Monday, April 15, 2024

by Robert Scott

Mississippi University for Women’s Center for Education Support, Preservation Society of Columbus, Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, Accelerate MS and Mississippi Public Broadcasting have partnered to bring the MPB Family Fun Day to Columbus.

The event is set for Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Pohl Gym on The W’s Campus.

There will be a variety of activities for all ages that aim to foster a love of learning and show how it can be fun, as well as offer networking and resources for educators.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for The W’s Center for Education Support to take part in our service and social responsibility to enrich student and family learning. This event brings together a multitude of collaborations that build partnerships to make a difference in our region,” said Penny Mansell, director for the Center for Education Support.

Among the activities are the percussion petting zoo, hosted by MSMS students, which features hands-on experience with instruments such as drums and xylophones. MSMS students will also give a live musical performance during the event.

There will be STEAM activities and logic games. STEAM is short for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The activities aim to “spark curiosity, foster creativity and ignite a passion for learning with interactive experiences.”

MPB character Ed Said will appear at the event, where he will encourage kids to chase their dreams no matter how big they may seem.

Other activities include digital learning resources, MUW-Excel by 5 Health Fair and many more.

“This family day shines a light on our local culture and hospitality while exposing our children and families to resources and hands-on learning activities. This event is also valuable to our local teachers and schools, who can network with these resources and strengthen the educational practices in their classrooms,” Mansell said.

The event is free to attend, but registration is recommended. To register, please visit

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.

Columbus, Mississippi – April 13, 2024 – More than 150 committed early educators convened in the Pope Ballroom on Saturday, April 13th, for the third annual CHEER Conference. Hosted on the campus of The W (Mississippi University for Women), the event offered an immersive seven hours of professional development. It celebrated the invaluable contributions of teachers to the Columbus and Lowndes County communities. CHEER, an acronym for Celebrating and Highlighting Early Education Respect, is an initiative sponsored by The W’s Center for Education Support and Excel by 5 of Columbus-Lowndes. This annual event is provided to childcare providers at no cost, thanks to the generous support of grants, local business sponsorships, and community donations.

Distinguished presenters at the conference included Educare Mississippi, Heather Martin, community coach with Excel by 5, Dr. Julie Parker, Mississippi State Professor and Early Intervention Advocate, and statewide resources for early education. Mary Jo Huff, a renowned national speaker, storyteller, author, recording artist, and educator, delivered the keynote address.

Mayor Keith Gaskin, along with numerous Columbus and statewide industry leaders and executives, enthusiastically participated in the CHEER parade, acknowledging and celebrating the remarkable dedication of early educators in the community.

“We must remember that our economy depends on childcare. More than 98% of all professions in Mississippi make more than childcare educators. But these teachers get up every day and work hard in a classroom so parents and families can also go to work,” said Penny Mansell, Director of the Center for Education Support and member of the Mississippi Excel by 5 Executive Board.

“It is past time that we recognize those who go above and beyond to prepare our children to enter school happy, healthy, and with the skills they need to succeed,” said Keith Gaskin, Mayor of the City of Columbus.

Mayor Gaskin also offered two proclamations from the city. He declared Week of the Young Child 2024 and April 13, 2024, as Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day in Columbus.

“High-quality early care and education can help eliminate the effects of poverty, detect and remediate delays, and lead to positive outcomes for children and families so they are more prepared to succeed in school and life,” Gaskin said.

The event’s highlight was the announcement of the annual Early Childhood Educator of the Year finalists and overall winner. All finalists received a $100 gift card, with the overall winner, Rachel Edgeworth from Open Arms Christian Learning Center, receiving an additional $300 for her outstanding dedication and compassion to Columbus and Lowndes County families.

