Category Archives: The W

Local Entrepreneurs Picking Up Steam

Local Entrepreneurs Picking Up Steam

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

MUW played host to a small business seminar Tuesday night, that was put on by BancorpSouth and the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce. The hall was packed with people young and old who wished to learn more about how to go about starting up their own small businesses.

“The majority (who attended) were people who were just thinking about (starting a business) or have ideas to do it and needed to know where to start,” said Emily McConnell, director of programs and events at the CoC. “The seminar was great for that, just in encouraging them to do it, to get out there and try.”

Mary Jennifer Russell (courtesy photo)

One of the featured speakers was Mary Jennifer Russell of New Albany. In 1997, she had been moving from job to job while dabbling in baking on the side, as a way to bring in supplemental income. She gradually grew her business, and, a year after beginning, she had (what was then) her first major sale — ten cakes, sold to a yogurt shop. Fast forward nearly twenty years, and now Russell’s Sugarees Bakery puts out a thousand cakes a week, while employing 37 people. Her story has been featured in publications such as the New York Times and Oprah’s Magazine, and Russel earned her place as this year’s Mississippi Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Person of the Year.

She had this advice to give to people just starting out: “What do you want to see?” she said. “What do you want to smell? Really, really envision it with lots of detail.” She also emphasized the need to keep good books, constantly improving the business even after it’s up and running and – in particular – making sure to take good care of good employees.

Russell went on to offer this piece of advice: “It’s easy enough if you start with low-risk,” she said. “…It can be done. It should be done.” She recommends keeping your old job for as many years as it takes to get the new venture to a profitable stage; it took her four years to do so, herself, resulting in her opening her own dedicated shop after proving that her business concept was viable simply by doing exactly what she set out to do.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy – The more of them we have, the more people who are willing to take on that risk – The more success stories we’ll hear, given time, investment, and a lot of hard work. And that’s Good for Business!

You can read the full article by clicking here.

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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 (niche.com)

Niche.com 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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Nursing Program at The W Named One of the Very Best In Mississippi

Nursing Program at The W Named One of the Very Best In Mississippi

PRESS RELEASE – MISSISSIPPI UNIVERSITY FOR WOMEN

COLUMBUS, Miss —

Success on the National Council Licensure Examination earned Mississippi University for Women’s nursing school a high score from Registerednursing.org.

Ranking The W’s programs No. 2 out of the state’s 23 programs, Registerednursing.org examined the university’s NCLEX-RN pass rates for the past five years with the more recent passing rates weighting more.

“This is a significant recognition of the excellence of our nursing programs and we are honored to continue to gain national recognition,” said Dr. Shelia Adams, dean of the College of Nursing and Speech-Language Pathology. “Our program equips today’s nurses with the skills and knowledge needed to deliver the superior level of care needed in today’s complex healthcare system.”

Registerednursing.org cited that NCLEX-RN pass rates are one of the best ways to determine a nursing program’s student preparedness. If schools had the same overall NCLEX-RN pass rate after being analyzed, additional characteristics were then considered, including the number of students taking the exam and the number of years of exam data available. Of the top ranked schools, The W was the only university to host both an associate of science in nursing and bachelor of science in nursing program.

Scoring a 98.01, RegisteredNursing.org found The W to be home to excellent nursing degree programs where nursing students learn to integrate clinical excellence with advanced practical concepts to advance the nursing profession.

“We are consistently high in all these areas due to the dedicated faculty, staff and department chairs who are willing to mentor and help our students succeed,” added Adams.

Registerednursing.org looks to promote excellence in nursing through enabling future nurses with the tools they need to succeed.

via   http://www.muw.edu/news/4185-website-ranks-w-s-nursing-program-one-of-the-best-in-state

 

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MUW Adds New Member to its Athletic Staff

MUW Adds New Member to its Athletic Staff

The W, which has been beefing up its athletics program recently, just added a new shining star to their pool of talented individuals. Brooke Beasley was both a star athlete, and a star student during her time at Alabama State. She will now use her backgrounds in athletics, accounting, and business to help The W reach even greater heights. She and the school are – without a doubt – good for Columbus, and that’s Good for Business!

