagine a student more deserving of receiving the NCPA Foundation’s Presidential Scholarship for academic and leadership excellence than Alex,” Holmes said. “Alex is very motivated, has always been a self-starter, has a strong work ethic and has a profound attention to detail.

“She played a pivotal role in starting the nation’s first American College of Veterinary Pharmacists chapter here at Ole Miss and played a significant leadership role as vice president of our NCPA chapter. I am extremely proud of all Alex has accomplished, and look forward to her future contributions to our profession.”

A native of Republic, Missouri, Gochenauer hopes to complete a veterinary pharmacy residency after graduation. She aspires not only to help animals, but others interested in the field as well.

Representatives of McKesson Corp. present UM pharmacy student Alexandria Gochenauer (second from left) with a Presidential Scholarship at the National Community Pharmacy Association’s annual meeting. Submitted photo

“I would love to work at a veterinary college in the future, running the pharmacy as well as teaching the veterinary students pharmacology,” Gochenauer said. “I am also interested in compounding and may eventually try to open my own independent compounding pharmacy.”

Gochenauer plans to use the scholarship to help advance her career and her goals.

“Being a recipient of this scholarship has afforded me the opportunity to network with others who can share their experiences and knowledge,” Gochenauer said. “This is an essential step toward my dream of obtaining a veterinary pharmacy residency.

“In addition, this is an amazing accomplishment, and I believe that future employers will recognize the hard work I have put into my education and career.”

Professor, State Organization Win Grant to Improve Pharmacy Practice

Money will fund workshop to develop ways to boost ambulatory care in state

Anastasia Jenkins

OXFORD, Miss. – Anastasia Jenkins, a clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Mississippi, recently accepted a grant from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Foundation on behalf of the Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists. It’s part of efforts to advance and improve pharmacy practice and ambulatory care in Mississippi.

ASHP’s Ambulatory Care State Affiliate Workshop grant will support a workshop for pharmacy leaders to share ideas about how the state can improve the pharmacy care it provides. As part of the workshop, a representative from ASHP will present information to attendees about what is needed to develop an action plan and identify top areas of potential impact.

The grant is part of a project called the Pharmacy Advancement Initiative. PAI was started by ASHP to guide pharmacists across the country in how to improve the practice of pharmacy, particularly surrounding ambulatory care.

Jenkins, who also is president-elect of the Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists, said she is thrilled to have a member of ASHP help implement the project in the state.

“The opportunity to have someone invested in supporting us and sharing in our successes is fantastic, and we are so grateful to the ASHP Foundation for this opportunity,” Jenkins said.

Although the leader of this workshop has yet to be identified, ASHP will appoint someone who fits Mississippi’s needs and who has proven success in implementing a similar ambulatory care PAI in his or her state. That person will guide MSHP in implementing its initiative over the next year.

“The ASHP Foundation has been instrumental in helping to advance the practice of pharmacy nationally,” said Josh Fleming, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and co-chair with Jenkins of the MSHP task force that determined the workshop as the best course of action. “This grant will help us go even further in advancing pharmacy practice in Mississippi, especially in the ambulatory and community settings.”

The workshop, which will be held at the MSHP annual meeting next summer, also will focus on establishing practice sites and collaborative practice agreements, competency and credentialing, billing for services, and tracking and documenting clinical outcomes.

After the workshop, $2,000 from ASHP will go toward activities that promote pharmacy practice advancement in Mississippi. These activities will be determined by the ASHP presenter, the MSHP task force and workshop attendees.

Law Firm Challenge Created to Increase Alumni Giving

Businesses that achieve 100 percent participation get trophies, recognition

Robert C. Khayat Law Center. Photo by Robert Jordan/University Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Alumni of the University of Mississippi School of Law have a new way to feed their competitive side while giving back to their alma mater with the school’s newest initiative.

The UM Law Firm Challenge encourages 20 Mississippi law firms to reach 100 percent giving participation from alumni within the firm.

“During my time as dean, it has been evident that Ole Miss law alumni are very loyal and supportive of the law school, so I know that they will respond well to this initiative,” said Susan Duncan, dean of the school. “We are excited to see which firms come out on top.”

