STATEMENTS: Around Campus

Lurleen M. Walters, an assistant professor at the university, was presented the Patrick J. Byrne Emerging Leadership Award for significant contributions to the national organization. Representing academia, industry and government, Food Distribution Research Society members work to address ongoing challenges in food marketing and distribution.

Susan Seal was named executive director of Mississippi State University’s Center for Distance Education. In this position, she will lead the university’s nationally recognized distance education efforts and work with campus units to enhance the educational experience for students and faculty.

John Buol, a master’s student studying agriculture in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, is the Southern Weed Science Society’s selection for the Outstanding Graduate Student award for the state. The recognition is given annually to one master’s student across 15 states, and students are only eligible for the award once during their academic careers. Buol also placed second in the Master of Science oral presentation competition.

Mississippi State University interior design senior Martina R. Walker of Clinton was selected as a semi-finalist in the fourth annual Steelcase NEXT Competition. Out of nearly 800 entries and 65 design programs, she was chosen as one of just five semi-finalists.

Rebecca R. Robichaux-Davis was named president-elect of the Mid-South Educational Research Association. She was named to the leadership position during the association’s recent annual meeting in Mobile, Alabama.

A research collaboration between Mississippi State University and Cardiff University in the United Kingdom aims to increase understanding of infant head trauma. Using funds from an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grant, researchers from both institutions will continue working to create highly-detailed 3-D and computational models of the infant brain, which will advance forensic analysis and safety research related to infant head trauma.

Two members of Mississippi State’s Bass Fishing Club earned a second-place finish at the YETI FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference bass tournament at Lake Seminole in Georgia. Jack D. Stegall (right), a marketing major from Carriere, and Caleb A. Hebert (left), a wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major from Poplarville, accepted a $1,000 prize—on the club’s behalf—for their accomplishment, which also qualifies them to represent MSU in the 2018 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship.

Judith A. “Judy” Spencer, Mississippi State’s chief human resources officer was honored by Women in Higher Education—Mississippi Network with its 2017 Leadership Award at the organization’s convention at Jackson State University.

Ra’Sheda Forbeswas named her alma mater’s assistant vice president for multicultural affairs. She has served in the interim role since fall 2016, when she also was named director of the university’s Holmes Cultural Diversity Center. She previously served for two years as the center’s associate director.

Mississippi State’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Extension, which is based in Canton, accepted the Community Economic Development Award for its work to bring advanced manufacturing jobs back to America from the Mississippi Economic Development Council.

The Reshoring Advanced Manufacturing Jobs in Mississippi: Enhancing Skills and Building Competitiveness partnership team included (seated, l-r) Bill Martin, formerly of the MSU Franklin Furniture Institute; Mitzi Woods, South Delta Planning and Development District; Clay Walden, MSU CAVS; Jill Sellers, MSU CAVS Extension; Mary Ann Richardson, MSU CAVS Extension; Mary Swoope, Mississippi Economic Development Council; and Greg Word, Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership; and (standing, l-r) Steve Puryear, MSU CAVS Extension; Mickey Milligan, Mississippi Development Authority; James Williams, State Workforce Investment Board; Glenn Dennis, MSU CAVS Extension; Bill Renick, Three Rivers Planning and Development District; Joe Jordan InnovateMEP Mississippi; Raj Shaunak, East Mississippi Community College; Robert Sheely, MSU CAVS Extension; Brad Gates, Itawamba Community College; and Jay Tice, InnovateMEP Mississippi.

Leonard D. Taylor Jr., an assistant professor in the university’s educational leadership department, received the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education’s 2017 Dissertation of the Year Award. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native’s research is focused on how higher education administrators, faculty and staff use data and promising practices to enhance student success and encourage more astute consumption of knowledge to help improve quality, quantity and diversity of U.S. graduates.

Rita Dove, a former U.S. poet laureate who also won a Pulitzer Prize and other major accolades, led the writer-in-residence program of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Institute for the Humanities. Her visit included a number of activities with members of both the university and area communities.

Assistant professor Gregg J. Twietmeyer is the author of a new textbook titled “The Fundamentals of Sports Ethics” to help future teachers, coaches, sports administrators and others gain a better appreciation for the complex subject of sports ethics. Within its 264 pages, he introduces concepts sports philosophers often take for granted and about which many that are part of the game often struggle.

