MSU and EMCC Working Together to Take Advantage of $3.11 Million Grant for Cybersecurity Scholarship

MSU and EMCC Working Together to Take Advantage of $3.11 Million Grant for Cybersecurity Scholarship

STARKVILLE, Miss.— Courtesy of EMCC

MSU and EMCC are joining forces to help educate highly-qualified students about cybersecurity, thanks to a $3.11 million grant from the National Science Foundation. MSU will be awarding two dozen of these highly-competitive scholarships to both their own students, and to a select few EMCC students who will be continuing their study in the field at MSU after graduating from EMCC. The end goal is to prepare these students with a thorough grounding in their chosen field, so that they may work as cybersecurity government experts as soon as possible after graduation.

“Mississippi State is a national leader in training top cybersecurity professionals, many of whom are on the front lines today fighting wide-ranging cyber threats in the private and public sectors, including very significant challenges to our national security,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “This grant will enable MSU, in partnership with EMCC, to further strengthen these important efforts.” “Mississippi State is a national leader in training top cybersecurity professionals, many of whom are on the front lines today fighting wide-ranging cyber threats in the private and public sectors, including very significant challenges to our national security,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “This grant will enable MSU, in partnership with EMCC, to further strengthen these important efforts.”

“These dollars will open doors for many outstanding students to seek education and employment in the expanding and vitally important field of cybersecurity,” EMCC President Thomas M. Huebner said. “We could not be more pleased than to partner with MSU and believe it will pay dividends for our students, the industries we serve, and the state of Mississippi.”

MSU is among the nation’s most prolific in terms of CyberCorps students, and the school has also been the source of over 70 peer-reviewed publications on the subject.

Please click here for the full article.

For more on the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program, visit






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Enterprising Local Businessman Making a Living Reselling Old Housing Materials


Enterprising Local Businessman Making a Living Reselling Old Housing Materials

COLUMBUS – The Dispatch

Columbus native Jacob Parnell has be running a successful business for the past three years that purchases unwanted, reclaimed constructions materials from older demolished houses and resells them to interested buyers. Things such as timbers from as little as a century ago, bricks, and other handcrafted bits and pieces, etc.,  have all proven very popular: “I’ve got stuff spread around all over the place,” he said.

Parnell went on to say that he hopes to move to a larger warehouse facility in a year or so.

Jacob Parnell of Mississippi Reclaimed (courtesy photo)

Others have also followed in his footsteps, albeit on a smaller scale. Kathy Arinder, director of the Columbus-Lowndes Habitat for Humanity, did so earlier this year. The owner of a large 1880’s-era house on 7th Street donated it to Habitat; Arinder and the Habitat board decided to salvage the house and resell the usable materials at their Gardner Ave location; it took about three months to complete the salvage operation.

Arinder said the store had sold the last of the material earlier this month: “I knew this stuff would be popular,” she said. “But I had no idea how popular it really was. It just flew out of our store.”

Pannell was one of the major buyers from this reclamation: “I bought quite a lot of their stuff,” he said.

He explained how he got started: “My mom had an old brick building that was falling apart,” Pannell said. “I knew that the bricks could be resold. So I tore the building down, salvaged what I could.”

He went on to explain that getting materials isn’t all that hard in the area, but that transporting them is very expensive. As a result, he has switched from an all-in-one service (demolition, hauling off, etc) to one where he simply buys and resells the materials.

His website can be found at

For the full article, click here

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Report Says CAFB has had $260+ Million Impact on Local Area

Report Says CAFB has had $260+ Million Impact on Local Area

COLUMBUS – The Dispatch

14th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. Douglas Gosney recently announced the findings of a report on CAFB’s economic impact on the area to the Base Community Council, showing an increase of over $11 million as compared to last year. Much of the increase came in the form of salaries issued to new civil service workers filling vacant positions on-base, and to raises for airmen who had increased in rank over the past year. Other sources included things such as new construction, street maintenance and repair, vehicle maintenance, and jobs created in the local area which are auxiliary to the base’s needs.

Col. Douglas Gosney, CAFB (photo credit: The Dispatch)

“These are jobs that come into the community as a result of the increased population of Columbus Air Force Base and our airmen living in and around the area,” Gosney said. “You need extra teachers, you need extra doctors, you need extra restaurant staff, just from the increased population.”

He went on to stress the importance of maintaining positive relationships with the people of our area: “As proud as we are of the economic boost that this base brings to the community, we’re really more proud of the relationships and the support that we show for each other,” he said. “Neither of us could be as good at what we do without the support from the other . . . [I]t’s nice that we bring a lot of money to the area, but we’re really just proud that of those relationships. We’re proud to be part of this community. We’re proud that you welcome us into your homes, your schools and your churches and we can’t thank you enough for that.”

