Baghai-Riding contributes to Geological Society of America meeting

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Searching for diamonds in Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.


Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, professor of biology and environmental science at Delta State, contributed to the Geological Society of America South-Central Section Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, March 11-14.

Baghai-Riding was one of several co-authors of the presentation “Confirming Quaternary Displacement Rates on the Meeman-Shelby Fault and Joiner Ridge Horst, Eastern Arkansas.” The study looked at fossil spores and pollen from seven intervals to determine ancient paleoenvironments and geologic age.

Several Delta State environmental science students, including Helen Simmons, Anna Scott and Wilsonya Mitchell, contributed to the research.

As part of the conference, Baghai-Riding also participated in a trip to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. Diamonds have been discovered in the area for more than a century, including 28 that are over 10 carats.

Contact Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding ( for more information about the environmental science program at Delta State University.

TFA Graduate Fellow to host microgrant dinner in Jackson

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Jacksonians interested in bettering their community will gather at Cathead Distillery March 22 at 6 p.m. to kick off Citizenville’s inaugural JXN Gumbo event series.

The series’ executive director is JJ Townsend, who is also taking part in Delta State University’s TFA Graduate Fellows program. The program is a collaboration between Delta State and Teach For America. The fellowship’s role is to retain TFA alumni in Mississippi by offering the opportunity to continue their education in graduate school at Delta State and to nurture their passion for enhancing the state.

JXN Gumbo will let attendees enjoy a bowl of gumbo and listen to neighborhood entrepreneurs pitch ideas. All of the participants will get feedback from neighbors, and one winner will take home the money raised.

“Citizenville is a nonprofit online platform to crowdfund community ideas, and JXN Gumbo is the face-to-face side of the platform,” said Townsend. “Our mission at is to promote community-driven project ideas through crowdfunding, creativity, collaboration, democracy, trust and fun. Although we’re also an online platform, JXN Gumbo is a perfect way for us to crowdfund community ideas while engaging with folks in person.”

Each presenter will have four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience. The audience will then vote to choose the best idea. At the end of the night, the ballots are counted and a winner is chosen. Winners collect the money from gumbo sales, launch their projects, and attend a future JXN Gumbo dinner to report their project’s progress.

There are opportunities for interested community organizations and leaders to pitch at the event. To sign up to pitch, visit For attendees, tickets will be sold at the door for $5. Attendees are encouraged to pre-order tickets online at

Founded in 2017, and based in Jackson, Citizenville is committed to unleashing the full potential of citizen ingenuity and catalyzing collective power to fund and implement new local solutions to entrenched problems.

Cathead Distillery is located at 422 South Farish Street in Jackson, and continues to grow its popularity and distribution throughout the southeastern region of the U.S. It was founded in 2010 by Austin Evans and Richard Patrick.

For more information on Delta State’s unique TFA Graduate Fellows program, visit

Posters in the Rotunda event to showcase university student research

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Students from all eight of Mississippi’s public universities will share their research and creative activities on topics ranging from healthcare to cultural heritage to social issues with legislators and state leaders at Posters in the Rotunda, which will be held in the Rotunda of the State Capitol on March 20. The students will show how their research solves some of Mississippi’s most pressing problems and benefits the citizens of the state.

The event provides opportunities for legislators to visit with students from their districts, allows students to network with each other as they learn about work on other campuses, and showcases the cutting-edge research conducted by undergraduates that benefits the residents of Mississippi.

“The work being done by undergraduates with their mentors at the eight state universities is quite impressive.  This event will help legislators appreciate the contributions that the students are making to the state in so many areas, including economics, health care, and education,” said Dr. Marie Danforth, Chair of the Steering Committee for the Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research at The University of Southern Mississippi and coordinator of the event.

Modeled after the Posters on the Hill event in which students from across the country share their work in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Mississippi’s Posters in the Rotunda event is similar to ones held in 17 other states.  The posters will be on display in the Rotunda of the State Capitol from 8:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.

The scheduled speaker is Dr. Gordon Cannon, Vice President for Research at The University of Southern Mississippi. Remarks will be given at 9:30 a.m.

A resolution proclaiming March 20 as Undergraduate Research Day in Mississippi has been passed by both chambers in House Resolution No. 54 and Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 632.

