Graduate Student Research Symposium

The Susan A. Siltanen Graduate Student Research Symposium provides graduate students an opportunity to present their research to faculty, staff, students and members of the broader university community. The Symposium is designed to enhance the scholarly environment for graduate students and to highlight the quality, innovative, and diverse scholarship of Southern Miss graduate students. 

The University of Southern Mississippi Graduate School and the Graduate Student Senate will host the annual Susan A. Siltanen Graduate Student Research Symposium in the Thad Cochran Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 25, 2015. An awards luncheon will follow in the Thad Cochran Center Ballroom from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. for presenters and their major professors.

Symposium Guidelines (Abstract Submission Form (Submissions is now closed)



2015_Symposium_Program and Schedule

2015 Symposium Presenters and Abstracts


Karen M. Yarbrough & and The Karen M. Yarbrough Graduate Education Endowment


During Dr. Karen Yarbrough’s 16 years as Vice President for Research and Planning, Professor of Biological Sciences, and during the 1997-1998 academic year, Vice President for Academic Affairs as well, she earned widespread respect for her integrity, keen insight, level-headed judgment, and productive efforts to promote The University of Southern Mississippi’s research interests. In the process, she gained respect and support for the Southern Miss research community from state, national, and international scholars. During her tenure, the University’s outside research grant funding grew from less than $3 million to more than $20 million in 1997-1998. “It was an honor to participate in the growth. The greatest satisfaction, for me, was to enable others to do the work of the University,” Yarbrough said.


The esteem in which she is held is reflected in the leadership positions she has assumed. She has served as president of the Mississippi University Research Authority, chair of the Mississippi Research Consortium Board of Directors, and is a past president of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences. Her service also includes: the Mississippi Board of Directors of the National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research; Mississippi/Alabama Sea Grant Consortium Board of Directors; Mississippi Economic  Council; Oak Ridge Associated Universities Council; Mississippi Science and Technology Commission; Board of Governor’s Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education; Trustmark National Bank Board of Directors; National Science Foundation Panel on Research Facilities; American Dermatoglyphics Association Board of Directors; and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools visiting teams, and has chaired numerous committees at the University of Southern Mississippi.


Her honors include the University of Southern Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Award; the Southern Miss Alumni Association’s Faculty Research Award; Hall of Fame, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Alumni Association; Outstanding Mississippi Woman, presented by The President’s Commission on the Status of Women at Mississippi State University; being listed in eight different Who’s Who collections; and membership in numerous honorary societies. She has been awarded more than $8 million in grants funded by state and federal agencies and has authored numerous articles in scientific journals.


A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Yarbrough attended Perkinston Junior College, earned a B.S. in Microbiology and an M.S. in Genetics from Mississippi State University, and a Ph.D. in Genetics from North Carolina State University. Her career began at The University of Southern Mississippi in 1967 when she became the founder and Director of the Institute of Genetics. She also served as Assistant Dean and Research Coordinator in the College of Science and Technology from 1976 until being named Vice President for Research and Planning in 1982.


The Karen M. Yarbrough Graduate Education Endowment pays tribute to a woman whose distinguished career at Southern Miss has been dedicated to inquiry, scholarship, teaching, and research. One of the purposes of the Yarbrough Endowment is to encourage and enable the Graduate School to sponsor a University-wide Research Forum in which graduate students present their research to a diverse group of scholars and to foster a community of scholars among graduate students. The Yarbrough Scholars are those whose abstracts are selected as the top abstract in their respective categories. The Yarbrough Endowment provides support for a distinguished scholar to address significant issues in graduate education.


--Excerpt taken from The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation’s Yarbrough brochure.