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Latest News from The W

15 July 2019

  • Transfer Orientation rescheduled to July 17

    COLUMBUS, Miss.—The Transfer Orientation session originally scheduled for Monday, July 15 has been moved to Wednesday, July 17 due expected inclement weather.

    “In order to provide a quality orientation experience and ensure the safety of our incoming students, The W has rescheduled our Transfer Orientation to Wednesday, July 17. We are in the process of contacting all students who have previously registered for the session to inform them of the change,” said David Brooking, director of the Student Success Center.

    The Transfer Orientation daily schedule has not changed. The Freshman Orientation planned for July 16 will continue as scheduled. An additional combined orientation will take place August 1.

    Students may contact the Student Success Center at 662-329-7138 or ssc@muw.edu to confirm their attendance at the upcoming orientation sessions.

    During orientation, incoming students enroll for classes and receive their university I.D. Living on campus, financial aid and history of The W are just a few of the topics covered throughout the day.

    Before attending an orientation session, students should be admitted to the university and register online at www.muw.edu/orientation.

    July 11, 2019
    Contact: Tyler Wheat
    (662) 241-7683

  • Cumberland takes on new role at The W

    COLUMBUS, Miss.—A veteran alumni relations professional is assuming additional duties at Mississippi University for Women.

    Lyndsay Cumberland, who has served in alumni relations since 2011, is now Director of Alumni Relations and Donor Engagement, effective July 1. She is a 2007 paralegal studies graduate of The W.

    “This new position reflects Lyndsay’s continued growth in her position and her ability to engage at all levels with our alumni,” said Andrea Stevens, executive director of Development and Alumni. “She will be a strong asset in continuing to involve alumni in the life of the university.”

    Cumberland said that she is excited to build on relationships that she has established over the past eight years. “As a graduate of The W, it has been a joy to connect with our alumni in areas around the country,” she said. “I will enjoy continuing to interact with those I know, forming new relationships, and taking all relationships to the next level. Alumni have so much to offer in terms of time, talent and enthusiasm for the work of The W.”

    The W currently has alumni chapters in over a dozen cities, she said. “I will work with our alumni on potential giving opportunities, and I will continue to make alumni relations a core professional commitment,” she said.

    A native of Columbus, Cumberland was active in the local Civitan Club, where she served as president. She is now active in P.E.O. Chapter AB, serving as recording secretary. It is an organization that supports educational opportunities for young women.

    She is married to Jonathan Cumberland, a 2009 graduate of The W, and they have two daughters, Olivia Grace and Elizabeth Noel. The Cumberlands are members of First Baptist Church.


    July 10, 2019

  • Gillespie excited to help push The W forward

    Ashley Gillespie’s transition to the Mississippi University for Women lasted a day and a half.

    That’s when the ping of emails into Gillespie’s mailbox started to sound and signaled the start of her new job as director of the Office of Sponsored Projects and Grant Writing at The W.

    Don’t worry, though, because the thought of having a little more than eight hours to settle into the position didn’t faze Gillespie. Instead, she welcomed the opportunity to talk with professors about their proposals and to tell them she shares their enthusiasm for getting things done and helping The W move forward.

    “In two or three weeks, I was having two meetings a day with faculty with all of these really innovative and creative and truly unique things they wanted to do,” Gillespie said.

    “It is really exciting to know I don’t have to come here and rejuvenate them. I just need to give them the tools and the support to try to get funding for all of these ideas.”

    Gillespie, who is from Starkville and graduated from Starkville High School, earned a bachelor of arts degree in communication from Mississippi State in 2007. She also took her first job in research administration in the sponsored programs office at MSU. Gillespie remained at MSU until January 2010, when she accepted a job as grants and contracts specialist at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

    The move allowed Gillespie to broaden her horizons from a Research 1 (R1) institution like MSU to a PUI, or Primarily Undergraduate Institution, like SFA. She returned to work at MSU as a grants and contracts specialist for the MSU

    Forest and Wildlife Research Center/Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station from September 2012 to July 2017. Gillespie then went to an even bigger R1 school when she took a job as a senior grants and contracts specialist/senior administrative program coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin. In her time at Texas, Gillespie helped launch the concierge program in which she provided specialized assistance and training to faculty and staff on the OSP proposal process.

    Gillespie said the opportunity to return to the Golden Triangle and to be more in touch with faculty members motivated her to take the job at The W.