The goal of the competition is to increase the giving rate among the school’s 7,000 alumni, which runs about 4.4 percent. By increasing giving participation, alumni can help provide the school with vital scholarship and operational funds that will benefit our students during their legal education.

“We are at a time when private support is essential for law students,” said Suzette Matthew, development officer for the School of Law. “As we continue to transition into the new world of law practice and legal education, the law school’s success depends significantly on our generous donors.”

The challenge began July 1 and runs through June 30, 2018. Gifts can be made to any UM Law Fund, and gifts already given during these dates will be included.

Firms that reach 100 percent giving participation will receive a trophy, recognition on the school’s website and recognition in the alumni newsletter.

An incentive to reach full participation as quickly as possible also is in place. The challenge has been divided into four categories: firms with 41 or more alumni, firms with 11-40 alumni, firms with 3-10 alumni and other entities, which includes offices with Ole Miss law alumni that are not law firms.

The firm that reaches 100 percent first in its category will receive a personalized trophy and premium placement on the school’s website and the alumni newsletter.

To take the challenge, contact Carol Mockbee at ccmockbe@olemiss.edu or Suzette Matthews at suzette@olemiss.edu. For more information, visit https://law.olemiss.edu/alumni-friends/um-law-firm-challenge/.

UM Music Majors Fare Well in Statewide Competition

Christopher Scott won his category at the Mississippi Music Teachers National Association Competition

Adam Estes (left) congratulates Christopher Scott on Scott’s win in the Young Artist Solo Woodwind category at the Mississippi MTNA Competition. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Several University of Mississippi music majors competed at the annual Mississippi Music Teachers National Association Competition recently at Millsaps College in Jackson, with one student taking top honors in his category.

Christopher Scott, a senior music major, won the Young Artist Solo Woodwind Performance category. This win advances him to compete in the Southern Division MTNA Young Artist Woodwind Competition representing Ole Miss in January at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

“I’m extremely excited to represent myself, the University of Mississippi music department and the state of Mississippi in a positive light,” said Scott, a New Albany native. “Winning the Young Artist Solo Woodwind Performance portion proved to me that hard work, consistency and determination does indeed pay off, and that is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Scott performed four pieces during his winning performance, including works by Giovanni Benedetto Platti and Takashi Yoshimatsu.

“Every member of the music faculty here at the University of Mississippi has been valuable to helping me prepare for this audition,” Scott said. He particularly credited Adam Estes, assistant professor of music, and Stacy Rodgers, associate professor of music, with being significant in his growth and maturation as a musician.

Other institutions competing at the event were the University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University and Jones County Junior College.

Besides Scott’s win, the Ole Miss Saxophone Quartet received an Honorable Mention in the Woodwind Chamber Music Competition, and Austin Brooks earned an Honorable Mention in the Senior Woodwind Solo Performance.

Estes said he believes that Scott and Brooks both peaked in their competition performances, and that the rest of the Ole Miss students who performed represented themselves and the university well.

“I am proud of all the students who competed, both those who received placings and those who did not,” Estes said. “For the students, receiving medals and honors help validate the work that they are doing.

“The goal of every competition is to win, but in my opinion, the process of preparing a full program of music: the day-in and day-out work of developing skills, score study, becoming a better ensemble mate, exploring and trying out new interpretive ideas, and learning more effective strategies in rehearsing with collaborators – this is the goal.”

UM Museum Unveils 2017 Keepsake Ornament

This year's design features popular 19th century scientific instrument

The UM Museum’s 2017 keepsake ornament featuring Barlow’s Planetarium is available for purchase. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum has unveiled its 17th annual keepsake ornament, a design featuring the Barlow’s Planetarium, part of the collection of antique scientific instruments on display at the museum.

The planetarium, also known as an orrery, has a storied history with Ole Miss. Designer Thomas H. Barlow of Lexington, Kentucky, who created and sold several of these instruments to universities and museums throughout the United States, made the university’s orrery in 1854.

