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Awards and Honors - Gulf Coast

Awards and Honors - Gulf Coast

The School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development on the Gulf Coast is pleased to announce the winners of our 2020 outstanding student awards. These awards and honors recognize each student’s exemplary work in courses across the University.

 

 

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Outstanding Senior in Applied Technology

Award is given annually to the student in Applied Technology with the highest GPA and highest number of USM earned credit hours. 

 

Braxton McKay

Braxton McKay

 

  • Current employer: Sunbelt Fans and Lighting
  • Role: Material Handler
  • Interesting academic/ professional fact: Before attending USM, I was an electrician at a manufacturing plant. I decided to broaden my career opportunities by attending USM in the Applied Technology program.
  • Professional goals: Human Resource Management
  • Research interest: Human Capital Development
  • Current residence: Hattiesburg, Miss.
  • Personal quote: “The key to success is to focus on goals, not obstacles.”

 

 

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Outstanding Undergrad Student in Applied Technology

Award is given annually to the student in Applied Technology with the highest GPA and a minimum of 15 USM Earned credit hours.

 

Jonathan A. Conn

Jonathan A. Conn

  • Current employer: Hunter Douglas 
  • Role: System Administrator
  • Interesting academic/professional fact about you: I have worked in the IT field for over 15 years in system administration and application development roles.
  • Professional goals: Using my Applied Technology degree to advance my IT career.
  • Currently reside in city, state: Mooreville, Miss.
  • A personal quote: "The flexibility provided by the online options at USM has allowed me to continue working in the information technology field while pursuing a higher degree. The Applied Technology curriculum is a great fit that builds on my education and current work experience by teaching up-to-date skills that have real-world applications. I look forward to taking those skills and using them to continue advancing my IT career."

 

 

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Outstanding Senior in Industrial Engineering Technology

Award is given annually to the student in Industrial Engineering Technology with the highest GPA and highest number of USM earned credit hours.

 

Casey Kimes

Casey Kimes

  • Current employer: Benchmark, Inc. 
  • Role: Business Intelligence Developer
  • Interesting academic/professional fact about you: I've been accepted into the MS in Analytics program at Georgia Tech and will begin in the fall of 2020.
  • Professional goals: Continue to drive decisions through data
  • Currently reside in city, state: Chandler, Arizona
  • A personal quote: "Southern Miss has been the capstone of my educational journey that I began many years ago. As a working professional, it has been difficult to wrap up my undergraduate degree, and making a move to USM's online program in Industrial Engineering Technology was the best decision I made. Through the guidance of the professional and knowledgeable staff, I've been able to accelerate my pace toward finally making this degree a reality. I owe a great debt of gratitude to many professors at USM that not only educated me but also inspired me."

 

 

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Outstanding Human Capital Development Master’s Student Award

Award is given annually to the student in Human Capital Development who: Demonstrates academic excellence; shows collegiality among HCD community; contributes to the University and HCD community through outreach activity; and any other notable or outstanding characteristics which make the nominee exceptional.

 

Gina Pepperman

Gina Pepperman

  • Current employer: Bay Waveland School District- Bay Waveland Middle School
  • Role: Cyber Foundations 2 Teacher -8th Grade
  • Interesting academic/professional fact about you: I am full-time wife and mother to 2 wonderful active boys. I officiate high school Volleyball, Football, and Softball with MHSAA. I am a facilitator for CODE.org in conjunction with Mississippi State: RCU for Computer Science: Discoveries. 
  • Professional goals: I would like to lead and direct professional development courses for teachers either at a district level or in the private sector. 
  • Currently reside in city, state: Pass Christian, Miss.
  • A personal quote: "Receiving the awards for Outstanding Master's Student for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development is a great honor.  I was always considered an athlete, not an academic. It has taken me 20 years to return to the world of Academia as a student, because of my own insecurities and self-doubt. I now know that I was my own greatest enemy. Through hard work and perseverance, I know there is more to the substance of who I am and what I can offer professionally. I would like to thank all of my co-workers, classmates, professors, and family members that have supported over the past year. They have taught me that no goal is unattainable by helping me believe in myself.”

