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UM Researchers Create Device to Help Stutterers

UM Researchers Create Device to Help Stutterers [Video]

University of Mississippi professors Greg Snyder (left), Paul Goggans and Dwight Waddell conduct tests on a prototype of the prosthetic device they created to help people who stutter speak more fluently. UM photo by Kevin Bain.

OXFORD, Miss. - Drawing on one another’s expertise, a trio of University of Mississippi faculty members from different areas of campus has created a patent-pending device that could change the lives of people who stutter.

Paul Goggans, an electrical engineering professor, developed the prosthetic device, about the size of a cell phone, with Greg Snyder, associate professor of communications sciences and disorders, and Dwight Waddell, associate professor of health, exercise science and recreation management. The friends began working on the device after Snyder, himself a lifelong stutterer, demonstrated how he could speak much more fluently simply by feeling his throat while he and Waddell chatted over coffee.

“By feeling my throat vibrate when I speak, I get tactile speech feedback, which significantly reduces my stuttering,” Snyder said. “Dwight immediately understood my application of speech feedback and neural circuitry, and he then approached Paul, who agreed to make the device development a senior-level design project in his class.”

Since that time, the team has been focused on supporting and empowering the stuttering community by fighting social stigma and challenging the normal remedies associated with stuttering.
“Our device is portable, battery-powered and easy to use,” said Goggans, professor of electrical engineering and lead partner in the instrument’s design and fabrication. “These are important attributes because other behavioral treatments for stuttering are more intense; they require too much concentration and are exhausting.”

A prototype of the device was presented Tuesday (Oct. 16) as a “Hot Topic” at the 2012 Society of Neuroscience conference, which runs Oct. 13-17 in New Orleans. The paper is among 150 selected from thousands of submissions. An audience of about 33,000 neuroscientists and media representatives is expected at the conference.

Even after a long day of speech therapy, a stutterer might have no progress to show the next day, but the patient is tired because he or she worked so hard, Goggans said.

“This creation is offering a promising alternative that can be discreetly and easily used every day by adults,” he said.

While the device does not cure stuttering, it helps the user reduce his or her stuttering frequency and can improve the client’s quality of life, Snyder said.

“The team plans to include the prosthetic device within a holistic therapy program to better serve the real-life needs of stuttering clients,” he said.

About 1 percent of the global population stutters, representing a dramatically underserved population that has few alternatives available for effective long-term treatment. As a result, the stuttering population often suffers severe social prejudices that hinder educational and occupational opportunities.

“Building confidence and self-esteem in people who stutter is life-changing,” Waddell said.

“From childhood, we are told that stuttering is wrong, bad behavior - that it’s a personal weakness and if we would just work a little harder, we would speak fluently,” Snyder said. “Even though stuttering is a genetic and neurological condition, the inaccurate and destructive beliefs that children accept as fact follow people through adulthood and can hinder both personal growth and potential.”

With funding from a Technology Commercialization Initiative grant from the Division of Technology Management in the UM Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, the idea conceived by Goggans, Synder and Waddell is being turned into a prototype.

“It’s not always easy to convince folks that a project is worth doing,” Goggans said. “But this one was easy. Simply put, our team wanted to improve the lives of people who stutter.”

The patent rights to the device have been licensed to Hyperion Technology Group Inc. of Tupelo.

“We are excited to be working with a local company to commercialize this important technology,” said Walt Chambliss, UM director of technology management.

Alice Clark, vice chancellor of research and sponsored programs, expressed support for the trio’s invention as an example of interdisciplinary research success.

“This project is a great example of the value of multidisciplinary research in developing a technology that promises to have a transformative impact in society,” Clark said. “These researchers with complementary skills in speech therapy, neuroscience and electrical engineering serve as a model of collaborative research on campus.”

Though the new device is still being developed and tested, its potential benefit for people who stutter is clear.

“The stigma surrounding stuttering is overwhelming and cruel,” Snyder said. “For any number of reasons, I was able to successfully emerge from the challenges of stuttering and have stayed focused on finding a new and better treatment for others. It just makes sense to me that if we can wear prosthetics like eyeglasses to help with our vision and hearing aids to enhance our hearing, then why not a prosthetic to help with speech?”

The Technology Commercialization Initiative at UM is funded by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. SBA’s funding should not be construed as an endorsement of any products, opinions or services. All SBA-funded projects are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.

For information, visit the Department of Electrical Engineering , Department of Health, Exercise and Recreation Management, and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

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Engineering Graduate Prepares to Teach, Wins AFCEA STEM Teachers Scholarship

Engineering Graduate Prepares to Teach, Wins AFCEA STEM Teachers Scholarship

Sarah Sams shows off her award for the AFCEA STEM Teachers for America's Future Scholarship

OXFORD, Miss. - With a bachelor's degree in engineering, Sarah Sams is not the typical teacher candidate.

"I originally planned to be a civil engineer, but now I cannot imagine leaving the classroom," said the Jackson native, who graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Engineering in May and enrolled this fall as a graduate student in the School of Education.

Advancing the university's efforts to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, Sams has been awarded the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's STEM Teachers for America's Future Scholarship for pursuing a graduate degree with plans to teach a STEM subject at a U.S. middle or secondary school.

"I am so excited that Sarah will be able to take part in the professional learning community that has been created at the Center for Mathematics and Science Education while she is pursuing her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction degree that will lead to teacher certification," said Alice Steimle, associate director of CMSE. "She will have the opportunity to continue to grow professionally, which will directly impact her future work as a teacher of STEM. Sarah is an excellent recipient of the scholarship."

Besides the $5,000 scholarship, as a graduating AFCEA STEM Scholar, Sams will receive a $1,000 AFCEA Science Teaching Tool grant each year for three years if she continues to teach a STEM subject.

Future teachers like Sams will also be able to use these grants to fund hardware and software, other classroom tools, field trips, STEM-focused clubs and other activities.

The scholarships were made possible by contributions from Booz Allen Hamilton, Terremark Worldwide, AFCEA International and several of AFCEA's regional chapters.

Sams refers to a presentation by John O'Haver, professor of chemical engineering and CMSE director, in one of her senior engineering leadership classes for inspiring her to pursue teaching.

"(O'Haver) was a high school teacher for many years and later decided to go back to school to obtain his engineering degree," she said. "He has had such an impact on so many of his students, and that day, I knew I was not meant to be an engineer; I was meant to be a teacher."

The CMSE aims to improve mathematics and science education in Mississippi by fostering interaction between academic and K-12 education communities, supporting the implementation of research-based methods in the classroom and promoting interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

For more information about programs in the CMSE, go to http://cmse.olemiss.edu.

For more information about the University of Mississippi's Innovations in STEM Education Initiative, go to http://www.research.olemiss.edu/stem.

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Beloved Chemical Engineering Professor Emeritus, Associate Dean Frank Abel Anderson Dies at 98

Beloved Chemical Engineering Professor Emeritus, Associate Dean Frank Abel Anderson Dies at 98

OXFORD, Miss. - Frank Abel Anderson, 98, associate dean emeritus of the University of Mississippi School of Engineering and professor emeritus of chemical engineering, died Monday (July 23) at Azalea Gardens in Oxford.

Waller Funeral Home of Oxford is in charge of arrangements.

Credited with singlehandedly establishing the department of chemical engineering at UM, Anderson was a beloved mentor, instructor, colleague and friend whose life impacted lives from the classroom to the Lyceum and beyond. The Frank A. Anderson Hall in UM's School of Engineering is named after him.

His positive influence is being remembered by many of his Ole Miss friends and supporters.

"We're extremely sad that Dr. Anderson, founder of the chemical engineering department and mentor to many generations of students passed away," said Alexander Cheng, dean of the engineering school.

"To speak on behalf of the department of chemical engineering, we here at Ole Miss take great comfort in reflecting on Dr. Anderson's wonderful contributions to all our lives," said Clint Williford, chair and professor of chemical engineering.

Anderson joined the UM faculty as an assistant professor of chemistry in 1940. During his 39-year tenure at the university, he served served as professor of chemistry and chemical engineering, chairman of the departments of chemistry and chemical engineering and associate dean of engineering. Anderson's administrative ability was equal to his scholarship and research, officials said.

"During my years at Ole Miss, I have not known a more respected and loved person than Frank Anderson," said Robert C. Khayat, UM chancellor emeritus. "He was always positive but honest about our challenges. He accepted a wide variety of responsibilities over the years and established lasting relationships with his students and faculty.

Khayat served with Anderson on the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

"I was there when he suggested the L-O-U slogan for Lafayette-Oxford-University initiatives," Khayat said. "Through the years, that acronym has been widely utilized and reflects his spirit of cooperation and collaboration. He and his wife, Mary, were pillars of this community and the Oxford-University Methodist Church. He'll be remembered as one of the giants in the history of Ole Miss."

Russell E. Aven, a former student and colleague of Anderson's, remembered him as "one of the finest teachers I've ever known." Returning to the university to teach in 1956, Aven worked with Anderson until the latter's retirement in 1979.

"Frank was not only an outstanding teacher, but also a great individual," Aven said.

Samuel Deleeuw, chair emeritus and professor emeritus of civil engineering, remembered Anderson as "a gracious and nice man" who influenced his decision to come to the university.

"He was such a steadfast man who was exceptionally good to his students," Deleeuw said. "He always acted like a friend. If I ever had a problem, he would listen and share his wisdom."

Younger faculty also expressed a high regard for Anderson.

"Dr. Anderson was by all accounts an outstanding teacher and mentor for students here," said Peter Sukanek, professor of chemical engineering. "He could explain complex things in simple terms for others to understand. He was one of those very rare teachers who was demanding of his students, yet one who was universally loved by them. All engineering alumni have a great deal of affection and respect for him. He was truly a scholar and a gentleman."

Anderson was the second professor to receive the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award and the first recipient of the Ole Miss Engineer of Distinction Award. In 1974, the chemical engineering building was named after him - a testament to his high regard among alumni.

Anderson contributed much to the local community both before and after his retirement. He was a member and on the administrative board at Oxford-University Methodist Church and served as president of the Rotary Club.

"I remember 'Mr. Frank' as the wonderful, sweet man who would teach science lessons to 4-year-olds at First Baptist Church during their pre-school education program during the week," said Marni Kendricks, assistant dean of the engineering school. "His wife, 'Mrs. Mary,' would play the piano as well. They lived near the church and would just come down and give great lessons to the children. My daughter, Mary Charles, absolutely loved him. To this day, science is her favorite subject, and I believe he played a very big part in that."

Born in Bridgeport, Conn., Anderson received his associate of arts degree from the Junior College of Connecticut in 1934. In 1936, he earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Southern California. He went on to receive a master's degree from the University of Maine and a doctorate from Louisiana State University in 1940 and 1947, respectively.

Anderson's numerous professional memberships and honors included Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, former president of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences, representative to the Council of the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies and board of directors of Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Anderson's wife of 69 years, Mary Allie Courtney Anderson, died in March. He is survived by a daughter, Phyllis Anderson Ambrosiani and her husband, Bjorn, of Stockholm, Sweden; a son, Frank Andrew Anderson and his wife, Karen, of Bolingbrook, Ill.; a grandson, David Andrew Anderson; a granddaughter, Lisa Courtney Anderson Reid and her husband, Jason, of Oxford; and two great-grandchildren, Kylie Reid and Courtney Jaye Reid.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Frank Abel Anderson Engineering Endowment, or Mary Courtney Anderson Piano Scholarship Endowment, c/o the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677 or a charity of the donor's choice.

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Building private support for faculty among development officer's goals

Building private support for faculty among development officer's goals

After nearly two decades of success in the pharmaceutical sales industry, Kevin Gardner found himself wanting a career change. As fate would have it, the University of Mississippi was in search of a development officer for the School of Engineering. The alumnus applied for the job, was hired and the rest - as they say - is history.

The Jackson native worked for such companies as Pharmacia & Upjohn, Hoffmann-La Roche and Johnson & Johnson. His communication skills complement his efforts to build relationships with alumni and friends, and match their interests and passions with university needs.

"My role involves sharing accomplishments achieved by the School of Engineering and describing the school's vision for the future," Gardner said. "Personal visits with alumni and friends help build interest, involvement and financial support for the school. Emails, letter campaigns and our annual Ole Miss Engineer magazine help our messaging as well."A major part of the school's vision is to ensure the longevity of exceptional teaching for current Ole Miss students and future generations, and achieving that goal will require endowed faculty positions. When a donor or donors commit the financial resources to fund a named position, the funds are held permanently, with the annual income directed to the faculty position.

In light of the stiff competition among leading universities for gifted faculty members, UM has made building private support for faculty a top priority.

"Securing full funding of the Anderson Chair of Chemical Engineering, for example, represents a high priority to properly pay tribute to Dr. Frank Anderson's tremendous contributions to the engineering school, the university and the engineering profession," Gardner said. "We would also like to see faculty positions named for alumni or organizations. Additionally, pursuing corporate involvement and partnerships with the engineering school will strengthen graduate placement and increase financial support."

Gardner is also working to establish the Woods Society, a giving program to encourage annual donations to be used exclusively to enhance the student experience.

"The Woods Society will help grow a base of donors - many of whom may be making their first gift to the engineering school - and these additional resources will help expand student enrichment activities."

Gardner holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from the UM School of Business Administration. He is married to the former Jill Johnson, and they have three children, including an Ole Miss sophomore.

To learn more about providing support to the UM School of Engineering, visit umfoundation.com, or contact Kevin Gardner at 662-915-7601 or kevin@olemiss.edu.

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Electrical engineering chair retires after more than 30 years of service

Electrical engineering chair retires after more than 30 years of service

After 34 years of dedicated service to the UM School of Engineering, Allen Glisson, chair and professor of electrical engineering, has decided to retire.

Glisson earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering, all from UM, in 1973, 1975 and 1978, respectively. He joined the faculty in 1978 as an assistant professor, rose to the rank of professor in 1989 and was appointed department chair in 2002.

"I have no real plans at the moment," Glisson said. "I enjoy what I am doing now, but I would like to find more time for research and possibly travel."

Reflecting on what brought him to the Ole Miss electrical engineering department from the small Mississippi town of Mendenhall, Glisson laughed and confessed that it was the space program of the late 1960s. He still remembers going to a friend's house to watch the moonwalk on a color television.

It was a giant step for a small-town boy to go from the back of a homemade cultivator adapted to plant rows of corn using a funnel-and-fingers technology (developed by his father) to a career in electromagnetic research.

"Things that don't make sense fascinate me," Glisson said, and sharing that fascination has been the hallmark of his teaching career. "Every time I teach a course, I also learn," he said.

While Glisson, admittedly, will not miss the paperwork, he said he will miss the interaction with students and faculty in uncovering the fascinating and making sense of it all. From his first encounter in 1969 with the department chair of the time, Chalmers Butler, Glisson has found an endless supply of "stuff to investigate."

As Glisson approaches retirement, he confesses to having thrown little away through his tenure at Ole Miss. He wants to use some of his new freedom to sort and plunder the treasures he has saved. He admits to a family history of "saving," counting a dozen relatives with a similar propensity. He plans to take up genealogy and said he will have no trouble finding the photos and letters to document a vivid story of growing up and finding fascination in Mississippi.

Glisson will be deeply missed in Anderson Hall and the engineering complex. He was three-time recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Member Award, the IEEE Memphis Section Outstanding Engineering Educator Award in 1998, the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award in 1989 and the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Microwave Prize in 2004.

Former students can keep track of their mentor by watching progress in the development and application of numerical techniques for electromagnetic problems and in the modeling of antennas. Glisson has published more than 300 scholarly works in these areas, been named as a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and earned the title of fellow of the Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society.

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Civil engineering alumnus helps build ships for Navy

Civil engineering alumnus helps build ships for Navy

Shipbuilder Wayne Rammell has fond memories of engineering and the University of Mississippi.

"A friend at Christopher Newport College (which at the time was part of the College of William and Mary) talked me into applying to Ole Miss while I was waiting to hear from Virginia Tech," said the 1969 UM civil engineering graduate. "Ole Miss was perfect for me for numerous reasons: small classes, too far to travel home on the weekends, and I knew only two other students when I arrived."

Rammell, assigned to the Virginia-class submarine program at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding, lived in the same room in Kincannon Hall his entire time at the university.

"Dr. (Sam) DeLeeuw and Dr. (M.S.) Abdulrahman are the professors that always come to mind when I think back on my time at Ole Miss," Rammell said. "They had an open-door policy and were always willing to take the extra time to help."A transfer student with two years of engineering classes to make up, Rammell had little time for a social life but managed to make time anyway.

"My last two semesters were busy ones, with 18 hours of engineering class followed by 21 hours," he said. "The home football games, great concerts by the Platters, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Peter Paul and Mary, and the countless hours playing football on the field, where Kinard Hall is today, to unwind from the world of engineering are just a few of the memories of my time at Ole Miss."

Born in Newport News, Va., and raised in Hampton, Va., Rammell comes from a long line of shipbuilders.

"My grandfather worked at the Newport News Shipbuilding at least two years starting in 1898," he said. "My dad worked here from 1940 to 1974, and most of the men in the area where I grew up worked at the yard. Third- and fourth-generation employees are not uncommon. I worked two summers while in college prior to my full-time employment starting Feb. 3, 1969."

Rammell said his time at Newport News has always been spent on the waterfront, and he wouldn't have had it any other way.

"Being a part of building a ship is very special, be it a commercial vessel or a nuclear-powered ship for the Navy. I've always enjoyed trying to determine if and how to make the work required to build a ship easier, safer and less costly," said Rammell, who has traveled to France, Germany and numerous locations stateside for his job.

"Many of the people that I worked with when I started were at the 'yard' during World War II, which was a great way to start. When you work at the deck-plate level, you have to communicate with other engineers, various levels of management and the production trades."

Rammell said it is very important for an engineer to understand that there is a wealth of knowledge that is not contained in any book but exists among the production trades.

"This knowledge and experience can make your engineering job much easier if you will take the time to ask questions, listen and observe."

Newport News Shipbuilding built all three carriers that were involved at the Battle of Midway and all of the nuclear carriers in the U.S. Navy. During Rammell's career, the company also has built two nuclear vessels named Mississippi (CGN40 and SSN782).

"Newport News shipbuilders built the forward and aft ends of SSN782 and then delivered these hull sections to Electric Boat at Groton, Conn.," Rammell said. "We were owned by Northrop Grumman, but we are now part of Huntington Ingalls Industries."

The Navy commissioned the USS Mississippi (SSN 782), the ninth Virginia-class attack submarine, during a ceremony June 2 in Pascagoula. Built under a unique teaming agreement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News, the USS Mississippi was delivered to the Navy in just over 62 months, the fastest delivery yet for a Virginia-class submarine. All Virginia-class submarines under construction are on track for early delivery.

"Mississippi's commissioning is the culmination of a very successful construction process for our Navy/industry shipbuilding team," said Rear Adm. (sel.) Michael Jabaley, Virginia-class program manager and vice commander for Naval Sea Systems Command. "Mississippi was delivered to the fleet a year ahead of her contracted date and was the most combat-ready Virginia-class submarine to date, as determined by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey."

Other upcoming major submarine acquisition milestones in 2012 include Pre-Commissioning Unit Indiana's (SSN 789) construction start on Sept. 2 and PCU Minnesota's (SSN 783) christening planned for this fall.

"I work with the riggers," Rammell said. "The riggers are responsible for the scaffolding, docking operations, rigging and crane operations."

"Later this year, the next Virginia-class submarine (Minnesota) will be moved from its build site to the James River. I have recently been involved with future Navy submarine construction, not the design but how to install the ballast in the forward end of the ship."

Rammell and his wife have two sons, a daughter and five grandchildren. He enjoys working in his garden and yard, but weightlifting is his major hobby.

"I have competed in the Raw Powerlifting Federation over the past several years, setting state, national and world records in the bench press and a national and world record in the dead lift," Rammell said. "Weightlifting really goes hand-in-hand with engineering. You really get a deep understanding of stress, strain, body mechanics and sometimes structural failure. Weight training is a great way to stay healthy, and by competing, I have kept my body weight within 5 pounds of my high school weight of 175 pounds."

Virginia-class submarines are designed to dominate the world's littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine; anti-surface ship; strike; special operation forces; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, firepower and sensor suite directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities: sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.

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New geological engineering alumna reflects on past, eyes bright future

New geological engineering alumna reflects on past, eyes bright future

As president of the 2012 senior class at the University of Mississippi, Toran Dean addressed thousands gathered for annual commencement exercises. Her brief-but-stirring remarks summarized years of growth that continue as she embarks from her alma mater.

"I decided to come to Ole Miss because of the atmosphere," said the Hattiesburg native who earned a bachelor's degree in geology and geological engineering. "It truly was a home away from home. It was comforting to know that no matter how large the university was, it was still small, and I would always see a familiar face on campus, whether it was friends or staff."

Dean's expectations completely changed - in a good way - once she attended the university.

"Ole Miss was so much more than just a home away from home," Dean said. "It became a lifestyle. It taught so many life lessons when it came to hard work, hospitality and responsibility."While maintaining a respectable grade-point average in a rigorous major, Dean also was heavily involved in extracurricular activities. The 2012 UM Hall of Fame honoree also served the ASB as a senator, director of student services and external legislation monitor. She was public relations chair of the Engineering Student Body and a two-time officer of the Geological Society. A Luckyday Scholar, she held an Engineering Ambassador Scholarship and Academic Excellence Scholarship.

Dean belonged to the Black Student Union and was director of policy for One Mississippi. A member of the Chancellor's Standing Committee-Student Services, she has been an orientation leader and a mentor in the School of Engineering and with Freshman Focus and EDHE, UM's freshman-year-experience program.

Her volunteer efforts have been recognized with a President's Volunteer Service Award and include work with the San Mateo Empowerment Project, a road-building effort that Ole Miss students support in Belize. Her other service includes work with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Chicago Cares and N.R. Burger Middle School Beta Club.

"The accomplishment I am most proud of is one that didn't receive any awards," Dean said. "I think that it is simply an accomplishment not to lose who you truly are when you come to college. It is something that I tried my best not to do while receiving awards or while others may have sung my praises.

"Truly, evaluating my growth by my personal morals and standards and not by others was one of the greatest accomplishments because it was the realization that once I leave the university, no matter how successful I was, there will always be someone just as successful. How humble are others in those successes will make all the difference (between me and them)."

Among the Ole Miss faculty members who truly influenced Dean is Cathy Grace.

"She is the last person you would pick out in a crowd as a college professor, not just because of her Hawaiian shirts and visor, but because of her willingness to go above and beyond to truly get to know her students," Dean said. "I can say the same about so many professors in the geological engineering department, but Cathy not only has the reputation in the department but [also] around campus."

Specifically, Dean credited Grace with teaching her to prioritize.

"In my sophomore year, Cathy taught me it was school first and everything else second. It's a concept that seems simple but also something that I - along with many other students - struggled with. Whenever my schedule got a little crazy, Cathy taught me that success comes with the right priorities. That made my schedule a little less crazy."

Dean's short-term plans are to travel and enjoy interests that she hasn't had time for in the past four years or that she won't have time for once she has to settle down.

"My long-term plans are to work in water resources," Dean said. "I would really like to start a nonprofit [organization], bringing potable water to communities in need domestically as well as internationally. We all hear stories about villages in Africa or South America not having clean drinking water, but there are also communities two hours away in the Mississippi Delta that may not have that same necessity. Hopefully, my degree in geological engineering will help me out with that goal."

Dean continues to receive praise from engineering staff and faculty for her commencement address.

"Her speech at the commencement as president of the senior class was outstanding," Dean Alex Cheng said. "We are proud of Toran, but I don't think the School of Engineering can take the full credit. It is the Ole Miss liberal arts environment that allows the student with such capability and motivation to grow like that."

Marni Kendricks, assistant dean of the engineering school, agreed.

"It was indeed exceptional," Kendricks said. "Toran's a good success story. She has ambitious plans following graduation too."

Dean is the daughter of Allen and Merlissis Dean of Hattiesburg. Watch full commencement speech here.

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Dr. Glisson, Electrical Engineering Chair, retires

Dr. Glisson, Electrical Engineering Chair, retires

After thirty-four years of dedicated service to The University of Mississippi and the Department of Electrical Engineering, Dr. Allen W. Glisson will retire on July 1, 2012.

Dr. Glisson received the Bachelor of Science, the Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Electrical Engineering, all from The University of Mississippi, in 1973, 1975, and 1978, respectively. He joined The University of Mississippi in 1978 as an Assistant Professor and rose to the rank of Professor in 1989. He was appointed Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering in 2002 and served in this capacity until 2012.

During his long academic career, Dr. Glisson positively influenced the lives of many undergraduate and graduate students. He has continuously demonstrated his commitment to education through excellence in teaching and supervision of graduate and undergraduate students. He has received numerous awards for his outstanding contributions to teaching and research, including the school of Engineering Outstanding Engineering Faculty Member in 1986, 1996, and 2004, the IEEE Memphis Section Outstanding Engineering Educator Award in 1998, the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award in 1989, and the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Microwave Prize in 2004.

Over the past thirty-four years, Dr. Glisson has pursued research and scholarly work towards the development and application of numerical techniques for electromagnetic problems and for modeling of antennas. He published over 300 scholarly works in these areas. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Fellow of the Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society.

Dr. Glisson will be greatly missed by students and colleagues. We wish him the best as he retires.

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Student Chosen as Goldwater Scholar

Senior Honors Student Named UM's 13th Goldwater Scholar

OXFORD, Miss. - Honors student Dana Nicole "Nikki" Reinemann has been named the University of Mississippi's 13th Barry M. Goldwater Scholar.

The Ole Miss senior from Batesville is the tenth UM student to receive the prestigious award since 1998 and the fifth in the past seven years. Reinemann is first author of the paper "Vibrational Spectroscopy of N-Methyliminodiacetic Acid (MIDA)-Protected Boronate Ester: Assignment of the B-N Dative Bond Stretching Frequency," published in and featured on the cover of the Journal for Physical Chemistry A. She was a NASA Academy research associate in the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems branch of Marshall Space Flight Center in 2010.

"This will allow me to finish another degree with the funding received from the award," said Reinemann, who is pursuing a double major. "Having the B.S. in chemistry along with the B.S. in chemical engineering will better prepare me for various graduate school options and allow me to be more versatile in industry. I feel very honored, humbled and am very thankful for their recognition."

Reinemann expects to complete her degrees in May 2013. Following graduation, she plans to pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering so she can conduct research in chemical and environmental engineering for a government agency or company.

Reinemann credits Ole Miss faculty and staff across many disciplines for giving her a solid foundation for her future career path.

"I could not have received this award without support from both the chemical engineering and chemistry departments," she said. "My research adviser, Dr. Nathan Hammer in the chemistry department, has offered me opportunities that not many undergraduates would normally receive. He offered me a position in his lab just after having him for freshman chemistry. He allowed me to develop my own project and perform worthwhile work. This has led to various conference trips, a publication and, now, the Goldwater. I am very thankful to him as well as my lab mates for their help and support."

Reinemann also acknowledges the role of her family in her achievements.

"I could not imagine being where I am today without the unconditional support of my parents, sister and little boy," she said.

Faculty members in Reinemann's major fields of study boast of her academic achievements and dedication.

"I have had the privilege to mentor Nikki from her first day in college," said Hammer, assistant professor of chemistry. "She is among the top students I have instructed in Freshman Chemistry 105 and 106, and because of her dedication and unique aptitude in chemistry I recruited her to work in my research group.

"From day one in the lab, her natural abilities to perform high level science were evident. She developed her research project on her own without any assistance and has operated on the level of a graduate student for the past few years. She's a brilliant young scientist who has a bright future ahead of her. Her success is due not only to her intelligence and aptitude for science, but also her unparalleled work ethic."

"(She's) quietly awesome," said John O'Haver, professor and associate dean of chemical engineering.

"She makes her fellow students look good. She makes the faculty and department look good. And she makes Ole Miss look good," said Clint Williford, chair and associate professor of chemical engineering. "Nikki is not a big talker; she's a big doer."

Charles Hussey, chair and professor of chemistry, echoed those sentiments.

"Nikki is a multidimensional, exceptionally talented student," Hussey said. "She sees and understands concepts that most of her peers may never understand. We are very lucky that she chose to seek a degree in chemistry with us. She is destined for a great career in science or engineering, if she chooses that path."

A fourth-year student in the university's Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Reinemann is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi, the American Institute for Chemical Engineers and American Chemical Society. Conducting research under the supervision of Hammer, she has presented at the 242nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society and the 41st International Conference on Environmental Systems of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts.

Her extracurricular activities include serving in the Society of Women Engineers and the university's chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Reinemann has also won numerous outstanding student awards, including the Outstanding Physical Chemistry Student. She is a member of the Pride of the South Marching Band and Ole Miss Symphonic Band.

She is the daughter of George and Teresa Reinemann of Batesville.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was created in 1986 to honor U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater. The purpose of the program is "to alleviate a critical current and future shortage of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers." The scholarship seeks to encourage talented student researchers in those fields to prepare for and enter careers as research scientists.

Students apply in their sophomore or junior year. The scholarship provides up to $7,500 per remaining undergraduate year to assist with the recipient's tuition, fees, books, and room and board. This year the Goldwater Foundation named 282 scholars from a field of 1,123 applications.

Students interested in pursuing the Goldwater Scholarship can contact Andrus Ashoo (onsa@olemiss.edu), who serves as the university's Goldwater representative. The Office of National Scholarship Advisement conducts workshops each semester to introduce students to major national scholarships. Go to honors.olemiss.edu/national-scholarship for more information.

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Engineering Professor is Teacher of the Year

CMSE Founder, Chemical Engineering Professor is 2012 UM Teacher of the Year

OXFORD, Miss. - John O'Haver's vision, drive and enthusiasm inspire University of Mississippi students, faculty and staff in an almost contagious manner.

Colleagues across campus have taken notice of his lively teaching style, and alumni cite him as a major influence on their own successes. Thursday evening, at the university's 69th Honors Day Convocation, Chancellor Dan Jones introduced the professor of chemical engineering as recipient of the 2012 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award.

"For me, teaching is much more than just the content, though it is obviously very important. Teachers shaped my life; I want to be available to help others," said O'Haver, a native Oklahoman who also serves as director of the Center for Math and Science Education. "This award is a recognition that others think I have done my job, and done it well. That I have covered the content, but also influenced lives for the better. That has always been my desire."

In many ways, O'Haver is exactly the kind of teacher the award was created to honor, Jones said.

"While having the fervor to reach out to public schools, Dr. O'Haver has been a respected researcher, a mentor of undergraduate and graduate researchers, a superior classroom teacher and an innovative administrator," Jones said. O'Haver is the university's only faculty member to have twice been recognized with the Faculty Achievement Award, UM's highest award given to a single faculty member each year who combines excellence in teaching, research and service.

"As a teacher-scholar, Dr. O'Haver is our university's very best," Jones added.

It's the second major award this week for O'Haver, who was named Tuesday as one of the first 12 winners of the Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Awards. The winners, one from each SEC institution, are recognized for extraordinary teaching and for records of scholarship that are recognized nationally and/or internationally.

A member of the UM faculty since 1996, O'Haver teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in chemical engineering. Students praise him as a powerful educator, motivator and mentor.

"He engages in life coaching as much as teaching," one student wrote in her nomination letter for the Hood award. Another marveled that, "Dr. O is the best teacher I have known and is undoubtedly an even better mentor."

O'Haver had always wanted to be an educator at the university level.

"When I left teaching high school to go back to grad school, I knew that I wanted to go into academia. I just love working with students," he said. "I love the 'light-bulb' moments. I like being a mentor to those who want me to be one.

"I poke fun at myself. I am very transparent. I do a lot with problem-based learning. We do a lot in teams. I try hard to make the tough concepts very clear and memorable. I try to relate them to life and then ask them to apply the concepts."

The goal is to let his students know he cares, he said.

"My undergrad days were some of the worst for me, mostly because I didn't have anyone in my life that I could ask tough questions. So I am available to say to students, 'I've been there. I've walked the rough path. I've made these bad decisions and I can tell you what happened.'"

O'Haver earned his bachelor's and his master's degrees in secondary education and his doctoral degree in chemical engineering, all from the University of Oklahoma. Since joining the UM faculty, he has been 'the' leader for outreach efforts that focus on university-level expertise toward improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics teaching in public schools, with special emphasis in the K-6 grade levels.

He was appointed associate dean for academic and student affairs for UM's School of Engineering. In this role, O'Haver developed new programs, including a set of writing courses for engineering students and a special class to help certain entering engineering majors shore up their fundamental academic skills.

An accomplished researcher with expertise in applied surfactants and surface chemistry, he publishes regularly in the peer-reviewed journals in his field and has directed the theses and dissertations of approximately 20 students, including a number as part of a cooperative arrangement with institutions in Thailand.

O'Haver and his wife, Kevie, have a son, Hudson, and a daughter, Maren, both 14.

Each year since 1966, the university has recognized excellence in teaching by presenting the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award. Based on nominations from both students and faculty, the award includes a personal plaque and a check from the chancellor. Recipients' names are also engraved on a plaque listing previous winners, which is displayed in the J. D. Williams Library.

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New Software Simulate Flooding

New Software Systems Offer Fast Simulation of Catastrophic Flooding

This story was prepared by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate. We are sharing it because of the prominent role of the University of Mississippi's National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering.

When the levees were breached in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, the Ninth Ward was inundated. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.

"...to Thomas Coleman , a retired longshoreman who died in his attic on St. Roch Avenue in New Orleans 8th Ward on or about Aug 29, 2005. He had a can of juice and a bedspread at his side when the waters rose... There were more than a thousand like him." -Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic

All over the country, millions of Americans still live behind dams or levees, and if these were to fail and unleash catastrophic flooding, as some did in New Orleans in 2005, property, and of course life, might once again pay the price. "Oh, my city... in case you haven't heard, Budweiser ain't delivering," Rose grieved, with a surreal humor and poignancy only a true New Orleans survivor could muster. "Katrina changed everything."Answers to at least some of the problem are on the way, thanks to a team led by the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, or S&T, and they come in the form of some remarkable computer software.

When dam and levee owners and emergency planners want to know what flood water over a breached levee or dam may do as it spreads, they must resort to technical specialists who use numerical modeling software to solve very complex equations that describe how water will spread over a particular terrain. Through complex equations, specialists calculate how water will move around physical objects such as hills, buildings, vegetation, bridges and railroads. With such factors in play, calculating and modeling flood inundation caused by a dam failure can take a lot of time and resources and keep emergency planners and dam owners up at night worrying.

Powerful software tools have been combined into a seamless Web application, combining speed with sophisticated technology to visualize a flood, address consequences and properly train emergency responders.

And this new tool is fast. Really fast. If a flood would take 24 hours to inundate downstream areas, this software tool could potentially model the inundation in less than 24 minutes.

S&T combined the talents of several agency experts and academics to better understand what the owners and operators would need from the software. S&T worked with dam experts at the Office of Infrastructure Protection (which serves as the Dams Sector-Specific Agency) within the DHS' National Protection and Programs Directorate to develop the flood simulation tool, and with experts at the University of Mississippi, specifically the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering's world-renowned computational hydroscientist, Mustafa Altinakar, and his team.

This effort was funded by S&T's Southeast Region Research Initiative, or SERRI, and managed by Mike Matthews of S&T's Infrastructure Protection and Disaster Management Division. The key component of the project is known as DSS-WISETM, for Decision Support System for Water Infrastructural Security, and the underlying flood simulator, CCHE2D-FLOODTM, which provides unmatched "number-crunching" speed. The flood simulator can replicate flooding caused by any cataclysm less fateful than the Great Deluge: a breached levee, a failed dam, a surging tide, a tsunami - even water waves caused by massive landslides.

In 2010, when one-fifth of Pakistan's land was underwater, hydraulic engineers at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used DSS-WISE to help the country reallocate resources. Time was essential, and to achieve its unprecedented speed, the "DSS-WISE guys," as Altinakar affectionately calls them, use several methods to ensure success. First, DSS-WISE selectively prioritizes affected regions. It also processes only the model's "skeleton," or wireframe, while applying the "skin" afterward. Finally, it divides the flood path model into tens of millions of geometric cells, using parallel processing to parcel them out to separate processors.

The other critical piece of the puzzle is the Dams Sector Analysis Tool, or DSAT. This powerful Web-based application - developed by the Dams Sector-Specific Agency in collaboration with the Corps Headquarters' Office of Homeland Security, who co-sponsored the development of DSAT - is a one-stop shop where dam owners and operators have secure access to state-of-the-art analytical capabilities within a user-friendly graphical environment. Dam owners and operators use algorithms in DSAT to identify and prioritize the most critical dams within their portfolios. Considering that there are more than 84,000 dams across the country, this is no easy task. DSAT also incorporates a state-of-the art geospatial viewer that provides powerful query capabilities as well as access to real-time information, such as earthquakes and weather.

The DSAT interface is extremely intuitive and mastered with little training. With DSAT, a dam owner or operator can prepare the input data required for the flood simulation using DSS-WISE. For example, to characterize a potential dam failure scenario, operators would define the reservoir, identify the main dam, note structures using satellite imagery and specify the type failure to be considered: a "sudden and complete failure" or a "gradual and partial breaching." DSAT does the rest, drawing data from the National Inventory of Dams, maintained by the Corps. The data are then bundled into a data file and emailed to a dedicated server at Ole Miss, where the simulation is run. When the simulation ends, the server automatically notifies the user, who may then upload the results on DSAT, where they are rendered onto a map.

"It works similarly to Apple's Siri," says Altinakar, referring to the iPhone's intelligent digital assistant. "There's no way all that processing could occur in the user's computer - or phone - so it's handed off to an external server. It looks simple to the consumer, but I assure you, it's not."

The two software systems, DSS-WISE and DSAT, are both effective enough to stand on their own, but their integration into a powerful system elevates the capacity for flood simulation. The DSAT geospatial viewer includes a function called DSS-WISE Prep. Select your dam on a map, fill in a few facts, direct DSAT how high the reservoir will be when the flood starts and click Begin. The request is bundled into a data file and automatically sent to the DSS-WISE flood simulator. As the simulation unfolds, the consumer will not see heavy activity but will immediately receive automatic progress reports by email.

The DSS-WiseTM Prep module was launched on the DSAT portal on Feb. 20, and days later, it welcomed its first user, delivering results in just 15 minutes. By March, queries poured in from dam owners, state dam safety officials and emergency managers in seven states, each looking to lower costs, work faster and make sounder planning decisions.

Like all SERRI projects, flood modeling projects have combined science and technology with validated operational approaches to solve local and regional problems that have a national impact.

Looking back on the tragedy of Katrina, writer Chris Rose ended his 2006 book with a chapter titled, "A New Dawn." In it he wrote:

"Last year ended with everything so unsettled; just a million questions piled up on the curbside like so much debris, the answers just beginning to be formulated in our heads ... It's just one small step at a time, small triumphs ... Who says there's no good news?"

The powerful software from DHS - easily available to dam owners and emergency planners - is just some of that good news.

