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Awards and Honors

Awards and Honors

The COVID-19 epidemic has reminded the world why the Humanities are so powerful, relevant and necessary. Works of history, literature, philosophy and religious studies are perfectly suited for capturing the contradictory social processes and emotions within which we find ourselves. So, at this moment when the power and the magic of our disciplines are on display, it is imperative that we honor all of our award winners this year and recognize our students who were excelling in this before it became frighteningly relevant during the pandemic. We could not be any prouder of our students and their accomplishments.

 

Watch the Virtual Awards Ceremony

 

 

Awards

Wilbur and Polly Stout Scholarship

The purpose of this fund is to acknowledge an English major who has the best GPA after completing three years at USM. If funds are available, additional scholarships can be awarded to another English major.

Alec Blaylock

▪️English, Senior

Alec Baylock

A.J. is a remarkable student and scholar. His inventive papers demonstrate thinking that is not only independent but also potentially publishable.

 

 

Awards

Wilbur and Polly Stout Scholarship

The purpose of this fund is to acknowledge an English major who has the best GPA after completing three years at USM. If funds are available, additional scholarships can be awarded to another English major.

 

Abigail Jordon

▪️English, Junior

Abigail Jordon

Jordon brings a striking intelligence to all her work, with a remarkable eye for subtle detail and a keen ability to shed new light on texts we thought we had fully grasped. Her curiosity and originality make her a tremendous asset to the English program.

 

 

Awards

Shannon O’Hara and Henry Mackaman Scholarship

Henry Mackaman was the son of Douglas Mackaman, a former USM faculty member and founder of USM’s Chateau Program in France. Henry was a musician and writer who passed away from an attack of spinal meningitis in 2013.

 

Poetry: India Smith

▪️ English, Senior

Smith’s powerful narrative poems explore the past with meticulous precision and shed light on what it means to be a human being in a world that’s constantly changing around us.

 

 

Awards

Shannon O’Hara and Henry Mackaman Scholarship

Henry Mackaman was the son of Douglas Mackaman, a former USM faculty member and founder of USM’s Chateau Program in France. Henry was a musician and writer who passed away from an attack of spinal meningitis in 2013.

Fiction: Gaven Wallace

▪️English, Senior

Gaven Wallace

In both his workshops and his writing for his honors thesis, Wallace shows patience, diligence, and dedication to craft. He listens closely to his peers, and his potential as a writer is astonishing.

 

 

Awards

Nelma and Marlin Ivey Scholarship

The purpose of this fund is to award scholarships to a student majoring in English who has financial need, a minimum of 3.0 GPA and is in good standing at USM.

Jovonne Fannie Carr

▪️English, Senior

Jovonne Fannie Carr

Fannie Carr is one of the most ambitious and original thinkers I have had the pleasure of teaching. Her quiet determination and sophisticated literary analysis have already produced excellent essays and I am sure she has a bright future ahead. Fannie Carr absorbs everything and more in class with her conscientious and relentless approach to education and uses that gleaning to produce highly original material.

 

 

Awards

Mary Maude T. Jordan Scholarship

The purpose of this fund is to provide a scholarship to a student majoring in English who is a graduate of one of the Jones County High Schools.

 

Michaela Knight

▪️English, Junior

Knight wrote papers with such narrative warmth and journalistic verve. Her anecdotes in class were both thoughtful & witty, esp about larger-than-life characters and unexpectedly poignant conversations shared with those around her.

 

 

Awards

Janet Sims Scholarship

Janet Sims was the wife of Jim Sims who was for several years Dean of Liberal Arts and then Vice President for Academic Affairs at USM. The purpose of this fund is to provide a scholarship to a deserving English major as determined by English faculty.

 

Chris Cahill

▪️English, Senior

Chris Cahill

Cahill brings a vast array of historical and cinematic knowledge to class and remains tireless in her efforts to read widely, think deeply, and speak truth to power.

