Reunion Weekend Alumni Discussion Panels

The MSMS 2017 Reunion Weekend will take place on Friday, March 31 – Saturday, April 1. This year, the MSMS Classes of 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012 will be honored (but ALL MSMS Alumni are invited to attend).

There are several events lined up for this year’s Reunion Weekend, all of which can be learned about here.

For the first time, however, MSMS will host an Alumni Discussion Panel. During the panel, MSMS alumni will have the chance to impart their experience and wisdom with the current MSMS student body.

The panelists will be Geof Morris (’97), Dr. Neeka Sanders (’92), Dr. Sarah Prather (’07), Jennifer Rogers (’97), Dr. Amy Bogan (’92), Michael Counihan (’07), and Juliette Lawrence (’07). Information about each speaker can be found below.

The seminars will take place in Rent Auditorium on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women from 2:30 pm to 3:45 pm.

The Alumni Discussion Panel will be moderated by MSMS Coordinator for Alumni and Public Relations, Wade Leonard.

Geof Morris – Class of 1997

Geof Morris has 15 years of aerospace engineering, project management, and real-time operations experience.  After graduating from MSMS, he finished a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) in mechanical/aerospace engineering (2002), and he has stayed as an active member of the Greater Huntsville community ever since.  He has been a speaker at Ceremony of Lights and has twice been an interviewer for incoming classes.  He and his wife, Danielle, both work at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.  They live in Madison, Alabama, and have one of the cutest rescue dogs north of the Tennessee River.

Dr. Neeka L. Sanders – Class of 1992

Dr. Neeka L. Sanders is a Obstetrician and Gynecologist with the Ob Hospitalist Group. She is based at the North Mississippi Medical Center Women’s Hospital in Tupelo, Mississippi. She is a graduate of Millsaps College and the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Dr. Sarah Prather – Class of 2007

Dr. Sarah Prather is originally from West Point, MS. While at MSMS, Dr. Prather received the Spirit of Community award and served as an Emissary.

She entered into Mississippi State University’s early entry program and completed an MSMS mentorship with an MSU equine surgeon during her junior year. She is a graduate of MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and currently practices in south Alabama.

Dr. Amy Bogan – Class of 1992

Dr. Boggan is a native of Jasper County, Mississippi. She holds a B.A. in political science and minors in piano and speech pathology and audiology from the University of Southern Mississippi. She holds an M.A. in government and politics from the University of Maryland, College Park. During the late 1990s, she served internships with the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After moving to Texas in 2000, she taught geography and humanities in Plano public schools and American government at Collin College.  After returning to graduate study, Dr. Boggan completed an M.S. in applied cognition and neuroscience and a Ph.D. in cognition and neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2012.  She currently is an associate professor in psychology at Young Harris College in the north Georgia mountains. Her research involves perceptual expertise and related topics in cognitive psychology, such as memory and attention. She has presented her research at several professional conferences and is an author on papers appearing in the Journal of Neurosciencethe Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Neuroscience Letters, and Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.  She is an active musician and plays guitar, mandolin, and melodeon for the band Cornbread Ted and the Butterbeans.  In her spare time, she enjoys photographing birds.

Michael Counihan – Class of 2007

Michael is a strategy and operations consultant based in Washington, DC. He graduated from MSMS in 2007 and attended Georgetown University, earning a BSFS in International Political Economy and an MA in Security Studies in 2011. Michael then served as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Officer in the US Army, where he led both reconnaissance and decontamination units. Michael and his wife Sarah Thompson (c/o 2008) live in Baltimore, where Sarah attends Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Juliette Lawrence – Class of 2007

After graduating from MSMS in 2007, Juliette earned a bachelor's degree in English and psychology from the University of Mississippi, where she served as lab coordinator of clinical research in social psychology.

Currently, she is discharge coordinator for Oxford Treatment Center. Juliette works with therapists, patients, and families to place graduates of the Oxford Center’s treatment program into appropriate follow-up care, across the nation and the world.

Jennifer Rogers –  Class of 1997

Jennifer Rogers is the director of the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid. In that role, she oversees administration of a $45 million budget and the state’s 32 student financial aid programs. Since Rogers took leadership of the office in 2009, the Office has reduced its administrative overhead while increasing the number of students eligible for the state’s only need-based grant program by more than 1,000%. Rogers is leading efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of state-supported student financial aid programs with the ultimate goal of

improving college affordability for Mississippi families. Rogers previously led the development efforts for the state’s college access website, (Rise Up!). Rogers is a native of Mississippi. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of the South (Sewanee) in Tennessee and her MBA from Millsaps College in Jackson. When her children Ellen (11) and Gunner (6) are just a bit older, she fully intends to return to the classroom for her terminal degree!

MSMS Students Stack Awards at MMSC

MSMS racked up EIGHT awards at this year’s Mississippi Model Security Council. During the MMSC, students from across the state act as mock-delegates who represent different countries.