For more information on the National Center for Computations Hydroscience and Engineering, go to ncche.olemiss.edu.

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VISTA Worker Honored with Award

Oxford AmeriCorps VISTA Worker Honored with Governor's Award for Volunteer Excellence

OXFORD, Miss. - Rosie Nelson of Oxford, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at the University of Mississippi, has been honored with the inaugural award for Outstanding Service by a National Service Participant by the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service.

The award is part of the 2012 Governor's Initiative for Volunteer Excellence Awards, which celebrate ordinary Mississippians doing extraordinary things to improve lives and communities across the state. Nelson was recognized at the recent GIVE Awards luncheon at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

"Rosie serves with compassion and intelligence," said Stephen Monroe, UM assistant dean of liberal arts and director of the North Mississippi VISTA Project. "VISTAs are dynamic and highly motivated people, and Rosie is a wonderful example. We're proud of her service and of this accomplishment."

Nelson is among 11 AmeriCorps VISTA members fighting poverty through education with the North Mississippi VISTA Project at the university.

Serving in the School of Engineering, Nelson helps to develop service-related initiatives and provides support to faculty developing service-learning coursework. She has served more than 800 hours as a VISTA member, working with faculty, staff and students to develop a service-leadership organization for engineering students, as well as a small grant program that provides students with startup funds of up to $500 to create science and technology-related service projects within the local community. Her work in this capacity has unlimited potential for positively affecting Lafayette County, Oxford, and the Ole Miss communities.

Nelson has revived the university's chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity, and serves as its chapter adviser. She assists other chapters throughout Mississippi and nearby states in developing their service programming. Besides VISTA and Alpha Phi Omega, Nelson volunteers with the Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and Lafayette County 4-H.

Nelson has served as an AmeriCorps NCCC member, where she participated in several projects along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In honor of her work as an NCCC member, she was awarded the Gold Level President's Volunteer Service Award, as well as the Congressional Award Bronze Medal. She was a volunteer in multiple groups as an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley and as an employee of the Walt Disney Co.

She is committed to sharing her passion for service with others and encourages her peers to volunteer for causes that are personally meaningful.

"I am a relatively new resident, but I have embraced Mississippi as my home, and I am honored to give back to the communities here," Nelson said.

VISTA volunteers are sought for 2012-2013. Applicants must be at least 18, a U.S. citizen and have a bachelor's degree or minimum three years' work experience. Each of these full-time, one-year placements is supported by AmeriCorps with a modest living allowance, health benefits and an education grant, which can be used for graduate education or to repay qualified student loans. Those interested in serving should submit a brief letter of interest and resume to Stephen Monroe by 5 p.m. June 11. Successful candidates will begin their one-year terms in August.

"Like Rosie, our VISTAs make real and lasting contributions to the people of Mississippi," Monroe said.

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Student Chosen as Fulbright Scholar

Engineering Student Turns Love of Cars into Fulbright Scholarship to Germany

OXFORD, Miss. - Playing with cars in the front yard as a child has led a University of Mississippi student to study engineering and be chosen as a Fulbright Scholar to continue his interests.

Martin Ducote, a Corinth native who calls Oxford home, always knew he wanted to do something related to engineering. His father, an amateur mechanic, taught his son everything about each component of the engine compartment and how each system affected the running of the entire engine. From there, it is easy to see the trajectory of Ducote's decisions.

As a mechanical engineering major in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and a German Language Initiative student, Ducote's Fulbright project will take him to Germany, where he will study automotive engineering at the Institut für Fahrzeugsystemtechnik , or FAST, at Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie, or KIT. "I had studied with the German Language Initiative program one summer and I knew I wanted to go back to Germany," said Ducote, who graduated May 12 from Ole Miss. "Eventually, I wanted to work with the auto industry there; that's why I learned the language. Andrus Ashoo encouraged me to apply for the Fulbright, and it worked out perfectly."

FAST works to teach students a deeper understanding of vehicle systems and to provide more efficient, safer and luxurious automobiles, which fits with well with Ducote's goal of one day designing parts for an automotive company. One of Europe's leading institutions in the field of composite manufacturing, KIT is the perfect place for him to continue his work toward that goal.

The Fulbright offers fellowships for U.S. graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study, conduct research or be an English teaching assistant abroad for one academic year.

"Ole Miss has been great," Ducote said. "I like the size of the School of Engineering and being in the Honors College here. I also like how the engineering school has a liberal arts feel; there is a lot of writing involved and there are smaller class sizes."

His research interests are in the field of composite materials and manufacturing, which is something he developed during his internship with GE Aviation in Batesville last year.

"My friend Omar Hamid told me about the GE internship opportunity, and it was awesome," Ducote said. "I worked there for about six months, and it's what got me interested in composites and that is the basis for my Fulbright and my honors college thesis."

Ducote has distinguished himself as an outstanding student as he has pursued German language studies in addition to his engineering courses, said Ellen Lackey, professor of mechanical engineering.

"Martin is especially well-prepared to quickly adapt to and integrate with the new social and cultural environments he will experience in this program," Lackey said. "He is very outgoing, and it is evident that he enjoys interacting with a variety of people. He will be an excellent representative of the United States."

A.M. Rajendran, chair of the mechanical engineering department, is equally impressed with his student.

"As the former chief scientist at the U.S. Army Research Office in Durham, N.C., and as a person who had worked with Army generals during 2000-2008, I am a firm believer of discipline, hard work, trust and integrity," Rajendran said. "Martin Ducote is an exemplary student who indeed exhibits all these characteristics or qualities. In my opinion, his successful internship experience has prepared him to learn engineering and industry related concepts and to exhibit leadership skills outside a university campus."

Ducote is also a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society, for which he served as president, and he helped with the Togo Water Purification Project for Engineers without Borders. He enjoys tennis and running as hobbies.

After his year in Germany, Ducote plans to attend Michigan State University to work in the composite vehicle research center and possibly earn a master's degree in mechanical engineering.

Ducote is the university's 10th Fulbright U.S. Student Award winner since 2000. Last year, Deeneaus Polk won a Fulbright to teach English in Frankfurt at Hans-Böckler-Schule.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Student Award Program is funded by the U.S. government and designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Each year, the program sends approximately 1,700 recent graduates or graduate students to one of over 155 countries to study, teach, conduct research and to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Students interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Award are encouraged to contact Andrus Ashoo, the Fulbright program adviser of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement.

To learn more about the Fulbright Program, visit fulbright.state.gov.

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Students of the Month- May

Students of the Month: Matthew Herring and Kelly Dick

The Engineering Students of the Month for May 2012 are Matthew Herring and Kelly Dick.

Name: Matthew Herring

Matthew Herring is working to make a positive impact on the university, the electrical engineering profession and society. He has served the school as an orientation counselor for several years and has been a leader in student professional and honor societies. He was a coauthor of "Development of the MissSAT Pico-Satellite," presented at the Mid-South Annual Engineering and Sciences Conference, and he has worked for the school as a student assistant network administrator and for Miltec Research and Technology as an embedded engineer intern.

Hometown: Oxford

Area of Study: Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in computer and RF & wireless engineering

Classification: Senior

Hobby: Robotics

What qualities do you believe a successful engineer should possess?

"In my opinion, successful engineers or scientists are first and foremost professional and honest. If they are not professional or honest, then it would be difficult to entrust them with any type of project to work on. Professionalism is a key role to being successful in any type of field one chooses to go in. Successful engineers or scientists also have to be reliable, dependable and personable. They need to be able to clearly communicate their ideas, thoughts and criticisms with others effectively."

What are your plans after graduation?

"After graduation, I plan on getting a job with a public, private or government entity doing electrical engineering and/or software engineering and development work. I also have aspirations to get a master's degree in electrical and/or computer engineering from an accredited school after working a couple of years in the industry."

What advice would you give to freshmen interested in majoring in electrical engineering?

"My advice to freshmen would be to never ever give up, even if you do not think you are going to make it. I know that engineering can be hard, no matter what discipline you choose to study, along with balancing other aspects of your life, but if you are willing to put forth great effort in everything you do, then I assure you that you will be rewarded. I have to say the secret to my success here at Ole Miss was that I never gave up. I kept on pushing forward no matter how bad things were around me."

Why did you become interested in electrical engineering?

"To be honest, I sort of 'fell' into electrical engineering. I knew that, even when I was little, I wanted to be an engineer. The engineer I wanted to be back then was a locomotive engineer, not an actual engineer as I am today. The day of my freshman orientation I was actually signed up as a chemical engineering student. I had previously taken courses from the university and the School of Engineering during my senior year of high school through the Summer College program. I took ENGR 100, which introduces students to all the different branches of engineering that the university offers to its students. I was particularly interested in electrical and mechanical but was still on the fence about these two areas until the day of orientation. When I signed up for the advising period for the electrical and mechanical departments, it just so happened that the electrical appointment was first. Once I met with Dr. Richard Gordon and we talked about electrical engineering, it just seemed to be a better fit to me than mechanical. After that day, I was declared electrical, and I haven't looked back since. I have to say it was probably one of the luckiest accidents of my life."


Name: Kelly Elizabeth Dick

Kelly Elizabeth Dick is known for her eye for detail in lab and field work, and her upbeat personality, said Joel Kuszmaul, chair and associate professor of the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering.

"She had very strong observational skills, which are very important in geology," Kuszmaul said. "Kelly was also unusually strong in group work in the lab or field, helping others when she had already mastered topics."

Hometown: Hitchcock, Texas

Area of Study: Geology

Classification: Senior

How did you become interested in geology?

"I have wanted to be a geologist for as long as I can remember. My love for this field started when I found out that my father studied geophysics at Stanford, and that three of my grandparents studied geology or engineering. My grandmother was one of the first women in the geology program at the University of Texas, and my grandfather studied electrical engineering at Harvard and then received his master's at Stanford. I have received a lot of guidance from them, as well as support and understanding."

What does it take to be a great scientist?

"Some qualities of a successful scientist are the willingness to learn, as well as open-mindedness and economic viability. Other qualities to be successful are optimism, open communication and hindsight. Professionalism plays a role in being successful by having good ethics, honesty and loyalty to your employer."

What are some helpful tips for the freshman class entering the School of Engineering?

"You do not have to be brilliant to do well. It takes hard work and a lot of extra time outside the classroom. Pay attention in your classes because you can learn a lot in the classroom. Also, be willing to talk to your professors and ask them questions because they want to help and have their students succeed in the School of Engineering. If you study hard and listen in class, you can end up making good grades and even excel in your classes by understanding the material. You can learn any subject by hard work and dedication."

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Alumnus learns sky's the limit

Alumnus learns sky's the limit while at Ole Miss

An alumnus said studying engineering at the University of Mississippi forever altered the course of his life.

Head of the aircraft engineering department at Al Ain International Aviation Academy in the United Arab Emirates, Beshara I. Sholy (BSEE 83, MS 86) said he learned to "make his way in this world by not following cookie-cutter ideas" about what an engineer should be, something instilled in him at Ole Miss.

"I am proud to say that I received a top-notch engineering education at Ole Miss," Sholy said. "But Ole Miss engineering also provided a quality liberal arts education that made me a more globally minded graduate in many aspects. It was the best of two worlds."

Nationally recognized as a leading avionics educator, Sholy said he joined AAIAA to help students understand the "impact, limitations, benefits and implications of engineering in relation to the global market.

"Without my positive experiences at Ole Miss, I would never have been able to adapt and adopt in this ever-connected world, and I would not be able to share my knowledge with future engineers."

AAIAA is a part of the Institute of Applied Technology in Al Ain, located just south of Dubai. The mission of AAIAA is to encourage Middle Eastern students to pursue careers in aircraft engineering, which is Sholy's passion.

"Companies are looking to hire people with manufacturing, engineering and information technology backgrounds," he said. "There is a shortage of talented engineers, and I feel it is important to guide students towards a field that I love and one that will benefit their future in so many positive ways."

Before joining AAIAA, Sholy served as chairman of the Department of Engineering Technology at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology at St. Louis University, where he earned his doctoral degree in geophysics. He joined the faculty at Parks College in 1985.

Sholy is also immediate past president of the Association for Avionics Education and is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and American Society of Engineering Educators.

When not working in Dubai, Sholy and his wife, Carol, reside in St. Louis.

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Mechanical Chair, Professor Recognized

Mechanical engineering chair, professor recognized for outstanding teaching

As chair of UM's Department of Mechanical Engineering, Arunachalam M. Rajendran has earned the respect of administration and faculty, and his research achievements are known worldwide. But being selected for the school's monthly Faculty Teaching Award is the most meaningful honor yet for "Dr. Raj," as he is affectionately called on campus.

Dr. Raj's students speak highly of their teacher and showed their gratitude by nominating him for the honor in teaching earlier this semester.

"Helping and mentoring students to advance in their studies to achieve their academic goals is what I enjoy most about my job," Rajendran said. "Whether nominating students for awards or writing recommendations for graduate programs, I enjoy seeing students become well-rounded members of society."

Rajendran teaches Mechanical Engineering 101 and other mechanical engineering elective courses. He ensures that his students grasp the material in his courses by presenting the same information in different ways.

"It's important for me to know the students' individual capabilities," he said. "All students learn on a different level. Some may understand the theory while other students may only understand the experiment. So it's important to go outside of the textbook and use life experiences that will allow both types of learning styles to comprehend."

His open-door policy allows students to come in at any time with concerns, no matter what the topic may be.

"Dr. Raj is very friendly and helpful," said Richard Lucas, a freshman from Maylene, Ala. "He always invites me to sit and chat when I visit him in his office. Although he is very busy, he always makes time for his students. Dr. Raj really wants to see everyone in the department succeed."

Rajendran makes sure that his students are aware of all the resources of the mechanical engineering department by providing them with tours of various facilities throughout the semester.

"I really enjoyed getting to see all the facilities that are part of the mechanical engineering department," Lucas said. "We were able to see the blast lab, the National Center for Physical Acoustics and the machine shop."

Rajendran said his mission is to see students succeed.

"To do this, we must help them get recognition," he explained. "It's important to do well in the classroom, but it is about more than that. Students must exhibit other qualities, such as leadership and activities to show their capabilities, and I make sure my students know that that's what's important."

Michael Presnell, a recent master's graduate of the department, considers himself a testimony of how helpful Rajendran is.

"I came into the master's program with a very low GPA," Presnell said. "Rajendran gave me a chance when no one else was willing to. I was inspired by his belief in me. I presented a paper at the worldwide conference on shock physics and earned a master's degree."

Rajendran said Presnell's weakness was his undergraduate GPA, but his strength was his creativity.

"I took the time and trained him with certain software that would allow him to use his strengths more freely," Rajendran said. "He was a great student that gained tons of leadership skills, communication skills and experience."

Formerly the chief scientist at the Engineering Sciences Directorate in Durham, N.C., Rajendran was also an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University before coming to Ole Miss. Despite a distinguished career, he says that his work is not done. He hopes to continue making sure students are putting their best works forward and said he really enjoys building relationships with students.

"It's not about the awards; it's about showing our students that hard work and leadership will pay off," Rajendran said.

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Engineering Professor Wins Research Award

Electrical Engineering Professor Wins Distinguished Research Award

OXFORD, Miss. - During his 25-year tenure at the University of Mississippi, Atef Elsherbeni has spent a fair share of time in the classroom teaching electrical engineering principles and mentoring students. He also has carved out a legacy of research that has led to significant improvements in the telecommunications industry.

Elsherbeni, professor of electrical engineering and associate dean of research and graduate programs in the UM School of Engineering, added another career accolade this weekend. He has been named the fifth recipient of UM's Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award.

The award, including $7,500 and a personal plaque, was presented during UM's main commencement ceremony Saturday (May 12) by Alice Clark, vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs.

"The award was created to recognize and pay tribute to a faculty member whose career and achievements have generated national and international accolades; someone who has been a leader in his chosen field, who has inspired and encouraged others, who is admired and respected by his peers and who has made outstanding lifelong contributions to his profession and to our institution," Clark said.

"Dr. Atef Elsherbeni has done all this. His contributions have made an enormous impact on science, engineering and technology, particularly in the technologies that make the wonders of modern communication possible: electromagnetic waves, radar power, miniaturized antennas and personal communication systems.

"His research projects have garnered support from both government and industry and these projects have advanced basic knowledge, provided educational opportunities for students, provided real-world solutions to important problems and had a tremendous impact on the university research stature and recognition."

Reflecting upon the recognition, Elsherbeni said, "This is a great honor and recognition. I am very pleased to be among those few who received this award. At the same time, I felt the pressure and responsibility to do better and be more productive. It is not easy in today's challenging environment, but we all have to try our best."

He has authored five books, 136 refereed journal articles, 28 book chapters, more than 330 professional presentations, 26 short courses, 29 invited seminars and 74 technical reports throughout the world. Since serving on his first doctoral committee, he has been the dissertation chair for more than 13 doctoral students and 33 master's students.

Presented with the 2009-2012 Finland Distinguished Professor by the Academy of Finland, it was noted that "Professor Elsherbeni simply brings a high-caliber prestige and recognition to any institution/organization he is associated with."

His research efforts have brought more than $10 million to the university. Several Mississippi companies and national corporations have supported his research group activities by direct contracts and gifts.

Elsherbeni is a member of many professional organizations, including the Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He served as editor of ACES Journal and assumes major responsibility for the organization's annual symposium.

His stellar reputation is known to have helped bring several Egyptian government-funded doctoral students for various engineering departments to the Oxford campus. Over the years, he has developed with his students many educational software packages that are being used in numerous schools and are referenced in well-known textbooks in the field.

As recipient of the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award, Elsherbeni said he feels that his family and the engineering school should share in the honor.

"First is my mother, who taught me all elementary school subjects and made me love mathematics in my early stages of my education; my father, for his continuous encouragements especially, at the difficult times while studying for my Ph.D. degree in Canada; my wife, for her continued support and sacrifice for more than 30 years, and my children, who accepted my busy academic life and did not complain."

Elsherbeni also acknowledged his Ph.D. adviser, M. Hamid, his mentor and former department chair Charles E. Smith, his students and colleagues.

"I especially (credit) Dr. Fan Yang with whom we have been successful to maintain good research productivity in very difficult years; my former dean, Dr. Kai-Fong Lee, who provided me with continuous encouragement, support and important contributions to our research group; and my current dean, Dr. Alexander Cheng, who believed in my capabilities and was not reluctant to support unique teaching and research activities and for nominating me for this award," Elsherbeni said.

Elsherbeni joined the Ole Miss faculty in 1987 and has been a visiting professor at UCLA, Magdeburg (Germany) and Syracuse universities. He received both bachelor's and master's degrees from Cairo University, and he holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Manitoba.

Elsherbeni is married to Magda Elshemy. They are the parents of two daughters and a son.

The annual Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award is sponsored by Pharmaceutics International Inc., whose CEO, Syed Abidi, is a UM alumnus. The inaugural recipient of the award, in 2008, was Sam Shu-Yi Wang, F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Larry A. Walker, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research, was the 2009 recipient, Charles Reagan Wilson, the Kelly Gene Cook Chair of History and professor of Southern studies, received it in 2010 and Dale Flesher, Arthur Anderson Lecturer in the Patterson School of Accountancy, was last year's recipient.

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Student of the Month- February

Student of the Month: Elizabeth Stewart

The Engineering Student of the Month for February 2012 is Elizabeth Stewart.

Elizabeth is an excellent example of a student that has a passion for engineering, but also has a wide range of interests outside of her chosen field. In addition to her outstanding accomplishments in the classroom, Elizabeth is also an active leader in student organizations. She currently serves as the student director for the School of Engineering Ambassador program and also serves as the Public Relations officer for the Engineering Student Body.

Name: Elizabeth Stewart

Hometown: Duluth, Georgia

Area of Study: Geological Engineering (Major) and Italian (Minor)

Classification: Senior

Favorite Hobby: Doing musicals at Panola Playhouse in Sardis - last spring I was honored to have the lead in "Hairspray" and more recently the female lead in "Little Shop of Horrors".

Why did you choose engineering?

I chose Engineering because I wanted a major that would challenge me and give me a wide range of opportunities when I graduate. I chose Geological Engineering specifically because I love being outdoors. I wanted a major that would take me outside the office and give me opportunities all over the world.

What do you plan to do when you graduate from Ole Miss?

When I graduate, I would like to find a job that will allow me to travel, and possibly live, all over the world. My first choice would be to live in Italy since I have a minor in Italian language and Italy is one of my favorite places in the world. I am open to any type of Geological Engineering job and am looking forward to wherever and whatever direction this major takes me!

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Students of the Month- March

Students of the Month: Sarah Farris and Austen Cain

The Engineering Students of the Month for March 2012 are Sarah Farris and Austen Cain.

Name: Sarah Farris

Sarah Farris was chosen for an Outstanding Engineering Senior Award in the electrical engineering department for her outstanding academic performance, her student leadership and the diverse nature of her academic program.

Hometown: Hendersonville, Tenn.

Area of Study: Electrical Engineering

Minor: Cinema

Classification: Senior

What piqued your interest in engineering?

"I knew for many years before college that I would most likely get a degree in some kind of engineering. I liked science, math and solving puzzles too much for me to confidently choose anything else. My dream is to be an engineer in the entertainment industry. Almost everything these days requires some sort of electrical design, whether it is a theme park ride or a new 3-D camera."

Why did you choose engineering?

"I became an engineer because I wanted to be a problem-solver. A successful engineer or scientist will always be seeking new solutions to the problems presented to them by society and their line of work. A successful engineer must have the ability to think outside of the box, to take an old problem and see it in a new light to produce a better solution."

What do you plan to do when you graduate from Ole Miss?

"My plans after graduation are to get a job in the engineering field. My dream is to find an engineering job, possibly in the entertainment industry, where I can combine my engineering skills and my love for storytelling."


Name: Austen Cain

Austen was always a solid student in geological engineering, but he seems to have grown stronger semester by semester. He won a national scholarship to take the required five-week field course in South Dakota in summer 2011. As his courses have progressed, he continues to excel.

Hometown: Ringgold, Ga.

Area of Study: Geological Engineering

Classification: Senior

Hobbies: Hiking, sports, hunting, fishing, cooking

What piqued your interest in engineering?

"Throughout my entire life, my family has been vacationing to the U.S. national parks and numerous other areas with magnificent geological formations. These vacations sparked my interest in geology as a child. I remember being 8 years old, just staring at the Grand Canyon and struggling to understand how something so magnificent was formed by the Earth. This was a breathtaking moment in my life."

Why did you choose engineering?

"Rapid developments in science and technology and the number of challenges they present inspired me to choose engineering as a profession."

What do you plan to do when you graduate from Ole Miss?

"I [plan to attend graduate school and acquire] a master's degree in petroleum engineering. I've applied to the University of Oklahoma, University of West Virginia and University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I became interested in petroleum engineering because of a class I took, taught by Walter Guidroz, a BP employee."

Do you have advice for potential engineering students?

"Quality engineering students possess academic excellence, leadership qualities and willingness to give it their all. Incoming engineering students will want to stand out. Outside the classroom, they will need to be very active by taking part in leadership roles, groups, clubs, social organizations, athletics, etc. These qualities show professionalism and are very important for someone aspiring to be a leader one day."

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Professor of the Month- March

Professor of the Month teaches life lessons as well as chemical engineering

With a loose open-door policy and a passion for maintaining positive relationships with his students, John O'Haver is a popular choice for Professor of the Month for the School of Engineering.

A professor of chemical engineering and associate dean of engineering, O'Haver teaches courses to engineering students of all classifications. He also supervises outreach to middle school and high school students as director of the UM Center for Math and Science Education.

"Dr. O'Haver is such an outstanding teacher and scholar that he has won the University of Mississippi Faculty Achievement Award for Outstanding Teaching and Scholarship twice, once in 2000 and the second time in 2011," said Alex Cheng, dean of the engineering school. "Although I don't have the full record, I suspect that Dr. O'Haver is one of the few, if not the only one, who has such [an] honor."

O'Haver's open-door policy is obvious to anyone who visits - students frequently drop by with questions not limited to his courses or even to the field of engineering.

"Upon my first encounter with him, I thought to myself, 'This man is going to play a significant role in shaping my college experience,'" said Ramsey McNeil, recent graduate of the chemical engineering department. "Never could I have conceived such an understatement. Since then, he has served as my academic adviser and has taught four of my core chemical engineering classes. Dr. 'O' has been a phenomenal professor, a wonderful mentor and a father away from home for me."

O'Haver's success at those professor-student relationships is a source of immense satisfaction.

"These students arguably have one of the hardest majors on campus," he said. "They need relationships and open ears to be efficient. One of the things that attracted me to Ole Miss was that I felt that the university understood balance. I could be who I wanted to be, succeed as a professor but have time for the students, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

He has received many invitations to students' graduations, weddings and even childbirths. One of his fondest memories is a trip to a student's wedding in Malaysia, where he gave the "father speech" in the place of the student's deceased father.

"Whether mentor or father - whatever you choose to call it - I'll gladly play either role," he said. "It's about creating life moments and teaching life lessons to my students."

O'Haver earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in secondary education from the University of Oklahoma, then taught mathematics for 12 years at his alma mater, Del City High School. After this "first career," O'Haver returned to the University of Oklahoma and completed his doctorate in chemical engineering. He then taught at Oklahoma for a year before coming to Ole Miss.

"I knew I wanted to end up as a Chem E faculty member," he said. "I knew I needed to teach."

O'Haver's teaching style promotes problem-based learning and theory. During the recent winter intersession, he taught Physical Chemistry of Surfaces at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

He looks forward to one of the newest projects from the Center for Math and Science Education, an inflatable planetarium for outreach to middle school and high school students.

Away from campus, O'Haver enjoys cooking, herb and vegetable gardening, reading his Bible and studying theology. He and his wife, Kevie, have two children, Maren and Hudson. His household also includes three horses, two dogs, four cats and two goats.

Wherever he is, O'Haver strives to give his all to his students, fellow employees and family.

"When I die, if all I have are publications, my life would have been a failure," O'Haver said. "It's bigger than I am. I want to do a good job; I want to serve."

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Gift Gives Students Opportunity

Gift gives students opportunity to attend professional conferences

Each year since the 1980s, Barbara Kerr Beckmann has written a check to the University of Mississippi School of Engineering. This year, Beckmann, the school's first female graduate, contributed $10,000 toward an endowment for the Society of Women Engineers.

Beckmann, a native of Aubrey, Ark., said her latest donation is intended to provide the means for engineering students to attend joint meetings with peers and future co-workers.

"This donation is a little more personal," said Beckmann (BSChE 61). "I think it is really important for students to go to professional conferences because it provides them with that first opportunity to interact with peers on all levels."

Beckmann, who recently celebrated her golden anniversary at ExxonMobil and moved from Houston, Texas, to Baton Rouge, La., said she credits the company for "helping stretch her donation dollars even more."

"ExxonMobil matches educational donations three-to-one," she said. "That's simply amazing and wonderful. It makes my money go way further, and it proves the company is dedicated to helping its employees help others."

The Ole Miss chapter of the Society of Women Engineers is dedicated not only to professional development but also to the retention, recruitment and advancement of women in engineering and technology fields, said Elizabeth Ervin, chapter adviser.

In fact, for several years SWE has hosted its "Introduce a Gal to Engineering Day" on a shoestring budget. Beckmann's donation will enable the engineering school to "host this outreach program for many years to come," said Ervin, UM assistant professor of civil engineering.

"We now have a vehicle for improving our own fundraising, so our society can reach even more gals than the 60 this year," she said. "Barbara's donation has provided vital visibility for our organization, and we wholeheartedly thank her."

Beckmann said she likes to share in ways that benefit other people, and it is especially important for her to aid budding female engineers.

She credits the School of Engineering for enabling her to be in a position to give back, both professionally and financially.

"Ole Miss engineering is very special," Beckmann said. "Not only does it prepare you for a successful engineering career but [also] for other things in life. I honestly think it's because the school includes the best liberal arts education, too. Students leave Ole Miss knowing their trade but also leave with so many other skills, including knowing how to interact with others."

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Roof-Mounted Solar Power Complex

Mississippi's Largest Roof-Mounted Solar Power Complex Operating at UM

OXFORD, Miss. - By 11 a.m. on one recent sunny day, the Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi had generated 57 kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough power to run the center's administrative offices and classrooms, or to brew 1,986 cups of coffee.

With the installation of more than 400 photovoltaic solar panels complete, the year-old building is the largest roof-mounted solar power complex in the state, said James Vaughan, CME director.

A renewable energy grant from the Mississippi Development Authority helped make the project possible. The $529,395 grant was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the CME matched it with $176,465 from university funds. Joule Energy LLC of New Orleans installed multiple types of panels in December.

"The first 392 solar panels produce 245 watts each, and the remaining 39 produce 340 watts apiece, which generates roughly 108 kilowatts of electricity," Vaughan said.

With its advanced construction, the CME is one of six buildings at Ole Miss certified as meeting standards of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, said Jim Morrison, UM director of strategic planning and campus sustainability.

"With half-a-dozen LEED buildings on campus today and three Green Globe buildings under way, we are thrilled to see how these technologically advanced buildings are strengthening our ability to optimize our operational efficiency and to advance our commitment towards a more sustainable campus," Morrison said.

What's more, having a solar-powered building is also an excellent teaching device for CME, which offers a "hands-on education in a traditional style," Vaughan said.

CME faculty and staff have already started monitoring energy usage with an interactive kiosk, which updates stats hourly, daily or monthly. These statistics will be available on the center's website soon, Vaughan said.

The CME program began in fall 2010 with 27 freshmen from nine states. In fall 2011, 36 freshmen enrolled in the program.

For more information, visit the CME website or contact Ryan Miller at 662-915-2632.

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Graduate Earns Ingalls' Rising Star Award

Mechanical engineering graduate earns Ingalls' Rising Star Award

Right after Ines E. "Vivi" Sampayo Rohrer (BSME 07) earned her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, the University of Mississippi graduate was already well on her way to a successful career. Starting as an entry-level mechanical engineer at Huntington Ingalls Industries, she has received numerous awards and recognitions for her participation and leadership in engineering initiatives.

Rohrer was promoted to Engineer Mechanical III in the Fleet Sustainment Engineering Department at the Pascagoula facility (formerly Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding). For her achievements, Rohrer received the Technology Rising Star Award at the company's 16th annual Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Conference.

"Rising Stars are young women (employed for about one to 22 years) who are helping to shape technology for the future," said Rohrer, who also earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of South Alabama, later on working as an adjunct instructor in the mechanical engineering department there. "I was not able to attend the conference to receive my award due to the birth of my newborn (Cecilia Sofia) four days prior to the conference. The certificate was mailed to me, and a luncheon was held for us at the company with the engineering VP."

Rohrer's achievements include leading the CG47 Class Aluminum Superstructure Repair Task Force project to investigate cracking and sensitization issues onboard U.S. Navy Aegis ships. The 90-day study involved many organizations within Ingalls Shipbuilding as well as several Navy organizations. This collaboration led to inventive solutions to repair cracks as well as groundbreaking techniques to prevent future cracking.

"I have had the honor of being recognized by the U.S. Navy numerous times for valuable support on this issue, in addition to other highly visible projects," Rohrer said. She also led all structural efforts and system integration for the CG47 Class Electro-Optical Sight System relocation, and has conducted and applied research to planning, design, development and testing for ship systems for CG47 guided missile cruiser and LPD17 surface class ships.

Her work responsibilities require using standard engineering techniques, procedures and criteria. Rohrer performs finite element analyses for existing or proposed structural modifications to support equipment integration, combat systems weapons and hull strengthening under shock environment. She also developed a shear bolt sizing design table to help choose bolts for sway braces to sustain equipment and maintain shock requirements and crew safety.

"I mentor new hires and interns to ensure that they acquire the necessary knowledge to perform their work duties and am currently exposed to manager training within the Naval Arc/Structural Engineering group," Rohrer added.

Rohrer's skills and abilities are admired by her colleagues.

"Ines has a very positive, charismatic attitude, which makes it a pleasure for her co-workers to collaborate on projects," said Michael Williams, Manager II of Marine/HVAC Engineering at Ingalls. "This extends into her community service projects, which include Hispanic individuals here in the shipyard and the Society of Women Engineers. During annual Engineering Week, she spoke to high school students who expressed an interest in finding out what engineers do and how they might become one in the future."

Rohrer credits UM mechanical engineering professors Ellen Lackey and James Vaughan with instilling within her a passion and desire to work with materials and material science. Tyrus McCarty, associate engineering professor, provided insights into the concepts of finite element analyses, which has become one of Rohrer's greatest interests.

"My master's thesis focused on 'Dynamic Finite Element Analysis of Stress and Fracture in IM7/8552 Monolithic Composite Laminates under Impact Loading Conditions,' which combines all of the knowledge that I learned from these three individuals," she said.

McCarty, who is also assistant dean of special initiatives in the engineering school, said Rohrer was always an exceptional student with the potential for greatness waiting to be unharnessed.

"Ines was one of our very outstanding students while here at the university who was hardworking and achieved excellence in all that she accomplished while here," McCarty said. "Her recognition is a great indication that we are providing our students with an education that allows them to go out into the real world and make a tremendous impact on society."

Born in Colombia, South America, Rohrer resides in Mobile, Ala. She is married to John Rohrer, a Systems Test II Engineer at Ingalls. Her parents are Cecilia and the late Antonio Sampayo of Jackson.

For more information about the Department of Mechanical Engineering, visit engineering.olemiss.edu/mechanical

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Students of the Month- April

Students of the Month: Nikki Reinemann and Tracey Sisco

The Engineering Students of the Month for April 2012 are Nikki Reinemann and Tracey Sisco.

Name: Nikki Reinemann

Nikki Reinemann, 2012 Goldwater Scholar, is exemplary among her peers. She demonstrates a positive attitude, competence and concern, and has earned the respect of the faculty and fellow students. She worked as a research assistant, conducting original work published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry. She also worked as a NASA Marshall Space Flight Center academy intern.

Hometown: Batesville, Miss.

Area of Study: Chemical engineering, chemistry

Classification: Senior

Hobbies: Playing the trumpet, camping, traveling and spending time with family

What piqued your interest in engineering?

"Through my involvement in a variety of activities during high school, I discovered that I find the sciences very interesting and fulfilling. After taking advanced chemistry and mathematics courses, I began to look at careers that would involve these skills. Chemical engineering piqued my interest because of the combination of utilizing fundamental science and making it applicable to society."

What's the most important quality to possess to be a successful engineer/engineering student?

"Work ethic is the key to being a successful scientist or engineer. [Some people] might be smart enough for the job, but if they are not willing to put their all into their work, they will eventually fail. Conversely, a good work ethic can help if [they] might be somewhat slow in understanding some concepts. They will at least have the gumption to do whatever it takes to get the job done. This integrity not only leads to the job getting done but [also] getting it done well."

What do you plan to do after you graduate from Ole Miss?

"I plan to finish my B.S. in chemistry [and then go to] graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in chemical engineering with a research focus in energy innovation. I have always wanted to assume a position where I could change the world for the better. I felt that a career in STEM, specifically engineering, is an excellent way to accomplish that goal."


Name: Tracey Sisco

The independent work Tracey Sisco has performed under the supervision of her faculty adviser, Christiane Surbeck, has been accepted for inclusion at the World Environmental and Water Resources Conference of the American Society of Civil Engineering and submitted for publication in a related professional journal. Sisco is driven by an intense desire to help people as demonstrated by her work in a summer internship that included a visit to earthquake-damaged Haiti to help design an orphanage there, as well as by her design work in support of an Engineering Without Borders project in Togo, Africa, as well as many local projects.

Hometown: Pontotoc, Miss.

Area of Study: Civil engineering

Classification: Senior

Hobbies: Traveling, art, kayaking, hiking and disc golf

What piqued your interest in engineering?

"As I began to take civil classes, I discovered I particularly enjoyed those focused on water and the environment. Around the same time, I became involved with Engineers Without Borders and discovered engineering can be used to help many people in the world, such as those without access to clean water or sanitation. Through my years of study, I have seen how civil engineering provides services to society that are essential, which has been a source of motivation for me."

What is your advice for potential engineering students?

"If I were given the opportunity to address the incoming freshman class in the School of Engineering, I would share with them the favorite phrase of one of my mentors: "Have adventures." One of the unique and wonderful aspects of college is finding where your skills and passions meet. Opportunities for college students are available in abundance, and I have experienced great rewards by exploring those that interested me."

What do you plan to do after you graduate from Ole Miss?

"After graduation, I plan to go to work full time. I also have a passion for using engineering to serve those less fortunate, particularly in addressing the problem of clean-water scarcity in many developing countries, and so I plan to continue volunteering and using my skills as an engineer in that manner as well. It's possible that one day I may even live overseas and use engineering as a part of full-time missions."

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Professor Assists with Flood Recovery

Professor assists with flood recovery, receives major transportation grant

University of Mississippi civil engineering professor Waheed Uddin stays on the move. In the past few months, he has helped with flood recovery in Thailand and partnered with a Mississippi State University-led consortium to create a national university transportation center.

After Bangkok, Thailand, was inundated by floodwaters last winter, Uddin was invited to inspect the flooded site and provide hands-on guidance on post-flood recovery, restoration and rebuilding of the Asian Institute of Technology campus.

"I earned my master's degree at AIT through a full scholarship from the United Kingdom government," the professor and director of the UM Center for Advanced Infrastructure Technology (CAIT) said. "I provided timely email advice on how to start the recovery and restoration process. Subsequently, AIT's president invited me to serve on the campus recovery and rebuilding committee. Through funding support from both institutions, I traveled to Bangkok after final exams were given here in mid-December."

Uddin's activities culminated in a symposium organized by AIT/ASEAN Affairs in association with CAIT. The objectives of the meeting were to provide lessons learned from the disaster and offer future directions for flood prevention.

In January, the National Center for Intermodal Transportation for Economic Competitiveness, a national university transportation center, was established through a $3.5 million grant from the Research and Innovative Technology Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. CAIT has partnered with the NCITEC university consortium led by Mississippi State University.

"CAIT's subcontract grant started in March," Uddin said. "NCITEC seeks to promote the development of an integrated, economically competitive, efficient, safe, secure and sustainable national intermodal transportation network by integrating all transportation modes for both freight and passenger mobility. NCITEC plans to competitively select projects at partnering institutions in research, educational, workforce development and technology-transfer areas that address intermodal connectivity for both freight and passenger systems."

Uddin expects more than $500,000 will be awarded to UM projects.

"Both of the activities provide different perspectives on the role of engineers in the society," he said. "The first activity (AIT flood disaster assessment, and recovery and restoration) was my service project. This service to the global community and to the civil engineering profession was possible because of my several years of research in flood disaster mitigation after the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster on the Gulf Coast.

"The second accomplishment is the grant award of a national center for integrated intermodal transportation system after an intensive collaborative proposal effort with Mississippi State University and three other universities," Uddin said. "This research effort provides new funding opportunities to the entire University of Mississippi academic and research units in the areas of research, workforce development education and technology transfer."

One of the performance measures of the selected projects will be the number of graduate and undergraduate students contributing to each project.

