Environmental science program highlights for 2016-17

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

The environmental science program in Delta State’s College of Arts and Sciences completed a successful curriculum in the 2016-17 academic year.

“Opportunities this past academic year for Delta State University environmental science students were numerous,” said Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding. “For example, many students were co-authors on at least one scientific oral and poster presentation given at state, national and international meetings.”

Their presentations resulted from research investigations conducted in courses such as Materials and Methods in Environmental Science, Conservation Biology, Problems in Biology, wildlife management classes, and more.

Projects included Mississippi Delta ice age fossils, wild hogs at Dahomey National Wildlife Refuge, prey elements associated with Carolina Biological owl pellets, palynomorphs from the Bucatunna, Hattiesburg, and Morrison Formations, bird surveys conducted at Bear Pen Park in Cleveland, MS from 2008-2016, carbon dioxide and stomatal density patterns associated with four woody plants from the Mississippi Delta, ontogenetic dentition patterns pertaining to monitor lizards and more.

Baghai-Riding said these research opportunities have helped students get admitted to graduate school programs throughout the country.

“Other students preferred to acquire full-time positions after completing their degree in environmental science,” she said. “Many employers seek out our students because of their training. They mention that DSU students can think critically, possess hands-on and writing skills, and have good work ethics.

Upgraded laboratories and recent acquisitions were also a highlight of the previous year. Acquired equipment included a scanning electron microscope, a trinocular zoom stereomicroscope on a boom stand with HD video camera, and a $3,000 rock and mineral collection from Ron Brister, former curator at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum.

Students considering a degree option in environment science may choose from three concentrations areas: general, wildlife management and geospatial science.

For more information about the program, contact Baghai-Riding at 662-846-4797 or

Passport to Success preps students

By | Alumni, Career Services, Students | No Comments

The Delta State University National Alumni Association and Delta State Career Services recently partnered to “Passport To Success 2017.” The program successfully prepped Delta State students to enter their careers confidently, while maintaining a strong professional social media presence.

Students were given assistance with creating professional LinkedIn profiles, were offered headshots for their LinkedIn profiles and resumes, received résumé assistance, and learned about best practices for searching for jobs and internships. Additionally, students were given guidance on professional attire, were able to register for graduation regalia and complete the senior exit survey for the Department of Institutional Research.

“The National Alumni Association is in the business to develop partnerships,” said Jeffrey Farris, director of Alumni. “Through the leadership of our National Alumni Association Board of Directors, we have established Passport to Success and are excited to partner with Career Services at Delta State. We will look forward to the event year after year as we aid our students in developing professional LinkedIn profiles and getting guidance as they prepare to begin their careers.”

The inaugural event was open to all juniors, seniors and graduate students. Multiple stations and staff were on site to assist more than 40 students who took advantage of the programming.

“With the growing number of users on the professional social media platform LinkedIn, we are seeing more and more students gain exposure and leads to career opportunities,” said Davlon Miller, director of Career Services. “These days, a foot in the door may actually start online. It is important for these students to recognize this trend.”

As a special incentive, students who participated in each station were also entered in a drawing for special prizes. Student Johnna Ladd’s name was drawn as the winner of a Yeti Hopper cooler.

Following the event, students who met specific criteria on their LinkedIn pages were eligible for one of two $500 scholarships to Delta State. The scholarship winners were social work major Kayla Gary and outdoor recreation major Heather Wilson.

“This successful event enabled alumni staff to enhance their relationship with upperclassmen, developing life-long relationships with the future alumni,” said Sayward Fortner, National Delta State University Alumni president. “Students also gained the ability to engage with other alumni who have LinkedIn profiles.”

Call for papers: International Conference on the Blues

By | Academics, Community, Delta Center, International Delta Blues Project, Students | No Comments

Delta State University is now accepting proposals for papers, presentations, lecture-performances, workshops, panels and clinics for the 4th annual International Conference on the Blues, to be held Oct. 1-3, 2017.

To celebrate the centennial of John Lee Hooker’s birth, the conference committee is soliciting manuscripts and presentations on Hooker’s music, life and influence. In addition, the conference is seeking presentations and papers on the legacy of ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, and especially his fieldwork in Mississippi.

Topics of general interest to scholars and enthusiasts are also welcome, such as the African American musical tradition and its influence on world music; call and response as metaphor; black music and the American Civil Rights Movement; African American history in the Delta; African American folk life; and the genres of blues, jazz, gospel and soul music.

Topics of an interdisciplinary nature are also encouraged. Papers are invited from ethnomusicologists, musicologists, scholars, authors, performers, blues enthusiasts and independent researchers.

Additionally, to support young and emerging scholars (graduate students, recent masters, doctoral graduates and junior faculty), the Luther Brown Prize is awarded to the outstanding young scholar paper.

All presentations will be a maximum of 20 minutes in length, with an additional 10 minutes for discussion, and should address a general audience.

