Reza to lead python workshop

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Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, assistant professor of biology at Delta State, will be one of just a handful of instructors at the Bangladesh Python Project Workshop beginning this July.

Reza, a native of Bangladesh, is looking forward to working with fellow academics to shed light on a significant snake species and other important vertebrate animals from his homeland.

“This is a very exciting opportunity open to all students,” said Reza. “We are doing some important work radio-tracking these snakes, the same species that we seeing as an invasive problem in Florida. I would strongly encourage students to consider this workshop. They will get some great hands-on experience with animals from a very different part of the world.”

Reza has returned to Bangladesh a number of times in recent years after previously publishing his book “Diversity of Amphibians and Reptiles in Bangladesh.” His trips focus on ecological and conservation efforts, and he has worked with many snake species and other vertebrates for his scientific research.

The workshop cost is $2,000 but does not include airfare to Bangladesh. For more information, contact Reza at areza@deltastate.edu.

Art department to host portfolio day

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The Delta State University Department of Art will host its annual Portfolio Day on Jan. 29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Interested high school juniors and seniors are encouraged to bring a portfolio of six to eight original art pieces for review. The purpose of the review is to guide and encourage the development of promising area artists in their pursuit of an art career.

Works should display the artist’s interests, artistic abilities, and reflect strong, creative conceptual skills. Works should be matted, and neat in appearance. Top mounting is acceptable. Three dimensional work may also be submitted. Photographs of pieces too large to bring may be included in the portfolio.

Submissions should be labeled with name, title and media. Applicants are asked to include a transcript with ACT or SAT score.

Art faculty will review the artwork, discuss educational and professional goals and share information on art programs, careers, admissions, financial aid and scholarships.

Up to $9,500 will be awarded in scholarships.

The schedule of events includes a campus tour and a cookout. Pre-register online at www.deltastate.edu/coll-of-arts-and-sciences/art/portfolio-day-form/, or call 662-846-4720.

Beck wins conservation districts scholarship

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Christine Beck, an environmental science major concentrating on wildlife management, was recently awarded the 2016 Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts scholarship in the amount of $5,000.

The scholarship is available to any sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student enrolled in a college or university in the state of Mississippi. Beck, a senior from Crystal Springs, Mississippi, stood a notch above the competition and received the first place scholarship.

MACD, established in 1945, is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization composed of the 82 Soil & Water Conservation Districts in Mississippi. MACD is governed by a 31-member board of directors and represents more than 400 district commissioners who promote the conservation of Mississippi’s natural resources through education and outreach.

“I’m so thankful to the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts and the encouragement of my professors to pursue this opportunity,” said Beck. “The MACD Endowment Fund scholarship will be a big help throughout my remaining time here at Delta State.”

Applications for the scholarship were evaluated based on the student’s GPA, activities and leadership qualities, financial need and supporting materials. All majors were encouraged to apply, but conservation related fields of study were given priority.

Beck credited her unique educational opportunities at Delta State.

“The environmental science program at Delta State provides students with numerous opportunities to go out into the field to learn about and interact with plants and animals. These field trips provide great hands-on experiences to those considering a career working outdoors.”

Dr. Ellen Green, chair of the Department of Biological sciences, was thrilled with Beck’s recognition.

We’re extremely proud of Christine,” said Green. “She was one of only three winners of the first place award in the state of Mississippi. We are growing our environmental science program and it is gratifying to see that our students are competitive at the highest levels.”

To learn more about environmental science and biological sciences at Delta State, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/biological-and-physical-sciences.

National Park Travelers Club members visit The Delta Center

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Members of the National Park Travelers Club visited The Delta Center for Culture and Learning on the campus of Delta State this week. The group is touring the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area collecting National Park Service passport stamps as a way to celebrate the 2016 National Park Service Centennial.

Leland Warzala (Springfield, Illinois), Deborah Archer (Norfolk, Viginia) and David Kroese (Loves Park, Illinois), visited the center to collect their MDNHA passport stamp, which is part of the NPS’ Passport to Your National Parks program. The three NPS passport enthusiasts have been traveling the MDNHA this month collecting stamps in each Delta county. Their Delta traveling adventure has yielded a series of interesting discoveries and pleasant surprises.

The travelers visited cultural heritage attractions throughout the region where passport stations are located, including the Gateway to the Blues Museum and Visitor Center in Tunica and Tallahatchie County Courthouse where the Emmett Till trial took place in 1955.

“Last night, each of us stayed in separate hotels in Clarksdale, just to get a sense of the different hotel options there,” said Archer. “We have been eating at different restaurants, too. Delta food is so delicious. We are working our way to Yazoo City next where we will stay tonight.”