"Personally, these recent accomplishments show my worldwide credibility in sustainable transportation infrastructure and flood disaster mitigation, as well as my service contributions to the University of Mississippi community, state, nation and global community," Uddin said.

Uddin's achievements were praised by Christopher Mullen, interim chair and associate professor of civil engineering at UM.

"The Department of Civil Engineering appreciates Professor Uddin's leadership in working collaboratively with partner institutions to obtain a substantial share of the NCITEC grant," Mullen said. "This nationally competitive grant provides recognition of his research in the area of transportation and infrastructure management, which he has pursued throughout his career at the university. The thrust of the center specifically in areas of multimodal transportation and economic competitiveness will enable faculty and students to benefit from exciting multidisciplinary research opportunities not pursued here in the past to my knowledge."

For more information on funding opportunities and proposal deadlines, visit research.olemiss.edu/nictec2012.

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Spouse Honors Husband

Spouse Honors Husband with Donation to School

Before his death in 2009, Charles Lynn Costner found himself posing the question: "How do you leave something behind to make the world better than you found it?" His wife, Sara, has answered that question by donating $50,000 to benefit the University of Mississippi School of Engineering.

Half her donation is designated for an endowment in the Department of Civil Engineering. The other portion will be used as unrestricted funds within the engineering school.

"Although I always marveled at people who gave large amounts to their alma maters, Charles and I had never discussed doing anything like this while he was alive, mainly because we weren't financially able," Costner said.

That all changed when she sold her late husband's homeplace in Calhoun County.

"I came into a large lump sum of money," Costner said. "I knew that I wanted to do something to honor Charles and that the School of Engineering was most reflective of what he would want to be remembered by. I think he would be very proud of what I've done."

Alex Cheng, engineering school dean, expressed his appreciation for the gift and Costner's interest and support.

"Alumni donations have always been the major support for the School of Engineering, funding such things as facilities, software and other necessary equipment," Cheng said. "Without contributions such as Mrs. Costner's, we would be unable to continue our mission of educating future engineers. We are deeply grateful for this timely and generous gift."

Costner's gift is a most fitting memorial to her late husband's life and legacy, which began after he earned his bachelor's degree in 1951, said Marni Kendricks, assistant engineering dean.

"Mrs. Costner decided to make donations in support of organizations that her husband was both proud of and loyal to including two university units, the School of Engineering and Fellowship of Christian Athletes," Kendricks said.

Alumni involvement, such as the Costners exhibit, strengthens the university, said Christopher Mullen, interim chair and associate professor of civil engineering.

"The way it's set up, our department can make equipment purchases, which we would not be able to do otherwise on a recurring basis," he said. "We've had a need for something like this for a long time. These funds are very beneficial for both undergraduate labs and graduate school research."

Sara Costner worked in the School of Engineering back in the early '50s, while her husband was in graduate school. She spent 28 years working for a printing company in Baton Rouge, La., before the couple retired and moved to Oxford. Their son, Jeffrey Costner, works in grounds and maintenance for Ole Miss Athletics.

A native of Banner, Charles Costner graduated from Bruce High School before enrolling at the university. His illustrious career, which spanned four decades, included appointments with the Mississippi State Highway Department, Mississippi State Fish and Game Commission, USDA Soil Conservation Service and U.S. Corps of Engineers. Costner also worked with privately owned construction firms in Delaware, Texas and Louisiana.

A registered engineer in four states, his professional memberships included the American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers and Louisiana Engineering Society.

"I have a very cool slide rule on my desk that belonged to Charles Costner," Kendricks said. "While it's a great conversation piece and everybody who comes in wants to look [at] it, I haven't found too many people who still know how to use it!"

Sara Costner said she finds deep satisfaction in knowing the donation will be used for good purposes.

"Charles grew up on a farm, but he always wanted to do more than run the family business," she said. "After he served his country between World War II and the Korean War, he decided he wanted to become a civil engineer and enrolled at Ole Miss. Civil engineering was like a call[ing] for him. He personified what a civil engineer should be."

"Hopefully, this donation will help other young people like Charles come to Ole Miss, get an education, and then go out and do something significant with their lives," she added.

For more information about contributing to scholarship programs and other initiatives at the University of Mississippi, go to umfoundation.com/makeagift.

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Harper Johnson Jr.

Harper Johnson Jr. Fondly Remembered for His Generosity and Support of Education

Respected Mississippi engineer Harper Johnson Jr. is being fondly remembered at the University of Mississippi School of Engineering by faculty, staff and a student benefitting from Johnson's generosity.

Johnson, 96, died Sunday (Jan. 1) at Indywood Glen in Greenwood. Services are set for 2 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 4) at Wilson & Knight Funeral Home Chapel with interment in Odd Fellows Cemetery. Rusty Douglas will officiate."Harper Johnson afforded me an incredible opportunity through his engineering scholarship, and his example will always shape my career," said Alan Barger of Oxford, a senior civil engineering major and recipient of the Elsie and Harper Johnson Jr. Endowed Scholarship. "Through his passion for engineering, he found a way to inspire others in the same field. His selfless investment gives me a platform to work off of with no limitations, as well as the drive to achieve my goals."

After high school, Barger began furthering his education at Delta State University, but left school to work in his family's irrigation business before earning a degree. He later resumed his education at Mississippi Delta Community College, where he did exceptionally well in calculus and other mathematics classes.

"I enjoyed those courses so much there that I decided I somehow wanted to become an engineer rather than go back to work doing what I was doing," said Barger, 30. "Once I made up my mind, I found my niche and started making plans to get my engineering degree. Mr. (Floyd) Melton (a Greenwood attorney for the Johnson estate) recruited me to apply for the scholarship at Ole Miss.

"Not too many people get a chance to go back to college and that's what his gift gave me."

Barger is making outstanding progress toward his degree. Originally scheduled to have been a teaching assistant for Engineering Graphics 207 in the fall, he has instead become a research assistant in the school's National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering.

Others in the engineering school also recalled Johnson's remarkable benevolence.

"Mr. Johnson was a major donor who has set up the scholarship endowment in his and his wife's names," said Alexander H.D. Cheng, UM engineering school dean. "Such benevolence is especially appreciated in these difficult economic conditions."

"I have had the privilege of seeing Mr. Johnson's generous investment in the life of one of our students bear much fruit over the past two-and-a-half years," said Marni Kendricks, instructor and assistant dean of the engineering school. "Alan Barger has demonstrated outstanding leadership in our Engineers Without Borders project in West Africa, worked extremely hard in his classes and gotten involved as an undergrad in research work for the NCCHE. I have no doubt Alan will achieve great things one day in his professional career and that Mr. Johnson would be very proud."

Born in Senatobia, Johnson attended Senatobia City Schools, Northwest Mississippi Junior College and UM, where he was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Though he didn't complete his Ole Miss degree, he later did earn an electrical engineering degree from Indiana Institute of Technology and was certified by the Mississippi State Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and licensed to practice as a professional engineer.

During the early part of World War II, Johnson received a direct commission as an officer in the Signal Corps and served in the European, South Pacific and Far East theaters, reaching the rank of captain. He was a member of the American Legion Post 29. After the war, he served as vice president and member of the board of directors of Supreme Inc., which now operates as Supreme Electronics Corp., a division of Hickok Inc. Before retirement, he was associated with Greenwood Utilities in an administrative and engineering capacity.

He was a member of the Mississippi Engineering Society and the National Society of Professional Engineers, and was active in promoting the national Math-Counts Program for pre-high school students. He served on the board of directors of Cottonlandia Museum and Educational Foundation. He was active as a volunteer in the IRS-VITA program to offer free assistance to individuals with their income tax returns.

Johnson and his wife, Elsie, were big proponents of education. They established the Elsie and Harper Johnson Jr. Scholarship Endowment to provide full engineering scholarships at Ole Miss, with preference to students from Leflore and Tate counties to encourage students to major in and become engineers and hopefully return to their home communities to practice. He also contributed to the John Lucas IV Teacher Excellence Education Fund in his and Elsie's name. Pillow Academy has named its elementary building Johnson Hall.

He was a member of the Greenwood First Presbyterian Church and served as a deacon, elder and Sunday school teacher. Johnson's wife preceded him in death. He is survived by three nieces and six nephews.

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Researcher Creates Endowment

Renowned researcher creates endowment to nurture brainchild

An educator, administrator and prominent hydroscience and engineering researcher, whose work has brought international attention to the University of Mississippi for more than four decades, has contributed $100,000 to create an endowment encouraging other university professionals in their work.

Sam S.Y. Wang - the founding director of UM's National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering (NCCHE) - and his wife, Jine, have established a fund to provide awards recognizing outstanding contributions of deserving faculty, scientists, students and staff.

Through the program, an advisory council will select recipients from the NCCHE community. In odd years, the top faculty member will receive $3,000 and the student $500, and in even years, the chosen scientist will receive $2,500 and the support staff $1,000.

"I always think of NCCHE as my child; I created it and want to see it enjoy continued growth," Wang said. "It is difficult to recruit and retain talented people when salaries may not be at the level as other renowned institutions. My wife and I want to reward highly productive individuals in their work. We feel that it's not enough to help only faculty members and researchers. To enhance the overall NCCHE success, we must also give awards to support personnel and students."

The Wangs said they hope to eventually build the new fund to a level that produces adequate annual income to support an endowed professorship that can be used to attract a renowned senior faculty or scientist to provide leadership and recognition for strengthening the center and bring in international recognition to the university.

"I want to see the center become stronger and greater as time goes on," Wang said. "My wife and I hope our gift helps inspires others to provide private support."

Wang has firsthand experience with positive reinforcement that comes from receiving professional recognition. He was one of UM's first four Frederick A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professors in 1998, the highest faculty accolade on the Oxford campus. He was renominated and reselected for a second term in 1993, and was awarded the Barnard Distinguished Professor title for life in 1998. Wang was chosen for the inaugural Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award, Outstanding Engineering Faculty Awards as well as many other UM awards.

A pioneer in applying computational modeling methodology to hydroscience research, Wang has gained worldwide recognition. Among numerous accolades, he has received the Hans Albert Einstein Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Qian Ning Prize from the World Association for Sedimentation and Erosion Research, the two highest international honors presented to a researcher selected worldwide for his/her lifetime distinguished achievements in hydrodynamics for soil erosion and sediment transport research.

"We deeply appreciate Dr. and Mrs. Wang for generously funding this endowment to honor the work of other talented faculty, researchers, students and staff," said Alex Cheng, dean of the School of Engineering. "To have someone of Dr. Wang's stature reach out to support members of the NCCHE and School of Engineering family is very meaningful. His body of work has tremendously strengthened the reputation of the school and overall university community, and he and his wife have found yet another way to nurture others and encourage exceptional work."

Founded in 1982 as a research unit in the engineering school, NCCHE has as a mission to foster the growth of research in computational hydroscience and engineering - the foundation for the development of research and engineering tools, computational simulation models for conducting scientific research, engineering analysis and design, and environmental and ecological impact assessments in the area of natural resources (soil and water) conservation.

NCCHE has made significant contributions including the advancement of computational modeling and simulation of free surface flows, soil erosion, sediment transport and morphological processes in streams, reservoirs and channel networks in watersheds. NCCHE has been invited by prestigious professional societies to host several major international conferences and has hosted many renowned visiting scientists. Wang chaired conferences and delivered keynotes and special lectures at professional meetings and research institutes in more than 30 countries on six continents.

"The computational models simulating the environmental, water resources and soil conservation phenomena of our contemporary society have been utilized by thousands of professionals in institutions worldwide," Wang said. "We can all take pride in the prominence the NCCHE has earned."

Among Wang's publications are nine books, two invited chapters, more than 200 journal articles, proceeding papers and conference presentations. He holds a doctoral degree in computational hydrodynamics and a master's degree in fluid mechanics from the University of Rochester. His undergraduate bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering was earned at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. He first came to Ole Miss in 1967 as an assistant professor due to the counsel of Professor John A. Fox, then UM chair of mechanical engineering. Although Wang retired from UM in 2010, he continues as a part-time research professor.

The Wangs are the parents of two: David Wang, a mechanical engineering graduate, works in the computer software field in California, and Susan Wang is pursuing a doctorate in engineering at UM.

The UM-NCCHE Founder's Endowment for Excellence is open to accept contributions from other individuals and organizations. Those wishing to provide support can mail a check with the fund noted to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 248, University, MS 38677; or contact Kevin Gardner, development officer for the School of Engineering, at 662-915-1601 or kevin@olemiss.edu.

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Robert O. Shephard

Robert O. Shephard's Career as a Civil Engineer

Robert Owen Shephard graduated with a civil engineering degree from the University of Mississippi in 1935 and had an exemplary career until his retirement in 1972. Last year marked Shephard's 100th birthday. His daughter, Camille S. Yahm, and son, Robert O. Shepard Jr., donated a scholarship fund to the Department of Civil Engineering in memory of their father. Following is the story of Shephard as told by Yahm.

My father, Robert Owen "IKey" Shephard, graduated from Meridian High School in May 1931 and enrolled in the University of Mississippi Department of Civil Engineering in the fall. There he set out on an exemplary career in academics, classroom leadership and athletics. An accomplished athlete, he lettered in track, football and golf; set a record in 1933 for javelin; and was a member of the mile relay team that set records in 1932 and 1934 that were not broken for many years. He was active in Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and served on the senior cabinet of the YMCA. Over that four-year period, he served as vice president of the senior class of the School of Engineering, president of the junior class and president of the Engineering Club. He distinguished himself by being one of only three classmates who graduated with a degree in engineering in 1935.

Upon graduation he was immediately employed by the State Highway Office in Jackson, where he began the first survey of the Natchez Trace from Port Gibson to Raymond. A little-known and surprising fact evolved from his work with the newly formed Soil Conservation Service. Mississippi suffered from serious erosion problems, and in doing the research to correct it, he discovered that the Japanese had a plant that would help hold soil together. Weekly, he took our family to the experimental station to see how the seedlings were growing. The plant's name is kudzu!

After a two-year stint working as the sanitary engineer with the Meridian City Water Department and helping build the city reservoir, he accepted the position of chief of engineering party for the J. Anderson Co. in July 1941. Then came WWII, and in 1943 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Engineering Corps. He received his officer's training at Camp McCain in North Mississippi, where he was also employed by the War Department. His engineering expertise became a vital part of the water purification program. The program was so successful that it was adopted at other military installations both during and after the war.

While serving as assistant medical inspector in the Surgeon's Division in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1945, he was again rewarded for his expertise and promoted from first lieutenant to captain. He received his honorable discharge in 1947 and smoothly entered civilian life as county engineer on road projects in Alabama and with the Mississippi Highway Department.

In 1950, he joined the Soil Conservation Service in Grenada and embarked on the crowning achievement of his career-and one of which he was justifiably proud-the construction of the Grenada Dam, at the time the largest man-made earth dam in the world. One unforgettable sunny afternoon before the dam was completed, he took my brother and me on the road that ran beneath the soon-to-be spillway and told us that one day we could say that we had ridden on the bottom of the dam!

The final phase of his career began in 1955, when he was hired as street and drainage engineer for the Federal Housing Administration in Atlanta, Ga., and remained there until his retirement in 1972.

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Engineering Piques Interests of Elementary Students

Chemistry, Arts and Engineering Pique Interests of Dundee Elementary Students

OXFORD, Miss. - Several dozen students from a Delta school got an up-close-and-personal look at the arts and hard sciences programs at the University of Mississippi this week.

Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from Dundee Elementary School in Tunica County visited the Oxford campus Wednesday (Nov. 30) as guests of the university's Center for Excellence in Literary Instruction. The 78 students toured the football Indoor Practice Facility (where they took a run on to the field), the Lyceum, Civil Rights Monument, J.D. Williams Library, Department of Chemistry and the Center for Manufacturing Excellence. They also met Chancellor Dan Jones and Provost Morris Stocks, as well as other UM faculty and staff.

"This was the first time many of these children ever set foot on a college or university campus," said Ashley Parker, UM instructor of curriculum and instruction. "These students are bright enough to successfully pursue professions in the hard sciences, but they first have to be made aware of what is available to them in terms of educational opportunities here."

From the moment they set foot on the grounds until they boarded school buses for the return trip home, the students, ages 9 to 11, were mesmerized.

"I'm already thinking about coming to Ole Miss," said Makayla Carlisle, a 10-year-old fourth-grader. "The buildings are so beautiful, especially the science lab and the library. When I grow up, I want to come here and stay until I get married. I also want to become a teacher and a professional medical doctor."

"I'm thinking about becoming either a professional football or basketball player," said William Smith, another fourth-grader. "I like seeing the laboratory where they froze a banana and a balloon (using liquid nitrogen). The pictures I saw in the library were nice, too."

At the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, students were divided into three teams and challenged to put together a puzzle in 10 minutes or less. Although they remained polite, they were also enthusiastic and competitive about completing the puzzle first in order to win a prize.

"We wanted to show them in the simplest way possible how manufacturing works," said Ryan Miller, CME project manager. "They had fun, but they also had to use teamwork, creativity, strategy, problem-solving and communications skills in order to be successful. That's all a part of what we're about here and in the manufacturing industry."

Besides the tour, students enjoyed a picnic lunch in the School of Education, compliments of Dean David Rock.

CELI personnel have worked with Dundee Elementary in Tunica County for three years. Parker and colleague Tamara Hillmer deliver professional development, work with the school's literacy leadership team and mentor about 10 teachers.

Through teamwork, strategic planning and a concentrated effort to improve, Dundee moved up in the rankings this year, making it one of 65 Star schools in the state and the only one in the Mississippi Delta. MDE officials annually evaluate K-12 school systems throughout the state. Rising to higher expectations for student achievement, all teachers in grades 3-5 exceeded the state average on the MCT 2 tests in language arts and math. Three teachers achieved Star performing status for having a Quality of Distribution Index score of 200 and above.

"It is very affirming to know that we have played some small part in changing children's lives because we know what happens to children who are not academically successful in the foundational early years," said Angela Rutherford, UM associate professor of curriculum and instruction and CELI director. "They become statistics of dropout, crime and low wages, and low life expectancy. We love our work at Dundee and are so excited about our continued work."

For more information about CELI, go to olemiss.edu/celi.

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Center for Manufacturing Excellence Grant

Grant Will Allow Center for Manufacturing Excellence to Generate Its Own Power

OXFORD, Miss. - A renewable energy grant from the Mississippi Development Authority is helping the University of Mississippi's Center for Manufacturing Excellence lead the way in using solar power.

When the center is complete in spring 2011, the building will feature 414 photovoltaic solar panels, making it the largest roof-mounted, solar power complex in Mississippi.

"That's basically the entire roof," said James Vaughan, CME interim director. "This means the lights and air conditioning will be able to run on solar power. It will generate roughly 90 kilowatts of electricity, which will be enough to run the building, minus the factory floor and equipment, of course."

The $529,395 grant was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the CME matched it with $176,465 from university funds.

Some of the stimulus money could be used on renewable energy sources, so the university's grant application was written to put solar panels on the center's roof, Vaughan said.

The center should be able to run under its own power during normal conditions and actually return power to the university's grid, Vaughan said.

Having a solar-powered building on the historic campus is also an excellent teaching device for the center, which offers a "hands-on education in a traditional style," he said.

"The CME provides the perfect blend of a traditional Ole Miss education and real-world experience," Vaughan said. "We will take engineering, accounting and business students, especially those interested in renewable energy, and give them an education on solar usage."

Once the building and roof are complete, CME students and faculty will be able to monitor the building's energy usage and solar power generation by checking the center's website.

The building houses a 12,000-square-foot factory floor to give students an opportunity to use the latest technology, said Ryan T. Miller, CME programs manager.

"They get to witness it, instead of just hearing about other facilities that use this type of power," said Miller, who also serves as the center's student recruiter. "I think that's equally as beneficial as whatever monetary savings we will get."

What's more, the center will be the second UM building certified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The certification, commonly known by the acronym LEED, is the Green Building Rating System developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

"I don't know of any other building on another campus of this type," Vaughan said. "Here, students learn modern processes of manufacturing as they bring their ideas to life."

Besides its advanced construction, the CME offers a unique educational focus for undergraduates interested in manufacturing education. The program brings together the schools of Engineering, Business Administration and Accountancy to provide students with skills involved in successful manufacturing, along with an understanding of accounting, communication, human resources, leadership, management and marketing.

The CME program officially began this fall with 27 freshmen from nine states.

For more information on the CME, contact Miller at 662-915-2632 or rtmiller@olemiss.edu.

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Student Wins Scholarship

Student Wins Scholarship from Solar Cell Manufacturer

OXFORD, Miss. - A University of Mississippi engineering student from Natchez is the recipient of a scholarship from a California-based solar cell manufacturing firm.

Joanna David, a junior majoring in chemical engineering with an emphasis in environmental engineering, applied for the Twin Creeks Technologies scholarship and has been awarded a full year's tuition. Recently, the firm completed the initial phase of its new solar panel production facility in Senatobia.

"In receiving the scholarship, I was invited to attend the Twin Creeks ribbon-cutting ceremony," David said. "Touring the facility allowed me to see firsthand how innovative and incredible this company is, and it made me feel extremely honored to be recognized by them."

Also a member of the UM Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, David said the scholarship has been an indescribable blessing."I am currently working on my honors college thesis under the direction of Dr. Cristiane Surbeck, and we are working to improve methods used to disinfect water through exposure to sunlight," David said. "Through my research, I have really been able to see the 'big picture.' My decision to come to Ole Miss and pursue a chemical engineering degree now makes perfect sense, and I have gained a greater awareness of the plans God has for each one of us."

The Twin Creeks Technologies South East scholarship program, which began this year, is designed to assist college students who demonstrate superior academic ability, achievement and leadership capabilities in engineering, mathematics, material science or any relevant subject matter.

David, daughter of Jerry and Joan David, had to write a 500-word paper on the relevance and impact of alternative energy and how her contribution in this area can make a difference.

"My newfound understanding of natural resources has led me to analyze our country's consumption of these resources, as well as the impact our daily usage has on creation and the environment," she wrote. "My awareness of these effects has motivated me to continue pursuing a degree in chemical engineering with an emphasis in environmental engineering in anticipation of using my knowledge to educate the general public of these issues."

The School of Engineering is excited about the partnership with Twin Creeks Technologies, said Scott Kilpatrick, assistant to the dean. One Ole Miss engineering graduate is on staff at Twin Creeks, and Kilpatrick said he hopes to expand those opportunities in the future.

"We are very thankful for the new Twin Creeks Technologies scholarship program," he said. "Considering our current economic environment, it is certainly crucial that as a nation we encourage more outstanding students to pursue engineering careers. Twin Creeks Technologies is meeting that challenge by providing scholarship funds, which will support the academic needs of some of Mississippi's most talented future engineers."

Twin Creeks Technologies was founded in 2008. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., the venture-backed solar technology company has a portfolio of more than 60 patent applications and operates engineering and manufacturing locations in San Jose and Danvers, Mass.

The Senatobia plant, started in April 2010, will create 500 jobs in two phases over a five-year period and represents a corporate investment of $175 million. The factory's opening marked the successful entry of the high-growth renewable energy business into northern Mississippi, producing American-made solar panels only 12 months after breaking ground.

For more information on the UM School of Engineering, visit engineering.olemiss.edu.

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Brazilian Faculty, Students Make Connection

UM Brazilian Faculty, Students Make Engineering Connection

OXFORD, Miss. - Cristiane Surbeck and Laís Simões Teixeira came to the University of Mississippi at different times, but the Brazilians have found common ground in the UM School of Engineering.

Surbeck joined the civil engineering faculty as an assistant professor of civil engineering in 2007. She teaches environmental water and resources engineering, and her research ranges from treatment of polluted waters to characterizing sources of water pollution.

Teixeira came to campus this fall as a senior civil engineering major and Study Abroad student. She is the first student from Brazil to come under a U.S. Department of Education grant for a "U.S.-Brazil Consortium for Sustainable Drinking Water Studies."

The three-year project, overseen by Surbeck, provides opportunities for American and Brazilian undergraduate and graduate students in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences and business to add a thematically focused, multidisciplinary, international dimension to their academic training.

"The Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla is the lead U.S. university," Surbeck said. "The University of Mississippi is the other U.S. partner in the consortium. The lead university in Brazil is the Universidade Federal do Ceará in Fortaleza and the second is Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro."

The program permits students from each participating university to study one semester at another consortium university as an exchange student. This study abroad program is funded by the FIPSE-CAPES program, jointly administered by the U.S. Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, or FIPSE, and the Brazilian Ministry of Education, known as CAPES.

The U.S.-Brazil Consortium for Sustainable Water Studies project will help participants form a successful international alliance by understanding educational, technical, cultural and language differences between the two countries, said Surbeck, who earned her master's and doctoral degrees at the University of California at Irvine.

Two UM students are scheduled to attend Brazilian universities during the spring 2012 semester.

"I'm really excited because I knew that universities here are really different than back home," said Teixeira, a senior civil engineering major at UFC. "I was a little bit afraid because it was a completely different experience; now, I'm really glad I came."

Oxford is much smaller and calmer than Teixeira's hometown of Fortaleza, which has about 2.5 million residents.

"Here, we are completely immersed in a university environment," she said. "Almost everything is about Ole Miss. Back home, I live in such a big city. Life is busy and stressful."

At UM, Teixeira is taking three engineering courses and another in English as a foreign language. She is receiving a "hands-on" experience in Surbeck's class.

"The information she is gaining would prove most useful should she ever go to work in a water treatment plant," Surbeck said.

"I'm going back to Brazil by the end of this semester and I'm going to finish my courses there," Teixeira said. "I'll be graduated by the end of next year. I'm still not sure about what I'm going to do after graduation."

For more information about UM's Department of Civil Engineering, go to engineering.olemiss.edu/civil or call 662-915-7191.

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Chair Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Engineering Chair Receives Lifetime Achievement Award in China

OXFORD, Miss. - A University of Mississippi faculty member is the recipient of a highly prestigious award from the International Conference on Computational and Experimental Engineering and Sciences.

Arunachalam Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering, was presented ICCES's Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization's 2011 annual meeting in Nanjing, China. He was honored for his research in "Impact Behaviors of Advanced Materials and Structures." Rajendran is the first in his field to receive this award, which recognizes his sustained and significant contributions in the forms of research, teaching and community service.

Rajendran is among only six people in the world, including three in the United States, to receive the honor, which is not given every year.

"The recognition through this award will provide more or enhanced opportunity to conduct collaborative research with researchers in leading institutions around the world," Rajendran said. "The honor also enables me to attract and recruit post-doctoral fellows from top institutions in countries that participate in the ICCES conferences each year."

Alex Cheng, dean of the UM School of Engineering, said Rajendran's extensive administrative and research experience is most deserving of the recognition.

"Dr. Raj's research on the ballistic impact on armors has vital contribution to the nation's security," Cheng said. "Several of Rajendran's material failure models are included in the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy design codes and routinely used by scientists and engineers working in government and private laboratories.

"He has served as the lead organizer for numerous national and international workshops and symposiums throughout his career, bringing researchers together to brainstorm future requirements for advanced material models for protective structures under extreme loading environments. His international award will bring the mechanical engineering department, the School of Engineering and the University of Mississippi national and international attention."

ICCES founder Satya Atluri, member of National Academy of Engineers and distinguished professor at the University of California-Irvine, informed Rajendran of his selection. An anonymous award committee identified researchers based on recognition by peers, continuous contribution to the field for 20 years or more, active participations and publications in ICCES conferences and demonstrated leadership on organizing symposiums and workshops.

"I have been recognized for my work by several other awards throughout my career," Rajendran said. "This international award further validates my contributions to the field."

Born and raised in India, Rajendran earned his doctorate from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering at the University of Washington. Before joining the UM faculty in 2008, he served as chief scientist for the Engineering Sciences Directorate in the U.S. Army Research Office; a team leader at the Army Research Laboratory in Maryland; a mechanical engineer at the Army Materials Technology Laboratory in Massachusetts; and a group leader and associate research engineer at the University of Dayton Research Institute in Ohio.

Other honors and awards Rajendran has received during his 23-year career include ICCES's Professor Eric Reissner Medal, the Army's Research & Development Achievement Award, the Wohlleben/Hochwalt Award and Martin/Marietta's Manned Space Systems Award.

Rajendran also was active in Tamil Nadu Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Maryland, and successfully executed several charitable projects as TNF president. These included "Computers-on-Wheels," which promotes computer education among rural high school students in India. He was recognized for his leadership for this project - both in the United States and India - through the "Outstanding Non-Resident Indian" award given by the Intellectual Forum of India.

He is a member of the American Physical Society, an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Army Research Laboratory.

Over the past decade, the ICCES has emerged as a major international forum with thousands of participants from the Americas, Europe and Asia convening to share recent research results in engineering science. ICCES emphasizes the closure of theory, computation and experiment across the sciences, engineering and mathematical modeling.

For more information on ICCES and the Lifetime Achievement Award, visit icces.org. For more about the Department of Mechanical Engineering, call 662-915-5770 or email Rajendran at raj@olemiss.edu.

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Former Dean Karl Brenkert Jr. Dies

Former Engineering Dean Karl Brenkert Jr. Dies

OXFORD, Miss. - Karl Brenkert Jr., 89, dean emeritus of the University of Mississippi School of Engineering and professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, died Thursday (May 19) in Sun City West, Ariz.

Popular with students and well-respected among UM deans, Brenkert helped boost the school's enrollment, budget and academic profile, adding professional disciplines and a doctoral program in engineering. A native of Detroit, he served as dean from 1964 to 1979 and continued to teach mechanical engineering courses until his retirement in 1989.

"Academically, the school made some giant steps under Karl; for example, we received accreditation throughout his tenure as dean," said K.P. George, professor emeritus of civil engineering. "The school became known all over the country for its engineering science program, and as research funding increased, the graduate enrollment increased by leaps and bounds."

Brenkert earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1944 from the University of Michigan, where he was chapter president of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity and belonged to Tau Beta Pi national engineering honor society. He worked as an engineer forBrenkert Light Projection Co. and RCA Victor Corp. before continuing his education at Stanford University, where he completed his master's and doctoral degrees in engineering mechanics in 1952 and '55, respectively.

He authored "Elementary Theoretical Fluid Mechanics," a widely used textbook, and held several patents in the motion picture projector industry.

He was an associate professor of fluid mechanics at both the University of Alabama and Michigan State University before becoming assistant dean of engineering at Auburn University. After three years at Auburn, he served as program director for the Science Facilities Evaluation Group at the National Science Foundation in Washington.

"Dean Brenkert first came to the university as part of an accreditation inspection team," said Russell Aven, professor emeritus of chemical engineering. "The administration was impressed with him, and when Dean (Frederick) Kellogg left for Memphis State in 1964, they asked Brenkert to come in and take over as dean."

One of Brenkert's first moves was to strengthen the school's research component by hiring faculty members proficient in research, often from prestigious engineering schools across the country. That strategy began to pay off almost immediately, said Sam DeLeeuw, professor emeritus of civil engineering who came to UM from Yale University in 1965 as department chair.

"During my first year, a committee hired by the board of the Institutions of Higher Learning visited us, looking at the possibility of consolidating the engineering programs among the state universities," DeLeeuw recalled. "This happened again three or four years later. Both committees included respected national leaders of engineering, and both committees recommended continuing the Ole Miss engineering school."

Many researchers across the country credit Brenkert for nurturing their careers. One of them, Vijay Gupta, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Colorado, was awarded the 2008 Robert E. Horton Medal, the highest international honor in the field of hydrology as a geophysical science, by the American Geophysical Union.

"I flourished in research in scientific hydrology to solve challenging engineering problems due to Karl's unique support that set the stage for what I would accomplish in later years," said Gupta, who joined the Ole Miss faculty as an assistant professor of civil engineering in 1977. "He told me, 'If I could do what you do, then I would not be dean. The next best thing I can do is to support faculty like you.'"

Brenkert himself was recognized for his effectiveness in the classroom and was named in 1971 as one of the Outstanding Educators of America. Many of his students affectionately referred to him as "Sweet Old Brenkert."

"He would often bet Cokes on student GPAs," DeLeeuw said. "If a student didn't make the GPA and brought the equivalent money for a Coke, Brenkert wouldn't accept it. He would say 'The bet was a Coke, not the money to buy a Coke.'"

His honors included a Distinguished Engineering Service award from the Mississippi Engineering Society, the 1988 UM Engineer of Distinction award and inclusion in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in American Men of Science.

Also known as a fierce competitor, Brenkert enjoyed playing tennis and board games, particularly games of strategy. Students often visited his house on weekends for marathon board game sessions, and Brenkert generally listed himself on score cards as "The Old Pro."

Survivors include Brenkert's wife of 66 years, Elizabeth "Betty" Brenkert of Sun City West; sons Karl "Buzz" Brenkert III of Cincinnati, Scott Brenkert of Rio Rico, Ariz., and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. (ret.) Eric Brenkert of Monument, Colo.; daughters Gail Brenkert of Spokane, Wash., and Dr. Pam Reband of Lake Havasu City, Ariz,; one sister, Virginia Tiefel of Eau Claire, Wis.; eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services were Sunday at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Elizabeth and Karl Brenkert Scholarship Endowment Fund in Mechanical Engineering at UM.

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Scholarship to Honor Karl Brenkert Jr.

Scholarship Established to Honor Karl Brenkert Jr.

Dear Friends,
We are writing to let you know of a special opportunity to honor former Dean Karl Brenkert Jr., who passed away in May at the age of 89.

Dr. Brenkert served as dean of Ole Miss School of Engineering from 1964 to 1979 and continued to teach mechanical engineering courses until his retirement in 1989. Brenkert mentored many students and was popular among them. During his tenure, he boosted the school's enrollment, budget and academic profile, adding professional disciplines and a doctoral program in engineering. To honor Dr. Brenkert, friends are setting up a Karl Brenkert Jr. Scholarship fund in his memory. The fund needs a $25,000 endowment to provide a $1,000 annual scholarship for an undergraduate engineering student. However, the endowment is $15,000 short. An anonymous donor recently pledged a $7,500 donation as a challenge for donations of equal amounts to fully establish the scholarship fund.We two former colleagues of Dr. Brenkert are writing to solicit your assistance.

If you are interested in contributing, contact Sarah Hollis at the UM Foundation at shollis@umfoundation.com or 800-340-9542. Checks should be made the University of Mississippi Foundation, with Brenkart Scholarship (01660) in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to UM Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677. Gifts also can be made online at umf.olemiss.edu.

Thank you,
Sam DeLeeuw, Chair and Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering
Sam Wang, F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and Director Emeritus of NCCHE

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Banquet to Honor Alumni and Students

Engineering Banquet to Honor Outstanding Alumni and Students

OXFORD, Miss. - Two University of Mississippi School of Engineering alumni will be given prestigious awards and six outstanding students will be recognized Friday (April 1) at the annual Excellence in Engineering honors banquet.

Headlining the event is presentation of the Engineer of Distinction award to 1984 master's graduate Thomas Zacharia, deputy director for science and technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This is the highest award given by the school to recognize professional accomplishment.

"The Engineer of Distinction award is given to a graduate who has reached a pinnacle in their career," said Dean Alex Cheng. "The list of previous winners is impressive and includes former university chancellors, CEOs and senior executives of Fortune 100 companies, in addition to leaders in aerospace and aviation, construction management, computer science, law, medicine and research."

For the first time, an Engineer of Service Award will be given at the banquet. The dean and the Engineering Alumni Chapter created this award to honor an individual who has gone beyond the call of duty for the School of Engineering and made a mark in their career. David W. Arnold of Yazoo City, a 1958 chemical engineering bachelor's graduate, was chosen to receive the inaugural award.

"The Engineer of Service award is given to an alumnus based on service, commitment and dedication to the School of Engineering," said Stephen Edge, chair of the School of Engineering Advisory Board. "David Arnold is an excellent example of someone who is committed to serving the School based on his many years of service and dedication and rightly deserves the inaugural award. He has been a leader among his peers and a mentor to younger alumni who have shown an interest in service to the School of Engineering."

Also this year, six outstanding seniors are to be recognized. The awards were based on the students' academic records, along with their involvement in service and their leadership qualities.

They are Maria Theresa Brown, a geological engineering major from Brandon; Hannie Quay Parker Capps, a civil engineering major from Sunflower; Anna Kathryn Hailey, a chemical engineering major from Muscle Shoals, Ala.; Chiedozie Tony-Jude Ibekwe, an electrical engineering major from Lagos, Nigeria; Jonathan David Jones, a chemical engineering major from Long Beach; and Mark Wesley Phillips, a civil engineering major from Madison.

This year's banquet is part of the daylong celebration of the School of Engineering's 110th anniversary, which also includes the dedication of Brevard Hall. The building, formerly known as Old Chemistry, is being renamed for 1943 civil engineering graduate and longtime supporter Henry Brevard and his family.

Upon learning he had been chosen as the 2011 Engineer of Distinction, Zacharia said, "I was pleasantly surprised and honored to learn that I was named the Engineer of Distinction. There are a number of distinguished alumni from the Ole Miss School of Engineering and it means a lot to me that I was selected to receive this recognition this year. I feel fortunate to have attended a school with such a terrific program that prepared me well for my continuing education and my career. It was my first exposure to the United States and I could not have picked a better school or a better community to live. The faculty, staff and students were very friendly and supportive."

Zacharia, whose UM master's degree is in materials science and engineering, also holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Regional Technical College in Karnataka, India, and a doctorate in engineering science from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. He holds two U.S. patents and is author or co-author of more than 100 publications on high-performance computing for manufacturing processes.

He joined the ORNL in 1987 and oversees one of the nation's largest research and development programs, with annual expenditures of $1.3 billion in materials and physical sciences, energy and engineering sciences, computing and computational sciences, life and environmental sciences, neutron sciences and national security. Before his present appointment, he served ORNL as associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences from 2001 to 2009. He is a professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Tennessee.

Zacharia is on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Science Advisory Board, the NSF's Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure and the High Performance Computing Advisory Board of the Council on Competitiveness. He also is a member of the advisory board for the Forschungszentrum Jülich research center at Julich, Germany, and of the High End Computing steering committee of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in the United Kingdom.

Arnold said he had no idea an Engineer of Service award was being considered, and he was surprised to discover he was the winner.

"I was very humbled and pleased to be selected," Arnold said. "I certainly enjoyed my years as an Ole Miss student. Not only was it a great place to be, but a great place to get an education. The chemical engineering faculty was outstanding and the education we received was top-notch."

In addition to his UM degree, Arnold holds master's and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from Iowa State University. He was named the UM Engineer of Distinction in 1989 and received a Professional Achievement Citation in Engineering from Iowa State University in 1994. He was inducted into the UM Alumni Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the inaugural Alumni Service Award in 2002.

A Tunica County native and U.S. Navy veteran, Arnold retired in 2001 as senior vice president of the Technical Group at Mississippi Chemical Corp., one of Mississippi's largest industries. He was responsible for the company's research and development, engineering, construction and environmental programs. During his career at Mississippi Chemical, Arnold directed engineering and construction of more than $900 million in new plants and facilities, primarily in Mississippi.