 

 

Awards

Howard Wilson and Helen V. Bahr: Best Undergraduate Essay

 

 Case Jaq Jefcoat 

▪️English, Senior

Case Jaq Jefcoat

Jaq is an excellent student whose original research on gender binaries and androgynous characters in Disney films has been recognized not only by USM but also by the Popular Culture/American Culture Association of the South. As a faculty member, I am thankful I had the opportunity to learn with and alongside Jaq.

 

 

Awards

Howard W. Bahr Achievement Scholarship

Howard W. Bahr taught in USM’s Department of English for many years.

 

Lena Kinder

▪️English, Senior

Lena Kinder

Kinder is an intelligent and confident contributor to class discussions who shows great respect for all points of view and is highly motivated. In her writing.

 

 

Awards

Florence Burrow Pope Endowed Scholarship

The purpose of this fund is to award a student who clearly demonstrates financial need and who is majoring in English.

 

Claire Brenia

▪️English, Senior

Brenia’s astute readings of literature reflect both a critical and creative eye. She possesses a keen ability to construct a sophisticated framework, informed by research, and to use it in producing exciting and nuanced analyses.

 

 

Awards

James Sims Award for Best Graduate Essay

Jordan James

▪️English, PhD

James Sims

James' paper “'That’s how the song goes: The Textual Rhythms of the Blues in Can’t Quit You, Baby" makes an original and compelling argument about how the blues inflects Ellen Douglas's novel; he writes with precision and grace to produce powerful insights about how the musicality of language moves us.

 

 

Awards

Linwood Orange Award for Best Essay in British Literature

 

Karlie Herndon

▪️English, PhD

Herdon consistently produces original and ambitious scholarship that makes valuable contributions to the field of children’s literature. I always look forward to reading and engaging with her work.


 

 

Awards

Linwood Orange Award for Best Essay in British Literature

 

Marisa Mills

▪️English, PhD

Mills' award-winning essay, “Fearful Waters: Navigating Deep Ecology with Grendel’s Mother,” skilfully utilizes eco-criticism to provide innovative new readings of gender in Beowulf. No easy feat for such an oft-discussed poem! Marisa writes beautifully, diligently pursues new scholarly skills, and shows wonderful potential as a scholar of medieval literature.

 

Awards

Ben Mounger Rawls for Excellence in Creative Writing

 

Rachael Fowler

▪️English, PhD

Rachel Fowler

The associate editor of Mississippi Review and President of C4W, Rachael has also published her work in a variety of nationally acclaimed journals, including Prime Number Magazine, Deep South Magazine, and Apeiron Review. She has won grants from the Vermont Studio Center and Partners for the Arts. She’s brilliant reader, teacher, and writer and a natural leader among her peers.

 

 

Awards

Garth Avant Award

Garth Avant was a student in USM’s Center of Writers whose parents created the award after his early death.

 

Fiction: Bryana Fern

▪️English, PhD

Bryana

Fern's short story manuscript is powerful. Her characters are stunning portraits, and her abilities with setting and atmosphere are inspiring. I am quite proud of Fern for her talent, work ethic, and her devotion to her craft.

 

 

Awards

Garth Avant Award

Garth Avant was a student in USM’s Center of Writers whose parents created the award after his early death.

 

Poetry: Kevin Thomason

▪️English PhD

Kevin Thomason

Thomason is a poet of fine lyric intensity and economy whose work, beginning with his own experience, opens to include us all.

 

 

Awards

John Johnson Writing Award

Established by Joan’s widower in the 1980s, Joseph Davis, who taught in USM’s English department for many years. Joan Johnson was an Honors College student who died prematurely from Cancer.

 

Fiction: Jordan James

▪️English, PhD

Jordon James

James' short fiction has electricity and heart. It's been a pleasure to watch his talent bloom.

