COLUMBUS, Miss. –Lorena Surducan, senior music therapy student at Mississippi University for Women, recently received first place in the Piano- Junior/Senior Division of the Mississippi Music Teacher’s Association Collegiate Competition held at Belhaven University March 2.
“It felt good to know that I’m about to finish my senior year and leave The W on a strong note. That is important to me,” said Surducan.
Only students who are at the junior or senior level of study in instrument or voice are eligible for the junior/senior category. The competitors are allowed time limits of 10 minutes for voice and 15 for all other instruments.
MMTA’s annual conference provides Mississippians a venue to come together to experience performances, workshops and newly composed music, in addition to competitions to develop both student and teacher skills.
“I believe one of the goals of teaching is to inspire the student to realize their potential. Teaching piano includes making students aware of all the freedom and choices they have in music and guiding them along the way as they make those important decisions,” said Julia Mortyakova, chair of the Department of Music.
To prepare for the competition, Surducan spent hours practicing for the event. She shared how Dr. Mortyakova had set high expectations and prepared her for the competition with public performances. Surducan noted that the process had been challenging, but described Mortyakova as supportive and very dedicated.
Mortyakova added, “Throughout Lorena’s studies, we worked on developing her unique musical voice and artistry on stage. Lorena has been very successful in relaying her musical message to her audience and has developed quite a fan base. I am excited to see what the future will hold for her.”
During the competition, Surducan focused on doing her best. She knew that judges could be unpredictable, but she could control her performance.
She also expressed her thankfulness for Dr. Valentin Bogdan, associate professor of music, assistance in preparing her for the competition even though she is not currently enrolled in his classes.
Surducan is a previous winner of the 2016 Mississippi MTNA Competition’s Young Artist Performance Award. She also received an Honorable Mention for the same award in 2017.
Mississippi Music Teachers Association is a non-profit, statewide organization whose purpose is to promote music education and professional development of music teachers, music students and all people of Mississippi.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 21, 2019 Contact: Tyler Wheat(662) firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Mississippi University for Women invites alumni, friends and guests to a weekend filled with entertainment and activities for Homecoming festivities March 28-31.
“Homecoming is not only a time to reconnect with old friends, but it is also an opportunity to visit your alma mater and learn about all the exciting news happening now. So, please come join us because there is an event for everyone,” said Lyndsay Cumberland, director of alumni relations.
Homecoming will start Thursday, March 28 at 4:30 p.m. with the Spring Fling for Graduating Seniors hosted by the MUW Alumni Association. Join alumni and seniors for dinner, games, music and an opportunity to meet soon-to-be members of the Long Blue Line.
From 6 to 7:30 p.m., the Nell Peel Wolfe Lecture Series, presented by the Ina E. Gordy Honors College, will host Tracy Crow, former Marine Corps officer, editor of “It’s My Country Too: Women’s Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan,” author of “Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine” and three other books,and president/CEO of the community arts foundation Milspeak, which supports the creative endeavors of military service members, veterans and their families. The event, located in Nissan Auditorium, is free and open to the public.
Thursday’s events will conclude with an 8 p.m. piano recital by guest artist Elena Klionsky in the Kossen Auditorium, Poindexter Hall. This event is sponsored by the Leslie F. Threadgill Lecture and Artist Series. It is free and open to the public.
Friday’s events will start with registration from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the lobby of Welty Hall.
A campus tour led by President Nora Miller will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Old Maids’ Gate near the College Street entrance. During the tour, participants will interact with honor students and discuss their latest research projects.
The Golden Girls Luncheon will honor the Class of 1969 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Pope Banquet Room, Hogarth Dining Center. Tickets are required for this event. Members of the Class of 1969 receive a complimentary ticket with their registration.
At 2 p.m., a tour and update of campus will be offered by the Office of Admissions, with shuttles available. The tour will begin on the second floor of Welty Hall.
From 2 to 3:30 p.m., "Reading, Writing, Living" will feature Eugenia “Genie” Talbot, ’69, Myra Ottwell, ’69 and Derek Webb, special collections librarian/university archivist. Attendees will travel to places with Talbot, and Ottewell will set the stage for how she produced her documentary “Mississippi ReMixed: A fresh look at race relations in the Deep South.” Webb will conclude with a photographic tour of The W’s history with images from the Beulah Culbertson Archives and Special Collections.
