Biological Sciences Ambassadors 2016 - 2017


The Department of Biological Sciences has implemented a new program for the 2016-2017 year called the Biological Sciences Ambassadors.  The Ambassadors are a group of volunteers that enjoy promoting USM and the Department of Biological Sciences.  The ambassadors will be representatives for the department and will be involved in recruitment events, meeting with prospective students and families, attending special events, and promoting events within the department. 

USM Black and Gold Day


The Biological Sciences Ambassadors for 2016-2017 are:

Justin Batte

I am a PhD candidate in Microbiology working under the direction of Dr. Mohamed Elasri. After finishing my education, I plan to continue my training in a Fellowship to specialize in Infectious Disease and pursue a career in the clinical or Biomedical Industry setting. I am a native of the southern region of Mississippi. I am very family oriented and spend all of my spare time with my wife and two children.


Ashley Brinkley

Salutations everyone! I am a sophomore Biological Sciences Major here at the University of Southern Mississippi. I was born in the beautiful city of Saginaw, Michigan but have been a resident of Roxie, Mississippi for majority of my life. I aspire to become a pharmacist and later give back to the community by starting my own youth center that integrates science, technology, and recreational sports. Lastly, I enjoy basketball, reading, shopping, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and most of all, cheering on my Golden Eagles: Southern Miss…to the TOP!


Matt de Cruz

I am an international student from the United Kingdom, I received my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Exeter. I am now a Masters student working in the Flynt lab. My research predominantly explores the neuroprotective role of a miRNA within Drosophila.


Sarah Ferris

I am a junior, Biological Sciences major with a minor in Chemistry. After completing my education here at USM, I intend to pursue a degree in medicine to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a physician. I am involved in multiple organizations on campus, and I enjoy giving back to the community that has already given me so much. Southern Miss To The Top!


Leigh Hoitt

I am a junior pre-medical student majoring in Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry and a passion for many other activities! I serve as the Community Service Chair for the Southern Miss chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), and I work as a laboratory Teaching Assistant for a Human Biology course. Outside of the world of science, I am a member of The Southern Chorale, The Southern BelleTones, and am a former student-athlete of the USM Track & Field/Cross Country teams.


Nicole Long-Aragon

Greetings! I am from Magnolia, AR. I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Biological Sciences. My research focuses on butterfly egg mimicry in the passionflowers and examining their anatomical and structural components. For fun, I love eating Mexican food and collecting plants!


Kody Mansfield

I am a senior molecular biology major. I have been an undergraduate researcher in the Flynt lab for three years now. I intend to go to graduate school in pursuit of a PhD. I love biology and helping students.


Oindrila Paul

Hi, I am a third year PhD student working with the notorious culprit bug, Listeria. If you are not familiar with this bug, mentioning Bluebell ice-cream should ring a bell! I am sorry that my naughty microbe has contaminated your favorite ice-cream and refraining you from having it. When not working on my research or teaching or grading, I am usually busy being creative since being able to create something acts as a major stress buster for me after meditation.


Skylar Pittman

Hi! I am a general Biology major with a Chemistry minor from Dublin, Georgia. I am pursuing a career in Dermatology by using this degree as my pre-medical schooling. I love volunteering at the Biloxi V.A. with the proud heroes of America and hope to one day be their medical care. I would love to hear your ideas and I am always around to help!


Taylor Price

I am interested in studying community interactions in aquatic larval insects. I have a specific interest of questioning community patterns, productivity, and  related mechanisms that occur in water holding plants and streams in tropical environments. In my free time I am outside exploring, running, and photographing the natural world.


Sarah Rubelowsky

I am a biological science major with an emphasis in environmental here at USM. Within our biology department, I am a teaching assistant and tutor for the course Biology and Society, a Biological Ambassador, and am currently working on completely my thesis in Dr. Schaefer’s lab where I am working with African Jeweled Cichlids. This past summer (2016) I studied abroad in Belize and Guatemala where I was able to experience three of my favorite things: scuba diving, hiking, and traveling!

Sally White

I am a first year graduate student from Thomasville, Alabama. I graduated with a microbiology degree from Mississippi State in 2016 and now work in Dr. Janet Donaldson's lab, studying the stress responses of Listeria monocytogenes.


Jesslin Williams

Hola! I am a junior Biological Science major with a minor in Spanish from Odenville, Alabama. I plan to attend medical school after obtaining my bachelor degree from Southern Miss. I am interested in specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Three words to describe me is determined, passionate, and creative!