 

 

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Outstanding Human Capital Development Doctoral Student

Award is given annually to the student in Human Capital Development who: demonstrates academic excellence; represents the HCD through presentations and publications; contributes to the University and HCD community through outreach activity; and any other notable or outstanding characteristics which make the nominee exceptional.

Larry Webster, Ph.D.

Larry Webster

  • Current employer: Holmes Community College
  • Role: Director of Professional Studies
  • Professional goals:  To continue to advance in the field of higher education in hopes of one day becoming a senior administrator. To continually learn and grow so that I can better serve and cultivate the students I encounter daily.
  • Research interest: Diversity and Inclusion and Leadership Development
  • Currently reside in city, state: Grenada, Miss.
  • A personal quote: "Enrolling in the Human Capital Development Program at Southern Miss was one of the best educational decisions I could have made. The faculty and staff in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development take great interest in their students’ growth and development academically and professionally. Dr. Quincy Brown, my dissertation chair, was a great mentor and friend who challenged me throughout my dissertation journey, and for that, I am forever thankful!  SMTTT!"

 

 

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Drs Jack and Patti Phillips Human Capital Development Analytics Award

Award is given annually to the student in Human Capital Development who: demonstrates expertise in the ROI Methodology; shows promise in the area of human capital analytics; consistently applies critical thinking to projects and problem solving; and uses analytics to drive organizational improvement.

 

Rebecca Ellis-Brown

Rebecca Ellis-Brown

  • Current employer: Pearl River Community College
  • Role: Community and Economic Development Coordinator
  • Interesting academic/professional fact about you: 15 years of experience in the field of workforce development; board member for United Way of Southeast MS
  • Professional goals: Leverage the knowledge and critical thinking tools shared with me as a part of the Ph.D. in Human Capital Development program for the betterment of my community, my organization, and Mississippi's state workforce system.
  • Research interest: Barriers and enablers to career adhesion and advancement for those transitioning out of multi-generational poverty.
  • Currently reside in city, state: Petal, Miss.
  • A personal quote: “The USM Ph.D. program in Human Capital Development is a national treasure that is conveniently located in South Mississippi! The executive format offers a flexible pathway for achieving academic goals through relevant, evidence-based curriculum. Every aspect of the program is designed to make learning directly applicable to the real life challenges that those in the organizational development trenches face on a daily basis. Outstanding faculty and staff deliver a top-notch academic experience that is challenging, engaging, supportive, and fun. Warmth and wisdom: USM HCD is the best of both worlds!”

 

 

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Dr. Cyndi Gaudet Work Hard, Have Fun, Make a Difference Award

Award is given annually to the student in Human Capital Development who: embodies a “work hard, have fun, make a difference” attitude; nurtures student development in the classroom; fosters a collegial learning environment; supports peers, especially peers newer to the program; serves as a positive role model for the School, College, and University; and stands out as a leader among their peers.

Valeria Williams, Ph.D.

Valeria Williams, Ph.D.

  • Current employer: Mississippi Community College Board
  • Role: Director of Career and Technical Education
  • Interesting academic/professional fact about you:  Presented my research on a national level before graduation. 
  • Professional goals: I am interested in providing training on topics related to the importance of diversity (gender and racial) in leadership.
  • Research interest: Diversity in leadership.
  • Currently reside in city, state: Brandon, Miss.
  • A personal quote: “Selecting Southern Miss to pursue my Ph.D. was the absolute best decision. Ironically, the first person I encountered on my journey to Ph.D. was Dr. Cyndi Gaudet. My conversation with Dr. Gaudet convinced me that USM was the only choice. Dr. Gaudet's love for the subject matter and general concern for individuals radiated from her and was shared among the entire USM-ISPD staff f (Drs. Annulis, Brown, Lunsford, and Kmeic)...the true embodiment of a leader! I will continue to implement tools learned during my USM experience to expand my role as a scholar-practitioner.”

 

 

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Dr. David Powe Learning Leader Award

Award is given annually to the student in Human Capital Development who: personifies exemplary character; identifies challenges as “opportunities;" exemplifies high integrity in academic activity and leadership qualities; and helps others to achieve learning and personal accomplishments.

