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Reza leads field course in Bangladesh

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Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, associate professor of biology at Delta State, recently returned from leading another international field course in his homeland of Bangladesh.

The two-week tropical field biology study abroad course, which took place in July, was in partnership with the Creative Conservation Alliance (CCA), an NGO that works tirelessly to conserve Bangladesh’s imperiled wildlife.

“This was 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,” said Reza. “Students were provided with some of the best résumé-boosting conservation field experience you could imagine.”

Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza

Open to university students around the world, the curriculum focused on biology, natural resources management, conservation biology, wildlife ecology, management, veterinary sciences and related fields.

Thanks to the partnership with CCA, course fees directly contributed to the conservation of the endangered flora and fauna of Bangladesh.

Reza also led a shorter-term outdoor adventure education workshop from July 13-16 open to local participants. The workshop was sponsored by Delta State University, the DSU Quality Enhancement Plan and the CCA. Participants learned about environmental policies and issues, research and study practices, and wildlife photography techniques.

A group of 45 students from local universities participated in the workshop and received a certificate issued by Delta State and CCA. Reza was joined by a team of experts to manage the large group of students. Colleagues included: Ceasar Shahirar Rahman, CEO of CCA; Dr. Kamrul Hasan, professor of zoology at Jahangirnagar University; Scott Trageser, director of CCA; Dr. Samia Saif, biologist of BCAS; and Tania Khan, a freelance naturalist.

Reza said hands-on field courses often 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.”

During his trip to Bangladesh, Reza also organized two seminars at Jahangirnagar University and Independent University of Bangladesh, where he discussed the environmental policy issues related to U.S. and Bangladesh perspectives. Both seminars had high attendance and wide covered by the local media.

At the end of the trip, Reza participated in a live — online as well as on a local television — panel discussion on river conservation and aquatic biodiversity in Bangladesh. The small country, slightly bigger than the state Mississippi, has more than 700 major rivers.

“Many of them have issues related to pollution, encroachment, building unplanned dams, etc.,” said Reza. “During the panel discussions, experts and managers discussed ways to mitigate the issues.”

Reza, who also serves as Delta State’s international partnership liaison, is planning to offer another field course in December. For more information about fieldwork and other opportunities with Delta State’ environmental science program, contact Reza at areza@deltastate.edu.

Delta State represented at Botanical Society of America conference

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Delta State University’s Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, professor of biology and environmental science, recently attended the annual Botanical Society of America conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Botanical Society of America is one of the world’s largest scientific societies dedicated to the study of plants and serves as an umbrella organization that covers all plant specialties including conservation and ecology, historical botany, microbiological interactions, paleobotany, physiology, teaching plant science and more.

During the conference, Baghai-Riding served as a senior mentor in the Plants Grant program that is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. This year, she mentored Jocelyn Navarro, an undergraduate botany student from Connecticut College.

Baghai-Riding presented a professional poster on her research titled “Implications of a palynological sample from Bowie River.” She co-authored the research with Delta State students Kendal Davis and Raven Allison, along with Dr. Brian Axsmith from the University of Southern Alabama.

Also presented was “An elemental study of regional variation in noncommercial jams and jellies,”‘ a poster co-authored by Delta State students Callie Masterson, Raven Allison, Dana Rico, William Whittington, Breana Randle, Gregory Peacock and Dr. Chuck Smithhart, and “Stomatal density and carbon dioxide leaf peel study of four woody plant species in the Mississippi Delta,” which was co-authored by Hannah Taylor, Wilsonya Mitchell, Jon’ Ayo Farquharson and Madison Zoeller.

To learn more about the environmental science program at Delta State, email Baghai-Riding at nbaghai@deltastate.edu.

DSU graduate featured in story on Mississippi’s doctor shortage

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Bonnie Beth Moore, who received an American Chemistry Society (ACS) certified chemistry degree from Delta State in December 2015, was recently featured in a Mississippi Today story on the doctor shortage in Mississippi.  Moore was an Elliott Scholar who graduated summa cum laude with over 160 credit hours.

To read the story: https://mississippitoday.org/2017/08/04/mississippi-needs-more-doctors-new-medical-school-may-provide-them/

 

DSU psychology department presents at APA

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Delta State University’s Division of Counselor Education and Psychology was well represented at the 125th American Psychological Association Convention in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Sally Zengaro, assistant professor and chair of the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology, and Dr. Jonathan Westfall, assistant professor of psychology, led a symposium on “Connecting with Students through the Use of One Digital Platform in Psychology Classes.” The presentation focused on using electronic resources for effective teaching in psychology.

“I am thrilled that Delta State was represented at one of the premier conferences in psychology,” Zengaro said. “Dr. Westfall and I presented a teaching symposium based on work in the psychology department on improving student learning. It was also great to have one of DSU’s master’s students present research she had performed on sport psychology. The opportunity to learn from and share with other psychologists at APA is a fantastic educational and professional development experience.”

“APA is the largest organization of psychologists in the United States and to be able to share my work on Open Educational Resources (OER) with my peers within APA and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2) was an awesome experience,” Westfall said. “Based on the feedback I’ve received, the work I’ve done at Delta State will benefit hundreds of students throughout the United States. And the ability to network with leaders in the field will enrich my classes for years to come.”

Graduate student Elisabetta Zengaro presented her poster, “The Effects of Home-Field Advantage in College Basketball,” as part of the sport psychology division at APA. Zengaro’s poster explored the concept of referee bias and home-field advantage within the Gulf South Conference in NCAA DII.

“It was a wonderful experience to share my findings with professionals and peers within the field of sport psychology,” Zengaro said. “My results indicated home teams do in fact receive an advantage over away teams in terms of fouls awarded, and it was great to further that discussion at APA. With APA being such a competitive conference, it was an honor to represent Delta State as a student presenter.”

For more information about the psychology department at DSU, contact Dr. Sally Zengaro at (662) 846-4357 or szengaro@deltastate.edu.