Arnold said Ole Miss prepared him for graduate school as well as his professional career. "I met my wife, Barbara, there, so it's very special to me."

"I'm very excited about the great progress being made in the School of Engineering today with the Center for Manufacturing Excellence and the recent increase in funded research activity. The School of Engineering is in the best position it's ever been in to grow and prosper."

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Alum, Retired Chair Maintain Contact

Mechanical Engineering Alum, Retired Department Chair Maintain Contact Over Years

Though almost 40 years have passed since Robert Johnson graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Engineering, the retired mechanical engineer says he will never forget his mentor and the life-changing experiences he had as a undergraduate student.

"My life as I now know it started there with Dr. F. Douglas Shields, an Ole Miss physics professor who cared enough about me, as a person, to not only share the gospel of Jesus with me, but studied the Bible with me and later baptized me," said Johnson, who lives in Cambodia with his wife, Jeanie. "I began practicing the biblical concepts of integrity, honor, sacrifice, your neighbor more important than yourself there in my everyday life, and now in my service in Cambodia."

The Johnsons came to Cambodia in October 2008 to work as volunteers on a medical ship that offers free medical, pharmacy and dental services to residents living along the banks of the Mekong River. His job as the ship's engineer was to oversee the normal operation of the ship and to take the vessel into dry dock. While in dry dock, he would manage the contractors for the repairs, upgrades and modifications to the entire vessel, getting it back up to safe operating condition.

Through a series of events, the couple found themselves leasing a house and inviting foreigners and tourists passing through to stay with them. They began a home church and started getting involved in the community, teaching English in a public school as the volunteer "native speaker," helping with a sub-culture in the salt fields where sea salt is reclaimed from the Gulf of Thailand, and being good neighbors and friends to those with whom they come in contact.

John Fox, chair emeritus and professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, fondly recalled his student and a few of the events they shared during his tenure.

"Robert always was a very interesting guy," Fox said. "He worked hard on everything he did as a student. And whatever he did, he did thoroughly."

Johnson, who was a research engineering technician with BF Goodrich Aerospace, said he came to the Ole Miss engineering school with a desire, determination and a quest for the technical skills necessary to become successful as a person and as an engineer.

"My learned professors were not only my teachers, but valuable resources for the challenges that lay before me, and I knew that," he said. "My approach to problem-solving became analytical rather than emotional, which was just the beginning of changes in my professional as well as my personal life. I became the engineer Dean (Karl) Brenkert envisioned in body, mind and spirit."

Since graduation, Johnson sat on the board of directors for the University Christian Student Center (which Shields started) for nearly 20 years. During those returns for board meetings, and later the graduation of both his daughters from UM, he always made it a point to renew acquaintances with engineering faculty and friends.

"I was always warmly received, and since Dr. Fox was chairman of my engineering discipline and my wife's boss (she was his secretary), there was more time spent with him," Johnson added.

As a Vietnam War veteran on the G.I. Bill and assigned to a "work study program" directed by Fox, Johnson co-taught two engineering labs and helped complete both a sub-sonic and supersonic wind tunnel for Fox. "These items were my work study assignments. I just had fun while pursuing my heart's desire to become an Ole Miss engineer," he said.

"It was a very interesting time," said Fox, who designed nine such tunnels in various locations over the course of his 48-year teaching career. "Robert got into small computers early on. He would buy the pieces and actually build them from scratch."

Johnson recently handled the logistical and planning preparations for a medical team from Mercer University in Macon, Ga., to come to Kampot Province for three weeks and hold clinics in remote villages and communes. The team arrived in late May with lodging, food and an agenda in place for a busy time of free medical clinics.

"The time was well spent," Johnson said. "Over 1,200 patients were seen and I'm doing a follow-up with patients that still need medical attention and assistance. Things went so well that Mercer Medical School is considering making this an annual event for interested fourth-year medical students, as well as pharmacy and nursing students and faculty."

Johnson said he praises God for the great good that is still at the forefront of Ole Miss engineering.

"The slogan 'I see the engineer in you' is very appropriate to the school's apparent goals of creating graduates with the traits that make a good engineer and a person capable of making our world a better place to live life," he said.

"You become an engineer through life's experiences and exposures and certainly challenges. Having the engineering tools taught at UM by a great administration, I have learned the value of objective thought and critical analytical objective thinking."

Fox concurred with Johnson's assessment.

"Teaching has been very rewarding for me, especially considering it was something I never aspired to do," he said. "The field has allowed me to further my own education and meet a lot of interesting people, such as Robert Johnson."

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Petroleum Geology Classroom

Alumnus brings industry knowledge to petroleum geology classroom

For many graduates, giving back to their alma mater generally involves little more than writing a check or arranging to fund a pledge with a credit card. But UM engineering graduate Walter Guidroz decided to go further, offering his time and professional experiences to better prepare future graduates for the job market.

Guidroz, who earned his master's degree in engineering science in 1981, has returned to campus every other week this spring to teach Special Topics in Petroleum Geology (Engr 591)."I've always been interested in giving something back to the university," said Guidroz, who also holds a bachelor's degree from Nicholls State University and a doctorate in oceanography from LSU. "Also, teaching is something that I've always been interested in, and this is a great way to assess whether I'd like to go further in that direction. I feel that because I've been in the business world and done a lot of things in geology, I can show my students that there's a lot of ways you can use your training and knowledge. That can be very valuable."

Guidroz worked for Amoco from 1981 until the company merged with BP in 1999. He was laid off after the merger and took the opportunity to go back to school, earning an MBA from the University of Texas. In 2001, he was offered a job as a staff geologist back at BP and has been with the company since.

His class has proven quite popular with students, said Joel Kuszmaul, chair of geology and geological engineering.

"The students are flocking to his classes and loving the real-world experience and teaching they are getting," Kuszmaul said. Guidroz's industry-specific knowledge and experiences have been very enlightening, said Scott Peacock, a senior geological engineering major from Madison.

"He'll bring things to class and say, 'Here's something that I came across on a project. I want you to interpret it and tell me what you see in it.'" Peacock said. "And then he'll tell us what he saw in it and how he used it in his real job. It's those kinds of things that make this class more geared toward petroleum engineering than a lot of our other classes, which are more general."

The extra time Guidroz has spent working with his students has helped Peacock prepare to enter the job market after graduation in May, he said.

"He used his own time to set up mock interviews for us one weekend," Peacock said. "He showed us what a BP interview would feel like, and he gave all of us feedback on how we did and even gave us some questions that we can ask prospective employers to get a better feel for whether a job is right for us."

The students, on the other hand, have helped give their teacher new insights and energy about his field.

"They're very energetic," Guidroz said. "I marvel at the energy level and also the dedication they have to explore things and complete projects. They definitely take their work seriously."

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UM Honors Family Contributions

UM Honors Family Contributions by Renaming Old Chemistry Building for Brevards

OXFORD, Miss. - The landmark Old Chemistry Building at the University of Mississippi officially became Brevard Hall Friday afternoon (April 1) with a dedication ceremony in the building's lecture hall, where thousands of Ole Miss alumni took freshman chemistry classes.

The event was attended by more than 400 people, including state and university officials, current and former School of Engineering faculty, members of the Brevard family and engineering school alumni.

The overflow crowd spilled out of the building's Comer Auditorium and into the lobby.

Known for decades as Old Chemistry, the building was renamed in honor of Henry Brevard, a 1943 alumnus, and his family, whose donations helped pay for renovating it. Brevard Hall houses the administrative offices of the School of Engineering.

"Today is about recognizing some of our best and brightest of our past and present," said Alex Cheng, UM engineering dean. "It's about recognizing student success, distinguished alumni and community partners. Quite simply, this dedication and other events are about celebrating 110 years of excellence in engineering here at the University of Mississippi."

UM Chancellor Dan Jones agreed, saying, "Today is also about a family that has given and continues to give so much to our university. Today is about expressing our appreciation to them. Without them, this beautiful renovation would not have been possible."

The Brevards have a long history of service to the Tupelo community, the university and the entire region, he said.

"The Brevard family has been instrumental in transforming this state for more than 60 years, and we can see the results of their work in communities all across north Mississippi," Jones said. "Serving one's community is a cornerstone of the Brevard family, and Henry and Beth Brevard instilled that principle in their children by example."

The Old Chemistry Building originally opened in the spring of 1923, housing the Department of Chemistry and the School of Pharmacy. The School of Engineering was founded in 1900 and is the state's oldest engineering school.

Henry Brevard spent much of his time at Ole Miss studying and learning the discipline in the Old Chemistry Building, although the engineering school at that time was primarily housed in the north wing of the Lyceum. Upon graduation and after a stint in the armed forces, Brevard and his late father-in-law, Riley Boozer, founded B&B Concrete, a ready-mix concrete company, in 1949 in Tupelo. More than 60 years later, B&B is one of north Mississippi's strongest businesses.

His son, David Brevard, a 1978 Ole Miss liberal arts honor graduate, is the company's CEO. He works closely with the engineering school on scholarship planning and civil engineering student training.

Brevard said the family's financial and professional involvement with Ole Miss began slowly.

"But I guess about 20 years ago we decided we wanted to give credit to the university that we believe is responsible for our personal and professional growth," Brevard said. "I still remember the encouragement I received as a student. No financial donation can repay the mentoring I received here. I wouldn't - we wouldn't - be the family we are today if not for Ole Miss."

David Brevard agreed: "We are excited to give back to our university in this small way. Ole Miss engineering has evolved into a well-rounded school that offers the best analytical education, partnered with the best liberal arts environment. We are pleased to be a part of this great American public university."

Joshua Waggoner, engineering school development officer, said the Brevard's family commitment to Ole Miss, and specifically the School of Engineering, is extensive.

"Henry Brevard was one of the first members of the Woods Order, a giving program established in the 1970s to specifically support engineering student activities," Waggoner said. "And David is a past president of the Alumni Association, plus he was a member of the Commitment to Excellence Campaign steering committee."

In 1991, Brevard committed $1 million to endow the Brevard Family Scholarship program, which has allowed more than 500 students to attend Ole Miss. In 2003, a $100,000 gift from David, his wife, Shawn, and his sister, Elise Brevard Smith, created the Elizabeth B. Brevard Council Scholarship, in honor of their mother.

"The Ole Miss School of Engineering has made excellent progress over the past few decades and is poised to make even greater progress in the coming years," Henry Brevard said.

"We have always thought that our scholarship endowment was important to help the school increase the caliber of our already gifted student body and to help increase enrollment. Our second purpose has been to make engineering education possible for deserving and talented students who might otherwise not have the means necessary to pursue higher education."

In addition to the evening dedication, which included an open house and reception, other anniversary events included a barbeque and blues concert, and the annual Excellence in Engineering reception and banquet honoring outstanding students, faculty and alumni.

Notable guests attending the ceremony included Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, Mississippi Rep. Steve Holland, IHL board members Dr. Stacey Davidson and Aubrey Patterson, former engineering dean Kai-Fong Lee and Clark McCarrell, senior vice president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

For more information about the School of Engineering, visit the School of Engineering Website.

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Building Dedication

Building Dedication to Highlight 110th School of Engineering Anniversary April 1

OXFORD, Miss. - Something "old" officially becomes something new April 1 as the University of Mississippi School of Engineering celebrates 110 years of service to higher education.

The Old Chemistry Building is being renamed Brevard Hall in honor of 1943 alumnus Henry Brevard and his family, whose donations helped pay for its renovation. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. and is open to the public.

"The Ole Miss School of Engineering is at a cusp of opportunity that can create a quadruple convergence of students, faculty, alumni and friends, and facilities," said Alex Cheng, dean of the engineering school. "These convergences of positive forces may be unprecedented and transform the school into a great engineering school to serve the state and nation."

Other anniversary events include a barbeque and blues music concert, which starts at 11:30 a.m. in Lyceum Circle; an open house, which commences at 1:30 p.m. in all engineering departments; and the annual Excellence in Engineering reception and banquet, which begins at 6:45 p.m. at the Inn at Ole Miss and honors outstanding students, faculty and alumni.

Before there were Carrier or Anderson halls, Brevard spent much of his time studying and learning the discipline of engineering in what was referred to as the Old Chemistry Building. At that time, the engineering school was housed primarily in the north wing of the Lyceum. Upon graduation and after time spent in service to his country, he and his late father-in-law, Riley Boozer, determined that ready-mix concrete strategically would be the future of their business, and founded B&B Concrete in 1949. More than 70 years later, the company is one of north Mississippi's strongest businesses and remains committed to a set of core principles. David Brevard, a 1978 Ole Miss honors graduate, now serves as chief executive officer of B&B. He continues to work closely with the engineering school on scholarship planning and civil engineering student training.

Henry and David Brevard have remained exceptionally committed to Ole Miss. Henry Brevard is past president of the University of Mississippi Foundation, past president of the Engineering Alumni Chapter, past chairman of the School of Engineering Advisory Board and past chairman of the engineering school's Woods Order. He was named Engineer of Distinction in 1987, and he was inducted into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame in 1988. David Brevard served as president of the University of Mississippi Alumni Association for 1999-2000.

"Mr. Brevard and his family's commitment to Ole Miss, and specifically, engineering is extensive," said Joshua Waggoner, engineering school development officer. "He was one of the first members of the Woods Order, a giving program established in the 1970s to specifically support engineering student activities."

In 1991, Brevard committed $1 million to endow the Brevard Family Scholarship program, which has allowed more than 500 students to attend Ole Miss. From then to today, the Brevard family has made additional significant contributions each year to the engineering school, their scholarship program and other efforts on campus.

"We feel the Ole Miss School of Engineering has made excellent progress over the past few decades and is poised to make even greater progress in coming years," Brevard said. "We have always thought that our scholarship endowment was important to help the school increase the caliber of our already gifted student body and to help increase enrollment to a point of more efficiency per student, considering the funding available. Our second purpose has been to make engineering education possible for deserving and talented students who might otherwise not have the means necessary for that pursuit."

Two former administrators reflected upon their tenures as deans of the engineering school.

"The School of Engineering is blessed with an outstanding faculty and bright students," said Kai Fong Lee, immediate past dean and an electrical engineering professor. "With the new engineering complex becoming a reality and a dedicated leadership team, the school is on course to realize its vision of becoming one of the best engineering schools in the South."

"Thanks to people like Henry Brevard, the School of Engineering seems like it is really headed in the right direction," said Allie M. Smith, who served as engineering school dean 21 of his 28 years on the UM faculty. "I had a very enjoyable time while there, and see things only getting better and better as the years go by."

Construction of the new Center for Manufacturing Excellence and the renovation of Brevard Hall and Carrier Hall creates more learning space and opportunity for students, said Engineering Student Body president Ryan Jones.

"With the multiple manufacturing programs that we have added and the increased numbers in enrollment, our school is rapidly moving to the next level," said the junior electrical engineering major from Jackson. "I feel comfortable in saying that the Ole Miss School of Engineering will never stop improving, and I look forward to seeing what the years to come hold."

Engineering faculty agree with Jones' assessment.

"The School of Engineering has consistently graduated people who go out to be leaders in industry," said John O'Haver, associate dean, director of the Center for Math and Science Education and chemical engineering professor. "With rapidly growing enrollment, we will have to work to keep the 'personal touch' that we have always had. But I am confident that we will continue to graduate leaders, ones who will positively impact our profession and our world."

O'Haver's confidence in the future was echoed by Jones.

"Choosing Ole Miss to pursue engineering was one of the easiest decisions I've ever made - and definitely the best," Jones said. "As I finish my third year and the school begins its 110th, I can say that this institution has really lived up to their motto of 'We see the engineer in you.' My experience as an engineering student at Ole Miss could not have been better."

The Ole Miss School of Engineering has 882 undergraduates and 156 graduate students enrolled. Forty-six faculty members are tenured, and research expenditures totaled $10.2 million in 2010. Entering freshmen have an average ACT score of 24.3. Ninety-seven bachelor's degrees in engineering were awarded in 2010, compared to 16 engineering degrees awarded between 1900 and 1906.

The Old Chemistry Building was built in 1920, the Charles E. Smith Engineering Science Building was built in 1938, Carrier Hall constructed in 1954 and Anderson Hall dedicated in 1974.

Besides Cheng, Lee and Smith, former deans and acting deans of the school include James Vaughan, Karl Brenkert, Frederick Kellogg, Lee Johnson, Andrew Broadus Hargis, John Hazard Dorrah, Walter Hugh Drane and Alfred Hume.

Notable engineering school graduates include Jess Woods (first Rhodes Scholar), Joseph Cerny (first Fulbright Scholar), Barbara Kerr Beckman (first woman engineering graduate), Edgar Lee Caples (first African-American engineering graduate), Steven Hester (first Goldwater Scholar) and William "Bill" Parsons (former director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center).

For more information about the 110th School of Engineering celebration, go to http://www.engineering.olemiss.edu/SaveTheDate/.

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Mechanical Engineering Chair

Engineering Chair Receives Lifetime Achievement Award in China

OXFORD, Miss. - A University of Mississippi faculty member is the recipient of a highly prestigious award from the International Conference on Computational and Experimental Engineering and Sciences.

Arunachalam Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering, was presented ICCES's Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization's 2011 annual meeting in Nanjing, China. He was honored for his research in "Impact Behaviors of Advanced Materials and Structures." Rajendran is the first in his field to receive this award, which recognizes his sustained and significant contributions in the forms of research, teaching and community service.

Rajendran is among only six people in the world, including three in the United States, to receive the honor, which is not given every year.

"The recognition through this award will provide more or enhanced opportunity to conduct collaborative research with researchers in leading institutions around the world," Rajendran said. "The honor also enables me to attract and recruit post-doctoral fellows from top institutions in countries that participate in the ICCES conferences each year."

Alex Cheng, dean of the UM School of Engineering, said Rajendran's extensive administrative and research experience is most deserving of the recognition.

"Dr. Raj's research on the ballistic impact on armors has vital contribution to the nation's security," Cheng said. "Several of Rajendran's material failure models are included in the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy design codes and routinely used by scientists and engineers working in government and private laboratories.

"He has served as the lead organizer for numerous national and international workshops and symposiums throughout his career, bringing researchers together to brainstorm future requirements for advanced material models for protective structures under extreme loading environments. His international award will bring the mechanical engineering department, the School of Engineering and the University of Mississippi national and international attention."

ICCES founder Satya Atluri, member of National Academy of Engineers and distinguished professor at the University of California-Irvine, informed Rajendran of his selection. An anonymous award committee identified researchers based on recognition by peers, continuous contribution to the field for 20 years or more, active participations and publications in ICCES conferences and demonstrated leadership on organizing symposiums and workshops.

"I have been recognized for my work by several other awards throughout my career," Rajendran said. "This international award further validates my contributions to the field."

Born and raised in India, Rajendran earned his doctorate from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering at the University of Washington. Before joining the UM faculty in 2008, he served as chief scientist for the Engineering Sciences Directorate in the U.S. Army Research Office; a team leader at the Army Research Laboratory in Maryland; a mechanical engineer at the Army Materials Technology Laboratory in Massachusetts; and a group leader and associate research engineer at the University of Dayton Research Institute in Ohio.

Other honors and awards Rajendran has received during his 23-year career include ICCES's Professor Eric Reissner Medal, the Army's Research & Development Achievement Award, the Wohlleben/Hochwalt Award and Martin/Marietta's Manned Space Systems Award.

Rajendran also was active in Tamil Nadu Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Maryland, and successfully executed several charitable projects as TNF president. These included "Computers-on-Wheels," which promotes computer education among rural high school students in India. He was recognized for his leadership for this project - both in the United States and India - through the "Outstanding Non-Resident Indian" award given by the Intellectual Forum of India.

He is a member of the American Physical Society, an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Army Research Laboratory.

Over the past decade, the ICCES has emerged as a major international forum with thousands of participants from the Americas, Europe and Asia convening to share recent research results in engineering science. ICCES emphasizes the closure of theory, computation and experiment across the sciences, engineering and mathematical modeling.

For more information on ICCES and the Lifetime Achievement Award, visit icces.org. For more about the Department of Mechanical Engineering, call 662-915-5770 or email Rajendran at raj@olemiss.edu.

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UM Engineering and Nation of Colombia

UM Engineering and Nation of Colombia Team Collaborate

OXFORD, Miss. - The University of Mississippi School of Engineering and the National University of Colombia are working together to help faculty at the latter complete their much-needed doctoral programs.

The Universidad Nacional de Colombia, or UNdC, operates engineering schools at its Medellin, Manizales and Bogota campuses in Colombia. The university recently signed an agreement with the Southern Universities Engineering Consortium to enable seasoned UNdC faculty to earn terminal degrees in engineering at either Ole Miss or the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The UM School of Engineering is a founding member of the Southern Universities Engineering Consortium.

Funding for the collaboration is being provided by UNdC and Colciencias, the Colombian equivalent of the National Science Foundation. The Ole Miss School of Engineering and Office of International Programs - in close cooperation with their counterparts at UNdC - are working to identify suitable candidates for enrollment this fall and beyond.

"Developing collaboration programs with top institutions of higher education abroad is at the heart of the university's, as well as the School of Engineering's, internationalization agenda," said Alex Cheng, UM engineering dean. "This particular collaboration will bring highly-qualified, externally-funded students from Colombia to our doctoral engineering programs."

Under the terms of the partnership, Colombian faculty will retain their positions at home while studying in the United States. Colciencias will assist the Southern Universities Engineering Consortium in promoting the opportunities the collaboration with UNdC stands to generate.

"The presence and inclusion of international students on campus stimulates in American students an appreciation and knowledge of people around the world and of issues other countries face," said Greet Provoost, director of UM's Office of International Programs. "Moreover, it provides them the opportunity to actively engage in a global market of ideas and helps to assure that all students - foreign or domestic - are well prepared to contribute meaningfully locally and globally."

Due to the limited number of doctoral training programs as well as increased higher education participation rates on account of the nation's rising affluence and middle class, Colombia has an acute shortage of people with terminal degrees. To address this issue, Colombia has launched a national capacity-building campaign in science, technology and engineering fields.

"Selected lecturers, as well as select students identified to become professors in the future, are given the opportunity to complete their Ph.D. studies in Colombia or abroad with support of funding agencies and their respective institutions," Cheng said.

UNdC and Colciencias are also interested in deepening the collaboration with the Southern Universities Engineering Consortium to include study and research opportunities in engineering for its students and faculty and to expand the collaboration also to other academic/research disciplines.

"International collaboration programs create opportunities for all students as they prepare for personal and professional success in a globalized world," Provoost said.

For more information about UM's School of Engineering, go to engineering.olemiss.edu. For more information about the Office of International Programs, visit international.olemiss.edu

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Freshman Twin Brothers

Freshman Twin Brothers Continue Family Legacy in Ole Miss Engineering, Athletics

OXFORD, Miss. - Scott and Marni Kendricks always hoped that their twin sons, Sam and Tom, would one day attend the University of Mississippi as they did decades earlier. What the couple didn't anticipate is that each of the brothers would enter his parents' alma mater with stellar achievements in academics and athletics.

The 18-year-old brothers graduated from Oxford High School in May. Sam set school and state records in pole-vaulting, earning honors as the Gatorade Mississippi Boys Athlete of the Year and Mr. Track and Field in Mississippi. Tom won the Robert Youngblood Award for having the most varsity letters of any graduating senior in track, cross country and soccer during his high school tenure. "We are thrilled that our boys will be continuing the family legacy in engineering and in athletics," said Marni Kendricks, assistant dean in the School of Engineering. She is the daughter of Jim Reeves, who was assistant director of UM's National Food Services Management Institute and business manager for the UM Foundation Barksdale Reading Institute before his retirement.

"I think that this is exactly the right fit for each of them to earn their degrees and launch successful career paths."

A champion high school runner and founding member of the Ole Miss track program under coach Joe Walker, Scott Kendricks has been coaching OHS teams for years. "I am particularly pleased that Sam will now be coached by Joe Walker, who also coached me so many years ago," he said.

Both brothers said they are eager to begin their engineering studies.

"I've visited several other universities, but for me, Ole Miss is still the best," said Sam, a general engineering major, Army ROTC student and athletics scholar. "Ole Miss is whatever you make it to be. I'm going to spend a lot of my time here between ROTC and the track team."

"I feel like engineering is the major I've been guided to my whole life," said Tom, a mechanical engineering major, European Aeronautic Defense and Space North America scholar and co-op intern in the university's National Center for Physical Acoustics. "I love Oxford, and Ole Miss is a great school from which to earn a degree."

Both Sam and Tom will take a required engineering graphics course taught by their mother, who is known to be rigorous in the classroom.

"We had Dad for our coach for six years, so we should be able to take instruction from Mom for a semester," Sam said with a laugh.

Coaching his own sons to athletics success was a challenge, Scott Kendricks said.

"It was pretty normal the first four years, but the last two years, Sam got really good at what he does," he said. "I had to upgrade my own coaching techniques just to match his abilities. I never imagined that he would become this great in the sport."

Already envisioning their post-university careers, Sam hopes to become a civil engineering in the U.S. Army, and Tom's goal is to work as a mechanical engineer for EADS.

Such divergent choices are par for the course for the twins, their father said.

"They've always been very different from one another," Scott Kendricks said. "They shared a bedroom, a bathroom and a birthday, and that's about it."

For more information about engineering programs at UM, go to engineering.olemiss.edu.

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Olympiad Championship

Doctoral student coaches team to Olympiad championship

A team of Oxford Middle School students is on its way to a national science competition, thanks, in part, to some valuable coaching from a University of Mississippi engineering student.

Michael Hougendobler will accompany the group to the 2011 National Science Olympiad Tournament to be held May 20-21 at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The team, which won six medals at the state competition in March at the University of Southern Mississippi, is one of two groups representing the state in the contest.

"We will travel to Madison earlier in the week to take advantage of the workshops, tours and exhibits being offered in conjunction with the competition," said Hougendobler, a native of Franklin, Tenn., who is completing his doctoral degree in materials science and engineering at Ole Miss. "I believe 60 middle schools and 60 high schools compete at the national level."

A NASA/MSSGC (Mississippi Space Grant Consortium) Graduate Research Fellowship recipient, Hougendobler began coaching the students last September after meeting with two OMS teachers who coached the previous year's team.

"Mrs. (Patricia) Kincade and Mrs. (Susan) Drummond contacted the Mississippi Center for Math and Science Education to see if anyone would be interested in coaching," Hougendobler said.

In previous years, Kincade worked closely with John O'Haver, CMSE director. Alice Steimle, associate director, put Kincade in touch with Hougendobler.

"One component of the fellowship is outreach to local K-12 math and science teachers," Hougendobler said. "The CMSE contacted me to see if I was interested. I met with them and started working with their students shortly after."

Hougendobler has been a wonderful coach and a positive influence upon her students, Kincade said.

"The fact that he is a grad student, not one of their teachers, really upped his 'cool' factor, and all of the students seemed to enjoy interacting with him," Kincade said. "We are lucky to have found Michael."

The students met twice per week after school until Christmas break. Afterward, they began meeting three times per week.

"Most of the students on the team competed in last year's competition, so they already had a good idea about how to prepare," Hougendobler said. "I made sure they were staying on task, following the rules, and I helped them understand some of the concepts they were struggling with."

His assistance proved to be invaluable, Drummond said.

"This year's science Olympiad team is weighted heavily on the male side, with 10 boys and six girls, so having a male coach was awesome for the boys," she said. "Having Michael coach the team helped us by bringing in additional subject matter expertise and allowed us to focus on ancillary details that go along with preparing for both the state and national competitions."

Preparation for the event varied. "Certain events required building things in advance, such as a trebuchet or wooden tower," Hougendobler said. "Other events required students to learn about specific scientific topics such as anatomy, ecology, electricity and the solar system."

The Oxford team, which had no financial sponsors to the state competition, is seeking sponsorships for its trip to the national event.

"The state trip was paid for by the school and parents," he said. "Engineers from the Tennessee Valley Authority helped students prepare for some of the events."

Hougendobler holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in materials science and engineering. He is the son of John and Cindy Hougendobler of Memphis, Tenn.

For information about how to become a sponsor for the Oxford Middle School Science Olympiad Team, contact either Patricia Kincade at pkincade@oxford.k12.ms.us or Susan Drummond at sjdrummond@oxford.k12.ms.us. For more information about the UM School of Engineering, visit engineering.olemiss.edu. For details about the National Science Olympiad, visit nso.wisc.edu.

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Second Prize in National Competition

Chemical Engineering Students Win Second Prize in National Competition

Jonathan Jones, Brittany Quigley and David Quigley, chemical engineering students at the University of Mississippi, recently won second prize in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' 2011 Student Design Competition.

The students won in the Team Category where they were asked to design a Gas to Liquids Plant preliminary design package. They competed against dozens of chemical engineering programs across the nation who put forward one solution to the design problem.

Each year, chemical engineers from a designated company devise and judge a student contest problem that typifies a real chemical engineering design situation. The problem's solution requires a wide range of skills in calculation and evaluation of both technical data and economic factors.

This is the third year that the University of Mississippi participated in the competition. In 2009, the student team won first place nationally.

The School of Engineering and provost sent the department and team letters of congratulations with a mention in the provost's "Points of Pride" report.

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Brazilian Women's Soccer Player

Brazilian Women's Soccer Player Enjoys Success as Civil Engineering Major at UM

Rafaelle Souza understands the importance of setting and attaining goals. From her modest beginnings in her hometown of Salvador, Brazil, the 20-year-old became a major player on her country's national women's soccer team, which played in the World Cup championship.

But after grueling touring schedules interfered with Souza's education at the Universidade Do Estado Da Bahia, she began exploring opportunities to pursue her studies while remaining a star athlete. Her interest in civil engineering brought Souza to the University of Mississippi, where she has managed to both excel in her studies and on the soccer field.

"I came to Ole Miss because of the opportunity it provided me to both study engineering and to play soccer," Souza said. "I couldn't do both in Brazil, but here I can."

Coming from a city of 3 million people in South America to a much smaller town in the southern United States has been a challenge for Souza. Among the biggest of these challenges has been learning and mastering English as a second language. Though still perfecting her speech, the sophomore has passed the TOEFL exam, allowing her to enroll in required coursework for her degree and thus be eligible by the National Collegiate Athletic Association rules to participate in sporting events.

"I'm still learning how to express my opinions in English," Souza said with a smile. "I speak well enough to communicate with my teammates and have good relationships with them."

While Souza has played against soccer teams from all over the world without injury, she endured her first in an Ole Miss match against the University of Tennessee this fall.

"We were ahead 3-0 when I got hurt and had to stay on the sidelines the entire second half. Tennessee then came back and beat us 4-3," Souza said. "I hate being injured and I hate having to ice my leg in physical therapy. I'm from Brazil!"

Souza's resilience has made quite an impression upon those around her, said Marni Kendricks, assistant dean of the engineering school and adviser for general engineering students, including Souza.

"Rafa has lots of perserverance, intelligence and dedication under pressure," Kendricks said. "Being an athlete shows she knows how to manage her time and a necessary level of self-discipline to succeed. I think her international experience is also a tremendous asset which will allow her to take advantage of the many opportunities - domestically and globally - for engineers."

While Souza's first loves are soccer and engineering, she also enjoys playing video games and talking with family and friends back home via Facebook and Skype.

"I want to be a civil engineer because I love math, physics and architecture," Souza said. "In Brazil, both soccer and engineering are mostly men's territory, but I love the challenge."

"Having a degree from Ole Miss will be awesome. My family would never have been able to afford sending me to a big university outside of Brazil. Only here would I have such a wonderful opportunity to play soccer and earn my degree at the same time."

For more information, visit UM's Department of Civil Engineering or call 662-915-7191.

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TREE Program

TREE Program Donates Recycled Computers to Smithville Schools

OXFORD, Miss. - When a tornado ravaged Smithville on the afternoon of April 27, among the properties heavily damaged was the Smithville School campus. When students return in August, they'll attend classes in 43 mobile trailers while the K-12 school is rebuilt.

The portable classrooms are a temporary measure, but the school will be outfitted with much-needed computers, thanks to the Technology Recycling to Enhance Education program at the University of Mississippi.

UM students and faculty members plan to deliver 24 computers to the Monroe County School District office in Amory at 10 a.m. Tuesday (July 5). The units were collected from across the Ole Miss campus, cleaned and refurbished for distribution to public K-12 schools. TREE previously provided computers for students at Water Valley and West Tallahatchie high schools.

"After hearing about the situation, our students all wanted to do something to help them rebuild their program," said Dawn Wilkins, associate professor of computer and information science and faculty adviser of the UM chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. "As it turned out, their technical person said even if they were able to salvage their own computers, they would still want our refurbished ones because they were newer than theirs. The whole thing was serendipitous."

The UM Physical Plant Department is providing vans to transport the computers to their new home in Smithville.

"The university becomes involved with other communities whenever a disaster strikes in order to assist them in their own recovery efforts," said Russ Buchholz, acting associate physical plant director. "When the request came for this particular effort, the response from our department was to provide the vans."

Once UM students deliver the computers, they will be kept in a storage facility for distribution this fall, Wilkins said.

"Right now, all we have is the promise of land upon which to place the trailers temporarily while new construction is being built on the original school site," said Alan Pearson, Monroe County School District technology director. "It could be a year or more before we have permanent facilities completed, but we're going to use the computers wherever we can in the meantime."

TREE is a joint effort among the Ole Miss ACM chapter, CIS faculty and the Office of Information Technology. The project was conceived by CIS faculty members, senior computer and information science major Brett Ladner and Scotty Polston, CIS network administrator. Its threefold goals are: to reduce the waste of usable electronic equipment at Ole Miss, to support education in the state and to provide ACM students with hands-on experience.

"TREE helps us to help other people," said Robert DeCurtins, a native of Olive Branch and chapter vice president. "A lot of schools have outdated equipment. Quality equipment is very important. What we provide the schools is usually newer and better than what they have. It's another way for us to give back to the community."

Pamela B. Lawhead, retired CIS associate professor, said she is proud of the cooperative effort and is awed by the amount of work students are willing to invest in TREE.

"Computer science students have very rigorous schedules, and to see them going the extra mile to clean and refurbish these computers for public schools is simply amazing," said Lawhead, who was also director of the university's Institute for Advanced Education in Geospatial Sciences.

Wilkins agreed. "TREE is a zero-budget operation and is labor-intensive, but our students are determined and dedicated to use their time and skills doing something very few people can do," she said.

ACM members have established a website, http://tree.olemiss.edu/, to help others learn about TREE. At the website, faculty, staff and departments can transfer computing equipment to be cleaned and refurbished. Public schools also can use the site to request the refurbished computers.

"TREE is just another opportunity for us to provide service, but this time we're extending it to the entire state," Ladner said.

For more information, email tree@olemiss.edu.

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Engineers Without Borders Scholar

Ole Miss Student Selected as Prestigious Engineers Without Borders Scholar

OXFORD, Miss. - Of all the things Pablo Mariaca received during the Christmas holidays, nothing topped the e-mail message notifying him he had been named a 2011 CH2M Hill Engineers Without Borders-USA Scholarship recipient.

"I still can't believe it," said the University of Mississippi senior civil engineering and economics major from La Paz, Bolivia. "I am very humbled by it. I'm thankful for the School of Engineering and its commitment to EWB, for our chapter and for all the opportunities I've had by being involved with EWB-USA. I'm so happy!"

Mariaca is among 12 recipients of the coveted award, which recognizes students' dedication to academic excellence, use of technical skills to improve living conditions in impoverished Third World countries, and proven leadership ability. More than 80 candidates applied to the program.

"I learned about the scholarship through a newsletter sent by EWB-USA that Dr. Chen periodically forwards to our chapter," Mariaca said. "The application consisted of two letters of recommendation, a transcript, an application form and one essay describing how my involvement with EWB-USA has prepared me for a professional engineering career and made me a better engineer."

Engineering faculty and administration are equally excited about Mariaca's honor.

"Pablo's winning the very competitive award reflects his passions not only for excellent academic records and self-enrichment, but also for the people around him and those in the world," said Wei-Yin Chen, professor of chemical engineering and faculty adviser for the EWB-Ole Miss Chapter. "I am happy to see that our EWB chapter has provided an opportunity for our students to stretch their characters for success."

"We are proud of Pablo, who, like many other engineering students, has strong leadership, character and a commitment to serve," said engineering Dean Alex Cheng. "The School of Engineering works closely with the Engineers Without Borders Chapter to provide the leadership, service and global opportunities to our students."

Mariaca is project coordinator of UM's EWB chapter. He was a delegate to the EWB-USA Southeast Regional workshop in Miami in October 2009 and the international conference in Denver last spring.

"Our first EWB-Ole Miss project consists of a small drinking water treatment facility in a village in Togo (western Africa)," he said. "We are planning to have an assessment trip during spring break or early summer."

EWB-USA is a nonprofit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities worldwide to improve quality of life. The partnerships involve implementing sustainable engineering projects while involving and training internationally responsible engineers and engineering students.

For more information about Engineers Without Borders-USA, visit ewb-usa.org. For more information about the UM School of Engineering, visit engineering.olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7407.

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Student Recycling Sorter

Student recycling sorter selected as one of best

A three-member student team from The University of Mississippi was one of the finalists in the 2010 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Student Design Competition.

The 2010 competition, "Earth Saver: Autonomous Material Sorter," required participating teams to design, build and test an autonomous system capable of accurately sorting common recyclable materials into distinct waste containers."We spent about 150 hours in the design and construction of the sorter," said Andrew Walker, who worked with fellow students Bert Welch and Garret Stone on the project. "It was a learning experience for us to take control of the design process and produce a functional product, where almost none of our original ideas was used. We gained firsthand knowledge of how some things that seem best, in theory, are not practical for an efficient project."

The team's sorter worked by eliminating each material by its distinct physical properties.

"First, the glass, being the most dense, fell through plastic bristles we fashioned from a broom," Walker said. "Then the tin cans were removed by a rotating magnetic drum because they were the only ferrous materials. The plastic and aluminum containers were then separated by their size."

The group worked on its original design during the 2009 fall semester as a class project for Dr. Raju Mantena, professor of mechanical engineering. The three then began the assembly of the material sorter as their capstone project the following semester for Dr. Jagdish Sharma's senior design class. Their sorter was selected as the best senior design project for the class as well as for the entire school.

"In the fall semester, all senior mechanical engineering students are challenged in the ME 427 Kinematics class to work, in groups of three, on conceptual designs for the annual ASME Student Design Competition," Mantena said. "A faculty panel selects one or two groups that have the opportunity to build proof-of-concept prototypes in the following spring semester ME 438 Capstone Design Class and represent Ole Miss in the ASME Regional Student Conference held in March/April of each year. It is hard work but well worth the experience. All mechanical engineering students also get to go to the regional conference, to cheer our team and see how the students from other schools perform."

In the 2010 ASME competition, the UM team placed second in its district after the team from the South Dakota School for Mines and Technology. Walker said the UM team was named a finalist because about 30 teams, an unusually high number, competed in the district competition. Because of scheduling conflicts, Walker, Welch and Stone did not attend the competition finals, held Nov. 14 at the 2010 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The other universities that made it to the competition finals were California State University at Fresno, Carnegie Mellon University, Grand Valley State University, McGill University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, the University of Alabama, the University of Tennessee and Western Kentucky University, as well as the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Yeditepe University in Turkey. Texas's LeTourneau University had two teams entered in the competition.