Finalists from the Infant-Toddler Group:

• Ashley Reeves from ABC & Me Christian Preschool

• Panda Fortenberry from Open Arms Christian Learning Center

Finalists for the Early Preschool Toddler Group:

• Alexis Nelson from The Assembly Kids Academy

• Bobbie Sue Green from ABC & Me Christian Preschool

Finalists for the Preschool 3-4 year-old Group:

• Libby Rice from The Assembly Kids Academy

• Rachel Edgeworth from Open Arms Christian Learning Center

Finalists for the Prekindergarten 4-5 year-old Group:

• Cindy Galvez from The Assembly Kids Academy

• Megan Berry from Bright Beginnings Preschool

The Overall Early Educator of the Year for 2024:

• Rachel Edgeworth from Open Arms Christian Learning Center

Following the awards ceremony, the CHEER Conference hosted a community EXCELebration luncheon, emphasizing the profound impact of early educators in shaping young minds and futures.

“These early educators are so much more than some perceive as daycare workers or babysitters; they genuinely are brain architects when they have classrooms with high-quality experiences. Follow the brain research that is everywhere right now. It’s no longer OK to say daycare. They care for the whole child. Their job is the most important one in a child’s life. It’s time we celebrate and cherish their hard work as early educators and teachers,” said Mansell.

The Columbus-Lowndes Excel by 5 coalition will convene for its next quarterly meeting on April 25th at 1 PM in the W’s Education building, room 120. Early childhood supporters are invited.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Anna Wood or Penny Mansell

Center for Education Support Mississippi University for Women


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Columbus, Mississippi – The School of Education at The W (Mississippi University for Women) celebrated excellence and achievement at its Awards Day event.

Awards Day is an opportunity to honor the exceptional accomplishments of our School of Education community, showcasing our commitment to fostering excellence, leadership, and lifelong learning in education,” said Dr. Marty Hatton, Dean of the School of Education. 

The ceremony, held on April 17th, celebrated the outstanding contributions of students throughout their undergraduate education experiences. Significantly, The W’s education programs distinguish themselves through their Residency courses, providing students with unparalleled classroom experience compared to other programs in the state. These courses are integrated alongside academic classes, facilitating a cohesive block schedule that empowers students to apply newly acquired pedagogical skills in practical, hands-on learning environments in area classrooms.

Congratulations to all of our students for their outstanding achievements. The W is known for turning out top-notch educators in our region who are ready to serve our communities. We are proud of each of you for your dedication to being the best teacher possible,” said Dr. Bob Fuller, Chair of the School of Education.

Awards were given to the most outstanding students in early childhood, the four elementary education blocks, and the elementary and secondary internships. Nominations are based on an exceptional all-around student model. Faculty members and residency mentor teachers submitted nominations and narratives for candidates within their respective semester academic blocks. Student nominations were based on: personal characteristics (energy level, enthusiasm, cooperation, scholarship, character, initiative, overall general attitude), professional characteristics (professional attitude & poise, enthusiasm for teaching, self-confidence, evidence of growth & improvement), skills in methodology (classroom management, methods & techniques, lesson planning, knowledge of subject matter, skills in student evaluation, discipline toward students). All currently teaching faculty voted for the overall outstanding students.

Immediately following the awards program, students could visit and interview with regional schools for career and job placements.

The W consistently produces highly skilled teacher candidates who excel in their profession, setting a standard of excellence that surpasses other programs. We are thankful for our students, faculty, and staff who set the bar high to create leaders in the field of education,” said Hatton. 

