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Continuing Education

Spring 2018 McNair Research Scholars

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The Spring 2018 cohort of McNair Scholars (left to right): Bobby Foster, Kevin Sodachanh, Nicholas Walters, Laketha Covington, Bria Goodson, Ashley Griffin, Porsche Chambers, Dakota Conway, Stevena King, Joelle Dick, Johvan Hill-Dick, Syed Mohammed Amannudin and Audrey Gonzalez. Missing from the picture are Khyla Grant and Abigail Hynum.

 

 

Delta State’s Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies and the McNair Research Scholars program are proud to announce the inaugural Spring 2018 cohort of McNair Scholars.

The prestigious program prepares undergraduate students for the pursuit of a doctoral degree and provides a summer research stipend of up to $2,800 per student.

The McNair Scholars Program is one of eight TRiO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The program supports undergraduate students across the university who come from low-income, first-generation and underrepresented backgrounds. Eligible participants plan to pursue doctoral degrees.

Each student is paired with a faculty mentor in his or her respective college with similar research interests. The student and mentor work together throughout the year so the student can gain research experience and develop academic skills and strategies to prepare them for success in higher education.

The Spring 2018 cohort includes the following scholars:

Bobby Foster
Kevin Sodachanh
Nicholas Walters
Laketha Covington
Bria Goodson
Ashley Griffin
Porsche Chambers
Dakota Conway
Stevena King
Joelle Dick
Johvan Hill-Dick
Syed Mohammed Amannudin
Audrey Gonzalez
Khyla Grant
Abigail Hynum

“We are excited to have such a great inaugural group of McNair Scholars,” said Wendolyn Stevens, program director. “The Scholars have already started identifying and committed research for this summer. We have confirmations for internships at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland; University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi; and at the Coastal Marine Education and Research Academy in Clearwater, Florida. I am looking forward to see the results of their Summer Research Experiences.”

Learn more about the program at http://www.deltastate.edu/graduate-and-continuing-studies/mcnair-research-fellows-program.

University offers numerous summer school options

By | Academics, Community, Continuing Education, Student Success Center, Students | No Comments

Summer at Delta State University offers a number of opportunities for students to stay on track on their path to graduation.

“Summer school is a great to stay ahead of coursework at Delta State, catch up on credits, improve your GPA and get pre-requisites out of the way,” said Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of the Student Success Center at Delta State. “Taking a couple classes each summer can set you up to graduate sooner and start your career earlier — which leads to earning a salary instead of paying college tuition.”

A full list of courses offered during Summer I and Summer II sessions is available online. View the large selection of summer classes at: http://www.deltastate.edu/academic-affairs/summer-school.

Instead of taking a course for four months during the fall or spring semesters, summer school courses are condensed to five weeks. The university offers online and on-campus courses in a variety of subjects that count towards general education requirements or for specific majors.

“Moving home for the summer? No problem,” said Riddle. “Delta State’s online courses let you take classes from anywhere on the planet.”

Students are encouraged to and register for summer courses during Pre-Registration Week from April 2-6. By meeting with academic advisors, students can register for both summer and fall classes.

Additionally, there are financial aid options available for summer school. Options range from federal aid, to state-based assistance, such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which helps students complete their degree and find employment.

Financial aid applications for the summer are due during fall pre-registration, with the priority deadline of April 6, and the final deadline of June 12. For information on financial aid, contact 662-846-4670, or visit http://www.deltastate.edu/student-life/financial-aid.

Students should also be aware of the general deadlines to enroll in summer course work. The deadline for the Summer I session is May 29, and the Summer II deadline is July 2.

Dr. Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies and Research at Delta State, added that summer coursework provides many opportunities for high school students and community members alike.

“So many courses we offer appeal to the wide community,” said Moon. “Those include HPER courses such as swimming, art courses, the blues curriculum, and many others such as personal finance, the history of rock ‘n’ roll, astronomy, karate, or even a computer course.”

Another benefit is that those signing up for courses don’t necessarily need to be degree-seeking students.

“Many students take a course or two for continuing education credits, or as a requirement for a job,” added Moon. “Some sign up for credit towards a degree somewhere else, to try a new subject, or just for self-gratification.”

TFA Graduate Fellows Program hosts Ballot & Brunch

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The Teach For America Graduate Fellows Program at Delta State University hosted “Ballot & Brunch” Nov. 11 at the Delta Meat Market in Cleveland.

Guests were invited to become active participants in re-imagining Mississippi with the TFA Graduate Fellows.

