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Faculty/Staff

9.14.16 Student organization fair-3

Chemical Society receives national recognition

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

The Delta State University American Chemical Society (DSU ACS) recently received a commendable award for its activities conducted during the 2015-16 academic year.

During the 2015-16 academic year, over 400 chapter activity reports were submitted, and The Society Committee on Education presented 46 outstanding, 93 commendable, and 145 honorable mention awards.

A full list of the award winners is available in the November/December 2016 issue of “inChemistry,” the student member magazine. The winning chapters will also be honored at the 253rd ACS National Meeting in San Francisco, California on April 2.

Professor Sharon Hamilton, faculty advisor of the chapter, was also recognized for her leadership.

“Few faculty members are willing to make the great commitment of time and energy that a successful chapter requires. Professor Hamilton’s efforts certainly represent the best in undergraduate science education and mentoring around the country,” said The American Chemical Society in a press release. “The ACS extends its warmest congratulations to the students and Professor Hamilton for setting such a fine example for other chapters and being exemplary chemistry ambassadors.”

Hamilton said she was thrilled to help the group progress.

Dr. Sharon Hamilton

Dr. Sharon Hamilton

DSU ACS received an honorable mention award for 2014-2015, and it’s wonderful that we were able to improve the quality of our chapter and receive a commendable for 2015-2016,” said Hamilton. “I believe it shows that we have a great group of students in DSU ACS and that they truly enjoy sharing chemistry with their classmates as well as the Cleveland community. It’s great to get such recognition from the national American Chemical Society and to know that they value the work of all chemists regardless of the size of your academic or industrial employer.”

DSU Chapter officers for the 2016-17 academic year include: Kathryn Penton – president; Will Weeks – vice president; Ashley Griffin – treasurer; Daisy Camarillo – secretary; Scarlett Salter – fundraising chair; and Gunner Sizemore and Bonita Nuon – public relations co-chairs.

In the last three years, Delta State has won two commendable awards (2014 and 2016) and honorable mention (2015).

Chris Jurgenson

Jurgenson to be honored with new professorship

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The Department of Chemistry and Physics at Delta State University will hold a program and reception naming Dr. Christopher Jurgenson as the first Sullivan-Outlaw Assistant Professor of Biochemistry on Jan. 27 from 1:30-3 p.m. in Caylor 201, the upstairs auditorium.

The professorship was initiated by a $50,000 gift from Dr. Ken Harden ’70, who prior to his retirement was a professor of pharmacology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Mr. I Dean Spradling ’53 also made a six-figure contribution to help establish the professorship.

The professorship honors two men — Dr. Barry Sullivan, a local physician, and Dr. Henry Outlaw, a longtime Delta State professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Physical Sciences.

Sullivan, a native of New Albany, moved to Cleveland in 1983 to practice internal medicine. Outlaw, a Delta State graduate, returned as a chemistry faculty member and soon became department chair. He retired in 2003, although he continued to work at the Delta State Foundation office. Both men are now deceased.

Jurgenson is in his fourth year at Delta State. He received his bachelor’s in biochemistry from Indiana University, a master’s in physical chemistry from Seton Hall University, and a master’s and doctorate in biophysical chemistry from Cornell University. He also did post-doctoral work at Yale University, and previously worked at Merck Pharmaceutical.

Mike Smith 2017

Smith’s new book to be published by WTAW Press

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WTAW Press recently announced the forthcoming publishing of Delta State University professor Mike Smith’s full-length book, “And There Was Evening and There Was Morning.”

The book, to be published this fall, is a collection of essays by Smith, an associate professor of English and interim director of the Delta State Honors Program.

“No project of mine has meant or could mean more to me, and I am so grateful to WTAW Press for giving the book a home,” said Smith. “The essays deal with my first wife’s illness and death, four months after giving birth to our second child and the similar diagnosis and recovery of my stepdaughter three years later. The book begins with the odd coincidence that my first copy of my first wife’s book happened to arrive in the mail on the very day of my stepdaughter’s diagnosis.”

WTAW Press is the publishing arm of a longstanding reading series with locations in major cities across the country, so in addition to the book launch in September in San Francisco, Smith will be invited to read at the other locations over the next year and a half.

