May 28, 2017  

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Recalling the adviser shortage she faced as a high school student in Independence, Mo., Abagail Williams takes immense pride in serving as a mentor to younger students while pursuing her doctoral degree in polymer science and engineering at The University of Southern Mississippi.

 

With 15 ports, major shipbuilders, coastal tourism and substantial fisheries, Mississippi’s “blue economy” contributes billions of dollars to the state’s annual revenues. While these maritime industries dominate the state’s economy and support at least 35 percent of its entire workforce through “blue” jobs, the sector is often overlooked as a source of economic development for the state.

Fifteen students began classes earlier this week at The University of Southern Mississippi, where they are expected to be the first class in the nation to earn a certification in Unmanned Maritime Systems (UMS).

A senior research scientist at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL), internationally recognized for his longtime study of Gulf Coast marine life, will serve as the school’s spring 2017 commencement speaker.

University of Southern Mississippi future Hacking for Defense (H4D) program students heard from guest speaker and advisor Major General, (Ret.) Buford Blount III during a special presentation last week on the Hattiesburg campus. Blount is a Southern Miss graduate and was commissioned from the ROTC program as an armor officer in 1971.

Last year’s hit movie, Hidden Figures, told the inspiring story of three female African-American mathematicians who worked as “computers” for NASA, helping the U.S. win the Space Race and put the first man on the moon. Today, despite the accomplishments of these early trailblazers, women of color are among the least represented minorities in the technology sector, especially in computing fields.

 

In an effort to increase interest and diversity in computer science and ensure that future generations of black women are no longer the “hidden figures” of tech, The University of Southern Mississippi organized and hosted the first-ever iD 8 Hackathon, held April 7 and 8, on the University’s Hattiesburg campus.

 

University of Southern Mississippi undergraduate students Nathaniel Prine, Rose Curtis, and William “Blake” Martin have been recognized for their research efforts as Honorable Mentions for the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

Susan Walley, a senior polymer science major at The University of Southern Mississippi, and recent University graduate Kristen Van de Voorde have been awarded prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

The Department of Biological Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi will hold its annual Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, April 8 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Lake Thoreau Environmental Center.

University of Southern Mississippi Senior Research Scientist Harriet Perry was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi Chapter of the American Fisheries Society on Feb. 23 in Biloxi.

Registration is now open for iD8, The University of Southern Mississippi’s inaugural Hackathon, Friday and Saturday, April 7-8 in Hattiesburg. The competition is open to teams of four African-American high school girls. Teams will learn to code, build, and present a mobile app. No coding experience is necessary.

In recognition of Black History month, Dr. Mohamed Elasri, Associate Dean for The College of Science and Technology and Professor of Microbiology, has been awarded the Diversity Award for Excellence as part of the annual Diversity celebration sponsored by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning.

Cancer drug delivery, solar cell innovation, and developing a better helmet for U.S. Army soldiers — University of Southern Mississippi faculty and students are ambitious and innovative in their current research. Those projects promise to change, and in some cases, save lives. And the value of discoveries can be measured in numerous ways, including monetary.

The University of Southern Mississippi is set to host the 81st annual meeting of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences Feb. 23-24 at the Thad Cochran Center on the Hattiesburg campus. This is the largest meeting of its kind in the state, and the eighth year in a row it has been held in Hattiesburg.

University of Southern Mississippi students will have an opportunity to study issues and create solutions facing the country’s national security as part of a Hacking for Defense (H4D) course being offered for the first time during the Summer 2017 semester.

The 20th anniversary of the Hurricane Bowl at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) will offer students a rare hands-on glimpse at what their future may hold in marine science.

The most recent transformations in how we understand the concept of time will not only be discussed, but demonstrated by a Nobel Laureate in Physics when Dr. William Phillips gives the second Rayborn Lecture in Physics at The University of Southern Mississippi Thursday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium.
 

Charles Darwin, Father of Evolution, is honored around the world on February 12th for his contribution to science and humanity. The Department of Biological Science at The University of Southern Mississippi will recognize Charles Darwin with “Darwin Week” beginning on Monday, Feb. 6.

Dr. Monica Tisack-Kathmann has been named Director of the Mississippi Polymer Institute, the industrial outreach service of The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Polymers and High Performance Materials.

Students, ninth through 12th grade, are invited to attend the Science Careers and Research Encounters program slated for Saturday, Jan. 14 at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Board of Trustees reaffirmed the accreditation of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), during its annual meeting in Atlanta, Dec. 3-6, 2016.

 

SACSCOC is the acknowledged accrediting body for degree-granting institutions (public, private for-profit and private not-for-profit) in the southeastern United States and is recognized by the United States Department of Education to conduct accreditation activities. SACSCOC, through a peer review process, conducts a comprehensive review of its nearly 800 member institutions every 10 years.

The University of Southern Mississippi plans to obtain an existing hatchery and aquaculture facility that will allow the University to lead oyster restoration efforts in an effort to boost the state of Mississippi’s oyster population and grow the state’s Blue Economy.

 

In a project proposed by Governor Phil Bryant, the state of Mississippi will provide $7.7 million in funding from requested BP settlement dollars for USM to acquire the Aqua Green hatchery facility located in Perkinston, Miss.

Dr. Robert Thomas "Bob" van Aller, a retired University of Southern Mississippi faculty member and administrator, died Dec. 1. He was 83.

A $900,000 grant from the Kellogg Foundation has been awarded to the University of Southern Mississippi’s Dr. Julie Cwikla, Director of Creativity & Innovation in STEM.  Funds will be used to help school children along the Gulf Coast learn math in new and exciting ways.