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Academics

Campus Update from President LaForge

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By: Delta State President William N. LaForge

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Greetings Colleagues and Students!

Welcome back from Spring Break, and happy “soon-to-be” spring this week!

Thanks to our hard-working colleagues in Facilities Management and good progress with major projects, the campus is looking great.  The Quad is DSU green, flowers are popping up around campus, and we are anticipating the reopening of Zeigel Hall soon, as well as the dining hall and Statesmen Boulevard later in the year.

We are in the midst of a very good year and productive semester, with spring-to-spring enrollment numbers up eight percent, and a six percent increase in the retention of first-time, full-time freshmen.  We received the coveted designation as a “military-friendly” school, and, in the area of community outreach, we rolled out the Local Government Leadership Institute that will assist Delta municipal and county leaders in building skill sets that will enable them to run their communities more effectively.

The academy has implemented our two new requirements for all graduates — participation in upper-division courses that provide enhanced writing experiences, and the completion of a capstone project as a requirement for graduation.  This boost in academic requirements should make our graduates more prepared and competitive as they move on to jobs and/or graduate or professional schools, as well as ratchet up Delta State’s academic reputation in the eyes of the public and student prospects.  Additionally, our Student Success programs are providing superb services to our students, and making a difference in the academic progress of students across the spectrum of disciplines.

We started the month of March with the announcement of the Gertrude Ford Foundation’s $3 million pledge in support of our Center for Teaching and Learning, our internal professional development program for faculty.  Be on the lookout for more major gift announcements in the near future that will support scholarships and other vital programs on campus.

The next two weeks promise to be Delta State’s version of non-basketball “March Madness!”

On Wednesday of this week, FedEx founder and CEO, Frederick W. Smith, will be our distinguished lecturer at the spring Colloquium in Jobe Hall at 6pm.  There will be a reception for him — and you — immediately following.  He will also meet with student leaders the next morning.

On Thursday evening, the BPAC hosts the legendary Gladys Knight.  At this point, tickets may only be available from scalpers! J

Next week features the 5th annual Winning the Race Conference, and the 13th annual International Business Symposium.  I hope you will make every effort to attend both programs.

Our baseball, softball, golf, and tennis teams are all in full action, so come out to support them when you can.  And, a shout-out is due to Statesmen basketball for going to the conference championship finals, and to men’s and women’s swim-dive for their outstanding showing at the NCAA national meet last week.

We are pleased to report that we have a record number of international students enrolled — 134 — from 48 countries.  Efforts are underway to bolster our international programs abroad for students and faculty.  We have formal relationships now with universities in Poland, Bulgaria, Russia, and Korea, and a DSU delegation is in China now working with seven universities on student exchange and recruiting opportunities.

In April, look for specifics about this spring’s campus forums we will host for students, faculty, and staff, respectively.  These forums will be live opportunities to hear about and discuss current campus activities and plans for the future.  Our annual Go Green Weekend for student recruitment is slated for April 27th and 28th, and will provide an opportunity for us to welcome prospective students to campus.

In early April, we should be able to report to you the results of the current state legislative session.  We are hopeful that we will be able to secure increased operational dollars for the university, as well as bond authority to fund campus infrastructure improvements.

As we approach spring graduation on May 5th, I am pleased to announce that our commencement speaker will be Dr. Glen Jones, President of Henderson State University (Arkansas) and President of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council.  And, we will bestow an honorary doctorate on music legend Mavis Staples.

Finally, I continue to enjoy the opportunity to meet with faculty and staff through my departmental visits and periodic luncheons.  It is refreshing to learn about all of the good things our professionals on campus are doing for our students and the university.

Thanks to all of you in the Delta State family for making this university a great place to live, work, and learn.

Onward and Upward!

Very best regards,

Bill LaForge

TFA Graduate Fellow to host microgrant dinner in Jackson

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Jacksonians interested in bettering their community will gather at Cathead Distillery March 22 at 6 p.m. to kick off Citizenville’s inaugural JXN Gumbo event series.

The series’ executive director is JJ Townsend, who is also taking part in Delta State University’s TFA Graduate Fellows program. The program is a collaboration between Delta State and Teach For America. The fellowship’s role is to retain TFA alumni in Mississippi by offering the opportunity to continue their education in graduate school at Delta State and to nurture their passion for enhancing the state.

JXN Gumbo will let attendees enjoy a bowl of gumbo and listen to neighborhood entrepreneurs pitch ideas. All of the participants will get feedback from neighbors, and one winner will take home the money raised.

“Citizenville is a nonprofit online platform to crowdfund community ideas, and JXN Gumbo is the face-to-face side of the platform,” said Townsend. “Our mission at CitizenJXN.org is to promote community-driven project ideas through crowdfunding, creativity, collaboration, democracy, trust and fun. Although we’re also an online platform, JXN Gumbo is a perfect way for us to crowdfund community ideas while engaging with folks in person.”

Each presenter will have four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience. The audience will then vote to choose the best idea. At the end of the night, the ballots are counted and a winner is chosen. Winners collect the money from gumbo sales, launch their projects, and attend a future JXN Gumbo dinner to report their project’s progress.

There are opportunities for interested community organizations and leaders to pitch at the event. To sign up to pitch, visit citizenjxn.org/jxngumbo. For attendees, tickets will be sold at the door for $5. Attendees are encouraged to pre-order tickets online at citizenjxn.org/jxngumbo.

Founded in 2017, and based in Jackson, Citizenville is committed to unleashing the full potential of citizen ingenuity and catalyzing collective power to fund and implement new local solutions to entrenched problems.

Cathead Distillery is located at 422 South Farish Street in Jackson, and continues to grow its popularity and distribution throughout the southeastern region of the U.S. It was founded in 2010 by Austin Evans and Richard Patrick.

For more information on Delta State’s unique TFA Graduate Fellows program, visit http://www.tfafellows.com/home-1.

Posters in the Rotunda event to showcase university student research

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Students from all eight of Mississippi’s public universities will share their research and creative activities on topics ranging from healthcare to cultural heritage to social issues with legislators and state leaders at Posters in the Rotunda, which will be held in the Rotunda of the State Capitol on March 20. The students will show how their research solves some of Mississippi’s most pressing problems and benefits the citizens of the state.

The event provides opportunities for legislators to visit with students from their districts, allows students to network with each other as they learn about work on other campuses, and showcases the cutting-edge research conducted by undergraduates that benefits the residents of Mississippi.

“The work being done by undergraduates with their mentors at the eight state universities is quite impressive.  This event will help legislators appreciate the contributions that the students are making to the state in so many areas, including economics, health care, and education,” said Dr. Marie Danforth, Chair of the Steering Committee for the Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research at The University of Southern Mississippi and coordinator of the event.

Modeled after the Posters on the Hill event in which students from across the country share their work in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Mississippi’s Posters in the Rotunda event is similar to ones held in 17 other states.  The posters will be on display in the Rotunda of the State Capitol from 8:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.

The scheduled speaker is Dr. Gordon Cannon, Vice President for Research at The University of Southern Mississippi. Remarks will be given at 9:30 a.m.

A resolution proclaiming March 20 as Undergraduate Research Day in Mississippi has been passed by both chambers in House Resolution No. 54 and Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 632.

The students participating in the Posters in the Rotunda event and the titles of the research projects include:

