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DAFVM Spotlight Employee: Bill Berch
Bill Berch has served Mississippi State University for two years working as an agricultural assistant to scientists and researchers at the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs. His responsibilities include cutting grass, planting gardens, and other general maintenance required to make this station one of the South’s top destinations each year for garden enthusiasts who enjoy the Fall Flower and Garden Fest. “My favorite aspect of the job is being able to work outside,” he said. “And I love the people that I get to see every day.”
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DAFVM Spotlight Employee: Courtney Headley
Courtney Headley has worked as an administrative assistant in the State 4-H office for 12 years. Her responsibilities include supporting Extension agents in counties around Mississippi as well as helping prepare with upcoming 4-H events. “I love the people I work with and the children at the 4-H events,” she said. “There are some very caring people within Extension and I feel blessed to know them and help them however I can.” In her spare time, she volunteers in Oktibbeha County as a 4-H club leader and has had a very successful club for 11 years.
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Mississippi State develops smartphone app to assess wild hog damage
According to a Mississippi State research study, feral pigs cause $66 million in property damage in the Magnolia State each year. With the wild hog population increases and damage estimates constantly changing, it’s now easier to report and assess impacts with a newly designed MSU app. Mark McConnell, app developer and assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture in the College of Forest Resources, said the app lets landowners, hunters and natural resource professionals quantify feral pig damage as soon as they encounter it and estimate the economic impact of that damage.
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AIChE chapter earns Campus Organization of the Year plaudits
Mississippi State’s American Institute of Chemical Engineers student chapter was recently selected as Campus Organization of the Year by the university’s Maroon Volunteer Center. “We certainly have a top-notch group of student leaders,” said Julie Jessop, Hunter Henry Chair in the Dave C. Swalm of Chemical Engineering and the faculty advisor for the AIChE chapter. “Whenever I need any help for orientation, campus visits, engineering demos at community events or support for alumni activities, they are ready, willing, and enthusiastic. I am so proud of the many ways they’ve served both the university and the community. It’s wonderful to see their hard work and dedication recognized.”
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Hoffman to present online discussion of pandemic's environmental impacts Thursday
A Mississippi State University faculty member specializing in environmental anthropology and conservation politics will offer insight into the environmental impacts of COVID-19 in a virtual format open for pubic interaction. David M. Hoffman, associate professor in MSU’s Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures, will present “Is the Pandemic Good for the Environment” on May 7 at 2 p.m. on the university’s Institute for the Humanities Facebook page. In an interview with Julia Osman, director of the Institute for the Humanities and professor of history, Hoffman will share his thoughts on the pandemic’s “massive and overnight shift of the political economic landscape” and the impacts the pandemic has -- and will continue to have -- on the environment.
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Qualtrics and Stata software now available for MSU personnel
Over the course of this school year, the Office of Research and Economic Development worked through various channels to listen to the needs of faculty and researchers. Based on this feedback, the Office of Research and Economic Development has purchased a university-wide license for both Qualtrics and Stata. “I appreciate the many faculty and researchers, along with each college’s associate dean for research, who have provided valuable input during this process,” said Interim Vice President for Research and Economic Development Julie Jordan. “We want all of our faculty to have the tools they need, and we hope these university-wide software licenses will aid in carrying out their important work.”
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Extension continues to assist with local, organizational events
The Mississippi State University Extension Service’s cancellation of in-person educational meetings and events through August 1 does not affect events hosted by other organizations, which Extension personnel and clients may participate in. All scheduled Extension face-to-face educational events and meetings through that date have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Extension personnel regularly assist with events, meetings and activities for which the organization is not in charge of hosting, such as municipal conferences, association meetings and county fairs.
