May 27, 2019  

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Southern Miss Freshman Wins iPad as Part of Student Advising Survey

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Rusty Anderson, left, presents Southern Miss freshman Deidra Ollie with an Apple iPad as Dr. Amy Miller, second from right, Associate Provose for Academic Excellence, and Marlissa Northrup, Student Information System Trainer, look on. (Photo by Danny Rawls)

Little did first-year student Deidra Ollie know, but the welcoming atmosphere she has experienced at The University of Southern Mississippi would also include winning a new Apple iPad.

Ollie, a Madison, Miss., native majoring in Tourism Management, received the iPad after her name was chosen from a random drawing as part of a student advising survey conducted by the Office of the Provost during the current spring semester. More than 1,100 students participated in the survey that sought feedback regarding their experiences with advisers at Southern Miss.

“I was really surprised when they told me I had won the iPad,” said Ollie. “I have never owned an iPad, and I have always wanted one. It’s kind of hard for me to believe that out of 15,000 students or so attending this University that I might be the one singled out to receive this wonderful gift. I’m positive that it will come in handy for my classwork.”

The survey idea emerged during a quarterly meeting of the campus-wide Student Success Advisory Board. The 22-question survey addressed how students prepare for advising, what happens in their advising appointments, and their level of satisfaction with the advising they received.

Dr. Amy Miller, Associate Provost for Academic Excellence, and Marlissa Northrup, Student Information System Trainer, worked to develop the survey and promote it across the Hattiesburg campus. The Provost’s Office partnered with Career Services to promote the survey and provide an incentive for participation. After taking the survey, students could choose to enter their names in a drawing for the iPad, donated by Career Services.

“We are excited to have such a good response from our students and to learn more about their experiences with advising,” said Miller. “We asked them to tell us about people who have been particularly helpful to them, and we have hundreds of names that have been submitted as well as descriptions of all the ways that advisers have made a difference in the lives of our students.”

Miller pointed out that students rated different aspects of their experiences and also made suggestions for improvements. The data is being analyzed with plans to share some of the results with the University community in April. 

A Luckyday Scholar with a 3.89 GPA, Ollie emphasized that her Southern Miss experience thus far has been nothing short of exceptional.

“I felt like in high school that I was being held back a little bit, but since I stepped onto the campus here I have felt like I could truly be myself,” said Ollie. “My first year at Southern Miss has already exceeded my expectations of college life and winning this iPad has only made it that much better.”