The students debate and negotiate to best position their countries and the world at large. The group is sponsored by MSMS social science instructor, Julie Heintz.

  • Caleb Eubanks – Best Delegation
  • Tyler Hartman and Achintya Prasad – Best Resolution
  • Alex Monterde and Caleb Robinson – Best Delegation
  • Sydney Matrisciano and Pal Patel – Best Delegation
  • Keegan Lindsey – Best Resolution
  • Greg Billingsley and Samuel Patterson – Best Delegation
  • Mayukh Datta and Mikel Sandifer – Best Delegation
  • Braeden Foldenauer – Best Delegation

MSMS Students Win Gold Medal for National German Exam

MSMS seniors Alex Leise and Daniel Cieslinski recently learned that they both are winners of National German Exam Gold Medals. Leise and Cieslinski both scored within the upper 94th percentile of the 20,000 students who took this year’s exam. Both are students of Lori LeVar Pierce’s German class.

According to the NGE press release: The National German Exam, now in its 57th year, rewards students through an extensive prize program and provide a means of comparing students in all regions of the US. Hal Boland, teacher of German at Heritage High School in Leesburg, Virginia and AATG President said, “The outstanding performance of these German students in our national competition brings honor to their school, their district, and their German program. The AATG salutes their tremendous accomplishment and the great worktheir teachers do.”

Founded in 1926, the AATG represents German teachers at all levels of instruction. The AATG is dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the teaching of language, literature, and culture of the German‐speaking countries.

MSMS Take Prizes at Business Competition

MSMS wishes to congratulate those who participated in the Future Business Leaders of America Northern District Competition in February! Along with MSMS student and state FBLA president Brianna Ladnier, all the students who competed were great representatives of MSMS! The results were:

1st place in Marketing- Sophia Ali, Calisa Henry, Devon Matheny
1st place in Word Processing- Aurelia Caine
3rd place in Accounting- Anna Katherine Overstreet

These students will go on to compete at the state conference in April!

MSMS Hosts Chess Tournament

MSMS hosted a Mississippi Scholastic Chess Association tournament Saturday, Feb. 25. 71 students from all areas of the state participated. Braedon Foldenhauer, Spencer Bolhuis, Gary Nguyen, Andy Zhao, and William Johnson were the MSMS students who played. Braedon finished second in the high school division, and Spencer finished third. Scholarships to MSMS summer camps were awarded to the first and second place winners in the K-7 and K-9 divisions. Emisaries helped with the tournament and conducted tours of the school for prospective students and their parents.

MSMS Step Teams Take Home Prizes

The MSMS Blu Diamondz and Blu Knights strutted their stuff at the recent Back to Basics Black History Step and Dance Competition.

The ladies of the Blue Diamondz stepped their way to first place and the the young men of the Blue Knights landed an impressive third.

The event was held at Nissan Auditorium on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women and was sponsored by Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Two MSMS Mock Trial Teams Progress to State

For the fifth year in a row, MSMS will send two teams to the state mock trial competition in Jackson, Mississippi. The following students argued their way onto state: Campbell Rolph, Claudia Vial, Emily Shy, Hayden Stokley, Kennedy Laporte, Mariana Strawn, Mariat Thankachan, Mari Lampkin, Nayan Chawlan, Reyan Grimes, Samuel Patterson, Ta'kiya Leach, and Tija Johnson.

Congratulations to these junior litigators, and join us in wishing them well at the state competition!

MSMS Students Win Awards for Visual Arts

Vivienne Tenev won a Golden Key for her piece, "Home Sweet Home."

Vivienne Tenev won a Golden Key for her piece, "Home Sweet Home."

Once again, MSMS students prove they are capable of extraordinary feats in fields beyond math and science.

Several MSMS students recently found they were winners of the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest for their work in the visual arts.

Vivienne Tenev won a Golden Key for her piece "Home Sweet Home." Sophia Ali Won a Silver Key for Gondola".  Haydn Schroader won a Silver Key for "Nap Time".  Rebecca Chen won an Honorable Mention for "Christmas in New York" and Hayden Schroader won an Honorable Mention for "Time".

"I am so proud of our students for showing their amazing talent and dedication to the arts," said MSMS visual arts instructor Angie Jones.

Tenev's work will be judged at the national competition in Washington, D.C. All the winners work will be on display at the Mississippi Museaum of Art in Jackson through April 2.

The winners were chosen from 2,000 works submitted across the state.

MSMS Hosts Local Industry Guests

From left: Dr. Heather Hanna, Wrishija Roy, Braeden Foldenhaur, Kebebe Wilson, Dr. Germain McConnell, Chinwe Udemgba, and Claudia Vial.

From left: Dr. Heather Hanna, Wrishija Roy, Braeden Foldenhaur, Kebebe Wilson, Dr. Germain McConnell, Chinwe Udemgba, and Claudia Vial.