Penny Wallin, a Mississippi State University-Meridian assistant professor of educational leadership, gave the featured address during the National Field Experience Conference in Ruston, Louisiana. The purpose of the conference is to share information, practices, policies and research pertaining to teacher candidates’ experiences in school settings.


A Mississippi State University student and a recent alumna will both travel abroad this year after being named finalists in the U.S. Student Fulbright Program. Andrew House, a senior from Kennedy, Alabama, double majoring in wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture, and biochemistry, will begin graduate work this fall at Finland’s University of Turku. Bailey Bullock, a 2016 MSU sociology graduate and Crystal Springs native, will participate in the Student Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program in Colombia.

Marty W. Rogers is now the new director of the Mississippi State-led Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence, which is the Federal Aviation Administration’s Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

LEFT: MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent Harvin Hudson receives a 2017 Diversity Award from IHL Trustee Shane Hooper (second from left), MSU President Mark E. Keenum (far right) and former MSU Associate Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Bill Herndon. RIGHT: IHL Trustee Shane Hooper presents a 2017 Diversity Award to MSU Professor of Music Robert Damm as MSU Assistant Vice President of Multicultural Affairs Ra’Sheda Forbes and MSU President Mark E. Keenum look on. (Photo by Jay Ferchaud/ University of Mississippi Medical Center)
A Mississippi State University faculty member and an extension agent were honored during the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning’s annual Diversity Awards recognition. The awards recognize campus and community leaders for the impact they have made in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect. MSU’s honorees were Robert Damm, professor of music and director of music education partnerships, and Harvin Hudson, agriculture and natural resources extension agent, who was recognized on behalf of the university’s Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.

Senior biochemistry major Lucas J. Ferguson of Batesville, a 2016 Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College Outstanding Research Award recipient, became the university’s first recipient of the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship. He was among 36 selected to receive one of the most generous international scholarships awarded by the University of Cambridge. In addition to the full cost of studying at one of the world’s leading universities, the award provides additional discretionary funding.

Assistant professor Caleb Lemley is this year’s selection for the Outstanding Young Animal Scientist in Research Award from the Southern Section of the American Society of Animal Science.

Professor P. Edward “Eddie” French is the new permanent leader of the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Since joining the MSU faculty in 2008, he has served as the department’s graduate coordinator, as well as executive director of the university’s John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development.

Mississippi State University is ranked the best in Mississippi and is among the top 50 best colleges in the south in Money Magazine’sBest Colleges for Your Money2017 rankings.

Two Mississippi State seniors are among those recognized by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Senior biological engineering/biomedical engineering major Jackson B. Coole of Picayune is the land-grant university’s third student in the past six years to receive the highly coveted Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Senior microbiology and chemistry double-major Sabrina E. Moore of Starkville is MSU’s eighth student in the past six years to receive honorable mention selection from the premier national scholarship organization. Both students are members of the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College at MSU.

Brent Rooker was named a National Player of the Year and First Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. He also earned the school’s first-ever Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, in addition to First Team All-SEC accolades, following his play in the 2017 season that was one of the best in Mississippi State baseball history. In addition to being named a Golden Spikes Semifinalist and Dick Howser Trophy Semifinalist, he was awarded the C Spire Ferriss Trophy as the best player in the state of Mississippi.

Mississippi State University will lead a major research and development project for the Department of Homeland Security after a rigorous and highly competitive review process. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate has selected Mississippi as the new base of operations for small unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones, and a Mississippi State-led partnership will oversee the initiative.

Four faculty members in Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design recently received national awards for their exemplary work in architectural education. School of Architecture associate professors Hans Herrmann and Alexis Gregory and assistant professor Emily McGlohn, along with Building Construction Science assistant professor Michele Herrmann, were formally recognized with two Architectural Education Awards by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture during the organization’s 105th annual meeting in Detroit, Michigan.

Rosângela Yazbec Sebba, the music department’s professor of piano, theory and ear training, has been awarded special citation at The American Prize Piano Solo competition for her performance “Championing the Music of Camargo Guarnieri.” One of her students, senior music major Jeonai Do Nascimento Batista of Brazil won second place in the Mississippi Music Teachers Association State College Piano Solo Competition Young Artist Category. Within his major, Batista is pursuing concentrations in piano and voice.

