American Geological Institute selects JSU student for program

Jackson State University senior Earth System Science major Mitchell Johnson has been selected for the American Geological Institute’s Minority Participation Program (AGI MPP). The program develops the professional corps of underrepresented ethnic minority students in the geosciences. A native of Meridian, Miss., Mitchell will receive a $2,030 scholarship and an assigned mentor from the geoscience community to foster his professional development.

The AGI MPP program is the longest running minority program in the geosciences, dating back to 1972. Over the past 36 years, more than 950 MPP scholars have received millions of dollars of scholarships, and many of the past scholars are currently working as leaders in the geoscience community.

Jackson State University launched its Earth System Science degree program in the fall of 2008 within the Department of Physics, Atmospheric Sciences and Geoscience. Jackson State is the only historically black college or university in the country with a degree program in Earth System Science.

JSU grad earns 2010 Black Engineer of the Year award

 Jackson State University civil engineering graduate Jeremy Laster has been selected to receive the 2010 Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Most Promising Engineer Government Award.

Laster works as a structural engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District. He graduated from Jackson State in 2007.

In the BEYA Award’s 24-year history, less than 700 professionals have achieved the distinction of being a Black Engineer of the Year honoree.

Laster, a native of Bay Springs, Miss., will receive the award at the BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference on Feb. 20, 2010, in Baltimore.

Jackson State’s undergraduate civil engineering program is fully accredited by the Engineering Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

Another Jackson State professor, Dr. Pao-Chiang Yaun, receives national award

Jackson State University professor Pao-Chiang Yuan has been selected one of four awardees of the 2009 ATMAE (the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering) Outstanding Professor of Industrial Technology Award.

The ATMAE University Division leadership chose Yuan as the recipient of the award for Region 3, which encompasses the southeastern United States. Yuan received his award during the 2009 ATMAE Annual Conference held Nov. 10-14 at the Hyatt Regency in Louisville, Ky.

 Yuan is a coordinator of the Master of Hazardous Materials Management program in the Department of Technology at Jackson State’s College of Science, Engineering, and Technology.
The ATMAE gives accreditation to technology programs across the United States. The association was previously called National Association of Industrial Technology.

JSU tech center join Eagle-i consortium to accelerate biomedical research

Jackson State University has joined a national research consortium that will help biomedical scientists throughout the United States accelerate their research by quickly and effectively sharing resources on scientific advances.

Called Eagle-i, the consortium has been awarded a $7.5 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

The team will create a national resource discovery network that will enable biomedical scientists from anywhere in the United States to use a web-based portal to search resource inventories at nine participating sites and request access to resources that will advance their scientific endeavors. As the project progresses, additional sites will be able to add to the inventory of resources.

“National networking provides opportunities for scientists to collaborate in new, exciting ways to improve abilities to uncover underlying pathways and mechanisms of biology and to develop new diagnostics, treatments and prevention strategies,” said NCRR director Dr. Barbara Alving.

The nine-member team includes Jackson State’s Research Centers in Minority Institutions Translational Research Network (RTRN) Data Technology Coordinating Center in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, Harvard Medical School, Dartmouth University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Montana State University, Oregon Health and Science University, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Hawaii Manoa and the University of Puerto Rico.

The racially and ethnically diverse institutions span the country from rural to urban areas to ensure broad applicability and national impact. More than four dozen jobs will be created across the consortium to support the process of collecting and curating resource information, as well as developing the informatics infrastructure to store, connect, and search the data.

“Jackson State University will be recognized for its pivotal role in this exciting project that will have national impact on the scientific community,” said James Perkins, associate dean of JSU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology Office of Research. Perkins also serves as the director of the RCMI Translational Research Network (RTRN) Data Technology Coordinating Center (DTCC) at JSU, which will manage the university’s components of the project.

“This team’s efforts will optimize the process of inventorying and cataloguing vital research technologies available at JSU and expedite our researchers’ ability to identify and retrieve impactful tools for practical scientific application,” Perkins said.

Based at the Mississippi e-Center @ JSU, the RTRN Data Technology Coordinating Center is a state-of-the-art, highly-computerized data coordinating hub for the Research Centers in Minority Institutions Translational Research Network. It provides the technology infrastructure and data management resources to facilitate inter-institutional collaborations, including community engagement, information and data sharing, and dissemination across the diverse Research Centers in Minority Institutions communities to improve health outcomes, especially for underserved populations.

For more information, call RTRN Data Technology Coordinating Center communications director Traci Hayes at 601-979-0333 or visit

American Chemical Society selects JSU student for scholars program Melanie Shelton

mshelton2 Jackson State University sophomore Melanie Shelton has been selected for the American Chemical Society’s Scholars Program. The program awards renewable scholarships of up to $5,000 to underrepresented minority students who want to enter the fields of chemistry or chemistry-related fields, such as environmental science, toxicology and chemical technology. The program also builds awareness of the value of careers in chemistry and assists students in acquiring skills and credentials needed for success. Shelton, a Clarksdale, Miss., native, has been awarded $2,500 for the 2009-2010 academic year.

JSU instructor named Mississippi Council of Teachers of English president

English Jackson State University English instructor Lawrence Sledge was named president of the Mississippi Council of Teachers of English at the organization’s annual meeting Oct. 16 at the Mississippi e-Center @JSU. Sledge is in his fourth year as an instructor of English/professional-technical writing in JSU’s Department of English and Foreign Languages. An educator for 20 years, he’s a graduate of Tougaloo College and received his master’s degree from the University of Memphis. “My teaching philosophy is showing students how to empower themselves by learning the power of language,” the Grenada, Miss., native said. “If they learn how to use language, it will help empower them to and move up in society.” The Mississippi Council of Teachers of English is the professional organization for English language arts teachers in the state. The organization is affiliated with the National Council of Teachers of English, which is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education. As president of the Mississippi organization, Sledge said he will focus on increasing membership and improving the quality and effectiveness of language arts teachers from the kindergarten through the college level. “It certainly is a great honor and it’s also a great responsibility,” he said about his selection as president. “I take this on with pleasure and a great sense of dedication.”