MUW – PRESS RELEASE

Columbus, Miss. – W Athletics has named Brooke Beasley as the assistant director of athletics.

Brooke Beaasley, Athletic Director at The W (courtesy photo)

Brooke Beasley, Athletic Director at The W (courtesy photo)

“We are very fortunate to have Brooke join our staff.  Her vast experience working in the business department for athletics at Alabama State and her most recent work in financial aid compliance will be a tremendous asset to our growing staff,” said Jason Trufant.  “A former standout volleyball student-athlete at Alabama State University, Brooke will also assist our women’s volleyball program and head coach Roxanne Hernandez.”

Prior to joining The W, Beasley worked as a compliance specialist at Wallace State Community College where she performed Title IV federal financial aid calculations, monitored compliance with federal and state requirements and assisted students with the day-to-day financial aid process.

“I am excited by the opportunity that The W presents. Reviving an athletics program is a huge undertaking, but it is also very exciting to reestablish something that is such an important part campus,” said Beasley. “The W already has such a rich history, and reestablishing the athletic program is one of those history making moments. Anyone would be blessed to be a part of this amazing opportunity.”

Formerly at Alabama State University, Beasley served as athletics business manager which included reporting monthly and annual expenses forecast and assisting with ticket distribution, game day operations and NCAA compliance.

As a Division I student athlete, Beasley was captain of the Lady Hornet Volleyball team at Alabama State University and named 2012 Southwestern Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year, two-time Southwestern Athletic Conference Champion and Capital One Academic All-District team for two consecutive seasons. As a volleyball player at Wallace State, Beasley was selected for the 2011 ACCC/Region 22 Tournament MVP and 1st team All-Region.

She holds a master of accountancy and bachelor of science in accounting from Alabama State University, where she graduated with a 4.0.

Beasley officially started her role as assistant athletics director on Oct. 24.

http://www.muw.edu/news/3910-beasley-joins-w-athletics-as-assistant-director-of-athletics-2

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MSMS Teacher Wins National Award After Years of Perseverance

Info courtesy of The Dispatch

MSMS teacher Lauren Zarandona, who was first nominated for the national Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in her first year of teaching at the school, has won the award, thanks to her tireless effort and commitment to excellence! She has applied four times, and ended up as a state finalist three of those years, before finally winning the big one this time: “I was excited because I finally did it,” Zarandona said. “This has been an eight-year process for me.” She will accept the award in person in Washington, D.C. during the second week of September, and go home with a ten thousand dollar prize.

Lauren Zarandona, who teaches math at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, has won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, a national award that recognizes math and science teachers. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Lauren Zarandona, who teaches math at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, has won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, a national award that recognizes math and science teachers. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Zarandona has taught math classes at MSMS for eight years, teaching on a variety of subjects, up to and including pre-calculus & Statistics.  “That’s actually really fun as well,” she said. “Kids look forward to it. It’s a pretty popular class.”

“It’s neat when you can capture the imagination of students who don’t consider themselves ‘math people,'” Zarandona said. “I don’t think there’s such thing as a math person, but a lot of people do. They will immediately find out I’m a math teacher and (say), ‘Oh, well, I’m not a math person.’ I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I do know that for those kids, stats and logic and game theory and those other courses can be a way for them to see that maybe they’re better at math than they realized.”

Kelly Brown, director for MSMS academic affairs. Brown called Zarandona “the best of the best . . . She is the perfect person to meet those students wherever they are and help them go where they want next”

You can read the full article here:

http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=52359

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Old Train Depot Renovation Steams Ahead in Preparation for Shops and Apartments

Old Train Depot Renovation Steams Ahead in Preparation for Shops and Apartments

 

Courtesy of The Dispatch

After two years of hard work, California developer/preservationist Gayle Guynup has completed external renovations to the old Train Depot on Main near the W, and will soon begun work on the inside of the dilapidated 130-year-old structure. She stated that, among other major fixes, a new roof was put on the building, along with removal of a secondary structure. Guynup’s intention is to have a few apartments on the upper level, and commercial space on the ground floor; she hopes to have most of it leased out and occupied within nine months. “We would have loved to have had a single tenant that could have taken over the whole property,” she said.

