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Graduate and Continuing Studies

Applications open for B. F. Smith Scholars Program

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The Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Delta State University is now accepting applications for the 2018-19 B.F. Smith Scholars Program.

The B.F. Smith Scholars Program provides funding for qualified entering graduate students. The highly competitive GA position, which awards $5,000 plus tuition per semester, is awarded to a limited number of students with a proven record of undergraduate achievement.

The successful applicant will demonstrate a commitment to the Mississippi Delta region in pursuit of a degree related to community and economic development.

”The B.F. Smith Scholars Program is truly an asset to Delta State University and to our graduate students,” said Jeanna Wilkes, coordinator of graduate studies and admissions at Delta State. “The changing landscapes of the Mississippi Delta economy are evident to our leaders, and the program was established to offer recipients direct research and development opportunities — and to engage in economic activities on our campus and in our community. Recipients are expected to serve a graduate internship while attaining their first post-baccalaureate degree, as the B.F. Smith Scholars Program supports the students with a $5,000 stipend plus tuition.”

The application priority deadline is May 1 at 5 p.m., and the final deadline to apply is June 1 at 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Wilkes at jdwilkes@deltastate.edu, or visit http://www.deltastate.edu/graduate-and-continuing-studies/graduate-continuing-studies/bfsmith/ for application and eligibility requirements.

Applications open for McNair Research Scholars

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The Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Delta State University is now accepting applications for the spring 2018 cohort of McNair Research Scholars.

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program was established in memory of astronaut-physicist and Challenger crew member, Ronald E. McNair.

The McNair Research Scholars program is administered through the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Delta State. The program is one of eight federal TRIO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. TRIO outreach aims to improve student programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The goal of the McNair cohort is to increase the attainment of doctoral degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society.

The application deadline is Feb. 21 at 4:30 p.m.

Scholars will benefit by:
-oppportunities for research and scholarly activities
-paid Summer research internships
-tutoring
-seminars and workshops to prepare participants for doctoral study
-intrusive academic advising and counseling
-assistance in preparing for and applying to graduate and doctoral programs, and securing financial assistance
-career counseling and exploration
-financial literacy and planning
-increased access and exposure to STEM coursework and careers

For more information, contact project director Wendolyn Stevens at wstevens@deltastate.edu, or visit www.deltastate.edu/mcnair for eligibility requirements.

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.

Office of Graduate Studies presents 2016-17 B.F. Smith Scholars

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The Office of Graduate Studies recently announced the 2016-17 recipients of the B.F. Smith Scholars graduate assistantships.

The B.F. Smith Scholars Program provides funding for qualified entering graduate students. The highly competitive GA position, which awards $5,000 plus tuition per semester, is awarded to a limited number of students with a proven record of undergraduate achievement. The successful applicant will demonstrate a commitment to the Delta region in pursuit of a degree related to community and economic development.

This year’s recipients include Aaliyah Jones, Rex Bingham and Katlyn Dickerson.

Aaliyah Jones is a Greenwood, Mississippi native and is the daughter of Cassandra Jones and the late Tracy King. Jones completed her undergraduate degree in social justice and criminology in May of 2016.  She is now pursuing her master’s in mental health counseling. For her work with B.F. Smith, Jones is assisting Dr. Garry Jennings in the social sciences office at Delta State. After graduation, she plans to help youth stay out of trouble by getting them involved in sports and community activities. Her longterm goal is to open a community center that allows youth to have a safe place to prosper and learn how to give back to their community.

Rex Bingham is a native of Kilmichael, Mississippi and is the son of Jeff and Debbie Stafford. Bingham completed his undergraduate degree in kinesiology at Mississippi State University. He is currently pursuing his MBA at Delta State. For his work with B.F. Smith, he is working with Delta State’s Quality Enhancement Plan. He is also involved with Delta State’s Baptist Student Union, the Financial Management Club and Phi Kappa Phi honor Society. In his free time, Bingham enjoys golfing and fishing.

Katlyn Dickerson a native of Senatobia, Mississippi and is the daughter of Stefan and Mary Helen Dickerson. She completed her undergraduate degree in family and consumer sciences with a concentration in child development at Delta State in June of 2016. She is currently pursuing a master’s in clinical and mental health counseling. For her work with B.F. Smith, she was placed with the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce. Upon graduation, Katlyn will pursue a career that allows her to help others through counseling or some type of community development initiatives.

To learn more about the B.F. Smith Scholars Program, contact Sarah Lee at 662-846-4878 or slee@deltastate.edu.

TFA graduate fellows kick off program at Delta State

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

Delta State University’s Graduate and Continuing Studies department recently completed its inaugural week-long immersion experience for the new Teach for America Graduate Fellows Program.

Teach For America and Delta State University are piloting the new innovative two-year fellowship program to teach 10 Teach For America alumni how to launch and run a social venture in the communities they serve while also completing a graduate degree program of their interest.

During the immersion week, the cohort refined their leadership skills while also being introduced to entrepreneurial perspectives when tackling social problems.

“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. “During our week together, we weaved in aspects of school leadership, Mississippi Delta history and community engagement. Our week was met with unbelievable success. The fellows were able to foster a ‘think-tank’ like environment, which will enable them to use one another as a resource throughout the length of the fellowship, and hopefully longer, as they each continue to positively impact Mississippi.”

The week opened with Dr. Samuel Jones, a professional keynote speaker and author who specializes in the area of leadership development. Participants then had the opportunity to take part in a Delta tour with The Delta Center for Culture and Leaning to gain a greater understanding of the Mississippi Delta culture and history.

For the next two days, the schedule focused on the expansion participants’ proposed social entrepreneurship projects. The facilitators for these days included Spud Marshall and Alexis Taylor. 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. Taylor, of Austin, Texas, is the program manager and facilitator for 3 Day Startup, an international non-profit organization that builds entrepreneurial capabilities in students and employees at colleges, corporations, organizations and governments.

On the final day, the cohort visited KIPP-Delta and the Thrive Center, both operational social enterprises in Helena, Arkansas. This trip provided the fellows an opportunity to visualize and learn from fruitful social ventures positioned in a rural area. The week closed with an afternoon canoe trip on the Mississippi River with John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company, fostering a team-building experience for the participants.

Fellow Boyce Upholt was thrilled to begin the program.

TFA graduate fellows spent the week introducing entrepreneurial perspectives and social issues.

TFA graduate fellows spent the week introducing entrepreneurial perspectives and social issues.

“Immersion week was a great chance to get to know the other fellows in the program, and to begin to thought partner about how to accomplish our goals,” said Upholt. “Our projects are in varying states of development, from kernels of ideas to already operational programs, but we all walked away with tangible next steps, as well as inspiring examples of what entrepreneurship can look like in this region.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to partner with the fellows, our support staff, and the faculty in my academic program. I’m aiming to use storytelling to better connect Deltans with one another, and with their local landscape, and I can’t think of a better program for doing so.”

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.

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.

Applications for the 2017 cohort will open Jan. 1, 2017. For more information on the program, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/graduate-and-continuing-studies/tfa-graduate-fellows-program or call 662-846-4700.