Early Childhood Education

Alesia Shambry – Outstanding Overall Student

Elizabeth Franks

Block 1

Clara Baggett – Outstanding Overall Student  

Mallory Dabbs

Sierra Poire

Block 2

Kayla Branham

Audrey Foreman

Emily Goss – Outstanding Overall Student  

Reagan Greenhaw

Madison Lee

Laila Luckett

Diamond Rayford

Allison Sprouse

Melanie Vice

Block 3

Haylie Crimm

Madison Evans

Macie Manasco

Harrison Powell – Outstanding Overall Student  

Cally Thompson


Kaitlyn Bass

Carol Ferrell

Miranda Flippo – Outstanding Overall Student  

Natalie Frazier

Harley Holsonback

Aliyah Howell

Laura McBrayer

Abigail O’Rand

Secondary Internship

Autumn Bigham – Outstanding Overall Student  

Olivia Eubanks

Early Childhood  

Jayde Richardson – Outstanding Overall Student

Block 1

Audrey Foreman

Emily Goss

Reagan Greenhaw

Sydney Linton

Laila Luckett

Chloe Minich

Diamond Rayford

Allison Sprouse – Outstanding Overall Student

Block 2

Morgan Aldridge

Haylie Crimm – Outstanding Overall Student

Madison Baucom

Madison Evans

Macie Manasco

Andrea Potterf

Harrison Powell

Block 3

Aliyah Howell

Macey Crawford – Outstanding Overall Student

Abbie Graves


Katlyn Bowles

Ka’Tanja Hall – Outstanding Overall Student

Sidney Linton

Meaghan Vines


Shakia Butler – Outstanding Overall Student

For media inquiries, please contact:

Anna Wood or Penny Mansell

Center for Education Support Mississippi University for Women


1. Duals and Duels: Mathematical Abstraction and Programming

Mathematics and Computer Science are about abstraction, and understanding abstractions can be complex. We will explore several abstractions in this course, but each time from the point of view of constructing algorithms in a programming language. Implementing algorithms that depend on abstract concepts can help us understand those concepts and recognize the limits of our understanding. In this course, we will use a mathematically based approach to programming to reinforce our knowledge of interrelated mathematical topics such as Logic, Set Theory, and Abstract Algebra. We will start with simple principles and increase our understanding based on intuition and experiment. What is required? you should be curious, love mathematics, think logically, be willing to be wrong and correct your misunderstanding, be eager to explore new and challenging ideas, and help your fellow scholars succeed.

2. Agents of Change: Exploring Legal and Ethical Principles in Healthcare Practice

This introductory course is designed to give scholars a deeper understanding of the legal and ethical principles governing healthcare practice. Participants will explore the intricate intersection of law and ethics within healthcare, gaining valuable insights to navigate complex situations and make informed decisions.

In the first week, scholars will learn the critical ethical terms in healthcare: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice, veracity, fidelity, confidentiality, informed consent, and cultural competence. Scholars will participate in assigned debate topics to explore perspectives and foster a thoughtful and respectful discussion. In the second week, scholars will research standards of care in healthcare practice and the implications of failing to follow best practices. A mock trial will be conducted whereby students will actively participate in the roles of defendant, defense and prosecution attorney, bailiff, judge, and jury members. The case will involve an accusation of criminally negligent homicide by a registered nurse. The “jury” scholars will have to decide if the defendant is guilty based on the cases presented by the “defense” and “prosecution” scholars.

3. Shaping Communities: An Exploration of Urban Planning in Mississippi

Every town and city in Mississippi has been shaped by someone, whether through deliberate action or unintentional inaction. This trend continues, but there’s still time for change. Much like the adage about planting a tree whose shade you may never enjoy, our communities require planning. Moreover, planning extends beyond just roads and trees. Modern urban planning covers various topics, including housing, parks, and grant programs. Planners can specialize in designing multi-modal transportation or addressing homelessness. The field is remarkably diverse, with many professionals possibly not fully realizing the extent of its breadth.

This class aims to delve into urban planning within our community. The course will commence with the foundational topics of “why” and “how” planning originated in the United States. Subsequently, we will explore common theories and themes before delving into how these concepts have been implemented in our state. Finally, we will explore practical planning methods, even for those not in the profession. The course will culminate in a mock public hearing, simulating various common planning requests.

4. Unraveling the Mysteries of the Mind

What is memory? How is your memory? Is there a limit to our memory capacity? How does forgetting affect your everyday life? How would your life be different if you could not create new memories? What if you could remember nearly every day of your life? How can brain injury sufferers remember how to tie their shoes but not recall

anything mentioned during a conversation with a friend? Are there different types of memory? How reliable and accurate do you think your memory is? What is the biological basis for memory? Who would you be without your memories? What is more critical: your experiences or your memories of them? These questions are but a few that we will explore on this journey down memory lane. Don’t forget to bring an open mind!