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University joins COVID-19 Technology Access Framework
Mississippi State University is joining the COVID-19 Technology Access Framework alongside universities across the nation to provide fast and royalty free access to technologies that can be used to fight the pandemic. As part of this commitment, we will follow the framework set forth by the network that are outlined below. If any MSU researcher has a technology that could contribute to relief of the pandemic or has received interest from industry to license a technology for this purpose, please contact the MSU Office of Technology Management at otm@msstate.edu.
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Looking for a way to help? Give to the MSU Student Relief Fund
The Mississippi State University community continually exhibits a great sense of responsibility and caring for enrolled students that make the land-grant institution such a special place. The MSU Student Relief Fund, built with private gifts, helps those members of the student body affected with day-to-day crises or like now, the impact to their daily lives posed by COVID-19. The Dean of Students' Office assesses needs and administers the fund for acute crises that may impact students’ ability to succeed academically. The funds have a direct impact on students in extenuating circumstances in order to help them achieve their academic success. The MSU Foundation accepts gifts year-round for the MSU Student Relief Fund. Contributions for this effort can be made online or by contacting the Annual Giving office at (662) 325-2466.
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SMART route changes in effect during COVID-19 pandemic to protect riders and staff
As Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit continues to evaluate the best ways to protect transit riders and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, service is being limited (one bus per route) to the following routes: Boardtown North, Boardtown South, Old Main, Highway 12, Sportsplex and Paratransit. Routes will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will be limited to nine passengers per bus. Routes will stop from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for cleaning and spraying of all buses.
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Smoke-free policy enhances healthy environment
Mississippi State University is a smoke-free campus. Official policy prohibits the use of any combustible or vapor products anywhere on campus property including university buildings, university grounds, university vehicles, parking areas and sidewalks. The smoke-free campus policy is part of the university's commitment to creating a healthy environment for all members of the campus community. Use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookah or other similar devices are prohibited by this policy.


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Shaw named chair of IHL Safe Start Task Force
Mississippi Commissioner of Higher Education Alfred Rankins Jr. has announced that Mississippi State University Provost and Executive Vice President David R. Shaw will chair the 16-member Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning’s Safe Start Task Force as the state’s university system considers opening campuses in a safe and effective manner. Joining Shaw on the IHL task force is MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Hyatt. “I’m deeply encouraged to see the leadership of our university system taking concrete steps toward envisioning and defining what reopening our universities for the Fall 2020 semester would look like and formulating policies to facilitate that action,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum.
University announces annual faculty and staff academic award recipients
As another academic year concludes at Mississippi State, the university is honoring a select group of faculty and staff members for their commitment and service to the Bulldog family. Provost and Executive Vice President David Shaw’s office co-sponsors the annual awards program with the university’s Alumni Association, led by Executive Director Jeff Davis. Among the honorees, Sarah B. Lee, associate clinical professor in MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering, joined a select group of role models and mentors for campus colleagues with her acceptance of the John Grisham Master Teacher Award. MSU’s newest William L. Giles Distinguished Professors are James Fowler of the Bagley College of Engineering and Daniel Peterson of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Brett receives national leadership award
Bracky Brett, Mississippi State Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director, was named the 2020 recipient of the Frank Kara Leadership Award last week. The prestigious honor is presented annually by the National Association for Athletics Compliance to an athletics administrator who demonstrates leadership and vision both among his or her peers and beyond to other leaders on their campus, conference office, and/or at the NCAA. The award is named in honor of Frank Kara, a former college athletics leader and administrator at the University of Minnesota who hosted the inaugural NAAC Workshop in 2006. Kara died of cancer in 2007 at the age of 40.
Rice elected to international campus law enforcement organization board
Mississippi State University Police Chief Vance Rice has been elected to the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) Board of Directors. He will serve a three-year term as the organization’s Southeast Regional Director beginning in June. “Chief Rice’s election to serve as the Southeast Regional Director for IACLEA is testament to his leadership of the Mississippi State University Police Department and a recognition of the respect his peers have for his work across the profession of university policing,” said MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Hyatt.
Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: May 4, 2020Facebook Twitter