The students participating in the Posters in the Rotunda event and the titles of the research projects include:

  • Hayley Allen (University of Southern Mississippi) Biomedical Research at Southern Miss: Investigation of Small  Molecules as Inhibitors of Cell Proliferation in Cancer 
  • Brittany Brown (University of Mississippi) The Latino South: Migration, Identity, and Foodways
  • Amber Coats (University of Southern Mississippi) Evaluating the Effects of Cell Membrane Lipid Composition on the Resistance to Bile-Induced Damage in Avirulent Strains of Listeria monocygenes.
  • Eric Davis (Jackson State University) Developing an Android App to Read the DS1620 Temperature Measurements
  • Shelley Edwards (INBRE/Millsaps College) Sex-Dependent Effects of Novel Kappa Agonist, Nalfurafine, on the Analgesic Quality and Abuse Liability of Oxycodone
  • Omar Elsabrouty (Jackson State University) Developing an Android App to Read the DS1620 Temperature Measurements
  • Lilian Ernest (Jackson State University) Developing an Android App to Read the DS1620 Temperature Measurements
  • Aysha Evans (Alcorn State University) Plasmonic Gold Nanostructure for Biological Sensing 
  • JaBreann Evans (Alcorn State University) Personal, Social and Emotional factors influencing Body Weight in First Year College Students
  • Abigail Garrett (University of Mississippi) Creation of a Full Stack Breast Cancer Database
  • Uday Gella (Alcorn State University) Radiation Studies on Mississippi River Sediments
  • Rebecca Hamilton (Delta State University) The Deception of Contraception
  • Cella Hayes (University of Mississippi) Therapeutic Treatments for Cognitive Disorders    Associated with Age-related Loss of Insulin Growth Factor-1
  • Quincy Jones (Jackson State University) Developing an Android App to Read the DS1620 Temperature Measurements
  • Kendra Keesee (Mississippi University for Women) Music Therapy Co-Treatment
  • Marisa Laudadio (Mississippi State University) Using Publicly Available Comments on Facebook to Ascertain Public Opinion of International Adoption
  • Mallory Malone (Mississippi University for Women) Music Therapy Co-Treatment
  • Lindsey Miller (University of Mississippi) Finding the Dimerization Interface of Skp1 from Dictyostelium
  • Erin O’Quinn (Mississippi State University) Defining Factors of Socioeconomic Status As It Predicts ADHD Risk
  • Subrina Oswalt (Mississippi University for Women) Money, Trust, and Affective Polarization
  • Jermarlius Rushing (Mississippi Valley State University) “That’s Fake News”: Using Campus Radio to Emphasize the Importance of Historical Research Skills
  • Madison Savoy (University of Mississippi) The Impact of Verb Transitivity on Pronoun Inter-pretation in Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Stephon Simpson (Mississippi Valley State University) Role of Melatonin in Water-Stressed Soybean Plants
  • Danielle Stamps (University of Southern Mississippi) The Effects of Skin Tone on the Perception of Discrimination in Young African American Women
  • Landrie Tchakoua (Jackson State University) Developing an Android App to Read the DS1620 Temperature Measurements
  • Georgette-Vanelle Wandji (Mississippi Valley State University) Interaction of Modified and Unmodified Biodegradable Nanoparticles with Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA)
  • Alexandra Wedderstrand (Mississippi State University) Emotion Regulation Difficulties and Placement Stability: Exploring Interventions
  • Arian Williams (Mississippi Valley State University) Bedside Manner Experience Development
  • Egypt Williams (Mississippi Valley State University) “That’s Fake News”: Using Campus Radio to Emphasize the Importance of Historical Research Skills
  • Jasmine Williams (Alcorn State University) Wellness Programming: A Worthy Investment for Positive Student Educational Outcomes

 More information on the Posters in the Rotunda event is available on the website:

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

2018 Women’s Conference returns March 20-21

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The Office of Student Affairs will present the 2018 Women’s Conference titled “Girl On Fire” on March 20 at Delta State University.

Under the direction of Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Vernell Bennett, the conference will be a celebration of female excellence on campus. New this year, a panel of female students was involved in the conference’s programming.

“Students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and community members are invited to participate in the annual women’s conference,” said Bennett. I hope everyone will come out in  support of DSU’s Girls On Fire.”

Students are asked to register online for the event at The schedule of events will be provided free to students, and the first 100 registrants will receive a free T-shirt.

