Meridian Star

August 29, 2012

Excellence in Education


The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     • SaKeria Lynstarya Fielder has been selected to receive the Keli Breanne Brown Memorial Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $300 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from a fund established by family and friends. In October 2008, 16-year-old Keli died in an automobile accident. She is remembered as an intelligent, popular young lady who loved life. Her personal motto was "Live your life…and smile." She had planned to attend Meridian Community College to pursue a degree in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Ryan Brown initiated this scholarship in memory of his precious sister.

     Fielder is a 2012 high honors graduate of West Lauderdale High School,  where she was a member the Health Occupation Students of America and placed first in the state HOSA competition. Fielder is currently in the LPN Program at MCC as a dual enrollment student. Her plans are to continue her education in the nursing field and become a registered nurse.     

    • Jeremy Decarlos Dubose has been selected to receive the Richard F. Riley, M.D. Scholarship at Meridian Community College.

    This $2,000 award is funded through the MCC Foundation from an endowment established by Mary Ann Bonney Riley. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II and completing his residency at the University of Virginia, Dr. Riley began the practice of general surgery in Meridian in the early '50s. After retiring, he and his brother established The Riley Foundation in 1998. The community will continue to benefit from his service and philanthropy for years to come.

     After attending Northeast High School, Dubose completed his GED at Meridian Community College. A third semester student of the Associate Degree Nursing Program, Dubose is a Deans List scholar, a member of the Organization of Student Nursing, the Mississippi Organization of Associate Degree Nursing and Phi Beta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year college students. His career goal is to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

    • Meridian Community College Financial Aid staffer Megan Smith received the Rookie of the Year award during the Mississippi Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA) annual conference.

     The award recognizes a MASFAA member for his/her excellence in leadership, knowledge, expertise, cooperation, professionalism, commitment, service and involvement in MASFAA.  The recipient of this award has to have been in the financial aid profession for less than three years, is nominated by the membership and approved by the executive board. Smith has been active in the association, serving on the conference committee and as a volunteer at MASFAA events.

     In addition to receiving the state award, Smith began her new role as assistant director of financial aid on July 1.

    • CLINTON – At the end of each school year Mississippi College holds Honors Convocation to recognize its top students for their academic achievements and service to the university. Ranking highest among the awards presented are the Hall of Fame, the Scott-Swor Founders Award, and the student body awards. The honors day ceremony was held at the FBC in Clinton.

     Grant Collin Whittington, a business administration student from Collinsville, was selected for the Omicron Delta Kappa Freshman Man of the Year. The recipient of this student body award is chosen for exemplary character, responsible leadership, service on campus, outstanding scholarship, genuine fellowship, and dedication to the aims and objectives of Mississippi College.

    Whittington is the son of Jessie and Dawn Whittington of Collinsville.  

    • HATTIESBURG – Caroline Melancon and Caroline Summers, both of Meridian, were delegates to the 2012 American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, held this summer at the University of Southern Mississippi.

    Girls State provides rising high school seniors from across the state a hands-on citizenship training program in which they learn government by creating a mythical state through the election of public officials on local, county, and state levels and then by carrying out the duties of these respective offices.

    A continuation of Girls State is Girls Nation, where two senators from each state are selected to participate in a simulated national government program in Washington, D.C.

    • DECATUR – Laura Ryals of Decatur was recently selected assistant dean of Admission, Records and Research at East Central Community College.

     Ryals previously served as an admissions assistant II at Mississippi State University in Starkville, a post she held from December 2008 to September 2011. She served the previous three years as an office assistant at MSU.

     A 2004 graduate of Newton County High School, Ryals received an associate of applied science degree in drafting and design technology from ECCC in May 2006. She earned a bachelor of business administration in risk management,insurance and financial planning from MSU in December 2008. In addition, she has completed continuing education courses in office systems technology at East Mississippi Community College’s Mayhew campus.

     She is married to Chris Ryals, ECCC Drafting and Design Technology instructor. They have an infant daughter, Alyssa Cate.

    • DECATUR – Sherrell Brown of Forest is a recent addition to the eLearning Education Department at East Central Community College.

     Prior to joining the ECCC staff, Brown served as an admissions counselor/recruiter for Antonelli College’s Online Department in Jackson.

     Brown is a 2004 honors graduate of Forest High School, where she was named to the Hall of Fame and was elected Miss FHS. She was a member of the Beta Club, band and choir and served as a Bearcat cheerleader.

     She received an associate’s degree in liberal arts from ECCC in May 2006. At ECCC, Brown was selected 2005 homecoming queen and was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges. She was a member of the Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Diamond Girls and the Centralettes, the dance line for the Wall O’ Sound Marching Band.

     Brown continued her education at Mississippi State University in Starkville and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications in May 2008. While at MSU, she was a member of the Women’s Chorale, Concert Choir, Student Broadcasting Association and Sigma Alpha Iota.

     She is a member of Sylvester United Methodist Church in Forest.

     Her parents are Charles and Rose Mary Brown of Forest.



    • MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Gail Sims of Meridian earned a master of health administration degree in health administration from the University of Memphis during May 5 commencement ceremonies.

    • OXFORD – Brock Mardis of Enterprise was among 59 students from around the state who attended the second of three sessions of Summer Academy at the University of Mississippi.

    Summer Academy offers students entering grades 8, 9 and 10 this fall the opportunity to experience college life.

    The three, three-week sessions allow the students to make new friends and contacts, learn time management, improve study habits and earn high school credit that may count toward high school graduation requirements.

    • LIVINGSTON, Ala.— Thomas Webb was recently awarded a $5,000 Trustees Scholarship to attend the University of West Alabama. This award, which is based on academic achievement and proven leadership potential, comes from the UWA Office of Admissions.

    The Meridian Community College student plans to major in athletic training.

    • Natalie P. Matthews has been selected to receive the AlJean Young Memorial Scholarship at Meridian Community College. 

    This $500 award is funded through the MCC Foundation. Young retired from Meridian Community College as an Allied Health counselor.

     Matthews, a 1999 graduate of Northeast Lauderdale High School, is president of the Medical Laboratory Technology Student Organization and belongs to the Health Occupation Students of America. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in medical technology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

    • Angela Ellen Holmes and Randall Scott Barnes have been selected to receive the Anderson Support and Development Foundation Scholarships at Meridian Community College. 

    These $2,000 awards are funded through the MCC Foundation by the local non-profit corporation. The Board of Anderson Support and Development Foundation believe that financial support for medical educational is the key to a successful medical community.

    Holmes is a 1999 graduate of Harding Academy of Memphis in Tennessee. A President’s List scholar she is in the third semester of the Medical Laboratory Technology at MCC. She is a member of the Student Association of Medical Laboratory Technology, Health Occupation Students of America and Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year college students.  Her plans are to work in the laboratory at one of Meridian’s hospitals.

     Barnes is a 2003 graduate of Kemper Academy.  A President’s List scholar, he is entering his second year in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at MCC. Barnes is a member of the Health Occupation Students of America and Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year college students.  After graduating, he plans to work as a physical therapist assistant in a nursing home.