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Released November 17, 2003

By David Tisdale

HATTIESBURG - Ten students at The University of Southern Mississippi have been admitted into the prestigious Ronald E. McNair Scholars Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program at the university.

The McNair scholars program is aimed at helping low-income, first-generation college students who show potential for academic achievement at the graduate school level attain a doctoral degree and pursue a career in higher education. The program is named for Dr. Ronald McNair, who was killed in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion.

The program's new scholars include:

* Gloria Ball, a junior from Pearl majoring in psychology. Ball is a photographer for the Southerner, the Southern Miss student annual, and is public relations chairperson for the African-American Student Organization. She is the daughter of Mary Ann Ball.

* Cameron Beech, a junior from Picayune majoring in history. He is a member of Phi Eta Sigma National Honors Society and Phi Alpha Theta. He is the son of Cecil and Lucy Beech.

* Melissa Bennett, a junior from Cleveland majoring in psychology. She is a member of Big Brother-Big Sister and participates in intramural softball. She is the daughter of Tom and Irene Meeks of Cleveland.

* Romika Bridges, junior public relations major from Ellisville. Bridges has held offices with various student organizations at Southern Miss, including the freshman leadership council and Lambda Sigma Honor Society. She is the daughter of William and Earlie Mae Bridges.

* Joyce Marie McCall, a senior music education major from Mobile, Ala. McCall is a member of the Southern Miss Pride of Mississippi Marching Band, the Wind Ensemble Orchestra, the Southern Miss Honors College and Sigma Alpha Iota. She is the daughter of Edward Eugene Graham and the late Gwendolyn McCall.

* Jessica Olive, a junior from Columbia majoring in business administration. Olive is a member of the Southern Miss chapter of Habitat for Humanity, AASO, the NAACP and the Sovereign Chorale. She is the daughter of Jerry Olive of Bastrop, La., and Dorothy Olive of Hattiesburg.

* Alfred Perryman Jr., a junior from Fayette majoring in chemistry. Perryman is president of the AASO, NAACP, Increasing Minority Access in Graduate Education (IMAGE), Student Government Association and the American Chemical Society. He is the son of Alfred Perryman Sr. and Frances Perryman.

* Dinah Stovall, a senior from Hattiesburg majoring in community health promotion. Stovall is a member of Eta Sigma Gamma, a health science honor society at Southern Miss that requires a minimum grade point average of 2.75 for membership. She is the daughter of Wardell Bourn and Mattie Bourn.

* Arthur Wimberly, a computer science major from Greenville. Wimberly is a former member of S.P.E.E.D. and a member of the Southern Miss Linux User Group. He is the grandson of Louise Mack of Greenville.

* Sheba Winters, a junior biology major from Kosciusko. Winters is a member of the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society and the AASO. She is the daughter of James T. Hunt of Grenada and Daisy S. Winters of Kosciusko.

Participants in the McNair Scholars program conduct a research project of their own design with a faculty mentor, and receive a stipend for their research. McNair scholars take part in seminars and workshops throughout the year on topics related to graduate school preparation, and also have the opportunity to present their research at local and national conferences and visit prospective graduate schools.

For more information on the McNair Scholars program at Southern Miss, call (601) 266-6910.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM