College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Ronald Brister, former geology and paleontology curator of the Memphis Pink Palace Museum, recently donated his large rock collection to the Delta State University environmental science program.

Environmental Science program receives large rock collection

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences | No Comments

During the Fall 2015 semester, Dr. Ronald Brister, former geology and paleontology curator of the Memphis Pink Palace Museum, donated the Ron Brister Petrology Collection to enhance Delta State University’s environmental science program.

The rock collection consists of 252 different igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks from around the world. Each specimen is housed and labeled in a Wards plastic specimen tray. Additionally, nearly all the specimens possess locality information.

“The specimens are housed in a rolling cabinet that Dr. Brister constructed of birch veneer plywood,” said Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, professor of biology and environmental science at Delta State. “The value of the collection is over $3,000 based on the Wards Classic North American Rock Collection and the Wards Petrology Collection.”

Brister is familiar with Baghai-Riding’s research and with the environmental science program offered by Delta State. In the past, he helped Baghai-Riding coordinate a trip for Bolivar County 4-H participants to the Coon Creek Science Center in Adamsville, Tennessee. The students were able to excavate, prepare and acquire assorted Cretaceous marine fossils of clams, oysters, mosasaurs and more.

Brister said he was thrilled to donate the petrology collection for teaching purposes. In an email to Baghai-Riding, Brister stated that he had the greatest admiration and respect for the work that she has done for the university.

Brister has often displayed a table next to Delta State’s exhibit at the annual Memphis Mineral, Fossil, and Jewelry Show held during the last weekend in April. Baghai-Riding and her husband have promoted the university’s environmental science program at the event for the past decade.

Delta State is the only Mississippi institution that offers a Bachelors of Science degree in environmental science. For more information about the degree program, contact Baghai-Riding at or 662-846-4797.

Fashion merchandising students rack up awards

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences | No Comments


Delta State fashion merchandising students took top prizes in a recent group Apparel Design Competition, reported Dr. Jan Haynes, fashion merchandising professor in the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The first place group (top, left) included Anastasia Klyarovskaya (Moscow, Russia), Adrian Box, (Michigan) and Josholoynn Hunter (Greenville). The group won for their men’s suit in indigo.

The second place group (right), created Ocean Goddess, and included Shanice Cox (Merigold), Kirsten Stroven (Michigan), Danza Locke (Cleveland) and Ashton Roach (Hernando).

The group designs were created from upcycled materials such as cotton sheets that had been eco-dyed with natural dyes at a Delta State cotton workshop in September. These designs were then presented at the Cotton Summit event held at Mississippi State University in November.

The project was the culmination of a grant project “Delta Cotton, Weaving Futures” that included three day-long educational events this semester featuring cotton. The project was a joint partnership among the three Mississippi universities that offer fashion merchandising programs: Delta State University, University of Southern Mississippi, and Mississippi State University. Funding was provided by the Importer Support Program of the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated.

Dr. Brian S. Canfield, 2015 speaker at the annual Kent Wyatt Distinguished Lecture.

COEHS hosts second annual Kent Wyatt Distinguished Lecture

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Sciences, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

The College of Education and Human Sciences recently hosted the second annual Kent Wyatt Distinguished Lecture at Delta State University. This year’s guest lecturer was Dr. Brian S. Canfield, professor of counseling in the Adrian Dominican School of Education at Barry University in Miami, Florida. Canfield’s speech was titled “Building Our Professional Community.”

The lecture series honors Dr. Forest Kent Wyatt, president emeritus of Delta State, whose distinguished career has served as a beacon for generations of educators, both in secondary and higher education.

Canfield shared his expertise on systems theories by providing practical applications of value driven change. In his research article, “The Dyadic Complexity Formula,” Canfield wrote about the dyadic relationship as the basic relationship of all social structure — from the couple, to the family, to the largest of corporate entities.

Canfield’s career in higher education has included professorships at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Southeastern Louisiana University and the University of San Diego. Additionally, he has held academic administrative roles as a clinical director, department chair, associate dean and vice president for academic affairs.

Throughout his 30-year career, he has been active in professional service and leadership in the field of counseling. He is a fellow and former president of the American Counseling Association and a past president of the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors.

Additionally, Canfield is an active speaker and workshop facilitator and has presented to universities and professional associations throughout the United States and abroad.

After the lecture, the COEHS recognized five outstanding alumni from the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology. The award recipients were Aretha Hargrove-Edwards, Virginia Tardy, Jonathan Grantham, Kelcey Steinriede and Jessica Willis.

Dr. Lisa Moon, second from left, and students Jerri Clemons and Claire Griffin at the Alabama/Mississippi Social Work Education Conference.

Dr. Lisa Moon, second from left, and students Jerri Clemons and Claire Griffin at the Alabama/Mississippi Social Work Education Conference.

In other faculty recognition news, Dr. Lisa Moon, chair of Delta State’s Department of Social Work, was recently named Social Work Educator of the Year at the Alabama/Mississippi Social Work Education Conference held in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in November.

The social work faculty also accompanied 23 students at the event. Two senior students, Jerri Clemons and Claire Griffin, competed and won the student poster competition for their research on the virtual dementia tour.


Art gallery to screen film “Arranged”

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery is currently hosting “Muslim/American, American/Muslim,” an exhibition by New York photographer Robert E. Gerhardt. The exhibit explores the Muslim experience in America.

In the spirit of Gerhardt’s project, the Department of Art and the Quality Enhancement Plan have partnered to present a series of events that provide a forum for dialogue. The series, free and open to the public, continues Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. with a public screening of the film “Arranged,” which centers on the unlikely friendship between an Orthodox Jewish and Muslim woman who meet as first-year teachers at a public school in Brooklyn. Over the course of the year, they learn they share much in common — including both going through the process of arranged marriages.

A group discussion will follow the screening, which will be held at the FWACG. Refreshments will be provided by Cleveland’s Adath Israel Synagogue.

Gerhardt’s exhibition will be open through Dec. 11. The gallery is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information on the Department of Art, visit contact 662-846-4720. For updates and announcements of upcoming events, follow the department on Facebook, or join the email list.

FOR Poster-Hi-Res

Fighting Okra Records to finalize artist search

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

Fighting Okra Records, a student-run record label at Delta State University, continued its search to find a new artist for the 2015-16 academic year by holding a performance showcase on Nov. 3 at the Delta Music Institute.

The event was held to review the five finalists competing to sign with FOR. The showcase was closed to the public, and the live performances were viewed by label members in order to give the artists a more realistic experience in dealing with record label executives.

FOR’s artist and repertoire team served as judges for the live performances and conducted the interviews that followed on Nov. 10. The artists were asked to perform two songs, one of which was included in the artist’s video submission.

An announcement of this year’s winner will be made following Thanksgiving break.

“We are excited about all the talent that came out to audition,” said Mic Hargrove, vice president of the label’s A&R team. “This is definitely going to be a hard decision.”

The interview portion of the competition served as a final step in the selection process. The interviews allowed the label members to determine which artist was the total package.

FOR is the driving component of the DMI’s Record Label Practicum course. The mission of FOR is to provide a practical, real-world music industry experience to the students and to provide a variety of independent artists with professional quality music industry services in an effort to expose their name in recordings to the broadest possible audience.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts & Sciences of Delta State University. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For more information, contact Fighting Okra Records at 662-846-4579 or