Mississippi State University graphic design professor Jamie Burwell Mixon is being honored with a HOW International Design Award for her Mumford & Sons concert poster. Sponsored annually by HOW magazine, the International Design Award competition recognizes excellence on a global scale. She is one of 292 recipients selected from over 1,000 entries submitted from around the world.


A popular online resource for students seeking information on fashion careers and academic programs again is listing Mississippi State among the nation’s Top 50. According to a report from, the university’s fashion design program is 34th overall and fifth in the South. For fashion merchandising, MSU is 37th nationally; 9th in the South.

Farshid Vahedifard, a Bagley College of Engineering assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, along with MSU doctoral student Shahriar Shahrokhabadi and civil and environmental engineering colleagues from the University of California, Irvine, penned at letter for Science magazine examining lessons gleaned from the recent Oroville dam incident in California.

Two Mississippi State graduate students were winners of major research honors at the 2017 International Poultry Scientific Forum. Tomilola O. “Tomi” Obe and Mohit Bansal were presented with awards of excellence at the professional gathering held in Atlanta, Georgia. Both are Starkville residents pursuing master’s degrees in the Department of Poultry Science in the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Physics professor Dipangkar Dutta will lead a multi-institutional, multi-discipline effort as part of a larger National Science Foundation project studying the least precisely known, but very common, fundamental constant in physics. The Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty member will serve as principal investigator with the help from a collaborating nuclear physicist and co-principal investigator from Indiana University. They will conduct research on an alternate material to measure G, Isaac Newton’s gravitational constant, also known as “Big G.”

Feifei Zeng, a senior marketing /international business and supply chain management major in the university’s College of Business, is a 2017 recipient of the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Fellowship to study at The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

A senior architecture student, Daniel P. Smith, is the second at Mississippi State University to receive the endowed Aydelott Travel Award, a $20,000 award for travel and research. He used it to visit and research four late modern buildings in Brazil, Germany, France and Bangladesh.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Board of Directors elected Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum to chair the board. He was appointed to the foundation’s board in August 2014 by then-Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development at MSU, will play a key leadership role in a new statewide maritime technologies initiative. He will serve as co-chair of Gov. Phil Bryant’s Ocean Task Force.

Senior fashion design and merchandising major Sadie L. Pierce of Hockley, Texas, was selected to participate in the 2017 Student Entrepreneur Program sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. She has been collaborating with recent MSU business administration graduate Allison A. “Allie” Seale of Vicksburg on a startup project at the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

A veteran member of Mississippi State’s geosciences faculty is co-author of a new “road log” designed to educate travelers about Mississippi’s many geological features. Professor Darrel Schmitz, an alumnus of the university, wrote “Roadside Geology of Mississippi” with Stanley Galicki, an associate professor of geology at Millsaps College.

Mississippi State biochemistry major Bradley A. Welch of Laurel studied abroad in Grenoble, France, after receiving a grant from Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest multidisciplinary collegiate honor society. He was among 75 members from around the country each receiving the $1,000 award. He was initiated into MSU’s PKP chapter in 2016.

Mississippi State biological sciences doctoral student Jonathan Belanich will continue his dissertation research in microbiology and bio-computing after receiving a fellowship from the American-Scandinavian Foundation to study abroad at the University of Copenhagen. Through the fellowship, he will conduct studies in the Centre for GeoGenetics, a part of the National History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen. He traveled to Denmark in September and will stay for one year.

Longtime Starkville public school educator and administrator Bobby D. “Bob” Fullerhas been named College of Education coordinator for the new Starkville Oktibbeha School District Partnership School at Mississippi State University.

Martin McCandless, a junior in aerospace engineering from Ridgeland, has earned an Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As part of the scholarship, he will receive up to $9,500 in academic assistance per year and the opportunity to complete a paid internship at a NOAA facility.

Mississippi State earned its first finish inside the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s Program of the Yearstandings, coming in at No. 10 following a stellar season that saw the Bulldog women’s track and field program qualify for nationals in all three portions of the schedule for the first time in school history.

