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Zoeller to intern with Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary

By | Academics, General, Students | No Comments

Having just wrapped up her senior season playing Delta State softball, Madison Zoeller knows the importance of teamwork in the circle of life.

On a team, every player has a role. Whether it’s behind the plate, on the field or from the sidelines, individuals mesh together like cogs in a machine to achieve a desired goal. They depend on one another for success and survival amongst the toughest competition in their environment. Zoeller may be hanging up her softball cleats, but she will be taking on a bigger role by helping organisms find their place in the ecosystem.

Beginning July 17, Zoeller, an environmental science major at Delta State, will join a new team — the staff at Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary in Hubert, North Carolina, where she will be interning. Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that rehabilitates injured animals with the intent of releasing each animal back into the wild. The organization also provides educational programs and presentations to teach the public about the native local wildlife, ecology, environment, natural resources and backyard habitat creation.

During her internship, Zoeller will learn to rehabilitate and care for wildlife by performing functions such as feeding, weighing, bandaging, and administering medications to animals. She will assist in wildlife presentations and programs and help conduct tours of the sanctuary. She will also learn to work with the non-releasable animals and birds used in programs/presentations and assist in the recovery program for raptors.

“I am thrilled about starting this internship,” Zoeller said. “To me, this is the beginning of a long career in environmental science and wildlife biology, and it’s my way of making the world a better place. It starts with the little things, and the little things may be something as simple as caring for an abandoned animal. My long term goal is to make my community understand the importance of every living thing.”

Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, professor of biology and environmental science at Delta State, explained more about the opportunity Zoeller will have to care for wildlife and educate others during her internship.

“Back in March, Madison mentioned that she was taking an internship at the Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary in North Carolina,” Riding said. “During the internship, she will learn how to take care of and rehabilitate shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, small mammals, and reptiles. Some of her training will include resilience with animal care, choosing appropriate medication for the animals, and maintaining the raptor facility. She also will be able to train volunteers, assist with future planning, work with large groups, and run the sanctuary in absence of staff.”

While Zoeller’s internship will come to an end August 26, she hopes to continue her passion for wildlife by pursuing graduate studies in wildlife biology in the future. For now, she has accepted a position in waste management in the Nashville area and will start work after her internship ends.

For more information about the environmental science program at Delta State, contact Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding at 662-846-4797 or nbaghai@deltastate.edu. For more information about Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary, visit www.possumwoodacres.org.

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BPAC receives more than $5,000 in grant funding for summer arts programming

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community, General | No Comments

The Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts Institute at the Bologna Performing Arts Center was granted more than $5,000 in funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission for the 2017-2018 school year.

These grants are a portion of the $1.3 million in grants the Commission will award in 2017-2018 and will be used to present Chuck Galey, an award-winning Mississippi illustrator and children’s book author from Jackson at the 2017 PLUS Camp. Further funding will be used for the 2018 CORE Arts camp, which will open to 12-18 year old artists in June of next year.

The grants are made possible by continued funding from the Mississippi State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Arts organizations throughout the state of Mississippi play a pivotal role in sharing the power of the arts with people from all walks of life,” said Malcolm White, executive director of MAC. “The arts are for everyone, and the Mississippi Arts Commission is pleased to support arts organizations committed to growing the presence of the arts in their communities.”

Now in its 20th year of operation, the arts programs at the Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts Institute are held on the campus of Delta State University, and function as a significant draw to DSU and the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Each year, MSAI provides arts education opportunities for more than 175 participants ranging in age from 5 to 18. PLUS Camp is a week-long day camp for children ages 5-11 that began Monday, June 17. The 2017 PLUS Camp is currently at full capacity, but a final free performance that is open to the public will be held on Saturday, July 22, at 10 a.m. on the mainstage of the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

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Follow Your Heart Arts Program partners with DMI

By | Academics, Delta Music Institute, General, Students | No Comments

The Follow Your Heart Arts Program, launched by Warner Brothers recording artist Charlie Worsham and funded by a grant from the Country Music Association Foundation, recently completed the first season of partnership with the DMI Entertainment Industry program at Delta State University.

The mission of the Follow Your Heart program is to enrich and empower the lives of young people living in Grenada County through music education, music business career exploration, and the study of the rich history of Mississippi music.

The DMI works with the Follow Your Heart Arts Program by connecting entertainment industry majors who provide instruction and mentoring to students in the program.

In addition to the Follow Your Heart Arts Program, Worsham, a native of Grenada, also founded the Follow Your Heart Scholarship Fund to provide financial support to Grenada youth who dream of a career in the arts. In late 2016 he hosted the inaugural Follow Your Heart Scholarship Fund Gala, which benefited the fund. Since starting the campaign, Worsham has raised approximately $60,000.

“I realize this is the most important work I’ll ever get to do,” Worsham said.

The idea for the fund was sparked in Worsham during a conversation with a class of teenagers at a high school in Grenada when one girl was too embarrassed to verbalize her dream of acting on Broadway. Worsham said it broke his heart.

“The kids in my hometown need to have hope. And if the kids in my hometown see me doing it, they need to know they can do it, too,” he said.