From 4:30 to 6 p.m., a welcome home reception and art exhibition in the MUW Galleries, Summer Hall, will feature W artist Debra Gordon, ’78; Mary Price Kerr, ’65; Katherine Feeney Munson, ’09 and Jessie Whitehead, ’76. Refreshments will be provided by the MUWAA Lowndes County Chapter. The event is free, but participants should register.
At 6 p.m., The Long Blue Line Auction and Welcome Dinner, benefiting W faculty grants and awards, will feature dancing and live music by Unfazed. The event is ticketed and participants should visit www.longblueline.muw.edu to reserve tickets. The auction is free. Dinner is $40.
The evening concludes with the Black Alumni Reception at 8 p.m. in Shattuck Hall. Featuring desserts prepared by W culinary art students, the event will honor black alumni.
Saturday morning will begin with The MUW Social Organization Alumni Council Planning Committee which will provide an update on the achievements of the first year of the SOAC, relationships with the university and MUWAA and goals for 2019. Registration will also be available at 8 a.m. in Welty Hall.
From 9 to 10 a.m., the MUW Alumni Association Annual Meeting will take place in the Limbert Assembly Room, Cochran Hall.
Class reunion photos will take place on front campus at 10 a.m.
At noon, alumni, friends, parents and fans will tailgate for lunch. The Owls Softball team will take on Agnes Scott at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and includes a snack from Project C.H.E.W. Also, there will be tailgate games provided by Campus Recreation.
From 1:30-5p.m., the Black Alumni Reunion will celebrate black excellence with special guests, food, fun and fellowship next to Bryan Green Gazebo. The event is free but participants are asked to register.
Visit the President’s House and enjoy light refreshments with the president from 2:30 to 4:30 Saturday.
Beginning at 5 p.m., celebrate the 2019 MUW Alumni Association Award in the Atrium of the Fant Library.
The Class of 1969 Reunion Dinner will take place at 6 p.m. in Brigham Dining Room, Hogarth Dining Center, while the Gingko Gathering, a dinner for all, will be in the Pope Banquet Room, Hogarth Dining Center at 6 p.m.
Saturday evening will conclude with the Department of Music Student Showcase featuring performances by students. The event is free and open to the public.
Sunday will begin with a 9 a.m. chapel service, led by the MUW Wesley Foundation. It will be a remembrance of those who have died since the previous Homecoming.
For more information about Homecoming, please call (662) 329-7148 or visit www.muw.edu.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 20, 2019 Contact: Tyler Wheat(662) email@example.com
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Hillary H. Richardson is eager to see some of the curiosity the Mississippi University for Women has to offer.
At noon Friday, 33 W students will represent 21 projects in the first campus-wide Undergraduate Research Conference at the Fant Memorial Library.
Richardson, who is an assistant professor and coordinator of Undergraduate Research & Information Literacy, said the conference aims to be a culmination of individual campus efforts to promote research and creative discovery in undergraduate classrooms. She said it also is an effort to encourage and to celebrate existing efforts by students to pursue their intellectual curiosities.
“Any undergraduate student at The W who has finished, is currently working on or is interested in pursuing a research project can submit an abstract,” Richardson said. “Submissions can be long-term projects, short-term, semester-long projects or well thought-out proposals for research projects that have yet to be completed.”
Richardson said the goal is to make the conference an annual event in the spring in the classrooms and meeting spaces in the Fant Memorial Library.
Richardson said the projects represent a wide range of topics from biology to music therapy, history to public health and psychology to literature. She said there also will be five-panel presentations and five posters.
“We have asked for volunteer faculty to evaluate each presentation based on the quality of the research that informed their project (i.e. how well did they engage with established research? How well are they able to analyze others’ work in addition to their own?) and the quality of their own presentation (i.e. how well did they engage with their audience? How well are they able to communicate the significance of their project?),” Richardson said.
