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College of Arts and Sciences

Becky Rosamond, USFWS wildlife biologist, removes a bat from a mistnet at Dahomey.

Students research bats at Dahomey

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

The biology summer class Wildlife Techniques recently participated in a bat mist netting event at Dahomey National Wildlife Refuge with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Dr. AHM Ali Reza, assistant professor of wildlife management, partnered with Becky Rosamond, wildlife biologist from USFWS, to conduct the research at Dahomey.

“The main purpose of this recent field exercise was to provide the students with hands-on training in wildlife ecology,” said Reza. “Many of these students will work as wildlife professionals either by getting into a graduate program or by taking a job with state, federal agencies or NGOs immediately after they graduate from Delta State. These type of experiences will better prepare them as qualified wildlife personnel while working with different wildlife species.”

The trip to Dahomey focused on the diversity of the bat population, as well to monitor any infectious diseases the bats may carry. With a team of about 10 students, Rosamond and Reza worked until midnight catching bats in the high humidity and mosquito-infested forest.

“The goal is to learn more about the bats, the only flying mammalian group of animals on the planet,” added Reza. “The team managed to catch a few and examine them up close.”

The wildlife management program at Delta State offers a number of courses where students receive professional job training. For more information on the program, contact Reza at 662-846-4242 or areza@deltastate.edu.

Delta State students, faculty and staff recently had the unique opportunity to meet with officials at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia.

Students and faculty visit embassy in Moscow

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

Among the numerous noteworthy opportunities during Delta State’s recent international exchange in Russia was a visit to the United States Embassy in Moscow.

Valentina Kostornichenko, program manager for the U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program, extended the invitation to the group of Delta State students, faculty and staff taking part in Rivers of Music – Rivers of Culture, the international exchange project in partnership with Perm State University in Perm, Russia.

The Delta State group of 13 spent the majority of the trip under the guidance of Svetlana Polyakova, program coordinator from Perm State, in the Perm region for the Permski Krai Immersion Experience.

On June 3, while on a tour of Moscow, the group traveled to meet with Kostornichenko and embassy officials Jeni Washeleski, grants coordinator, and Mary Ellen Koenig, cultural attaché.

Students Leelah Dill, Jarrick Findley, Brandon Mosley, Justin Boatman, Ty Young and Jessica Wishard shared experiences and stories of the trip with the officials. Also attending the meeting were faculty and staff members Tricia Walker, Barry Bays, Miles Fulwider, Charly Abraham, Beverly Moon, Rory Doyle and Robin Boyles.

“It was incredibly unique to visit the embassy and share how meaningful this trip was. It was an experience I’ll cherish for the rest of my life,” said Boatman. “This entire trip was a privilege to attend and really broadened my horizons about Russia and international travel.”

“It was so cool to be invited to the embassy, and I think that we made a good impression when we discussed our experiences on the trip,” said Wishard. “I was really happy to do that, and I think it reflected well on our Russian hosts.”

The program officials were visibly moved by the stories and feelings expressed by the students taking part in the unique exchange.

At the close of the meeting, students shared the gift of song by singing “We Are One,” a piece written by American and Russian students during the Mississippi Delta Immersion Experience, which took place in October of 2014 when 11 students and faculty from Perm State visited Delta State during its inaugural International Conference on the Blues

This song was also performed May 29 at Perm State at the close of the concert performance of the DMI Summer Camp experience, part of the Permski Krai Immersion Experience.

Delta State was awarded a $100,000 grant from the U. S. Department of State for the Rivers of Music – Rivers of Culture project, along with its partner, Perm State, which is located on the banks of the Kama River in Perm

The program utilized music as the universal language, allowing students from both universities to explore the cultures, histories and heritages of the two countries.

There are three components specific to the exchange: 1) Mississippi Delta Immersion Experience, in which faculty and students from Perm State traveled to Delta State in 2014 to participate in the International Conference on the Blues, as well as other Bridging the Blues events; 2) Telebridge Project – Music of Two Rivers, a series of webinars held in the spring semester by both universities; and 3) Permski Krai Immersion Experience, in which faculty and students from Delta State traveled to Perm in May to participate in their festival season and provide a mini summer Delta Music Institute camp experience to Perm students.

To help foster greater contacts between Americans and Russians, the State Department launched the U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue program in 2013. Grants up to $100,000 are provided to support collaboration, meetings, virtual interactions, exchanges and internships between American and Russian organizations.

