MS School for Math and Science students complete summer research

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments
Pictured (left to right): Student John Tierce, Dr. Sharon K. Hamilton, Dr. Adam Johanson and student Stormy Gale.

Two visiting students from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science recently wrapped up a two-week research experience at Delta State under the direction of the Department of Chemistry and Physics.

Rising seniors participating in the program were Stormy Gale (Columbus, Mississippi) and John Tierce (Cleveland, Mississippi).

“The Department of Chemistry and Physics is been proud to once again host summer research students from the Mississippi School for Math and Science,” said Dr. Joe Bentley, chair of the department. “When students come to Delta State for a summer research experience like this, it’s great all the way around. The MSMS students get a taste for doing research in an academic lab, it will help them with their applications to college, and the professor gets to work with highly qualified high school students.”2017 math science interns-1

Tierce worked closely with Dr. Sharon K. Hamilton, assistant professor of chemistry.

“John has been working with other students in my lab determining the optimal formulations for drug-loaded natural polymer fibers,” said Hamilton. “These fibers can be used for drug delivery and wound healing purposes. John is gaining valuable research experience that will help him as he pursues his college degree next year. It is my hope that our high school chemistry and physics research program can continue to grow in the years to come, especially with such great student recommendations from Dr. Elizabeth Morgan at MSMS.”

Tierce also partnered on research with current Delta State students Katie Penton (Southaven, Mississippi), a graduate student in chemistry, and Zachary Kinler (Pascagoula, Mississippi), an undergraduate student.

Gale worked with Dr. Adam Johanson, planetarium director and assistant professor of physics.

“Stormy Gale spent two weeks developing an original planetarium presentation entitled ‘History of Astronomy,’” said Johanson. “She not only outlined the show, but wrote over 1,000 lines of computer code to program the planetarium to display videos, pictures and animations to complement the narration.”

The presentation of Gale’s hard work was given to the public on July 21 in the Wiley Planetarium.

Hamilton’s research is supported by the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, and funded by an Institutional Development Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103476.

Learn more about Delta State’s Department of Chemistry and Physics at

Young-Mauldin closes for major renovations

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

Members of the  President’s Cabinet and fellow staff members shared lunch at Delta State’s Young-Mauldin Dining Hall on Thursday, the final meal to be served at the cafeteria until major building renovations come to fruition.

According to Jeff Barkman, director of Facilities Management at Delta State, the $9.2 million in renovations will include an updated dining space, theater, snack bar and private dining room. The remodeling will also feature a new state-of-the-art kitchen.

The new temporary dining location will be the State Room in the H.L. Nowell Student Union. A temporary kitchen has also been constructed across the hall.

Jamie Rutledge, vice president for Finance and Administration at Delta State, said the anticipated start of construction is Sept. 1 and will continue for 18 months.

“The cafeteria will be totally renovated throughout the entire building,” said Rutledge. “All of the mechanical, plumbing and electrical will be completely replaced. Repairs will also include all new kitchen equipment, furniture and serving lines.”

Untitled-1Dr. Vernell Bennett, vice president for Student Affairs, said the renovations would provide a major boost to the student dining experience.

“Student Affairs is excited about this project. This state-of-the-art facility will benefit both current and future students by improving the university’s service delivery, campus facility and food service offerings, and recruitment,” said Bennett. “The theater and private dining room will be very helpful for programming and will serve as a vital additional outlet for student engagement activities and projects. The updated dining space and expanded food service choices will afford our students more options for dining, which was the topic of several town hall forums that Student Affairs sponsored last spring.”

Ashley Griffin, president of the Student Government Association, said her peers are also looking forward to the upgrades.

“When we survey students at Delta State for things they feel will enhance their college experience, responses always includes Wi-Fi and their cafe experience,” said Griffin. “By remodeling the cafe with these accommodations, it will become a great place for eating, but also a place for students to socialize and relax in an on-campus area that’s not the dorm. The updates in the kitchen will hopefully give the cooks more food options to serve students. I feel this is a step towards fulfilling what students having been wanting for years.”

Follow all Delta State news at

Taylor charting the course for habitat conservation

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

Combining habitant conservation with geospatial information technologies is Hannah Taylor’s mission this summer.

Taylor, a wildlife habitat management major at Delta State, is a data management/field technician intern under the Rice Stewardship Partnership at Ducks Unlimited, partnered with USA Rice, at the Southern Regional Office located in Ridgeland.

She assists in day-to-day operations, creating and updating project tracking databases, mapping in GIS software, and generating facts and figures for reporting to partners.

“I hope to gain the knowledge and experience of how a conservation organization operates,” said Taylor. “Being a part of this organization has been a great opportunity for me as a wildlife habitat management major, and I hope to pass my knowledge on to other students who may be interested in seeking a career in wildlife habitat management.”

