Biological Sciences Ambassadors 2017 - 2018


The Biological Sciences Ambassadors are a group of volunteers that enjoy promoting USM and the Department of Biological Sciences.  The ambassadors are 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. 

The Biological Sciences Ambassadors for 2017 - 2018 are:

Shiva Adhika


Hey, My name is Shiva Adhikari and I am from Nepal. I am a sophomore here at the USM with double majors Biological Sciences and Biochemistry. I am currently working in a lipid lab dealing with plant oil biosynthesis. I want to a graduate school and do research related to genetics.  I believe rest is technology; biology is life and we all are here to live.


Ashley Brinkley


Salutations everyone! I am a junior 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!



Amber Coats


I am a junior Biological Sciences major with a minor in Chemistry from Petal, MS. I currently work as an undergraduate researcher in the Donaldson Lab as well as a laboratory Teaching Assistant. Upon graduation from USM, I plan to attend graduate school in pursuits of my PhD. For fun, I love eating, shopping, and watching Netflix. 



Sarah Ferris


I am a senior, 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!



Tyler Harless




Leigh Hoitt




Donaven McLaurin

I am Donaven McLaurin, a third year doctoral student working under the the direction of Dr. Mac Alford. My current research focuses on using Public Land Survey System (PLSS) records to spatially model the vegetation of Mississippi prior to extensive settlement and use Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) records to assess change in vegetation over time. My long-term goals include creating and implementing strategic programs that promote students’ persistence in pursuing STEM degrees. 



Holland Murphree


I am a general Biology major with a Chemistry minor. I am from Bay Saint Louis, MS. After graduating I hope to go to dental school to pursue a career as an oral surgeon.


Oindrila Paul


Hi, I am a fourth 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.



Skyler Pittman

Hi! My name is Skyler Pittman, I am a senior undergraduate biological science major and chemistry minor from Dublin Georgia. I aspire to be a cosmetic dermatologist after medical school. 



Kristina Smith


Hi, I am a junior majoring in Biological Science with an emphasis in Biomedical and a minor in Chemistry from Laurel, MS.  After graduation, I plan to attend medical school in hopes of becoming a physician. I am a member of NSCS, a former-member of the Southern Miss Pride, and a Luckyday Scholar.  I am currently in Dr. Shahid Karim's lab working with artificially feeding Amblyomma americanum (Lone Star tick) and Amblyomma maculatum (Gulf Coast tick).  I love volunteering at the Southern Pines Animal Shelter with my many furry friends.  If you have any questions feel free to ask!


Taylor Smith

This is my second year here at the University of Southern Mississippi. I moved to Mississippi in order to pursue a bachelor's degree in Marine Biology with a minor in Psychology. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in aquaculture and become a curator in an aquarium. I am extremely involved on campus and I am a dedicated volunteer at the Hattiesburg Zoo and Southern Pines Animal Shelter.


James Valentine


My name is James Valentine and I am a senior Biological Science major here at Southern Miss. I have a passion for arthropods and work in Dr. Donald Yee’s lab of aquatic insect ecology. I plan to further my education by going to graduate school and pursuing a career in entomology!


Sally White

I am a second 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. Following my graduation, I plan on attending medical school at UMMC in Jackson. I love all things related to sports! When I am not in the lab or teaching, I can most often be found refreshing my ESPN app or discussing games with Ms. Angela Williams.