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Truax installed as ASCE 2022 president
ASCE installed Dennis D. Truax, P.E., DEE, D.WRE, F.NSPE, F.ASCE, as its 2022 president during the annual business meeting, Oct. 7, as part of the ASCE 2021 Convention. “Though you’re president for one year, the tasks at hand require more than 12 months of effort,” said Truax. “So I started work pretty much from the moment I was made president-elect. Obviously, the duties and responsibilities as president ramp up. But the support of programs that are ongoing or started by 2021 President Jean-Louis Briaud, the ones that I’m launching, the ones that 2022 President-Elect Maria Lehman has an interest in -- they’re all things that we three will work as a team to do.” Truax recently retired as the James T. White endowed chair, department head, and professor of civil and environmental engineering at Mississippi State University, and the director of the Mississippi Transportation Research Institute, to serve ASCE full-time. He was introduced to the ASCE membership during the ceremony by his daughters Courtney and Kelly.
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University Drive to benefit from Asphalt Art Initiative
The City of Starkville is one of 26 cities from around the nation recently selected to receive a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative. Secured by Mississippi State University’s Fred Carl Jr. Small Town Center, the $25,000 grant will fund the University Drive Corridor Connections project. This local Asphalt Art Initiative project will help connect the one-mile stretch between downtown Starkville and the Mississippi State campus at nine key intersections on University Drive, from Camp Street to Washington Street. “Remediating barriers to walking and increasing connectivity of this corridor through the installation of public art and intersection safety improvements also will allow greater social interactions, thus strengthening the sense of community,” said Small Town Center Director Leah Kemp.
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T.K. Martin Center's annual ‘Trick or Trot’ this Friday
Mississippi State’s T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability is announcing its 9th annual “Trick or Trot” fun run will take place on Friday [Oct. 22]. “Every year our students and families look forward to the ‘Trick or Trot’ fun run. The cheer stations and excitement around this event reminds our students and families of the support they have in our center and in our greater community,” said Kasee Stratton-Gadke, director. “It’s a fun family event, so come run, walk or stroll your way through the one mile and enjoy supporting our world-class team of educators and therapists. Your participation will impact the lives of many students and families in our community.”
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Apply today: Deadlines approaching for 2022 university teaching awards
The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President is now accepting applications for the 2022 Grisham Master Teacher Awards, Donald Zacharias Early Career Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Awards and the MSU Alumni Association Graduate and/or Professional Teaching Awards. Interested faculty must submit an electronic application in PDF form to the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President at grishamaward@provost.msstate.edu by October 21, 2021 if their teaching can only be observed in the Fall 2021 semester or by November 18, 2021 if their teaching can be observed in the Spring 2022 semester. All current full-time faculty members at Mississippi State University with the required years of service, regardless of rank, are eligible to apply for these awards. Late applications will not be accepted.
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October is Faculty Athletics Month with special events for faculty and staff
To show appreciation to members of Mississippi State University’s faculty and staff and recognize their role as a part of winning the national championship, the university is planning special events to celebrate this accomplishment and designating October as Faculty Athletics Month. Activities planned for faculty and staff include: Faculty/Staff and families @ MSU football practice on Tuesday [Oct. 19] from 4-6 p.m. Participants will meet at the Leo Seal Football Complex. Family is invited and registration is required. Sign up at https://tickets.formstack.com/forms/facultyday.
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International Institute shares passport reminders
Mississippi State's International Institute is encouraging all students and faculty who are considering travel within the next six months to apply or renew (if needed) their passport now. Current U.S. passport processing times are significantly longer than normal, so it is more important than ever that you plan early. First-time passport applications and renewals are taking up to 18 weeks for routine service and up to 12 weeks for expedited service (additional $60). If you aren't sure if you need to renew your passport, check the expiration date and make sure it is valid for six months after the end of your potential travel dates. Additionally, keep in mind that if your travel requires a visa, you often need to send your passport to the embassy to receive your visa prior to travel.
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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. The complete policy is available at www.policies.msstate.edu/policy/91301.


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Pankl named MSU Libraries dean
Lis Pankl, a longtime educator and librarian with extensive academic leadership experience, is the new dean of libraries at Mississippi State. MSU President Mark E. Keenum made the announcement last week, and Pankl begins her new role on Jan. 1, 2022, pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning. Pankl comes to MSU from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she serves as professor and dean of Library and Information Services. She also has served as head of graduate and undergraduate services at the University of Utah and as head of academic engagement at Stony Brook University. “Dr. Pankl brings a wealth of relevant experience to her new position as dean of MSU Libraries. Her knowledge of large library systems will serve the university well, and we expect to immediately benefit from her leadership,” Keenum said.
Cutts joins national program aimed at helping underrepresented STEM faculty ascend to leadership roles
Qiana Cutts, a Mississippi State assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Foundations, is one of only 27 faculty and administrators nationwide named a fellow in the IAspire Leadership Academy. The program works to help mid-career STEM faculty from underrepresented backgrounds ascend to college and university leadership roles and is part of the Aspire Alliance’s Institutional Change Initiative, led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the University of Georgia. “Leadership development is an essential element of healthy institutions,” said MSU Provost and Executive Vice President David Shaw. “Dr. Cutts is an excellent example of leaders who will be important for the future of Mississippi State University.”
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine awards Nyadjro an Early-Career Research Fellowship
An associate research professor in Mississippi State’s Northern Gulf Institute and Department of Geosciences is one of only eight recipients nationwide this year to earn a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Gulf Research Program Early-Career Research Fellowship. Awarded in NASEM’s Environmental Protection and Stewardship track, Ebenezer Nyadjro’s research focuses on reducing microplastics that are finding their way into streams, rivers and oceans. Atmospheric agents, such as waves, abrasion, ultraviolet radiation and photo-oxidation in combination with bacteria degrade plastic fragments into micro and nanosized particles. These prolific contaminants are posing an environmental and economic risk to marine ecosystems, and scientists are finding tiny bits of plastic in the stomachs of fish and shellfish.
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