-- The University of Southern Mississippi has been selected to offer
a graduate degree program in geography at NASA's John Stennis Space
Center starting this fall. Administered by the Department of Geography,
the degree focuses on advanced training and student research in
geospatial applications, remote sensing, and geographic information
department at Southern Miss was selected as the best fit for students
at Stennis after several universities in Mississippi and Louisiana
presented their programs to the Center's Policy Board on Higher
A 36-hour program,
the master's will offer all of its classes at Stennis, where the
majority of students are employees there seeking to continue and
upgrade their education.
Miss is providing a one-of-a-kind opportunity for employees at Stennis,
as well as for potential students living in southern Mississippi,"
said Dr. Clifton Dixon, professor and chair of the geography department.
an excellent association when skilled employees can apply their
work experience to graduate opportunities. The outcome will result
in some of the best graduates in geospatial technologies anywhere
in the U.S."
program will utilize faculty from Southern Miss' geography department,
who will be at Stennis teaching, advising students and assisting
with graduate research. These types of graduate opportunities in
geospatial applications, where private and government agencies link
with state institutions, exist in only a few locations in the United
States. Because of the proximity between Southern Miss and Stennis,
students who participate in this program are given the opportunity
to complete a graduate degree while working for some of the most
prestigious geospatial contractors. Typical employers include Lockheed
Martin, NASA, the Naval Oceanographic Office and Boeing.
Provost Dr. Tim Hudson said Southern Miss is committed to serving
the higher education needs of Stennis. "We want to be a partner
in advancing the capacity of that wonderful community of professionals,"
He added: "As
a geographer myself, I am delighted to see the growing use of contemporary
geographical techniques to find solutions for problems and to create
new opportunities for economic development."
will greatly assist Stennis in becoming a world-class center for
remote sensing and GIS applications, said Dr. David Powe, chair
of the NASA Stennis Space Center Policy Board on Higher Education.
"The Center of Higher Learning and The University of Southern
Mississippi have shown great initiative in bringing their master's
program in geography to Stennis to meet the needs of our resident
agencies," he said.
between Southern Miss and Stennis will result not only in graduate
degrees, but also in the further extension of sponsored research
between the university and contractors at Stennis, as well as with
of Higher Learning and our participating universities strive to
meet the educational needs of Stennis Space Center," said Dr.
Peter Ranelli, director of the Center of Higher Learning. "This
new degree program is a perfect example of this. We are very excited
about working with Southern Miss to offer such a high-quality program."
degree program meets the spirit of Southern Miss's goals, including
economic development and interdisciplinary collaboration. Demand
for persons with skills in geospatial technologies is high and will
likely continue to grow in the near future. Mississippi is a national
leader in technology transfer of geospatial research to the private
sector, and the degree program will help strengthen this position.
Moreover, geospatial technologies are a cornerstone for innovative
and effective regional planning commissions and economic development
the opportunities presented by this association, in concert with
other programs at Southern Miss that focus on geospatial technologies,
such as the Gulf Coast Geospatial Center, places Southern Miss among
the premiere research programs in geography with respect to opportunities
for receiving education and performing research in remote sensing,
GIS and related technologies," said Dr. Jerry Griffith, professor
of geography at Southern Miss.
known for being a broad discipline with important ties to other
natural and social sciences. As such, this degree program will foster
interdisciplinary research in such areas as biology, ecology, and
coastal, hydrographic and marine sciences. This mix of expertise
ties into NASA's Earth Science Applications in such areas as coastal,
carbon, and water management, as well as agricultural competitiveness,
community growth, disaster preparedness, homeland security and ecological
health. Southern Miss's Department of Geography is prepared to work
with NASA Stennis to meet the educational and research needs in
concerning the program, applicants can contact either Dr. Dixon
at the Department of Geography at Southern Miss (c.Dixon@usm.edu
or 601-266-4729) or Mr. Keith Long at Stennis (Keith.Long@usm.edu