B.F. Smith Scholars Program
B.F. Smith Scholars
The B.F. Smith Scholars Program provides funding for qualified entering graduate students. The highly competitive graduate assistantship ($5,000 plus tuition per semester) is awarded to a limited number of students with a proven record of undergraduate achievement. The successful applicant will demonstrate a commitment to the MS Delta region in pursuit of a graduate degree related to community and economic development.
Recipients must have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field with a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.25. The recipient cannot be employed full-time outside the University during this time period. Recipients will be expected to engage in real-world learning opportunities and produce a final report.
Apply to the B.F. Smith Scholars
The B.F. Smith Scholars program applicants must complete the following items:
- Complete a Graduate School Application with Delta State University and submit all supplemental items required for admission
- Submit a B.F. Smith Scholars Program Application (online)
- Submit the following supplemental items (may be uploaded to the Program Application):
- A cover letter outlining applicant’s qualifications, specifically addressing how the applicant meets the program requirements
- Two letters of reference that address the applicant’s potential for success in the program
- A 500+ word essay describing why the application wishes to become a B.F. Smith Scholar and how the program can lead to their career success in the Mississippi Delta. The applicant should specifically address their goals, impact for work in the Mississippi Delta and their potential for post-program success.
- A Professional Resume
All application items may be uploaded to the online Program Application or submitted to the Office of Graduate & Continuing Studies.
2017-2018 B.F. Smith Scholars
Katlyn Dickerson a native of Senatobia, Mississippi, is the daughter of Stefan and Mary Helen Dickerson. She completed her undergraduate degree in family and consumer sciences with a concentration in child development at Delta State in June of 2016. She is currently pursuing a master’s in clinical and mental health counseling.
Katlyn is entering her second year as a B.F. Smith Scholar, and this year is working with the DSU Student Success Center’s Okra Scholars grant program. The program participants receive study skill workshops, academic counseling, and one-on-one mentoring. During her time with Okra Scholars, she will be researching the ‘Long Term Sustainability of a Seminar-Based Retention Program’ and providing assistance to the program staff. She will also assist the First Year Seminar, a first-time student program that is focused on acclimation to university life and retention.
Alexas Hayes a native of Clarksdale, Mississippi, completed her undergraduate degree in business administration at Delta State University after attending Northwest Mississippi Community College. She is currently pursuing his MBA at Delta State. For her work as a B.F. Smith Scholar, she is working with DSU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).
During her time with QEP, Alexas will maintain the program’s online and social media presence, lead workshops to enhance student learning, and coordinate promotion and marketing for campus events. These events include, but are not limited to DSU’ first ‘Okra OUT Front’ a celebration of sexuality and equality, ‘Delta Health Center: America’s First Rural Community Health Center and the Struggle for Racial Equity’ panel, and ‘In the Beauty: Korean Traditional Music’ performances. Upcoming events include Women’s History Month celebrations, Sexual Assault Awareness’ Take Back the Night, and luncheons focused on cultural diversity.
Jessica Faith Wishard
Singer/Songwriter, Jessica Faith Wishard, is a native of Monticello, Arkansas, and completed her undergraduate degree in entertainment industry studies at Delta State University in May of 2017. She is currently pursuing a master’s in business administration.
As a B.F. Smith Scholar, Jessica Faith is working with the Delta Music Institute (DMI), DSU’s on-campus recording studio and home of entertainment industry academic programs. Under the supervision of Tricia Walker, GRAMMY award-winning songwriter and director of the DMI, Jessica Faith will focus on the project ‘Connecting the Delta’s Music & Entertainment Professionals: The Development of a Comprehensive Database of the Region’s Creative Economy Resources’ . Her goals are to utilize a survey-based research tool and connect multiple focus group sessions to gather perceived career needs of local musicians and entertainment related persons.
2016-2017 B.F. Smith Scholars
Rex Bingham a native of Kilmichael, Mississippi, is the son of Jeff and Debbie Stafford. Bingham completed his undergraduate degree in kinesiology at Mississippi State University. He is currently pursuing his MBA at Delta State. For his work as a B.F. Smith Scholar, he worked with Delta State’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).
During his time with QEP, Rex created an online and social media presence for the program, led workshops to enhance student learning, specifically led DSU’s first Interfaith Dialogue, and led promotion and marketing for campus events. Those events included Women’s History Month celebrations, Sexual Assault Awareness’ Take Back the Night, Intersexuality panel, and luncheons focused on cultural diversity. He is also involved with Delta State’s Baptist Student Union, the Financial Management Club and Phi Kappa Phi honor Society. In his free time, Bingham enjoys golfing and fishing.
Katlyn Dickerson a native of Senatobia, Mississippi, is the daughter of Stefan and Mary Helen Dickerson. She completed her undergraduate degree in family and consumer sciences with a concentration in child development at Delta State in June of 2016. She is currently pursuing a master’s in clinical and mental health counseling. For her work as a B.F. Smith Scholar, she was placed with the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber).
During her tenure with the Chamber, Katlyn led community efforts for surveying the needs of residents by creating a survey program, led Chamber events highlighting community engagement, and mapped Cleveland’s ‘free wi-fi’ locations. Upon graduation, Katlyn will pursue a career that allows her to help others through counseling or some type of community development initiatives.
Aaliyah Jones is a Greenwood, Mississippi native and is the daughter of Cassandra Jones and the late Tracy King. Jones completed her undergraduate degree in social justice and criminology in May of 2016. She is now pursuing her master’s in mental health counseling.
For her work with B.F. Smith, Jones assisted Dr. Garry Jennings in the social sciences office at Delta State. After graduation, she plans to help youth stay out of trouble by getting them involved in sports and community activities. Her long-term goal is to open a community center that allows youth to have a safe place to prosper and learn how to give back to their community.
About B.F. Smith
A former chief executive officer of Delta Council from 1947 until his retirement in 1983, B.F. Smith was widely respected for his role as a tireless advocate for the Mississippi Delta. He became known as the Delta’s “Father of Economic Development” and worked to ensure the region’s needs were addressed on the local, statewide, and national levels. His influence and leadership continues to have a dramatic impact on growth and opportunities in this region. This scholarship program was conceived and funded through the efforts of Delta Council.