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College of Arts and Sciences

Wang receives INBRE research grant

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Delta State University’s newest faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences has hit the ground running with $50,000 Research Development Grant funded by Mississippi IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).

A graduate of Iowa State University, Dr. Dafang Faith Wang brings a wealth of knowledge, a background of research and a love of teaching to Delta State University.

“Thanks to Mississippi INBRE funding [Wang] will continue her research on epigenetic silencing in maize here at Delta State, providing an opportunity for our students to learn the most up-to-date techniques in genetics, molecular biology and bioinformatics,” said Dr. Ellen Green, chair and associate professor of biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Delta State.

Mississippi INBRE Research Development Grants are designed to support innovative basic or translational biomedical research. The grant will allow Wang to build effective lab space, continue her research and train students.

“Wang is a bright and promising scientist that adds to our pool of biomedical researchers in Mississippi,” said Dr. Mohamed Elasri, director of Mississippi INBRE. “This has been a great instance of our partnership between Mississippi INBRE and DSU. The overall goal of this partnership is to improve the competitiveness of Mississippi in health-related research.”

In only her second semester of teaching, she has taken on three courses, general biology, genetics and plant physiology. Her background and continued research will allow her to train students to work at the cutting edge of science.

“I love to teach and to communicate with students,” said Wang. “I get excited when I see the students understand the concept and solve a problem. That is my biggest motivation.”

Mississippi INBRE is a statewide program that is supported by an award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Its mission is to enhance the biomedical foundation in Mississippi and to reach out to Mississippians in order to improve health throughout the state.

Mississippi INBRE seeks to engage talented researchers and students in biomedical research projects that will increase the state’s research competitiveness as well as impact the health of citizens of Mississippi.

For more information about Mississippi INBRE, visit msinbre.org.

Learn more about biology opportunities at Delta State at http://www.deltastate.edu/artsandsciences/biological-sciences.

Department of Biological Sciences attends Mississippi Academy of Sciences conference

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The Department of Biological Sciences at Delta State University recently attended the 82nd annual Mississippi Academy of Sciences conference at the Thad Cochran Center of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

Environmental science and biology majors contributed oral and poster presentations. Four student presentations in ecology and evolutionary biology received awards from the open MAS competition.

Environmental science student, Bethany Walker, received a second place award for her presentation titled, “Population and behavioral study of feral cats (Felis catus) on Delta State University Campus, Cleveland, MS,” which was authored by Walker, Hope Edge and professor Dr. AHM Ali Reza. Aaron Sassenrath-Cole received a second runner-up award for his presentation “Use of a scanning electron microscope in wildlife research and management,” which was authored by Sassenrath-Cole and Reza. Karoline Lambert received a third place award for her presentation “Preliminary Analysis of population dynamics of Amphiuma tridactylum and Siren intermedia in the Mississippi Delta,” which was authored by Lambert, Hannah Taylor, Sara Barrett, Shelby Babb and Eric Blackwell. Mitchell Coleman gave his presentation on “Preliminary Evaluation of using trail cameras for surveying mammal species,” which was authored by Mitchell Coleman, Christian Frew, Peyton Hamblin, Joshua Glover, Matthew Galloway and Eric Blackwell.

Undergraduate students William Neal and Arnold Spiers received a second runner-up award for their poster presentation titled “Isolation and identification of antibiotic producing microbes from Malidon dasystomous (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae),” which was authored by Neal, Spiers, Tanya K. McKinney, Dr. Ellen S. Green, and Nathan M. Schiff.  Professor Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding presented a poster titled “Vernal Pools at Dahomey National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi,” which was authored by Tyler Kitchings, Cade Francis, Maverick Harrison and Brady Chambley.

Another environmental science student, Raven Allison, presented a poster within the geology and geography section, which was rated as the best poster for the section. The poster was titled “Locally grown fruit retains its soil signature: an elemental study of regional variation in noncommercial jams and jellies,” and was authored by Allison, Callie Masterson, Dana Rico, William Whittington, Breana Randle, Gregory Peacock, Baghai-Riding and Charles Smithhart.

Reza chaired the MAS Ecology and Evolutionary Biology section, while Baghai-Riding served as the vice chair.

Attendees also visited the Lake Thoreau Environmental Center near USM’s campus. Participants learned about the habitat and ecology of the area.

To learn more about the environmental science program at Delta State University, contact Baghai-Riding (nbaghai@deltastate.edu) or Reza (areza@deltastate.edu).

Berry to provide 21st annual Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture

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

Delta State University will host the 21st annual Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture on April 5 at 7 p.m. in Jobe Hall Auditorium.

The 2018 lecturer is Dr. Stephen Berry, Gregory Professor of the Civil War Era at the University of Georgia. Berry’s talk is entitled, “Dead Reckoning: What Coroners’ Records Reveal about Life and Death in the Old South.”

The Cranford Lecture is sponsored by the Delta State Division of Social Sciences and History and is supported by a generous grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council. The DSU Quality Enhancement Plan is also providing support for the lecture, which honors the life of Dr. Sammy Orren Cranford, longtime history professor and archivist at Delta State. The event is free and open to the public.

