November 27, 2014  

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College of Science and Technology Recognizes Outstanding Students, Faculty, Staff

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College of Science and Technology award winners for 2012 include, from left to right: Outstanding Sophomore – Salma Dawoud; Outstanding Junior – Morgan Woodrow; Outstanding Senior – Matthew Planchard; Outstanding Master’s Student – Rebecca Browning; Outstanding Staff Service Award – Sharon King; Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award – Dr. Douglas Masterson; Outstanding Faculty Service Award – Dr. Kristy Halverson; Outstanding Faculty Research Award – Dr. Donald Yee (Not pictured, Outstanding Doctoral Student – Stuart Hamilton)

The University of Southern Mississippi College of Science and Technology recently recognized student, faculty and staff award winners at the annual College of Science and Technology Awards Banquet held at the Thad Cochran Center. 

The following awards were presented: 

Outstanding Sophomore – Salma Dawoud

Salma Dawoudis a Biochemistry major, and a premed student.  She is a Luckyday scholar, a member of the Honors College and several other honor societies and student organizations. In 2009, Dawoud received the President’s Volunteer Award for completing more than 100 hours of service during a six-month period.  Dr. Karl Wallace says, “Salma is very bright, hardworking, and confident. Her classroom participation is excellent. She is often one of the first to volunteer to answer questions and to engage in class discussion.”

Outstanding Junior – Morgan Woodrow

Morgan Woodrowis a Biochemistry major.  In 2011, she won the College of Science and Technology outstanding sophomore award, and returned in 2012 as outstanding junior.  Woodrow is a Presidential Scholar, a National Merit Scholar, and a member of the Honors College. She is actively involved in numerous extracurricular activities including extensive community service.  Dr. Faqing Huang, her academic advisor, says “Morgan is intelligent, well focused, and a high achiever. She impresses me by her consistent and excellent academic performance.” 

Outstanding Senior – Matthew Planchard

Matthew Planchardis a double major, in Biological Sciences and in Biochemistry.  Planchard is a member of the Honors College, and has held officer positions in Alpha Epsilon Delta and Tri Beta. He is an undergraduate teaching assistant in both his departments.  For his honors research, Planchard studied the peptide implicated in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. His work is submitted for publication and will be presented at a prestigious undergraduate research symposium in Washington DC.  Dr. Vijay Rangachari is Matthew’s research advisor and states, “Matthew’s excellence is not limited to academics. The more I got to know him, the more impressed I became with his high degree of human values he sees in all walks of life.”

Outstanding Master’s Student – Rebecca Browning

Rebecca Browning is pursuing a Molecular Biology emphasis in the Department of Biological Sciences under the direction of Dr. Shahid Karim. Ultimately, she plans to become a physician.  She is coauthor of one journal article that is in press and four others in preparation. Much of this work was done as an undergraduate; she started her Master’s program in January 2012.  Dr. Karim says of Rebecca, “She is an excellent communicator, and has a passion for conducting biomedical research. The quality of Rebecca's research in combination with a strong ethic all but ensures a very productive future.”

Outstanding Doctoral Student – Stuart Hamilton

In May 2011, Stuart Hamilton became the first graduate of the Southern Miss Ph.D. program in Geography. His dissertation focused on livelihood options and food security issues related to mangrove deforestation in Ecuador. His work was recognized by the Nature Conservancy and the Association of American Geographers.  Hamilton is currently GIS Program Director at the Center for Geospatial Analysis at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. He has eight peer-reviewed articles published and another in press.  Dr. George Raber served as his research advisor and commented, “He was the top graduate student in the program.  He actively sought and acquired external funding for his Ph.D. research.”

Outstanding Staff Service Award– Sharon King

Sharon Kingis the Administrative Assistant in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  She has been at Southern Miss since 2005 having worked in the College of Science and Technology Dean’s Office and now in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  Her colleagues say Sharontakes on tasks with enthusiasm and a spirit of cooperation, “Not only is Sharon highly efficient, but she is easy to get to along with and she is a real team player.”  Department ChairDr. Sabine Heinhorst refers to Sharon as “bright, knowledgeable, proactive, conscientious, and dedicated.” 

Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award– Dr. Douglas Masterson, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Douglas Mastersonis an Associate Professor and Associate Chair.  He joined Southern Miss in 2004 and has developed and improved numerous courses for the department.  Dr. Masterson’s teaching philosophy includes students developing critical thinking skills regarding the subject matter.  Dr. Masterson’s students say, “I feel he is truly invested in our success, and I am motivated to do my best. Dr. Masterson always has a pleasant and humorous disposition, but nonetheless we always remain on task.”  Former Chair Dr. Robert Bateman says, “The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is fortunate to have skilled and dedicated teachers like Dr. Masterson.” 

Outstanding Faculty Service Award– Dr. Kristy Halverson

Dr. Kristy Halverson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Halverson joined the department in 2009; her specialty is biological sciences education.  Chair of the department, Dr. Glen Shearer says, “Dr. Halverson has a very strong record indeed of service.”

Some of her service activities include:

  • membership on the BSC Assessment Committee; Graduate Admissions Committee, co-advisor for Roots and Shoots,
  • event supervisor for Science Olympiad, judge for the Regional Science Fair,
  • reviewer for professional journals and NSF grant proposals, and
  • chair of the Research Committee for the National Association of Biology Teachers.

Outstanding Faculty Research Award– Dr. Donald Yee

Dr. Donald Yeeis assistant professor of Biological Sciences, arriving at Southern Miss in 2008. He is a community ecologist whose work focuses on mosquito-dominated communities.  Many human and animals diseases are vectored by adult mosquitoes, whose larvae inhabit aquatic containers such as tree holes and discarded car tires. Dr. Yee’s work has application to emerging infectious diseases and human health.  Dr. Yee has established a very productive research program. He is principal investigator or Co-PI on grants totaling almost $1 million, including a highly competitive NIH R-15 grant.  He has 21 peer-reviewed publications, nine published since arriving at Southern Miss, and one book chapter. He is actively engaged in training the next generation of scientists. Thus far, he has mentored 11 undergraduates, four masters’ students, two Ph.D. students, and one postdoctoral student

To learn more about the College of Science and Technology, visit www.usm.edu/science-technology