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Hot Rod

Engineering Student Modifies Hot Rod, Fulfills Dream of Racing at Bonneville

OXFORD, Miss. - Jeffrey Ferguson never thought he would race on the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

He also never thought he would set a land speed record at the 62nd Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week late this summer, but that's what the 23-year-old Olive Branch native did.

"It was the most surreal experience in my life. I felt like I was in a movie," said Ferguson, a junior mechanical engineering major at the University of Mississippi.

Ferguson has been salvaging and modifying old cars since he was a young child.

"I've been around them since I was a baby," said Ferguson, the son of Jeff and Lori Ferguson of Olive Branch. "My dad restores hot rods, and I discovered I had an interest and passion for them, too. I love to modify and build engines with my hands."

Ferguson started welding at age 12 and moved quickly to building and later racing hot rods.

After seeing "The World's Fastest Indian," a 2005 film based on Burt Munro's quest to race his modified Indian Scout motorcycle in the Bonneville Speedway, Ferguson was determined to have one of his modified cars featured at Bonneville, too. Munro, a motorcycle racer from New Zealand, eventually won numerous land speed records in the 1950s and '60s, many of which have not been broken.

Ferguson said he admired Munro's tenacity and drive to accomplish his ultimate goal.

"I remember thinking, 'That's the person I want to be,'" he said. "At the time, going to college did not factor into my plans."

Immediately after high school, Ferguson started working at a fabrication company, but he quickly grew bored, moved to modifying computers and later switched to airplanes.

But, at age 20, Ferguson found himself reconsidering college when a friend transferred to Ole Miss to study engineering. Ferguson got excited and also decided to give Ole Miss a try.

He said his decision paid off.

"My desire to build hot rods is why I decided to study mechanical engineering. It seemed like the perfect match," Ferguson said. "But, I've gotten so much more from being here. Studying engineering has shown me how cars and engines work. Before, I just knew what I knew. I would build it, and it worked. But now I understand the cause and effect of what I build."

Ferguson's new understanding of aerodynamics, statics, graphics and other core engineering subjects, as well as his innate ability, led him to the Bonneville Speedway in August with friend George "Bucky" Gallimore, a radiologist in Memphis and former drag car racer.

Gallimore recently had purchased a 1979 Trans Am on eBay and gave Ferguson an all-access pass to work his magic.

"I've been racing for 30 years, and going to Bonneville is a dream of all racers," Gallimore said. "Jeffrey is a good kid and really talented. He did the roll cage and rear suspension for the racer, and I swapped the motor."

It took the duo a year to modify the racer, and in May 2010, the "Buckwheat Racing Team" was ready for its first race in Maxon, N.C. By August, the two traveled 32 hours nonstop to Booneville Speedway in Wendover, Utah.

"That was a long drive. We asked ourselves at several points, 'Are we having fun yet?'" Ferguson said.

In Utah, Ferguson and Gallimore worked their way up to an AA license, which meant they could race up to 300 miles per hour. After making a record backup run at 249 miles per hour, they were named official members of the Bonneville 200 MPH Club.

"We were blown away when we received our red caps after joining the club. It's an honor. There are more people who have climbed Mount Everest than who are in the 200 MPH Club," Ferguson said.

So, what's next for Ferguson?

The Ole Miss student is trying to get a scholarship from the Southern California Timing Association. He found out about the scholarship during the race.

"I'm determined to finish my engineering degree," Ferguson said. "I'm so proud I decided to come here. I have a new understanding of so much. I'm thinking more about my future now. Before coming to Ole Miss, I just wanted a job. Now, I'm thinking of starting my own business-JF Hotrods. Yeah, that sounds great."

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Graduate Course Applies Knowledge

Graduate Course Lets Engineering Students Apply Knowledge to Real-World Problems

OXFORD, Miss. - When Shannon Wilson, a University of Mississippi graduate student from Fairfax Station, Va., signed up for a course in Service Learning in Water and Sanitation Engineering last fall, she didn't know what to expect.

But the environmental engineering major had heard that the class, taught by Cristiane Queiroz Surbeck, would give her a chance to apply her classroom learning to the real world.

Wilson and her nine classmates did, in fact, get to apply their understanding of fluid mechanics and environmental engineering in Surbeck's class, but they also got a chance to learn skills necessary to help communities in need of clean water.

"I'm sure many of the students wondered what a service learning class meant," said Surbeck, who designed the course curriculum. "Service learning simply combines academic classroom knowledge with meaningful service for needy communities."

That's why Surbeck partnered with Living Waters for the World and Clean Water U to provide her students with practical knowledge of water systems and to teach them how to "improve drinking-water treatment systems to be taken to poor communities, both in the U.S and abroad."

The fall course required students to actively work at Clean Water U, which is located at Camp Hopewell and Conference Center outside Oxford. Clean Water U is a simulation experience designed to equip mission teams with the skills necessary to install clean-water systems provided by Living Waters for the World.

"This course had great personal meaning to me - it was my first hands-on experience working with water treatment equipment," Wilson said. "I also learned how to be in a leadership role without being overbearing. This was more than a regular engineering class."

"Even our lab discussions centered on how to improve present day water systems or how to provide our new knowledge and skills to needy communities. I gained priceless knowledge," she said.

Surbeck said she did everything possible to make this course happen because students "learn best and most deeply by taking knowledge from the classroom and applying it to something they can relate to."

"The service the students provided was in-depth," she said. "They tested the efficacy of the water treatment system and used their abilities to do something important for someone else."

For more information on Service Learning in Water and Sanitation Engineering, contact Surbeck at csurbeck@olemiss.edu. For more information on engineering programs at UM, go to engineering.olemiss.edu.

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Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship

Former Union Boilermaker Receives Prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship

OXFORD, Miss. - When he was 14, Brian Michael Watson dropped out of high school. At 16, he earned his GED and went to work for five years as a union boilermaker.

Now at 25, things have changed for Watson. He recently received the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship and is majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Mississippi after transferring from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. His decision to further his education has refocused his future.

"I really wasn't satisfied with my lifestyle and the way things were going," Watson said. "I didn't feel like I had a fulfilling future ahead of me in that course of life."

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship helps the nation's top community college students complete their bachelor's degrees by transferring to a four-year college or university. It provides up to $30,000 a year to each of approximately 30 students selected annually.

A Pascagoula native, Watson was a member of Local 112 of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. After working as a boilermaker for several years, he was eager for a change, so he considered joining the military and spoke with several recruiters. This led him to take the ACT, on which he scored extremely well.

"Having been out of school for so long, it was surprising that I had such a high ACT score," he said. "I realized that I had more potential than I thought."

His score of 32 earned him a full scholarship to MGCCC, so he decided right then to return to school.

Mary Sison, director of the honors program at MGCCC, was Watson's mentor throughout his tenure there. After instructing him in a history course, she encouraged him to join the honors program.

"Michael is an excellent student - extremely intelligent and versatile - well-versed in a wide array of topics," Sison said. "He loves to learn, and he loves to be in an intellectual environment."

Community service has been a large part of Watson's college experience. As part of the college's honors biology program, he worked as an intern at the Gulf Coast Research Lab and the Ocean Springs school district, providing a space science curriculum for gifted third-graders. He also has been involved with coastal cleanups, heart walks, Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity and breast cancer awareness events.

"As a union boilermaker, you're expected to provide services to the community," he said. "This instilled in me a sense of volunteerism. So any time the opportunity came up through the honors program, I jumped at the opportunity."

During his two years at MGCCC, Watson qualified every semester for the President's List with a 4.0 grade-point average. He was recognized by his campus for the first-place presentation in science education at the 2009 Mississippi Academy of Sciences.

These and other accomplishments led Sison to recommend him for the Cooke Foundation Scholarship.

"Michael was a great candidate for the JKC scholarship mainly because of his motivation," Sison said. "That he was one of the few students to take the time to construct such an excellent application says something about him. It was easy to recommend him."

Upon learning that he had won the scholarship, Watson was speechless.

"It's hard to put that feeling into words," he said. "I've always been averse to any kind of debt. Without the scholarship, I would have been forced into the position of taking out a student loan. So once I received it, it was a huge load off."

Watson's transfer to Ole Miss has gone well.

"I've really enjoyed it so far," he said. "It's been kind of a culture shock coming from the Coast, but I'm starting to get into the swing of things here."

Faculty in the mechanical engineering department praise Watson's dedication and vision.

"Our slogan in the mechanical engineering department is 'Student-Focused and Research-Driven,'" said Arunachalam Rajendran, chair of the department. "Michael reminds us every day of our commitment to our students in teaching and service. His success story further illustrates that if one pursues his or her own dream with zeal and persistence, then according to Helen Keller, 'We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough.'"

Watson has big plans. This summer he intends to apply for a highly competitive NASA internship. After completing his undergraduate degree, he plans to attend graduate school and eventually work as an engineer.

"I want to be on the cutting edge of engineering design, and I would like to make significant contributions to society," he said.

For more information on the UM School of Engineering, go to engineering.olemiss.edu.

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Roundtable Series

Roundtable Series to Address Women's Retention in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Careers

OXFORD, Miss. - Women's retention in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is the focus of five free, public programs this spring at the University of Mississippi.

Each program in the series, "Roundtable Mentoring and Student Retention: What Women Need to Know to Survive and Succeed in STEM Careers," is scheduled 6-7:30 p.m. in Johnson Commons Ballroom in conjunction with a dinner, and reservations are required. Contact the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at 662-915-5916 or isomctr@olemiss.edu.

Meeting dates and topics are as follows:
Feb. 4 - "Women in STEM" (RSVP by noon Feb. 2)
Feb. 16 - "Career Options in STEM" (RSVP by Feb. 9)
March 9 - "Career vs. Home: A False Dichotomy" (RSVP by March 2)
April 6 - "Does Gender Bias in the Workplace Exist?" (RSVP by March 30)
April 22 - "Answers to All the Questions You Did Not Ask But Wanted To" (RSVP by April 15).

The series, sponsored by UM's female science faculty and the Isom Center, is funded by a grant from the American Association of University Women Campus Action Program.

"Representation of women in STEM careers is disproportionate to the number of women entering undergraduate studies in STEM fields," said Mary Carruth, Isom Center director. "Female representation falls precipitously as females move through the training and career pipeline."

The primary goals of the STEM roundtables are to enhance camaraderie among female STEM students, provide informal mentoring between faculty and students and facilitate discussion of difficult issues that may preclude a student from remaining in a STEM discipline, and start a student affiliate chapter of the AAUW, Carruth said.

Warigia Bowman, assistant professor of public policy leadership, and Tamar Goulet, associate professor of biology, are the principal investigators of the project. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the College of Liberal Arts matched this grant.

"The Isom Center is delighted to partner with the American Association of University Women to encourage UM women to pursue and stay in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics," Carruth said. "The AAUW has documented the unfortunate shortage of girls and women preparing to work in STEM careers in its research reports, AAUW's Tech Savvy (2000) and Women at Work (2003). Its forthcoming report on women in STEM will be released later this spring in time for us to share its findings at the roundtables."

The Isom Center for Women was established at UM in 1981 to advocate for women and to educate the campus and community about diverse women's and gender issues. The center houses the gender studies program and sponsors programming. UM has provided educational opportunities for women longer than any other state university in the South. When the university opened its doors to women in 1882, 11 women registered for classes. Women constitute more than half the student body.

For more information or to request assistance related to a disability, contact the Isom Center at 662-915-5916 or isomctr@olemiss.edu. To learn more, visit http://www.sarahisomcenter.org/.

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E-Week

E-Week Helps Students 'See the Engineer' Within Themselves

OXFORD, Miss. - Engineering students at the University of Mississippi are using the creative side of their brains to increase enrollment.

National Engineers Week, known on campus as "E-Week," is set for next week (Feb. 14-19). The annual series of daily campus activities is aimed at creating an awareness of engineering throughout the community and introducing the degree and profession to middle and high school students in Mississippi and to Ole Miss students who are undecided about a major.

"Across the country, engineering enrollment is way down," said Lyndsey Freeny of Vicksburg, Engineering Student Body president. "This is our creative effort to get it revved up again."

Engineering Day on Feb. 26 is the culmination of the monthlong observance. Co-sponsored by the School of Engineering, the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, and the Center for Mathematics and Science Education, the event brings more than 150 high school students from across Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama for a full day of interacting with engineering students, taking individual and team math, science and engineering tests, and participating in a water tower model-earthquake simulation competition.

Scheduled events include:
Feb. 15 - The Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers are sponsoring the ESB luncheon and competitions.
Feb. 16 - The American Institute of Chemical Engineers is providing lunch for engineering students, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers sponsors a paper airplane competition.
Feb. 17 - The American Society of Civil Engineers and the Geology Club are providing lunch and organizing a scavenger hunt for engineering students.
Feb. 18 - The Engineering Career Fair brings industry professionals to Carrier Hall for interviews with engineering students seeking internships, co-op positions, and employment opportunities. The Society of Women Engineers hosts the Mr. Engineer 2010 Competition at 7 p.m. in Anderson Auditorium. Admission is free.
Feb. 20 - Engineering faculty, staff and students facilitate the annual North Mississippi Region MathCounts for middle school students.
Feb. 22 - The American Society for Civil Engineers is hosting the North Mississippi ASCE meeting at the Inn at Ole Miss starting at 6:30 p.m. It features a four-speaker panel, New Orleans-style buffet and a raffle for a signed football and basketball. Admission is $5 for students.
Feb. 26 - The Society of Women Engineers is hosting its annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day for high school girls.

Marni Kendricks, assistant to the dean, and the UM Career Center are coordinating the Career Fair. Maxine Woolsey, educational outreach specialist, and April Kilpatrick, CMSE outreach specialist, are coordinating the middle and high school competitions.

"The engineering students that help facilitate the competitions are true ambassadors for the school," Woolsey said. "They grade tests, judge projects and interact with the secondary school students and teachers."

"Through outreaches such as E-Week, MathCounts and Engineering Day, we anticipate increasing the School of Engineering's enrollment year by year," Kendricks said. "We want to introduce engineering as a degree and a career to more Mississippi secondary school students serious about their futures. We want to expose more students to this amazing field."

For more information about the School of Engineering, call 662-915-5780 or visit engineering.olemiss.edu.

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New MMRI Director

New MMRI Director Rocks and Rolls From Geological Engineering to Mineral Resources

OXFORD, Miss. - Long before environmentalism became a popular movement, Greg Easson unearthed his passion for the planet.

"I've made my living and my livelihood studying what is in, on, and underneath the Earth's surface," said Easson, who became director of the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute at the University of Mississippi in January. Less than two months in the position, he appeared before the Mississippi Legislature to appeal for leniency as severe state budget cuts are proposed and finalized.

"MMRI operations have been vital to the state's economic growth," Easson said. "We need funding to remain as close to current levels as possible in order to continue progress."

Before assuming his new role, Easson was department chair and associate professor of geology and geological engineering at UM. His research at Ole Miss has focused on the various aspects of remote sensing and geographic information system development. Before joining the UM faculty, he was a staff geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

"Dr. Easson is the ideal person to lead the institute," said Alice Clark, vice chancellor of research and sponsored programs. "His broad experience and expertise coupled with his visionary leadership will advance the institute's role as a vital resource for Mississippi, continuing the tradition of excellence that the late Dr. Bob Woolsey established for MMRI."

Easson, who is also founder of the UM Geoinformatics Center and executive director of the Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions, said his combined duties are both clearly defined and being developed.

"As director, I lead research in the energy, marine, mineral, environmental and geospatial information areas," he said. "I am also to enhance the cooperative relationships between MMRI staff, academic departments, faculty and students."

Easson is "uniquely qualified to lead" MMRI research that, hopefully, stimulates the economy, said Alexander H.D. Cheng, dean of the School of Engineering. "He has established the strong foundation of skills necessary to lead this diverse group of scientists and engineers," Cheng added.

Easson earned his doctorate from the University of Missouri at Rolla. He also has a master's degree from the University of Missouri and a bachelor's degree from Southwest Missouri State University.

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning created MMRI in 1972 to coordinate mineral-related research in the state. The mission remains to provide both public and private sectors with expertise to help make responsible decisions regarding Mississippi's and the nation's resources and environmental well-being.

The institute pursues research projects that address contemporary issues, provide educational and practical training to college students who work on these projects, provide results to interested parties in industry, government and academia, and engage in community service activities.

"Since its creation almost 38 years ago, MMRI has served the state of Mississippi by leading the effort to better understand the challenges and opportunities related to our natural resources," Clark said. "The institute's work related to Mississippi's energy resources is more important than ever."

While MMRI faces huge challenges, Easson said he is not intimidated by his new role.

"Everything I've done in my career so far has led me to my current position," Easson said. "I'm always ready to dig a little deeper into the endless possibilities and opportunities presented daily."

For more information about MMRI, visit mmri.olemiss.edu/Home.aspx or call 662-915-7320.

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CMSE Raises Bar

Center for Mathematics and Science Education Aims to Raise the Bar in Math and Science Achievement

OXFORD, Miss. - American 15-year-olds lag behind their peers in 31 countries in math proficiency, and in science, the nation's eighth-graders' test scores trail those of eight countries, a 2009 U.S. Department of Education report concluded.

"Even worse, that standing is falling," said John O'Haver, a University of Mississippi chemical engineering professor and director of the UM Center for Mathematics and Science Education.

And just as America has fallen behind much of the developed world in math and science achievement, Mississippi ranks dead last nationally in these areas. The state's universities have produced only 20 bachelor's degrees in math education over the last two years and only a handful of doctoral degrees over the past four decades.

To address the problem, CMSE is a using six-year grant from the Hearin Foundation to provide doctoral candidates a $20,000 annual stipend, nearly double the amount of any other stipend on campus. The goal is to improve both math and science education across the Magnolia State and help build a better pipeline for a more technical workforce.

"Our society is becoming more and more technologically advanced," said Julie James, former North Pontotoc High School math teacher. "As teachers, we are preparing students for jobs that don't even exist yet. Problem-solving and logical thinking skills will be in high demand."

James is one of nine doctoral students on scholarship through the CMSE program. The New Albany native, who was a public school teacher for five years, believes a doctoral degree will allow her to better train future teachers.

"I have children of my own in public school," James said. "My goal is to help Mississippi teachers learn how they can tap into our students' potential."

Eighth-graders in Chinese Taipei, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan all rank above their American peers in mathematics, and eighth-graders in Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea, England, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and the Russian Federation also outscore American students in science.

"If we cease to be competitive in education, then we will cease to be competitive as a nation," O'Haver said.

But he is optimistic because CMSE students genuinely seem to care about the state of education.

"Our students have a passion," he said. "They want to make a difference."

For UM physics graduate Carl Dewitt, pursuing his doctoral degree would be impossible without the center's support.

"The CMSE has been tremendously helpful in the continuation of my education," said the 28-year-old Amory native. "They are providing me with the resources and experiences needed to be a better professional. I am truly grateful."

Raising math and science achievement standards can have far-reaching benefits, Dewitt said. For example, physics research, which incorporates mathematics and science, has produced great achievements, ranging from new cancer therapies to ways of monitoring nuclear nonproliferation.

"Current middle and high school students will be the designers and producers of the greatest devices the world has ever seen," Dewitt said. "If America cannot raise its standings, then one day we will be working for India and China."

Established in 2006 under the auspices of the UM School of Engineering, CMSE works to improve mathematics and science education in Mississippi through a comprehensive program of outreach, training, teacher certification and scholarships. For more information about CMSE, visit cmse.olemiss.edu.

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Research Student Attends Event

Doctoral Research Student to Attend International Event with Nobel Laureates

OXFORD, Miss. - When 62 Nobel laureates from around the world gather this summer in the historic city of Lindau, Germany, a University of Mississippi student plans to be there.

Chemistry graduate student Shana Stoddard of Louisville, Ky., is among 77 young U.S. researchers chosen to participate in the 60th Lindau Meeting. Laureates in chemistry, physics and physiology/medicine convene June 27-July 2 to lecture and meet with some 500 students from around the world.

Stoddard, who specializes in biochemical research, said she was shocked to hear that she had been selected.

"My first thoughts - I don't actually remember," she said. "I do remember thanking God and being totally overwhelmed with emotion. I was extremely humbled."

The laureates speak on the topic of their choice in the mornings and participate in less formal, small-group discussions with students in the afternoons and some evenings.

"I hope to gain valuable insight on how to make contributions that will benefit society," said Stoddard, who expects to soon have her second research paper published in a professional journal.

"It is one thing to do research that gets published and create new information; it is another thing to do research that generates positive change in peoples' lives. That's what I hope to learn from these Nobel laureates."

Stoddard's research focuses on developing specific inhibitors for carboxylesterase, an enzyme that catalyzes chemical reactions, as in activation of the colorectal cancer drug Camptosar. At least two carboxylesterases are present in humans, one in the liver and another in the small intestine, both of which can activate the drug.

"We know that a side effect, severe delayed diarrhea, associated with Camptosar happens because the carboxylesterase enzyme in the small intestine activates a very large percentage of the drug very fast compared to the liver carboxylesterase enzyme," Stoddard explained. "The importance of developing specific inhibitors for carboxylesterase is to control which enzyme activates the drug. The end goal is to develop a drug that could be given at the same time as Camptosar and would eliminate the side effect."

On track to receive her doctorate at UM in 2012, Stoddard is sponsored at Lindau by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a consortium of U.S. universities headquartered in Oak Ridge, Tenn. ORAU administers a broad range of internships, scholarships, fellowships and research programs.

Her application to ORAU included a nomination letter from her UM research adviser, Randy Wadkins, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Lauding Shana for being selected, Wadkins said one attribute that strengthened her application is that "she sets herself apart because she is able to grasp the big picture of her research."

"She expressed this in a very eloquent application letter that wove her current research effort into a much larger web of science. I suspect the selection committee was as impressed by this as I was."

Alice Clark, UM vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, said, "This will be an extraordinary personal and professional opportunity for Ms. Stoddard - and a privilege for the university to have a participant in this significant global dialog."

Stoddard first came to UM in 2008 after Wadkins recruited her as a participant in UM's summer research program Alliance for Graduate Education in Mississippi. The purpose of AGEM is to increase the number of students from under-represented minorities who enter science, mathematics and engineering graduate programs at the consortium institutions.

After a successful summer, Stoddard decided to enter UM's doctoral program in chemistry. She was engaged in research as an undergraduate at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, where she completed her bachelor's degree. Since coming to UM, she has co-authored one research paper, which was published last year in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and her second is being submitted to the Journal of Pesticide Science this month.

"Shana's work to date has been mostly computational in nature, but she is also beginning a biochemistry project that involves isolation of an enzyme from a fungus," Wadkins said. "She is excited about the combined use of cutting-edge computer simulation and wet - even messy - biochemistry."

Stoddard's dream, though, is "to fix paralysis." She began this focus in high school after one of her best friends was paralyzed as a result of corrective surgery for scoliosis.

"There is a very important connection between my dream and my current research, which is equipping me to understand how to develop enzyme inhibitors through various techniques," she said. "I can take all of the tools I learn from this project and apply them to other biological systems."

Only days after learning she had won the trip to Germany, Stoddard received word that she is among 50 of the 500 students at Lindau chosen for a fellowship to attend the Euroscience Open Forum in Torino, Italy, July 2-7. The program "Lindau Fellows go ESOF" by the Robert Bosch Foundation, encourages young scientists to share their experience and participate in debates.

Wadkins said he is "always trying to give students an opportunity to meet prominent scientists." In that effort, his StudyUSA course is offered during May Intersession 2010 and includes visits to leading research facilities in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit outreach.olemiss.edu/study_usa/baltimore_dc10.html.

Funding for Stoddard's research comes from the National Science Foundation's EPSCoR program for Mississippi: msepscor.msstate.edu.

For more information on chemistry programs at UM, visit olemiss.edu/depts/chemistry.

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ACMSE Conference

Computer & Information Science to Host 48th ACMSE Conference April 15-17

OXFORD, Miss. - More than 150 computer scientists from around the region are expected at the University of Mississippi April 15-17 for the 48th annual Association for Computing Machinery SouthEast Conference.

The event, slated for the Student Union, is hosted by UM's Department of Computer and Information Science.

"This conference provides an excellent forum for both faculty and students to present their research in a friendly and dynamic atmosphere," said H. Conrad Cunningham, department chair. "The exciting array of events scheduled includes two keynote addresses, four pre-conference workshops, three tutorials, 67 paper presentations and 21 poster presentations."

Nell B. Dale, the first woman to receive ACM's prestigious Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award for "changing the study of computer programming to focus on problem solving and software engineering principles, and away from language syntax," delivers the first keynote address Friday morning.

A retired educator from the University of Texas, Dale received the ABACUS Award from Upsilon Pi Epsilon, Honor Society for the Computing Sciences. This award is presented to an individual who has gained international renown in the profession, and over a period of several years has provided extensive support and leadership for student-related activities in the computing and information disciplines.

Hal Stern, vice president in Oracle's North American Enterprise Solutions Group, delivers the second keynote address Friday evening. Stern, who focuses on the boundary between Oracle's Sun hardware and core database and middleware technologies, was most recently a distinguished engineer and vice president of global systems engineering at Sun Microsystems. He previously held the titles of Chief Technology Officer for Software, Services, iPlanet and the North American sales organization in more than 20 years at Sun.

Four pre-conference workshops are offered beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Topics include Model-Driven Engineering, Object-Oriented Discrete Event Simulation, Teaching with Embedded Xinu and Teaching with Alice 3.

As corporate partners of the conference, AT&T, SAP, Sun, Oracle and Dell are providing financial support for this year's ACMSE meeting on the UM campus.

For more information on the conference, go to cs.olemiss.edu/acmse2010/Home.htm.

For more information on the Department of Computer & Information Science, go to cs.olemiss.edu.

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Youngsters Win Engineering Awards

Big Things Come in Small Packages: Two Local Youngsters Win Engineering Awards

OXFORD, Miss. - Talmadge Lewis is only 7 years old, but thanks to a recent competition at the University of Mississippi, he may already be looking years ahead to a career as a robotics engineer.

Lewis was one of two elementary school students from Oxford to receive medals at UM's 23rd annual Excellence in Engineering Awards last week. He and Mary Charles Kendricks, 10, received top honors in the Class 1 and 2 divisions, respectively, for their creative projects entered in the annual Region 7 Science and Engineering Fair.

"We did the best we could do," said Lewis, a second-grader at Oxford University School. He designed and built a robot that simulates combing hair. The idea came after he found one of his grandmother's bobby pins on a bathroom floor. Lewis used LEGO Mindstorm kits to create and test variations of his robot before coming up with his medal-winning entry.

"Because we arrived late, I won fifth place in the science fair, but I still won the Excellence in Engineering Award," he said. "That's pretty cool."

Normally, the awards have been presented only to high school students who have excelled in the areas of science related to engineering or computer science. This is the first year the competition was opened to elementary school students as well.

"In order to increase student interest in math, science and engineering, we must plant a seed at an early stage," said Scott Kilpatrick, assistant to the engineering dean and presenter of the awards. "We want each student to know that we see the engineer in them, no matter what their age may be."

Recipients of these awards receive either plaques or medals during each of the seven regional Mississippi Science and Engineering Fairs and the State Science and Engineering Fair, which is hosted on a rotating schedule.

"I feel like I'm the luckiest girl in the world," said Kendricks, a fourth-grader at Della Davidson Elementary. She designed and conducted an experiment to test the strength and longevity of columns made of paper in cold, humid and room temperatures. She topped the columns with weights to test their strength.

"The columns stood 12 days in the cold environment, four days in the room temperature and only an hour in the humid environment," she said.

Other local winners included Dora Chen, a sophomore at Oxford High School.

Students are appreciative of the opportunity to discuss their projects with Ole Miss engineers and excited to earn the awards, said Maxine Woolsey, UM engineering education outreach specialist. "It is a great opportunity to recognize students who are involved in engineering projects."

"It is always a delight to serve as a judge in the science fair," said John O'Haver, associate engineering dean and professor of chemical engineering. "When you look at the variety of students, the variety of projects and the obvious enthusiasm that students have for their work, it is exciting. The depth and complexity of some of the projects is amazing."

Both winners' parents said they are thrilled to see their children taking an interest and being encouraged in engineering at such a young age.

"Mary Charles loves to get involved in math and science experiments, competitions, investigations and - I'm proud to say - creative engineering projects," said Marni Kendricks, assistant to the engineering school dean and Mary Charles' mother. "Her grandmother was a career science teacher, I'm an engineer and my father, Jim Reeves, is a mathematics guru. I guess you could say science fair is kind of a family tradition."

"I think it's really wonderful that the Ole Miss School of Engineering takes such an interest in students at my son's age," said Pauline Lewis, an Oxford attorney and mother of Talmadge. "This was all his idea and he wanted a medal so bad. I'm extremely happy for him."

Future engineering dreams withstanding, the Kendricks and Lewis children only know they are still happy about having won awards last weekend.

"I'm kind of thinking about becoming an engineer, but I'm also thinking about becoming a veterinarian," Mary Charles Kendricks said.

"My mommy's brother was a robotics engineer at NASA," Talmadge Lewis said. "So I think it would be kind of cool to be one, too."

Jeffrey Roux, former chair and retired professor of mechanical engineering, originated the Ole Miss Excellence in Engineering Awards program more than 20 years ago. Since then, Ole Miss engineering faculty members have served as judges at each of the regional fairs and at the state level.

For more about the School of Engineering, go to engineering.olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7407.

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Service Opportunities

Service Opportunities, Transformed Lives Highlight Chancellor's Inauguration Events

OXFORD, Miss. - The altruism of University of Mississippi faculty, staff, students and alumni is being recognized and encouraged, thanks to events and programs planned around Chancellor Daniel W. Jones's April 9 inauguration.

A service fair is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday (April 6) on the Student Union Plaza. Booths showcasing various service projects and service organizations will be set up, and Jones will make a brief presentation commending participants at 11 a.m.

A service directory Web site displaying volunteer efforts initiated or supported by the Ole Miss community has been launched by UM Information Technology staff. To log service hours on the projects in the directory and find ways to become involved, visit service.olemiss.edu.

To support the inauguration's theme, the university is placing particular emphasis on its service mission.

"As we talked with faculty, staff, students, and alumni about their service activities, it became clear that transformation is at the core of who we are as a community," said Noel Wilkin, associate provost and chair of the Inauguration Service Events Committee. "All of us have the ability, or the Service DNA, to transform lives in a purposeful way. Providing service can be an amazing experience and it can improve our community, state, nation and world."

Anyone wishing to create an entry in the service directory should enter it using the myOleMiss portal, Wilkin said. To get to the entry page, click "Employee," then "Administration" and "Service Administration." Student projects can be added by a faculty adviser.

"We have 40 organizations signed up for the service fair," said Johnette Taylor Jenkins, senior administrative secretary to the dean of students, UM Staff Council president and assistant coordinator of the event. "There will be an air of excitement and amazement at the fair showing just how far the University community has gone to provide service to those in need."

Among the noteworthy participants is COMPASS, a mentoring program that benefits university staff.

"The goals of the program are to promote the personal and professional growth of individual staff members," said Anita Randle, contracts and grants specialist, UM Staff Council representative and one of the COMPASS leaders. "We also seek to enhance mutual respect, build community and increase staff motivation and morale under the principle that helping others helps us."

The campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders, a nonprofit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities worldwide to improve their quality of life, is also generating attention for its efforts.

"Even before the university's application and acceptance into EWB-USA, our students had been working on Habitat for Humanity houses in Oxford," said Wei-Yin Chen, professor of chemical engineering and faculty adviser for the student chapter.

"We are evaluating several potential projects in Central America, South America and Asia."

Other UM campuses and outside groups will also be represented.

"There will be a general booth that shows all the service projects from the Desoto campus," Jenkins said. "Some of the local agencies, such as the United Way, will also have booths. I think it's great they are getting involved."

For a complete schedule of inaugural events, visit inauguration.olemiss.edu.

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Engineering Camps

Students Encouraged to Participate in Engineering, Manufacturing Camps

OXFORD, Miss. - High school students who enjoy solving problems and learning how things work are encouraged to apply for summer engineering and manufacturing camps at the University of Mississippi.

The one-week overnight camp provides students in grades 9 through 11 with an opportunity to learn and experience the engineering and manufacturing fields. Two camps will be held: one June 13-18 and another June 20-25.

"The Engineering and Manufacturing Camp promises to be an engaging and exciting experience," said April Kilpatrick, outreach coordinator for the UM Center for Mathematics and Science Education. "The campers will be introduced to engineering concepts, do hands-on activities and take two field trips to manufacturing plants in Mississippi to see real-world applications of engineering."

Interested students can submit a completed application to CMSE no later than April 30. Applications will be reviewed and campers will be selected and notified by early June. Once accepted, campers must submit a $50 reservation fee. However, scholarships are available for those who qualify and need assistance.

"The CME is committed to creating innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders for the modern manufacturing industry," said Ryan Miller, project manager for the Center for Manufacturing Excellence. "The camp is a great opportunity for students who are interested in learning about careers that will challenge them and provide intellectual and personal satisfaction."

The experiences give students a chance to view manufacturing as a career option where their minds and creativity are not only needed but valued, said Carl Dewitt, a CMSE graduate fellow who assisted with the camps last year.

"I would hope that the students who come to engineering camp will one day be instrumental in keeping manufacturing thriving here in Mississippi," Dewitt said.

"We want to let students know that we 'see the engineer in you,'" Kilpatrick said.

Hosted by the CMSE and the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, the weeklong events are designed to expose participants to the latest in engineering software, equipment and instruction. Several Ole Miss engineering faculty members lead the sessions.

For applications or more information, call April Kilpatrick at 662-915-6621 or e-mail umcmse@olemiss.edu/.

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Trebuchet Competition

High School, Middle School Students Sling Their Way to Victory in Trebuchet Competition

OXFORD, Miss. - Normally tennis balls volley back and forth on the court, but Thursday afternoon, they were being catapulted in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at the University of Mississippi.

The School of Engineering hosted the fourth-annual Gravity-Driven Catapult (Trebuchet) Hurling Competition. Middle and high school students from across Mississippi were invited to design and construct trebuchets and bring them to campus to test their engineering skills. Trebuchets, which originated as medieval engines of war, use a counterweight to propel projectiles at targets.

In the UM competition, students designed and constructed trebuchets of metal, wood and PVC to hurl fluorescent tennis balls across the field. Registering for the event were 11 teams representing nine schools: Paul D. Armstrong Middle School of Starkville, Charleston High School, French Camp Academy, Leflore County Vocational-Technical School, Northwest Rankin High School, Oxford High School, Saltillo High School, South Panola High School and Starkville High School.

Engineers from the Mississippi Department of Transportation's Batesville office and GE Aviation weighed and measured the catapults to make sure specifications were met. Catapults not meeting specs either had to be modified or were penalized points for not meeting the criteria.

"It would be difficult to disqualify a team of students that has put so much effort and time into constructing a trebuchet," said Maxine Woolsey, educational outreach specialist in the School of Engineering and coordinator of the event. "I would rather see engineering in action as the students redesign and modify their hurling machine to fall within the requirements."

Ole Miss engineering students and Oxford High School physics teacher Jim Reidy engineered a moving wall that extended 35 feet high, using PVC pipe, paint poles, a net, rope and a lot of duct tape. The engineering students measured the distance and height of each throw and calculated scores.

"There were some very well-designed trebuchets, and we saw some record performances for the competition," said Alissa Carroll, a senior mechanical engineering major from Kingwood, Texas, who has volunteered to help with the competition since its inception. "It's always exciting to see these high school and middle school students see the engineer within themselves."

First-, second- and third-place trophies were presented in the categories of accuracy, design, distance, height and cost efficiency. The Cost Efficiency Award, in keeping with the "green movement," was created this year to reward teams building trebuchets with the lowest cost per foot of hurling distance.

Scores for all participants ranged from 52 cents to $3.28 per foot. Trophies went to students from French Camp Academy, Northwest Rankin High School, Armstrong Middle School and Starkville High School.

Josh Parkerson, a senior at French Camp Academy, said he plans to study chemical engineering at Ole Miss this fall.

"I started entering the trebuchet competition three years ago because it looked like it would be fun," Parkerson said. "It is fun, but it is also challenging. I received a lot of encouragement from my older brother, Joey, who graduated from Ole Miss last year."

Before the day's final competitive event, participants faced off in preliminaries and made adjustments to their catapults. Sometimes, the machines broke during this process.

"It is impressive to see the tools come out and students making repairs to get their machine up and hurling again," Woolsey said."That is what the engineering experience is all about."

Armstrong Middle School took home four trophies, including two for first in both cost efficiency and accuracy. French Camp Academy and Northwest Rankin High School were first-place winners in design and distance, respectively. Starkville High School won first place in height.

Second-place winners were Starkville in distance, accuracy and cost efficiency categories, Armstrong in height and Northwest Rankin in design. Placing third were Armstrong in distance, Starkville in cost efficiency, height and design, and French Camp in accuracy.

Much of the event's success stems from the interaction between high school students and UM engineering students, she said.

Matt Herring, a sophomore electrical engineering major from Oxford, believes the catapult project encourages students to think and use the engineering design process.

"It is a good introduction to engineering and gives the students opportunities to design and construct catapults with basic specifications," Herring said. "Then they get to bring that catapult to the Ole Miss football stadium to test it."

In medieval times, trebuchets were more accurate than other catapults, which used tension or torsion to fire projectiles. In modern times, trebuchets have become popular devices for hurling pumpkins, frozen turkeys or even junk cars in light-spirited competitions.

Sponsors for the competition included the UM School of Engineering, Mississippi Engineering Society, GE Aviation, MDOT, Center for Math and Science Education, University Sporting Goods and The Trophy Shop.

For more information about the School of Engineering, visit engineering.olemiss.edu

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Commencement Address

Former Governor, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to Deliver Commencement Address

OXFORD, Miss. - U.S. Secretary of the Navy Raymond E. Mabus Jr. returns to his alma mater May 8 to deliver the University of Mississippi's 157th commencement address.

Mabus, who served as Mississippi governor from 1988 to 1992 and was U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1994 to 1996, speaks to graduating students and their families at 9 a.m. in the Grove. This year's graduating class includes some 2,800 candidates for undergraduate and graduate degrees.

"We have a tradition of bringing nationally and internationally renowned leaders to campus for our commencement addresses, and this year we are honored to bring one of our own back to Ole Miss," Chancellor Dan Jones said. "Ray Mabus has helped shape state, national and international policies for more than 25 years, and he is also an adept businessman and a sharp legal mind. His observations on the world should provide valuable insights for everyone."

Recipients of doctor of philosophy degrees are to be hooded by their major professors in a 7:30 p.m. ceremony May 7 in the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

A shuttle service for handicapped visitors is to be provided Saturday before the main ceremony. Shuttles will pick up people needing assistance at the planters in front of Coulter Hall on University Avenue, and take them to the seating area for the main ceremony. (Wheelchairs, if needed, must be provided by families.) Visitors needing assistance after the ceremony should tell their driver.