 

Awards

John Johnson Writing Award

Established by Joan’s widower in the 1980s, Joseph Davis, who taught in USM’s English department for many years. Joan Johnson was an Honors College student who died prematurely from Cancer.

 

Poetry: Mary Leauna Christensen

▪️English PhD

Mary Leauna Christensen

Through her use of the “Final Girl” conceit and a perfect blend of formal experimentation and narrative control, Christensen’s poems offer a powerful critique of contemporary society.

 

Awards

Miranda Merklein Award for a Graduating Writer

Miranda Merklein was a PhD graduate from the Center for Writers. She specialized in poetry and distinguished herself for several years as a nationwide advocate for adjunct professors. She died prematurely in 2017.

 

Fiction: Garrett Ashley

▪️English, PhD

Ashley has already managed to publish about forty of his stories in prominent print journals and anthologies, including Sonora Review, Reed Magazine, Yemassee, and Asimov’s Science Fiction, and in highly respected web journals, including DIAGRAM, Juked, Smokelong Quarterly, and decomP. He's quickly becoming one of the major voices in contemporary fiction, and he has made everyone at USM proud.

 

Awards

Miranda Merklein Award for a Graduating Writer

Miranda Merklein was a PhD graduate from the Center for Writers. She specialized in poetry and distinguished herself for several years

 

Poetry: Jon Riccio

▪️English PhD

Jon Riccio

Riccio is a virtuoso of language’s sounds, rhythms, and meanings, employing

 

Awards

Jeremy Lespit Award in Poetry

Jeremy Lespi was a PhD graduate in poetry from the Center for Writers. A wonderful poet, he went on to teach composition and other English courses at the University of Alabama. A congenital heart defect cause his death at the age of thirty.

 

Dylan Loring

▪️English PhD

Loring’s poems explore human nature with a unique comic flair and an energy all their own

 

Awards

Stanley Hauer Excellence in Teaching Award

Stanley Hauer, Professor Emeritus of English, was and is a wildly popular teacher of Medieval literature, known in particular for his British Studies course on King Arthur. He founded this scholarship for graduate instructors in English. 

 

Rachael Fowler

▪️English PhD

Rachel Fowler

Fowler is an excellent teacher, and committee members called her pedagogical materials “impressive all around,” “carefully crafted,” and “inclusive.” Watching Fowler evolve as a teacher of writing, literature, and fiction has been a distinct pleasure; she is an asset to our teaching community

 

 

Awards

Dr. John E. Gonzales Senior Award

Dr. John E. Gonzales was a legend at Southern Miss.  He was a Founding Member of the USM History Department and taught here from 1945 to 1999, over 54 years.  He educated thousands of students in US and Mississippi History and today, this auditorium bears his name.  In 2001, Dr. Gonzales donated his entire life savings to establish several scholarships which honor outstanding History students at Southern Miss.

 

Montana Buquoi

▪️History, Senior

Montana Buquoi

Buquoi is one of those students you love to have in class -- always tuned in, always prepared, and always willing to take the conversation forward. Always happy to see him in one of my classes!

 

Awards

Dr. John E. Gonzales Undergraduate Scholarship

Dr. John E. Gonzales was a legend at Southern Miss.  He was a Founding Member of the USM History Department and taught here from 1945 to 1999, over 54 years.  He educated thousands of students in US and Mississippi History and today, this auditorium bears his name.  In 2001, Dr. Gonzales donated his entire life savings to establish several scholarships which honor outstanding History students at Southern Miss.

 

Sydnie Billman

▪️History, Junior

Sydnie Billman

Billman is a bright, quick-witted student who always enlivens classroom discussions with her humor and insights. I also appreciate her enthusiastic participation in the History honors society, Phi Alpha Theta.

 

Awards

Claude E. Fike Scholarship

Named for a Founding Member of the USM History Department who was also the Dean of the College goes to a deserving undergraduate studying History.