    “The opportunity to be a director is a no-brainer,” Gillespie said. “To be able to do that at home, in my own community, at a university that has all of these ideas and just needs the resources and support to bring them to fruition was just amazing to me. I felt everything I had done to this point had prepared me for this.”

    Gillespie plans to adapt the typical standards of an office of sponsored projects and grant writing to the needs at The W. To do that, she intends to put plenty of resources on a page for OSP on The W’s web site. She hopes the templates and the forms she will put on the site will help create a structure that saves time for everyone. Gillespie said her time at SFA, whose status as a PUI is similar to The W, gives her confidence she can create “the bones” to lay the foundation. She said she has plans to digitize records and to create a shared database for faculty and staff. Gillespie believes both of those things and the new web page will help make the process easier for everyone.

    “I am going to do a lot more for folks now than hopefully I will need to do later because I think no matter what the needs are and no matter how much you give and do the extra here, the goal is to get us officially moving like all of our sister and brother institutions,” Gillespie said. “There is a standard, and I want to have that while giving the extra but leading them to that standard.”

    Gillespie, who is a certified research administrator, doesn’t think she could have written a better job description for herself at The W. She feels the experience she gained at three universities of different sizes has prepared her for the challenge of helping The W move forward. To that end, Gillespie said she is excited to work with professors on their ideas to help everyone take the next step.

    “It is just great for me to be able to do this job and make this kind of impact,” Gillespie said. “It kind of feels full circle. Even though I am still really young in my career, I just feel like I have done a whole lot, and I really proud of what I have done. I am really excited about being here and they have entrusted with me this mission to move us forward.”

  • W announces degree in early childhood education

    COLUMBUS, Miss. – Beginning in the fall, Mississippi University for Women will offer a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

    The new online program, which will be housed under the Division of Education and Outreach, will make it possible for freshmen and transfer students to complete a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

    “We believe this program provides all students interested in early childhood education with a combination of elementary education and early childhood-specific instruction and supervised mentorship,” said Dr. Martin Hatton, division head for the Division of Education and Outreach.

    The program will also allow students who previously earned an associates of applied science degree from a Mississippi Early Childhood Technology program to qualify and complete a bachelor of science in early childhood development.

    Students who transfer with an early childhood degree from a community college may test out of 27 credit hours, or almost half of the credit required for the program’s completion, once they begin at The W.

    According to Hatton, opportunities for childhood professionals, specifically preschool teachers, are expected to grow faster than the average occupations between now and 2024. Hatton added, “The need in Mississippi is significant, and the employment opportunities for students are substantial.”

    To obtain their bachelors of science degree in early childhood education, participants will be required to complete 15 hours of early childhood requirements and 67 hours of elementary education courses in addition to The W’s general education requirements.

    Students enrolled in the program will complete a supervised internship in a childcare facility. The division will work with students to complete the required internship near their location or students can choose to intern at the Child and Parent Development Center (CPDC) located on The W’s campus.

    To obtain additional details about the new program, please contact Hatton at mlhatton@muw.edu.

    For additional opportunities at The W, visit muw.edu.

    July 8, 2019
    Contact: Tyler Wheat
    (662) 241-7683

  • Peyton Scholarship helps pave way for Collins

    Chelsey Alanna Collins never imagined the opportunities available to her through education.

    Collins believed financial concerns would limit her ability to pursue a college degree. But the encouragement and guidance of multiple educators, including two Mississippi University for Women professors, helped the Meridian native to broaden her horizons across the Atlantic Ocean.

    Collins, who majored in history (minor in Medieval & Renaissance Studies) at The W, used the Centennial Award from the Gordy Honors College and the Peyton Scholarship to help her build a résumé so she could apply for and receive additional funding in her graduate studies. As a result, Collins received a full scholarship to pursue a master’s degree at National University of Ireland Maynooth. She also recently learned she will be fully funded for her doctorate through the National University of Ireland Maynooth’s John Hume Doctoral Award.

    “When I was awarded the (Peyton) scholarship, I felt extremely grateful to be able to take the year of study in Ireland that I felt would be really important to my education, without the added financial pressure of loans,” Collins said. “It felt like a weight off my shoulders, and I was able to focus on my study and make the most of the opportunity. I am very grateful to both of my former professors for encouraging me to apply for the scholarship.”

    Collins said she heard about The W from Ben Alexander, her history teacher at Northeast Lauderdale High School. She said Alexander, who graduated from The W, encouraged her to go to college and to pursue History. Collins also said that Alexander without her knowledge paid for her to take the Advanced Placement History tests that she otherwise would not financially have been able to take.