In case of rain, the ceremony will be moved to Tad Smith Coliseum. (If the weather is threatening, a decision on moving the ceremony indoors will be made by 8 a.m. and announced through media outlets and the UM website.)

Following the main ceremony, individual schools and the College of Liberal Arts hold ceremonies at various times and locations to present baccalaureate, master's, doctor of pharmacy and juris doctor degrees and awards. The schedule is as follows:
College of Liberal Arts master's degrees - 11 a.m., Fulton Chapel
School of Accountancy - Ford Center, 11 a.m.
School of Applied Sciences - Indoor Practice Facility, 11 a.m.
School of Business Administration - Tad Smith Coliseum, 11 a.m.
School of Engineering - Lyceum Circle, 11 a.m.
School of Education - Grove, 11 a.m.
School of Law - Grove, 11 a.m.
School of Pharmacy - Indoor Practice Facility, 2 p.m.
College of Liberal Arts and Meek School of Journalism and New Media - Tad Smith Coliseum, 2 p.m.

In case of rain, the College of Liberal Arts master's degree ceremony will be moved to 11 a.m. in Nutt Auditorium. The School of Education ceremony will be moved to 2:30 p.m. in the Indoor Practice Facility; Engineering, 11 a.m. in Fulton Chapel; Law, 1:30 p.m. in the Ford Center; and Pharmacy, 5 p.m. in Tad Smith Coliseum.

Mabus, a native of Ackerman, earned a bachelor's degree in English and political science from UM, a master's degree in political science from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He served as a U.S. Navy surface warfare officer aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock and later worked as a law clerk in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

He was elected state auditor in 1983, and during his term participated in a huge FBI sting operation that recovered millions in misspent or stolen public funds. As the youngest Mississippi governor in more than 100 years, he stressed education and job creation. He oversaw the passage of Better Education for Success Tomorrow, one of the most comprehensive education reform programs in America, and was named one of Fortune magazine's top 10 education governors.

During his tenure as ambassador, a crisis with Iraq was averted and Saudi Arabia officially abandoned a boycott of American businesses that trade with Israel. He also was chairman and CEO of Foamex International Inc., a manufacturer of flexible polyurethane foam and foam products, which he led out of bankruptcy in less than nine months, paying all creditors in full and saving equity.

As secretary of the Navy, he leads the Navy and Marine Corps and is responsible for an annual budget of more than $150 billion and almost 900,000 people.

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Business Plan Competition

Business Plan Competition Adds New Category, Attracts Innovators

OXFORD, Miss. - The University of Mississippi Business Plan Competition is bringing sexy back.

Besides rewarding best new business plan and best new business concept, this year's competition also featured a best new mobile phone application. Telecommunications company Cellular South approached the UM School of Business Administration about adding the Android smart phone app to the annual competition.

"The smart-phone app category adds a sexy component to the competition," said Bethany Cooper, director of corporate relations and MBA services for the business school. "Cellular South wants students to develop apps as they are hoping to grow the market of their android phones among the college-aged demographic."

The smart-phone competition, which sought app concepts with business plans, not the actual programming code, enabled the competition to expand, attracting computer science and management information systems students to the competition, Cooper said. The winner received a $5,000 award from Cellular South.

The winner was Alyssa Klein, a senior marketing major from Mandeville, La., for her Motorola Android's new Hot Spot application, which gives users something to do in their leisure time.

"Hot Spot allows users immediate access to everything that is going on around them based upon location and preferences," Klein said. "For instance, users searching for the best drink specials in their area will be provided with a convenient and thorough list of the nightly specials at all of their local bars. Users searching for live music will be given a compilation of every concert at every venue in their desired area, and so on and so forth."

The award for best new business plan - also for $5,000 - went to Jack Smothers' plan for e-HRinnovations.com, a Web-based personnel selection service and human resources consulting company.

"We offer a variety of Web-administered tests that are customized to the preferences of our clients," said Smothers, a doctoral student studying management from Huntingdon, Tenn. "Our various scales measure integrity, reliability, dependability, achievement, motivation, teamwork orientation, customer-service orientation, salesperson potential, work endurance and work drive. Based on these tests, we make hiring recommendations to predict which job applicants are most likely to become outstanding employees and which will likely be detrimental to a firm's performance."

Sam Savage received the third $5,000 prize for best new business concept. Savage, a Juris Doctor-MBA candidate, was excited to line his pockets with some "green" by going green with a line of waterless automobile-cleaning products.

"The name of my company is H2Oconserv LLC, and we produce a line of soy-based, biodegradable and nontoxic automotive-detailing products," said Savage of Mobile, Ala. "Two of these products are completely waterless, while the third only uses one gallon of water per wash."

Touted as solving the hassle and constraints associated with traditional car washing, the products not only protect the fragility of our ecosystem by conserving water, but they also offer superior cleaning performance, Savage said.

The prizes for best new business plan and best new business concept were sponsored by the Self Foundation. Finalists pitched their plans April 23, and the winners were announced that day at an entrepreneurial reception sponsored by the Mississippi Small Business Development Center.

Aside from the prize money, the competition also offers a great opportunity to connect with real investors and expand entrepreneurial abilities, Savage said. The sentiment is exactly what business school Dean Ken Cyree envisions.

"Even the students who don't win, I think the real benefit is it forces students to think about their plans carefully and flesh out their ideas," Cyree said. "They also receive valuable experience in pitching their ideas to business professionals for funding, marketing and general concepts. Everything we do in the competition is designed to help the students sharpen their thinking and business skills."

Although the competition is open to any UM student, most of the entries are submitted by business and engineering students.

Students from diverse disciplines, ranging from physics to pharmacy, also submit plans.

Judging of the business plans involves nine categories, including the business description, market opportunities and size, competitive advantage, financial highlights and use of proceeds, to name a few. One judge, Gwin Scott, president of EmergeMemphis and 1987 UM graduate, said he looks for individuals who have products or services that are differentiated and compelling.

"When pitching an idea, I want someone who can articulate his or her idea in a simple way and at the same time speak with conviction and determination on why the idea is so great," Scott said. "A team that has done its homework and research to confidently convey why there is a need for what it is presenting will separate itself as a winner."

"This competition is so inspiring," Cooper said. "It's one of my favorite events in the business school because there's so much energy, hope and promise. We ultimately want the students to be successful, and I'm excited knowing that we're helping give them the tools to do that."

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Professor Wins Research Award

Cook Chair of History, Southern Studies Professor Charles Reagan Wilson Wins of Distinguished Research Award

OXFORD, Miss. - Charles Reagan Wilson's list of achievements spans decades, continents and organizations. Most recently, the Kelly Gene Cook Sr. Chair of History and professor of Southern Studies became the third recipient of the University of Mississippi's Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award.

The award was presented Saturday (May 8) during the university's commencement ceremony.

"This award honors Dr. Wilson for his scholarly contributions and his role in anticipating, inspiring and facilitating a field of interdisciplinary research known as Southern Studies," said Alice M. Clark, UM vice chancellor of research and sponsored programs. "Dr. Wilson's scholarship - Southern religion, memory and culture - has elevated observances of life in the South to an area of academic inquiry."

Formerly director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, Wilson is co-editor of the first important scholarly collection on religion during the Civil War, a revised edition of The Encyclopedia of Religion in the South and the forthcoming Mississippi Encyclopedia project. Wilson was also a primary scholar in the Religion and Region series and Southern Spaces online documentary project.

"I haven't received other research awards, thus making this especially meaningful," Wilson said. "Receiving this award is a humbling experience because there is so much excellent research going on across campus in so many departments and programs."

Wilson joined the UM faculty in 1981. During his tenure, he has published four monographs on Southern history, edited or co-edited eight books of essays, published 41 scholarly articles and made 62 presentations at conferences, symposia, workshops or lectureships. The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (which he co-edited with William Ferris in 1989) received the Dartmouth Prize from the American Library Association as best reference book of the year.

He has presented papers at conferences in Germany, Denmark, France and Turkey and was a visiting professor at the University of Mainz last summer.

Wilson also credited his successes to the continuing support he has received from history department chairs Bob Haws and Joe Ward, CSSC Director Ted Ownby, Associate CSSC Director Ann Abadie and College of Liberal Arts Dean Glenn Hopkins.

Admired and respected by his peers, Wilson holds memberships in the Southern Historical Association, American Society of Church History, American Studies Association and Mississippi Historical Society.

He actively conducts and directs basic and applied research projects in the interdisciplinary study of the South and regards the 24-volume New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture as his main achievement. Volumes of the encyclopedia began publishing in 2006 and will be finished in 2012. The total value of the research projects conducted and directed by Wilson is in excess of $200,000.

"Charles Wilson has been active and influential as an essayist, a great organizer and editor," Ownby said. "Collaborative works can be frustrating and time-consuming, but he has kept up an impressive record of publishing his own work and always having time for students and colleagues."

Sam Shu-Yi Wang, F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, was the inaugural recipient of UM's Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award in 2008. Larry A. Walker, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research, was the 2009 recipient.

Award recipients receive $7,500 and a personal plaque. Pharmaceutics International Inc. sponsors the annual award. The company's CEO, Syed Abidi, is a UM alumnus.

For more information about the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, visit olemiss.edu/depts/south or call 662-915-5993.

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2010 Taylor Medal Designees

The University of Mississippi Spring 2010 Marcus Elvis Taylor Memorial Medal Designees

The University of Mississippi
Spring 2010 Marcus Elvis Taylor Memorial Medal Designees
Fifty-nine University of Mississippi students were awarded Marcus Elvis Taylor Memorial Medals during annual spring Honors Day Convocation. Taylor Medals, the university's highest academic award, recognize no more than 1 percent of the student body for meritorious scholarship and deportment. Recipients of the award must have at least a 3.90 grade-point average.

COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS- Hometown
Corey Ryan Abdeen- Madison, MS
Andrew Walker Alderman- Madison, MS
William Chadwick Armstrong- Hattiesburg, MS
Joseph Merrill Bateman- Madison, MS
Samuel Paul Bolen- Madison, MS
Mary Erin Callahan- Ocean Springs, MS
Brittany Ann Carstens- Ocean Springs, MS
John Tyler Clemons- Oxford, MS
Lauren Elizabeth DeLap- Greenville, MS
Billy Mendoza Forrest- Randolph, MS
Madison Rebekah Halbrook- Ruston, LA
Halley Anne Hargrave- Amarillo, TX
Stewart Jennings Hood- Jackson, MS
Holly Sarah Hosford- Jackson, MS
Jonathan Corwin Hughes- Madison, MS
Elizabeth Jayne Joseph- Clinton, MS
Charles Landon Kidd- Pontotoc, MS
James Kenneth McGraw- Oxford, MS
Laura June McMeekin- Bartlett, TN
Elena Lee McPherson- Tupelo, MS
Christopher Lynn Melton- Bruce, MS
Ryan James Parsons- Hattiesburg, MS
Brandon Michael Phillips- Pascagoula, MS
Lillian Nicole Rogers- Hattiesburg, MS
Igor Shkilko- University, MS
Matthew Judson Stephenson- Madison, MS
Lucy Katherine Weber- Madison, MS
McDaniel Drake Wicker- Tupelo, MS

PATTERSON SCHOOL OF ACCOUNTANCY
Robert Pratt Dunlap- Batesville, MS
Blair Karisa Harden- Brandon, MS
Margaret Grace Joyner- Brandon, MS
Lauren Elizabeth Williams- Danville, CA

SCHOOL OF APPLIED SCIENCES
Molly Collins Cox- Batesville, MS
Blair Stevens Harris- Collierville, TN
Katie Alexis Jackson- Hazlehurst, MS
Kelly Christine Losson- St. Joseph, MO
Sarah Claire Parker- Hattiesburg, MS

SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
Jane-Claire Marietta Baker- Madison, MS
Hannah Sayle Flint- Jackson, MS
Emily Jane Laird- Columbus, MS
Christine Marie Sims- Madison, MS

SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Amy Leigh Boterf- Tupelo, MS
Allison Marie Mauney- Southaven, MS
Angela Kay Mauney- Southaven, MS
Megan Nicole Milton- Nesbit, MS

SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
Christina Leigh Bonnington- Houston, MS
Alissa Elaine Carroll- Kingwood, TX
Scott Sumner Haltom- Ridgeland, MS
Jesse Stewart Pinion- Tula, MS
Safa Kanan Hadi Salman- Cairo Egypt

SCHOOL OF PHARMACY
Sally Kathryn Hazard- Jackson, MS
Evgeny (Eugene) Olegovich Lukienko- Oxford, MS
Katerina Elaine Pappas- Tupelo, MS
Matthew James Pfau- Cape Girardeua, MO

MEEK SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AND NEW MEDIA
Haley Elise Crosby- Jackson, MS
Katie Nicole Eubanks- Madison, MS
Sally Elizabeth Nicely- Mableton, GA
Alicia Elizabeth Ragsdale- St. Louis, MO

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Summer Institute for School Teachers

Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers Aims to Make Math Fun, Relevant for Students

OXFORD, Miss. - When school resumes this fall, hundreds of north Mississippi students will get a fresh look at mathematics as an exciting, everyday tool, thanks to a recent two-week training institute conducted by the University of Mississippi's Center for Mathematics and Science Education.

Using a $1.5 million grant from the Mississippi Department of Education, CMSE developed the summer program, dubbed Project PrIME, or Promoting Innovation in Mathematics Education, to help teachers improve their content knowledge in mathematics. Sixty middle school teachers from across north Mississippi participated in the inaugural summer institute in June at Della Davidson Elementary School in Oxford.

The goal is to help the teachers better engage their students this fall, said Angela Barlow, associate professor of curriculum and instruction at UM and co-principal investigator for Project PrIME.

"We want these teachers to develop a better understanding of mathematics," Barlow said. "Research shows that teacher-led instruction inside the classroom with a couple of practice problems neither meets the needs of all of our students nor does it prepare students to be successful in the workplace."

Brian Buckhalter, a sixth-grade mathematics teacher in Oxford, applauds the approach. He hopes to use ideas gleaned from Project PrIME and a similar training session in his classes this fall. The greatest tool he employs is going beyond those "mundane textbook work sheets," he said.

"Engaging students with true problem-solving and true thinking is key, and believe it or not, they are receptive to that approach," Buckhalter said. "A two-week commitment here in the summer guarantees me 36 weeks of success during the school year. We learn how to connect and encourage our students, which helps me bring math to life for them."

That kind of engagement is crucial to helping lift the state both educationally and economically, Barlow said.

"Mississippi traditionally ranks last or next to last on national mathematics assessments," she said. "Regardless of where the country stands in the world, we're not doing our job here in Mississippi. It's really unfortunate."

By helping teachers rethink how mathematics is taught, the institute's organizers hope to help students better appreciate, enjoy and gain confidence in their math skills.

One of the greatest obstacles is students' fears of the subject matter, Buckhalter said.

"Earning my students' trust is one of the hardest aspects," said the three-time teacher of the year. "I tell my students that math will be challenging and difficult but it's not impossible. I try to make math not so dreadful and have them trust me."

The summer institute will be followed during the school year by a virtual professional learning community and school site visits. Instructors include various UM faculty from science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

Organizers also plan to incorporate the business community into the process. Local industries are set to produce podcasts demonstrating how mathematics is employed in their respective businesses, so teachers can show students the importance of mathematics in the workforce, Barlow said.

"When you can improve a student's disposition towards mathematics, then they are set to gain in terms of achievement in mathematics," she said.

To learn more about the UM Center for Mathematics and Science Education, visit olemiss.edu/programs/cmse.

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CME Engineering Camps

CME Engineering Camps Surprise Students, Secure Future Employees for State's Manufacturing Industry

OXFORD, Miss. - Before Luke Ponce attended an engineering camp at the University of Mississippi, he fully expected the experience to be "nerdy."

Then he and fellow campers visited the GE Aviation plant in Batesville and the Viking Range factory in Greenwood. Ponce also got to use ProEngineer software to print a 3-D model of a wrench he designed.

"This is awesome!" said the Olive Branch High School sophomore. "I was totally surprised by how cool it all is."

Ponce was among 20 high school students participating in one of two weeklong camps sponsored by the UM Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Hailing from 20 different high schools scattered from the Gulf Coast to Tennessee and Kentucky, the group also represented diverse ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds.

"These camps were created to introduce students to all of the concepts involved in manufacturing," said Ryan Miller, CME programs manager. "We're seeking to instill an understanding and passion in them while dispelling notions that manufacturing is just assembly lines in factories."

Working in teams, students designed, constructed and tested skateboards made from differing materials.

"Using glass and carbon fiber, the students saw firsthand the lean-production manufacturing process, which seeks to increase efficiency and decrease wastes," said James Vaughan, F.A.P. Barnard Professor of Mechanical Engineering and CME director.

"While they're having a great time, they are also learning to develop a sense of teamwork, a philosophy not only important in manufacturing, but which is also vital to success in life."

Such life lessons are not going unnoticed by campers such as Alexis Keyes. While her career goal is to become a neonatal surgeon, the Petal High School junior said she recognizes and appreciates the role engineering and manufacturing play in all facets of society.

"Being a part of this experience is teaching me discipline," Keyes said. "I also see now that manufacturing and engineering have an important part in everyday life."

CME staff and faculty members are committed to exposing the public to the many and various opportunities that exist in manufacturing, particularly those within Mississippi, Miller said.

"There are very high-tech, creative industries right here in the state, both locally grown and global," he said. "The CME is positioning Mississippi in manufacturing and professional development. We also wish to attract outside companies to consider locating plants here. People are hungry to work and have a 'can-do' spirit. Our people are our state's best resource."

The purpose of these far-reaching programs is to involve students from the time they start school in Mississippi until they reach enrollment age for the CME, Vaughan said. Once enrolled at the university, students will have access to programs that involve them in manufacturing industries and prepare them for employment.

"Follow-up programs also are being developed to continue training and provide new skill sets to the work force," Vaughan said. "Through these programs, the CME hopes to influence manufacturing from the start of a person's work in school to the end of their employment in the industry by providing training and education at all levels promoting continuous improvement."

Ponce said he is sold on both working in manufacturing and staying in Mississippi to work.

"After what I saw and heard at GE Aviation, I'm really excited about all of the job opportunities here in the state," Ponce said. "I definitely plan to attend engineering camp again next summer, and I'm going to recommend it to all of my friends."

For more information about the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, visit olemiss.edu/cme.

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BASS Scholars Complete Program

Inaugural BASS Scholars Complete Summer Program

OXFORD, Miss. - Participants in the inaugural Henry E. Bass Basic Acoustics Summer School, or BASS, at the University of Mississippi will present results of their research projects Thursday (July 29) at the National Center for Physical Acoustics.

The students spent two months contributing to current NCPA research projects in ultrasound and aeroacoustics.

Presenters and their topics are Amanda Gamble of Tupelo, measurement of sheer waves in wormlike micellar medium; Wesley Henderson of Ruston, La., fluid-induced vibration of flexible wing surfaces; Ryan Lee Melvin, of Jasper, Ala., angular spectrum simulations of ultrasonic fields; and Saheed Olanigan, of Oxford, schleiren visualization of acoustic pressure distribution.

Gamble graduated from UM in May 2010, with a bachelor's degree in physics. Henderson is majoring in civil engineering at Louisiana Tech, with plans to graduate in fall 2011. Melvin attends Birmingham-Southern College, majoring in physics and religion-philosophy, with plans to graduate in May 2011. Olanigan is a junior physics major at UM, with plans to graduate in spring 2011.

The purpose of BASS, founded this year in memory of former NCPA Director Henry Bass, is to bring together undergraduate students with distinguished research scientists to explore a variety of subjects in physical acoustics and engineering. BASS gives students opportunities to work with experts, equipment and facilities they might not ordinarily encounter in their undergraduate experience. All four of this year's scholars plan to pursue higher-level graduate degrees after completing their undergraduate studies.

Since 1989, the Jamie Whitten National Center for Physical Acoustics at the University of Mississippi has served as a premier resource in such areas as infrasound, ultrasound, aeroacoustics and atmospheric acoustics, focusing on excellence in research, education and technology transfer.

For more information on programs at NCPA, go to ncpa.olemiss.edu.

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Students Receive Honors Scholarships

21 Exceptional Students Receive Scholarships from Honors College, Special Academic Opportunities

OXFORD, Miss. - Fourteen students from Mississippi, two each from Alabama and Tennessee, and one each from Illinois, Wisconsin and Canada enter the University of Mississippi this fall on prestigious scholarships as members of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Providing $32,000 each, the McDonnell Barksdale Honors Scholarships, Donald S. Pichitino Scholarships and Harold Parker Memorial Scholarships attract exceptional students to Ole Miss to experience special academic opportunities at the Honors College.

"Ole Miss has one of the top three honors colleges in the nation and a campus rooted in traditional Southern values. To grow intellectually and socially in such an environment will be an experience like no other," said Barksdale Honors Scholarship recipient Samra Blake Ward of Meridian.

Pichitino Scholarship recipient Kevin Gordon Scott of Crystal Lake, Ill., said, "I chose to attend Ole Miss because the professors and staff truly seem to care about my future, in both the professional and social world. They helped me to mold a unique program in the international studies major that meshed perfectly with my interests and goals of working in foreign policy.

"I was attracted to the Honors College because of the opportunity to work with and get to know some of the brightest students in the country. That, combined with the dedication of the HC staff to really challenge its students, presented a chance that I simply could not pass up."

Established in 1997 through a gift from alumni Jim and Sally Barksdale, the college provides undergraduate students from all disciplines with a vibrant center of academic excellence, merging intellectual rigor with public service, to help them become outstanding in their fields and engaged citizens of society.

During their freshman year, the students enroll in the Honors College interdisciplinary courses, which expose them to critical thinking in the arts, sciences and humanities. They also enroll in honors sections of courses across disciplines to fulfill hours in their majors or to meet general academic requirements.

As early as their freshman year, students have the opportunity to do research, which produces an honor's thesis in the student's senior year.

The incoming group of scholars, posting an ACT average of 32.4 and average GPA of 3.96, includes seven National Merit Finalists.

In addition to Ward, other recipients of the McDonnell Barksdale Honors Scholarships are Kaitlyn Elizabeth Barnes of Jackson, Katrina Marie Briscoe of Oxford, Morgan Elizabeth Davis of Jackson, Ashli Elizabeth Fitzpatrick of Hattiesburg, Nathan Daniel Ford of Starkville, Mary Morgan Gladney of Olive Branch, Austin Edward Lavinghouse of Ocean Springs, Hadley Jo Pearson of Nesbit, Charles Thomas Pritchard of Pass Christian, James Landin Smith of Madison, Yi Wei of Starkville and Mallory Beatrice White of Sandersville.

Besides Scott, recipients of the Donald S. Pichitino Scholarships are Cipriano Louis Apicelli of Kenosha, Wisc., Cara Madeleine Thorne of Toronto, Byron Charles Head of Nashville, Tenn., Alaina Brooke King of Corinth and Rachel Lisbeth Saliba of Dothan, Ala.

Recipients of the Harold Parker Memorial Scholarships are Stacy Nicole Wolff of Memphis, Tenn., and Sarah Price Wright of Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Barnes, a National Merit Finalist, is a graduate of Murrah High School with a 4.30 weighted grade-point average. An AP scholar with honors and member of the National Honor Society, she was chosen among Portico's "25 Students Who Will Change the World." Her service included work with Youth Leadership Jackson and the Civil Rights Civil Liberties Club. She is interested in studying the classics, and she hopes to teach in the Mississippi Teacher Corps. Her long-term goal is to attend law school and pursue an international career.

Briscoe finished No. 1 in her class of 146 at Lafayette High School. Recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh's Young American Challenge Award, she won six class awards and the Scholar-Athlete Award. She was an officer in several organizations, including Key Club, Mu Alpha Theta and National Honor Society. She participated in the 2009 Lott Leadership Institute at Ole Miss. Her volunteer service included church mission trips and work with the Humane Society, Salvation Army and Relay for Life. While she is undecided on a major, her main interests are education and business.

Davis graduated from Saint Andrews Episcopal School, with a 4.02 weighted GPA. She belonged to the National Honor Society and was named a National Achievement Outstanding Participant. Her service projects included working as a volunteer in Ghana and assisting youth as a Trendsetters Reading and Mentoring Teen. She plans to major in chemistry and minor in Spanish, in preparation for medical school to become either an emergency room physician or pediatrician.

Fitzpatrick graduated first in her class of 17 at Sacred Heart Catholic High School. A two-time National Latin Exam Silver Medalist, she was named Mock Trial State Champion during her junior year and Most Valuable Attorney in Regional Mock Trial for two years. Her volunteer work included Saint Vincent de Paul Food Distribution, Christian Services Angel Food Project and Habitat for Humanity. She is interested in studying chemistry and biochemistry, with plans to continue a family tradition of entering the medical profession.

Ford graduated from Starkville High School, where he ranked No. 1 among 198 students. A delegate to Mississippi Boys State and member of the National Honor Society, he made a perfect score on the Advanced Placement European History Exam. He performed in the All-Star Cast of the Mississippi Theatre Association's Theatre for Children and as a member of the Mississippi All-State High School Honor Choir. He helped raise money for the charities Invisible Children and Operation Smile, and his Eagle Scout service projects included constructing handicapped-accessible voting booths and hunting blinds. He is interested in musical theatre and a possible career in stage performance.

Gladney, a National Merit Finalist, graduated from Southern Baptist Educational Center, where she ranked No. 1 among 103 students. She belonged to the National Honor Society and was a two-year National Spanish Exam Silver Medalist. She made a perfect score on the Advanced Placement English Exam. Her service included volunteering for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and the local Thrift Store and Food Bank. Her high school Spanish II teacher inspired her to pursue mastering the Spanish language, as well as studying Latin American culture and society.

A National Merit Finalist, Lavinghouse graduated No. 2 in a class of 397 at Ocean Springs High School. He was a STAR Student and member of the National Honor Society. He received an AP Scholar Award and placed first in the Mu Alpha Theta Discrete Mathematics Written Competition. He did volunteer work with the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center and was a founding member of the OSHS Ambassadors, assisting people with special needs. He plans to study a variety of subjects on his way to completing a master's degree in astrophysics. His dream is to work at the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Pearson, a National Merit Finalist, graduated first in her class of 200 at Olive Branch High School. An AP scholar with honors, she was recognized for academic achievement in AP biology, pre-AP English, algebra II and chemistry. A member of the National Honor Society, she placed first in Individual Award in Algebra II at Blue Mountain College's Math and Science Tournament and received High Ranking at Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science Mathematics Tournament. Her service included volunteering for the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. She plans a career in the medical field, probably as a psychiatrist.

A National Merit Finalist, Pritchard graduated first in his class of 73 at Saint Stanislaus College Prep. He attained the distinction of maxima cum laude on the National Latin Exam in both Latin I and Latin II. A Mississippi Governor's School Scholar, he placed second in the State Math and Science Competition Quiz Bowl and was named his school's Wendy's Heisman Scholar-Athlete. His volunteer service included working with the mentally challenged at the South Mississippi Regional Center and building houses for Katrina victims. He plans to major in either history or biology with a pre-med emphasis, in preparation for a career as a dermatologist or family physician.

A National Merit Finalist and STAR Student, Smith graduated from Madison Central High School with a weighted GPA of 3.9. He won the World Scholar's Cup-National Silver Medal in both debate and literature. He attained the distinction of maxima cum laude on the National Latin Exam, and he won the Gold Medal in Latin in State Junior Classical League Competition. He was named Outstanding Participant in United Nations Global Debate. His service included volunteering for Toys for Tots, Make-A-Wish and local mentoring and tutoring programs. While he has not decided on a course of study, his major academic interests include psychology, English and foreign languages.

Ward ranked No. 3 in her class of 388 at Meridian High School, where she won the French II Award, Ameila Graeser English Award and Jerry Reynolds History Award. An Academic Team Medalist, she was a regional Science Fair winner and Voice of Democracy Essay district winner. Winner of the Meridian Star Excellence in Journalism Award, she was her school's delegate to both the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Conference and Girls State. Her service included work with Relay for Life, Salvation Army, and the Boys and Girls Club. Her observations of how students process and retain information have inspired her to double major in psychology and English, then teach or become a school counselor. Ultimately, she plans to continue her studies to become a cognitive psychologist.

Wei graduated from Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science with a 4.0 GPA. She made the Straight 'A' Honor Roll all four years of high school. She was a finalist for the QuestBridge National College Match program, a semifinalist in the State Science Bowl and member of the MSMS Math and Science Day First-Place Team. Her volunteer efforts included work as a tour guide for a local history preservation cemetery and fundraiser for the March of Dimes. She is interested in enrolling in UM's Croft Institute for International Studies. Her academic interests range from pharmacy and nutrition to business, psychology and international studies.

White graduated from Northeast Jones High School, where she finished first in her class of 133. A STAR Student and HOBY Ambassador, she won the John W. Harris National Leadership Award and was a first-place winner in the State Future Business Leaders of America public speaking competition and business leader competition. She volunteered for the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and more. Her experience as a volunteer has inspired her to seek a career of service to others. She plans to study pharmacy.

Apicelli ranked No. 1 among 188 students in his graduating class at Indian Trail Academy. A member of the National Honor Society, he served on the Student Council and was a three-year participant in both the Academic Decathlon and Science Olympiad. An Eagle Scout, his service activities included work with the Boy Scouts, Stepping Stones (mentoring) and Safe Harbor Animal Shelter. In preparation for a career as a physician, he plans to major in the biological sciences with a pre-med emphasis.

Scott graduated first in his class of 335 at Crystal Lake Central High School, where he received the AP Scholar Award with Distinction. A member of the National Honor Society, he served two years as an officer on the CLCHS Student Body. He represented his school at the World Youth Science and Engineering Competition and was named to the All-County Honors Band. He was a volunteer with Public Action to Deliver Shelter and Community Beach Cleanup, among other service projects. He is considering a career in forensic science but is also interested in sociology and criminal justice.

Thorne finished first in her class of 357 at Woburn Collegiate School. She received the Academic Proficiency Award three years for highest GPA, and she served two years as an officer on the Athletic Council. Her community service included work with the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, Breakfast Club and Girl Impact in partnership with UNICEF's Kenyan Girl's Scholarship Fund. She plans to major in exercise science with a pre-med emphasis, preparing to realize her dream of becoming a doctor specializing in sports medicine.

A National Merit Finalist, Head graduated from Martin L. King Academic Magnet School in Nashville with a 4.0 GPA. He won the Outstanding Delegate Award at the Tennessee Model UN Conference. A member of the National Honor Society, he received the English Award. His community service included work with Y-CAP/YMCA, Mt. T.O.P. summer mission and Community Cares Fellowship. He is interested in studying at UM's Croft Institute in preparation for a career dedicated to working in a Latin American country helping to make life better for its people.

King graduated from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus with a 4.0 GPA and recognition as a "Top Five" student in all of her courses. She made a perfect score on the Mississippi Algebra Exam and was editor of the MSMS newspaper, The Vision. Her service activities included tutoring children and helping with a toy drive at the Lighthouse Foundation, Katrina cleanup and working at a soup kitchen in New York City. She plans to major in biology with a pre-med emphasis, then attend medical school. Her dream is to become a pediatric oncologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Saliba graduated from Houston Academy, with a weighted GPA of 4.11. She attained Superior Academic Excellence in chorus, and anatomy and physiology. She was a Furman Scholar, National Young Leaders Conference Caucus Delegate and member of the Alabama Honor Choir. She belonged to the National Honor Society and served on the school yearbook/newsletter staff. Her community service included work with the Salvation Army, Wiregrass Food Bank, Dothan Rescue Mission and Head Start. She plans to study music education.

Wolff finished second in her class of 285 at Bartlett High School. She was nominated for Academic All-Star and was a "Top Ten" student all four years of high school. A member of the National Honor Society, Key Club and Beta Club, she placed in two Science Olympiad events. Her service included volunteering at her local public library, Memphis Zoo and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. In pursuit of her dream for a career in medical research, she plans a double major in biology and chemistry.

Wright graduated from Holy Spirit High School with a 4.2 weighted GPA. She received the Hugh O'Brien Leadership Award and attained magna cum laude distinction on the National Latin Exam. A member of her school's Academic Team, she was a member of the Art Club and president of the Latin Club. She served on the Mayor's Youth Council and volunteered as a member of the Tuscaloosa Civinettes, a local service organization for high school girls. In preparation for an international career, she plans to focus her undergraduate studies on foreign languages and linguistics. Her choices for graduate school include medicine, business or seminary.

For more information about the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, visit honors.olemiss.edu.

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Art Major Earns Credit at Ireland

Art Major Earns Academic Credit at Art and Design School in Belfast, Ireland

OXFORD, Miss. - Kristen Vise of Jackson, a junior studio art major at the University of Mississippi, returns to the Oxford campus this month after studying during the spring semester at Ulster University School of Art and Design in Belfast, Ireland, and traveling throughout Europe this summer.

"Studying at the university and living in Belfast, a big city with an interesting history, provided the opportunity for me to grow as a person, a designer and a member of society," she said. "I took full advantage of the opportunity presented, and, for me personally, growth in these areas is what college should be about."

Through an arrangement between UM's Study Abroad Office and Ulster, Vise earned 15 hours of academic credit toward her UM degree. Her courses included corporate and advertising design, research and writing for design, and design for communication. A highlight of her trip was getting to know her fellow students.

"The students studying Design for Visual Communications were friendly, hard-working and excited about design," she said. "The class of around 50 students study together for three years in their design concentration and get to know each other quite well.

"My classes there were much different from my classes at Ole Miss, because they meet only once a week and are intensive on that day. They were challenging, but I learned a lot."

Vise also traveled extensively during the semester, then stayed the summer to see more of Europe before returning home in early August.

"I traveled to Madrid for New Year's Eve, Brussels to visit an Ole Miss roommate, Marseille to visit an Ole Miss friend, and to Paris and Barcelona alone," she said. She also visited Germany, Austria, Croatia, Italy and the Czech Republic.

Vise is a member of UM's Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, which along with "the good price and the town of Oxford" swayed her to attend Ole Miss. The Honors College provides undergraduate students from all disciplines with a vibrant center of academic excellence, merging intellectual rigor with public service.

"My educational experience so far has been diverse," she said. "I started as a biology major and took two art classes my freshmen year. The next year, I started minors in political science and Russian, and took a lot of studio art classes. As a junior, I decided to focus intensely on studio arts and applied for the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. And now, I'm design and fine arts hardcore.

"I've had some excellent professors in and outside of my major."

She is slated to complete her bachelor's degree in December 2011. After graduation, she plans to either continue her studies or begin professional work.

"I will use design to intelligently, creatively and innovatively solve problems for clients," she said. "I am especially interested in areas where design and other disciplines such as science, business, sociology, architecture and engineering overlap."

Vise was among 109 Ole Miss students participating in UM Study Abroad programs this spring. Each year, the Study Abroad Office sends around 600 students abroad offering programs in more than 80 countries covering Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

A 2007 graduate of Jackson Academy, Vise is the daughter of Susan and Tim Dean, and Tommy Vise.

For more information on UM Study Abroad, visit outreach.olemiss.edu/study_abroad. To learn more about the Honors College, see honors.olemiss.edu or the Department of Art at olemiss.edu/depts/art.

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Enrollment Record at UM

More than 19,500 Students Set Enrollment Record at UM

OXFORD, Miss. - Amanda Hardwick had acceptance letters from Tulane University, Auburn University and the universities of Alabama and Georgia, but the biochemistry major from Hattiesburg chose the University of Mississippi, where she is part of a record-shattering freshman class this fall.

"Ole Miss had a better environment, better scholarships and learning opportunities, and was in closer proximity to my hometown," said Hardwick, who enrolled in the university's Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. "There are so many opportunities for community service here, which really excites me. The Honors College and campus in general are also more inviting than other schools."

Hardwick is among 3,089 new freshmen on campus, an astounding 19.9 percent increase over last fall. Among them are 34 National Merit and National Achievement finalists, and five National Merit and National Achievement semifinalists.

Preliminary enrollment figures show UM's total unduplicated headcount on all its campuses is 19,536, another record. That's 1,192 students more than last fall, a 6.5 percent increase.

"The most exciting thing about our large enrollment increase is that more and more students have the opportunity to experience amazing at the University of Mississippi," Chancellor Dan Jones said. "Students come to Ole Miss to transform their lives. We are thrilled that more students are choosing to do this."

The number of students choosing to return to campus after their freshman year also has increased, climbing from 78.3 percent two years ago to 83.1 percent this year.

"While we are excited about new students, we are just as excited about the increased retention rate," Jones said. "More students finding success in their freshman year means more sophomores and ultimately more graduates."

The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College has enrolled 900 students, up from 860 last fall. Among them are a record 288 freshmen, who come from 20 states and four foreign countries and have an average ACT score of 30.2.

Honors College applications were up 50 percent this fall over 2009, said John Samonds, the college's associate dean. "We accepted 25 percent more applicants than we originally planned," he said.

One of those new honors students is classics major Kaitlyn Barnes of Jackson, who chose UM over offers from Davidson College and the University of Florida.

"Ole Miss is a great fit for me," she said. "I was really looking to attend a large public school offering many academic opportunities. The SMBHC, the Residential College, the strong classics department and the Croft Institute (for International Studies), of which I am considering becoming a student, were just a few things that attracted me to Ole Miss.

"I was also invited to intern at the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, with which I've done a lot of work over the past couple of years. And, of course, I wanted to be part of a passionately spirited community."

A new incentive for talented students is the Provost Scholars program, which offers seminars and other benefits for students who have demonstrated high academic achievement. The inaugural class includes more than 350 students, with an average GPA of 3.69 and average ACT of 28.

Another new program is the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, which opens this fall with an inaugural class of 27 freshmen. The new program, established with funding from Toyota Motor Co., focuses on the latest concepts in manufacturing, incorporating elements from the university's schools of Engineering, Accountancy and Business Administration, and the College of Liberal Arts.

It was the critical factor that attracted Ethan Veazey of Ridgeland to Ole Miss.

"The CME attracted me because it provides an innovative approach to combining engineering and business that is not available in other programs or schools," he said. "The CME manufacturing facility will provide hands-on experience that will distinguish me from my competitors in the job market, and the contacts I make with the CME advisory board will provide invaluable networking opportunities."

UM requires its freshmen to live in residence halls, and the opening last month of the 332-bed Luckyday Residential College was a key in allowing enrollment to increase so dramatically. The university also purchased the 432-bed Campus Walk apartment complex for student housing.

Besides new residence halls, the university also offers new dining options for students this fall.

The Student Union food court has been completely remodeled and a new Subway Sandwiches, the nation's first Subway to be built with a new design, is open on the fourth floor of the Union.

Dillon Mooney, a sophomore pre-med major from Laurel, said he enjoys the atmosphere and variety of the food court.

"I like how commercial it is. It's not like a cafeteria," he said. "It has more of a going-out restaurant feel. And, if you want home cooking, you can go to the Magnolia Kitchen, like I just did today."

