JSU and MPB unveil early childhood teacher resource center

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University and Mississippi Public Broadcasting unveiled the new Mississippi Learning Institute Early Childhood Resource and Training Center on Oct. 2 at the Sally Barksdale Educational Resource Center on the university’s main campus, 1400 John R. Lynch St. in Jackson.

Through a grant from the James and Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, JSU and MPB have created an early childhood teaching laboratory that will provide professional development and technical assistance to Mississippi educators, college students, child care providers, and participants in the MLI Parents as First Teachers Program.

The brightly decorated interactive resource lab is a model preschool classroom and is based on the Between the Lions (BTL) Preschool Literacy Initiative. Studies have shown that preschool children who are exposed to the BTL curriculum far outpace their peers in knowledge of words and phonics. The Mississippi Learning Institute Early Childhood Resource and Training Center will provide educators with tools and techniques for implementing curriculum concepts in the classroom.

For more information, contact Dr. Nikisha Ware at the Mississippi Learning Institute at 601-979-0208 or nikisha.g.ware@jsums.edu or Mari Irby
 at MPB at 601-432-6286 or mari.irby@mpbonline.org.

State Farm presents $50K grant to fund JSU mobile application lab

(JACKSON, Miss.) – State Farm presented a $50,000 check to the Jackson State University Department of Computer Science on Oct. 1 at the JSU School of Engineering.

The State Farm grant stems from JSU’s long-standing partnership with the insurance company. For more than a decade, JSU’s Computer Science Department has supplied State Farm with qualified recruits, and the insurance company has supported the department with numerous grants.

This year’s grant will be used to set up a mobile application development lab equipped with Apple equipment.

“We will also be able to hire students as researchers in that lab,” said Dr. Jacqueline Jackson, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. “We’re tying our research to the university’s iPad initiative.”

Through a Mississippi e-Center Foundation program called the iPad Technology Advantage Scholarship Initiative, JSU freshmen this year received iPads to assist in their learning. The program integrates the device into the curriculum and is tracking students’ learning through an intensive two-year study.

State Farm’s support of JSU is part of the company’s effort to help lure more students into high-tech careers. Despite the growing demand for computer programmers and software engineers, the number of people graduating with computer science or computer engineering degrees has declined nearly 40 percent over the past decade. And while the number of students enrolling in programs is starting to pick up, the need for programmers keeps outpacing the supply. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for computer programmers and software engineers are projected to increase by 21 percent through 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

JSU, Hinds Community College to hold Academic Partnership Program Summit – Sept. 28

Jackson State University and Hinds Community College will convene the Academic Partnership Program Summit for JSU and HCC faculty, staff and administrators from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, at the JSU Student Center, ballroom B. Lunch will be served.

The purpose of the summit is to work toward a cohesive, efficient and effectual relationship among individuals involved in the matriculation of HCC graduates to JSU. The summit will convene annually to build upon strengths and address challenges in an effort to make the transition from HCC to JSU a seamless process.

Attendees will include JSU transfer advisors, recruitment and admissions personnel and HCC staff, faculty and administrators involved in advising, counseling and evaluating transcripts. The summit aims to help attendees increase productivity, provide deep quality service to students and become part of a winning team motivated to serve.

Program outline:
11-11:30 a.m.:                       Registration
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.:               Lunch
1 – 3:30 p.m.:                         Roundtable discussions
3:30 – 4 p.m.:                         Wrap-up

Dr. Teresa Hamilton, Vice President for Academic Affairs, HCC
Dr. James C. Renick, Interim Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, JSU

Ms. Stephanie Chatman, Enrollment Manager, JSU
Dr. Evelyn Leggette, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, JSU
Dr. Priscilla Slade, Special Assistant to Provost for Community Colleges, JSU

For more information, call Dr. Slade at 601-979-1781.

JSU gallery talk: ‘Mirrors of Clay’ pre-Columbian ceramic vessels – Nov. 8

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University art professor Yumi Park will give a gallery talk at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, about the exhibition, Mirrors of Clay: Reflections of Ancient Andean Life in Ceramics from the Sam Olden Collection, currently on display at the Dollye M.E. Robinson Liberal Arts Gallery at JSU.

Park will give detailed information about the objects and how they were used in ancient life. The visitors will also have the opportunity to ask questions and get an up-close view of the objects. The event will be the first of three gallery talks during the Mirrors of Clay exhibition.

The exhibition, which will be held through Nov. 15, is a partnership between JSU and the Mississippi Museum of Art. The show features 60 ceramic vessels from ancient Andean American cultures, including the Cupisnique, Chavín, Vicús, Nazca, Moche, Tiwanaku, Lambayeque, and Chimú, which flourished between 1200 BCE and 1550 CE. These distinctive vessels, selected from the collection of Sam Olden, were given to the Mississippi Museum of Art. The pieces reveal each culture’s stylistic aesthetics, religious ideologies and political roles. The Pre-Columbian vessels in the exhibition are mainly from the Andean region of South America, which includes the modern countries of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

Photo by Eric Huntington

Park is the author of the accompanying exhibition catalogue, which was published by the University Press of Mississippi. A scholar of Pre-Columbian and Native American art, Park focuses especially on the Andean civilizations of South America.

