Spring 2018 McNair Research Scholars

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The Spring 2018 cohort of McNair Scholars (left to right): Bobby Foster, Kevin Sodachanh, Nicholas Walters, Laketha Covington, Bria Goodson, Ashley Griffin, Porsche Chambers, Dakota Conway, Stevena King, Joelle Dick, Johvan Hill-Dick, Syed Mohammed Amannudin and Audrey Gonzalez. Missing from the picture are Khyla Grant and Abigail Hynum.



Delta State’s Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies and the McNair Research Scholars program are proud to announce the inaugural Spring 2018 cohort of McNair Scholars.

The prestigious program prepares undergraduate students for the pursuit of a doctoral degree and provides a summer research stipend of up to $2,800 per student.

The McNair Scholars Program is one of eight TRiO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The program supports undergraduate students across the university who come from low-income, first-generation and underrepresented backgrounds. Eligible participants plan to pursue doctoral degrees.

Each student is paired with a faculty mentor in his or her respective college with similar research interests. The student and mentor work together throughout the year so the student can gain research experience and develop academic skills and strategies to prepare them for success in higher education.

The Spring 2018 cohort includes the following scholars:

Bobby Foster
Kevin Sodachanh
Nicholas Walters
Laketha Covington
Bria Goodson
Ashley Griffin
Porsche Chambers
Dakota Conway
Stevena King
Joelle Dick
Johvan Hill-Dick
Syed Mohammed Amannudin
Audrey Gonzalez
Khyla Grant
Abigail Hynum

“We are excited to have such a great inaugural group of McNair Scholars,” said Wendolyn Stevens, program director. “The Scholars have already started identifying and committed research for this summer. We have confirmations for internships at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland; University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi; and at the Coastal Marine Education and Research Academy in Clearwater, Florida. I am looking forward to see the results of their Summer Research Experiences.”

Learn more about the program at http://www.deltastate.edu/graduate-and-continuing-studies/mcnair-research-fellows-program.

Fireside Chat – April 16, 2018 – International Students Inducted into Student Hall of Fame

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President LaForge is joined by Marwa Cherraf and Abul Hajizada, the first international students to be inducted into Delta State University’s Student Hall of Fame.

The DSU Student Hall of Fame began in 1972 as a way to recognize outstanding students. It is the single highest honor bestowed upon any Delta State student based on outstanding accomplishments in all phases of college life.

Abul, a senior, computer information systems major from Azerbaijan, serves as president of the International Student Association and is a Student Government Association Senate member. Marwa, a senior, international business major from Morocco, is a member of Phi Beta Lambda and has served as an intern for the Office of Student Affairs.

Both of these students will be inducted into the Student Hall of Fame on May 4 and will graduate from Delta State the next day.

In other campus news, a production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella will be on stage at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and the Wiley Planetarium’s Stars of the Pharaohs will show on Friday, April 20 at 6 p.m.

In athletic news, the golf team is competing at the Natural State Classic in Searcy, Arkansas today and tomorrow. And, the Statesmen baseball team will travel to Arkansas Tech for a two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday with game times at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

To keep up with all of our news, events and activities, please visit our website at deltastate.edu.

Delta State signs PepsiCo contract

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President William N. LaForge (left) signs the beverage services contract on April 12 with Mike McGraw, PepsiCo Director of Workplace — South Region.



Delta State University President William N. LaForge welcomed representatives from PepsiCo on April 12 to sign the beverage services contract with the company. In February, Delta State announced PepsiCo as its new beverage vendor of choice for the next five years.

Delta State chose PepsiCo after a university committee unanimously recommended the company following a detailed analysis of corporate options, products and services.

LaForge said he was looking forward to the numerous opportunities the new partnership will provide.

“PepsiCo will provide a large array of services and benefits, including an extensive line of beverages that students prefer, a significant increase of revenue from commissions, a special partnership with Gatorade for our athletic programs, card reader machines campus-wide for convenience of purchase, and a number of student engagement events and promotional programs on campus for the next several years,” said LaForge. “On top of those important features of the relationship, PepsiCo will also purchase substantial advertising from the university.”

Joining LaForge for the signing was Mike McGraw, PepsiCo Director of Workplace — South Region.

Sales reports have already shown a major increase in consumer purchases, with sales tripling in the first month. PepsiCo has remained busy restocking machines throughout campus on a daily basis.

Ashley Griffin, Student Government Association president at Delta State, said students around campus are showing great enthusiasm for the new products.

“A lot of students are excited about having a wider variety of options that aren’t just sodas, such as the iced coffees and flavored water,” said Griffin. “It’s also been a bonus to have access to more healthy options. Students also like using their Okra Kards, credit cards and debit cards at all the machines.”

Alan Gorman, a senior graphic design major, said he also enjoys the variety in the new product line.

“Now, there’s something everyone can find, even for the people not big on sodas,” said Gorman. “Additionally, now it’s much more convenient to find a drink on campus with the new drink machines and the card readers. Probably one of the biggest things I’ve heard from the other students is how much they like having Starbucks coffee in the drink machines.”

