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McNair Scholars Program

2018 Scholar Profiles


Name: KapriyahCrosby
Major: Public Health
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Susan Mayfield-Johnson
Research Topic: Mayoral Health Council: City of Hattiesburg Health & Wellness Needs

KapriyahL. Crosby is a senior at the University of Southern Mississippi, majoring in Public Health with an emphasis in health education and promotion. She is currently working as a student liaison with the Mayoral Health Council in the City of Hattiesburg, MS to conduct a citywide needs assessment to improve the quality of life for the population. Crosby intends to earn a PH.D. in Public Health and obtain global health education certification.

"It is my ultimate career goal to become a global health educator. I want to travel to different third world countries and expand the knowledge of the population through education programs that will ultimately give them access to optimal healthcare." 



Name: Destiny Farmer
Major: Kinesiology/Exercise Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stephanie McCoy
Research Topic: Physical Activity Levels in Children and Adolescents of Various Demographics

Destiny Farmer is a junior majoring in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science at The University of Southern Mississippi. She plans on obtaining her doctorate to follow her career plan of becoming a physical therapist. Farmer’s research will focus on data from children with different backgrounds and how their bodies respond due to the various demands placed on them, specifically comparing active and nonactive children. She intends to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy and hopes one day to have her own clinics throughout the state.

Leave It Better Than You Found It” is a motto at USM and one that Farmer plans to incorporate into everything she does. Knowing that she will be able to help people achieve their goals, whether in physical rehabilitation or simply by motivating them to be better than they were when they started, is something that keeps her going every day."



Name: Jaylin Goodloe
Major: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Bonnie Nicholson
Research Topic: The Differences in Parental Involvement Among African American and Caucasian College Students

Jaylin Goodloe is a senior at The University of Southern Mississippi, majoring in psychology. She is also a desk assistant in the Office of Leadership of Student Involvement located in the HUB. Her research involves determining the differences between different parenting styles among college students and how that affects drop-out rate and overall school performance. Goodloe intends to earn a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy.

"My career goal is to help small and large families make prominent decisions through group therapy. I want to make a difference in the world by helping families develop communication skills and to maintain a strong family unit."  


Name: Sarah Jamison
Major: Biological Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Dmitri Mavrodi
Research Topic: The Use of Naturally Occurring Compounds from Plants to Inhibit Quorum Sensing Signaling in PseudomonasAeruginosa

Sarah Jamison is a Senior at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she majors in Biological Sciences with a Pre-Medical emphasis; she is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Volunteer USM, WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering), SAA (Student Alumni Association), a youth mentor for Faith Tabernacle Ministries, and Volunteer Director for Loves-A-Mealion. Her research involves two parts, one which is focused on the functional role of natural antibiotics, and the other studies beneficial plant root colonizing (rhizosphere) bacteria. Jamison plans to earn an M.D.-Ph.D in Medicine. 

"As a Pediatric physician, my goal is to open my own practice in a rural underrepresented area and serve the community to the best ability. I would also like to open a community center focused on STEM studies to help young students achieve their dreams by providing them with the help they may need."

It is a beautiful thing when a career and passion come together.


Name: Japriest Jerry
Major: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nora Charles
Research Topic: Parental Closeness and Religious Affiliation as Protective Factors in Adolescent Substance Use

Japriest Jerry is a junior at The University of Southern Mississippi, majoring in Psychology. His primary research focus is on examining parental involvement and the likelihood of substance use in adolescents. The purpose of my research is to pinpoint protective factors that lessen the likelihood or severity of adolescent substance use. Jerry plans to obtain a Ph.D. in counseling psychology.

"My career goal is to provide services and educate parents on how their involvement in their child’s life may or may not lead to substance use. I also want to provide services that will help individuals gain the most out of what life has to offer."


Name: Sara-Lee Kidd
Major: Social Work
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Bret Blackmon
Research Topic: Understanding the Challenges and Barriers that International Students Face in Higher Education Institutions in the U.S.

