Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS) Announces $3.12 Million in AmeriCorps funding

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Delta State University’s Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) will be one of 11 Mississippi organizations receiving grant funding from a $3.12 million AmeriCorps campaign to support nonprofit and educational organizations across the state.

The grant will continue to support the Delta Reads Plus (DRP) program, which is housed at the CCED on campus. DRP will receive $293,616 thanks to the grant.

Through DRP, 50 AmeriCorps members will provide one-one-one and small group tutoring to students in kindergarten through sixth grade five days a week for the 2017-18 academic term in school districts in Bolivar, Coahoma, Leflore, Sunflower, and Washington counties.

The program will help reach 400 economically disadvantaged students. Focus areas include literacy and math. The AmeriCorps tutors will guide the students to program completion by participating in at least 50 tutoring sessions and helping these students increase their literacy and/or math skills by at least one grade level according to STAR assessment data.

“Public schools in the Mississippi Delta face significant challenges to provide students with a high quality education, such as insufficient resources,” said David Tanner Jr., program director. “Parents, schools, and communities have an exceptional role in the academic success of students. Our goal is to bridge the achievement gap by involving these stakeholders from educationally and economically distressed communities in effective tutorial programs and community improvement projects”.

According to Heather Miller, director of Institutional Grants at Delta State University, “The CCED, MCVS, and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) have a long history of successful partnerships. Through Delta Reads Plus, we will further strengthen that partnership and our commitment to provide successful student outcomes.”

DRP is currently seeking school districts and potential members interested in receiving and providing tutoring services within the five target counties for the upcoming school term. Interested districts should contact Tanner at  662-846-4808 or dtanner@deltastate.edu. Interested individuals should contact Bria Beal, program assistant, at 662-846-4807 or bbeal@deltastate.edu. Those interested in serving can also learn more by visiting www.americorps.gov/joinor http://volunteermississippi.org/americorps/americorps-state-programs/.

AmeriCorps members typically receive a modest living stipend and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, or scholarship, upon completion of their service. The award can be used to pay for future education costs or to pay back student loans.
The federal investment includes 11 AmeriCorps grants to Mississippi nonprofits, Institutions of Higher Learning, and state and local agencies, totaling $3.12 million dollars. The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $2.14 million dollars in local support to increase community impact and return on federal investment. This funding will support 535 AmeriCorps members who will tackle some of the toughest problems in Mississippi including tutoring and mentoring pre-k through 12 students, conservation/environmental services, and providing health education and physical activities to address obesity.

CNCS will also provide up to $1.6 million dollars in education scholarships for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants to help pay for college, vocational training, or pay back student loans.

Learn more about Delta State’s CCED at www.deltastate.edu/cced.

Hundley named interim executive director of Alumni-Foundation

By | Alumni, Faculty/Staff, Foundation, President | No Comments

Delta State University recently welcomed Patrick D. Hundley as the interim executive director of the Delta State University Alumni-Foundation.

Hundley took over after former director Keith Fulcher transitioned to the new position of special assistant to the president for donor relations.

He joins Delta State from the REGISTRY for College and University Presidents, an organization that provides experienced higher educational professionals on an interim basis. University and Foundation officials will conduct a search later in the year for a permanent executive director.

“I could not be more pleased with the welcome that I have received here,” said Hundley. “The entire staff of the Foundation and Alumni division has been wonderful, with each person reaching out to do all in his or her power to assist me. I hope to provide the kind of leadership during my short tenure here that will position this excellent staff to be even more successful in the future.

“Furthermore, President LaForge is totally committed to see that Delta State University reaches a next level of greatness, and I am finding that working with him is a real honor and privilege. Delta State and its development and alumni programs are in great hands. The future is very bright.”

Hundley is a native of Jackson, Tennessee. He received a bachelor’s in English from Tennessee Wesleyan College, a master’s in English from Middle Tennessee State University, and an ABD in English from Oklahoma State University.