The program is a collaboration between Delta State and TFA. The fellowship’s role is to retain TFA alumni in Mississippi by offering the opportunity to continue their education in graduate school at DSU and to nurture their passion for enhancing the state.

The fellowship is a two-year program that currently has two cohorts for a total of 19 TFA alumni. Each fellow is pursuing their individualized social entrepreneurship project (SE) that addresses local issues.

“These folks are actively using their unique skills and passion, and applying it to the betterment of Mississippi through their social entrepreneurship projects,” said Harrison Wood, program coordinator for the fellowship.

Each fellow had the opportunity to invite individuals to the Ballot & Brunch who they consider to be mentors, collaborators or stakeholders in their SE project. TFA staff, DSU coordinators and potential future TFA fellows were also in attendance.

“It was a powerful event to experience,” Wood said. “Everyone in the space was invited because our fellowship believes that they are actively using their passions and work to better our wonderful Mississippi. In the room, we had people who were responsible for the creation of this opportunity. There were many folks representing TFA and DSU, and many were considered to be mentors and stakeholders to our TFA Fellows.”

The brunch was a brainstorming opportunity for attendees to propose ideas for advancing Mississippi followed by a pitch/networking competition among the fellows and their projects.

After brunch, each fellow presented a powerful one-minute pitch about their SE project. During the pitch, they addressed the Mississippi community that is being served, the need the project is meeting, and how they plan to execute their project. Participants then provided visuals of their projects set up in the space.

Once guests were able to network with the fellows, everyone had the opportunity to vote on the SE project they would support and like to see come to fruition.

The top-three presenters received a scholarship stipend to bring their projects to reality:

1st Place ($500)– Jeremiah Smith, Rosedale with Rosedale Freedom Project
2nd Place ($400) – Charlotte Arrowsmith, Greenwood with Open Minds
3rd Place ($300) – Lucas Rapisarda, Rosedale with Rosedale Freedom Project Outdoor Program

In addition to the Ballot & Brunch winners, the program able to award nine fellows with the Supply Stipend Award. The fellows were given the opportunity to apply for up to $3,000 of awards that will be dedicated to the advancement of their project.

“The TFA Graduate Fellows Program is thrilled to be able to support the TFA Fellows social entrepreneurship projects outside of providing university resources, formal mentorship, cohort collaboration, and community service opportunities,” said Wood. “Supporting them financially with the Supply Stipend Award is evidence that the fellowship actively supports the changemaking efforts they are working towards in a real tangible way.”

The project is funded through a grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. The principal goal of the foundation is to contribute to the overall economic advancement of the state of Mississippi by making funds available to four-year colleges and universities and graduate professional schools located in the state.

For more information on the program, visit www.tfafellows.com.

TFA Graduate Fellows complete retreat

By | Academics, Community, Continuing Education, Graduate and Continuing Studies, Students, Teach for America | No Comments

Delta State University’s Graduate and Continuing Studies department recently completed its second annual immersion retreat for the Teach For America Graduate Fellows Program.

The program is a collaboration between Teach For America and Delta State University, offering 20 Teach For America alumni support while working to launch and run a social entrepreneurship project in the Mississippi communities they serve, while also completing a graduate degree program of their interest.

This year’s cohort includes: AK Suggs, Alexis Williams, Catie Denham, Charlotte Arrowsmith, JJ Townsend, Kaitlyn Barton, Latasha Capers, Leigh Hill, Lucas Rapisarda, MK Honeycutt, and Sean Brown.

The retreat offered the fellows the opportunity to refine their leadership skills while also being introduced to entrepreneurial perspectives when tackling social problems. Additionally, the cohort was required to disconnect from their day-to-day stresses and devote all their energy for four days to the retreat. The cohort had the privilege of staying at a cabin directly on the Mississippi River which allowed for stunning sights and sounds, refreshing walks and a beautiful setting to collaborate.

Participants focused on the expansion of their proposed social venture projects through vision setting, customer discovery, probes and prototypes. Spud Marshall served as the facilitator for the retreat. Marshall is the chief catalyst for co.space, an international network of homes for change-makers that launched in State College, Pennsylvania. He is also the co-founder of New Leaf, a nonprofit social innovation incubator in State College.

“We offered the cohort tangible tools for them to use by providing a framework and space to plan out the implementation and design of their projects,” said program coordinator Harrison Wood. “Our retreat was an incredible success. They became more than simply a group of TFA alumni, but rather, a group that will continue to intentionally support and collaborate with one another as they make steps towards change in Mississippi over the next two years.”