 

Marc Leffler

Marc Leffler

  • Current Employer: MWB, an idea + creative content company
  • Role: Writer, Creative Director and Partner 
  • Interesting academic/professional fact about you: Through a digital arts and robotics program at Medgar Evers Library in Jackson called Spark-O-Matic, I’m co-coach of a robotics team that made it to the state championship and ended up being in the three-team, championship-winning alliance.
  • Professional goals: This doctoral degree through the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development will enable me to be a much more effective leader with deeper expertise in developing projects.
  • Research interest: My research interest is to explore how instructional technology can be used to guide middle and high school students in developing the skills essential to succeed in college and career in our rapidly changing, innovation-based society
  • Currently reside in city, state: Jackson, Miss.
  • A personal quote: “Through USM and this highly unique, highly challenging program, I’ve been able to pursue a Ph.D. in an exciting new field that is still relevant to what I currently do. And, the faculty have been incredible in their expert, one-to-one guidance along this path. Also, in our cohort, there has been a true sense that we’re all in this together, helping each other, no fear only support. Finally, the program, school, and university have created a doctoral program that allows individuals to gain a one-of-a-kind doctoral-level education that would not be available otherwise.”

 

 

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Distinguished Human Capital Development Alumni Award

Award is given annually to the student in Human Capital Development who: exemplifies distinguished professional achievement, leadership, and service in the HCD field;  demonstrates evidence of research including publications and presentations; contributes to the community through outreach activity; and exhibits integrity and a demonstrates commitment to service.

John Hubbard, Ph.D.

John Hubbard

 

  • Current employer: The University of North Texas at Dallas. I am also owner and principal of Third Future Consulting.
  • Role: Lecturer in the School of Business. As principal for Third Future, I provide Strategic Planning, Process Improvement, Return of Investment, Survey Design, and Statistical Analysis services to non-profit organizations and local governments.
  • Interesting academic/professional fact about you: In 2017, I was awarded the Dr. David Powe Learning Leader Award from USM. I was business facility advisor for the Toyota Mobile Food Market at UNT Dallas. The project was joint effort with Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Cedar Valley College, Toyota Motors, and UNT Dallas to provide food to food insecure families around the UNT Dallas Campus. I have served on the Texas Economic Development Council Board of Directors for four years and the Methodist Charlton Medical Center Advisory Board for 10 years.
  • Professional goals: To borrow a phrase from the HCD Department, “Have fun, work hard, and make a difference!” My goal is to help others, especially students, realize they can reach their goals. It is NEVER too late!
  • Research interest: Workforce and Economic Development, especially as they relate to airport development.
  • Currently reside in city, state: Fairview, Texas
  • A personal quote: "I am so grateful for the human capital development program at USM and how it has impacted my life. During my time at USM, my relationship with the faculty and staff grew from instructor/student, to mentor, to family. The program has well-prepared me to achieve my personal and professional goals and be a positive impact to others."

 

 

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Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development Research Award

Award is given annually to the student in Human Capital Development who: provides a scholarly contribution to the HCD community; exemplifies integrity in all research activities; and publishes research results in a peer reviewed journal/proceedings.

Saurabh Gupta, Ph.D.

Saurabh Gupta

  • Professional goals: Continuous enhancement of my ability to serve the community
  • Research interest: Positive organizational scholarship, Career development and success, Leadership, and Followership.
  • Currently reside in city, state: Folsom, California

 

 

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Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development Community Partnership Award

Award is given annually to an individual or an organization who: provides opportunities for learning and development for USM's ISPD students; works together with ISPD as equal partners to build a cohesive community that serves as a model for collaborating with organizations and others for the advancement of the HCD discipline; and offers time, talents or financial support for ISPD students.

 

Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families

Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families

 

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Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development Guest Gurus/Presenter Award

Award is given annually to an individual who: adds to the community of ISPD learners; shares expertise with ISPD community; presents knowledge in formal or informal courses; and adjuncts.

 

 

▪️John Bentley

▪️ Stephen Dottolo

▪️ Dr. Janea McDonald

▪️Paige Roberts

▪️Dr. William Wainright

▪️Dr. Larry Webster

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