Mississippi State University

Mississippi State, MS 39762

Updated: 08-05-2016


Linda M. Breazeale
Office of Agricultural Communications
Box 9625
E-mail: Lindab@ext.msstate.edu
Phone: 662-325-1717


Mike Philips
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
Box 9555
E-mail: mphillips@pss.msstate.edu
Phone: 662-325-2311
Fax: 662-325-8742



Scott Willard
Box 9760 - Bost 201F MSU
MS 39762
E-mail: Swillard@cals.msstate.edu
Phone: 662-325-0233




Melinda Josey
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
Box 9555
E-mail: mjosey@pss.msstate.edu
Phone: 662-325-2766
Fax: 662-325-8742


Chapter Web Site:



Chapter Highlights:

Gamma Sigma Delta awards The objective of the Mississippi State University Chapter of the Honor Society of Agriculture, Gamma Sigma Delta, is to encourage high standards of scholarship in all branches of agricultural science and education. These standards are consistent from the undergraduate students to the graduate students to the professionals who have rendered signal service to the cause of agricultural development. Each year, MSU�s chapter recognizes deserving students and faculty through academic scholarships and awards for extension, research and teaching efforts. The competition varies from year to year, and this year, we had some great nominations. The first category we want to recognize is for outstanding efforts in extension. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Smith-Lever Act, it is fitting to recognize this year�s winner for his efforts to take research and academic knowledge to the people of Mississippi. He is responsible for educating producers, retailers, industry personnel and the general public regarding best management and effective practices in the production of an important state commodity. He develops in-service training for area agents and county directors as well as assisting in developing educational programs for the producers themselves. Continued�Our award recipient has been instrumental in redesigning the popular Row Crop Short Course, which started out in 1983 as the Cotton Short Course, and making the course applicable to all row crops grown in Mississippi. The course has been a great success for the MSU Extension Service with large attendance annually and the offerings of lectures on the MSUCares website. Another flagship program that he has been instrumental in promoting is the Mississippi Crop Situation Blog, a collaborative effort between MSU Extension and AgFax Media, reaching thousands of people in recent years. Since starting at MSU in 2003, this agronomist has been active in all three areas of the land-grant mission: teaching, research and extension. Gamma Sigma Delta�s 2014 award for extension efforts goes to Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. ~ ~ ~ Next, Gamma Sigma Delta recognizes outstanding research efforts. Over the last five years, this award recipient has generated more than $2 million in research dollars and has benefitted growers of cotton, corn, soybean, wheat, sweet potatoes, bioenergy feedstocks, wildlife forages and trees. His collaborative research efforts are demonstrated through activities that range from several multistate and multidisciplinary projects to cooperation with extension agents, state and federal agencies and company representatives. Continued� During the past year, he has authored or co-authored 14 professional journal articles/book chapters, six MAFES/Extension publications, and delivered eight scientific presentations to national and international audiences at professional meetings. This agronomic research professor at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station is a faculty member with the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center as well as the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. The 2014 Gamma Sigma Delta award for excellence in research goes to Dr. Mark Shankle. ~ ~ ~ The final Gamma Sigma Delta professional award is for excellence in teaching. This award recipient is a leading voice promoting teaching and research programs in environmental and resource economics. This year�s winner was hired at MSU in 2006 as a natural resource economist with the intent of developing a nationally recognized research/teaching program in resource/environmental economics. He has surpassed expectations and has been instrumental in attracting faculty with similar interests. What really distinguishes him is his ability to manage courses, students and research projects, extracting the best from his students, colleagues and associates. Continued� He has taught five classes critical to the intellectual progression of economics students. In each of the classes, he brings his passion for economics and teaching methods to stimulate students� curiosity and learning. Students often mention his innovation in the classroom combined with his old fashioned use of the board (white or black). He also uses games and experiments to reinforce complex economic principles and force students to participate in the learning process. In addition to his classroom activities, he was the champion behind the development of the Environmental Economics and Management major, which began accepting students in 2009. Last fall, 29 students were in enrolled in EEM. Gamma Sigma Delta recognizes the 2014 recipient for teaching excellence: Dr. Daniel Petrolia. ~ ~ ~ For Gamma Sigma Delta, recognition through academic scholarships are the foundations for successful agricultural careers. This year�s recipients are exceptional students who show promise for influential careers. The Gamma Sigma Delta graduate student scholarship winner is J. Spencer Smith, a master�s student in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Spencer has a 4.0 in agronomy. His thesis is on the use of herbicide safeners to aid in the establishment of three native warm-season grass species. Interestingly, he has a bachelor�s and a master�s degree in philosophy, one from Millsaps College and the other from Western Michigan University. He was nominated by Dr. Brian Baldwin. Our undergraduate recipient of a 2014 scholarship is Justin Hickman, a senior in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Justin is active in the MSU Turf Club and has competed in the annual Turfgrass Bowl, hosted by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. He was nominated by Dr. Jay McCurdy. ~ ~ ~ Congratulations to all of our award and scholarship winners.


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