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Released May 7, 2004

PHI KAPPA PHI SILVER BOWL AWARDED
TO SOUTHERN MISS STUDENT WITH HIGHEST GPA
By Christopher Mapp

HATTIESBURG -- Amanda Winters has always had an inquisitive mind. As a child, the Petal native was constantly hungry for knowledge, devouring Nancy Drew mystery novels and whizzing through crossword puzzles.

It's no surprise then that the 21-year-old chemistry/biochemistry major at The University of Southern Mississippi puts learning before grades. As a result, Winters earned the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society's Silver Bowl Award this spring, given to the student with the highest grade-point average over the greatest number of semester hours in his or her chapter. She was one of 60 winners nationwide.

Winters, who carries a perfect 4.0 and has already been accepted to medical school at Tulane, said she did not set out four years ago to finish with the highest GPA. It just "sort of happened that way."

"It was a secondary goal. My primary goal was to learn as much as I could and try to come out of school being a competent chemist. The 4.0 was just a byproduct of that," Winters said.

At medical school, where Winters will start in August, she will work toward a joint MD-Ph.D., which takes seven years to complete. Halfway through medical school, Winters said, she will take "a leave of absence to do graduate work." This will allow her to teach medicine one day, but Winters said she's most interested in doing medical research.

"I've always liked solving problems, such as trying to find out why macroscopic things happen on a microscopic level. I just like trying to figure out how things work in the world," she said.

A salutatorian out of Petal High School who entered Southern Miss on a Presidential scholarship, Winters has also won the Goldwater Award and a $5,000 graduate scholarship through the Southern Miss Phi Kappa Phi chapter.

Dr. Ken Panton, dean of the Southern Miss Honors College, said any university in this country would "be proud to have Amanda on its campus because of this, the latest in a series of well-deserved awards."

"She has won that recognition by hard work, and in the process, she has made a big contribution to the Honors College and to Southern Miss," Panton said.

Dr. David Wertz, who acts as Winters' research tutor, said: "Amanda is the best undergraduate student I have come in contact with in 37.5 years of teaching -- both in the classroom and in the research lab. She does work equivalent to a very good Ph. D. student. She will continue to be a credit to this university and to her hometown."

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May 14, 2004 11:47 AM

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