“Jackson State University is honored to partner with the Mississippi Museum of Art and the University Press of Mississippi to present this wonderful exhibition, which provides us with a window to the ancient world,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers. “We are delighted that we can contribute our talents and expertise to such an important project.”

In the exhibition catalogue, Park analyzes technologies, forms and decorative designs to reveal the unique aesthetics, social stratifications, religious ideologies and political roles within each culture. Ancient Andean potters expressed their native individualities by depicting the forms of warriors, deities, architecture, flora, fauna and daily life on their ceramic vessels. The catalogue introduces the important role of ceramics in understanding ancient Andean beliefs about communication with ancestors, cosmic reciprocity and shamanism.

Photo by Eric Huntington

“The ceramics on view are fascinating, rare treasures of ancient life along the Andes Mountains range,” said Beth Batton, who is the Curator of the Collection at the Mississippi Museum of Art. “This exhibition is a must-see for all ages, allowing a unique opportunity to view ceramic vessels, many of them more than 1,200 years old.”

Collector Sam Olden lived in Peru during the 1970s. After visiting various archaeological sites and museums, including the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum in Peru, he became enamored with the ceramic vessels of the ancient Andes. Olden later settled in Yazoo City, Miss., and began to build an extensive collection of ancient Andean ceramics, eventually making a large donation to the Mississippi Museum of Art. The Sam Olden Collection provides tangible and visible evidence of the social activities, political events and ideological beliefs of ancient Andean cultures.

“The Mississippi Museum of Art is grateful that Sam Olden so lovingly collected these objects and cared for them until he generously gave or loaned them to the Museum for the people of Mississippi to enjoy,” said Betsy Bradley, director of the Mississippi Museum of Art.

About the exhibition catalogue:

Mirrors of Clay

Reflections of Ancient Andean Life in Ceramics from the Sam Olden Collection

By Yumi Park

Photographs by Eric Huntington

Foreword by Beth Batton and Betsy Bradley

Introduction by Sam Olden

Published by University Press of Mississippi

Distributed for Jackson State University

Dollye M.E. Robinson Liberal Arts Gallery hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, 1-8 p.m.
Sunday, 1-4 p.m.

Jackson State University
Dollye M.E. Robinson Liberal Arts Building
1400 John R. Lynch St., Jackson, Miss.
Phone: 601-979-0879


JSU professor selected for Fulbright Specialist Program peer review committee

Dr. Paul Tchounwou

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University presidential distinguished professor Dr. Paul Tchounwou has been selected by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) to serve on the 2012-13 Engineering Education Peer Review Committee for the Fulbright Specialist Program.

CIES pointed out that Tchounwou is “one of the experts whose credentials were successfully vetted by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council or the National Academy of Sciences” to serve in this capacity.

“Dr. Tchounwou is one of the experts in his discipline committee, representing a range of specializations and institutions, who will review applications during this review term,” said Debra Egan, director of the Scholar Program at the Institute of International Education in Washington, D.C.

An internationally recognized scholar, Tchounwou is editor-in-chief of two international journals including the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (MPDI, Basel, Switzerland) and Environmental Toxicology (John Wiley & Sons, New York, USA). He is author of 173 peer-reviewed publications, and 429 presentations at national and international conferences.

Tchounwou currently serves as presidential distinguished professor and interim dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. He also serves as director of National Institutes of Health-funded RCMI-Center for Environmental Health, and as principal investigator and director of Department of Defense-funded Center of Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education at JSU.

The Fulbright Specialist Program promotes linkages between U.S. academics and professionals and their counterparts at universities abroad. The program is designed to award grants to qualified U.S. faculty and professionals, in select disciplines, to engage in short-term collaborative projects at higher education institutions in over 100 countries worldwide. For more information about the FSP, please visit the Institute of International Education – Council for International Exchange of Scholars’ website at www.iie.org/cies

Dr. Merem appointed journal associate editor

Dr. Edmund Merem, associate professor with the Urban and Regional Planning program in the School of Policy and Planning, has recently been appointed associate editor of the Journal of Scientific Research and Reports.

Merem has published more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and has taken part in 82 presentations, abstracts and conference proceedings. He is the author of Environmental Accounting for Oil and Natural Gas, published in 2011, and is currently working on his third book, An Environmental History of African Americans.

JSU performs in 105 Voices of History National Choir

JSU performs in 105 Voices of History National Choir

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University Director of Choral Services Willenham Cortez Castilla, along with three students, Jerome Wilson, a senior music education major, LeBethani May, a sophomore piano performance major, and Mary Thompson, a sophomore education major, will travel to Washington, D.C., this week to perform a concert with the 105 Voices of History National Choir. This choir will perform at the historic Mellon Auditorium at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 21.

