What's New at MSMS

The Brainstorm

MSMS Students Win Region V Science and Engineering Fair

Helen Peng and Hamilton Wan, current juniors at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science recently competed in the Region V Mississippi Science and Engineering Fair at Mississippi State University. Mr. Wan’s project was entitled, “Development of an Influenza A Biosensor with Sialic Acid-bound Gold Nanoparticles,” and focused on the creation of a biosensor to aid in flu detection. He won Best of Show and will represent MSMS at the Intel International Science Fair in Pittsburg, PA May 13-19. Additionally, Mr. Wan received the Ricoh Development Award and the Genius Olympiad Award for his novel research project.

Ms. Peng’s research project was entitled, “Optimal Photo-Reactors for the Improvement of Solar Water Disinfection with the Advanced Oxidation Process,” and focused on the addition of Trombe-Meinel Cusp photo-reflector to enhance the efficiency of solar water disinfection. Ms. Peng was awarded 2nd Alternate for Best of Show and also received the Stockholm Water Award.

Both Ms. Peng and Mr. Wan will compete in the State Level Science and Engineering Fair at Jackson State University on April 5, 2018.

Julia MorrisonComment
MSMS Headed to the National Science Bowl in Washington D.C.

This past Friday, February 16, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science sent two teams of current juniors and seniors to compete in the Mississippi Regional Science Bowl at the Mississippi University for Women. The Regional Science Bowl is a tournament-style academic competition open to 9-12 graders across the state of Mississippi and is intended to test students’ knowledge and application of a broad range of science and mathematics subjects. Both teams competed in a variety of qualifying rounds and advanced to single elimination rounds until they were the last two teams standing. In an exciting and nerve-racking final round, both MSMS teams faced off against one another to determine the winner of the Mississippi Regional Science Bowl. In the end, MSMS Team One comprised of Yousef Abu-Salah, William Johnson, Hamilton Wan, Gary Nguyen, and Maria Kaltchenko defeated MSMS Team Two comprised of Harpreet Singh, Vivienne Tenev, Dev Jaiswal, Michelle Luo, and Indu Nandula. Both teams were excellent competitors and demonstrated academic prowess and great sportsmanship.  

MSMS Team One will travel to Washington, D.C. in April to compete in the National Science Bowl. There, MSMS will face-off against teams from all across the United States in several face-paced question and answer rounds testing understanding and application of key areas of science such as biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, and energy.

A special thank you to Dr. Bill Odom and Dr. Lib Morgan for serving as the Science Bowl advisors and coaches.

Join us in congratulating Yousef, William, Hamilton, Gary, and Maria for their recent triumph at the Regional Science Bowl and wish them luck at the National Science Bowl!

Julia MorrisonComment
MSMS Junior, Lori Feng, Recognized as 2018 Starkville Distinguished Young Woman

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science would like to congratulate Ms. Lori Feng, current junior at MSMS, on her recent honor of being named the 2018 Starkville Distinguished Young Woman. In addition, Ms. Feng also received recognition in the areas of overall talent, overall scholastic, and overall self-expression. Ms. Feng was also awarded first place in the Be Your Best Self essay competition. Ms. Feng won a $2,000.00 scholarship from the national Distinguished Young Women organization and was honored at an event this past Saturday at Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall.

Like many MSMS students, Ms. Feng is the epitome of a well-rounded students. While students come to MSMS with an expressed interest in mathematics and science, the challenging coursework, phenomenal teaching staff, depth and breadth of extracurriculars, and access to broader Golden Triangle business community encourages excel in all areas.  