Learn more about the U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program at http://moscow.usembassy.gov/us-russiadialogue.html. To read more about the group’s experiences, visit the blog http://www.deltastate.edu/russia.

Students from the Delta Music Institute celebrate with students from Perm Statue University in Russia after a successful concert May 29 organized through the international exchange "Rivers of Music — Rivers of Culture."

Delta State completes exchange in Perm, Russia

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

Delta State University recently completed an international exchange program with its partner university Perm State University in Perm, Russia from May 22-June 1. Delta State’s group was invited by Perm State within the framework of the “Rivers of Music — Rivers of Culture” project, a part of the U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program and supported by a grant from the U.S Department of State.

The two institutions have been developing the partnership since November of 2013 thanks to the hard work of Delta State President William N. LaForge and Svetlana Polyakova, program coordinator from Perm State. LaForge has visited Perm State three times in recent years — once in 2008 as a visiting professor in the Center for International Legal Studies program, and twice as a Fulbright Fellow in 2011 and 2015.

During the most recent exchange, called the Permski Krai Immersion Experience, six students from Delta State’s Delta Music Institute took part in the trip to Perm. These students included: Jessica Faith Wishard, Jarrick Finkley, Leelah Dill, Justin Boatman, Ty Young and Brandon Mosley. Additionally, seven Delta State faculty and staff members attended the trip: Tricia Walker, Charly Abraham, Miles Fulwider, Barry Bays, Robin Boyles, Beverly Moon and Rory Doyle.

The first component of Rivers of Music — Rivers of Culture included a visit from Perm State students and faculty in October of 2014, who attended Delta State’s inaugural International Conference on the Blues and additional Bridging the Blues events. This portion of the program was coined the Mississippi Delta Immersion Experience.

The second component continued throughout the spring semester with a telebridge project, a series of webinars between both universities. Utilizing music as the universal language, both groups took part in virtually streamed classes focusing on the cultures, histories and heritages of the two countries.

Russian and American students performing at the closing concert.

During the recent Permski Krai Immersion Experience, the Delta State group was able to participate in Perm’s festival season and provide a mini summer Delta Music Institute camp to Perm students.

The main goal of the DMI camp was to produce a public concert at the PSU Students’ Palace of Culture at the end of the camp session. The concert featured performances from both Perm State and Delta State students as a final stage of this intensive international program. In the week leading up to the concert, the participants held four joint rehearsals before the performance on May 29.

“At the concert you could hear songs in the style of traditional Russian folk music and American blues of the Mississippi Delta region,” said Polyakova.

The Russians participating in the camp included: Katya Ilynykh, violin; Katya Konstantinova, key piano; Dmitry Dementiev, bass guitar; Uliana Grebenschikova, clarinet; Daniel Mansvetov, bongo, cajon, harmonica; Dasha Krasilnikova, vocals; Aleksandra Popova, vocals; Marina Aksenova, vocals; Igor Kopylov, vocals, songwriter; Ksenia Mazitova, vocals; and Eugeni Zherebtsov, songwriter.

DMI faculty are now in the process of producing an official recording of the concert.

The DMI students also participated in the Red Sail Festival of songwriters in the village of Shadeika near Kungur. This unique opportunity allowed the students to perform on stage to an audience in rural Russia. Once again, both Delta State and Perm State students joined together for the performance.

Polyakova (left) and Ilynykh leading the conference “Rivers of Music — Rivers of Culture: At the Cultural Crossroads.”

Another highlight event during the visit was Delta State’s participation in the conference “Rivers of Music – Rivers of Culture: At the Cultural Crossroads,” in which the American students and professors participated in the plenary session and attended four sections. Around 70 participants attended the successful conference.

Special interactions occurred at school No. 6, where the group met Russian schoolchildren aged 9-16. Alla Podolskaya, director of music programs at the school, organized a thorough performance highlighting the musical talents of the students.

“They enjoyed many other visits and excursions organized by the students of Foreign Modern Languages and Literatures, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Law,” said Polyakova.

The group received a tour of the architectural and ethnographic museum called Khokhlovka.

One noteworthy trip in the Perm region was a visit to the architectural and ethnographic open-air museum called Khokhlovka. Founded in 1969 and opened for visitors in 1980, it is the first open-air architectural museum of wooden architecture in the Ural region, and includes 23 unique monuments from the 17th through early 20th centuries.