The ornaments alternate annually between highlights of the museum’s 20,000-object permanent collection, campus landmarks and sites around Oxford, said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“This mid-19th century astronomical model occupies a place of great prominence in the museum’s exhibition galleries and is a much-beloved historical artifact of countless museum visitors,” Saarnio said. “All ornament sales proceeds directly support programs of the University Museum, and we are very grateful to those campus and community members for whom these collectibles are eagerly-awaited annual Museum Store offerings.”

In the late 1850s, Chancellor F.A.P. Barnard, who also served as chair and professor of mathematics, astronomy and natural philosophy, purchased the orrery for the university. The orrery and other scientific instruments were used in classrooms and laboratories until they became obsolete in the 1870s.

The planetarium aligns the planets based on a specific date. At the museum, the date is set to Nov. 7 1848, the day the university first opened its doors to students.

The Barlow’s Planetarium commemorative ornament is available for $25, plus tax. It can be purchased in the Museum Store or by phone with a credit card at 662-915-7073. A flat $7 shipping and handling fee will be added to all orders to be shipped within the 48 contiguous states, and all sales are final.

Orders must be placed by Dec. 13 to arrive in time for Christmas Day.

Collectible ornaments from previous years still available in the Museum Store include the Old Skipwith House, Brandt Memory House, Ventress Hall, Lafayette County Courthouse, Oxford City Hall, the Ole Miss Women’s Basketball Jersey, Theora Hamblett House, Theora Hamblett’s “Christmas Trees,” Walk of Champions, Oxford’s Double Decker Bus and the Herakles Neck Amphora. All previous year’s ornaments are $20, plus tax.

Museum members and Friends of the Museum receive a 10 percent discount on all merchandise in the Museum Store. 

The University Museum is at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Holiday Hours for the Museum Store are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, and 10a.m.-6p.m. Saturdays.
Museum gallery visiting hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.

For information about events and exhibits, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.

Music Faculty Members Release Album

Trio explores compositions of François Rossé for new recording

UM music faculty members Adam Estes (left), Stacy Rodgers and Amanda Johnston have released a new album of music by French composer François Rossé. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Three University of Mississippi music faculty members have released a new album of material by French composer François Rossé.

Adam Estes, assistant professor of music, is the lead performer on saxophone, accompanied on piano by Stacy Rodgers, professor of music, and Amanda Johnston, associate professor of music. “François Rossé: Métissage” is on the MSR Classics record label.

Rossé is considered avant-garde because of his distinctive techniques for playing instruments that break from tradition. Knowledge of contemporary music and training is essential to perform Rossé’s work, Estes said.

“I have devoted much of my creative energy to exploring Rossé’s music,” Estes said. “I hope that as this music becomes more fully integrated into the saxophone repertoire, familiarity will allow audiences to experience the expressive power of these unique compositions.”

Recording is essential to music research and scholarship, and Rossé’s music is Estes’ primary research interest. Releasing an album of the composer’s music has been a longtime goal, Estes said.

Estes also had an opportunity to interview and collaborate closely with Rossé in efforts to better understand the work and assist other musicians to perform the “dramatic and demanding music,” he said.

This album is Estes’ fourth; he has done two solo recordings and two with his quartet, the Assembly Quartet. This is the first album that Estes and Johnston have recorded together, but the second between Estes and Rodgers.

“I am very excited about the release of our album and was honored to be asked to play two pieces by François Rossé,” Johnston said.

She typically performs with singers and enjoyed changing things up a bit to perform two pieces of Rossé’s works, Johnson said.

“It is always a pleasure working with Adam Estes, who is a consummate musician and exciting performer,” she said.

Estes and Johnston are also both part of the 2017-18 Southeastern Conference Faculty Travel Grant Program. They traveled to the University of South Carolina, where Estes graduated, to perform a guest artist recital in September.

UM Social Work Students Discuss Justice with Lawmaker

Rep. Jay Hughes discusses policy affecting social work practice with students

State Rep. Jay Hughes urges undergraduate and graduate social work students to help the marginalized populations they represent by staying informed and engaged with local and state politics. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Dozens of social work undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Mississippi recently joined state Rep. Jay Hughes to discuss issues of social justice in social work in Mississippi and beyond.