For the full article: please click here




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Inventive MSU Students Turning Golf Carts into Gold

Inventive MSU Students Turning Golf Carts into Gold

STARKVILLE, MS – Starkville Daily News

CFO Cameron Maddox, 19, left, and COO James Moore, 19, of Cowbell Carts (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)

MSU students Sophomores James Moore and Cameron Maddox are launching Starkville’s first micro-transportation system, called “Cowbell Carts.” Each of their two carts (at the moment) can seat six passengers comfortably, and the young men plan to use them to help people travel safely during busy times hours, e.g. acting as designated drivers, shuttling people to big games from distant parking lots, etc. Their initial coverage area will include primarily MSU’s campus, the Cotton District, and Main Street. The cost for a ride for a group of people from Main Street to the dorms will be about $8 total.

“I think we are really going to provide a service that not only makes everyone safer, but it’s going to be really fun and entertaining,” Moore said. He went on to say that their company was inspired by the observation that college towns, such as Starkville, tend to have a vibrant night life; thus, the decision was made to offer a low-cost, safe way to get people where they’re going while they’re out on the town.

While not everyone has been as enthusiastic about the prospects for such a business, their professors and the college have given them valuable criticism and supported their idea: “We try to take the criticism as constructive,” Moore said. “I’ve been relying heavily on people that have much more experience than I do.”

While they plan to keep it a 2-man operation at first, in order to test the waters, they plan to expand once football season begins. They know that the road ahead is uncertain – as they need to balance their new jobs with their scholastix endeavors – but they are confident that they can pull this off, and they are willing to work hard in order that they succeed on both fronts: “When you’re thinking of the idea, let your head go to the clouds,” Maddox said. “But when it comes down to actually making the business, you’ve got to be on the ground.”

Cowbell Carts is projected to have a ribbon cutting ceremony sometime between Aug. 7 and Aug 11. The company will begin immediately when school starts back for Mississippi State students this fall.

“I’m obviously incredibly excited for this to be here, not just because it’s my business but it’s something that Starkville doesn’t have and Starkville needs,” Moore said. “I think Starkville and the campus is going to see a lot of good come out of this.”

Business hours will be every Thursday through Saturday from 6 P.M. to 2 A.M.

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MSMS Ranked as One of the Best Public High Schools in the Nation

MSMS Ranked as One of the Best Public High Schools in the Nation

Columbus, MS ( recently published their annual rankings for the top public high schools in the country, using data gather primarily by the US Department of Education. Among the standouts was Columbus’ own Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS), which earned a top-ten finish, coming in as the 8th best in the nation, beating out over 900 other public, charter, and magnet schools it was competing against. The hard work of the faculty, staff, and students all contributed towards this victory, and they should all be commended for it.

Among the criteria used were: Academic record of the students (based mainly on SAT/ACT/state assessment scores; this represents 60% of the total score); followed by teacher pay and ratings, cultural diversity, parental and student ratings of the teachers and the school, which all contributed to the score; as well as other criteria such as availability of clubs and other extracurricular activities, health & safety, sports, and the facilities themselves.

You can see the full ratings and reviews for all of the schools – not just MSMS – as well as a detailed breakdown of how the data was used and the scores were calculated by clicking here.

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MSMS’ Reserve Fund Running on Fumes, Thanks to State Budget Cuts

MSMS’ Reserve Fund Running on Fumes, Thanks to State Budget Cuts

Courtesy of the Dispatch –

Even as people recognize MSMS for its contributions to society and the excellence of its students, the state Legislature slashes its funding to dangerous levels.

Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science executive director Germain McConnell recently spoke to the Columbus Rotarians about the future of the school that has done so much for our community and our state. MSMS, which is located on the Mississippi University for Women campus, is a residential, state-funded school that aims to educate gifted 11th- and 12th-grade students from across Mississippi with emphasis in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies. The school is tuition-free, aside from a $500 per semester charge for room and board that only applies to students who don’t qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch program.

Germain McConnell, executive director of Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, talks with Roger Burlingame, right, after speaking during the Columbus Rotary Club’s meeting at Lion Hills Center in Columbus on Tuesday. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

McConnell stated that the school which normally operates at a loss of $100~150 thousand per year, was approved by the state legislature for a budget that was cut by $168,400 less to MSMS for 2017-18 than it did for the previous year. The school will need to make up for the difference from its reserve fund, which is intended for facility upgrades and emergency funding; the account is down to about $1.2 million as it stands: “If something catastrophic happens to our facilities, that (reserve) money is all we have to deal with that,” he said.

If the balance drops below $1 million, McConnel went on to say, the result could be cuts in faculty funding, which would mean a “drastic” reduction in the already limited number of students MSMS can admit; they have already had to lower admissions for the upcoming year, allowing for 235 total students out of their potential capacity of 300. The school had to eliminate three non-teaching staff positions to make up for the shortfall caused by the budget cut; he and some others are now redoubling their efforts to get the funding level back up to at least what it was in the 2016-17 level.