Evaluators will use that criteria and other information to select top presentations in three categories: posters, oral presentations and proposals. They also will select one presentation to receive the designation of best overall project. Selected projects will receive a cash prize.
Richardson encourages undergraduate students to get involved in part to gain valuable experience that can help them in their studies and as they begin to pursue a professional career. Plus, she said, there is a chance to win a cash prize.
“They have the unique experience of doing hands-on work in their field, focusing time and energy on a topic that they’re passionate about and contributing knowledge to the world. This helps greatly — not only in their academic pursuits, but in their professional ones, too. The work they do in pursuit of those projects is the real game-changer. This event is a celebration of that work.”
For more information about the Office of Undergraduate Research, go to https://www.muw.edu/our. The website includes highlights from selected researchers, including Mary Carr, a biology major in the Class of 2019. Her project is titled “Expressing Pneumococcal Proteins for Possible Inclusion in a Vaccine Targeting Colonization.” It also highlights the work of Dr. Ross Whitwam, professor of biology at The W, whose project is focused on the spontaneous formation of (URE3) prions in baker’s yeast.
For a schedule of the conference, including descriptions of each student’s projects, go to www.muw.edu/our/conference. Information about the OUR also can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MUWOUR/ and at https://www.instagram.com/muw_our/.
If there are students interested in summer research, there is another opportunity to pursue research. For more information, please visit: https://www.muw.edu/our/summer.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 19, 2019Contact: Adam Minichino(662) firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBUS, Miss.— Dr. Rachel Allison, assistant professor of sociology at Mississippi State University, will discuss the complexities of breaking into male-dominated professional sports and the challenges and opportunities in sustaining women’s soccer leagues Thursday, March 21.
As author of the new book “Kicking Center: Gender and the Selling of Women's Professional Soccer,” Dr. Allison explores recent progress in spite of ongoing gender disparities in opportunity, compensation, training resources and media airtime.
The event, which will be held at 6 p.m. in Nissan Auditorium, Parkinson Hall, will be featured as part of the Forum Series hosted by the Gordy Honors College and the university’s Women’s History Month celebration.
For more information, please email email@example.com, call (662) 241-6850, or visit http://web.muw.edu/honors/forum.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 19, 2019
COLUMBUS, Miss. – The Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association is excited to announce event details for the 2019 Long Blue Line Auction. The auction will be held during The W’s annual Homecoming celebration later this month and hopes to procure a record amount in donations for the fourth consecutive year. This year, J5 Solutions will be presenting sponsor for the Long Blue Line Auction.
Since the auction’s inception, funds raised have contributed to and fully endowed The MUWAA Legacy Scholarship which provides an annual award of $2,500 to an entering, full-time student at The W who is a family member of an MUW alumna or alumnus. Additionally, silent auction proceeds fund Faculty Enhancement Grants designed to enrich the educational and professional activities of faculty members and the New Faculty Award given to a newer faculty member annually to recognize his or her work supporting the academic mission of The W.
Now in its seventh year, the Long Blue Line Auction is under the direction of the MUWAA’s 2019 Special Events Chair Carolyn Byrd. While participation in the auction is free to all Homecoming attendees, a ticketed companion to this event includes a Welcome Dinner for alumni and musical entertainment by Unfazed, the high energy party band based out of the Mississippi Gulf coast. The auction will be held on The W’s campus inside Shattuck Hall Friday, March 29, beginning at 6 p.m. Preparations are in full swing. Byrd and her team are hard at work setting up the online bidding portal which will enable bidders to vie for items remotely, even if they cannot attend the Homecoming event in person.
Each year support for the auction grows, with monetary event sponsorships and item donations received from alumni and friends of The W from across the state and region. Hot ticket items such as artwork, event tickets and vacation packages always attract high bids, and alumni chapters across the nation come together to donate items that spotlight their destination cities, helping to bridge the geographic gap between chapters and The W.
Antwann Richardson, president of J5 Solutions, presenting sponsor for this year’s event, currently serves as both director and treasurer for the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association. J5 Solutions specializes in the areas of construction management, development and security supporting businesses and governmental institutions located across Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas. Richardson oversees day-to-day operations and the financial well-being of the entire organization.