 

Sarah Drivon

▪️History, Sophomore

Sarah Drivon

Drivon is a highly intelligent, accomplished writer who successfully navigates the complexities of academic writing. She is equally committed to supporting the writing development of her peers, often going above and beyond to provide substantial and specific feedback

 

 

Awards

Dr. Kenneth G. McCarty History Scholarship

It was started just a few years ago to honor a long-time History Faculty member and strong supporter of the department’s social studies licensure program, Dr. Ken McCarty. The award was established by Dr. McCarthy’s family and many of his former students to reward excellence in the licensure program and to financially help students while they are student teaching. 

 

Daniel Pierce

▪️History, Senior

Daniel Pierce

Pierce brings rare sensitivity and insight to his analysis of primary sources. He is a gifted writer who, at his best, does more than merely inform readers. He can make us feel history

 

 

Awards

Carroll Warren and Parker Scholarship

It was a new scholarship last year, honors a promising student with a serious interest in the history of war and society or military history.

 

Alec Blaylock

▪️History, Senior

Alec Blaylock

A.J.'s close reading of the sources, his innovative approach to historical questions, and his clear narrative voice indicate an exceptional future talent. He's also an excellent addition to any classroom discussion. This is so well deserved.

 

Awards

Carroll Warren and Parker Scholarship

It was a new scholarship last year, honors a promising student with a serious interest in the history of war and society or military history.

 

Will Veazey

▪️History, Junior

Veazey is a voracious reader, a creative thinker, and a skilled writer. His research on the Herero genocide in German southwest Africa resulted in a fantastic essay that he can build into a larger project. He's equally at home researching German and U.S. imperialism, as he demonstrated amply by playing a leadership role in a project that revolved around Cherokee Removal.

 

 

Awards

Carroll Warren and Parker Scholarship

It was a new scholarship last year, honors a promising student with a serious interest in the history of war and society or military history.

 

Isabel Loya

▪️History, Junior

Loya is one of the most insightful and talented young historians that I have ever had in class. She has the ability to immediately identify the historical significance of a subject while also recalling important details. She argues her points effectively and has a beautiful writing style to boot!

 

 

Awards

John E. Wallace

Named after a longtime history faculty member on both the Hattiesburg and Coast campuses, this award is based on scholarship as well as student involvement in the campus community.

 

Chelsea Clement

▪️History, Senior

Clement served as officer in both Phil Alpha Theta and the Spanish Club on the Gulf Coast campus. She also has been a student worker for the College of Arts and Sciences and the History Tutor for undergraduate students. She has maintained a stellar GPA while completing her History Degree. Dr. John Wallace would be very proud of her accomplishments and representations of USM Gulf Coast.

 

Awards

Outstanding Senior in International Studies

 

Gianna Hudson

▪️History, Senior

Gianna Hudson

Hudson is a gifted student with a bright future ahead of her. She has embraced the world on a multitude of study abroad experiences and she approaches problems from a fresh and interesting perspective. I know that she will continue in these positive directions and wish her all of the best.

 

Awards

Outstanding Student Teacher Award

 

Cameron Borja

▪️History, Senior

Cameron Borja

Borja, a Gulf Coast Social Studies Licensure student, is so deserving of the Outstanding Social Studies Licensure Student Award. He has excelled in his academic classes, both in the history and secondary education, and has effectively completed Student Teaching under these current circumstances. He has done so well, that he has already been hired by the Pass Christian School district to begin teaching in fall 2020. Borja is one of those all-around talented students who will be a wonderful mentor and educator.

 

Awards

Treadwell Davis Award

The Treadewell Davis award goes to a student from any major who excels in History 101 and History 102.

 

Tichina Seeden

▪️Business Administration, Junior

Seeden is not a History major, but I would like to take this opportunity to encourage her to add a double major in History or to consider a minor. Regardless, it’s clear that you are incredibly talented and we wish you well in whatever you pursue.

