STATEMENTS: Around Campus

Emily Burns, a sophomore animal and dairy science major from West Memphis, Arkansas, spent two weeks in Thailand to gain hands-on experience working with animals with the study-abroad organization Loop Abroad. She was part of a team that volunteered at a dog shelter and spent a week working directly with rescued elephants at a sanctuary.

B. Michael Thorne, an emeritus professor, has published his first novel, “Murder in Memory,” a psychological thriller. Prior to his retirement, he taught psychology at MSU for 40 years.


Lakiesha Williams, an associate professor in MSU’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and Eric Hill, director of the MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach, were named by the Mississippi Business Journal to the “Top in Tech” list. Both MSU alumni, Williams earned a doctorate in biomedical engineering in 2006, while Hill completed a bachelor’s in industrial engineering in 2012.

Teen Vogue featured the residence hall room of freshmen Maggie Farmer, of Dumas, Arkansas, and Lydia Gratwich, of Atlanta, Georgia, in its “decorating ideas” section. Their Moseley Hall room was selected to “leave you with some serious décor inspo.”

Researchers from Mississippi State’s High Voltage Laboratory were featured on the Science Channel show “Strange Evidence,” discussing and demonstrating the effects of a lightning strike.

Trey Martindale is the new head of Mississippi State’s instructional systems and workforce development department. He succeeds Connie M. Forde, who retired from the College of Education unit earlier this year.

Two distance degree programs offered by Mississippi State’s College of Education are among the nation’s best. The university’s bachelor’s in education is ranked 22nd overall for 2017 by College Choice.Net. At the same time, Great Value Colleges ranks at No. 11 the undergraduate degree offering in elementary education/early childhood education.

Dr. John E. Harkness, a retired member of the College of Veterinary Medicine, received the 2017 Bennett J. Cohen Award. A major recognition of the American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, the Cohen Award is given for exceptional service and significant contributions in the promotion of animal care in research, testing and educational programs.

MSU assistant professor of mechanical engineering Lei Chen is among 37 researchers selected to receive the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities. It provides $5,000 in seed money for research by junior faculty at ORAU member institutions. He also will receive a matching $5,000 contribution from MSU.

Dongmao Zhang, an associate professor of chemistry, recently joined a group of researchers from around the world cited by name in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C. The others work at major institutions of higher learning in China, England, Germany and India.

Mississippi State University came in at No. 48 in Money’s “Best Colleges in the South” rankings and was listed as the best college in Mississippi in Money’s ranking of the best colleges in every state.

Beginning in the summer of 2018, Mississippi State will offer a new master’s degree designed primarily to benefit working music educators through the nationally accredited Department of Music. The 32-hour curriculum includes 14 hours of core courses, eight hours in the chosen concentration and 10 hours of electives.

Checky Herrington, MSU’s marketing research analyst, was honored as one of the newest inductees into the Southern Public Relations Federation’s Hall of Fame. A native of Louisville, he has more than three decades of experience in public relations, marketing and brand-strategy development.

Bagley College of Engineering alumnus Clay Walden is the new executive director of the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems at MSU, succeeding Roger King, who retired in June. Walden most recently served as director of CAVS Extension in Canton. Glenn Dennis has been named director of that unit.

Mississippi State’s Carl Small Town Center announced its new leader and welcomed another to the team. Leah F. Kemp was promoted to CSTC director in July, while Thomas R. Gregory III officially began his new role as the center’s community planner at the start of the fall semester.

Mississippi State University has partnered with Delta Health Alliance to assist 400 low-income students with money for school and financial education. MSU and Delta Health Alliance will provide a total of $1.15 million to assist low-income students through the MSU/DHA Delta DREAMS Savings Grant.

Mississippi State University students now are eligible for the prestigious Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s merit-based scholarship providing $10,000 each to outstanding college juniors and seniors. MSU joins 35 other top research universities nationwide and is the only university in Mississippi taking part in the program.

Associate director of the university’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Loren W. “Wes” Burger is among three selections for a 2017 National Quail Symposium Award of Excellence, a career tribute from the Tennessee-based National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative and Bobwhite Technical Committee.

Jeff Adkerson, director of Mississippi State’s PGA Golf Management program, is the 2017 recipient of the Professional Golfers’ Association National Horton Smith Award, recognizing outstanding and continuing contributions to professional education. The two-time MSU alumnus has received the Gulf States PGA’s Horton Smith Award four times.

Interior-design juniors Mary Campbell Gray of West Point, Samantha Sullivan of Jackson, Tennessee, and Natalie Watson of Starkville are receiving scholarships from the North Carolina-based WithIt Foundation in the amount of $1,500, $2,500 and $3,000, respectively.

Officials and engineers tasked with preventing the release of radioactive material during debris removal from the Fukushima nuclear site in Japan visited Mississippi State University to learn about the university’s expertise in evaluating components of radioactive containment systems. MSU’s Institute for Clean Energy Technology is the international leader in evaluating the performance of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems used in nuclear power plants.