The internship was a dream come true for Taylor, who grew up attending youth camps at Ducks Unlimited.

“My family and I are members of the Ducks Unlimited Bolivar County Chapter and have been for as long as I can remember,” she said. “Growing up, my brother and I were involved in the youth camps that DU had every year and were made ‘Greenwings’ at the age of five. We attend every DU banquet we can to show our support.”

Founded in 1937, DU is the world’s leading conservation agency for wetlands and waterfowl. Its mission is to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and habitats for North America’s waterfowl. The organization has projects in all 50 states and has conserved over 13 million acres of waterfowl habitat in North America, according to its website.

When the time came for Taylor to apply for her internship, Dr. Ellen Green, chair of the department of biological sciences and associate professor of biology, knew of Taylor’s interest in studying waterfowl and GIS and suggested she apply to DU.

“Hannah expressed to me last spring that she wanted to find an internship that would combine her interests in studying waterfowl and GIS,” said Green. “This internship appears to be the perfect match for her. After talking with her recently and hearing more about her summer experience, I am confident that the knowledge and skills she is learning through Ducks Unlimited and through her environmental science degree will make her a very competitive candidate for a wide range of positions.”

For more information about Ducks Unlimited, visit For more information about the wildlife habitat management program at Delta State, contact Green at 662-846-4240 or

Haynes named Employee of the Month

By | Faculty/Staff, Library | No Comments

The Delta State University Staff Council recently honored Regina Haynes, library assistant II, as the June 2017 Employee of the Month.

She began her career at Delta State in 2013 in the Department of Facilities Management. In 2015, she took a job in the Roberts-LaForge Library’s Instructional Resources Center, where her duties include managing student workers; reserving items; and helping students, faculty, staff and community users navigate and use resources.

Haynes was born in Cleveland and later moved to Pennsylvania, where she lived for 26 years before returning to the Delta. She is the proud mother of three children that she visits as often as she can.

Made up of volunteers from the Staff Council, the Incentives & Recognition committee meets monthly to review nominations for the Employee of the Month award. The committee has been celebrating staff performance in this manner for over 15 years.

Delta State’s Staff Council serves as a liaison between the administration and the staff to provide a formal process for staff to discuss issues involving university policies and procedures and to forward ideas, recommendations and opinions to the president.

Hundley named interim executive director of Alumni-Foundation

By | Alumni, Faculty/Staff, Foundation, President | No Comments

Delta State University recently welcomed Patrick D. Hundley as the interim executive director of the Delta State University Alumni-Foundation.

Hundley took over after former director Keith Fulcher transitioned to the new position of special assistant to the president for donor relations.

He joins Delta State from the REGISTRY for College and University Presidents, an organization that provides experienced higher educational professionals on an interim basis. University and Foundation officials will conduct a search later in the year for a permanent executive director.

“I could not be more pleased with the welcome that I have received here,” said Hundley. “The entire staff of the Foundation and Alumni division has been wonderful, with each person reaching out to do all in his or her power to assist me. I hope to provide the kind of leadership during my short tenure here that will position this excellent staff to be even more successful in the future.

“Furthermore, President LaForge is totally committed to see that Delta State University reaches a next level of greatness, and I am finding that working with him is a real honor and privilege. Delta State and its development and alumni programs are in great hands. The future is very bright.”

Hundley is a native of Jackson, Tennessee. He received a bachelor’s in English from Tennessee Wesleyan College, a master’s in English from Middle Tennessee State University, and an ABD in English from Oklahoma State University.

He has 35 years of experience in university advancement, including serving as assistant chancellor at University of Wisconsin Platteville, vice president at Minnesota State University Moorhead, and vice chancellor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

“I am very pleased that Patrick Hundley has joined our alumni-foundation staff as a consultant, and I look forward to working with him during this transition period,” said President William N. LaForge. “He brings a wealth of skills and knowledge in the foundation, development, and alumni fields at several universities, including many very similar to Delta State in size and character.”

Short-term, Hundley’s primary focus is to raise more private funds for the betterment of the university. One goal, he said, was to raise the percentage of alumni who contribute from 7.8 percent to 15 percent.

“We must identify more potential donors among our alumni and friends, and we must get out and see these people, taking the message of Delta State’s importance in educating the best and the brightest for our region and our nation,” he said.

Additionally, as an interim director, Hundley said he hopes to have everything in place so that the next director can hit the ground running to raise funding for Delta State.

“Next year will be the first year when tuition income is greater than the funds provided by the state for the university,” said Hundley. “Therefore, private funds become more important as we keep this great University affordable for our students now and in the future. We especially need to raise more funds for scholarships and student projects. This will be one of the charges that I will give our staff as we move forward.”

Hundley has been married to his wife, Susan, for 42 years. They have three children and three grandchildren.

Follow all Delta State University news at