“One vein of social work that does not get as much attention as direct social work practice with individuals, families and groups is macro social work practice,” said Daphne Cain, UM chair of social work.

“Macro practice includes social advocacy and policy development that advocates for individuals who find themselves among the most vulnerable in society. Social work advocacy engages not only in reflecting on the policies and decisions that are being made that impact the most vulnerable members of our communities, but also demands action when policies and decisions negatively impact marginalized groups disproportionately.”

The students were introduced to Hughes at Social Work Advocacy Day last semester, said Claire Griffin of Decatur, one of two students in the new doctoral program in social welfare.

“We were able to meet him and get a little insight into what is going on at the Capitol,” Griffin said. “He plays a big role in advocating for our social service agencies and their funding.

“When I’ve gone to the Capitol and listened to them discuss bills to be passed or not, he is an advocate for us, so to have him here is a blessing, really.”

Many people don’t understand social work’s commitment to advocacy for social justice, said Amy Fisher, assistant professor of social work and moderator for the event.

“You’ll find social workers proposing, lobbying and protesting all manner of policy and serving in all levels of government, employed at policy institutes and involved with legal advocacy, too,” Fisher said. “We’re really everywhere.”

Hughes emphasized to the students that state legislation and local ordinances, more often than federal legislation, affect the vulnerable populations social workers serve every day. Federal issues that politically divide the nation, such as immigration and abortion, distract voters from issues in their state and city that can be solved in a bi-partisan manner, he said.

“We tend to lose focus of civics and policy,” Hughes said. “Because of party identity, we fail to see that 99.9 percent of what affects us happens after Election Day, and it’s not in Washington by any stretch of the imagination.

“Policy is not at a federal level. It is what happens in Jackson, Mississippi, and Oxford, Mississippi.”

To illustrate, Hughes explained that 183 bills were signed into law last year in D.C., compared to 22,000 enacted on the state level and 500,000 signed into city ordinances.

The students discussed bills from the last legislative session that were defeated, in part, because of their professional organization’s vocal opposition, including House Bill 1425.

H.B. 1425 would have granted the governor power to make appointments to an Occupational Licensing Review Commission, affecting 26 state licensing boards, including the Mississippi Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists.

Hughes joined the National Association of Social Work-Mississippi Chapter in opposing the bill and met with Ole Miss student members during the annual Social Work Advocacy Day in February at the state Capitol to discuss the bill’s potential ramifications.

“What is going to work is dealing with the problem – putting educated, trained social workers in charge of educating and training social workers who understand the root of poverty and the consequences of poverty,” Hughes said.

The group also discussed bills, such as H.B. 1523, that passed despite the professional organization’s opposition.

“H.B. 1523 is of great concern to social workers because the profession is focused on creating and advocating for social justice for all, regardless of age, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability or national origin,” Fisher said.

Hughes encouraged students to not be discouraged when bills are passed that they disagree with, but to instead get more engaged in local politics by attending Board of Aldermen meetings and writing their representatives when issues arise that affect their profession and the people they serve.

“Be informed, be engaged and be registered to vote,” he said.

Hughes explained that to make a difference in policy and be agents of change, students should share real, genuine, direct and brief concerns with their lawmakers, using social media and personal emails.

“Make it personal,” he advised. “Let me assure you, you will get a blanket response, but after a few people keep sending those kinds of emails, the politicians start having an ‘a-ha moment.’

“It is very difficult for a policy maker to appreciate (your client’s experience) if they’ve never dealt with it, unless you share it with them, and share it with them in a civil way; that is critical. No matter which side of the political spectrum you fall, or if you fall in the middle, attacks result in closed ears, whether you are in your political, personal or religious life.”

Hughes warned students to pay close attention to local policy on the agenda ahead of city meetings to express concerns for their constituencies before it is too late.

He recounted a recent Board of Aldermen meeting where the lease for the only food pantry in Oxford was not renewed, resulting in The Pantry’s need to find a new home.

“The board had to vote because of growth issues, but that is affecting real life,” he said.

Hughes left the students with the charge to be a voice for the vulnerable populations they serve.