Berry earned his doctorate in history from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is a leading scholar of the American Civil War and the nineteenth-century South. He has two books, “House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds” (2007) and “All That Makes a Man: Love and Ambition in the Civil War South” (2003). He has edited numerous volumes, including “A House Divided: The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858” (2015) and “Weirding the War: Stories from the Civil War’s Ragged Edges” (2011).

He is currently working on several projects, most notably, a digital history project entitled “CSI: Dixie,” which uses coroners’ records to gain a deeper understanding of life and death in the nineteenth-century American South. As noted on the project website, “Coroners’ inquests are some of the richest records we have of life and death in the nineteenth century South. As mortals, we all die, but we do not die equally. Race, place, gender, profession, behavior, and good and bad luck play large roles in determining how we go out of the world. Collecting extant coroners’ inquests for the state of South Carolina between 1800 and 1900, CSI Dixie provides rare glimpses into Victorian-era suicide, homicide, infanticide, abortion, child abuse, spousal abuse, master-slave murder, and slave on slave violence.” For more information on the project, visit https://csidixie.org.

Dr. Sammy O. Cranford

Berry’s work for “CSI: Dixie” will serve as the foundation for his lecture.

“We are excited to have Stephen Berry deliver this year’s lecture,” said Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, associate professor of history at Delta State. “His work on the American Civil War and the nineteenth-century South is some of the most imaginative and creative you will find from historians today. He explores fascinating topics about daily life and death in the American South that push us to think about this region’s history, as well as the nation’s, in fresh, new ways. Students, faculty, staff and community members will learn a great deal about life and death in the Old South.”

Berry serves as the secretary-treasurer for the Southern Historical Association and has been a fellow for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. In 2010, he received the Parks-Heggoy Award for excellence in graduate student teaching in the University of Georgia’s Department of History.

Westmoreland said Berry’s commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship and public engagement bears much similarity to the work of Cranford.

“Stephen Berry has done a terrific job of taking history outside the traditional confines of the classroom and academic publications and into the digital world,” he added. “He speaks around the country and engages different types of audiences with his work. Dr. Cranford excelled at teaching and bringing history to a wider audience as well. I think he would appreciate the depth and creativity that Dr. Berry brings to the study of the past.”

As Westmoreland noted, the Cranford Lecture is a tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Cranford.

“Through his passion as a history professor, and his commitment to developing the DSU Archives, Dr. Cranford made our campus and community a better place,” said Westmoreland. “He touched the lives of students, fellow colleagues, community members and scholars who came to DSU to conduct research in our archives. This year’s lecture presents a great opportunity to learn from Dr. Berry and honor Dr. Cranford, one of Delta State’s most distinguished faculty members.”

Previous lecturers include: 1998, John Marzalek; 1999, John Ray Skates; 2000, James Cobb; 2001, Martha Swain; 2002, Lawrence Nelson; 2003, Nan Woodruff; 2004, David Sansing; 2005, Charles Reagan Wilson; 2006, James Hollandsworth; 2007, Elbert Hilliard; 2008, Larry Griffin; 2009, William LaForge; 2010, Chris Myers Asch; 2011, Charles Eagles; 2012, George Rable; 2013, Jeannie Whayne; 2014, Tim Huebner; 2015, Alecia Long; 2016, Aram Goudsouzian; 2017, Calvin White, Jr.

Following the lecture, a reception will be held in the Jobe Hall lobby.

For more information on the Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture, contact Westmoreland at cwestmoreland@deltastate.edu.

Baghai-Riding contributes to Geological Society of America meeting

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Searching for diamonds in Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.

 

Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, professor of biology and environmental science at Delta State, contributed to the Geological Society of America South-Central Section Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, March 11-14.

Baghai-Riding was one of several co-authors of the presentation “Confirming Quaternary Displacement Rates on the Meeman-Shelby Fault and Joiner Ridge Horst, Eastern Arkansas.” The study looked at fossil spores and pollen from seven intervals to determine ancient paleoenvironments and geologic age.

Several Delta State environmental science students, including Helen Simmons, Anna Scott and Wilsonya Mitchell, contributed to the research.

As part of the conference, Baghai-Riding also participated in a trip to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. Diamonds have been discovered in the area for more than a century, including 28 that are over 10 carats.

Contact Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding (nbaghai@deltastate.edu) for more information about the environmental science program at Delta State University.

Annual Juried Student Exhibition returns to gallery

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Delta State University’s Department of Art invites the public to the opening of its Annual Juried Student Exhibition March 8 from 5-7 p.m. in the Fielding Wright Art Center gallery.

The annual show allows the department to highlight student work produced in the past year and affords students an opportunity to gain professional experience by preparing work for exhibition and submitting it to a jury process.

Students submitting work are also eligible to win monetary awards in a variety of categories. The awards are made possible through the generous support of art patrons from the Cleveland community. Awards will be presented at 6 p.m.

This year’s juror is Nathan Pietrykowski, an independent printmaker who has shown work nationally and internationally in over 60 exhibitions.

The exhibit will remain in the gallery from March 8 to April 19.

The gallery is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, contact the Department of Art at 662-846-4720.