Students Tyler Sullivan (left) and Tyler Daniels were recently selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program.

Students accepted into Rural Physician Scholarship Program

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Students | No Comments

Delta State students Tyler Daniels of Oak Grove, and Tyler Sullivan of Louisville, were recently selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program (MRPSP).

Created in 2007, MRPSP identifies college students who demonstrate the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become competent, well-trained, rural primary care physicians in the state of Mississippi.

The program offers undergraduate academic enrichment and a clinical experience in a rural setting. Upon completion of all medical school admissions requirements, participants can be admitted to the University of Mississippi School of Medicine or William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

While in medical school, the scholars are under consideration for $30,000 per year based on available funding. Consistent legislative support of MRPSP translates to 60 medical students receiving a total of $1,800,000 to support their education. Additional benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural physicians and academic support.

Upon completion of medical training, MRPSP Scholars must enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology or pediatrics. The scholar must also provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 20,000 people or less located more than 20 miles from a medically served area.

MRPSP provides a means for rural Mississippi students to earn a seat in medical school, receive MCAT preparation, earn a $120,000 medical school scholarship, and learn the art of healing from practicing rural physicians.

For more information, contact Dan Coleman, MRPSP associate director, at 601-815-9022, or

GRAMMY Museum Mississippi has unveiled a new exhibit devoted to the life and music of Stevie Ray Vaughan.

GRAMMY Museum celebrating Stevie Ray Vaughan exhibit in style

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GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi is gearing up for its new exhibit “Pride & Joy: The Texas Blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan” with a special event Wednesday.

The evening’s main event kicks off with a concert on the museum’s front lawn at 7:30 p.m., headlined by Wes Sheffield and the Slowburners, along with 17-year-old blues guitar phenom Christone “Kingfish” Ingram from Clarksdale.

Stevie’s brother, Jimmie Vaughan, will help celebrate the unveiling of the exhibit he helped curate.

Tickets to the show are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the performance. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling the museum box office at 662-441-0100, or in person at 800 W. Sunflower Rd. in Cleveland. Food and drinks will be available for purchase on the museum grounds.

For more information on the museum and its new exhibit, visit

Dr. Rolando Herts (left), director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, recently visited Senator Thad Cochran's office with fellow participants in the Delta Leadership Institute’s Executive Academy.

DRA brings community leaders to D.C.

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WASHINGTON — Members of the Delta Leadership Institute’s Executive Academy, selected by Governor Phil Bryant and Delta Regional Authority federal co-chairman Chris Masingill, met recently with their congressional delegation and federal officials in Washington, D.C., to talk about issues affecting the Mississippi River Delta region, including creating good-paying jobs, growing small businesses and entrepreneurs, and training a skilled workforce.

“Our cities and towns are important laboratories for policy development and economic growth in our region. To support smart, effective decision-making in our local communities, the Delta Leadership Institute is training and connecting our region’s leaders with the tools, network, and skills to improve the economic realities of their communities,” said Masingill. “This session in Washington, D.C., provides them access to each of these and empower them to share their experiences back home and throughout the region.”

Executive Academy fellows were in Washington for the fifth session of the DLI Executive Academy, a year-long program for community leaders across the Delta that teaches leadership skills and prepares fellows to collaborate across state and local borders to address the most-pressing challenges of the region. This is the eleventh class of the DLI Executive Academy.

Among the participants was Delta State’s own, Dr. Rolando Herts, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning.

Other participants included:
Amanda Allen | Clarksdale, MS
Tracy Ausberry | Clarksdale, MS
Joshua Bower | Jackson, MS
Shellie Michael | Jackson, MS
Lane Riley | Shaw, MS
Jessie Whitley | Greenville, MS

Congressman Bennie Thompson poses with members of the DLI's Executive Academy.

Congressman Bennie Thompson poses with members of the DLI’s Executive Academy.

The meetings also allow these Delta leaders to interact directly with their congressional representation and discuss the policies and resources that they see as being most important to the region’s economic success, such as workforce development, access to healthcare, entrepreneurship, disaster recovery and resilience and geotourism.

“I commend the Delta Regional Authority for fostering new leadership to promote economic growth and health care improvement throughout the Delta,” said Cochran. “It was a pleasure to meet the members of the Delta Leadership Institute, who will use the leadership skills they’re learning to aid their communities.”

