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Most Beautiful Pageant 2017-4

Green crowned Most Beautiful

By | Students | No Comments
Most Beautiful 2017, Leah Green.

Delta State University held its annual Most Beautiful Pageant on Feb. 16 at the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Recognition was given to Most Beautiful, Most Photogenic, Four Beauties and Top 10. A total of 29 girls competed for the title.

Leah Green of Hernando was crowned Most Beautiful 2017.

Four Beauties recognition went to Haley King (Holcomb), Jordan Wright (Hernando), Carly Upchurch (Grenada) and Emily Grossi (Marks).

Most Beautiful 2017 and Four Beauties.

Most Beautiful 2017 and Four Beauties.

“We had another great competition this year,” said Bevin Lamb, executive director of pageants. “We had 29 girls compete, and we appreciate everyone from the campus and community who came to support them.”

The pageant was sponsored by the Delta State University Student Government Association and produced by the Pageant Board, a Delta State student organization.

2016 WTR committee group photo-1

Winning the Race returns March 27-28

By | Academics, Community, Faculty/Staff, President, Students, Winning the Race | No Comments
2017 Winning The Race Committee member include: (front, left to right) Dr. Rolando Herts, Dr. Billy Moore, Dr. Lekeitha Morris, Tricia Walker, Georgene Clarke, Jeanna Wilkes and Dr. Temika Simmons. Back (l to r): Dr. Charles Westmoreland, Dr. David Breaux, Sam Washington, Michelle Johansen and Davlon Miller. Members not pictured: Bryce Anderson, Dr. David Baylis, Dr. George Beals, Travis Calvin, Jondelyn Catlette, Dr. Edwin Craft, Dr. Ellen Green, Dr. Leslie Griffin, Matthew Harris, Dr. Garry Jennings, Elizabeth Joel, Paula Lindsey, Michael Lipford, Don Allan Mitchell, Cleveland Phinisee, Arlene Sanders, Jeremiah Smith, Dr. Myrtis Tabb (ex-officio), Jenn Keathley and Chante Willis.

Delta State University’s award-winning conference Winning the Race returns to campus for the fourth year on March 27-28.

Conference updates, registration and additional information are available at http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race/.

This year’s conference, “Winning the Race: Advancing Education in the Mississippi Delta,” is presented in partnership with the Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council and will focus on identifying educational inequities and strengthening educational opportunities in the Mississippi Delta.

The inaugural program, spearheaded by Delta State President William N. LaForge in 2014, was designed as an innovative academic conference with a focus on engaging, promoting and rekindling conversations in hopes that Delta-area communities can move toward greater equity, forward thinking and reduced racial tensions.

“I am very much looking forward to another outstanding race relations conference, with a program I’m advised will be top flight,” said LaForge. “From the special speakers, breakout sessions and general discussion topics, this conference promises to be another great success.”

“While our conference is not conducted in reaction to anything in the current political climate, it certainly comes at an appropriate time to contribute to the national, regional and local dialogue on how we get along in society,” added LaForge.

In recognition of this work, the university received the 2014 Civil Rights and Social Justice Award accepted by LaForge at the fourth National Civil Rights Conference in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

The 2017 schedule will continue the critical dialogue about current issues related to education, social justice and community healing, while highlighting opportunities for sustained community action, awareness and mobility.

“This year’s conference will provide attendees with the tools to engage in not only the dialogue, but the work of strengthening the educational community and infrastructure in and around the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Temika M. Simmons, assistant professor of psychology and conference chair. “Unique to the 2017 platform are opportunities for professional development credits for teachers and counselors, in addition to a special workshop track for high school students — further evidence of the university’s commitment to moving the conference initiative beyond the current dialogue to tangible action and outcomes.”

Highlight speakers for the 2017 conference include Dr. Ivory Toldson, president and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities Network, and Dr. William C. Bell, a Delta State graduate and president and CEO of Casey Family Programs.

Toldson is a professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education. Toldson’s previous appointments include executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and contributing education editor for The Root.

With more than 60 publications, four books, and over 150 research presentations in 36 states and numerous countries, Toldson’s work and research have focused on dismantling some of the most pervasive myths about African Americans. Instead, he highlights the talent and potential of students of color. Toldson has been featured on MSNBC, The New York Times, various radio stations, and has been dubbed one of “30 leaders in the fight for Black men,” by Newsweek Magazine. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he is “a prolific young scholar and myth buster.”