    “His generosity and encouragement are the reasons I was able to go to college,” Collins said.

    Collins received similar assistance when she arrived at The W. She said the Centennial Award paid for her fees and allowed her to pursue her history degree. She said Drs. Amber Handy and Erin Kempker “strongly encouraged” her to apply for the Peyton Scholarship. She had been planning to study abroad for a year before she heard about the Peyton Scholarship, and that she felt strongly enough about doing it that she had been planning to fund herself through student loans.

    The Peyton Scholarship was created in October 2014 when Ann Coleman Peyton, granddaughter of The W founding mother Annie Coleman Peyton, provided a bequest gift of $2.2 million to support scholarships for history students at the school. The Mary Lou Peyton Scholarship is awarded to qualified students majoring in history. The scholarship funds may be used to help cover expenses for history majors who are participating in internship programs or The W's study-abroad program. If in a given year, the funds available to be awarded exceed the scholarship needs of history majors, the scholarship may be used to support students whose course of study includes a substantial history component.

    History majors can receive up to $10,000 per year to use toward tuition, which is renewable for up to four years. They also can receive up to $5,000 to study abroad or for local, national or international history internships.

    “The sky was the limit for Chelsey, but she just had no money,” said Kempker, a professor of history and the chair of The W’s Department of History, Political Science & Geography.

    Kempker said students at other universities with limited means like Collins usually don’t get opportunities to study abroad. Kempker said that is different at The W, which is why she is trying to increase awareness about the availability of the Peyton Scholarship. She said more than 20 people have received Peyton Scholarship money, and that there have been more than 30 awards since the first scholarships were awarded in 2016.

    Collins said majoring in history introduced her to different areas of the field, and the special topics courses helped show her how she might specialize into thematic studies of different eras, which is how she was introduced to medieval history.

    “She is going to be one of the best scholars in this field,” Kempker said.

    “That’s what we want to be every day for everybody, and we did it for Chelsey. She got everything she wanted out of that. The study abroad gave her the time to go to Ireland to really experience those primary sources to get a feel for what graduate school would be like, and to definitely answer for herself that is what I want. She came back knowing what she wanted to do.”

    Handy, an associate professor of history and the Director of the Kossen Center for Teaching and Learning at The W, also served as an academic adviser for Collins. She said the year Collins spent at National University of Ireland Maynooth was “pivotal” to help her determine the next steps in her career path.

    “That year abroad allowed her to see what might be possible if she chose medieval history rather than American history and allowed her to make a better informed choice of which field she truly wanted to pursue in her graduate studies,” Handy said. “Spending the year in Ireland allowed her to immerse herself in another culture and in a field of study that simply wouldn't have been possible here in the U.S., and it was clear to me from our conversations after her return that the experience not only broadened her worldview but also raised her excitement about her chosen field of student to an entirely new level.”

    Collins is completing her master’s degree and then will have four years of doctoral study at Maynooth University. She said she plans to publish some of her research. This past year, she said she has been studying one perspective of medieval sexuality in how illegitimacy was defined in Irish law and literature. She also said she has been working with other scholars to translate a law-text on illegitimate sons, called Bretha for Macslechta (Judgements on Categories of Sons), which she hopes to publish on completion. After her doctorate, Collins intends to publish a book on several different approaches to sexuality in medieval Ireland. She also is interested in designing educational programming and activities, initially in university classrooms and maybe eventually for use in tourism and public history. None of those things would have been possible if Collins didn’t receive the help and encouragement from educators and reap the rewards from the Centennial Award and the Peyton Scholarship.

    “Studying in another country is not very different to studying at home in that you will have many of the same deadlines and stresses, but what makes it worth pursuing is that it can make the rest of the world more accessible, and it can open up a whole new area of opportunities,” Collins said. “The scholarship gave me a major head start in helping set me on a path for postgraduate study and hopefully a career in my area. I loved attending The W and felt well supported by my community but wanted to be challenged with entirely new coursework and got extremely lucky to be able to come to Ireland and experience the program at Maynooth University.

    “The incredible instructor for the medieval Irish gender and sexuality course, Dr. Elizabeth Boyle, now supervises my doctoral work at Maynooth, and I met fellow students from Ireland and across Europe who shared their interests and introduced me to topics I have never considered, like religious violence and medieval cognition. Meeting people completely different from yourself, exchanging ideas and having the opportunity to focus on a topic you love make it worth it, and I would encourage anyone to apply for the Peyton Scholarship because it is an excellent opportunity on which to build your education.”