The 105 Voices of History National Choir features students who represent the nation’s best choral singers from the ranks of the respective 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  This years’ program will include a wide range of music such as classical, spiritual, jazz, Hebrew and African.  Musical composers represented will include Randall Thompson, Duke Ellington, Eric Whitacre and Jester Hairston.


The Sept. 21st performance will be the first of three concerts to be performed this year.  The second concert is scheduled to be held in February 2013 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., culminating with a finale concert at The Grand Ole Opry in the summer of 2013.  All three students are members of the nationally and internationally acclaimed Jackson State University Chorale and were selected through stringent regional and national auditions for these performances.

Castilla will serve as a national conductor for the three performances.  For the past three years, Castilla has served as regional director for the Southeastern Region, which included Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama.  In this role, Castilla, with the assistance of two other directors, prepared the students from colleges and universities within the region for annual performances at the Kennedy Center.

“The excitement and anticipation of the upcoming performances have captured not only student interest and support, but have spread across the nation among alumni and friends who are contacting and spreading the good news about Jackson State University and this great news in Choral Music,” Castilla said.

– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of the state of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

LaTanya Junior joins JSU as communications executive director

LaTanya M. Junior

(JACKSON, Miss.) – LaTanya M. Junior, an award winning business development executive and marketing professional, is the new executive director of communications for Jackson State University, effective Monday, Sept. 17.

Junior will lead JSU’s marketing, public relations and athletic media relations strategies as well as its Digital Media Center, which includes JSUTV, WJSU 88.5 FM and the Tiger Sports Network.

She comes to Jackson State from the American Association of Advertising Agencies Center for Excellence at Howard University, where she was chief marketing officer and communication director.

Junior, however, is no stranger to Jackson State. She developed online training programs for the university.

Junior also was general manager with True One Agency and TCB360 in Washington, an integrated marketing and interactive media company whose clients included Chase Bank, Viacom, the U.S. Census and Bank of America.

“LaTanya is a strategic thinker who brings outstanding credentials to Jackson State,” said David Hoard, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “I’m extremely pleased to have her join our team.”

Junior was formerly employed as planning and marketing director for Ogilvy and Mather of New York, one of the largest advertising and marketing agencies in the world, and was a former vice president and director of integrative marketing and media director for Stedman Graham and Partner in New York.

As an author, Junior’s books include Creating Your Marketing Blueprint, which is ranked in the top 100 workbooks for jump-start entrepreneurs by Forbes Magazine, and Thumbology: Defining Your Desired Direction Step by Step. Both publications are available in more than 20,000 bookstores.

Junior studied business and marketing at Robert Morris University in Chicago and marketing, economics and entrepreneurship at the State University of New York, Empire State College.

Walter O. Evans to present ‘My Journey as a Collector’ – Sept. 21

The College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Art are proud to host Dr. Walter O. Evans and Linda Evans at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21, in the Art Gallery of Johnson Hall. Dr. Evans will present the lecture, “My Journey as a Collector.”

During the lecture, Dr. Evans will recount his experience and process of becoming one of the most influential African-American art collectors in the country.

Dr. Evans’ collection includes works by renowned African-American artists spanning a period of 150 years, including works by Jacob Lawrence, one of the country’s best-known 20th century African-American painters.

Dr. Evans, a Georgia art collector, began acquiring art in the 1970s with the purchase of a Jacob Lawrence portfolio of silkscreen prints. Other featured artists include Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Richard Hunt, William H. Johnson, Lois Mailou Jones, Hughie Lee-Smith, Norman Lewis, Horace Pippin, Charles White and Mississippi-native Sam Gilliam. This exhibition also includes 19th century artists Edward Mitchell Bannister, Robert Scott Duncanson and Mary Edmonia Lewis.

The event is free and open to the public.

Miss JSU’s ‘Molding the Mind’ program seeks alumni and employee participation

Sarah Brown, Miss JSU 2012-2013

Sarah Brown, Miss Jackson State University 2012-2013, is seeking JSU alumni and employees to serve as mentors for her Molding the Mind Mentor Program, in which JSU freshmen are mentored by upperclassmen, and upperclassmen are mentored by JSU alumni and employees.

“This is a great opportunity for upperclassmen students of Jackson State to give back by providing proper guidance to the freshmen class for the 2012-2013 academic school year,” Brown said. “But what would make this program go from good to great, is if we had JSU alumni and employees mentor the upperclassmen to make sure the cycle of producing the best student leaders and academic scholars at Jackson State University is productive and effective.”

The Molding the Mind program is part of Brown’s ThinkBIG platform. Currently, more than 100 freshmen have signed up for a mentor, and over 50 upperclassmen have enrolled to mentor them. 

Alumni and employees who are interested in mentoring an upperclassman in the Molding the Mind Mentor Program should contact Sarah Brown at Missjsu2013@jusms.edu or 601-979-5822.  

Spencer McClenty


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