He has 35 years of experience in university advancement, including serving as assistant chancellor at University of Wisconsin Platteville, vice president at Minnesota State University Moorhead, and vice chancellor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

“I am very pleased that Patrick Hundley has joined our alumni-foundation staff as a consultant, and I look forward to working with him during this transition period,” said President William N. LaForge. “He brings a wealth of skills and knowledge in the foundation, development, and alumni fields at several universities, including many very similar to Delta State in size and character.”

Short-term, Hundley’s primary focus is to raise more private funds for the betterment of the university. One goal, he said, was to raise the percentage of alumni who contribute from 7.8 percent to 15 percent.

“We must identify more potential donors among our alumni and friends, and we must get out and see these people, taking the message of Delta State’s importance in educating the best and the brightest for our region and our nation,” he said.

Additionally, as an interim director, Hundley said he hopes to have everything in place so that the next director can hit the ground running to raise funding for Delta State.

“Next year will be the first year when tuition income is greater than the funds provided by the state for the university,” said Hundley. “Therefore, private funds become more important as we keep this great University affordable for our students now and in the future. We especially need to raise more funds for scholarships and student projects. This will be one of the charges that I will give our staff as we move forward.”

Hundley has been married to his wife, Susan, for 42 years. They have three children and three grandchildren.

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

Boldon accepted into MS Rural Physicians Scholarship Program

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

Emilee Ann Boldon, a junior at Delta State and a native of Greenwood, was recently selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program. Boldon is the daughter of Billy and Treasa Boldon of Greenwood.

Created in 2007, MRPSP identifies college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become competent, well-trained rural primary care physicians in Mississippi. The program offers undergraduate academic enrichment and a clinical experience in a rural setting. Upon completion of all medical school admissions requirements, the student can be admitted to the University of Mississippi School of Medicine or William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

During medical school, each MRPSP scholar may receive $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 this fall. 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 MRPSP scholar must provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 15,000 or fewer population 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 mentoring during the medical school application process, earn a $120,000 medical school scholarship in return for four years of service and learn the art of healing from practicing rural physicians.

For more information, contact MRPSP Associate Director Dan Coleman at 601-815-9022, jdcoleman@umc.edu or http://mrpsp.umc.edu.

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The Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program and the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program are state-funded efforts to increase the number of dentists and physicians serving the healthcare needs of Mississippians in rural areas. Housed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, and collaborating with its schools of medicine and dentistry and the College of Osteopathic Medicine at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, the programs use various outreach, mentoring and training methods to identify, support, educate and deploy new generations of healthcare workers for Mississippi’s underserved populations.

Aviation introduces top flight simulator

By | Academics, Aviation, College of Business and Aviation, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

Delta State University’s Department of Commercial Aviation recently had its new top-of-the-line flight simulator certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Made by Frasca International, the Level 6 Diamond DA42 FTD (flight training device) was certified by the FAA to be used in the private multi engine, commercial multi engine, and flight instructor flight training syllabi.

The simulator will feature Frasca’s TruVision visual system, a 220 degree wrap-around visual system, an advanced cockpit weather and traffic interface, and Garmin G1000 advanced avionics paired with the KAP 140 autopilot.2017 Aviation simulator-7

The new simulator is an addition to the university’s three other Frasca TruFite FTDs for the Cessna 172 and Beechcraft Duchess that are currently in use. The model will simulate the Diamond DA42 aircraft, which is a complex multi-engine airplane used by students for in-air training.

“We are thrilled to have this showpiece ready for service,” said Dr. Julie Speakes, chair of commercial aviation. “Our students will save money and enjoy the visuals. In fact, the visuals are so realistic I’ve seen students leaning into a turn.”

Chip Cooper, director of flight operations, is also thrilled with the training opportunities the simulator will provide.