  • Hayley Allen (University of Southern Mississippi) Biomedical Research at Southern Miss: Investigation of Small  Molecules as Inhibitors of Cell Proliferation in Cancer 
  • Brittany Brown (University of Mississippi) The Latino South: Migration, Identity, and Foodways
  • Amber Coats (University of Southern Mississippi) Evaluating the Effects of Cell Membrane Lipid Composition on the Resistance to Bile-Induced Damage in Avirulent Strains of Listeria monocygenes.
  • Eric Davis (Jackson State University) Developing an Android App to Read the DS1620 Temperature Measurements
  • Shelley Edwards (INBRE/Millsaps College) Sex-Dependent Effects of Novel Kappa Agonist, Nalfurafine, on the Analgesic Quality and Abuse Liability of Oxycodone
  • Omar Elsabrouty (Jackson State University) Developing an Android App to Read the DS1620 Temperature Measurements
  • Lilian Ernest (Jackson State University) Developing an Android App to Read the DS1620 Temperature Measurements
  • Aysha Evans (Alcorn State University) Plasmonic Gold Nanostructure for Biological Sensing 
  • JaBreann Evans (Alcorn State University) Personal, Social and Emotional factors influencing Body Weight in First Year College Students
  • Abigail Garrett (University of Mississippi) Creation of a Full Stack Breast Cancer Database
  • Uday Gella (Alcorn State University) Radiation Studies on Mississippi River Sediments
  • Rebecca Hamilton (Delta State University) The Deception of Contraception
  • Cella Hayes (University of Mississippi) Therapeutic Treatments for Cognitive Disorders    Associated with Age-related Loss of Insulin Growth Factor-1
  • Quincy Jones (Jackson State University) Developing an Android App to Read the DS1620 Temperature Measurements
  • Kendra Keesee (Mississippi University for Women) Music Therapy Co-Treatment
  • Marisa Laudadio (Mississippi State University) Using Publicly Available Comments on Facebook to Ascertain Public Opinion of International Adoption
  • Mallory Malone (Mississippi University for Women) Music Therapy Co-Treatment
  • Lindsey Miller (University of Mississippi) Finding the Dimerization Interface of Skp1 from Dictyostelium
  • Erin O’Quinn (Mississippi State University) Defining Factors of Socioeconomic Status As It Predicts ADHD Risk
  • Subrina Oswalt (Mississippi University for Women) Money, Trust, and Affective Polarization
  • Jermarlius Rushing (Mississippi Valley State University) “That’s Fake News”: Using Campus Radio to Emphasize the Importance of Historical Research Skills
  • Madison Savoy (University of Mississippi) The Impact of Verb Transitivity on Pronoun Inter-pretation in Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Stephon Simpson (Mississippi Valley State University) Role of Melatonin in Water-Stressed Soybean Plants
  • Danielle Stamps (University of Southern Mississippi) The Effects of Skin Tone on the Perception of Discrimination in Young African American Women
  • Landrie Tchakoua (Jackson State University) Developing an Android App to Read the DS1620 Temperature Measurements
  • Georgette-Vanelle Wandji (Mississippi Valley State University) Interaction of Modified and Unmodified Biodegradable Nanoparticles with Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA)
  • Alexandra Wedderstrand (Mississippi State University) Emotion Regulation Difficulties and Placement Stability: Exploring Interventions
  • Arian Williams (Mississippi Valley State University) Bedside Manner Experience Development
  • Egypt Williams (Mississippi Valley State University) “That’s Fake News”: Using Campus Radio to Emphasize the Importance of Historical Research Skills
  • Jasmine Williams (Alcorn State University) Wellness Programming: A Worthy Investment for Positive Student Educational Outcomes

 More information on the Posters in the Rotunda event is available on the website:  http://postersintherotundams.org.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Aviation student spanning the globe

By | Academics, Aviation, College of Business and Aviation, International, Students | No Comments

One Delta State University aviation student is literally soaring to new heights this spring break.

Malik Sinegal, a junior commercial aviation major and Biloxi native, is currently flying around the world in an ambassador role for Republic Airline. And joining him for the trip — the mini Fighting Okra doll available at the university bookstore.

For 16 days of fun and adventure, Sinegal will be flying aboard Republic flights as an ambassador. Fulfilling a lifelong goal, he will completely span the globe, with stops in Egypt and its pyramids, the mammoth skyscrapers of Dubai, the iconic Sydney Opera House in Australia, the busy streets of Tokyo, and more.

Sinegal is dedicating the trip to his grandmother, who had always dreamed of traveling the world before passing away in 2017.

“I thought that it would put my heart finally at rest if I did this for her,” he said.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Republic Airline employs 5,500 talented professionals to support its operations in partnership with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. The company operates 950 daily departures to over 100 U.S. cities, Canada, Central America and the Caribbean.

Thanks to Sinegal’s private pilot certificate, instrument rating, RJet Cadet training, and education through Delta State’s Department of Commercial Aviation, he was a perfect fit for the ambassador position. Sinegal will serve in this capacity for about a year and a half, after which, he aims to stay with Republic as a first officer.

