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Faculty/Staff

Chris Jurgenson

Jurgenson to be honored with new professorship

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

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

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

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

By | Faculty/Staff, General, Uncategorized | No Comments

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

By | Academics, Faculty/Staff, General, Uncategorized | No Comments

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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.

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Falkner honored as Employee of the Month

By | Athletics, Faculty/Staff | No Comments

The Delta State University Staff Council recently honored Barkley Falkner, compliance and operations coordinator for DSU Athletics, as the November 2016 Employee of the Month.

Barkley, an Oxford native, is entering his third year in the position. He is a 2009 graduate of Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in accounting. He obtained his Master of Science degree in sports administration from Delta State this past May.

“I would like to thank whoever nominated me for this award and everyone I would work with — because it is truly a team effort on a day-to-day basis,” said Falkner. 

Before coming to Delta State, Falkner spent five seasons playing professional basketball abroad in Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Uruguay. In his spare time, he loves being active in the outdoors and helping run the family-owned business Falkner Farms.

Each Employee of the Month winner receives a plaque, monetary award, an engraved insulated coffee mug, a free parking decal courtesy of the Campus Police Department, a box of treats from The Sweetery, a parking spot of their choice, marquee announcement and website recognition.

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.