“I enjoyed my conversation with this group of new leaders. This and other leadership programs are vital to the future success of our state,” U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson (MS-2) said. “I tried to stress the importance of strong, competent individuals taking up the mantle of leadership in the Mississippi Delta to continue getting things done for the people they serve.”

“The DLI experience has been so educational for class members throughout Mississippi and the seven other DRA states. Participating in these DRA Hill visits is a highlight of my career and professional development,” stated Jessie Whitley. “It was an honor to meet Senator Cochran, Congressman Thompson, and Congressman Harper and share with them the great work that DRA is doing in Delta communities. We also gained insights from them about how we can use leadership skills and connections developed through this program to better our communities. It was a win-win.”

Congressman Gregg Harper meets with participants.

Congressman Gregg Harper meets with participants.

“At the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, we’re involved in lots of projects related to culture, heritage, and tourism,” said Herts. “I really appreciate the DLI Executive Academy for providing this opportunity to meet with our representatives in Washington to discuss ways that we can all help the region together. Without the Delta Regional Authority, which helps to empower so many here in the Delta, this would not have happened.”

Lane Riley is the program director for Delta Hands for Hope in Shaw. Her organization provides after-school educational opportunities for school-age children in the town.

“The DLI Executive Academy connects many Delta leaders and experts to address many of the issues and challenges effecting our region,” said Riley. “I will be able to use this experience to bring new ideas and information back to my community, and work with other leaders in the Delta to have a greater collective impact. Through this trip to Washington, D.C., we were able to advocate for continued support of programs and policies that will have a positive impact in the Mississippi Delta. Participating in the DLI is beneficial for me, my organization, and my community, and I am so honored to be apart of this amazing program.”

Students from La Trobe University in Australia enjoyed a luncheon Wednesday at Delta State with the Fighting Okra and President William N. LaForge.

Australian delegation visits Delta State

By | Delta Center, International, President | No Comments

A group of 47 students and faculty members from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia made a special stop at Delta State’s campus Wednesday during their three-week international study tour between New Orleans and Memphis.

The group is taking part in the trip to focus on critical aspects of the region, including history, culture, society, site visits and more.

Their stop at Delta State included a tour of the Delta Music Institute, a visit from the Fighting Okra, a luncheon with President William N. LaForge and Dr. Christy Riddle with International Student Services, and a visit to GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi.

The students, enrolled in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, will eventually complete a region-based research project based on their visit.

For more information on La Trobe University, visit

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VISTA accepting applications

By | Center for Community and Economic Development | No Comments

In its fight against poverty, the AmeriCorps*VISTA program, under the direction of Linda Stringfellow, is now accepting applications for full-time members. Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members focus on building sustainable programs by strengthening an organization’s infrastructure, expanding community partnerships, and securing long-term resources.

VISTA members will receive, in exchange for a 12-month commitment to service, a modest living stipend, an end of term education award or cash stipend, free health insurance, student loan forbearance or deferment, priceless skills development and much more.

“In combatting illiteracy, health concerns and economic despair, some of your efforts may include implementing marketing campaigns, coordinating educational workshops, recruiting other volunteers, or organizing fundraising efforts,” said Stringfellow.

May’s Member of the Month, Shannon Curtis, is a testament to impactful community change. Joining VISTA led her to Mississippi where helps build and sustain a viable local food system with the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network and Sustainable Oxford.

During her first six months in Oxford, Curtis hosted monthly forums and potlucks concerning issues of sustainability, social justice, poverty, transportation, water issues and more. She facilitated discussions of food systems development during the LOU Homelessness Summit. Additionally, she also developed the MSAN program Sustainable Oxford by building a steering committee of more than 25 volunteers.

Curtis has built coalitions with partner organizations like the University Of Mississippi Office Of Sustainability, City of Oxford Recycling Department, McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Leadership Lafayette, Oxford City Market, Mississippi Farm to School Network and more.

VISTA openings in Sunflower, Panola and Tunica counties are waiting to be filled.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen. Apply to the program at and select “I’m Ready to Serve.” Participants must also attend one of the recruitment sessions on either June 28 or June 30. Sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Lakisha L. Butler, program associate for marketing and recruiting, at 662-846-4848 or