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Released April 19, 2004



HATTIESBURG - The University of Southern Mississippi will highlight the research activities of its faculty members with a special day of presentations and recognitions Thursday during LETTERS Day (Lives Enriched Through Their Endeavors: Research and Scholarship).

In addition to presentations during the day, the annual Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity Awards (RSCAA) will be handed out in a separate event. Five awards will be given - two in basic research, two in applied research and one for creative activities.

LETTERS Day is an inaugural event to recognize the innovative activities of university faculty, says Dr. Angie Dvorak, vice president for research and economic development.

"We plan to make this celebration an annual event where the university community can recognize outstanding scholars, researchers and innovators," she said. "It takes world-class faculty and staff to be a world-class institution of higher learning, and LETTERS Day is a tribute to those individuals at Southern Miss."

Dr. Anita Davis, assistant professor of music education and chair of the University Research Council adds, "The intention with this event really is to highlight the core of what we do here."

Three previous recipients of RSCAA awards will make presentations about their research from 1-3 p.m. in Joseph Greene Hall, Room 303. The lectures are open to the university community and the general public.

The schedule of presentations includes these individuals and presentations:

" 1 p.m., Dr. Michael Forster, associate professor and director of the Southern Miss School of Social Work, will speak on "Social Work on Wheels: Community-Based Applied Social Work Research."

" 1:45 p.m., Dr. Stan Kuczaj, professor and chair of the Southern Miss Department of Psychology, will present "The Relative Roles of Mothers and Peers in the Emergence of Novel Behaviors in Dolphin Calves."

" 2:30 p.m., Dr. Jiu Ding, professor of mathematics, will present "Statistical Study of Chaos."

Concurrently, seven recipients of faculty summer research grants in 2002 will be in the Student Union Lobby from 1-4 p.m. giving poster sessions of their projects. These faculty members are Dr. David Beckett, associate professor of biology; Dr. David Butler, assistant professor of economic development; Dr. Douglas Chambers, assistant professor of history; Dr. Muriel Azria-Evans, assistant professor in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences; Dr. Jeffrey Kaufmann, assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology; Dr. Carl Qualls, assistant professor of biology; and Dr. Len Trevino, associate professor of international business.

For more information about LETTERS Day, contact Davis at (601) 266-6575.


OCEAN SPRINGS -- Award-winning wildlife photographer Tom Ulrich will lead two photographic events at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory on Wednesday, March 10.

He will present a nature photography workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then a talk and slide show called "Wildlife Images 2003" at 7 p.m., both at The University of Southern Mississippi GCRL.

Admission to the evening event is free and will be held in the Caylor Auditorium at GCRL. The veteran photographer will feature photos from his 2003 photographic safaris abroad and in North America. He will answer questions and sign his books during the reception following his slide show.

The registration fee for the all-day workshop is $50 per person, payable to GCRL. Registration includes a continental breakfast, light lunch and snacks. Participation is limited to 20. Though the workshop is geared toward beginners, Ulrich tailors the experience to meet needs for all degrees of skill.

"The beginners will definitely benefit from the workshop, but I always help the more advanced get something out of it also," Ulrich said. "I lead many photo trips and always find a wide range of levels."

Ulrich said participants do not need to bring their photographic equipment unless they need an explanation about some aspect of their equipment.

Topics include a brief review of the principles of photography, relationships between shutter and aperture settings, fundamental elements of composition, use and timing of fill-in flash, digital versus film photography, techniques of close-up photography, and a brief discussion of slide etiquette, the photography business and marketing.

Ulrich grew up in South Chicago, graduated with a degree in biology from Southern Illinois University and taught for four years before launching his career as a freelance photographer. He has supported himself with nature photography for the past 29 years.

His library of more than 300,000 transparencies includes birds and mammals from all over the world. His photographs have been featured in publications such as National Wildlife, Audubon, National Geographic, Montana Outdoors and Life.

He has published six nature books, including Mammals of the Rockies, Birds of the Northern Rockies, Once Upon a Frame and his 2002 release, Photo Pantanal. Dr. William E. Hawkins, GCRL executive director, said Ulrich brings the scientific and artistic worlds together.

"Tom earns his living photographing wildlife all over the world," Hawkins sad. "He is an outstanding observer and a biologist. His approach to photography is to capture his subjects exhibiting their natural behavior."

The GCRL is home to the university's Department of Coastal Sciences, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, and the Gulf Coast Geospatial Center. The J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium is also a unit of the laboratory. The GCRL is part of the Southern Miss College of Science and Technology. For more information, call the laboratory at (228) 872-4200.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM