Southern Miss Gulf Scholars Program
Inspiring a Resilient Gulf of Mexico Region
The Southern Miss Gulf Scholars Program (GSP) aims to inspire and prepare undergraduate students to create a more equitable, just, and resilient Gulf of Mexico region through developing inquiry and service-learning projects built on the foundations of sustainability and interdisciplinary thinking.
The National Academy of Sciences Gulf Scholars Program funds the Southern Miss GSP to prepare undergraduate students from any major to address challenges and issues facing the Gulf south region.
- Be a Southern Miss undergraduate
- Have at least 2 semesters remaining with Southern Miss
There are three pathways undergraduate students may choose:
Curricular: The curricular pathway requires twelve hours of coursework, including six hours outside of the Gulf Scholars’ major.
Co-curricular: The co-curricular pathway requires six hours of coursework and two extra-curricular experiences.
Extra-curricular: The extra-curricular pathway requires no coursework but does require a Gulf Impact Project proposal, journals, and two experiences.
The Gulf Impact Project is a research and community-based inquiry project performed by Gulf Scholars assisted by a USM faculty mentor or community partner. Projects will fit within the four GSP areas of emphases and will be presented in the spring semester.
If you are interested in becoming a Gulf Scholar, apply below by March 1, 2024.
Faculty Mentorship Opportunity
If you are a Southern Miss faculty member and are interested in working with Gulf Scholars on their Gulf Impact Project, apply below.
If you are faculty and know of any undergraduate students who have interests in livable coasts; equity; risk, disaster, and security; or defining the good life in their research, please fill out the form below by March 1, 2024, to nominate them to potentially become a Gulf Scholar.
Livable Coasts: how might we create and sustain livable communities and environments on coasts in the midst of climate change?
Equity: through an exploration of coastal communities and maritime economies long histories of supporting and promoting inequity (slave trade, child labor, extractive economies, income inequality), what policy initiatives, educational, infrastructure, science, cultural and/or economic initiatives might promote more equitable and just lives and communities (and/or communities?)?
Risk, Disaster, and Security: how might coastal communities and maritime enterprises better manage risk, mitigate disaster, and enhance security?
Defining the Good Life: how we define the good life influences how we treat others, the vocations we pursue, the policies and politicians we support. How might a good life relate to place? How might we form and support more expansive definitions of the good life that lead to sustainable and equitable societies?
As part of supporting and preparing undergraduate Gulf Scholars, each student will be paired with a faculty mentor upon being accepted to the GSP. Faculty mentors will be identified through their participation in the curriculum workshops, the Center for Faculty Development’s ACUE workshops, and interest.
Mentors will be prepared for work in the GSP through Diversity, Equity, and Antiracism training before mentoring and will be supported through training and stipends. Faculty mentors will receive training on how to interpret the Student Research Needs Assessment and how to build an Individual Development Plan with students based on that assessment.
- Graduation distinction
- Experiential learning, field work and field trips
- Funded research with faculty and community partners
- Funding for Alternative Service Break
- IMPACT work-study opportunities
Community partners will work with the GSP as equal partners in identifying research questions or problems to be solved, designing methods to analyze these questions or problems, and creating solutions. The GSP Steering Committee will focus on identifying what supports community partners need to stay engaged with the undergraduate research and then in years four and five, secure those resources.
Community partners, will also participate in finding Gulf-centric field trips, such as the barrier islands to study beach erosion, the Audubon Nature Preserve to observe the policy and practices of land preservation, or Turkey Creek.
The available GSP courses will be updated every semester.
- School of Coastal Resilience
BSC 345: Marine Biology (H001) - Throughout this module students will learn about important marine resources that drive the local seafood economy. On a field trip to the Maritime and Seafood Museum, students will learn about this historical seafood industry and industry practices then tour the USM Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center to learn about modern aquaculture technologies and take an excursion at sea to observe the off-bottom aquaculture site next to Deer Island.
ENG 203: World Literature (G003) - Students will explore Natasha Trethewey's Native Guard through field research of Gulfport and Ship Island.
ENG 340: Analysis of Literature (G001) - Introduces the discipline of literary criticism.
FLM 469: Film, Media, and the Environment (G001) - Students will work in small groups to identify a topic and place, conduct research on their chosen topic, and create a short narrative, documentary or experimental film that engages with an environmental issue facing the gulf coast.
MAR 417: Ocean Policy and Management (G001) - The examination of marine science and ocean policy issues, including coastal zone management, Law of the Sea and other national and international policies.
SUS 315: Field Methods (G001) - This sustainability course will answer questions such as: how has your urban waterway changed and how is it managed, can that change or would it have an impact if it did, what ways can we monitor or improve this waterway? The questions are based on the historical and cultural significance of Urban Freshwater Resources.
- School of Leadership
APT 410: Applied Technology (G001) - This module will require students to research new technologies in their specialty areas that can (a) positively impact coastal areas economically or ecologically (b) can in turn help their companies or organizations grow and be profitable. They will then identify three technologies, discuss their advantages and disadvantages, choose one of the three technologies, justify their choices, and present their conclusion in the form of a formal proposal to their company management.
LDR 300: Leadership on the Gulf Coast (G001) - Students will develop knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico and the coastal business zone as they learn how leaders impact the lives of Mississippi Gulf Coast workers. The activity includes a guest speaker (or series of guest speakers) that will speak about the importance of certain qualities of employees and the situations they work within.
Film and Media
FLM 469: Film, Media, and the Environment (G001)
Students will work in small groups to identify a topic and place, conduct research on their chosen topic, and create a short narrative, documentary or experimental film that engages with an environmental issue facing the gulf coast.
SUS 315: Field Methods (G001)
This sustainability course will answer questions such as: how has your urban waterway changed and how is it managed, can that change or would it have an impact if it did, what ways can we monitor or improve this waterway? The questions are based on the historical and cultural significance of Urban Freshwater Resources.