Sara-lee Kidd is a senior at the University of Southern Mississippi, who is majoring in Social Work with a minor in Spanish. She is the President of two student organizations including the Bachelors of Social Work Club, and Women’s and Gender Studies Student Organization.  Sara-Lee is a native of Jamaica and is interested in researching International Student Experiences and the Barriers in higher education.

Sara-Lee is aspiring to obtain a Master’s degree and ultimately a Ph.D. in Social Work and pursue a career in academia. 

Sara-Lee is inspired by the quote, "Prestare et Praestare" which translates to persevere and excel, and is the motto from Clarendon College High School, one of the high schools she attended in Jamaica. Sara-Lee carries this message with her as a reminder of where she came from and where she's going. 


Name: Darrielle Martin
Major: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Brad Dufrene
Research Topic: Quantitative Synthesis of the Group Contingencies in Preschool Literature

Darrielle Martin is a junior at The University of Southern Mississippi currently majoring in psychology with a minor in child and family studies. Her research includes conducting interventions and consultation procedures to prevent emotional and behavioral disturbances in children, thus, implementing effective methods available for parents and teachers also to use.

"My career goal is to open a psychological counseling practice for children located in disenfranchised communities with a primary focus on children under the age of eighteen. Furthermore establishing a mentorship program for adolescents and a foundation to help those who suffer from the hands of parental neglect and abuse. This foundation will be responsible for providing educational finances, housing and professional psychological support in a safe and judgment free environment. My heart is moved with compassion and conviction for those who are in need. This burden alone has inspired me to strategically invoke systematic reformation to a generation in need.


Name: Dominique McArthur
Major: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Daniel Credeur
Research Topic: Cerebral Vascular Responses to Prolonged Sitting: Implications for Cognitive Function

Dominique A. McArthur is a senior at The University of Southern Mississippi majoring in psychology. Her research in exercise science consists of creating new technology enabling individuals to recover from injuries that may disrupt their functional ability. She will provide services that support mental and physical health well-being for individuals. Miss McArthur plans to obtain her doctorate in Occupational Therapy to pursue her own private practice.

"Great leaders do not set out to be leaders. We make it our duty and obligation to make a change. As I will obtain my doctorate in Occupational Therapy, I am devoted to making a difference in this world.


Name: Aaron Robinson
Major: Electronics Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Amer Dawoud
Research Topic: Improving Autonomous Tracking of Aerial Vehicles

My name is Aaron Robinson and I am a junior majoring in Electronics Engineering. My research focuses on tracking and creating exact paths of autonomous unmanned air vehicles. This technology can also provide information with disaster trajectory, weather monitoring, security, search and rescue, product delivery, and efficient transportation. With my knowledge from undergraduate and graduate school, I would like to enter the Air Force and make an impact in the military to improve current technologies to assist our military and make their experience safer and smoother during their operations.


Name: LaQuitta Simpson
Major: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nora Charles
Research Topic: Religious Identity Influence on Ethnic Minority Youth Risky Behavior, Coping Methods andHelp Seeking for Professional Mental Health

LaQuitta Simpson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is a junior at The University of Southern Mississippi currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the Department of Psychology and Education with a minor in Child and Family Studies. She is also a member of the Honors College and Psi Chi International Honors Society. Simpson currently works as a lab assistant in the Youth Risky Behavior and Substance Abuse lab administered by Dr. Nora Charles in the Clinical Psychology Department. Her research interests include mental health in Black and Hispanic youth, risky behavior and substance use in marginalized adolescents, and ethnic identity and internalizing behaviors in African American women. After she achieves a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, Simpson plans to be involved in an internship or independent research lab specifically in the field of ethnic minority adolescent mental health.

Simpson’s career goal is to establish her own research clinic in an underrepresented community and to provide culturally sensitive care to ethnic minority youth, specifically adolescents and young adults struggling with mental health. With this clinic, she hopes to continue her research focusing on external aspects that influence ethnic minority mental health, such as low income, academic and occupational settings, and religiosity, and potentially alleviate the stigma of Black and Hispanic mental health that resides in underrepresented communities, eventually possessing the ability provide therapeutic solutions to communities in need.