Featured speakers will include Dr. Myrtis Tabb, Pam Chatman and more.

The schedule kicks off at 11 a.m. on March 20 with a luncheon on the second floor of the Student Union (free to the first 100 registrants) and a discussion by Tabb.

From noon until 3 p.m., also in the Union, the Lady Statesman Health & Wellness Fair and Spa will feature health agencies from the region, and local vendors and exhibitors. All activities will be free of charge.

At 3:30 p.m., Chatman will speak at the Jacob Conference Center.

Later that evening, the red carpet will be rolled at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Lady Statesman Emerald Awards of Excellence at 7:30 p.m. in the Jobe Hall auditorium.

The schedule continues March 21 with a series of events taking place on the university quad. At 11:30 a.m., a flash mob will occur, followed by a “Me Too” rally at noon. At 12:45 p.m., the Lady Statesman Color Sprint will kick off. The sprint is a version of the popular Color Run and is designed to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence against women.

The conference culminates with a BBQ on the quad at 1 p.m.

“This year’s conference will be bigger and better,” added Bennett. “Vendor and exhibitor registrations for the Lady Statesman Health & Wellness Fair and Spa have increased by 30 percent over last year, and the number nominations for the Emerald Awards of Excellence and the number of student, faculty and staff conference registrants have increased as well. All events are free, except the opening luncheon which is open to the first 100 registrants.”

Bennett added that a men’s conference would be planned for the fall semester.

For more information, contact 662-846-4150.

Aviation student spanning the globe

By | Academics, Aviation, College of Business and Aviation, International, Students | No Comments

One Delta State University aviation student is literally soaring to new heights this spring break.

Malik Sinegal, a junior commercial aviation major and Biloxi native, is currently flying around the world in an ambassador role for Republic Airline. And joining him for the trip — the mini Fighting Okra doll available at the university bookstore.

For 16 days of fun and adventure, Sinegal will be flying aboard Republic flights as an ambassador. Fulfilling a lifelong goal, he will completely span the globe, with stops in Egypt and its pyramids, the mammoth skyscrapers of Dubai, the iconic Sydney Opera House in Australia, the busy streets of Tokyo, and more.

Sinegal is dedicating the trip to his grandmother, who had always dreamed of traveling the world before passing away in 2017.

“I thought that it would put my heart finally at rest if I did this for her,” he said.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Republic Airline employs 5,500 talented professionals to support its operations in partnership with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. The company operates 950 daily departures to over 100 U.S. cities, Canada, Central America and the Caribbean.

Thanks to Sinegal’s private pilot certificate, instrument rating, RJet Cadet training, and education through Delta State’s Department of Commercial Aviation, he was a perfect fit for the ambassador position. Sinegal will serve in this capacity for about a year and a half, after which, he aims to stay with Republic as a first officer.

“My role as an ambassador is to recruit the best people for our award-winning environment — flight attendants, pilots and business majors,” said Sinegal. “At Republic, we want people who use our company’s motto to strive for excellence in their everyday lives.”

And Sinegal’s effort has already paid off for his fellow Delta State aviation peers. A couple of his classmates recently passed their cadet interviews with Republic.

“It’s always fun to come back to school and tell fellow students about the trips that I’ve been on,” Sinegal said. “Many students think that school will be for the rest of their lives, and they tend to get distracted and lazy. However, what they don’t realize is that their dream jobs are just around the corner.”

Sinegal added that he was prepared to work with Republic thanks to the quality instruction at Delta State.

“They have blessed me,” he said. “We have the best teachers and instructors. Dr. Speakes, Sam Washington, Chip Cooper, Rogel Campbell and Brett Oleis definitely need more credit for their hard work on campus.”

Dr. Julie Speakes, chair of the department, said Sinegal is a prime example of an aviation student making the most of his training.

“What an exciting opportunity Malik has to see the world and promote DSU Aviation,” said Speakes. “There are many unique prospects in the aviation sector, and our students are linked with some of the best opportunities at the university level.”

With his loyal mini Fighting Okra by his side, Sinegal continues to rack up miles in the sky, setting the foundation for a lengthy aviation career ahead of him.

“I have been blessed enough to see all of the amazing opportunities that this world is ready to offer us,” he said. “What you do today will set you in the right path for the rest of your life.”

Learn more about Delta State’s Department of Commercial Aviation at