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DAFVM Spotlight Employee: Karen Coats
Karen Coats has been working as an Extension Associate for 13 years. She is a lab technician who runs soil samples and extracts nematodes. “We extract plant parasitic nematodes and read them under the microscope,” she said. “We generate that data to send to farmers, golf courses, nurseries, and researchers.” Her team lets each sender know his or her soil’s threshold of nematodes and gives recommendations to fix their problem soil if needed. A favorite aspect of her job is meeting the people who bring in the soil samples. Since COVID-19, she has been deprived of actually seeing them, but she looks forward to meeting new people again.
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DAFVM Spotlight Employee: Xiao Jun Dong
Xiao Jun Dong has worked for Mississippi State assisting plant pathologists for 11 years. She conducts laboratory and field experiments related to crop disease management. “One of our main focuses is to help extract and quantify parasitic nematodes from the soil,” she said. “This provides accurate assessment and diagnosis of plant-parasitic nematodes that threaten our agriculture.” Her favorite memory on the job was during her very first year when she learned how to use a nematode extractor. She explains how nematode diagnosis requires efficient recovery of the plant‐parasitic nematodes from the plant or soil sample.
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Public Service Commissioners join Keenum, Atmos Energy to announce natural gas infrastructure expansion
Atmos Energy was proud to join Public Service Commissioners Brandon Presley and Dane Maxwell, as well as President Mark E. Keenum of Mississippi State University, at the Mississippi Horse Park to announce an expansion of natural gas service in the city of Starkville last week. “MSU is extremely appreciative of the efforts of Atmos Energy and the Mississippi Public Service Commission in facilitating this extension of service that will greatly benefit the university, Starkville and Oktibbeha County,” Keenum said. “We are particularly grateful to Commissioner Maxwell and Commissioner Presley for their presence here in support of this project. Together, this expansion will be of great value to MSU and the surrounding community for years to come.”
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Athletics partners with Proof of the Pudding
Mississippi State Athletics announced last week that popular catering company Proof of the Pudding will serve fans across all sports starting with the 2020-21 season. Proof of the Pudding, a premier hospitality provider for sports and entertainment venues, will enhance concessions experiences for fans in all of MSU's athletics facilities, including Davis Wade Stadium, Humphrey Coliseum and Dudy Noble Field. Proof of the Pudding's talented team and MSU Athletics are currently collaborating and developing menus for all of these with a focus on local vendors and farms and fan-friendly pricing to create a remarkable game-day experience.
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Sara Evans offering two showtimes for Aug. 22 concert at MSU Riley Center
Individual tickets are on sale for two shows by country superstar Sara Evans on Aug. 22 at the MSU Riley Center. Structural Steel Services and 970KK radio will present the concerts beginning at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Meticulous safety measures will be in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19. The new rules, among other things, limit seating to 50% capacity and require concertgoers to wear masks at all times inside the Riley Center. Evans, a favorite with Meridian audiences, was originally scheduled to perform April 18. The pandemic forced the postponement of that appearance.
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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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S.M.A.R.T. passengers now required to wear face coverings
The Starkville-Mississippi State University Area Rapid Transit -- known as S.M.A.R.T. -- is requiring that all passengers in the local community and on campus wear face coverings, as of July 6. Ridership capacity will remain at 19 passengers plus the driver, and all buses will continue to be disinfected on a daily basis. “SMART has continued to offer transportation services throughout the pandemic and ridership has continued to climb on our city routes,” said Executive Director of Transportation Jeremiah Dumas. “Given the continual and growing demand for transportation services and the continual threat of COVID-19, we think it is in the best interest of our riders and our drivers to require everyone utilizing our services to wear a mask and, within our capacity guidelines, practice social distancing while on our vehicles.”
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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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Keenum, Peasant tour completed MSU-SOSD Partnership Middle School
With a new school year set to begin next month, a new state-of-the-art school on the campus of Mississippi State University will welcome sixth and seventh grade students in the Starkville Oktibbeha School District. MSU President Mark E. Keenum and SOSD Superintendent Eddie Peasant toured the Partnership Middle School last Friday [July 31]. University and school district officials will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the 128,000-square-foot facility this Tuesday [Aug. 4]. The Partnership Middle School includes space for MSU classrooms that will be utilized to prepare future teachers in a hands-on learning environment. The school is built on a 43-acre site that was donated by the university. Construction was funded by state and local bonds, as well as private support.
English department's Ward elected vice president of national language association
A Mississippi State English department faculty member is the new vice president of a national language association devoted to serving the academic, scholarly and professional interests of African Americans in the collegiate community. Associate Professor Jervette R. Ward was elected to the leadership role for the College Language Association for a two-year term and is slated to become CLA president in 2022. A lifetime member of the association, Ward was elected during the organization’s annual meeting, held virtually this spring. Founded in 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, CLA is comprised of English and world language educators and “publishes scholarly books of critical essays and bibliographical references.”
Bagley's Vahedifard discusses proactive dam removal decisions in Science
A recent letter in Science magazine from a Mississippi State faculty member discusses the danger of aging, “high hazard” dams across the country and what should be done to prepare for potential dam removals or repairs in the future. The letter in the July 10 issue of Science says recent dam failures in Michigan “highlight once gain the importance of proactively addressing aging and problematic dams” and indicate the need for “a scientific and legal framework in place to evaluate if and when dam removal is required.” Farshid Vahedifard, an MSU Bagley College of Engineering associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, penned the letter, along with MSU civil engineering doctoral student Sannith Kumar Thota, and colleagues Kaveh Madani of Yale University and Amir AghaKouchak of University of California, Irvine.
Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: August 3, 2020Facebook Twitter