“People here (in Columbus) understand the value we add to the community, and we’re hoping they help us get our message to the ears of the people who make the (budget) decisions,” McConnell told The Dispatch after the Rotary meeting. “This school is a beacon of light for the state of Mississippi. We’ve utilized our resources wisely. If we want to continue doing what we do and offering those opportunities to students in the future, the state of Mississippi needs to begin investing in MSMS a lot more.”


Please click here for the full article, along with what YOUR elected state representatives have to say on the matter.

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MSMS Recognized For its Benefit to the Area

MSMS Recognized For its Benefit to the Area

Courtesy of WCBI –

Dr. Germaine McConnell, the executive director of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science on Tuesday with regard to the positive effects the school has had on both its students, and on the area in general. MSMS is a specialized, college-prep school for advanced high-school students that enrolls them in college-level courses for college credit at The W.

“This is a life changing experiment,” said Dr. McConnell. “Not only are we providing them with challenging and rigorous course work, but the things that happen outside of the classroom makes such a big difference. The residential environment, them being around other students who are like them, like-minded and learning from each other, I think really adds the greatest value and that’s something that can’t be duplicated.”

For information about the school, visit

For the full article, and a video, please click here.


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Local Port, Airports Among Grant Recipients Aimed at Improving GTR Transport Infrastructure

Local Port, Airports Among Grant Recipients Aimed at Improving GTR Transport Infrastructure

Courtesy of Carl Smith/The Starkville Dispatch –

Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert (courtesy photo)

Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert recently announced that the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be providing upwards of $660 thousand in grants intended to help with transportation improvements in the GTR area. Beneficiaries of these grants are to be statewide – e.g.,  railroads, public transportation networks, ports, local airports, and more; the local area had these four major recipients, alongside others:  Columbus-Lowndes County Airport, Golden Triangle Regional Airport, Lowndes County Port and Starkville-Mississippi State University Area Rapid Transit (SMART) system.

“Each of these modes of transportation plays a vital role in transporting people, goods and services that promote economic growth and development throughout Mississippi,” Tagert said in a release. “Mississippi no longer competes regionally, but on a global level. Investing in local and municipal airports supports global economic development and logistics. Improving our ports and rail system allows appropriate amounts agricultural products to be transported in a safer, more environmentally friendly manner, while reducing maintenance costs on roads and bridges.”

“Considering if there’s an incident at the airport, numerous agencies will be responding. This network is needed since it allows everyone to be on the same page,” GTRA Executive Director Mike Hainsey said. “The biggest thing we’re focusing on with it is the terminal, which has a lot of metal on the inside. We’re going to install a repeater system to make sure everything works as it’s supposed to there.”


Please click here to view the full article.

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Fox Onsite at MSU for an Article About ASSURE


Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

The Fox Business Network was on the MSU campus Friday, getting footage for the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), for a story scheduled to air this coming Monday at 4:30PM on Fox Business. ASSURE, an international coalition of universities, is managed by MSU. Their Deputy Director, Steve “Lux” Luxion said that “MSU has taken a leadership role, and it’s got to be recognized . . . When Fox News comes to do a story about the progress, it’s a win.”

Fox News also covered UAS research at MSU, and went to North Farm to take a look at drones used for crop surveyal: “Increasingly, people are beginning to figure out that drones can do many things more efficiently and safely,” Luxion said.

He went on to say that many jobs currently (or formerly) performed by manned aircraft that might end up being done by drones in the future include those which are hazardous, dirty, or just plain monotonous, including routine surveys and hazardous material applications.

Please click here for the full article

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Columbus To Get New Places To Go To For Fresh Burgers And Trucker Service

Courtesy of The Dispatch


Wythe Rhett of Rhett Real Estate recently confirmed that Cook Out, the North Carolina-based burger chain that set up a successful location in Starkville about a year ago, plans to open a location in North Columbus. Cook Out recently finalized the purchase of the old Immanuel Baptist Church property on 18th Ave N, which had not been in use in the past two years.  Their current intention is to “demolish the (church) building and carve out enough of the property to put Cook Out on, then look at the possibility of adding another motel or strip (mall).”

Cook Out eateries are known for grilled burgers, barbecue and more than 40 kinds of milkshakes. The Starkville location employs approximately 50 and is open 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 a.m.-4 a.m. Friday-Saturday. This would be the fourth Cook Out location in the state, joining its over 170 brethren nationwide.


The Volume Freight shipping company, owned by Doug Estes, is currently building a new steel structure on Hwy 82 near the Vibrant Church West location. The finished building will serve as a two-floor terminal with a three-vehicle bay shop to maintain Volume’s fleet of 65 trucks. Next up once that’s ready is a planned 150-thousand square foot warehouse and approximately 35 new trucks. The company employs about 80 drivers, who service the contiguous 48 states, plus about eight local mechanics; roughly half of the trucks  are based locally, as well. Volume Freight, a local company, has been in business since 1988.



Please click here to see the full article.

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