William C. Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs, is returning for another highly anticipated speech. With more than 35 years of experience in the field of human services, Bell chairs the executive team for CFP and is responsible for the vision, mission, strategies and objectives of the foundation.

Bell’s awards include Special Contribution to the Judiciary Award from the King County Washington Women Lawyers (2016), the Orgullo de la Comunidad (Pride of our Community) Award from the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services (2015), and the 2014 James A. Joseph Lecturer for The Association of Black Foundation Executives.

Additionally, he was named Delta State’s 2012 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year and was inducted into the university’s Alumni Hall of Fame and the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society.

Bell is nationally renowned for his contributions and lifelong commitment to improving the lives of children and families, his tireless work to prevent child abuse and neglect, his fight to make the judicial system more accessible to all, and his battle to improve the lives of children in foster care.

In addition to stellar speakers, conference breakout sessions will feature topics covering social justice, civil rights and law, economic opportunities, education and community, and culture and community. These sessions will be guided by leaders from around the state and nation.

Other featured activities include poster competitions for high school and college students, and performances by the ROOTS of Sunflower County and the Delta Blues Museum Band.

The university will kick off this year’s conference with an open house on March 26 from 2-6 p.m. at the Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretive Center located at 614 South Chrisman Avenue in Cleveland. A press conference honoring the work of Mississippi civil rights veterans will take place at the house at 3 p.m.

Conference activities will begin on campus at 8 a.m. on March 27 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State.

For more information, contact Simmons at tsimmons@deltastate.edu.

Student lunch Jackson

Students observe state legislators in session

By | Student Government Association, Students | No Comments
Photo 1 (left to right): Sen. Derrick Simmons (District 12, represents Bolivar County); Sen. Buck Clarke (District 22, represents Bolivar County); student Jordan Galtelli; student Hunter Webb; Senator David Parker (District 2, Allie Rose Parker’s father); student Allie Rose Parker; and Senator Willie Simmons (District 13, represents Bolivar County). Photo 2 (l to r): Hunter Webb; Rep. Abe Hudson (District 29, represents Bolivar County); Allie Rose Parker; and Jordan Galtelli.

A delegation of Student Government Association students from Delta State University visited the Mississippi State Capitol this month to observe legislators in session and to host Delta State’s local members for lunch.

The group of students included Allie Rose Parker, SGA president; Hunter Webb, SGA attorney general; and Jordan Galtelli, philanthropic affairs chairman.

Attending legislators included Sen. Derrick Simmons (District 12, represents Bolivar County); Sen. Buck Clarke (District 22, represents Bolivar County); Sen. Willie Simmons (District 13, represents Bolivar County); Rep. Abe Hudson (District 29, represents Bolivar County); and Sen. David Parker (District 2, Allie Rose’s father).

Rep. Hudson said the visit was special for him because of his ties to Delta State.

“Because I worked there for five years, Delta State University will always be a special place to me. I spoke with members of the student government association while they were in Jackson,” he said. “They were all knowledgable about happenings on campus and around the Mississippi Delta. Though we only spent a few minutes together, I was happy to see folks from back home.”

Parker said the experience of seeing the legislators in action was especially exciting.

“We took the time to meet our legislators to discuss Delta State,” said Parker. “We talked with them about the bills going through this session that had to with our university and about the recent budget cuts. It was an awesome experience to see the legislators in session because it was the first date for bills to be on the floor. We were able to witness the bills actually being talked on and voted on.”

The students also took time to complete a recent philanthropy project, delivering Valentine’s cards signed by students across campus to the Blair Batson’s Children’s Hospital.

On March 9, Delta State will continue it’s longstanding tradition of hosting legislators for a brown bag luncheon at the capital, providing more students the opportunity to network and interact with elected officials.

“We really look forward to the luncheon because it’s a great way to spread the word about the great things going on at Delta State,” said Parker. “It’s also a great way for students to connect with legislators on a more personal level, and improve DSU’s relationship with the legislature.”