Simpson’s motto echoes that of Maya Angelou, who said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and a little bit of style.” 


Name: Amber Slaughter
Major: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nora Charles
Research Topic: Race, Religiosity, and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Among At-Risk Adolescents

Amber D. Slaughter is a junior psychology major and a child and family studies minor at The University of Southern Mississippi. Her research involves working with African-American adolescents and adults to better promote their personal well-being. Also, to aid them in substance abuse or traumatic events that alter the effectiveness of their livelihood. I want to promote self-motivation through religious principles and standards to better help individuals cope with their problems as a whole. Also, to seek how these particular stress and life-changing events affect their growth of development as a human being, and how to release such burdens within their inner self in order to live their life to their fullest potential.

"By becoming knowledgeable in this information through my own independent research, I can have accurate and valuable information regarding these issues in the African-American community. Also, have possible solutions to cater to these problems within the African-American community. I want my research to aid in implementing resilience through mental health in this particular underrepresented ethnicity. My passion is to motivate, inspire and be the change that I want to see in my community and globally."

One of the first African-American students to integrate The University of Southern Mississippi stated, “Once you find your purpose, you find your passion.” -Gwendolyn Armstrong Chamberlin 


Name: Zyra Warfield
Major: Biological Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Janet Donaldson
Research Topic: The Influence of Anaerobic and Aerobic Conditions on Biofilm Formation Amongst Various Strains of Listeria Monocytogenes

Zyra Warfield is a senior at the University of Southern Mississippi, majoring in Biological Sciences within the Department of Science and Technology. She is currently researching the mechanisms that allow for the proliferation of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and how to identify the mechanisms of bile resistance in Listeria monocytogenes will lead to advancements in therapies to combat gastrointestinal infections. Warfield intends to earn her masters in Biomedical Science.

My ultimate goal is to focus on how to prevent microbial infections in hospitals as well as develop procedures to keep hospital operating rooms as sterile as possible.

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." - Maya Angelou 


Name: Tiara Watson
Major: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Madson
Research Topic: Perfectionism and Alcohol Use Outcomes in College Students:  The Moderating Role of Alcohol Protective Behavioral Strategies

Tiara Watson is a junior at the University of Southern Mississippi, majoring in psychology with a minor in Spanish.  She is a Presidential Scholar in the Honors College and a Psychology Scholar in her department.  Her research involves perfectionism in high-achieving students, specifically exploring the impact that protective behavioral strategies exert on the relationships between adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism and hazardous drinking and adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism and alcohol-related negative consequences.  Watson plans to attain a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

"As a clinical psychologist, I will strive to aid in demolishing the negative stereotypes that surround mental health issues.   I desire to help people escape their mental entrapment and live happier, healthier lives by overcoming the daily struggles that encompass psychopathology.  My ultimate aspiration is to own my own practice and become established enough to open a non-profit organization that specializes in mental health treatment and information distribution specifically in minority communities around the world.  Everyone deserves the chance to live his or her best life.

Never give up on someone with a mental illness.  When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘We’, illness becomes wellness.” - Shannon L. Alder 



Name: Destiny Williams
Major: Kinesiology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Joanne Judge
Research Topic: The Effects of Physical Activity on the Self-Stimulatory Behaviors of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Destiny Williams is a senior at The University of Southern Mississippi, majoring in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science and minoring in Psychology. Her research focuses on self-stimulatory conduct and behavior effects from physical activity and exercise influence focusing on children with autism spectrum disorders. Upon furthering her education, Destiny plans on working in a clinical or hospital setting, fostering her training and experience as a Physician while maintaining her focal point on children.

"I would love to one day open my own clinic to give back to my community and contribute to empowering young, African American women and children who aspire to pursue a medical profession as well. I am eager to make a difference and reach my full potential no matter the obstacles and impediments that I may face in the process. My goal is to provide constructive research, helpful knowledge, and affordable services to underprivileged communities facing autism spectrum disorders and chronic diseases by bringing awareness to the importance of physical activity and exercise recommendations in young children."

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you” - John Bunyan

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