 

Awards

Jay Washam Memorial Scholarship

Jay Washam, a native of Iowa, was a History graduate student who was tragically killed in a car crash on his way to his first semester at Southern Miss.  His family started this award to honor his memory.  It goes to an outstanding History graduate student who is working on a thesis or dissertation.

 

Olivia Moore

▪️PhD History

Olivia Moore

Moore is a brilliant researcher whose work on the civil rights movement will push the field in important new directions. She is also a caring and highly effective teaching assistant. We are so lucky to have her in our History PhD program at Southern Miss.

 

Awards

Lamar Powell Award

The Lamar Powell History Graduate Scholarship goes to the graduate students who most assisted the department’s Dale Center for the Study of War & Society in fulfilling its missions of scholarly production and community outreach).  

 

Maeve Losen

▪️MA History

Maeve Losen

Losen is successfully pursuing an incredibly ambitious program of study, including a dual MA in History and Anthropology, in addition to a Public History certificate. If that weren’t enough, she has also embarked on a cutting-edge digital humanities project using some of USM’s archival collections in military history.

 

 

Awards

Lamar Powell Award

The Lamar Powell History Graduate Scholarship goes to the graduate students who most assisted the department’s Dale Center for the Study of War & Society in fulfilling its missions of scholarly production and community outreach).   

 

Justin Major

▪️MA History

Justin Major

Major is an ambitious graduate student whose efforts to learn Vietnamese language and collect the untold stories of South Vietnamese military veterans will fill a hole in the Vietnam War narrative. It is a privilege to have worked with Justin as an MA student, and I am thrilled to be able to continue working with him as he moves on to his PhD.

 

Awards

Lamar Powell Award

The Lamar Powell History Graduate Scholarship goes to the graduate students who most assisted the department’s Dale Center for the Study of War & Society in fulfilling its missions of scholarly production and community outreach). 

 

Lindsey Stobaugh

▪️MA History

Lindsey Stobaugh

Stobaugh is an extremely skilled researcher and writer, embarking on a fascinating thesis on diplomatic and social relations between the US and Germany in the Cold War era. She is also an exceptional citizen of the History program and School of Humanities, diligently managing the History Lab and lending a helping hand in all kinds of other ways.

 

Awads

Lamar Powell Award

The Lamar Powell History Graduate Scholarship goes to the graduate students who most assisted the department’s Dale Center for the Study of War & Society in fulfilling its missions of scholarly production and community outreach).

Billy Loper

Billy Loper

Loper is a talented graduate student working on memory and public history. He is also a double golden eagle, as he did his BA in history here at USM as well.

 

Awards

Phi Alpha Theta Award

The Phi Alpha Theta Award (goes to the most accomplished History Graduate Student of the Academic Year as chosen by the History Faculty).

 

Lucas Somers

▪️PhD History

Locas Somers

Somers is a dedicated, gifted, and meticulous young scholar. He has won almost every award available from the History program and the Dale Center, yet he is unassuming and always willing to pitch in and help out, whether it is to assist a faculty member or fellow graduate student. Lucas has a deep understanding of American history, a tenacious attitude toward his research, and a fantastic work ethic. He is the perfect candidate for this year’s Phi Alpha Theta Award.

 

Awards

Graduate Student Teaching Award

 

Wesley Hazzard

▪️PhD History

I am so proud of what Hazzard has accomplished this year. He took on a 4-4 teaching load of his own courses to cover for a professor who was off campus for the year, and while teaching that heavy load, he completed and successfully defended his dissertation on the U.S. military occupation of the Dominican Republic in 1965. He graduates next week and has a full-time job waiting for him at the Center of Military History in Washington, DC. He is one of our success stories, and it has been an honor and a privilege to be his advisor.

 

Awards

Outstanding Philosopher Award

 

Ruth Ann Reeves

▪️Philosophy, Junior

Ruth Ann Reeves

Reeves is an excellent philosophy student (pre-law emphasis). She is also an Honors student who has excelled in our curriculum after studying abroad for a semester at Exeter. She is insightful and hard-working, and she is currently beginning work on an exciting and promising Honors thesis on the unfairness of weight discrimination to both overweight and non-overweight individuals alike. She plans to attend law school after graduation next year.

