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Campus to host International Day of Yoga

By | Community, QEP, Students | No Comments

Delta State University will honor the International Day of Yoga on June 23 at 8 a.m. on the Quad with a free public yoga gathering.

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice which aims to transform both body and mind.

International Day of Yoga is a platform to come together to share, celebrate and deepen the path of yoga along with parallel celebrations in more than 100 cities across the country.

Leading the event will be instructor Parveen Chawla, who has invited all ages to join in. Participants are asked to bring their own mats or blankets.

“We are excited to welcome Parveen Chawla onto our campus and host this free public event,” said Jeanna Wilkes, coordinator of student activities at Delta State. “We hope to have a quad full of participants in celebration of International Day of Yoga.”

If there is rain Friday, the group will move to the second floor East Lobby of the H. L. Nowell Student Union.

Sponsors for the event include the Office of Student Life and DSU Quality Enhancement Plan.

Learn more about the International Day of Yoga at http://idayofyoga.org.

Healing with a Groove 2.0 creates alumni network

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments
Photo (left to right):  Laeitta Wade, HWG 2.0 project assistant; Keziah Allen (Indianola); Isaac Peppers (Greenville); A’Midius Sigle (Shelby); Cle’Various Thornton (Moorhead); and Travis Calvin, HWG 2.0 project coordinator. HWG alumni not pictured: Jakevian McCaster (Greenwood); and Parker Abney II (Clarksdale).

The Delta Music Institute, an independent center of entertainment industry studies at Delta State University, recently received a $548,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) of Battle Creek, Michigan, to extend its successful Healing with a Groove 2.0 program.

The program is a narrative change initiative with the mission of promoting racial healing through the creation and production of original songs and recordings among young persons of color. The current round of funding will promote the establishment and development of a HWG 2.0 alumni base and the creation of a multimedia toolkit to be used as a resource for schools and organizations interested in establishing HWG groups.

“Music has great power to heal,” said DMI Director Tricia Walker. “Using digital media tools available today will empower the young participants in this program to find their unique voice in creating new songs and recordings that can address issues of race and how music can promote healing.”

Travis Calvin, a Delta State alumnus, serves as the coordinator of the DMI Mobile Lab and leads the HWG program.

“I am excited to build on the success we’ve had with this project. I’m looking forward to developing and empowering HWG alumni to become young leaders in their communities, using music and digital media as a platform to address issues of concern in their schools and hometowns,” said Calvin.

A network of HWG alumni from Bolivar, Coahoma, Leflore, Sunflower and Washington counties will be selected and trained to assist local participants in the project. Participants generate ideas by engaging in open dialogue sessions before crafting original songs and producing audio recordings using the professional studios and equipment of the DMI and the DMI Mobile Music Lab.

The HWG 2.0 program provides instruction in commercial songwriting, audio engineering and digital media for participants in the counties served, giving them opportunities to explore and promote racial healing through the creation and dissemination of original songs. The project will foster the creation and recording of 30-40 original songs and musical works exploring and promoting racial healing. The development of the multimedia toolkit will serve as a guide for student leaders, teachers and administrators interested in facilitating the HWG 2.0 program in their local communities.

“Mississippi is the birthplace of America’s music and also the repository of a complicated history regarding race,” said Walker. “This unique project will provide young people in the Delta with an opportunity to explore this ongoing issue by using the popular medium of contemporary music and audio production.”

The DMI offers a bachelor’s in entertainment industry studies from the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For more information, contact 662-846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

The WKKF is a private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, and is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

WKKF works throughout the U.S. and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. The organization’s priority areas in the U.S. include Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

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 nbaghai@deltastate.edu.

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 www.deltastate.edu/blues. 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 blues@deltastate.edu or visit www.deltastate.edu/blues.