Follow all Delta State news at www.deltastate.edu.


Music Across Campus broadcasts first note

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Delta State University is striking a new note campus-wide thanks to a project coined “Music Across Campus: Connecting the Delta State University Family and Campus with Music.”

Music Across Campus features the installation of 28 speakers strategically placed around campus that will feed music, programming and announcements from the university’s radio station, WDSW-LP 88.1 FM.

President William N. LaForge, who envisioned the project, turned on the speakers for the first time at the university’s annual Spring Fest festivities on April 12. Fittingly, the first song played was “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones. As LaForge officially turned the speakers on, he was joined on stage by student, faculty, staff and community members involved with the music scene at Delta State.

The speakers are realistic recreations of rocks that blend in with campus surroundings. The goal is to provide musical enjoyment for everyone walking Delta State’s campus.

President LaForge and First lady Nancy LaForge graciously donated funding to pay for the speakers to help cement Delta State’s identity as a music-centric institution.

“Nancy and I think that the Music Across Campus concept is a great way to underscore and highlight our music-centric nature at Delta State,” said LaForge. “So we are personally supporting this project as something that will be available for all to enjoy.”

LaForge’s initial idea for the project stemmed from his experience teaching as a Fulbright Fellow at Perm State University in Perm, Russia. Perm State broadcasts music from the campus radio station to locations throughout the grounds of the campus, much like the musical presence heard throughout malls and theme parks across America.

LaForge has helped boost Delta State’s musical identity by enhancing signature programs like the Delta Music Institute, Department of Music, Bologna Performing Arts Center, International Conference on the Blues — and in addition, hosting GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi on campus, which tributes Mississippi as the birthplace of American Music.

Delta State’s Office of Information Technology and Facilities Management helped install the speakers in various locations so the sounds can be heard by a wide campus audience.

Edwin Craft, Chief Information Officer for OIT, said the concept of a campus-wide system was intriguing because deploying and interfacing the speakers on a large scale required an innovative design to meet the needs of the university.

“Each speaker is specially designed to be controlled from our wireless network, making this the first IoT —Internet of Things — in our area,” said Craft. “The system is very unique, in that it was designed to operate wirelessly for both the audio and control of each device. The only wire needed for the speakers was power, and we are thankful to have a great Facilities department on campus that was able to provide the power at each location.”

Ashley Griffin, Student Government Association president at Delta State, said the music would make walking across campus more enjoyable for everyone.

“I think that we can all associate with music,” said Griffin. “For each of us, there is probably a special song that makes us smile each day. I think as students, faculty, staff and guests pass by, it will make their day brighter and more fulfilling. Besides food, music is the key to the soul, especially in the Mississippi Delta.”

“These speakers will definitely liven the campus,” she added. “Students will sit outside during the day and enjoy each other. Delta State has signature music programs, and through the addition of Music Across Campus, it gives another outlet for artists on campus to broadcast their music.”

In addition to playing music, the speakers will also broadcast occasional announcements, keeping people informed of campus events and programming. In emergency situations, they will also be able to provide emergency notices.

“I hope Music Across Campus is a fun addition to our Delta State culture and family,” added LaForge.

Follow all Delta State news at www.deltastate.edu.


Inaugural international festival Culture on the Quad set for April 24

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, International, Student Affairs, Students | No Comments

Delta State University’s Office of Student Affairs presents the first annual international festival “Culture on the Quad” on the university quadrangle April 24 starting at 12 p.m.

Students, faculty, staff and the community are welcome to congregate for an afternoon of food, fun, entertainment and enlightenment. This year’s theme is “The Global Statesmen.” The event is free and open to the public.

A panel discussion, dance lessons, a featured speaker and fashion show will also be highlighted at the festival.

Dr. Vernell Bennett, vice president for Student Affairs, said there is a lot of buzz around the event, which is scheduled to be an annual affair.

“We worked with an advisory panel of international students and the International Faculty Association to plan this occasion,” said Bennett. “Everything from the cuisine, to the entertainment, will spotlight the international culture that our students bring to the Delta. The large tent will house food and exhibits manned by international students and faculty, who will speak to their countries of origin.”

“The main stage will have programming from 12-5 p.m.,” added Bennett. “Our featured act will be the professional dance troupe Bollywood Touch at 4 p.m. The troupe will also give the audience a lesson at the conclusion of their main stage performance.”

Marwa Cherraf, an international student originally from Morocco, and a senior international business major, is a vice presidential intern for the Office of Student Affairs.

“This is the first university-wide event that highlights how global our campus actually is,” said Cherraf, also a member of the International Student Association. “We want to include the community, faculty and students in the celebration of multiculturalism at DSU. This is a great opportunity for American and international students to come together to have fun.”

More event details are available on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/374532989689520/?notif_t=plan_user_invited&notif_id=1523384589369394.

For more information, contact 662-846-4150.