While visiting The Delta Center, they learned about the internationally renowned rural juke joint Po’ Monkey’s Lounge in Merigold, an easy stop on the way to Rosedale, where the Bolivar County passport stamp is available in the Chancery Clerk’s office at the county courthouse.

They also learned about the MDNHA’s NPS centennial passport t-shirt. This collector’s item is awarded to travelers who gather all passport stamps in the MDNHA. Currently, there are 22 passport stamps across the region. This number is expected to grow as the MDNHA passport program continues to gain momentum.

Warzala gave kudos to the MDNHA and The Delta Center for managing a well organized and geographically diverse passport program.

“We would not have known about all of the interesting places to visit in the Delta had it not been for this program,” said Warzala. “We knew that we had to visit all of the counties here, because we wanted to get all of the stamps. We had no idea that there are so many great things to see and do along the way, like the Crossroads sign [in Clarksdale], Dockery Farms and all of the Blues Trail markers.”

The MDNHA launched its participation in the Passport to Your National Parks program in November 2014 with the goal of making passport stations available in each of the MDNHA’s 18 counties. By the spring of 2015, this goal was accomplished. Since then, additional regional partners in Washington and Coahoma counties have signed on to host passport stations, including the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, and the Jim Henson Museum of the Frog and the Highway 61 Blues Museum, both in Leland. The full list of MDNHA passport locations is available at http://www.msdeltaheritage.com/.

Lee Aylward (left) of The Delta Center speaks with National Park Travelers Club visitors about Mississippi Delta attractions.

Lee Aylward (left) of The Delta Center speaks with National Park Travelers Club visitors about Mississippi Delta attractions.

Kroese praised the state of Mississippi for supporting National Heritage Areas.

“There is no other state where you will find three distinct National Heritage Areas that offer such rich cultural heritage resources,” he said. “As a passport collector, I have traveled to national parks all over the country. What you have here in Mississippi with the Delta, Hills and Gulf Coast heritage areas is a real treasure. They are connected and tell great stories about music, food, literature and people.”

The travel companions plan to encourage other National Park Travelers Club members to visit the Mississippi Delta, as well as the Mississippi Hills and Gulf Coast National Heritage Areas. They also look forward to returning to Cleveland and Delta State after GRAMMY Museum Mississippi opens.

Warzala said, “The Beatles is the first exhibit that will be shown at the GRAMMY Museum? I am definitely coming back.”

Mississippi Delta-based municipalities, businesses, cultural attractions, heritage sites or other organizations that are interested in participating in the Passport Program should contact The Delta Center regarding the application process. For more information, call 662-846-4311 or email Heather Miller at hmiller@deltastate.edu.

To learn more about the National Park Travelers Club, visit http://www.parkstamps.org. To learn more about the NPS Centennial, visit www.nps.gov/2016.

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the MDNHA and is the home of the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshop and the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/delta-center-for-culture-and-learning/.

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is a partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the NPS. The MDNHA was designated by U.S. Congress in 2009 and is governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the congressional legislation. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at http://www.msdeltaheritage.com.

Delta State offices to close Friday (Jan. 22)

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The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Bolivar County area beginning at midnight tonight and continuing through 9 p.m. Friday. Snow and sleet accumulations of two to five inches are expected.

Due to this weather threat, and in the interest of safety and an abundance of caution, Delta State University will be closed Friday, January 22.  All classes, including night classes, are cancelled for Friday, and the university will be closed for business operations. Essential service personnel should check with their supervisor to determine if they need to report on Friday. Any employees uncertain about reporting should check with their supervisor. Thursday classes, including night classes, are still scheduled to meet.

Residence halls will remain open for students who choose to stay on campus. Dining and other essential services are scheduled to remain open; however, students should watch for alerts for possible changes in operating hours for these services.

A winter storm warning means significant amounts of snow are expected. Strong winds are also possible. This will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you have travel plans, please check weather conditions and road conditions and use judgment before traveling.

The Delta State Emergency Response Team is monitoring the situation and is in contact with the National Weather Service, emergency officials and the university’s administration.

Updates related to the university’s schedule and operations will be posted using deltastate.edu, email, text messages, Twitter (@DeltaState) and Facebook.

Anyone who has not yet registered his or her cell phone number for emergency text alerts is encouraged to do so now by completing the following steps:

  1. Login to your “My DSU” account:
  2. https://banapp2.deltastate.edu:9010/dsu/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=homepage
  3. Choose the “Personal Information” section and the “Enroll in Okra Alert” option.
  4. Add your cell phone number (with area code).