5. Changes in the Fairy Tale Genre across Time and Space

Did you grow up reading the Brothers Grimm? Have you learned about popular fairy tales from movies satirizing them rather than from the classic versions themselves? Whatever your current familiarity with the genre, you’ll still find something new to learn in this course. In just two weeks, we will read fairy tales from “Little Red Riding Hood” to the lesser-known variants of “Cinderella.” We will also read a few poems and watch advertisements that use fairy-tale allusions for effect. The class will discuss the following elements that make a fairy tale a fairy tale: What goes “too far” and makes a work not a fairy tale? Can a story from the first century B.C.E. be the same as one from 2002? Who are the typical protagonists of a fairy tale? How do fairy tales differ by country of origin and for different audiences? What do these stories illustrate about other cultures? By the end of the course, you will produce a modern-day fairy-tale revision in the genre of your choice, along with a brief explanation of why you made the creative choices you did.

6. Exploring the World of Tabletop Gaming

You may be familiar with mainstream family game night games, such as Monopoly, Scrabble, and Sorry. Hobby games provide endless hours of entertainment as family and friends gather to explore new lands in Catan, spend some time at Summer Camp, plan out a train route in Ticket to Ride, or grow a collection of houseplants in Planted. To many, playing tabletop games is a niche pastime, but there is something for everyone. Scholars of all backgrounds are invited to learn more about tabletop gaming, even without gaming experience. In the course, scholars will learn about the various game mechanics used in tabletop games and spend time playing games to see these mechanics in action. They’ll also learn about some game designers and artists behind the games. By the end of the course, you’ll leave itching to start building your tabletop game collection!

7. Crafting Change Through Music-Making

Crafting Change Through Music Making is a course designed to channel the creative power of music as a catalyst for positive change. Participants will explore music composition, recording, and mixing through advanced Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs), and students will also learn how to practice and perform various piano pieces. Students will engage in hands-on practice, bridging theory with the practical aspects of music creation. The class will

also examine how music-making can be a vehicle of change. We will look at historical music examples at the forefront of various societal changes (including but not limited to political, social, and religious).

8. Radical Courage: Black Legislators in Mississippi’s Reconstruction Government

They were farmers, teachers, ministers, blacksmiths, and lawyers. Some were born free in the North, while others were born enslaved in the counties they represented. Some were highly educated, and others had been forbidden by law to be taught to read. Many came to Mississippi to help their Southern brothers and sisters build a more just government, and many were driven out by violence only a few years later. You will learn about the courage, vision, and legacies of the first African American men to serve in Mississippi’s state legislature during Reconstruction.

9. Changing the World Through Video Games

Video games have been around for decades, growing more popular and varied yearly. In addition to game consoles, they can also be found on PCs, phones, tablets, and even TV streaming devices. Although they are often dismissed as nothing more than mindless entertainment, good video games make you think in ways you might not have a chance to in real life.

This course examines video games and how they affect people who play them. We’ll start with a brief overview of video gaming history and culture. Then, we’ll look at both potentially damaging and positive effects. One of the specific areas we’ll examine is how gamers change and cause change through interacting with video games and other gamers.

10. Sourdough: It’s Alive!

Sourdough Bread starter is made of living organisms that need to be cared for daily, like a pet. And yet, these living jars of flour, water, and yeast also create some of the yummiest foods to eat: Bread! Imagine having your starter and learning how to make bread rise in several ways. It is a science and an art that anyone can learn to do. Food (especially bread) brings all kinds of people together. Breaking bread together is a sign of peace. Through the scientific method, students will explore the Microbiology and science of making bread and, later, the creative aspect of making bread through recipe experimentation. You will first learn about how breads are made in various cultures, past and present, and later use what you know about bread to create your recipes through prediction and experimentation. You will use science to create a home-cooked masterpiece.

The School of Education is recruiting local Columbus-Lowndes Teacher Assistants for our first Teacher Assistant Day, scheduled February 21, 2024. Local elementary principals are asked to recommend Teacher Assistants who have shown dedication, potential, and a genuine interest in furthering their education. The team with the School of Education will host these local paraprofessionals and discuss our program, educator licensure pathways, scholarship opportunities, and time investment.

