Meridian Star

June 5, 2013

Excellence in education: Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     • POPLARVILLE – Charmin Edwards of Meridian was presented the Outstanding Student Award at the recent Awards Day program at Pearl River Community College.

    • CHOCTAW – Three outstanding young Tribal members have been selected to participate in an internship to assist with biomedical research at one of the top-ranked schools in the country.

    Choctaw Central High School students Taloa Berg, Nicklaus Shumake and Deon Denson will spend their summer in the 2013 Aspirnaut Summer Research Internship Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. Students in the program were selected because of their interest and skill in science and mathematics, high academic achievement and letters of recommendation.

    Berg, Shumake, and Denson will work side by side with a research team to study diseases such as autoimmune disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. They will be involved in conducting experiments, collecting data and analyzing results. At the conclusion of their internship the students will present their work to Vanderbilt and visiting scientists. This experience also gives the students a unique opportunity to interact with professionals and professions that will assist them to make choices regarding future educational goals and career.

    The involvement of the three Choctaw students in the Aspirnaut program is the result of a partnership between Aspirnaut and Vanderbilt officials and the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) and tribal leaders.

    The summer program is ongoing and will continue to Aug. 3

    • Southeast Middle School QUEST teacher Sarah Cook will travel to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa, this summer for a five-week summer institute with 25 other teachers from across the nation.  

    While in South Africa, the teachers will embark on an intellectual adventure of discovery, learning, and field study. Professors affiliated with Rhodes University in Grahamstown and the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, will deliver lectures.

    During their time in South Africa, the teachers will also visit historical and cultural sites in and around Cape Town, attend various events at the National Arts Festival, the largest on the continent, and conduct a field study for two weeks throughout the country, interacting with South Africans, visiting cities, savannas, mountains, lowlands, and the coast.

    More than 200 applicants applied nationwide for this selective program and only 25 were selected.

    • West Lauderdale Attendance Center student Jake Feist won third place in the Individual Category, Grades 4-5, at the Mississippi Department of Education's Annual State Reading Fair, which was held recently in Jackson.

    Jacob won second place at his school, first at the district reading fair and first place at the regional reading fair for his project on the book "I Survived the Attacks of September 11th, 2001" by Lauren Tarshis.

    • Southeast High School student Taylor Johnson won first place in the State HOSA Competition in Natchez.

    Taylor was also chosen to attend the Mississippi Rural Medical Program at Mississippi State this summer. Only 20 students were selected from across the state.    • Nancy Walton, a fourth grade math and science teacher at Poplar Springs Elementary School, recently received a $1,000 graduate scholarship from the Mississippi Professional Educators (MPE).  

    A resident of Marion, Walton earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Millsaps College and her master’s degree in elementary education from Mississippi College. A member of MPE since 2011, she is currently working on her gifted certification at Mississippi University for Women.

    • Angela Holmes, Robyn Ruffin and Felicia Weir, all of Meridian, have been awarded a scholarship from Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in medical laboratory science.

    The Siemens-ASCP Scholarship was established to address the nation’s shortage of qualified medical laboratory personnel, defray education costs and promote the profession. Since 2003, more than $1.4 million in scholarships has been awarded to more than 1,200 qualified students nationwide.

     • STARKVILLE – Victoria Poole of Meridian, a sophomore majoring in elementary education at Mississippi State University, is one of 22 MSU students who have joined the university Alumni Association's student liaison group.

     The Alumni Delegates serve as liaisons between the 135-year-old land-grant institution and its more than 125,000 living graduates. Founded in 1980, one of the group's main missions is helping improve the student body's understanding of the Alumni Association's role and purpose.

     Over the years, this group of students has become invaluable in assisting with alumni-sponsored programs and activities, including football tailgate gatherings, class reunions and numerous other events, both on and off campus.

     Members are selected through a highly competitive interview process. This year's group was chosen from among more than 300 applicants and joins 23 returning delegates.

     Poole is the daughter of Ed and Rhonda Poole. She is a graduate of Lamar High School.

    • NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Monya Harris of Meridian was among more than 1,200 students from Tennessee State University who received undergraduate and graduate degrees during the University's Spring Commencement Exercise in May.

    Harris received a master of public administration degree in public administration.

    • HARRISONBURG, Va. – Suzanne Opel of Meridian was recognized as a member of the 2013 graduating class of Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg in  April.

    Opel graduated with a bachelor's degree in nursing.