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Student Success

First Year Navigators


Our First Year Navigators program is a mentoring program for incoming first-year students. Navigators are academically focused student leaders across campus who work with a group of students throughout the student's first year at USM. These mentors offer students who opt-in to the program a connection to campus, campus resources, support, and encouragement through the transition to college.


If you would like to be connected to a First Year Navigator during the 2022-23 academic year, please complete the short interest form. That form can be found here!

Our 2022-23 First Year Navigator Team!

Aaronecia Bickham


Major: Nursing

Baylie Busby



Major: Marketing
Bio: My name is Baylie Busby, and I am a senior marketing major from Mobile, Al! My time at Southern Miss has been filled with pouring into student organizations just as Eagle Connection, Southern Style, Business Ambassador, and Fraternity & Sorority 

Jaliyah Chandler


Major: Criminal Justice
Bio:  My name is Jaliyah Chandler and I’m majoring in criminal justice with a minor in psychology. I am a first -generation college student and I’m excited for the future.


Gabrielle Collier


Major: Nursing
Bio: Hey everyone I am a junior nursing major from Horn lake MS. I am so exited to be one of your First Year navigators.  I cannot wait to help you all maneuver through your freshman year of college. 


Summer Dillon


Major: Political Science (Pre-Law)
Bio: Hi, I am Summer. I have been a student at USM for two years now and I love it. The campus is a great place to find friends and groups that align with your likes.

Ellie Forsyth


Major: History
Bio: My name is Ellie Forsyth and I am a sophomore history major here at Southern Miss! I absolutely love getting to mentor First Year students and help them soar as Golden Eagles! 

Alaina Gardner


Major: Nursing
Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Alaina Gardner and I am a junior here at USM! I experienced quite some changes from the adjustment of being in high school student to a college student but, I am able to say that I overcame those challenges and grew as a person and student here at Southern Miss! I am super excited to be a part of your journey as first-year students and cannot wait to build community with you all as a First Year Navigator!

De'Asia Gaylor


Major: Psychology
Bio: De'Asia Gaylor is a senior Psychology major here at Southern Miss with aspirations to obtain their Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling to specialize in providing Play Therapy to children and adolescents. Some of their on-campus involvement includes the Luckyday Scholars Program, TRiO Scholars Program, Sexual Assault Prevention Ambassadors (SAPA), Genders and Sexualities Alliance, and Alpha Delta Pi (NPC) Sorority.

Amaris Hodge


Major: Media and Entertainment Arts
Bio: I am Amaris Hodge, an upcoming Junior with a major in Media & Entertainment Arts (Video Arts) and a minor in Business Administration. As a First-Year Navigator, I am aiming to assist incoming Southern Miss students with figuring out what experiences they would like to have in college and guide them through it in the best way possible. In the end, I promise to make sure that they will be proud of themselves for accomplishing goals and have the means to be successful even beyond college.

Morrison Ingram


Major: Biology
Bio: Hey y’all! My name is Morrison Ingram and I’m from Memphis, TN. I’m majoring in Biology and have a minor in Forensics. I am excited to be a part of the First Year Navigator program to help students transition to college life, just as others helped me out.

Madisyn Killough


Major: Elementary Education
Bio: Hi, my name is Madisyn Killough! I am a returning First Year Navigator! I am from Flowood, MS

Kaleigh Nathaniel


Major: Biomedical Sciences
Bio: My name is Kaleigh Nathaniel and I am a junior Biological Sciences major from Magnolia, MS. I am so excited to be a first-year navigator and to become more involved on campus! 

Hope Pierce


Major: Biomedical Science
Bio: Hi! My name is Hope and this is my second year as a First Year Navigator. I am majoring in Biomedical Science here at Southern Miss and I am a junior. I am very much looking forward to helping you all on your freshman year journey!

Alijah Thomas



Major: Pre-Nursing
Bio: Hi, my name is Alijah Thomas and I'm from Jackson, MS! I am a Pre-Nursing major with a Psychology minor. In my free time, I love to work out, try new restaurants around town, and draw. I'm a first-generation student and will be one of the first healthcare workers in my family, so I understand how it feels to navigate college "alone." I can't wait to meet other first year students and share my experiences with them!

Will Sutton


Major: Biological Sciences
Bio: William "Will" Sutton is a junior at the University of Southern Mississippi, Majoring in Biology (Biomedical Emphasis) with a Minor in Chemistry. He hopes to one day be a Primary Care Physician, working in Medically Underserved communities across Mississippi. 

Laighla Walker


Major: English
Bio: Hi, my name is Laighla Walker. My hometown is Gulfport, Mississippi. I am an English Major. I am excited to be a part of the First Year Navigator Program because I am a first-generation student myself and adapting to the college life without prior knowledge is difficult and I would love to be there for future first year students! 


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