Columbus contractor Gene Reid walks in front of the old depot on Main Street in Columbus Thursday. Finished with exterior renovations, Reid is soon to begin building apartments on the second floor of the historic structure. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Columbus contractor Gene Reid walks in front of the old depot on Main Street in Columbus Thursday. Finished with exterior renovations, Reid is soon to begin building apartments on the second floor of the historic structure. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Gene Reid Construction was responsible for the exterior fixes. “I think right now, we’re tentatively looking at four to five apartments, most likely four,” said Reid, adding once the permits are approved, the apartments should take six to nine months to complete. “What we’re probably going to do is build two small, efficiency-type apartments, plus two to three larger apartments.”

Please see the full article here: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=52147

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Partnership: EMCC and MUW sign new articulation agreement

EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner, left, and MUW President Dr. Jim Borsig formally sign a new articulation agreement to benefit Manufacturing Technology & Engineering graduates from EMCC. (Photo courtesy of MUW University Relations)

EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner, left, and MUW President Dr. Jim Borsig formally sign a new articulation agreement to benefit Manufacturing Technology & Engineering graduates from EMCC. (Photo courtesy of MUW University Relations)

Agreement provides baccalaureate pathway for EMCC’s Manufacturing Technology & Engineering graduates

Press Release date: May 25, 2016 – from EMCC

MAYHEW – An articulation agreement signed today by East Mississippi Community College and Mississippi University for Women will enable EMCC students who have earned Associate of Applied Science degrees in industry and manufacturing areas to transfer seamlessly to MUW.

“EMCC works to give people the tools they need to improve their lives by making it possible for them to build better, stronger career paths,” said EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner.  “Our team at EMCC offers many levels of instruction, from GED programs for people who don’t have high school diplomas to honor programs for university-bound students. Central to this mission is the idea of providing options that allow students to build on an increasingly firm educational foundation. That’s what makes this partnership with MUW so life-changing for our students.”

Under the new articulation agreement, MUW will accept up to 43 technical credits in addition to academic coursework, allowing EMCC’s Manufacturing Technology and Engineering graduates to make the transition more easily and begin working toward a university degree.

EMCC secures $2.7 million grant

Another driving force behind the articulation agreement came from EMCC in the form of a three-year,
$2.7 million grant from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program.

“This grant enabled EMCC to create the Manufacturing Technology and Engineering division three years ago, combining credit and non-credit workforce training,” said Dr. Raj Shaunak, EMCC Vice President for Workforce and Community Services. “Associate degree programs involving modern industry and manufacturing were moved under the MTE umbrella. Since then, the MTE division has also introduced four new programs and created staff positions, called Navigators, who counsel students and help steer their paths as they pursue their American Dream.”

Read the full article here: http://www.eastms.edu/news/Pages/emcc-muw-articulation-may-2016.aspx

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The young people of Columbus are out there, serving our community – literally!

loaves n fishesCOLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) —
 
Students from the W and from West Lowndes HS served folks in need at Loaves and Fishes this past Wednesday, as part of Global Youth Service Day.
 
“When I was first contacted about this, I thought it was about teaching teenagers how to cook something simple, something healthy, to get them away from snack foods and fast food restaurants, but then it turned into a community event,” said Wilson Beck, a chef at Zachary’s.
 
See more at the link below:
http://www.wcbi.com/local-news/video-columbus-students-volunteer-at-food-bank/
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MUW’s Borsig Holds Forth on Plans for the Future

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) –

The Mississippi University for Women is seeking new funding from the State in order to improve its already-noteworthy academic programs even further, according to MUW President Jim Borsig. Enrollment at the school is up over last Spring’s numbers, and Borsig has been stumping at the Capitol quite often to see what can be done to find some extra money in the state’s already-squeezed budget to help out. Among other projects, renovation of the Demonstration School , expansions to the nursing and speech pathology programs, and a new culinary arts building are planned; the W is also searching for a new Athlesic Director, from the pool of over forty applicants thus far.

See the video here at WCBI: http://www.wcbi.com/education/video-muw-president-talks-future-and-growth-on-columbus-campus/

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