Mississippi State University brought home 11 awards recently from the 2016 Associated Press Louisiana-Mississippi College Contest. The Associated Press College Contest recognizes outstanding achievement in student media. MSU students won awards in print journalism, broadcast journalism, weathercasting and photography for their working for student newspaper The Reflector and MSTV in 2016.

Mississippi State interior design students received 45 of 71 possible awards, including the student team building competition honor, at the American Society of Interior Designers South Central Career Day recently held on the Starkville campus. Professor Beth Miller, MSU interior design program director, credits the group’s success to its involvement in a wide range of university programs, including furniture design, computer renderings, hand renderings and lighting courses.

A recent paper published by a Mississippi State University assistant professor of physics Ariunbold Gombojav, along with colleagues from Texas A&M University and Baylor University, will inform global food security research through detection of abiotic stress in plants. The novel technique developed will help food growers more quickly and efficiently respond to plant stresses.

Salvador Bartera, an assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures, was chosen for the Margo Tytus Visiting Scholars Program administered by the University of Cincinnati’s John Miller Burnam Classical Library.

After a national search, a statewide water resources institute led by Mississippi State University has a new director. L. Jason Krutz will lead the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute. Most recently, Krutz served as irrigation specialist at the Delta Research and Extension Center at Stoneville and as executive director of the H2O Initiative.

Veteran chemist and researcher Dennis Smith is the new head of Mississippi State University’s Department of Chemistry. After many years in academia at Clemson University and the University of Texas at Dallas, he spent the last few years focusing on private sector consulting, research and entrepreneurial ventures.

A Mississippi State interior design major is one of only five U.S. undergraduates selected to receive the highly coveted Celia Moh Scholarship. The prestigious award covers full tuition, room, board, books and fees for senior Hannah E. Monroe of Meadville during the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters.

Longtime Mississippi State faculty member and administrator Rick Traviswas named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences after serving as interim in the position for the past year.

Jeff Adkerson, director of Mississippi State’s PGA Golf Management program, completed the requirements to become a Professional Golfers’ Association Master Professional in Golf Operations. The MSU alumnus is one of approximately 350 people to earn the distinction since the PGA Master Professional program’s inception in 1969.

The Mississippi State University College of Business and its Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy have been reaccredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, maintaining a distinction held by only five percent of business schools in the world.

Five Mississippi State University students have been named to the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program, providing $30,000 per year for recipients to attend medical school. MRPSP scholarships are awarded after the students complete the pre-matriculation portion of the program, created in 2007 by the Mississippi Legislature. Awards are based on available funding. Scholars selected from MSU are senior biological engineering major Henry M. “Max” Bloomingburg of Hattiesburg; junior biochemistry major Cailey Crawford of Randolph; junior microbiology major Hannah Laird of Starkville; sophomore biochemistry major Austin H. Urvina of Booneville; and senior chemistry major Mary Helen Williams of Clarksdale.

Alumni Faculty Awards

Three esteemed faculty members earned special recognition from the MSU Alumni Association as part of the university’s 2017 Faculty Awards and Recognition Program in May.


Associate Professor of History James C. “Jim” Giesen, recipient of the MSU Alumni Association’s Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award;

Professor Robert L. “Bob” Linford of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Clinical Sciences, recipient of the MSU Alumni Association’s Graduate Teaching Excellence Award; and

Associate Professor Molly K. Zuckerman of the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures, recipient of the MSU Alumni Association’s Early Career Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award.

Foshee joins fundraising team for MSU Foundation

The MSU Foundation welcomes Stephen Foshee in a new position as assistant athletic director for development. In this role, he serves as a liaison between the Bulldog Club and the MSU Foundation as he works to secure major gifts for both organizations.

Foshee joins the MSU Foundation from the university’s Bulldog Club, where he has served in athletic fundraising since 2008. He began his work with MSU as a graduate assistant, and from there became development coordinator. Since mid-2015, he has been assistant director.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Foshee is a graduate of Mississippi State, who earned an MBA and a master’s in sports administration, both in 2011. He earlier earned a bachelor’s degree in communications in 2006 from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. His resume also includes intern experience with both the Boston Red Sox and the Green Bay Packers organizations.