Additionally, Smith has published three collections of poetry, including “Multiverse,” a collection of two anagrammatic cycles. His translation of the first part of Goethe’s Faust was published by Shearsman Books in 2012, and he is co-editor of the anthology, “The Mint’s Invitation: Contemporary Chinese Short-Shorts in Translation,” forthcoming from Columbia University Press in the fall of 2017.

Together with software engineer Brandon Nelson, Smith created and curates The Zombie Poetry Project. The project is an experiment in machine-assisted composition. Smith’s 500-line poem, “Zombie Ride-Along,” which is published on the site, operates as the source text for the project.

“We invite visitors to input any English-language text into the field provided,” said Smith. “Using a set of language tools, this text will be syntactically matched with sections of the 500-line source poem to produce a new ‘zombified’ poem of random lineation.

Users can select sections of the new poem to re-zombify as many times as they like before submitting it. Selected new poems will be added to the growing anthology archived on the site: www.zombiepoetryproject.com.

In recent recognition, Smith was named by Image Journal as their Artist of the Month in January 2017.

A native of Philippi, West Virginia, Smith is a graduate of UNC-G, Hollins College, and the University of Notre Dame.

Staff Council wraps up successful giving projects

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Delta State University staff fed more than 60 families and donated more than 400 toys for local families during two annual giving campaigns this year.

The Delta State Administrative Staff Council special projects committee sponsors both of the drives.

Rhonda Loper, special projects committee chair for DSU Administrative Staff Council, said that the campus donated 59 bags and nine boxes of food during the annual “Feed a Family” drive. Two members of Delta State’s staff received a bag each, and the remaining 57 bags were delivered to the Bolivar County Family and Children Services office. The nine boxes of food were donated to local churches for their food pantry programs.

For the annual Toy Drive,” more than 425 toys were donated, including two bicycles, nine scooters, and several other large toys. These gifts also were delivered to the Bolivar County Family & Children’s Services, who will distribute them to families in need across Bolivar County.

“Once again, the DSU family has come together to make this another successful ‘giving season,'” Loper said. “This act of selfless giving is what continues to help meet the needs of our community.”

She added, “This year, were once again happy to partner with area churches and members of the community, as the news continues to spread about our efforts. I want to personally thank everyone who participated. Until next year, when we get to do it all over again, richest blessings!”

For more information on how you can become a part of the DSU family, contact Loper at rloper@deltastate.edu or at 662-846-4504.

New stereomicroscope is enhancing the Delta State Herbarium and Environmental Science Programs

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brittany-at-new-microscope-2

During the Fall 2016 semester, the Department of Biological Sciences acquired a new Meji trinocular zoom stereo-microscope on a boom stand with high definition capabilities.

Other features associated with this particular microscope are a LED (Light-emitting diode) ring illuminator, a HD Video Camera, and a widefield, high-eyepoint eyepiece. The instrument was purchased from Miller Microscope and paid for with funds from the National Science Foundation herbarium grant that is associated with the Mississippi Herbarium consortium and participating institutions.

One main goal of this grant is to digitize the entire 17,000 plus herbarium collection that Delta State University possesses.

Mississippi ranks in the top third of U.S. states for the predicted numbers of plant taxa, species, genera, and families per unit area. The documentation of most species is sparse so fulfilling this gap will make an important contribution to the Flora of North America.

Mississippi specimens contained in Delta State University herbarium collection as well as specimens contained in other local herbarium throughout the state (Mississippi State University, the University of Southern Mississippi, The University of Mississippi, and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science) are being used to compile a checklist of all plant species that occur in Mississippi.

Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding said that the versatility of this microscope is helping with the identification of many problematic herbarium specimens.

“Minute details of flower, stem, and leaf parts can be easily analyzed and photographed and sent to other curators for identification if needed,” she said. “In addition, this microscope has been useful in photographing specimens associated with other undergraduate environmental science projects that will be presented at the upcoming Mississippi Academy of Sciences in Hattiesburg on Feb. 23-24, including prey remains contained in Carolina Biological owl pellets and teeth of a monitor lizard.”

To learn more about the Environmental Science program at Delta State University, contact Baghai-Riding @662-846-4797 or nbaghai@deltastate.edu.