For more information regarding the 2019 Long Blue Line Auction, please contact Carolyn Byrd at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (251) 455-4249. You may also visit the event website at longbluelineauction.com.
The MUWAA exists to support and promote the mission of The W while providing alumni engagement opportunities. Any former student who has completed at least 12 semester hours at the university and who has made an annual contribution to the MUW Foundation is an active member eligible to vote and hold office for the year. For more information, please visit the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association website at longblueline.muw.edu.
For Immediate ReleaseMarch 18, 2019
COLUMBUS, Miss. – Sagarina Thapa admits she was nervous.
Five or six practice takes in front of a mirror a day earlier did little to remove the anxiety she felt prior to her first presentation at the annual Mississippi Academy of Sciences meeting.
“It was very scary,” said Thapa, a senior biology major at the Mississippi University for Women. “I was pretty jittery the first few minutes and then I got the hang of it. It was OK.”
Diptika Raut was a little more composed. After all, Raut had gained experience as a presenter in August 2017 at a conference in Jackson, so she was used to presenting information, albeit in front of smaller groups or individuals.
Thapa finished second for her oral presentation in the undergraduate category, while Raut received honorable mention for her poster presentation on the optimization of a common biochemical technique called “western blotting” at the 83rd annual MAS meeting in February in Hattiesburg.
Thapa’s oral presentation was about the stability of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator, or CFTR, on epithelial cell membrane. She said it was designated for 15 minutes and ended up being 11. The remaining time was used for questions and answers.
Shraddha Neupane and Anush Aryal, who are junior biology majors at The W, also attended the MAS meeting as observers. They are also from Nepal.
Dr. Ghanshyam Heda, professor of biology at The W, has been attending the MAS meeting regularly since 2009. He trained the students in his research laboratory. Heda didn’t present a paper at the meeting, but he was co-author in both students’ presentations. He said Neupane and Aryal will take the place of Thapa and Raut as researchers in his lab.
“Research is helping immensely in boosting their confidence and getting admissions into Ph.D. program at top universities,” Heda said. “For example, Sagarina has received more than one interview call for Ph.D. studies that she plans on pursuing soon after her graduation from The W.”
Dr. Travis Hagey, an assistant professor of science at The W, also attended the meeting. He presented a talk titled “A Classroom Activity Simulating Population-Level-Evolution by Hand.” It was about a classroom activity he wrote that has students study how evolution works by following a population off birds through time across generations. The students get to control how the color of the birds changes from parent to offspring generation to generation. The presentation was 12 minutes, followed by a short question-and-answer period. It was the first conference he attended in the state of Mississippi. He gave a talk last semester (fall 2018).
Thapa, who is originally from Nepal, worked as a volunteer in Heda’s lab in the summer of 2018 and part time in the fall of 2018. She will graduate from The W in May. She hopes the experience she gained at the meeting will help her in the search for opportunities in graduate school. She said she already has applied to several schools and that she hopes to continue research into cancer biology. Thapa also minored in mathematics and chemistry at The W.
Thapa said she tried to memorize her presentation in front of about 30 people. She said she left two or three facts out of her talk, but she felt she told all of the key points about her presentation. The material she presented dealt with research she and Raut did with Dr. Heda.
The CFTR gene provides instructions for making a protein called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. This protein functions as a channel across the membrane of cells that produces mucus, sweat, saliva, tears and digestive enzymes. The channel transports negatively charged particles called chloride ions into and out of cells. The transport of chloride ions helps control the movement of water in tissues, which is necessary for the production of thin, freely flowing mucus. Mucus is a slippery substance that lubricates and protects the lining of the airways, digestive system, reproductive system and other organs and tissues.
The CFTR protein also regulates the function of other channels, such as those that transport positively charged particles called sodium ions across cell membranes. These channels are necessary for the normal function of organs such as the lungs and pancreas.
Thapa said the goal of the research was to learn more about how to stabilize mutated CFTR proteins on a cell membrane. She said mutations on a gene will lead to a pulmonary disease called cystic fibrosis. The ability to stabilize the mutated CFTR proteins on the cell membrane could help prevent the disease. She said she and Raut have been a part of the research for two semesters and a summer.