A record 2,469 students are enrolled at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. That's an increase of 57 students (2.4 percent) over last fall, with the largest increases coming in the School of Medicine (6 percent) and Graduate Medical Education programs (14 percent), said Tom Fortner, the Medical Center's chief public affairs and communications officer.

The Ole Miss student body also includes 14,154 undergraduates, 2,104 graduate students, 519 law students and 290 students in the Doctor of Pharmacy program.

Enrollment remains strong on the Tupelo campus, where 816 students are enrolled this year, and is growing at satellite campuses in Southaven (up 1 percent), where 966 students are enrolled, and Booneville (up 10.1 percent), where 98 students are enrolled.

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Major Gift to University Museum

Major Gift to University Museum Reflects Late Couple's Enjoyment of Culture, History

OXFORD, Miss. - Lt. Col. James Prentiss Hooper traveled the globe on secret intelligence missions for the U.S. Army, and his wife, Louise Frazier Hooper, accompanied him to many foreign countries. Their appreciation for diverse cultures and history, as well as their devotion to the University of Mississippi, has resulted in a major gift from the late couple's estate to the University Museum and Historic Houses.

"Prentiss and Louise Hooper led a life filled with adventure, and we called 'the Colonel' the Indiana Jones of our family," said Russell E. Aven, a first cousin of Louise Hooper and UM professor emeritus of chemical engineering. "They were interested in everything and developed a love for local resources of learning, such as the University Museum. They knew the value the museum provides children and adults through education, adventure and fun."

After serving as an Army second lieutenant in Germany and as a chemist in the Fifth Army Area Laboratory in St. Louis, Prentiss Hooper became a Mandarin Chinese linguist and reported to the Army surgeon general. Posing as a tourist, he traveled between Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, India and Nepal.

While traveling in northern India, he was granted an audience with the Dalai Lama. He was later assigned to the Panama Canal Zone, where he was a biochemist for Gorgas Hospital and a toxicologist for the Canal Zone government. The majority of his records are classified.

Louise Hooper, a native of Oxford, passed away in 2006, and Prentiss Hooper, a native of Walthall, died in 2009. After his 1970 retirement, the couple lived full time in Oxford. The University of Mississippi Foundation has placed their monetary gift in an endowment - the largest ever for the University Museum - and interest from it will be used to expand exhibits, programming and events.

Museum Director William Pittman Andrews described the Hooper estate gift as "transformative," adding that the endowment will ensure opportunities for generations to come.

"We will continually be indebted to Lt. Col. and Mrs. Hooper for choosing to share their legacy with the community through support of the University Museum," Andrews said. "Estate gifts such as the Hooper gift create a legacy - a statement that is a lasting memorial - which embodies a person's most significant endorsement of our purpose."

The Hoopers also willed the University Museum some treasured items from their travels.

"Their gift includes a wonderful collection of 25 ceramic beer steins from Bavaria, Germany and Austria; two very rare short-stocked Kentucky rifles from 1840; and an 18th century pewter wine stein and matching goblets," said William Griffith, museum collections manager. "In addition to the beauty and historical significance of these items, they are also in excellent condition, which is rare given their use and age. We are thrilled with this thoughtful gift and look forward to displaying the items soon."

Prentiss Hooper served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946 before enrolling at Ole Miss. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in pharmacology. Louise Hooper received a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and later worked in the Registrar's Office on campus. Her father, Elton Frazier, was then co-owner with Carl Coers of the Ole Miss Bookstore on campus.

"The Colonel had a business card that pretty much summed up his interests," Aven said. "The card listed 'sailor, pharmacologist, soldier, skydiver, spy, teacher, tree farmer and fisherman.' All of the occupations were crossed out except 'fisherman' - that was the Colonel's unique sense of humor.

"However, the card didn't name all his interests; others included creating furniture, bird feeders and wood carvings. He was an author, scuba diver, bird watcher and hunter. Just like her mother, Maureen Frazier, Louise was the perfect hostess and loved to entertain."

Upon his retirement, Prentiss Hooper worked in the university's pharmacology department and taught chemistry at Oxford High School. He and his wife were active in their church and the community, including Prentiss taking on roles in plays and musicals. He was inducted into the Ole Miss Army ROTC Hall of Fame in 2006 and authored the books "The Bloody Trace" and "Melting the Ice Road," with the latter addressing his Army career.

The Hoopers enjoyed poring over items in the University Museum's collections and keeping up with exhibits and activities, Aven said. Now their estate gift will support all facets of the museum complex that includes William Faulkner's Rowan Oak and the Walton-Young House. Around 30,000 people annually visit the University Museum and Historic Houses, and 5,000 attend educational programs.

"We were thrilled and delighted to learn of the Hoopers' gift," Andrews said. "This long-term support will help sustain us in our primary goal of inspiring and educating the public audience by engaging their curiosity, desire for knowledge and appreciation of beauty."

For more information on providing private support to the University Museum and Historic Houses, visit umfoundation.com/makeagift, call 800-340-9542 or 662-915-5944, or send a check with the designation noted to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677.

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Supercomputing Center

Supercomputing Center Helps Prepare Students for STEM Careers

OXFORD, Miss. - With a looming national shortage of professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the Mississippi Center for Supercomputer Research at the University of Mississippi is reaching out to teach high school students how supercomputers help advance science.

"We have an extreme national need to prepare the next generation of simulation scientists," said Jason Hale, MCSR interim director. "We want to be engaged in that effort to help young people in Mississippi be more competitive."

The center already has helped Rosalie Doerksen, a 14-year-old Oxford High School sophomore. The first high school student in the state to use MCSR resources, Doerksen, as a freshman last year, employed the free supercomputing capabilities at MCSR to perform detailed calculations for her science fair project.

"Overall, I had a positive experience," Doerksen said. "I benefited greatly from the supercomputer training I received in preparation for my research."

A participant in the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair this summer, Doerksen completed a project examining how a newly discovered bowl-shaped molecule might be employed to more efficiently trap carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This technology may be an important part of efforts to reduce global warming.

"The supercomputers helped me to determine other possible lower energy conformations of this molecule," said Doerksen, whose favorite field of science is chemistry. "The research was intriguing, and it could have the potential of assisting in carbon sequestration."

Doerksen's science fair entry, "Computational Optimization of Carbon Dioxide Capture," won the Oxford High School competition in the chemistry category. She went on to win the Best of Fair prize at the regional fair, the ASM Materials Education Foundation's Most Outstanding Exhibit in Materials Science award and the U.S. Air Force Certificate of Achievement award. The regional win qualified her for the international competition in May in San Jose, Calif. There, Doerksen competed against more than 300 students in the chemistry category.

High-performance computers contain hundreds, even thousands, of central processing units, or CPUs, allowing for thousands of operations to be conducted simultaneously. Those operations can require as little as a few hours or up to several months to complete, depending on the computations.

"My calculations took about a week, 145 hours, to be exact." Doerksen said. But that's if you're counting hours by a clock on the wall. Since her one calculation was spread over two processors, it actually consumed 290 computational hours.

Last year, 37,000 such calculations requiring 3.7 million computational hours were conducted at MCSR, including quite a few molecular simulations similar to Doerksen's.

"These scientists are doing fantastically complex things," said Brian Hopkins, an MCSR user consultant. "Rosalie is calculating chemical properties using a form of the molecular Schrodinger equation that can take thousands and thousands of CPU-hours to solve."

Besides getting hands-on supercomputing experience, Doerksen gained insight into the importance of MCSR's goal to better train her peers. If America wants to become more energy-independent, advance technology, help prevent climate change and save lives through medical research, then government and educators must encourage students to pursue careers in these areas, she said.

"The current youth soon will be the leaders of this nation," said Doerksen, who is interested in a career in medicine.

Mississippi is well-equipped to help educate the next generation of simulation scientists. The state ranks in the top 10 nationally for supercomputing, with shared facilities at UM, the Stennis Space Center, Mississippi State University and the Engineering Research Development Center in Vicksburg.

Supercomputers are used for calculation-intensive tasks, such as problems involving quantum physics, weather forecasting, climate research, molecular modeling of chemical compounds and physical simulations of nuclear weapon detonations.

"As a shared facility, MCSR creates economies of scale across the entire Mississippi research enterprise," Hale said. "Faculty and student scientists statewide can run their simulations for free at MCSR, without the hassle and expense of maintaining their own supercomputers. This not only saves each institution money; it buys Mississippi scientists extra time to discover and compete."

Supporting nearly $13 million in active research grants, MCSR systems are used for research in chemistry and biochemistry, economics and finance, bioinformatics, operations research and management science, physics, civil engineering and computational fluid dynamics.

MCSR personnel are available to work with other high school students to teach them the value of research computation, promote STEM careers and help them use the center's supercomputing resources. For more information, contact Jason Hale at 662-915-3922 or visit mcsr.olemiss.edu

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Study Abroad Fair

Fall 2010 Study Abroad Fair Opens Students' Eyes to Possibilities

OXFORD, Miss - Representatives of universities spanning six continents packed the lobby of the Ole Miss Student Union recently for the Fall 2010 Study Abroad Fair.

The Study Abroad Fair provides students the chance to meet with representatives from international universities and organizations who serve as exchange partners with the University of Mississippi. UM students can gain more information about studying abroad in their countries and in their academic areas of interest.

Susan Oliphant, director of the Study Abroad program, said she was pleased with the student turnout and with the interest shown in academic as well as internship opportunities in other countries.

"The Study Abroad Fair prompts students to consider spending a semester in a different country," Oliphant said. "They begin to realize that studying abroad is a viable inclusion to their degree programs and their resumes. There are seldom students who cannot find some way to study abroad regardless of their major or financial situation.

"The sooner students learn about the Study Abroad opportunities available to them, the better. They can then begin working with their academic and Study Abroad advisers to plan their study abroad experiences."

In addition to having the opportunity to visit with representatives from exchange programs, students had the chance to meet with representatives from affiliate programs and UM faculty-led programs, Study Abroad Fair coordinator Blair McElroy said.

"Faculty presented their Wintersession programs, and our current exchange students presented their home universities to UM students," McElroy said. "Students learned about short-term programs, semester programs, and even master's programs in foreign countries - the opportunities are endless due to the partnerships the University of Mississippi has throughout the world."

Stuart Hurt, student assistant for Study Abroad, said he believes the fair provides the most suitable setting for students to meet with advisers and representatives.

"We're talking to students, showing them what we can offer through Ole Miss and the opportunities they have," Hurt said. "This is a great venue to interact with students outside the office. It's a little more informal, and I think students are more willing to ask questions they would be scared to ask during a formal appointment."

One of the booths featured information about German universities that partner with UM. Studying in Europe as well as in America allows students to learn different approaches toward instruction, said Sebastian Dowidat , a University of Osnabruck alumnus and Ole Miss MBA student.

"We are all in the same boat; we're all trying to get a degree somewhere in some area," Dowidat said. "We take a totally different approach toward education in general, not only in Germany, but also in Europe. Studying at one of our universities allows students to gain another perspective on issues such as business and international relations."

Stephanie Niven, head of International Office West at University of Stirling, said studying abroad provides life-changing experiences and opportunities for students.

"It would be really nice to open students' minds to the opportunities of studying abroad for a semester," Niven said. "It can be a real life-changing experience to live in a different place for four weeks, eight weeks, a semester or a year.

"It gives you the chance to really learn about another culture and meet with students from all different backgrounds. It allows you to experience a different side of life, and it's something that can stay with you for the rest of your life."

Junior engineering major Jim Mosier said visiting the booths allowed him to get more information and literature on the countries he was most interested in visiting.

"I've always been interested in studying abroad in Greece or Australia," Mosier said. "The fair has given me a chance to get some more information on those countries and the universities there that share my academic interests."

McElroy believes that based upon increased student interest and presence in the Office of Study Abroad, this fall's fair was the most successful thus far.

"More students attended this semester's fair than any previous fair, and the Study Abroad office has been extremely busy since the fair," McElroy said.

Oliphant says the fair is just one of many ways Ole Miss students can learn about the benefits of studying abroad and hopes they apply to punch their plane tickets.

"The advice I give all students is to plan early and keep your grades up," Oliphant said. "We want to send everybody abroad. We've got everything from exchange partners overseas to big American organizations to our own faculty. We have every continent except Antarctica represented, and we're working on that one."

For more information on UM Study Abroad, visit outreach.olemiss.edu/study_abroad.

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Alumni Association to Honor Seven at Homecoming

Alumni Association to Honor Seven at Homecoming for Achievement, Service

OXFORD, Miss. - The University of Mississippi Alumni Association honors seven alumni with its highest annual recognition during Homecoming weekend Nov. 5-6.

Inductees into the Alumni Hall of Fame are John H. Geary of Jackson, Jennifer Gillom of Phoenix, Trent Lott of Washington, Ray Mabus of Ridgeland and Debra L. Starnes of Spicewood, Texas. William L. Freeman Jr. of Flowood is to receive the Alumni Service Award for service to the university and the Alumni Association, and Maj. Sheldon Morris of Killeen, Texas, will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

The Alumni Association hosts a reception for the honorees at 6 p.m. Nov. 5 in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss. A dinner for the awards recipients follows the reception, and tickets with advance registration by Oct. 22 are required.

Tickets are $50 per person or $450 for a table of 10. Call 662-915-7375.

The honorees will be introduced Nov. 6 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium before the Homecoming game kickoff against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Geary, a Vicksburg native, is a 1952 graduate of the UM School of Business Administration. As a student, he was president of the student body and Kappa Alpha Order, and was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa and the student Hall of Fame. A former president of the UM Alumni Association and the UM Foundation, Geary also co-chaired the university's first major gifts campaign in 1984 and served on the Joint Committee on University Investments and the business school's advisory board.

After two years as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, he worked for Mississippi Power & Light Co. in Jackson, then joined Equitable Securities Corp., where he was a director and senior vice president. He opened the Southeast's first Paine Webber office, and in 1978 he opened his own firm, which merged with Morgan Keegan in 1998. He retired as a managing director of Morgan Keegan.

An officer and director of several business, political, educational and religious organizations, Geary helped reorganize and revitalize the Mississippi Republican Party in the late 1950s and early '60s. He also was the founding president of the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Jackson and was a member of its executive and investment committees for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Shirley, have four children and 12 grandchildren.

Gillom is head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks and was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame on her 45th birthday in 2009. She was an assistant coach for the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx during the 2008 season and was named interim head coach three days before the 2009 season began. She began her coaching career in 2004 at Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix. As head coach there, she compiled a 130-25 record in six years.

Gillom played seven seasons in the WNBA, six with the Phoenix Mercury and her last with the Sparks. She led the Mercury to playoff berths in 1997, 1998 and 2000, and played in the 1998 WNBA Finals. In 2003, she retired from the WNBA with career averages of 13.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Recipient of the WNBA's 2002 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award, Gillom was named to the 1999 All-Star team, the 1997 All-WNBA first team and 1998 All-WNBA second team. She collected six gold medals, including one at the 1988 Olympics, and one silver medal as a member of USA Basketball, and was named one of Arizona's top athletes of the 20th century.

While playing for Ole Miss, Gillom was the 1986 Southeastern Conference Female Athlete of the Year and a Kodak All-American. A four-time All-SEC first-team selection, she led the Lady Rebels in scoring her last three seasons and finished as UM's second all-time leading scorer (2,186 points), behind her sister Peggie. The UM Gillom Sports Center is named for her and her sister.

After graduating from the UM School of Law in 1967, Lott returned to his hometown of Pascagoula to practice law. A year later, he went to Washington to work for U.S. Rep. William M. Colmer. In 1972, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served eight of 16 years as the Republican whip. In 1988, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he was twice elected Republican whip. Lott is the only person to be Republican whip in both houses of Congress.

In 1999, Lott helped raise funds to create the UM Lott Leadership Institute, an accredited degree-granting program in leadership and public policy that promotes leadership skills in high school and college students. After retiring from the Senate in 2007, he and former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) founded the Breaux Lott Leadership Group, a strategic consulting and lobbying firm combining nearly 70 years of congressional experience from two parties.

As a UM student, Lott was president of Sigma Nu fraternity and a Rebel cheerleader. He and his wife, Patrica, have two children and four grandchildren.

As the 75th U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Mabus oversees a $150 billion annual budget and almost 900,000 people. He is responsible for all U.S. Navy and Marine Corps affairs, such as recruiting, training, equipping and mobilizing staff. He also oversees the construction, outfitting and repair of naval ships and facilities, and is responsible for formulating and implementing policies and programs consistent with the president's and secretary of defense's national security objectives.

Elected Mississippi governor in 1988, Mabus signed one of the nation's most comprehensive education reform acts and was named one of Fortune Magazine's top 10 education governors. He was appointed ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by President Bill Clinton in 1994. The former Foamex CEO also served as a naval officer aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock and state auditor.

A native of Ackerman, Mabus received a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from Harvard. His honors include the U.S. Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award, U.S. Army's Distinguished Civilian Service Award, Martin Luther King Social Responsibility Award, National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award, King Abdul Aziz Award from Saudi Arabia, and Mississippi Association of Educators' Friend of Education Award.

Starnes majored in chemical engineering at Ole Miss and was active in AIChE and Tau Beta Pi. After earning her bachelor's degree in 1975, she became a process engineer at Atlantic Richfield in Houston, Texas. She earned an MBA from Southern Illinois University and became the aromatics business manager for Lyondell Petrochemical Co., a division of ARCO. She was promoted and transferred to Los Angeles as ARCO's strategic planning manager for its integrated oil production, transportation and refining businesses.

She returned to Houston in 1989 to join Lyondell Chemical, a spin-off company holding ARCO's commodity chemical and refining assets. Before retiring from Lyondell in 2001, she served in various strategic planning, business management and merger/acquisition roles and had led a companywide business reorganization.

Starnes represented the chemical industry on the MTBE Blue Ribbon Panel, which was created to advise and counsel the Environmental Protection Agency on policy issues. She is on the board of Parker Hannifin Corp., and Envera, and was a member of UM's Engineering Advisory Board. She and her husband, David Lindsay, have one daughter and two grandchildren.

As adjutant general for Mississippi, Freeman is commanding general of the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard. Following completion of Officer Candidate School at the Mississippi Military Academy, he was commissioned in 1969 as an artillery officer. Having commanded on battalion and brigade levels, he was promoted to brigadier general in 1996 and appointed adjutant general by Gov. Haley R. Barbour in 2008.

With almost 40 years in the banking industry, Freeman retired in 2008 as senior vice president and COO of Newton County Bank. He was mayor of Newton for more than seven years and an alderman for three years.

Freeman's numerous military honors include the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service and achievements. The former East Mississippi Ole Miss Alumni Club president has been a board member and treasurer of the Newton County chapter for many years and was a key contact for the Alumni Association for over a decade. He and his wife, Karen, have two children and six grandchildren.

Morris is assistant operation officer for the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team. The Jacksonville, Fla., native was a wide receiver at Ole Miss for three years, two while on an ROTC scholarship and another on a football scholarship. He was a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

Morris attended Infantry Officer Basic Course, Airborne School, Bradley Leaders Course and Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga., before moving to Fort Hood, Texas, where he was assigned to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team. He served as a rifle platoon leader, scout platoon leader and company executive officer before being deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. He deployed to Iraq for his second tour in 2006, and his third tour in December 2008. Stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for schooling, he plans to return to Fort Hood before his next deployment to Afghanistan.

In 2000, Morris was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry. His military honors include a Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Valorous Unit Award and Meritorious Unit Citation. He and his wife, Chelsea, have one daughter.

For assistance related to a disability, call 662-915-7375.

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CME Opens with 27 Students

Center for Manufacturing Excellence Opens with 27 Students

OXFORD, Miss. - Future innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders for the modern manufacturing industry have begun taking classes in the flagship Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi.

The center's inaugural class, which recently met for the first of its weekly meetings, includes 27 freshmen from nine states.

"The CME is service-centered," said Ryan Miller, programs manager. "I have explained to our students that they need to remember that manufacturing touches everyone's lives in multiple ways. It is service-driven."

With this in mind, students who are grouped into CME teams prepare both inside and away from the classroom. How they interact with other students through extracurricular activities has the potential of enriching the lives of the state, region and country, Miller said.

"That begins here with how our students serve their classmates," he said.

The message has not fallen upon deaf ears. Ethan Veazey of Ridgeland said the program's small size allows for more individual attention from professors and a better opportunity to create friendships and work as a team with classmates.

"The CME attracted me because it provides an innovative approach to combining engineering and business that is not available in other programs or schools," Veazey said.

The CME also was a deciding factor for Katherine Borgmeyer of St. Charles, Mo.

"It completely sold me on attending the University of Mississippi," Borgmeyer said. "I visited a lot of good schools but none offered such a comprehensive program. The facility itself will be terrific and the idea that a student in this program will not only learn the production process, but all the steps that go into bringing that product to fruition, is incredible."

The university and the state of Mississippi created the CME, a center unique in its educational focus on undergraduate manufacturing education. The program brings together the schools of Engineering, Business Administration and Accountancy to provide students with technical skills involved in successful manufacturing along with an understanding of accounting, communication, human resources, leadership, management and marketing.

James Vaughan, the center's director, said he has great expectations for students admitted into the program.

"The CME is placing a heavy responsibility on our first incoming freshman class to become the movers and shakers of industry after graduation," Vaughan said. "These students will be charged with the task of transferring this set of knowledge and experience into the manufacturing society once they leave the university. We hope to help develop the 'disruptive' leaders for the next generation."

Both Borgmeyer and Veazey said they are assured of reaching their goals.

"I will learn not only from textbooks, but from real-life situations," Borgmeyer said. "This exposure will be invaluable in my search for a career in manufacturing."

"The CME manufacturing facility will provide hands-on experience that will distinguish me from my competitors in the job market," Veazey said. "The contacts I make with the CME advisory board will provide important networking opportunities."

For more information about the CME, go to olemiss.edu/cme or call 662-915-2632.

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CME Begins Classes

WREG: Manufacturing Center Begins Classes

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - The Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi has begun operations with an initial class of 27 freshmen.

The center's inaugural class, which recently convened for the first of its weekly meetings, includes 27 freshmen from nine states.

Students are grouped into teams and focus on engineering, business administration and accounting to develop technical skills for manufacturing including communication, human resource management, leadership and marketing.

James Vaughan is the center's director.

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CME Training Future Leaders

Daily Journal: UM's CME Training Future Leaders

OXFORD - Future innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders for the modern manufacturing industry have begun taking classes in the flagship Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi.

The center's inaugural class, which recently met for the first of its weekly meetings, includes 27 freshmen from nine states.

"The CME is service-centered," said Ryan Miller, programs manager. "I have explained to our students that they need to remember that manufacturing touches everyone's lives in multiple ways. It is service-driven."

With this in mind, students who are grouped into CME teams prepare both inside and away from the classroom. How they interact with other students through extracurricular activities has the potential of enriching the lives of the state, region and country, Miller said.

"That begins here with how our students serve their classmates," he said.

The message has not fallen upon deaf ears. Ethan Veazey of Ridgeland said the program's small size allows for more individual attention from professors and a better opportunity to create friendships and work as a team with classmates.

"The CME attracted me because it provides an innovative approach to combining engineering and business that is not available in other programs or schools," Veazey said.

The CME also was a deciding factor for Katherine Borgmeyer of St. Charles, Mo.

"It completely sold me on attending the University of Mississippi," Borgmeyer said. "I visited a lot of good schools but none offered such a comprehensive program. The facility itself will be terrific, and the idea that a student in this program will not only learn the production process, but all the steps that go into bringing that product to fruition is incredible."

The university and the state of Mississippi created the CME, a center unique in its educational focus on undergraduate manufacturing education. The program brings together the schools of engineering, business administration and accountancy to provide students with technical skills involved in successful manufacturing along with an understanding of accounting, communication, human resources, leadership, management and marketing.

James Vaughan, the center's director, said he has great expectations for students admitted into the program.

"The CME is placing a heavy responsibility on our first incoming freshman class to become the movers and shakers of industry after graduation," Vaughan said. "These students will be charged with the task of transferring this set of knowledge and experience into the manufacturing society once they leave the university. We hope to help develop the 'disruptive' leaders for the next generation."

Both Borgmeyer and Veazey said they are assured of reaching their goals.

"I will learn not only from textbooks, but from real-life situations," Borgmeyer said. "This exposure will be invaluable in my search for a career in manufacturing."

"The CME manufacturing facility will provide hands-on experience that will distinguish me from my competitors in the job market," Veazey said. "The contacts I make with the CME advisory board will provide important networking opportunities."

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UM Center Sponsors Indo-US Symposium

Milli Gazette: UM Center Sponsors Indo-US Symposium

Bangalore, 7 December 2010: A two-day Indo-US Symposium on Methodology of Research in Indian Systems of Medicine will be inaugurated here at the Atria Hotel tomorrow (8 December) by Mr. S. Gandhiselvan, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Mr. S.A. Ramadas, Minister for Medical Education, Government of Karnataka and Mr. B. Sriramulu, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka will also grace the occasion.

The symposium will mainly focus on research methodology adopted for validation of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani (ASU) systems and their products for market authorization in the global market. It will also take stock of the current status of research in these systems and discuss strategies for developing these systems and their products in tune with the global demand. The symposium will also provide a platform to the Indian herbal and the ASU industry and the other Research & Development institutions to showcase their strengths and approaches in clinical research and manufacture of ASU products.

The symposium will have eminent national and international scientists as speakers from reputed academies and R & D institutions. The participants will include scholars of Indian Systems of Medicine, and experts from the US FDA, NCNPR, University of Mississippi, National Institute of Health (NIH), American Botanical Council, US Pharmacopoeia and National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).

The symposium is being organized under the aegis of Indo-US joint Centre for Research in Indian Systems of Medicine (CRISM) by Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) - an autonomous organization of the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). The Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), (CSIR), Jammu Tawi and National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR), University of Mississippi, USA are collaborating in the event.

The CRISM was set up by the Department of AYUSH at the NCNPR, University of Mississippi, USA through a memorandum of understanding signed between Department of AYUSH and the University of Mississippi in August 2008 for co-operation in the field of development of Ayurveda-Siddha-Unani herbal and botanical products of global standards. This Centre is functioning with the primary mission of facilitating internationally important joint research for the scientific validation of Indian Systems of Medicine including Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha and for creating greater awareness about these systems and their products in the US and other countries.

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Stephen Edge

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I'd like to tell you about who we are and what we do. The Engineering Advisory Board consists of 25 elected members and three dean's appointees, most of whom are Ole Miss engineering alumni. Our purpose is to advise and provide support to Dean Cheng and his staff on a variety of issues. Our members range from industry experts and corporate vice presidents to recent graduates. The tie among all of us is an understanding that high quality engineering graduates are needed as leaders in industry, government and academia.

The board meets for two days every spring and fall. Topics for the meeting include student affairs, industry and government relations, and alumni affairs. Board members meet with groups of undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty across the multiple engineering disciplines. Also, board members meet with individual departments to review items such as ABET accreditation, lab improvements, curricula and undergraduate recruiting efforts.

This meeting, we had the opportunity to hear from UM Provost Morris Stocks and Associate Provost Noel Wilkin. Stocks spoke of the surge in undergraduate enrollment this fall semester, which stands at a 24.8 percent increase over fall 2009. This led to many discussions and recommendations concerning this magnitude of growth and how to sustain such gains while maintaining the close student-to-faculty relationships from which our students benefit. Wilkin spoke about the Engineering Vision Council that met for the first time in early September. The Engineering Vision Council was developed to answer the question, "What does it mean to be an Ole Miss engineer in the 21st century?" The Engineering Advisory Board is looking forward to working with the Vision Council.

Lastly, I would like to speak about the changes in the school in which the board was instrumental in driving. Some issues, such as increasing hours for computer lab access for undergrads, may seem trivial but make a significant impact on our students' ability to learn. Other important issues include planning and fundraising support for many of the renovations underway, including Old Chemistry and Carrier Hall, and the expansion of the Bachelor of Engineering degree to include emphasis areas such as pre-med, public policy and ROTC.

Ole Miss Engineering is celebrating its 110th anniversary this year. You will be seeing more information about this soon. I hope you are as excited about the School of Engineering and the direction it is heading as I am. If you have not been on campus to meet Dean Cheng or his staff members recently, you should come back to campus this fall to enjoy a football game or visit in the spring for the annual Excellence in Engineering banquet.

If you are interested in more information or in serving on the Engineering Advisory Board, you can contact me at stephenedge@olemissalumni.com or Joshua E. Waggoner, School of Engineering director of development, at waggoner@olemiss.edu.

Sincerely,
Stephen V. Edge, Chair
Engineering Advisory Board
BSEE 2000

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Ryan Holmes

Dear Alumni and Friends,

As president of your Engineering Alumni Chapter this year, I am excited to share with you our first initiative we are calling "Game Day with the Dean." Starting this weekend on Oct. 2, the dean, leadership of the school and our engineering student ambassadors will be hosting all engineering alumni for two hours prior to kickoff of Ole Miss vs. Kentucky in front of our new home, the Old Chemistry Building. There will be food, fellowship and fun for those in attendance, and all are welcome to participate in these festivities. In addition to this weekend, we will be hosting a tent on Nov. 6 for the ULL game, which is homecoming, and the Nov. 27 game versus Mississippi State.

Our goal this fall is to reconnect with alumni and build new relationships. We want to establish an active alumni chapter that can give back to the School of Engineering. There are so many opportunities for service, some of which include recruiting or mentoring students and assisting with engineering week. By now, you should have received a postcard with this information outlined, and we hope you will stop by and say hello.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend and in the future as we celebrate Game Day with the Dean for your School of Engineering. If you have specific questions or thoughts and would like to get more information about how to get involved with the Ole Miss Engineering Alumni Chapter, contact Joshua E. Waggoner at waggoner@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1601.

I hope to see you soon!

Ryan A. Holmes
President, Engineering Alumni Chapter

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Carl C. Comer

School of Engineering Names Auditorium for Fulton Native, UM Alumnus Carl C. Comer

OXFORD, Miss. - As a student, Carl C. Comer of Fulton spent many hours taking classes in the Old Chemistry Building auditorium at the University of Mississippi. When he returned to his alma mater Saturday, it was to have the classroom dedicated in his honor.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) was the keynote speaker for the dedication of the Carl C. Comer Auditorium in the newly renovated facility.

"This day is a source of great pride," Cochran said. "Those of us who were in classes here a long time ago appreciate the chance to witness this special occasion."

Cochran and Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat's former classmate, Comer was lauded as "an excellent student and good fellow."

"Everybody liked Carl," Cochran said. "This auditorium is well-named."

Even before the dedication, the auditorium was a special place for Comer.

"There's just something about walking in that building that brings back so many fond memories," he said. "Having the auditorium named after me is such an honor because Old Chemistry signifies tradition and the academic atmosphere that a good university should have."

The building will become the new headquarters for the School of Engineering complex. As the building's centerpiece, Comer Auditorium will be used for lectures, classes, presentations and other events.

These renovations are part of the $25 million Campaign for Engineering, which will help the school strengthen its education, research and service operations in ways that have a far-reaching impact on the school, the university and the state.

"I want to thank the university administration for securing the state and university funds, and for all the alumni and friends who participated in the campaign," said Alex Cheng, engineering school dean. "Their contributions reflect their commitment to Ole Miss and the future of the School of Engineering. We are grateful for their support during this exciting and critical time for our school."

The engineering complex includes the newly renovated Old Chemistry Building, Carrier and Anderson Halls, the Charles E. Smith Engineering Science Building and part of Weir Hall, where the Department of Computer and Information Science is housed. A new building to house the Center for Manufacturing Excellence is taking shape between Carrier Hall and Old Chemistry.

Besides the auditorium, classrooms and laboratory space, Old Chemistry will house the dean's and other administrative offices, offices for graduate students and visiting scholars, a distance learning classroom and student areas, including a student resource center, lounge and engineering society offices. The National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering, the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute, and parts of the Civil Engineering and Geology and Geological Engineering departments will also be housed in the building.

Comer, who earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1960 and a master's degree in combined sciences in 1965, spent the majority of his career teaching chemistry at then-Itawamba Junior College and as the dean of students, admissions director and registrar at Itawamba Community College. After his retirement in 1994, Comer continued to serve Mississippi as a missionary to Central America, as administrator of a foundation that assists students in Itawamba County and as a leader in his church.

Besides teaching, Comer served on the American College Testing Board of Directors and was a member of the Southern Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers. He also served as president of both Mississippi Chief Student Personnel Administrators for Universities and Community Colleges and the Mississippi Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Comer's wife, Nannette, earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in English from UM in 1961 and 1967, respectively. Their daughters, Karen Comer Fox, who is president and chief executive officer of Delta Health Alliance, and Mary Margaret Comer Grissom, who is lead pharmacist at St Francis Hospital in Memphis, both received undergraduate degrees from Ole Miss.

"We're an Ole Miss family," Fox said. "We never considered ourselves just students, alumni or fans. Ole Miss is just more a part of us, and we're a part of it - like home."

For more information on the Campaign for Engineering at the University of Mississippi, call Joshua Waggoner at 662-915-1601. To make a gift online through the UM Foundation, visit https://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/online.php?school=engineering.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbobLwbL3aI

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Engineering Advisory Board

Alumni In Action - May 2010

The Ole Miss Engineering Advisory Board held a productive meeting April 8-9. The 25-member board supports the continued development of the School of Engineering, recognizing the desire and need for the school to maintain programs of excellence and a posture of leadership in engineering education. The board meets every spring and fall.

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Chemical Engineering Couple Gives Back

Chemical Engineering Couple Gives Back to Alma Mater

OXFORD, Miss. - If not for the generosity of others, two chemical engineering graduates probably would not have attended the University of Mississippi.

To help other prospective engineering students afford college, Mike and Emily Williams, both of whom earned bachelor's degrees in chemical engineering in 2001, have donated $25,000 to establish the Mike E. and Emily N. Williams Engineering Scholarship.

"I can't remember the amount of the scholarships I received, but I do know the amount led to my decision to attend Ole Miss instead of LSU," said Mike Williams, a native of New Iberia, La. "I'll forever be grateful for that. It was really down to Ole Miss and LSU by the time I was a high school senior, but once I visited Ole Miss, I fell in love with the small-town atmosphere. Ole Miss felt more like home. I knew at that point I wanted to attend Ole Miss."

An engineer at XTO Energy in Fort Worth, Texas, he tells everyone he meets that he made the right decision.

"We don't have the largest engineering school, but because of its size you'll get more one-on-one time with the professors," he said. "And based on my life, you'll be just as successful. I put my education up against anybody, any day."

Emily Williams agreed.

"When I took the PSATs and scored high, Ole Miss offered me one of the (Sally McDonnell Barksdale) Honors College scholarships," said Emily, who was also a National Merit Scholar and received scholarships from the School of Engineering.

"Once I came to Ole Miss, I realized I had made the right decision," she said. "I wanted to be at a place where I would be successful. Everyone at Ole Miss seemed to take an interest in my journey. It really meant a lot."

While the Williamses found many mentors at Ole Miss, both agreed that John O'Haver, professor of chemical engineering, stood out.

"Dr. O was not only a good mentor to us, but he was a mentor to every student he met," Emily said. "He cares a lot about students, and it shows in how he teaches and how he interacts with the student body."

Mike recalls O'Haver as "tough but fair."

"Dr. O'Haver spent more time getting to know the students on a personal level," he said. "He gave more than just classroom advice. I still keep in touch with him."

O'Haver described the Williamses as very sharp, well-spoken and personable.

"Immediately after graduation, they went to work for ExxonMobil," said O'Haver, also associate dean of academic and student affairs in the School of Engineering and director of the Center for Mathematics and Science Education. "Emily quit to stay home with their two cute little girls. They are the kind of engineers you want to hire. They are hardworking and creative."

Both Mike and Emily said they are happy to be able to give back to Ole Miss at this time in their lives.

"I've been pretty fortunate in my career and have done well so far," Mike said. "Emily and I always wanted to give back to the university that gave so much to us. We wanted to provide the same scholarship opportunities that were available to us to other students."

The Williamsess reside in Fort Worth, Texas, and are the parents of Samantha, 5, and Annie, 3.

For more information on contributing to scholarship programs for the School of Engineering, go to http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

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Support

Support for the Ole Miss School of Engineering

As we approach the end of another calendar year, we would like to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has supported the Ole Miss School of Engineering and remind everyone that it's not too late to make an additional gift in support of our dynamic students and faculty. Your tax-deductible gift of $1,000 or $84 a month via EFT deduction is critical to our overall success.

Your support has allowed the school to increase the number of scholarships awarded to students and provide additional funds for faculty research. With a record enrollment this year of more than 1,000 students, newly formed partnerships with regional government agencies and the completion of the new engineering campus, your support is more critical than ever.

So, again, as you begin to think about your year-end giving, please consider the Ole Miss School of Engineering in those plans. You may choose to make that gift online here, or if you have more specific questions about funding a specific project or idea for the school, please feel free to contact Joshua Waggoner at waggoner@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1601.

Thank you, and may you and your family enjoy your holiday season!

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Tracy W. Lusk

A Tribute to Tracy W. Lusk, 1926-2010

With a great sense of loss and sadness, the School of Engineering learned that Tracy Wallace Lusk succumbed to illness on June 22, 2010. Lusk's devotion to The University of Mississippi and the School of Engineering was a thread that ran through both his professional and private life. He and his late wife, Jane, were often seen at university events, and if these visits were too infrequent, then a social visit was in order. Both were always welcome visitors.

Lusk was born in 1926 in Woodville, Miss., and he graduated from Hazelhurst High School in 1944. He served with the U.S. Army as a paratrooper in World War II and was stationed in Germany immediately after the end of the war. After his Army tour of duty, he attended Copiah-Lincoln Junior College in Wesson, Miss., and entered The University of Mississippi in 1948. At the university, he obtained both his Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering in 1950 and his Master of Science in geology in 1951. During his studies at Ole Miss, he became lifelong friends with Dr. William Clifford Morse, then chair of the geology department and state geologist. Morse provided Tracy with the opportunity to be a student worker for the Mississippi Geological Survey, which was headquartered in Ventress Hall. After Lusk graduated, he accepted a position as a geologist working for the Geological Survey in 1952, and in 1958, he succeeded Morse as state geologist. Lusk authored 12 major publications for the Geological Survey, including Bulletin 80, "Benton County Geology," which was published in 1956. He remained as state geologist until June 1962.

Following his work with the Geological Survey, Lusk worked in private industry, both as a consultant and operator of a sand-and-gravel pit. His private industry work was fundamental to the development of Mississippi's Cretaceous bentonite resources in Monroe County, and he became much in demand as a clay consultant. He also became known as an expert in the evaluation and utilization of sand-and-gravel resources in Mississippi.