The group also visited with Ben Lewis and Amanda Johnson, who are both leading social enterprises in Clarksdale. The trip provided fellows an opportunity to visualize and learn from entrepreneurs who have pursued ventures positioned in a rural area. Wrapping up their visit to Clarksdale, the cohort canoed the Mississippi River with John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company, fostering a team-building experience for the participants.

To complete the fellowship, each participant will focus on social entrepreneurship, while simultaneously completing a graduate degree at Delta State. The cohort will regularly convene to share experiences in a collaborative environment, allowing participants to develop goals.

“We’re delighted that our alumni have an opportunity to further invest their talents and demonstrate their devotion to Mississippi and the Delta in this structured, creative way,” said Teach For America’s Ron Nurnberg. “It’s been terrific for me to see this opportunity move from dream, to discussion, to planning, to unfurling. I’m eager to see this potential unleashed and improving the quality of life for all of us.”

The project is funded through a grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. The principal goal of the foundation is to contribute to the overall economic advancement of the state of Mississippi by making funds available to four-year colleges and universities and graduate professional schools located in the state.

For more information on the program, visit www.tfafellows.com.

Complete 2 Compete Initiative launches website

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Officials, including (left to right) Steve Jaworowski, LK Marketing; John Davis, DHS; Stephanie Bullock, IHL; Governor Phil Bryant; Dr. Andrea Mayfield, MCCB; Dr. Glenn Boyce, IHL; Dr. Casey Turnage, IHL; and Audra Kimble, MCCB; gather to announce the launch of the Complete 2 Compete website.

The portal to a better future is just a click away for thousands of Mississippians. The Complete 2 Compete website provides information and resources available to help Mississippi adults who have completed some college, but not a degree, to return to college and complete the requirements necessary to earn their degrees.

“Complete 2 Compete will grow our skilled, educated workforce, in turn growing economic development across the state,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “This partnership will ensure Mississippi remains attractive to business and industry looking for a favorable tax climate and a workforce ready to excel on day one. I am grateful to everyone involved in making it a reality.”

The website will serve as an important resource for thousands of Mississippians:

  • More than 2,400 former students age 21 or over have enough credits to earn a bachelor’s degree with no additional coursework
  • An additional 28,000 students have enough credits to earn an associates degree with no additional coursework
  • More than 100,000 former students can earn either an associates or bachelor’s degree with some additional coursework

“This website provides important information that can have life-changing results for many Mississippians,” said Dr. Glenn Boyce, commissioner of Higher Education. “Workforce studies have shown that the vast majority of future jobs will go to those with a postsecondary degree or credential of value beyond high school. I would encourage individuals to access this website as it could be an important first step in helping them achieve a goal that will ultimately lead to a better, higher-paying job and greater job and financial security.”

Mississippi Public Universities, the Mississippi Community College Board and the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges are partners in the effort to identify target groups, implement adult learner services and re-engage adult students to help them complete their degrees.

“As a statewide initiative, Complete 2 Compete has the potential to impact hundreds of thousands of Mississippians,” said Dr. Andrea Mayfield, executive director of the Mississippi Community College Board. “Expanding career and wage opportunities are just two, of many, benefits of Complete 2 Compete. I am excited to see this collaborative effort become a reality. Without the partnership and efforts of many, this initiative would not be possible. I look forward to the positive impact on individuals, employers, and Mississippi’s economy.”

The Mississippi Department of Human Services has provided funding through a grant designed to help low-income Mississippians improve their job skills.

“The Mississippi Department of Human Services proudly supports the Complete 2 Compete Project,” said John Davis, executive director of  MDHS. “Our generation plus approach at MDHS begins by addressing poverty as well as associated barriers encountered by Mississippi families. The approach is designed with an intentional focus on working with the family as a whole. Education is one of the key components to create a foundational framework​ for individuals along their pathway to independence. The Complete 2 Compete Project perfectly aligns with our efforts to holistically assist households obtain livable wages.”

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security also provided a grant for the program.

There is no cost for submitting information through the C2C website and doing so may help an individual determine how close they are to completing degree requirements. Depending on what programs are needed to satisfy an individual’s career and educational interests, the Complete 2 Compete website will match him or her to a list of schools that offer the classes needed to complete a degree.

Tuition and fees for enrollment in courses may be assessed according to the established tuition and fee schedule at each institution. Some incentives, including academic forgiveness, virtual tutoring, adult learner scholarships and tuition assistance, prior learning assessment and repayment plan options may be available at some of the institutions.

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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.