Mississippi University for Women celebrated the invaluable contributions made by faculty with the awarding of Faculty Research and Creative Activity Awards, Friday, Nov. 3.

Faulty Winners

The awards encompass recognition for early career research and creative activities, as well as sustained contributions throughout an academic career. Nominations for the awards were evaluated by the Faculty Research Committee (FRC).

“It is an honor to recognize these five outstanding faculty members for their significant contributions to research and creative activity on our campus.  It is an opportunity to celebrate the vital role these activities play in sparking the intellectual curiosity of students at The W, so they grow into the innovators, creators, and thought leaders of tomorrow,” said Dr. Scott Tollison, provost and vice president of academic affairs.

Distinguished Leadership in Research and Creative Activity Award
The Leadership in Research and Creative Activity Award, which includes a $1000 stipend, recognizes a faculty member who has been employed at the university and maintained a research or creative program for at least five years, and has made a significant contribution to their field during their time at The W.


This year’s recipient of the Distinguished Leadership in Research and Creative Activity Award is Dr. Tom Richardson, professor of English and the Eudora Welty Chair.

Richardson has been at The W since 1988. His nominator said, “That no colleague of the past 30 years exceeds his long record of intensive scholarly research that illuminates, through interpretation and analysis, subjects of great intellectual significance. Dr. Richardson is an internationally recognized scholar of early 19th century Scottish literature and literary culture. He has been publishing since 1979, with a record that includes 12 journal articles and 12 chapters in edited volumes, with the 13th chapter due this year in ‘The Oxford Handbook of British Romantic Prose.’His crowning works are his four books all published by Edinburgh University Press.”

Excellence in Creative Activity Award


Dr. Julia Mortyakova, professor and department chair of music, was awarded the Excellence in Creative Activity Award. The award, which includes a $500 stipend, recognizes a faculty member who has been employed for three or more years, whose publications, performances and/or exhibitions in literary creative arts have made a sustained contribution to their field.

Two colleagues of Mortyakova said in their nominations, “Dr. Mortyakova was their first choice for this award because of her sustained contribution to The W, Columbus community and her love for music. Her contributions at the university range from having a leadership role in the National Association of Schools and Music, the Music in the Library program to founding the Music by Women International Festival in 2016. Dr. Mortyakova’s creativity continues in publishing five CDs of her performances and in her work as a piano soloist with orchestras across the country and internationally.”

Excellence in Research Award

The Excellence in Research Award, which includes a $500 stipend, recognizes a faculty member who has been employed at the university for three years or more, whose publication or presentations are in scholarly or applied research and have made a sustained contribution to their field.


This year’s recipient of the Excellence in Research Award is Dr. Travis Hagey.

Hagey, assistant professor of biology, has been at The W since 2018. His nominator said, “From the first day he joined The W, he hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped since. Dr. Hagey is the coauthor on four research articles, all of which included W undergraduate researchers. He has been awarded a total of $62,370 in funding to cover research, educational/outreach and travel expenses from local, national and international funding sources. Dr. Hagey has been invited to give presentations from here at The W to other universities such as Louisiana University, University of Mississippi, University of Toronto and the 2019 Evolution conference. His work has been featured in multiple blogs, local news articles, published books, children’s shows and podcasts and science documentaries. Dr. Hagey has mentored a total of 22 W and Mississippi State University students in the field of biology and engineering and furthers that mentorship by participating in the K-12 local public science events.” Hagey’s nominator concluded that he is an excellent teacher and a departmental citizen.

Early Career Award for Research and Creative Activity

Dr. Lindsay Kemp, assistant professor in nursing, was awarded the Early Career Award. The award, which includes a $500 stipend, recognizes a new faculty member for demonstrating the potential for a sustained program of scholarly activity in their field while working at The W. Their program may be in any area of research or creative activity, have no more than 10 years since earning the terminal degree in their field and must have been employed at the W for at least one year.


Kemp’s nominator said, “In just a short time of joining The W, she has established herself as an expert in the area of pediatrics, young adults and families with children. She has shown great potential for a sustained program of scholarly activity, as well as the potential to influence our graduate nursing students to become clinical scholars. From the beginning, Dr. Kemp demonstrated exceptional scholarship and leadership while obtaining her DNP and teaching in the graduate nursing program. During that time, she was able to take her clinical expertise and develop an innovative clinical research project and was successful in disseminating it at multiple venues, including a national conference. Most recently, Dr. Kemp, presented a podium presentation at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and has submitted an abstract for next year’s convention. She is also writing an article for the Mississippi Association of Nurse Practitioners magazine. Dr. Kemp has been successful in mentoring graduate nursing students in research activities. She led a group of DNP students to successfully having an acceptance of publications to a state magazine and lead her master’s research group to win the Graduate Research Project Award in the Spring of 2023.”

Teacher Scholar Award

Dr. Laura Beth Turner, assistant professor of nursing, was this year’s recipient of the Teacher Scholar Award. The Teacher Scholar Award, which includes a $500 stipend, is designed to recognize early or mid-career faculty member for the development and/or implementation of new teaching methods or course designs that were generated through scholarship or specific research in pedagogical practices and strategies.


Her nominator said, “She quickly distinguished herself as an outstanding teacher, researcher and an advanced practice nurse. Dr. Turner, assisted by grants, has been able to obtain advanced procedure’s skill supplies and was able to do a campus-wide education program on the dangers of vaping. She presented her work at the MUW Faculty Research Symposium and at the Mississippi Association of Nurse Practitioners’ state-wide conference in 2023. One of Dr. Turner’s accomplishments has been in implementing a new teaching method in researching and developing an interactive lab experience through simulation. With the guidance of her department chair, Dr. Turner developed a new Pelvic Monitor Model. Dr. Turner researched pedagogical practices regarding simulation with Advance Practice Nurses and developed complex scenarios for one-to-one teaching with MSN students. The model was a huge success for teaching MSN students. It was the first venture the Graduate Nursing department used for educational simulation for Advance Practice Nurses. Dr. Turner consistently uses innovative methods and actively engages the students during her classes.” Her nominator said, she provides meaningful and exciting learning experiences and the students have consistently made positive comments about her teaching methodologies.

Award Recipients were recognized by nominators and campus officials during the Faculty Research Award luncheon held Friday, Nov. 3.

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.