In 1983, Lusk was hired by the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute (MMRI) as a research associate and worked closely with MMRI's Minerals Commercialization Center (MCC). The MCC was a cooperative effort between the MMRI and the university's business school. Lusk drew on his experience as a mineral producer to guide the business studies and evaluations conducted by the MMC. In 1984, he accepted the position of associate director, working under the direction of the late Dr. Bob Woolsey. As associate director, he oversaw the day-to-day work of the institute, which included an initiative to characterize heavy minerals in Mississippi's coastal waters and the formation of a select group to act as technical assistants to the state of Mississippi, as salt domes were being investigated as potential high-level nuclear waste repositories. He retired from this position in December 1992. After retirement, he continued his association with the MMRI, often attending board meetings, and was always available to the institute when the need arose.

Without a doubt, the MMRI, School of Engineering and The University of Mississippi will miss Lusk's support and enthusiasm. But equally important, Mississippi has lost one of its own-a person who cared for the welfare of the state and the people who live here. Let us remember Lusk for the contributions he made, the leadership he demonstrated and a life that we may well use as a role model.

Charles T. Swann
Associate Director for State Programs
Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute

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Woolsey Scholarship

Woolsey Scholarship Awarded to Second-Year Graduate Student

OXFORD, Miss. - Patrick W. Niemeyer of Lumberton is the second recipient of a memorial scholarship paying tribute to J. Robert "Bob" Woolsey, late director of the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute at the University of Mississippi.

Niemeyer is a second-year graduate student at Ole Miss working toward a master's degree in engineering science and geology.

"I unfortunately never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Woolsey, but after all of the stories I have heard from his former colleagues and after getting to know the Woolsey family, I feel like I truly missed out by not getting to know him," Niemeyer said. "He was obviously an exceptional geologist and a great man, so to be selected for this award by the Woolsey family and some of his former colleagues is truly an honor."

A renowned geologist and expert in undersea mineral resources, Woolsey died in a July 2008 car accident. Memorials in his name amounting to more than $11,000 were made to the UM Foundation, and Maxine Woolsey, his widow, committed additional resources to fund the Woolsey Scholarship Endowment for Geology and Geological Engineering. The inaugural award was made last year.

A 2008 UM graduate with a bachelor's degree in geology, Niemeyer received the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering Outstanding Student Scholarship in 2009 and 2010. He expects to complete graduate school in May, with plans to work in petroleum exploration.

Maxine Woolsey said Niemeyer's plans fit with the intent of the annual scholarship award, which she said should recognize students who are "enthusiastic about geology and possess a proven work ethic."

"To appropriately honor Bob, this scholarship should help students become hands-on geologists and geological engineers," she said. "Bob always felt the best classrooms didn't have walls. I want scholarship recipients to use the funds to have extraordinary experiences."

MMRI director since 1982, Bob Woolsey was instrumental in founding UM's two marine centers: the Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology and the Seabed Technology Research Center, which is a division of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's National Institute for Undersea Science and Research. Through these centers, he organized an international consortium of scientists and engineers to study gas hydrates.

For more information on contributing to the Woolsey Scholarship for Geology and Geological Engineering, go to http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

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Retiring NCCHE founder

Retiring NCCHE Founder-Director Sam Wang Reflects Upon 43 Years of Leadership, Service

OXFORD, Miss. - When Sam S.Y. Wang joined the University of Mississippi faculty, it was mainly because of counsel from his dissertation adviser at another institution. Forty-three years later, Wang realizes his stellar career success as a renowned researcher, educator and administrator began with the man who saw the engineer within and lured him here.

"Dr. John A. Fox, who was my Ph.D. research adviser and professor at the University of Rochester, was the key reason why I came to work at Ole Miss," said Wang, who is the Frederick A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and founder-director of the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering. He is retiring from his administrative post June 30.

"When I had almost completed my dissertation, Dr. Fox accepted the offer from the UM School of Engineering to become chair of mechanical engineering," Wang said. "His kind persuasions caused me to rethink my decision to begin working at the Shell Oil Research Corp., in Houston. Instead, I came here as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering."

Wang settled down, worked hard and excelled professionally. The rest, as they say, is history.

"The longer I stayed, the more I liked the working conditions and living environment," Wang said. "All my co-workers in the engineering school and other offices on campus have provided me with all kinds of assistance. Oxford was also an ideal place to live and raise my children."

Wang said his work at UM has been satisfying in many respects.

"Efforts in educating the young engineers and promoting their professional development have led to me receiving one of four inaugural F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professorships, which is the highest honor a faculty member can receive," he said. "I also received the inaugural Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award, Senior Faculty Research Award (twice), the Outstanding Engineering Faculty Award (twice), the Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award from the American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics, and the Ralph R. Teetor Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers."

A pioneer in applying computational modeling methodology to hydroscience research, Wang has gained worldwide recognition. His accolades include the Hans Albert Einstein Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Qian Lin Prize from the World Association for Sedimentation and Erosion Research, the two highest international honors given for soil erosion and sediment transport research.

Wang said he considers the establishment of NCCHE as one of his most important career achievements. Started in 1983 with a single investigator and few sponsoring institutions, the center has gradually grown into an institution of national and international prominence.

Mustafa Altinakar, the center's associate director and research professor, credits Wang with being a visionary in his field.

"Professor Wang probably foresaw earlier than anybody else the potential of computational hydroscience and engineering," Altinakar said. "It was Dr. Wang's vision that created NCCHE as a place where the state-of-the-art models not only are created but also continuously refined and maintained. The NCCHE models, employed over a long span of time by a multitude of users with a wide range of problems, are among the best."

"The computational models simulating the environmental, water resources and soil conservation phenomena of our contemporary society have been utilized by thousands of professionals in institutions worldwide," Wang said.

For example, NCCHE's flood prediction modeling has been used to create emergency management plans to reduce damage to a water supply system during a disastrous flood. Similarly, soil erosion and sediment transport models are used to design erosion control structures to conserve topsoils and protect water resources from excessive pollution by sediments and contaminants, Wang said.

Another of Wang's professional milestones was chairing the American Society of Civil Engineers' Task Committee on Three-Dimensional Free Surface Flow Model Verification and Validation. The committee, which included 15 experts from six nations in hydraulic modeling research, produced a 500-page monograph, of which Wang was the principal editor.

Longtime colleagues and associates said working with Wang has been rewarding.

"Dr. Wang has remained always close to NCCHE personnel," said Altinakar. "His door is always open to all, and he is always eager to help in any way he can."

"Dr. Wang treats me as if I am a colleague," said Janice Crow, NCCHE administrative coordinator. "I have been very appreciative that my boss would think enough of my opinion. He has always treated me with respect and I can truthfully call him my friend. He will be truly missed."

Chancellor Dan Jones described Wang as "a respected leader in his discipline and within our academic community. He has an impressive record of peer-reviewed, original research publications, a long and consistent track record of superb grantsmanship and a strong commitment to education."

Alice Clark, vice chancellor of research and sponsored programs, said she has seen the prominent role Wang has played and the achievement the NCCHE has made through his leadership.

"In addition to being internationally revered and respected in his discipline, Dr. Wang is equally well-regarded for his kindness and consideration of his colleagues," she said. "Our research community has certainly benefitted from the enormous impact of his leadership, scholarship and mentorship."

Wang's former students credit him with encouraging them to reach their full potential.

"Even after I graduated from Ole Miss, I always consult my former adviser, Dr. Wang, for suggestions and advice on my career development," said Jennifer Duan, assistant professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics at the University of Arizona. "Because of Dr. Wang's reputation in computational hydraulics, I was selected from among 90 applicants as a tenure-track faculty member at UA, a top-ranking public school in the U.S."

Wang said he has enjoyed his work, but believes that it is time to pass the baton to someone else.

After June 30, Wang said he plans to rest but later return to work as a half-time employee. His focus will be on his latest research project, which he hopes to complete within the next year or two.

"Then I will 'retire' again - this time completely - so that I can devote my time to authoring a few articles at a leisurely pace while touring the world's rivers to gain additional inspirations in hydroscience," he said.

Wang said he is grateful that Fox wooed him to Ole Miss.

"I constantly feel that I have been the luckiest person in this world to have been supported by all the people around me," Wang said. "Most of all, I am the luckiest person because of my family and especially my beloved wife, Jine, who has given me her understanding and the strongest support for almost 50 years. Without all of these, I couldn't possibly have accomplished what I have done."

For more information about the UM School of Engineering, go to engineering.olemiss.edu

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UM Engineering Researcher on Italian TV

MMRI Researcher Spotlights UM Engineering on Italian TV Show

OXFORD, Miss. - Fifteen minutes was all the time Leonardo Macelloni had, but it was also all the time he needed.

Interviewed recently on one of Italy's national television shows, the University of Mississippi researcher praised his employer for its advanced technology, cutting-edge research opportunities and cordial people.

"I am really proud and happy to be affiliated with Ole Miss," said Macelloni, a geophysicist in UM's Mississippi Minerals Research Institute. "Of course, I wore red and blue on the program to show my support for the university."

He appeared on the two-hour program at the request of a colleague at the University of Rome, where Macelloni was a visiting professor this summer. The show's theme focused on why Italians often choose to emigrate elsewhere for educational advancement and career opportunities. A University of Rome alumnus, Macelloni spoke of his own experience.

"I discovered the university while completing my master's thesis six years ago," he said. "The University of Mississippi has one of the most advanced tools for deep-sea exploration anywhere in the world. We're also involved in installing the first sea floor observatory in the Gulf of Mexico. These things, plus the beautiful, historic campus and warm faculty and students, appealed to me very much."

Although he finished his degree in Italy, Macelloni's research interests led him back to MMRI, where he has been employed for the past five years. He and his advising professor in Rome have been instrumental in bringing at least five Italian scientists to experience education in the UM School of Engineering.

"One Italian scientist went to work for an oil company, another works in Norway and a third is completing his doctorate at the University of South Carolina," Macelloni said. "Two more master's students arrived here in July and will remain on campus through the spring 2011 semester."

While he probably won't become a celebrity as a result of his brief TV appearance, Macelloni feels certain that some of those who saw and heard him will investigate UM. And that's enough for him.

"When Italian scientists start looking for a university to further their education, I want them to consider coming to Ole Miss," Macelloni said. "Why go anywhere else when what they seek can probably be found right here?"

For more information about the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute, go to mmri.olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7320.

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ASME Design Competition

ASME Announces Finalists for Annual Student Design Competition

NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2010 - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) will hold its annual Student Design Competition on Sunday, November 14, 2010, in Vancouver, Canada during the 2010 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Fifteen teams are slated to participate in the competition, which provides student engineerings the opportunity to experience the process of solving design challenges faced by today's engineers.

An annual event, the ASME Student Design Competition provides a platform for ASME student members to present their solutions to a range of design problems. The title and theme of this year's competition is "Earth Saver: Autonomous Material Sorter" and requires participating teams to design, build and test an autonomous system capable of accurately sorting common recyclable materials into distinct waste containers. These materials include ferrous and nonferrous metals, plastics and glass.

"For students looking to enter the engineering workforce, it is imperative that they understand the types of challenges and processes faced by engineers on a daily basis," said ASME President Robert T. Simmons. "Through this competition, students have the opportunity to showcase their problem-solving skills and experience real-time engineering challenges."

The 15 student teams are from McGill University, Carnegie Mellon University, Western Kentucky University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Grand Valley State University, the University of Mississippi, California State University at Fresno, Oregon State University, the University of Alabama, the University of Tennessee, Nanyang Technological University, Lebanese American University, Yeditepe University, and LeTourneau University (which will send two teams to the competition).

The ASME Student Design Competition is just one of the many events that will be a part of the 2010 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, which also will feature technical presentations on advances in engineering research and applications. The ASME Congress will be held November 12-18, at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre.

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Robot Competition

Electrical engineering students prepare robot for competition

Ole Miss electrical engineering students have been assigned a challenging mission: to create the sensors and components needed for a "search-and-rescue" robot.

The students are creating the robot as part of their senior design class, taught by Elliott Hutchcraft, UM associate professor of electrical engineering.

Their robot will be entered in the IEEE Southeast Conference competition on March 17-20 in Nashville, Tenn., and they will compete against student representatives from around 50 other universities.

"The robot is supposed to be a 'search and rescue' robot," Hutchcraft said. "It is supposed to discover 'victims' in the rooms that it must navigate. The robot can sense victims using EMF (electromagnetic field) or LEDs (light-emitting diodes). When victims are located, the robot is supposed to display and speak the location of the victims on the course."

Hutchcraft said that the students have spent this semester getting the robot's sensors to work. When the students return from their winter break, their challenge will be to get all of the sensors to work together with the microcontroller.

Some students are working on proximity sensors that the robot will use to sense the walls of the course it will navigate. For testing, they have designed a victim for the robot to find: a PVC cap that contains a circuit with an electromagnetic field. Some students are working on speech sensors, and some are working on a line tracker that will read color difference. A flashing LED will mean the victim is conscious, a green LED will mean the victim is unconscious, and no LED will mean the victim is dead.

"It's a lot of programming, a lot of code," said student Nick Harris. "The challenge is actually getting [the robot] to work properly."

To help raise the funds needed to buy the parts for the robot, students Daniel Forman and Jeffrey Tannehill successfully wrote a proposal to Northrop Grumman. (Forman had worked as an intern for the company for a couple of summers.) Vicki Crockett of Northrop Grumman presented the class with a check for $1,440 in late October.

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Engineering Ambassadors

Ambassadors share experiences with prospective students

A love for science, technology, engineering and math is at the core of the student ambassadors' mission for the School of Engineering at The University of Mississippi.

"The School of Engineering ambassadors are a service-oriented group who provide a great service not only to Ole Miss but also to the youth of the state and the region," said Scott Kilpatrick, assistant to the dean of the School of Engineering. "Each year, these ambassadors are charged with several key goals, but, first and foremost, they are encouraged to engage students from all grade levels and provide information regarding the opportunities available through engineering careers," Kilpatrick said.

Engineering ambassadors spend most of their time traveling to Mississippi high schools, middle schools and elementary schools to share information on Ole Miss and, specifically, UM's School of Engineering.

But, the ambassadors do more than encourage high school students to attend Ole Miss, said Rebecca Werner, a civil engineering major and student director of the engineering ambassador group.

"A typical weekend for us may include giving tours of our various departments and the campus, but most of the time we share our experiences as students, who just happen to be engineering majors," Werner said.

Kilpatrick said providing prospective students with a glimpse of the Ole Miss experience is perhaps the ambassadors' second most important job.

"When visiting with students, our ambassadors openly share their background and involvement in a variety of activities. This undoubtedly allows prospective students to understand the amazing experiences that are possible here in the School of Engineering," Kilpatrick said.

Spenser Max Smith, a senior civil engineering major, said he became an ambassador to share his love for math and science. "When I was in high school, I figured that my interest would lead me to a career in accounting," Smith said. "Once I came to Ole Miss, I added my other interest in building and construction and came up with civil engineering. It was the best decision I've ever made, and I want to let other students know about the field."

Last year, the Ole Miss engineering ambassadors visited 15 area schools and participated in more than a dozen on-campus visits.

"The ambassadors put a great amount of preparation into developing and organizing classroom and campus visits," Kilpatrick said. "The feedback from teachers and students has been amazing. The engineering ambassadors truly serve as outstanding representatives for Ole Miss and the School of Engineering."

If you are interested in having an Ole Miss engineering ambassador visit your school, please contact Scott Kilpatrick at skilpat@olemiss.edu.

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National Tau Beta Pi Laureate

Engineering Alumnus Honored as National Tau Beta Pi Laureate

OXFORD, Miss. - A 2010 University of Mississippi School of Engineering graduate has been tapped as one of five Tau Beta Pi laureates nationwide.

Tau Beta Pi, the world's largest engineering honor society, will recognize Christina Bonnington, who earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, and the other honorees at its national convention in October. The laureates, who receive $2,500 and a commemorative plaque, are honored for excelling in areas beyond their technical majors.

"There have been only 69 laureates named since 1982 and Christina is the first from Mississippi, so it's wonderful to have someone from Ole Miss receive this recognition," said Allen Glisson, UM electrical engineering chair. "This honor is well-deserved, and we congratulate Christina on this achievement."

Cited for her achievements in the arts, Bonnington has studied ballet since she was 4, performing with troupes across the country. A founding member of the Oxford Ballet Company, Bonnington volunteered to teach at the Oxford Ballet School and spent the 2006-07 season performing professionally with Ballet Memphis.

"It's really exciting and an honor to be recognized nationally for both of my passions," Bonnington said.

A Taylor Medalist, UM's highest academic honor, Bonnington was named a 2010 UM Outstanding Senior Engineer and was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. Also an alumna of the UM Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Bonnington served as an engineering ambassador, helping recruit potential students to Ole Miss.

A Houston, Texas, native, Bonnington lives in San Francisco, where she is working as an intern for gizmodo.com. She is continuing her ballet training and hopes to find a small dance company to work with part time.

The Tau Beta Pi Laureate Program, which exists to foster a spirit of liberal arts culture in engineering colleges, recognizes students of superior scholarship and exemplary character.

To learn more about UM's School of Engineering, visit engineering.olemiss.edu.

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Engineers Without Borders

UM Chapter of Engineers Without Borders Extends Services to Global, Local Community

OXFORD, Miss. - When a small group of University of Mississippi engineering students decided that they wanted to serve the needs of the global community last September, they had no idea so many would be willing to join them in their endeavors.

"This year we worked with the Office of Sustainability on game day recycling and regularly with Habitat for Humanity," said Rebecca Werner, a civil engineering major from Diamondhead. "The outpouring of volunteers to assist in the Habitat house displays people's cheerful willingness to serve."

From those initial projects arose the campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA. And while the chapter remains committed to serving the Lafayette-Oxford-University community, its 173 members retain their original mission of going abroad in service as well.

EWB-USA is a nonprofit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities worldwide to improve quality of life. The partnerships involve implementing sustainable engineering projects while involving and training internationally responsible engineers and engineering students.

Werner serves as vice president of the chapter. Other officers include Matthew Rushing, president, a chemical engineering major from Ridgeland; Sarah Sams, treasurer, a civil engineering major from Jackson; Anna Hailey, secretary, a chemical engineering, Chinese and chemistry major from Muscle Shoals, Ala.; Jonathan Jones, executive coordinator, a chemical engineering major from Long Beach; Pablo Mariaca, executive officer, a civil engineering major from Bolivia; and Susie Nguyen, webmaster, a chemical engineering and biochemistry major from Oxford.

"The School of Engineering and other administrative units of our university have been giving the EWB chapter full support during its incubation period and are committed to its healthy growth in the future," said Wei-Yin Chen, professor of chemical engineering and faculty adviser for the chapter. "The UM chapter of EWB-USA will offer engineering service opportunities and cultivate lifelong learning spirits of the engineering profession. This, in turn, is expected to impact the lives of the less-privileged citizens of the world."

The group meets weekly to discuss upcoming challenges, including fundraising and project establishment. Members are evaluating several potential international projects in Central America, South America and Asia. By October, they plan to have chosen a project location where they will commit themselves for the next five to 10 years.

"We will have submitted a formal proposal to EWB-USA describing sustainable projects in that one community that we will have the ability to undertake," Werner said. "From this point forward, the Ole Miss EWB-USA will be assessing the community and its needs and finding appropriate solutions,"

Delegates attended the EWB-USA Southeast Regional workshop in Miami in October and the international conference in Denver over spring break.

"Our aim seemed simple: to apply classroom knowledge in a developing or underdeveloped nation, helping those who could not necessarily help themselves," Werner said. "This past year has taught us much as far as barriers to success and our unique opportunity for service as students."

While engineering students make up the majority of the chapter's membership, students from other fields of study are welcome.

"We encourage students from different majors to apply their knowledge to assist our developing a long-term relationship with a community in need," Werner said. "We utilize differing abilities to identify and permeate potential economic, ecological, cultural and political obstacles. We look to ensure ownership from the community in various projects."

Chapter members said they are deeply appreciative for all the support provided by advisers, the engineering school, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the entire student body.

"We hope that the foundation EWB-USA, Ole Miss has built will help pave the way for the future," Werner said.

For more information about Engineers Without Borders-USA, visit ewb-usa.org. For more information about the UM School of Engineering, visit engineering.olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7407.

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Anna Kathryn Hailey

Senior Honors Student with Triple Major Named UM's 12th Goldwater Scholar

OXFORD, Miss. - Honors student Anna Kathryn Hailey has been named the University of Mississippi's 12th Barry M. Goldwater Scholar.

The Ole Miss senior from Muscle Shoals, Ala., is the eighth UM student to receive the prestigious award since 2000. Last summer, Hailey became the university's first exchange student with the Institute for Thermal Power Engineering at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. While there, she joined Chinese researchers in their work on carbon storage and sequestration methods.

"I was very happy and excited to learn I had received the Goldwater," said Hailey, who is pursuing a triple major in Mandarin Chinese, chemistry and chemical engineering. "This scholarship will help pay for my fifth year of college, which I need to complete my three majors. Then I hope the Goldwater will help me gain admission into graduate school so I can continue my studies."

Already with enough academic credit hours to be qualified as a senior, Hailey expects to complete requirements for her bachelor's degree with three majors in 2011. Following graduation, she said she plans to earn a doctorate in chemical engineering or environmental engineering so she can continue research on alternative energy sources.

Hailey credits Ole Miss faculty and staff across many disciplines for giving her a solid foundation for her future career path.

"I would like to thank Dr. (Debra) Young and the Honors College for encouraging me to apply for this scholarship, and Dr. (Wei-Yin) Chen, Dr. (Nathan) Hammer, Dr. (John) O'Haver, Dr. (Haidong) Wu, and the rest of the chemical engineering and chemistry departments for their unwavering support," she said. "Ole Miss has been so good to me."

Faculty members in Hailey's major fields of study boast of her academic achievements and dedication.

"Anna has distinguished herself from other students in academic performance, research accomplishment, community and professional services, vision and personality," said Chen, professor of chemical engineering and Hailey's primary mentor and research supervisor. "The Goldwater Scholarship will be an enormous encouragement to her career preparation."

"Anna has a drive to learn, a drive to understand, a drive to expand her personal boundaries," said O'Haver, associate dean of chemical engineering. "She has a very solid global perspective, which she will bring to all of her activities and make her the ideal scientist-engineer-researcher for the future."

"Anna is an exemplary student in every respect," said Clint Williford, chair and professor of chemical engineering. "She has maintained a strong GPA while pursuing a five-year, three-degree program. Through intensive study, she passed a language exam qualifying her to take engineering courses in China."

Wu, associate professor of mathematics, echoed those sentiments.

"Anna is a remarkable student who is mathematically gifted," Wu said. "I have no doubt that she has a bright future as a scientist."

A student in the university's Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Hailey is also a Taylor Medalist and member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Her extracurricular activities include serving as president of the campus chapter of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society and as past secretary and treasurer of the Society of Women Engineers. She is the founding secretary of the university's new chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Hailey has also been a member of Gamma Beta Phi honor society, an Associated Student Body senator and an Ole Miss Ambassador. She was a member of the Pride of the South Marching Band color guard and a volunteer assistant in UM academic competitions.

She is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. William Hailey of Muscle Shoals.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was created in 1986 to honor U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater. The purpose of the program is "to alleviate a critical current and future shortage of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers." The scholarship seeks to encourage talented student researchers in those fields to prepare for and enter careers as research scientists.

Students apply in their sophomore or junior year. The scholarship provides up to $7,500 per remaining undergraduate year to assist with the recipient's tuition, fees, books, and room and board. This year the Goldwater Foundation named 278 scholars from a field of 1,111 applications.

For more information on the Goldwater Scholarships, go to act.org/goldwater.

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Engineering Day Competition

High School Students Get Their Water Towers Shaken at Annual Engineering Day Competition

OXFORD, Miss. - Eddie King III nervously watched the plywood water tower he helped build undergo the first of three earthquake simulations. As the structure shook violently, the mandatory minimum pound of water sloshed and spilled slightly. But the model remained intact.

"Our team put a lot of time into designing and building our entry," said the senior from Lee High School in Marianna, Ark. "So we expect to win something today."

But so do the students from all the other high schools participating in the University of Mississippi's annual Engineering Day competition Friday Feb. 26). Issued the challenge of designing and constructing a model water tower at a reasonable cost, they have spent weeks preparing the entries they hope are sturdy enough to withstand increasingly stronger and longer fake tremors.

"This contest was designed to be challenging - and fun," said Maxine Woolsey, education outreach specialist in the UM School of Engineering. "The specifications were minimal to allow for creative engineering, yet the students had to keep their designs cost-efficient as well."

The shake-tower contest was a major attraction for King and his classmates.

"I was surprised at just how much preparation we had to make before starting this project," said Eric Garrett, another Lee High participant. "Before we purchased any materials, we had to create a to-scale drawing, create a budget and calculate the costs. I discovered I really like the technical aspects of engineering."

The structures all were tested on a "shake table." Water tower models sustaining little or no damage through the third simulation got an additional half-pound weight added atop the tank for each compression level.

By the second earthquake simulation's end, one or two models began to show stress points. Corinth High School's entry was not one of them.

"We're in it to win it," said Bailey Digby, a junior at Corinth High. "We gave it our best. Hopefully, that will prove to be enough when all the shaking stops and the judging ends."

More than 50 high school students from eight Mississippi schools attended Engineering Day, which was the culmination of a monthlong observance aimed at increasing enrollment by helping students "see the engineer" within themselves. The engineering school, UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Education and the Center for Mathematics and Science Education co-sponsored the gathering.

Schools emerging victorious at the end of the day included West Union Attendance Team of Union County, Ridgeland High School, Tupelo Christian Preparatory School and Corinth High School.

Earlier in the day, dozens of UM students from all six engineering departments greeted the eager prospects. Loaded with information about academic programs and careers, each UM representative sought to make a favorable and lasting impression upon the visitors. Besides the water tower model-earthquake simulation competition, students also competed in individual and team math, science and engineering tests.

The Ole Miss students succeeded in their objectives, several of the high school student agreed.

"I think Ole Miss has a really good engineering school," said Dora Chen, a junior at Oxford High School. "In the first session, I learned enough about engineering to be sure that this is really what I want to do."

Engineering Student Body Vice President Alissa Carroll, who helped coordinate National Engineers Week activities, said she is thrilled at the visitors' positive response as she was busy hosting Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day elsewhere on campus.

"The engineering students give a great deal of time and energy helping facilitate these competitions," said Carroll, a senior from Kingwood, Texas. "Seeing high school students enjoying themselves and hearing them say they're considering attending Ole Miss makes it all worthwhile."

Woolsey said she also considered Engineering Day proceedings a success.

"This is one of the most excited groups we've ever hosted," Woolsey said. "Hopefully, many of these high school students will come to Ole Miss, earn their various degrees in engineering and be able to find post-graduation employment, internship or co-op opportunities."

Already, one participant is sold on that idea.

"Whether we win the water tower competition or not, engineering is something I know that I'm passionate about," Garrett said. "I'm definitely planning on coming to Ole Miss because it has a great program, has a beautiful campus and is close to home."

For more information about the University of Mississippi School of Engineering, call 662-915-5780 or visit engineering.olemiss.edu.

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UM and South Korean University

UM and South Korean University Create Educational Partnership

OXFORD, Miss. - The University of Mississippi expanded its global presence Monday (Nov. 9) with the signing of a formal partnership with Hanbat National University in South Korea.

Dong-Ho Sul, president of Hanbat, and several of the university's deans and officials were on hand for the ceremony. "I believe this agreement will be profitable and beneficial for both universities," Sul said.

The program will enable Hanbat students to attend the South Korean university for two years and UM for two years while earning a dual degree. The South Korean university specializes in the fields of engineering and business and has been sending students from those fields to Ole Miss since 2002 to participate in the intensive English program, Sul said.

"Our expectation is that this joint partnership we are entering into today will provide great dividends not only to the Hanbat students but also to the University of Mississippi," said Larry Ridgeway, UM vice chancellor of student affairs.

The university's engineering and business programs will benefit from the inclusion of South Korean students in those fields, and the university as a whole will continue to build international partnerships in a world that is growing more and more global, he said.

During a luncheon honoring the new collaboration, Lydia Jones, wife of UM Chancellor Dan Jones, toasted the new agreement in both Korean and English. The Joneses spent time living in South Korea near the hometowns of some of the visiting South Korean educators. "In the years to come, may our universities collaborate closely and in true partnership," she said.

Sul and the other South Korean educators spent time visiting the UM schools of Engineering and Business Administration as well as the UM offices of International Programs and Student Affairs during their daylong trip to campus.

Sul said his university is very pleased to expand the relationship with UM particularly because it fits with his university's two goals of collaborating with industry and embracing globalization.

Hanbat National University is in Daejeon, South Korea. Established in 1927, the university is home to nearly 10,000 students and offers degrees in engineering, humanities, and economics and commerce, as well as industry, information, and communications and entrepreneurial management.

For more information visit outreach.olemiss.edu/study_usa.

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Students Study in Belize

Study Abroad Students Continue to Give in Belize

OXFORD, Miss. - When Valerie Blair, a University of Mississippi junior from Corinth, and 11 fellow Ole Miss students landed in Ambergris Caye, Belize, they didn't know what to expect. But every one of them knew why they were there: to serve school children in an impoverished area of San Mateo.

As part of the UM Study Abroad program, the students traveled with Kim Shackelford, associate professor of social work, to the town of San Pedro, a popular tourist destination. There, they taught Spanish-speaking children living on the outskirts of the island to speak and read English.

The spring break trip made such an impact on the Ole Miss group that several months later, they are still reaching out to raise money for San Mateo schoolchildren with poor eyesight. The students were eager to make a difference in the community as soon as they arrived, Shackleford said.

"I went to Belize with 12 students I didn't know and within a week, I knew they were very service-oriented," she said. "They worked hard in a difficult situation."

Blair, a nursing major, and Diamondhead native Rebecca Werner, a senior engineering major, are among the students raising money to help buy eyeglasses for needy children at Holy Cross Anglican School. Both members of Delta Gamma sorority, they are selling calendars created by Delta Gamma sister Christy Sims, a senior business administration major from Madison.

Blair and Werner said one of their main jobs during the week was to assist with screenings of students at the local eye clinic. "We asked if we could go help because Delta Gamma's philanthropy is Service for Sight, so helping at the eye clinic drew our interest," Werner said. "We didn't really have any introduction to people at all. We just told them we were there to help, asked them what we could do and told them where we were from."

The children's screenings concluded that 35 of them needed glasses, Shackelford said.

"Our students went with the children being sent to the clinic for eye exams," Shackleford said. "The students learned that even though the exam proved the children needed glasses, the parents could not afford to buy the glasses. One pair costs $40 if they use donated frames and over $120 if frames are bought new."

Blair said her experiences at the clinic prompted her to find more ways to help the children.

"Before we went on the trip, we had talked about the idea of using Service for Sight to help these kids. I thought it was neat that the opportunity arose and we jumped on it," Blair said. "It was neat how it worked out because before we left the clinic, we spoke with the director, who told us more about the funding that comes into the clinic for screenings and exams. That sparked our interest in continuing our efforts after we got back home."

Blair and Werner said some of their fondest memories of Belize are from working with the children, including Alexis, who was upset when he found out he needed glasses.

Blair persuaded Alexis that needing glasses wasn't such a bad thing.

"He wasn't thrilled about that at all," she said. "I didn't realize there was such a stigma there against glasses. When he found that out, he was sort of in denial until I put on my glasses and convinced him that there was nothing wrong with them."

Werner said volunteers are in high demand in the San Mateo community.

"One child I worked with didn't have an easy time focusing; he always got distracted," she said. "We had to make it fun for him to learn. It's a lot like what our children face here. Hiring teachers is a different process there. There is a huge need for extra help."

Blair added that the children need more individual attention.

"One-on-one time with them seemed to make a difference because they're in such big classrooms all the time, and they don't get as much individualized attention as they need," she said. "They're doing well to be enrolled in school where such a low percentage of people continue their education past the eighth grade. There's great need there, even if it's just letting someone know you care.

Shackelford said she was pleased with the effort all the students gave.

"It made them think about what service they can do and showed them that they really can make a big difference in a week's time," she said.

Blair said the appreciation of the students and parents stood out most to her.

"A girl we had spent a lot of time with that week named Irene made us a homemade card and made sure we got it before we left," she said. "It was just her thanking us over and over for being her friend and being there for her. Even though we were only able to be there for four days with her, she was incredibly thankful. For me it was seeing how grateful they are for everything."

Seeing how the residents did so much with so little gave Werner a new perspective. "It's an eye-opener to see how people who have so little have so much because they're so incredibly grateful and thankful all the time for everything," Werner said. "Just the simplest act of kindness we gave them - hanging out with them or going to play soccer with them during their break - meant the world to them. I think relationship-building is something I learned. You can go anywhere, and whether there's a language barrier or not, you can still connect with people."

The UM Study Abroad program and Shackelford have planned two more trips to Ambergris Caye: a three-week Wintersession trip that is offered as an elective social work course for all UM undergraduate and graduate students, and a service-oriented trip during spring break 2010 open to all majors. To learn about these and other programs, go to outreach.olemiss.edu/study_abroad, or contact Brett Byrnes at brett@olemiss.edu.

To learn more about contributing to Delta Gamma's Service for Sight project, contact Rebecca Werner at rawerner@olemiss.edu or visit olemissdg.com.

For more information on the Department of Social Work, go to olemiss.edu/depts/socialwork or contact Kim Shackelford at kshackel@olemiss.edu.

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Student Studies in Northern Ireland

Public Policy Leadership, Civil Engineering Student Studying in Northern Ireland

OXFORD, Miss. - Hannie "Parker" Capps of Sunflower, a senior at the University of Mississippi, is killing two birds with one stone while studying this semester at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

A member of UM's Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Lott Leadership Institute, Capps is majoring in public policy leadership and civil engineering. While the two fields may seem to be opposites, Capps said she is planning to broaden her perspective in both areas.

Her study abroad is made possible through an exchange partnership with UU coordinated by the UM Study Abroad Office. This exchange allows her to take courses abroad and apply them to her UM degree as resident credit at the same tuition cost of taking classes on the Oxford campus, plus she can also use financial aid that she receives on campus to help defray her expenses. While abroad, she is slated to complete three required liberal arts courses, and she is also looking forward to traveling and enhancing her other interests.

"I would like to see as much of Europe as possible, but I hope to really get to know the cultures of Northern Ireland and Ireland," she said. "I will enjoy the experience of observing the political, cultural and religious differences, and I'm also looking forward to seeing the ancient architecture as well as the modern.

"I have visited the nearby cities of Belfast and Londonderry, and have plans to go with my roommate to visit her family in England. I've also been getting to know the area around Portstewart, the town I live in. It is so beautiful here - sometimes I just can't believe it."

Capps has completed enough academic hours for senior status at Ole Miss, but with extra coursework required to complete her double major, she plans to graduate in May 2012.

"I am really considering going to law school after I graduate," she said. "Regardless, I plan to combine civil engineering and public policy leadership in my future career."

As for her college experience so far, Capps said, "I am really enjoying my time at Ole Miss and am very grateful for the incredible opportunities that have been offered to me here. After visiting several universities throughout the South, I wouldn't have gone anywhere else."

Active in student government, she served as the Honors College ASB senator during her sophomore year. She was tapped for membership in the National Society for Collegiate Scholars and the national academic honor societies of Alpha Lambda Delta, Lambda Sigma, Tau Beta Pi, Chi Epsilon, Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Alpha Lambda.

A graduate of Indianola Academy, Capps is the daughter of Billie Dove Parker of Sunflower.

For more information about UM Study Abroad, visit outreach.olemiss.edu/study_abroad.

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Students Place in Design Competition

Chemical Engineering Students Win First Place in National Design Competition

OXFORD, Miss. - Teamwork and time have turned a trio of University of Mississippi chemical engineering majors into prize-winning troubleshooters in a national student competition.

Joey Parkerson of French Camp, Christopher Turbeville of Southaven and Michael McClure of Vicksburg - all seniors last spring - took first place in the Team Division of the 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers National Design Contest. The UM group beat competitors from 34 other universities, including five-time champion Oklahoma State University and two-time champions Michigan State University, Northeastern University and Washington University.

Other previous winners include Mississippi State University, the University of Toledo, Columbia University and the University of Utah.

"This is a great achievement for us, the chemical engineering department, the School of Engineering and the University of Mississippi as a whole," said Parkerson, a hypergolic propulsion systems engineer for NASA's Kennedy Space Center. "It is especially rewarding for us to have won first place the very first year that we competed."

All entrants worked on the same problem: Design the highest-yielding, lowest-cost process for converting corn into butanol, a biofuel that may be used in an internal combustion engine. Butanol generally is more environmentally friendly and yields more energy than ethanol.

Teams had one month to research and complete their proposals by the May 31 deadline.

"The three of us started planning our strategy before we even knew what the problem was," said McClure, a business development manager at Desiccare in Jackson. "No one can do a project like this without making a lot of assumptions going in. Actually winning depends upon how good your assumptions are and how well you present the whole design."

From problem presentation to solution proposal submission, the UM team labored long hours, all while maintaining class schedules and extracurricular activities.

"We found this to be a very challenging experience," said Turbeville, a process engineer at ExxonMobil in Beaumont, Texas. "In addition to all the preliminary and subsequent research, we must have redesigned the draft at least 10 times in the 30 days we worked on it."

"Still, because we're such good friends, it really wasn't like working at all."

Following the trio's entry in the national competition, they submitted the same proposal in the AIChE Mid-South Regional Design Competition. Possibly a predictor of the national victory that came this fall, UM triumphed over both Mississippi State University and Christian Brothers University.

"That was the first time we won the regional competition since I've been here," Parkerson said. "Our chemical engineering program maybe smaller than our competitors, but by winning first place we're proving we're just as good or better."

"These students put an enormous amount of time into this," said Peter Sukanek, professor of chemical engineering and faculty adviser for the campus AIChE chapter. "They spent literally many hours every day, night and weekend during the 30 day-period finding the data needed and making their calculations and evaluations. Their final product is excellent and is a testament to the ability of these three individuals."

Parkerson, who is completing his final courses this semester, said he is looking forward to reuniting with Turbeville and McClure Nov. 7 at the annual AIChE Student Convention in Nashville to make their presentation and accept their $600 prize.

Though the prize money is nice, the three agree that gaining recognition for themselves and the chemical engineering department is the true reward.

"Our win wouldn't have been possible had it not been for the great instruction that we received from the faculty in our department," McClure said. "This honor is as much theirs as it is ours."

As the green movement gains momentum and the auto industry continues its shift to biofuels, a processing plant such as the proposed one may someday be built.

"Right now it's just not profitable, but who knows what the future holds?" Parkerson said. "If some company does undertake such a project, maybe our design could possibly be a springboard for their own research and construction endeavors," Parkerson said. For each year's student competition, engineers from a designated company design and judge a problem that typifies a real chemical engineering design situation. AIChE is the world's leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with nearly 40,000 members in 93 countries.

"The competition is open to every one of the 190 departments of chemical engineering in the United States," said Richard Long, chair of the AIChE design subcommittee. "The problem's solution requires a wide range of skills in calculation and evaluation of both technical data and economic factors."

For more information about the UM Department of Chemical Engineering, visit engineering.olemiss.edu/chemical or call 662-915-7023. For more information about the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, visit aiche.org.

Trio to accept award Nov. 7 in Nashville

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