    Kempker encourages more students to take advantage of the Peyton Scholarship. She said students have traveled to Ireland, Spain, Cuba, Finland and other countries to further their education. She said students don’t need to have a certain grade-point average to apply for the scholarship. Kempker also doesn’t want students to feel like they might not fit the bill as someone who would be considered to travel abroad.

    “History is not GPA driven, and we have almost no pre-requisites to take our courses. What makes a successful History student is anyone with intellectual curiosity about the world. That is why we are so committed to study abroad because they go together. If you are curious about the world, you need to get out there and experience it.

    “Don’t be put off by people who say, ‘history? What are you going to do with that?’ I know we are getting a lot of students who self-edit and they may really like history but it doesn’t seem like a real major for them, but what I hope the Peyton Scholarship at least allows students to do is to recognize there are real opportunities in history, and that by being a history major once they get in the door I know we will help them figure out there are lots of things you can do with a history major. Employers love history as a major, so I am not worried about getting them ready to do whatever it is they want to do next. I think we just have to overcome that initial hesitation and anxiety. I hope people see with Chelsey is you can build it out of this experience.”

    For more information, please contact Kempker at emkempker@muw.edu, or call her at (662) -329-7386.

  • MUW Dining Services names general manager

    COLUMBUS, Miss.--A love for culinary arts always served Ricky Cameron well.

    His passion helped Cameron to be named the general manager for Dining Services for Mississippi University for Women.

    On June 11, 2019, Cameron started his journey. He comes to The W with 20 years of experience in the food service industry and he has been with Sodexo for seven years.

    "I am thankful for this opportunity to be named general manager for Dining Services at The W. I look forward to working with The W and Sodexo to provide a great dining experience for our campus community," said Cameron.

    Cameron was the general manager of The New York Mets Training Facility in Port. St. Lucie, Florida, and has been in that position for four years overseeing as many as 100 employees.

    He is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. Cameron attended Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, and received his associates degree in culinary arts.

    Cameron has been married for 18 years old and has two children. His oldest son is 17 old and recently graduated from high school with honors, and he plans to attend a culinary arts school. His 14-year-old daughter will start school in the fall in the ninth grade.

    As manager for Dining Services, Cameron will rely on his favorite quote, that has helped him throughout his life’s journey of success: “There is no I in team.”

    Please join MUW Dining Services in welcoming Cameron to The W.

    For Immediate Release
    June 27, 2019
    Contact: Alexis Smith
    (662) 329 -7411

  • History of tea to kick off speaker series June 30

    Columbus, Miss.—Dr. Kristi DiClemente will spill some tea about the history of tea Sunday, June 30.

    Titled, “ The Sweet and Not So Sweet History of Tea,” DiClemente will discuss the history of tea from its uses in China through the 19th century trade wars and British imperialism beginning at 6 p.m. at Three Sisters Pie Co. located in downtown Columbus.

    “We often take the everyday things we have and consume for granted, but these objects have a history. For tea, that history includes mysticism, culture and ritual, but is also fraught with imperialism and exploitation,” the assistant professor of history said. “My hope is that people see that something as simple as tea has a fascinating and complicated history.”

    The reoccurring speaker series, Dr. D’s Brain Jam, is a series that hopes to provide entertaining and educational topics to connect experts with the community.

    “It is a way for people to learn about various topics and interact with these experts on a more personal level. It is a way for the university to be a more integrated part of the community and share what we do with the public.

    “It's also fun for us to talk about our work with people who are interested,” she added.

    The series, co-sponsored by the Department of History, Political Science and Geography and Three Sister Pie Co.,  will continue throughout the summer and fall until October. There will be a speaker on the last Sunday of each month.

    Free and open to the public, the next Dr. D’s Brain Jam will feature Dr. Josh Dohmen, assistant professor of philosophy, Sunday, July 28 at 6 p.m.

    For more information, email Dr. DiClemente at kdiclemente@muw.edu.


    June 27, 2019
    Contact: Tyler Wheat
    (662) 241-7683


Station Contact Information

Eric Harlan, General Manager
1100 College Street – MUW-1619
Columbus MS 39701
Phone: 662 329-7255
Fax: 662 329-7250
Email: eeharlan@muw.edu

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