Two Mississippi State University upperclassmen have been selected to participate in the prestigious Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program. Morgan Cain, a junior biochemistry/pre-dental major from Carthage, and Graham Murphree, a senior biological sciences/pre-dental major from Little Rock, Arkansas, each are receiving $35,000 per year to attend dental school. Awards are based on available funding.

Mississippi State University is receiving a national award from the American Society of Landscape Architects. The MSU raingarden, funded by a $20,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant, has been honored in the society’s student collaboration category. MSU team members accepted the award at the society’s annual meeting and expo in Los Angeles.


Rob Jenkins

Zack Harrington

McGee, Jenkins and Harrington assume new development roles

The MSU Foundation has welcomed a new development officer for the university’s Division of Student Affairs and placed two veteran team members in fundraising roles for athletics and the business college.

Starkville native Casey McGee has begun her new duties as assistant director of development for the Division of Student Affairs. The division is a major university unit comprised of 21 departments engaging students through programs, services, facilities and activities designed to promote active citizenship, learning, well-being and success.

McGee received her MSU bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in public relations in 2015. Most recently, McGee was assistant coordinator of chapter and recruitment programs, working as a liaison between the Alumni Association and the Office of Admissions and Scholarships. She joined the Alumni Association from A2H Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee, where she served as marketing coordinator.

Also beginning a new role is Rob Jenkins who became associate athletic director for development. Jenkins will serve as a liaison between MSU Athletics and the MSU Foundation as he works to secure major gifts for both organizations. He earlier amassed fundraising experience in several MSU colleges, including arts and sciences, education, and most recently, business.

Jenkins is a 1992 business administration graduate from Starkville who joined the MSU Foundation fundraising staff in 2006. Before that, he was at AmSouth Bank and held positions in sales with Sanderson Plumbing Products Inc.

Succeeding Jenkins as lead College of Business fundraiser is Zack Harrington who has served as the academic unit’s assistant director of development since mid-2014. He will assume primary fundraising responsibilities for the college and its Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy.

A Hattiesburg native, Harrington holds two degrees from MSU, a 2009 bachelor’s in business administration with an emphasis in real estate mortgage finance, and a 2010 master’s in sport administration. Before his MSU career, Harrington worked as a sales/marketing representative with SERVPRO Cleanup Services. He received awards for top direct sales volume for his accomplishments.

For a complete list of MSU Foundation personnel, visit

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program selected David Shaw, MSU’s vice president for research and economic development, for its prestigious U.S.-France International Education Administrators Program.

The award-winning veteran journalist who leads Mississippi State’s public affairs office is receiving another accolade. Sidney L. “Sid” Salter, also the university’s chief communication officer, is among this year’s selections for an MSTop50 award. MSU President Mark E. Keenum was listed in the inaugural class of honorees as part of the 2016 MSTop50.

Neeraj Rai, a Mississippi State assistant professor of chemical engineering, is one of only 59 scientists in the U.S. selected for a prestigious early career research award, along with $750,000 in research funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Eric Moyen now heads the university’s Department of Educational Leadership. Offering a variety of graduate degree programs, the department’s programs prepare administrators, teachers and other professionals for leadership roles in various educational settings.

Jay McCurdy, a turfgrass specialist at Mississippi State University, is the latest young professional recognized by the Crop Science Society of America for making significant contributions to the field within seven years of completing a final academic degree.

Michael R. Nadorff, an assistant professor of psychology who oversees the university’s Sleep, Suicide and Aging Laboratory, is a 2017 recipient of the Art Spielman Early Career Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

Mississippi State is part of a new, $1.2 million research collaboration sponsored by the National Science Foundation in which a colorful tropical butterfly is helping researchers investigate genetics and evolution. Scientists at the land-grant university join the University of Puerto Rico—Rio Piedras in the study.

Peter L. Corrigan, a senior higher education administrator from western New York is the new leader of Mississippi State’s Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures.

Sophomore Jalyn R. Wallin of Double Springs, Alabama, is a 2017 selection for a $2,000 scholarship from the Associated Builders and Contractors Mississippi Chapter, which annually provides scholarships to building construction students at Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Andrew Martin

Melanie Brumfield

Osvaldo “Ozzie” Ballesteros Garcia

Drew Burnham


Alumni Delegates serve as links between the nearly 140-year-old land-grant institution and its almost 140,000 living graduates. Founded in 1980, their purpose is to improve the understanding of the role of the Alumni Association. Incoming officers for 2018-2019 include: Andrew Martin, a senior communication major from Slidell, Louisiana, president; Melanie Brumfield, a junior biochemistry and molecular biology major from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, vice president of education; Osvaldo “Ozzie” Ballesteros Garcia, a sophomore medical technology major from Kosciusko, vice president of public relations; and Drew Burnham, a junior biological sciences major from Hattiesburg, secretary.