From left: Dr. Heather Hanna, Tia Wilson, Kim Richardson, Emily Shy, and Dr. Germain McConnell.

From left: Dr. Heather Hanna, Tia Wilson, Kim Richardson, Emily Shy, and Dr. Germain McConnell.

MSMS recently hosted two leaders of Mississippi industry.

Ms. Kebebe Wilson, Human Resources Manager at Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi, LLC, in West Point, paid a visit to the MSMS campus on January 27. Ms. Wilson met with MSMS administrators and students and toured the school’s academic facilities, including the Engineering and Innovations Lab.

Ms. Kim Richardson, Assistant Director of the North Mississippi Industrial Development Association, also visited the MSMS campus on February 9. She, too, met with school administrators and students and had an opportunity to view classes in progress. Ms. Richardson works with businesses seeking to locate in North Mississippi.

MSMS seeks to form enhanced business partnerships to acquaint students with innovative state-level internship and career opportunities and to increase awareness among Mississippi industries of the talent fostered by the school. MSMS serves as one important piece of Mississippi’s high-tech workforce pipeline.

Embracing Service With Food And Fellowship

Pictured (left to right) Hannah Craft, Stephen Oversen, Madalyn Coln, Joy Payne, and Melisha Hester, RN, in CCU. 

Pictured (left to right) Hannah Craft, Stephen Oversen, Madalyn Coln, Joy Payne, and Melisha Hester, RN, in CCU. 

On February 15, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science Food and Fellowship Club members delivered care packages for patients in the critical care unit of the Baptist Memorial Hospital in Columbus. The students donated items such as coloring books, soap, cotton swabs and markers for the patients; prepackaged snacks and drinks were left in the family waiting rooms. Also, each care package included a handmade "Get Well Soon" card. This was one of the club's service projects themed around sharing hope and care towards patients who need to the most. 

MSMS Student Organization WILL Featured in the News

The WILL reading group. Courtesy of the Commercial Dispatch.

The WILL reading group. Courtesy of the Commercial Dispatch.

The Commercial Dispatch recently ran a story featuring the work of the MSMS organization WILL (Women Influencing Lives Through Literature).

The group spends time each week discussing books with middle school aged girls at Columbus Middle School. The group was started by MSMS alumnae Emma Thompson in 2013. You can read the story about the incredible work of this organization by clicking here or on the photo above.

MSMS Alumnus Wins Gates-Cambridge Scholarship

MSMS graduate Lucas Ferguson. Photo courtesy the Commercial Dispatch.

MSMS graduate Lucas Ferguson. Photo courtesy the Commercial Dispatch.

A graduate of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science is the first Mississippi State University student in history to win the prestigious Gates-Cambridge Scholarship.

Lucas Ferguson, who is originally from Batesville, graduated from MSMS in 2013. The scholarship will allow him to spend the next few years studying at the postgraduate level at the University of Cambridge in England.

You can read more about Lucas by clicking here.

MSMS Alumnus Terrence Johnson Featured on National Public Radio

2014 MSMS graduate Terrence Johnson. Photo Courtesy National Public Radio. 

2014 MSMS graduate Terrence Johnson. Photo Courtesy National Public Radio. 

A graduate of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science was recently featured on National Public Radio.

Terrence Johnson, who graduated from MSMS in 2014, was the subject of Our Land, a special series by NPR special correspondent Melissa Block.

You can read and listen to the story about the Ole Miss junior and Noxubee County native by clicking here.

MSMS Mu Alpha Theta Math Tournament

Derivatives, identities, and square roots, oh my!

On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 600 of Mississippi’s top high school mathematicians took part in the annual mu-alpha-theta math tournament hosted by the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

“They do win medals and trophies, but the big thing for us really is not about the trophies, it’s about getting people excited about mathematics,” said MSMS Director for Academic Affairs, Kelly Brown.

More than a dozen public and private schools from all over Mississippi took part in the event. These mathletes competed to see who could solve mathematical puzzles the fastest, answer the most questions correctly, and generally show their mathematical mastery.

“A lot of the students are having fun and we are having fun,” said MSMS student Ariel Williams. “It’s cool to see it all work together, because it’s been a year in the making. We have a nice system that flows pretty effortlessly.”

MSMS students do not compete in the event, rather, the school’s students facilitate the tournament and create the puzzles and questions the competitors must solve.

“You have so many people rushing to get in an answer. You really have to stay on your toes and pay attention to make sure you know who got it in first,” said MSMS student David Thaggard.

The math tournament, which began shortly after MSMS was founded in 1987, is the school’s longest-lived outreach program.

This year’s top prize for overall success was Jackson Prep. Northwest Rankin High School took second and St. Andrews took third.

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science is Mississippi’s only public, residential high school specifically designed to meet the needs of the state’s most academically gifted and talented. For more information about MSMS, please visit