“This is a very nice piece of equipment to be able to have here in the Commercial Aviation Department,” he said. “This FTD is as close to the real experience you can get without it actually being an aircraft. I believe we all can agree that in aviation it’s sometimes best to first experience a maneuver or procedure on the ground and have the capability to pause the event.”

Garrett Gee, staff flight instructor added, “The realism of the new FTD allows us to train our students on normal and emergency procedures like never before. It responds and reacts just like the real aircraft. It also allows us to teach procedures that we are not able to teach in the airplane, such as landing with a flat tire with amazing realistic responses.”

Gee said the model has more advanced capabilities than the program’s previous FTDs, but the instructor interface has not changed much, providing instructors a familiar computer interface to teach with.

The Department of Commercial Aviation offers a bachelor’s of commercial aviation, as well as a master’s of commercial aviation. The department provides courses in general aviation, aviation management and aviation logistics management. Students have access to a flight training fleet that includes over 15 single-engine aircrafts and three multi-engine training planes.

Delta State is the only institution in Mississippi currently offering these baccalaureate degree programs.

“Graduates from this aviation program serve as members of flight crews, air traffic control specialists, and executives with supervisory and managerial responsibilities at all levels — while boasting no out-of-state and competitive flight training costs,” added Speakes.

Learn more about commercial aviation at Delta State by visiting http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-business/commercial-aviation.

TFA Graduate Fellows host day of service

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The Teach For America Graduate Fellows Program at Delta State University hosted their first Service Day on June 3 at the Rosedale Freedom Project (RFP) in Rosedale.

Two current fellows, Jeremiah Smith and Lucas Rapisarda, have dedicated their social entrepreneurship project to serving the RFP, a leadership program that works to prepare middle and high school students to be leaders in their schools, communities and collegiate pursuits.

The fellows, RFP and a group of volunteers came together to support cleanup efforts at RFP. They were joined by friends and families, RFP students, RFP summer interns from around the country, and doctoral candidates who teach during the Freedom Summer. The group spent the day preparing RFP for Freedom Summer 2017 by revitalizing the basketball court, cleaning the inside of the building, classrooms and library, and working in the RFP garden.

Each summer, RFP hosts Freedom Summer, a five-week summer school program, offering seventh through ninth grade Freedom Fellows rigorous instruction in reading and math; creative opportunities in visual arts and drama; and access to health and wellness training through fitness, gardening, and a healthy lunch program. After completing the academic portion of the summer, Freedom Fellows travel to Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee to camp in the wilderness, visit civil rights monuments and museums, and learn more about the deep history of empowerment and social justice in the South.

Smith said he was thrilled to utilize joint resources between Delta State and TFA.

“The Teach for America Graduate Fellows program has allowed me the opportunities and resources necessary to make the Rosedale Freedom Project a reality,” said Smith. “The support, resources and education that I’ve benefited from at Delta State has helped me to organize community members, build a strong and diverse staff, enlist supporters, and plan a rigorous summer program that promotes leadership within the community.

“At the RFP, young people take ownership over their growth as leaders and community members. Opportunities like the Service Day are perfect demonstrations of how our fellows and our staff see their role in Rosedale holistically — we do not simply provide fellows with educational opportunities. Rather, we contribute to and engage with the community; we strengthen intergenerational and interracial bonds; and we bring vision, drive and passion to the challenging but rewarding task of social change.”

Harrison Wood, program coordinator for the Teach For America Graduate Fellows Program, was thrilled to see progress made through the fellowship.

“Thanks to support from the Hearin Foundation, Delta State and TFA came together to make these partnerships possible,” said Harrison Wood, program coordinator. “The TFA Graduate Fellows Program provides TFA alumni the opportunity to continue their education in Delta State’s graduate school, while also helping to reimagine what is possible for Mississippi. Each TFA Fellow works on an individualized social entrepreneurship project that will ultimately have positive social impact in communities throughout Mississippi.”

Learn more about program at http://www.tfafellows.com.