Raut, who also is a senior biology major, turned the PowerPoint presentation into a poster that illustrates the optimization of proteins of different molecular masses. She worked with Thapa in the fall of 2018. She said the title of the presentation sounds “heavy” but it is not that involved. In fact, she said the research was designed to optimize a technique through which they can get optimal protein signals.
She said the poster included information from an additional experiment that was done following the initial presentation of the poster last summer.
“It’s easier than the oral presentation because a lot of people would be looking at you when you’re doing the oral presentation,” said Raut, who minored in chemistry. “When you’re doing the poster presentation, you can deliver what you know about the poster. There aren’t a lot of people there, and it is a little easier than the oral presentation.”
Raut, who also is from Nepal, said she didn’t know Thapa prior to coming to The W. She said she plans to work for a year in a research capacity at a school to be determined. She said she then will consider attending graduate school or going to pharmacy school in the United States.
“(The W) is a small university, but there are opportunities if you really strive and look for them and you really want to work,” Raut said. “We would like to thank The W for giving us such opportunities.”
The MAS meeting is designed to present addresses, symposia, workshops, scientific papers and exhibits of interest to its members. Research papers are presented in divisional meetings which include agriculture and plant science; cellular, molecular and developmental biology; chemistry and chemical engineering; geology and geography; health sciences; marine and atmospheric sciences; mathematics; computer science and statistics; microbiology and immunology; physics and engineering; psychology and behavioral neuroscience; science education; and zoology and entomology.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 14, 2019Contact: Adam Minichino(662) email@example.com
COLUMBUS, Miss. – Cristina Babic didn’t know if her daughter was going to survive.
Born prematurely at 25 weeks, Ava Grace Babic’s first home in October 2017 was the North Mississippi Medical Center. A team of doctors and at least 20 nurses cared for Ava Grace in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and did everything possible to help her feel more comfortable.
Through it all, Babic wondered how she could help. After spending nine years in medical school and receiving her general practitioner’s license in her home country of Moldova, Babic knew she was going to have to wait and hope for the best for her daughter. While she did that, Babic watched. After attending classes at the Mississippi University for Women in the morning, Babic drove to Tupelo and spent nearly every afternoon and evening with Ava Grace. What she saw in her time at the hospital led her to an epiphany.
“When I was in the NICU, I watched all of the nurses care and nurture my daughter,” Babic said. “I was like, ‘That is what I want to do.’ They built relationships with me. They knew everything about me. They knew the days I had tests. They were praying for that. They knew the days my husband could call.”
Eighteen months later, Ava Grace is healthy and doing great. Babic can sit back and relax as she recounts everything she has been through in the past year and a half. She also can smile because in two months she will complete The W’s Associate of Science in Nursing Program and she already has an inside track on a job in the area. Babic looks back to the time she spent watching the nurses care for her daughter as the turning point in a journey that has had plenty of twists.
“They took care of my daughter and took care of my emotional needs,” Babic said. “They took care of all that. I knew then – that’s it – That’s what I want to do.”
Don’t try to tell Babic she “wasted” nine years becoming a doctor.
The 32-year-old doesn’t want to hear it. Instead, the native of Moldova, a landlocked country bordered on the west by Romania and Ukraine on the north, east and south in Eastern Europe, prefers to highlight how the time she spent in medical school showed her how to get to know patients and to provide holistic care.
“I did not waste nine years. They’re here (pointing to the side of her head),” Babic said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do all of this without the knowledge I had from medical school. I have learned something from those nine years. I didn’t lose them. They taught me discipline. They taught me to do the things you don’t want to do. They taught me perseverance. They taught me dedication.
“Medical school is hard. You’re talking about nursing school being hard? Yes. You go to medical school, there were days I would cry. It was blood and sweat to go through those nine years. They taught me life lessons I will treasure for the rest of my life. They helped me be the person I am now. I never saw it as a waste of time.”