 

 

Awards

Forrest Wood Philosophy Scholarship

Forrest Wood came to USM after graduating from Southwest Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and served as the Department Chair for two decades.  His academic expertise was in the philosophical theology of Charles Hartshorne, and in addition to a book on Hartshorne, he wrote The Delights and Dilemmas of Hunting.   He and his wife Elaine now reside in Redmond, WA with their daughter and her family.

 

Ruth Ann Reeves

▪️Philosophy and Religion, Junior

Ruth Ann Reeves

Reeves is an excellent philosophy student (pre-law emphasis). She is also an Honors student who has excelled in our curriculum after studying abroad for a semester at Exeter. She is insightful and hard-working, and she is currently beginning work on an exciting and promising Honors thesis on the unfairness of weight discrimination to both overweight and non-overweight individuals alike. She plans to attend law school after graduation next year.

 

Awards

Forrest Wood Philosophy Scholarship

Forrest Wood came to USM after graduating from Southwest Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and served as the Department Chair for two decades.  His academic expertise was in the philosophical theology of Charles Hartshorne, and in addition to a book on Hartshorne, he wrote The Delights and Dilemmas of Hunting.   He and his wife Elaine now reside in Redmond, WA with their daughter and her family.

 

Emma Cox

▪️Philosophy and Religion, Junior

Emma Cox

Cox is a double major in philosophy and communications as well as an Honors student. She is very conscientious and dedicated to her academic work; she always makes insightful and interesting comments in class and her essays are clear and articulate; she’s a brilliant philosopher and a pleasure to have in class!

 

 

Awards

Forrest Wood Philosophy Scholarship

Forrest Wood came to USM after graduating from Southwest Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and served as the Department Chair for two decades.  His academic expertise was in the philosophical theology of Charles Hartshorne, and in addition to a book on Hartshorne, he wrote The Delights and Dilemmas of Hunting.   He and his wife Elaine now reside in Redmond, WA with their daughter and her family.

 

Kennedy Asevado

▪️Philosophy and Religion, Sophomore

Kennedy Asevado

Asevado is a philosophy pre-law student who actively engages in class discussions; she’s diligent and conscientious about her academic work. She is wonderful to have in class!

 

Awards

Clayton and Mae Sullivan Award

The Clayton and Mae Sullivan Award is named for its benefactors.  Dr. Clayton Sullivan was a stalwart professor who single-handedly provided an education in religious studies for all USM from the 1960s until his retirement in the year 2000.  Having put the study of religion on the map at USM in this way, Dr. Sullivan, along with his wife Mae, nourished this seed by generously providing the initial funds for offering the award for the best student in religious studies.

 

Matthew “Clay” Holzborn

▪️History, Senior

Holzborn is a hardworking and dedicated student who's a pleasure to have in class. I've really appreciated his openness to new ideas and great contributions to class discussions.

 

Awards

Clayton and Mae Sullivan Award

The Clayton and Mae Sullivan Award is named for its benefactors. Dr. Clayton Sullivan was a stalwart professor who single-handedly provided an education in religious studies for all USM from the 1960s until his retirement in the year 2000. Having put the study of religion on the map at USM in this way, Dr. Sullivan, along with his wife Mae, nourished this seed by generously providing the initial funds for offering the award for the best student in religious studies.

 

Brady Brock

▪️Psychology, Junior

It seems that Dr. Sullivan would be pleased to see his award go to Brady Brock. Brock enjoys the esteem of several religious studies professors who respect him for his work and insight in more fully understanding realities in the study of religion. For instance, he composed a fine research paper which explored the ways in which Western Christianity has established itself in India while imbibing Indian cultural waters in the process.

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