“No one will look out for the children you try to help unless they know the reality,” he said.

For more information about the UM Department of Social Work, visit http://sw.olemiss.edu/ or email socialwork@olemiss.edu.

New Program Engages Students in Environmental Issues Close to Home

Students learning scientific process for observing health of local resources

Participants and faculty in the ‘Green Is the New Pink’ program spent a recent Saturday working and learning at the UM Field Station. On hand for the session were (front, from left) faculty members Angela Whaley, Ellen Shelton, Martha Tallent and Katie Szabo, students Mary Porter Fountain of Oxford; Michaela Anderson of Saltillo; and Alex Nagle, Claire Cizdziel, Srujana Murthy, Andreel Ward, Emory Elzie, Grace Wolff and Zoe Jones, all of Oxford, and (rear) Scott Knight, Field Station director. UM photo by Pam Starling

OXFORD, Miss. – Students involved in the University of Mississippi’s “Green Is the New Pink: Young Women Environmentalists in Action” program recently spent a Saturday testing and observing water sources and trying their hand at electrofishing at the UM Field Station in northeastern Lafayette County.

“I like nature,” said Mary Porter Fountain, a ninth-grader at Oxford High School. “I think it’s interesting getting to learn about what plants and different species need to survive.”

This fall is the inaugural year for the new environmental program for girls in eighth through 12th grades. It is sponsored by grants from the National Writing Project, John Legend’s “Show Me” Campaign, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and Collective Shift.

Martha Tallent, an eighth-grade science teacher at Oxford Middle School, serves as a faculty member for the program.

“I feel like something happens between eighth and 10th grades where many students seem to lose interest in science,” Tallent said. “I want to teach our students to be risk-takers in science and to engage in several different scientific fields to see what interests them.

“There are so many disciplines and jobs in the various fields, and we want to expose them to the different options.”

A collaboration among the Office of Pre-College Programs, the UM Writing Project, the UM Field Station and Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, the program is introducing students to real-world research strategies and generating curiosity about the natural environment.

The cross-disciplinary partnership between English and science is allowing students in the program to conduct their own research, create a project and deliver a presentation. They are guided through four field experiences of data collection, data exploration, analysis and interpretation of data, and drawing conclusions.

“I’m thinking about trying some of the water quality experiments on the ponds in my neighborhood,” Fountain said.

Oxford High ninth-grader Srujana Murthy said she is interested in looking at some invasive species growing around a local pond and possibly reintroducing native plants to bring native birds back to the area.

“That’s what happened at Strawberry Plains,” Murthy said. “The former owner planted several non-native plants around the home, and the hummingbirds stopped coming. Once they removed those and replanted with native species, they saw many hummingbirds return to the area.”

Srujana Murthy (left) and Claire Cizdziel try their hand at electrofishing under the guidance of Scott Knight, director of the UM Field Station, as part of the ‘Green is the New Pink’ environmental program. UM photo by Pam Starling

So far this fall, students have spent one Saturday in September at Strawberry Plains Environmental Center in Holly Springs. This month, they spent a Saturday studying the ecosystem at the Field Station.

In February, they will return to Strawberry Plains to examine the winter landscape and wildlife. Their final Saturday field experience will be at the Field Station in April to participate in environmental-awareness activities surrounding Earth Day.

The activities this month at the Field Station included testing the water quality of local streams and sampling the fish content through a process called electrofishing. This scientific tool involves sending a small electrical current into the stream that attracts the fish and makes them easier to catch. The different types of fish are recorded and then released.

“Comparing ecosystem integrity from one stream to another is just one tiny piece of what ecology is about,” said Scott Knight, Field Station director. “In our experiments, we were trying to test the integrity and sample the diversity to measure the health of the environment.”

Throughout the year, participants stay connected in their research and writing through an online Google classroom, where they will be reflecting on their field experiences and refining the writing component of their scientific findings.

“There are so many interesting paths in studying ecology,” Knight said. “There are also many job opportunities in this field that we hope to open participants’ eyes to.”

For more information about the “Green Is the New Pink” program, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/environment.