Additionally, the Delta State group was exposed to a number of interesting cultural events during the Diagilev Festival in Perm. The group attended five events in the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre and were guided through two excursions of the Perm Art Gallery.

The detailed schedule would not have been successful without the joint efforts of Perm State faculty and students. Along with Polyakova’s role as PSU program coordinator, the committee included: Olga Ilynykh, vice rector; Svetlana Zhdanova, head of the Development Pshychology Department; Elena Gritsenko, associate professor of English in the Language and Intercultural Communication Department; Michail Bakharev, faculty of law; Anna Shavkunova, Lubava Puzireva and Ekaterina Ilynykh, faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences; Daria Krasilnikova, Artem Gorin and Ivan Shardakov, faculty of Law; and others.

Meeting with faculty and students at Perm State University.

“The Americans liked everything — organization, food, accommodation, transport and the field trips,” said Polyakova. “They praised the level of English of non-linguists, although the linguistic support was organized by the Faculty of Foreign Modern Languages and Literatures, including Kristina Kostina, Anna Poryadina, Marina Aksenova, Elena Trushnikova and others.”

After the group departed Perm, they continued the exchange with a three-day tour of Moscow.

“One of the outstanding results, and a sign of a special recognition of the program, was the invitation of the DSU group to a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, where the students sang the original song of our project, “We are one,’” added Polyakova. “But the most important thing for all the participants is the friendship and good social and cultural relationships they have grown thanks to the program. It is an inspiring and unforgettable outcome.”

Before the trip, Delta State’s Office of Communications and Marketing established a program blog at http://www.deltastate.edu/russia. DMI students and teachers shared their impressions about Perm and Perm State throughout the journey. Read more of these impressions and view trip photos on the blog.

Follow all news of the exchange at www.deltastate.edu as both institutions will continue to explore future developments.

Follow Delta State's current international exchange with Perm State University through www.deltastate.edu/russia.

Delta State launches Russia blog

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Delta Music Institute, Faculty/Staff, Office of Institutional Grants, President, Students | No Comments

Follow a group of six Delta Music Institute students and seven Delta State University faculty and staff members as they depart to Russia on the groundbreaking program “Rivers of Music — Rivers of Culture.”

The university published a live blog today, www.deltastate.edu/russia, as the group flies oversees early Thursday to continue international exchange developments with Perm State University in Perm, Russia. Photographs, videos, social media and journal entries published on the blog will allow the Delta State community to stay updated with the group’s progress.

“Rivers of Music — Rivers of Culture” utilizes music as a universal language to explore the cultures, histories and heritages of the Mississippi Delta and Perm Krai regions, both situated along historic rivers.

Support for the platform comes from a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State through the U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program. To help foster greater contacts between Americans and Russians, the State Department launched the program in 2013. Grants up to $100,000 are provided to support collaboration, meetings, virtual interactions, exchanges and internships between American and Russian organizations.

Perm State University sent a similar size group to Delta State in October of 2014 to attend the university’s inaugural International Conference on the Blues. Delta State’s trip marks the second half of the international travel.

During the trip, DMI students and faculty will lead a mini summer Delta Music Institute camp experience at Perm State.

Learn more information through the blog’s About the Trip page. Follow all trip highlights at www.deltastate.edu/russia.

STEM-logo

STEM summer camp offered

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Delta State is introducing the Kent Wyatt Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) summer camp this year.

The Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Mathematics will offer an interdisciplinary science and math summer program for students entering grades 7-8. The camp will take place July 13-17 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on the campus of Delta State.

Dr. Ellen Green, chair of biological sciences, said the STEM camp will offer interactive activities that take learning beyond the typical school experience.

“There has been a recognized need, not only in the Mississippi Delta but nationally, for greater emphasis on STEM education,” said Green. “We have developed modules that are hands-on, inquiry-based science and math experiences that will enhance science and math understanding for the junior high school student.”

The camp was named in honor of President Emeritus Kent Wyatt for his 50 years of service to the institution. Wyatt also earned a degree in mathematics education at Delta State.

Space is limited and applications are due to the Department of Biological Sciences in 127 Gibson-Gunn Hall by May 29. Call 662-846-4240 for more information.