Despite having nine years of medical training, Babic still faced numerous ups and downs as she contemplated her career path. She said she knew the doctor’s license from Moldova wouldn’t translate to the United States. Her husband, Momcilo, who is a police officer in Starkville, encouraged her to prepare for her boards and to go to The W and get a nursing degree as her plan B. She said in a week’s time in the summer of 2017 she found out she had been accepted into the nursing program at The W, her husband, who is a member of the National Guard, was getting deployed to Syria and she was pregnant. On top of all of that news, the Babics had just purchased a home in Starkville.
“I was very disturbed internally,” Babic said. “Half of me was grieving the loss of my license and the loss of my degree and nine years while half of me was like, ‘This is America. This is the land of opportunities. You can start from the beginning and you can do something else.’”
“I was leading a double life,” Babic said. “I was still grieving the process. The more I was going to school and the more I knew people and I went to different hospitals and clinics, the more I realized (being a doctor) wasn’t what I wanted to do.“I was just falling in love with nursing. I realized from going to school how much more the nurse does here and that nursing here is a profession.”
The right path
Babic said she took a couple of tests on the way to becoming a doctor in the United States, but she decided to put that work “on the shelf” after Ava Grace was born Oct. 14, 2017. At that point, Babic said she had to make a decision. Babic said faculty members at The W were sure she was taking off, but she said she returned in a week following the emergency surgery. She said it was hard physically and emotionally, but she praised the faculty members in the ADN program for their encouragement.
“They were very supportive and very, very, very helpful,” Babic said. “I knew if I was to go to them and say I can’t do it they would work with me and let me come back. They were very good to me.
“Pretty much all of the kids in my class and the staff they became the community that helped me.”
Dr. Brandy Larmon, program chair and associate professor of The W’s ASN program, said Babic is “great” with patients and has a “heart” for nursing and shows compassion in everything she does.
“She really used her experience to better understand the patient perspective, and she offers a level of trust that patients find so precious in their time of need,” Larmon said. “Her and her classmates really grew together when she experienced the birth of her daughter. Classmates offered help such as cleaning, helping with notes or other class activities and emotional support during her time with her daughter. Because of this, I think her relationship with her classmates grew and over time she grew as a mentor for them as well. She is encouraging. She has the determination and drive to be successful, and we are proud she will be a graduate of our ASN program!”
That personal touch is what Babic hopes she brings to her new career. She said she has learned a lot about the nursing profession and has discovered there are plenty of possibilities for advancement. She also said she isn’t closing the door about becoming a doctor in the United States, either.
Babic said that after acknowledging what she went through all of the stages of grief after realizing she no longer was going to be a doctor. These days, the decision doesn’t make her angry because she said she has a sense of calm knowing she made the right choice.
“People were just looking at me like I was some kind of crazy, but I guess I just fell in love with nursing so much that it didn’t really hurt,” said Babic, who also has a 9-year-old daughter, Lera. “I wanted to have a more personal approach to my patients. Nursing here is different than in my country. The program here gave us so much knowledge. The things we learned here I didn’t even learn in med school there.
“It is just a two-year nursing program, which you would think what is it compared to nine years of med school, but then you come to realize they know what they are doing and I can gain some knowledge on top of what I already have.”
Babic also is looking forward to the return of her husband later this month from his deployment to Syria. She believes she would have had greater emotional stability if her husband was with her, but she thanks everyone who supported her through the last two years.
In May, Babic will complete her degree and move on to a job as a nurse. She hopes that position will be in the Golden Triangle, but until then she will continue to serve as a role model for all of the students at The W. She will do it with a personal touch that gives back to her peers and her professors because developing relationships like that fulfills her.
“I feel I am at a point in my life where I is all well in my soul,” Babic said. “I feel satisfied now as a wife, as a mother, as a student, as a soon to be nurse, and I am ready for a new chapter.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 12, 2019Contact: Adam Minichino(662) firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Harlan, General Manager
1100 College Street – MUW-1619
Columbus MS 39701
Phone: 662 329-7255
Fax: 662 329-7250
FCC Online Public Inspection Files
If you need help accessing the FCC Public Inspection Files due to disability, please contact General Manager Eric Harlan at email@example.com.