“My role as an ambassador is to recruit the best people for our award-winning environment — flight attendants, pilots and business majors,” said Sinegal. “At Republic, we want people who use our company’s motto to strive for excellence in their everyday lives.”

And Sinegal’s effort has already paid off for his fellow Delta State aviation peers. A couple of his classmates recently passed their cadet interviews with Republic.

“It’s always fun to come back to school and tell fellow students about the trips that I’ve been on,” Sinegal said. “Many students think that school will be for the rest of their lives, and they tend to get distracted and lazy. However, what they don’t realize is that their dream jobs are just around the corner.”

Sinegal added that he was prepared to work with Republic thanks to the quality instruction at Delta State.

“They have blessed me,” he said. “We have the best teachers and instructors. Dr. Speakes, Sam Washington, Chip Cooper, Rogel Campbell and Brett Oleis definitely need more credit for their hard work on campus.”

Dr. Julie Speakes, chair of the department, said Sinegal is a prime example of an aviation student making the most of his training.

“What an exciting opportunity Malik has to see the world and promote DSU Aviation,” said Speakes. “There are many unique prospects in the aviation sector, and our students are linked with some of the best opportunities at the university level.”

With his loyal mini Fighting Okra by his side, Sinegal continues to rack up miles in the sky, setting the foundation for a lengthy aviation career ahead of him.

“I have been blessed enough to see all of the amazing opportunities that this world is ready to offer us,” he said. “What you do today will set you in the right path for the rest of your life.”

Learn more about Delta State’s Department of Commercial Aviation at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-business/commercial-aviation.

International Business Symposium returns March 28-29

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Delta State University’s College of Business and Aviation will host the 13th annual International Business Symposium on campus March 28-29. Events will kick off at 3 p.m. March 28 at the Baioni Conference Center in Broom Hall. The theme this year is “Dream Big, Achieve Bigger.”

The annual symposium is sponsored by David and Sherry Abney, Mississippi Delta natives who currently reside in Atlanta. David Abney, a 1976 graduate of DSU, began his career as a part-time United Parcel Service (UPS) package loader while in college. He now serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company. Abney is the eleventh CEO in the 107-year-history of UPS.

“Sherry and I wanted to do something meaningful for the Delta. By bringing global leaders onto campus and sharing their experiences with students, I believe we’ll be able to expand Delta State students’ horizons in how they see and prepare for their futures,” Abney said in a previous Delta State interview.

Along with Abney, the schedule will feature four distinguished speakers, all Delta State graduates:

*Laird Hamberlin: Hamberlin returns to the symposium to share his expertise. He received his bachelor’s in business administration from Delta State before going on to become the vice president of sales and commercial for Terminix (a division of ServiceMaster). Prior to being an equity investor of ServiceMaster and taking the company public in June 2014, he worked for various conglomerates including UTC Climate, Controls and Security, where he served as president of the access controls division.
*Karen Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald is an independent consultant and Lexus achiever with Rodan+Fields, a premium skincare company, in which she leads a team of over 1,200 people who produced over $4.8 million in sales in 2017. She is a Greenville native and completed her degree at Delta State in 2007 in food and nutrition sciences. Fitzgerald began working with Rodan+Fields in 2011, and has since risen to the top two percent of the company.
*Rodney Francis: Francis is the director of human resources for the Nissan North America vehicle facility in Canton, Mississippi. A native of Conroe, Texas, Francis has been a resident of Mississippi for more than 20 years. He received his Bachelor of Science and MBA from Delta State, where he also lettered in basketball. He began his career in HR at Baxter Healthcare in Cleveland, and after years of progressive growth in the profession, he joined the Nissan HR team in 2014.
*Danny Lipe: Lipe has provided value-added strategic guidance, effective management and high-level finance solutions throughout his career in banking and finance. Lipe is a 1985 graduate of Delta State a bachelor’s in accounting. In 1997, he obtained his MBA from the University of Notre Dame. His career has included senior level positions in various industries including furniture retail, investment brokerage, banking and poultry. Originally from Greenville, Lipe resides in Miami, Florida.

The 2018 International Business Symposium is free and open to public. For more information, contact Zina Taran at 662-846-4190 or email ztaran@deltastate.edu.