Worsham most recent CD, “Beginning of Things,” was released on Warner Brothers Records in April.

For more information on Worsham’s Follow Your Heart Scholarship Fund, visit www.FollowYourHeartArts.org. To learn more about the Follow Your Heart Arts program, visit https://www.facebook.com/FollowYourHeartArts/

The DMI offers a B.S. in Entertainment Industry Studies degree in the College of Arts & Sciences at Delta State. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative, and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information, contact (662) 846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

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DMI student to intern with Yokohama Theatre Group in Tokyo

By | Delta Music Institute, General, Students, Uncategorized | No Comments

While many students across the nation are enjoying the carefree vibes of summer vacation, Delta State student Chris Autry is hard at work preparing for his internship in Tokyo, Japan, next fall.

Beginning Sept. 6, Autry, a senior Delta Music Institute major from Picayune, will be working with the Yokohama Theatre Group doing live and recorded sound for live performances and video recording. He will also assist with mixing and mastering audio for video as well as video editing.

Originally founded in 1900, the Yokohama Theatre Group is located in Yokohama, Japan, just south of Tokyo. As Japan’s capital city, Tokyo is a mix of modern and traditional society – a change from the cotton fields and never-ending sunsets of the Delta. But, the change in culture is also what attracted Autry. He chose to apply for an internship in Tokyo after visiting friends that lived in Tokyo and Osaka.

“After visiting, I realized that Japan was where I eventually wanted to move to and live,” Autry said. “I considered other places within Japan such as Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, and a couple of more places.”

After some further research and a little help from his friends, he found his dream internship. While studying abroad, Autry hopes he can inspire future students to experience new cultures.

“I will also be studying abroad learning the language and hopefully making a study abroad program for other students to be able to come to Japan and experience the same magic that I have,” Autry said. “I hope that I can also share with other students from Delta State some interviews as well as some videos to show a different view of how amazing Japan is.”

DMI Director Tricia Walker said she looks forward to Autry sharing his experiences with other Delta State students when he returns.

“Chris transferred to Delta State from another institution and from day one has been very proactive in his degree path,” said Tricia Walker, director of the DMI. “Having visited Japan before, he took the initiative to seek out an internship position there in his field. He’ll have lots to share with our other students when he returns.”

For more information about the DMI, contact Tricia Walker at 662-846-4579 or twalker@deltastate.edu.

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Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS) Announces $3.12 Million in AmeriCorps funding

By | Academics, Community, General | No Comments

Delta State University’s Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) will be one of 11 Mississippi organizations receiving grant funding from a $3.12 million AmeriCorps campaign to support nonprofit and educational organizations across the state.

The grant will continue to support the Delta Reads Plus (DRP) program, which is housed at the CCED on campus. DRP will receive $293,616 thanks to the grant.

Through DRP, 50 AmeriCorps members will provide one-one-one and small group tutoring to students in kindergarten through sixth grade five days a week for the 2017-18 academic term in school districts in Bolivar, Coahoma, Leflore, Sunflower, and Washington counties.

The program will help reach 400 economically disadvantaged students. Focus areas include literacy and math. The AmeriCorps tutors will guide the students to program completion by participating in at least 50 tutoring sessions and helping these students increase their literacy and/or math skills by at least one grade level according to STAR assessment data.

“Public schools in the Mississippi Delta face significant challenges to provide students with a high quality education, such as insufficient resources,” said David Tanner Jr., program director. “Parents, schools, and communities have an exceptional role in the academic success of students. Our goal is to bridge the achievement gap by involving these stakeholders from educationally and economically distressed communities in effective tutorial programs and community improvement projects”.

According to Heather Miller, director of Institutional Grants at Delta State University, “The CCED, MCVS, and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) have a long history of successful partnerships. Through Delta Reads Plus, we will further strengthen that partnership and our commitment to provide successful student outcomes.”

DRP is currently seeking school districts and potential members interested in receiving and providing tutoring services within the five target counties for the upcoming school term. Interested districts should contact Tanner at  662-846-4808 or dtanner@deltastate.edu. Interested individuals should contact Bria Beal, program assistant, at 662-846-4807 or bbeal@deltastate.edu. Those interested in serving can also learn more by visiting www.americorps.gov/joinor http://volunteermississippi.org/americorps/americorps-state-programs/.

AmeriCorps members typically receive a modest living stipend and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, or scholarship, upon completion of their service. The award can be used to pay for future education costs or to pay back student loans.
The federal investment includes 11 AmeriCorps grants to Mississippi nonprofits, Institutions of Higher Learning, and state and local agencies, totaling $3.12 million dollars. The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $2.14 million dollars in local support to increase community impact and return on federal investment. This funding will support 535 AmeriCorps members who will tackle some of the toughest problems in Mississippi including tutoring and mentoring pre-k through 12 students, conservation/environmental services, and providing health education and physical activities to address obesity.

CNCS will also provide up to $1.6 million dollars in education scholarships for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants to help pay for college, vocational training, or pay back student loans.

Learn more about Delta State’s CCED at www.deltastate.edu/cced.