We recognize that quality Teacher Assistants are instrumental to classrooms. Many of these aides would make excellent licensed teachers. Our goal at The W is to help support and guide these paraprofessionals by providing personalized resources and support for each stage of our licensure track programs.

For more information, contact:

Anna Wood

Center for Education Support, Mississippi University for Women | 662-241-6386

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Wednesday, December 06, 2023

by Robert Scott

Mississippi University for Women’s School of Education is bringing close to 100 high school Educator Prep students to campus to give them a taste of college, with an emphasis on education, in hopes that they come back for more.

“This event is multipurpose and seeks to address several needs in our area.  Our goal is to provide the opportunity for area students to experience a ‘day in the life’ of a W School of Education student.  These high school students will meet and learn from our faculty and staff in a very similar manner to our own students.  Secondly, due to the nation-wide teacher shortage, we feel an obligation to address this concern for local K12 schools and administrators.  By meeting high school students with an interest in teaching and providing them the experience of Future Teacher Day, these students get to learn about the program, the University and the profession,” said Dr. Hope Durst, assistant professor of education at The W.

The Future Teacher Day event will take place Friday, Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is hosted by the Education Marketing, Recruitment and Retention Committee and the Center for Education Support. Students will have the opportunity to meet faculty from the teacher education programs in both the School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences. The event will feature mini breakout sessions for students to give them a taste of hands-on learning at the collegiate level.

The focus of the sessions, and the event as a whole, is science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education.

There will be multiple activities presented by W faculty including plant and animal anatomy, Venn diagrams using mathematics, art and literacy and much more.

“The beauty of this second annual event is that area students can step outside the traditional ‘campus tour’ format of a campus visit.  Instead, they participate in engaging sessions with faculty, have a yummy lunch in the cafeteria with our dean and department head and network with support entities from all across campus at our information fair portion of the day. The future of teaching is in the hands of these students we are so excited to meet, and our goal is to equip them with the skills and tools they need to successfully engage students in life-long learning,” Durst said.

Students are attending from multiple area schools including Monroe County, Louisville, Choctaw Central and Amory.

The students will be treated to breakfast when they arrive and then go straight into the breakout sessions. Next, they will take a tour of The W’s campus, have lunch in the cafeteria at Hogarth Dining Center and then finish with cookies and cocoa while attending the campus resource fair in Pope Ballroom.

“We want students to leave with a sense of warmth, hospitality and culture at The W so they return to us as education students,” said Penny Mansell, director of the Center for Education Support.

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

by Robert Scott

Mississippi University for Women is seeking the best and brightest rising juniors and seniors from across the state for the 2024 Mississippi Governor’s School.

Held June 2-15, the two-week residential honors program will bring scholars to The W’s campus to “equip them with an intensive experience to develop their gifts alongside like-minded students,” according to the program’s mission.

Students must meet one of the eight requirements to be considered for the program, which include: Gifted eligibility ruling in Mississippi, composite score of 25 or above on the ACT, selection index of 175 or above on the PSAT, score of 1250 or above on the SAT, documentation of academic aptitude at an advanced level, documentation of creative thinking ability at an advanced level, documentation of leadership ability at an advanced level or documentation of fine and/or performing arts ability at an advanced level.

The program is also free to attend; students must complete the application process.

Interested scholars should act fast, however, as the student application deadline is Friday, Dec. 15.

The idea behind MGS is to offer a collegiate experience to high school students, further preparing them for higher education. The program seeks to bring together a diverse group of students and have them learn from and alongside one another while encouraging self-discovery.

Participating students will earn three college credit hours which can be used at The W or transferred to any university of their choosing.

“For 42 years, MGS has been home to the state’s best and brightest students. Our MGS theme for 2024 is ‘The Changemakers.’ We need changemakers who are primed and ready to embark on this exciting journey!” said Penny Mansell, director of the Center for Education Support at The W.

In 1981, Governor William Winter and the administration at The W established the MGS as a residential honors program. Since its establishment, MGS has served thousands of scholars, providing each with a high-quality academic program.

To find more information about the program and to apply, visit

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.