EMU-Concert-Choir

Delta State and Eastern Michigan choirs collaborate for joint concert

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

On Friday (Feb. 24), the Delta State University’s Delta Chorale, directed by Dr. Adam Potter, will host a joint concert with Eastern Michigan University’s premier choral ensemble, the EMU Concert Choir, directed by Dr. Brandon Johnson.

The EMU group, from Ypsilanti, Michigan, has been touring the South for the past week. Their performance in Cleveland will take place in the sanctuary of Covenant Presbyterian Church at 7:30 p.m.

For Potter, the collaboration has special meaning.

“This concert brings together so many people I know and love,” said Potter. “Obviously, it is a unique opportunity for my students to get to perform with a collegiate choir from over 800 miles away. It is also an honor to partner on this project with my church family, the kind folks at Covenant Church. The director of the EMU Concert Choir, Brandon Johnson, was my undergraduate and master’s degree conductor and teacher. A 2016 Delta State music alumna, Monica Ely, is a soprano in the EMU choir. Amazingly, a former student of mine from when I was a high school music teacher in New York is also an EMU singer, now a graduate student in vocal performance. My worlds intersect here in Cleveland.”

Prior to the concert, the choirs will share a joint rehearsal and clinic with Johnson, as well as share a meal together. Johnson is the director of Choral Activities at EMU and the artistic director and conductor of the Detroit Concert Choir. Previously, he founded and was the artistic director of the emerging professional vocal ensemble Vox Lumine based in New York.

Johnson has conducted professional musicians across the United States while maintaining his extensive work with students of all ages. He has performed in venues across the country including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, and made his conducting debut at the renowned Carnegie Hall with the National Sacred Honor Choir. He holds degrees from Concordia College and The University of Arizona and was previously a faculty member at Houghton College.

The Delta Chorale is the premier touring vocal ensemble at Delta State. Comprised of approximately 40 mixed voices, it performs frequently both on and off campus. Its repertoire features high-quality choral music from diverse styles, musical eras, languages and cultures. The choir has performed by invitation at state and regional conferences of the Mississippi Music Educators Association and American Choral Directors Association.

Dr. Vernell Bennett, Delta State’s vice president for Student Affairs, will provide opening remarks at Friday evening’s concert. Coincidentally, Bennett is a graduate of the music program at EMU.

This concert is free of charge and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to help cover the expense of EMU’s trip to Cleveland.

Rezatrip2017

Biology credits available for trip to Bangladesh

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

Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, assistant professor of biology at Delta State, is leading another international field course this summer in his homeland of Bangladesh.

The tropical field biology study abroad course is in partnership with the Creative Conservation Alliance (CCA), an NGO that works tirelessly to conserve Bangladesh’s imperiled wildlife.

“This is really a special opportunity for students to get direct access to one of the most diverse environments in the world, the jungles of Lawachara National Park, as well as the largest mangrove forest in the world, the Sundarbans Reserve Forest.” said Reza. “I would strongly encourage students to consider joining this trip if they have an interest in resume-boosting conservation field experience. You’ll have a real chance at seeing tigers, saltwater crocs, five species of primates, and finding dozens of snakes in a single night.”

Students at Delta State will have the opportunity of gaining three credits during the Summer II session with a two-week field trip mandatory for the course, from July 10-25. BIO 492: Tropical Field Biology, is course appropriate for any student enrolled or interested in biology, natural resources management, conservation biology, wildlife ecology, management, veterinary sciences or related fields.

Students enrolled in other universities or colleges in the U.S. will also be able to transfer course credits from Delta State to their home institution.

Thanks to the partnership with CCA, the course fee of $2,200 per student directly contributes to the conservation of the endangered flora and fauna of Bangladesh. The fee also covers housing, meals, local travel and fees to the forests. Separate from the course fee, students will be responsible for their airfare to Bangladesh.

Taking the course for university credit is optional. The fee to take the trip for credit is an additional $802.50.

“While we encourage everyone to enroll for academic credit on this trip, students or anyone else can attend without registering for credit,” added Reza.

Reza said this hands-on experience can help students get recognized in the scientific field.

“You have a great chance of getting your name on a scientific publication by making a range extension, or even discovering a new species,” he said. “Our 2014 and 2015 trips recognized multiple potentially new species and made several range extensions. In 2016, our group discovered a new species of a Takydromus lizard.”

For more trip information, contact Reza at areza@deltastate.edu.