Proposals must be submitted online via Applicants are ask to include a description of the presentation, audio/visual equipment needs and biographical information for all presenters. Please note that not all A/V requests will be granted. Presenters agree to appear at the conference at their own expense, which will include registration fees.

For more information, contact Shelley Collins and Don Allan Mitchell at or visit

Alumni and Admissions team up for social media campaign

By | Admissions, Alumni, Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

A partnership between the Delta State University National Alumni Association and the Office of Admissions has created a fun initiative for incoming freshmen and transfer students.

The digital campaign created by the National Alumni Association, #deltastatebound, aims to promote awareness of the Delta State family culture to future Statesmen and alumni, as well as promote and engage a positive life-long alumni experience.

For those who have been admitted and have decided to continue their higher education at Delta State, the Alumni Association designed and provided yard sign gifts for the students as a celebratory ‘send off’ from their current residence. Using the hashtag #deltastatebound, students take to social media to share photos with the sign, letting the world know they’re coming to Delta State in the fall.

“The campaign is giving the new students a way to brand their commitment to Delta State. New students are having fun with the signs, which feature the Fighting Okra and Statesman mascots,” said Jeffrey Farris, director of Alumni Relations. “We are also excited to compliment Admissions’ goal of providing students with an atmosphere that fosters commitment and a sense of belonging.”

Melissa Love, assistant director of Alumni Relations, added, “The impact of the campaign through social media outlets has been fantastic. Since our campaign began, the hashtag has been used by admitted students and Delta State officials through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These posts have gained thousands of likes and have collectively been shared dozens of times, including being shared by Mississippi Today. Analytics of our own social media accounts report reach totals of several thousand. This doesn’t include measurements from individuals who have posted the hashtag.”

Although primarily a digital campaign, the yard signs are being seen in neighborhoods across the state, additionally promoting Delta State pride.

Students interested in enrolling at Delta State may apply online at, and campus visits may be scheduled at Students who have submitted an application may check their status by logging in to their student account any time or by calling 662-846-4020.

For more information on the admissions process or admitted student events, contact the Office of Admissions at 662-846-4020 or email

For more information on the National Alumni Association, call 662-846-4660 or email To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1).

Save the dates: Pig Pickin’ (October 7) and Homecoming (November 11).

University installs chapter of Phi Lambda Upsilon

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Students | No Comments
Front row: (left to right): Dr. Chris Jurgenson, Dr. Sharon K. Hamilton (faculty councilor), Zachary Kinler, Katie Penton, Emily Grossi (president), Ana Daisy Camarillo (treasurer), Amber Wilson, JC Blackmon (secretary), Jill Harper, Dr. Gene Grimley, Dr. Gene Grimley ( National PLU President). Back row (l to r): Dr. Joe Bentley (departmental chair), Will Weeks, Dalvin Williams, Kelby Flemons, Tyler Daniels (vice president), Taylor Worsham, Dr. Chuck Smithhart.


Delta State University recently installed a new chapter of Phi Lambda Upsilon on campus, the Gamma Delta chapter.

The aims and purposes of Phi Lambda Upsilon are the promotion of high scholarship and original investigation in all branches of pure and applied chemistry. The organization was founded as an honorary chemical society in 1899.

The Gamma Delta chapter inducted 11 student charter members and five charter faculty members. A total of 10 undergraduate students were initiated during the ceremony on April 21.

The inductees include: JC Blackmon, of Byhalia; Daisy Camarillo, of Gilcrest, Colorado; Tyler Daniels, of Hattiesburg; Kelby Flemons, of Big Creek; Emily Grossi, of Marks; Zach Kinler, of Picayune; Will Weeks, of Boyle; Dalvin Williams, of Vaiden; Amber Wilson, of French Camp; and Taylor Worsham, of Grenada. Previously inducted to PLU as a member-at-large, Katie Penton, also became a charter member of the DSU Chapter of PLU.

Other charter members included chemistry faculty members Dr. Joe Bentley, Dr. Sharon K. Hamilton, Jill Harper, Dr. Chris Jurgenson, and Dr. Charles Smithhart.

“Establishing the Delta Gamma chapter of Phi Lambda Upsilon is a hallmark in the history of the chemistry program at Delta State,” said Hamilton, faculty counselor for the group. “It recognizes the quality of our department and our students. I’m extremely proud of all the work that went in to establishing this chapter, and I am proud of our first group of initiates. Our chemistry students work very hard and I am pleased to have them associated with such a prestigious society that recognizes their achievements.”

Bentley, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics at Delta State, was also thrilled to institute PLU on campus.

“Establishing a chapter of Phi Lambda Upsilon at Delta State is a terrific opportunity for both students and faculty alike,” he said. “As our students apply to professional schools and graduate schools, or for industrial or education jobs, they will be able to highlight their academic achievements in their major field by listing their membership in PLU on their resume. The Department of Chemistry and Physics is honored to have this chapter at Delta State.”

Phi Lambda Upsilon was the first honor society dedicated to a single scientific discipline. In the span 113 years, it has grown into an organization comprising 73 chapters and more than 60,000 members. Learn more at