Julia MorrisonComment
Public Radio International Features Mississippi Family to Discuss the Unique Difficulties Facing H-1B Visa Holders and Their Families

Earlier this winter, Sonia Paul and Karen Pulfer Focht from Public Radio International traveled to Mississippi to conduct an in-depth interview with Chinmoyee Datta and her husband Mihir Datta, parents of Mayukh Datta, a 2017 MSMS graduate. The Dattas are permanent residents in the United States and teach in the Durant Public School District. Public Radio International was interested in writing a story about the unique position H-1B visa holders are in as their children, who spent the majority of their youth in the United States, explore their college options. In her eye-opening story, Ms. Paul details the precarious position many H-1B visa holders and their families find themselves in as they think through their children’s post-secondary options. To access the full story, visit

While the article sheds light on many realities facing students applying to college as permanent residents, the article does not thoroughly reflect the wealth of information and resources available to international students through the MSMS Counseling Center. In recent years, MSMS counselors have developed a variety of resources and professional contacts to help navigate international students through the challenge of college admissions. In many cases, different schools have different policies in place to determine how they handle classify students under H-1B status who are currently awaiting a green card. Regardless of the situation, the MSMS Counseling Office is here to arm students with the information and resources they need to be successful. 

Julia MorrisonComment
MSMS Counseling Center Seeks RAMP Certification
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In celebration of National School Counselors Week, we sat down with Dr. Tylon Crook and Dr. Heath Stevens, professional school counselors here at The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science to get their perspectives on the impact and importance of the work they do.

The MSMS School Counseling Program focuses on preparing students within a residential environment with the skills, knowledge, and awareness needed for life-long learning and success. To enhance student success at MSMS and beyond, Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens offer a comprehensive counseling program that focuses on three main areas—academic development, college and career preparedness, and personal/social growth. While Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens offer the types of programs and supports you would see in a traditional K-12 environment such as academic skills support, organizational, study, and test taking assistance, college and scholarship preparedness, and career awareness, exploration, and planning, they also deliver equally robust offerings in the areas of personal and social growth. These services and areas of expertise include multicultural and diversity awareness, communication, problem solving, decision-making, and conflict resolution training, and leadership development. They also conduct a variety of individual counseling sessions based on the specific needs of each student. In addition, Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens each write over 100 letters of recommendations for seniors customized to each specific student and the program or scholarship they are applying for!

Currently, The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science Counseling Center is working diligently to achieve certification as a Recognized American School Counselor Association Program (RAMP). RAMP certification is the gold standard among comprehensive, data-driven school counseling programs. Under Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens’ leadership, the MSMS Counseling Program has become a shining example for the state of Mississippi, meeting and exceeding all recommendations made by the state. Achieving RAMP certification would add additional credibility to the MSMS Counseling Program and further define it as the pillar of excellence that it has come to be. Once a school begins the RAMP certification process, they must take at least one full academic year to collect and track relevant data points and student outcomes in order to leverage that information to quantify the success of a counseling program. Dr. Stevens and Dr. Crook are in the process of arduously collecting and analyzing data to support the overwhelming success of the MSMS Counseling Program.

Both Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens came to MSMS with a depth and breadth of experience as counselor educators at the university level and as mental health counselors. Additionally, the are both actively involved in the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and are committed to advancing their profession in the state and the nation. To that end, they both participate in a wide variety of seminars and trainings, often serving as key note speakers and subject matter experts in the areas of academic counseling, mental health, and social emotional growth and development. Similarly, they both enjoy strong partnerships with networks of colleges and universities across the United States. Through these partnerships, Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens have been able to spread awareness about the uniqueness of the student population here at MSMS as well as make valuable connections to facilitate student interest in a wider range of universities and colleges. In addition to participation and leadership in the ASCA, state and national outreach, and donating their time and expertise to improve other counseling programs, Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens are both actively involved in the extracurricular offerings at MSMS. Dr. Crook sponsors the newly created Black Student Alliance. Dr. Stevens sponsors the Analog Game Club and the Photography Club.

You don’t have to spend much time with Dr. Stevens and Dr. Crook to know how committed they are to their profession and how seriously they take their mission enhance and encourage the success of students here at MSMS and beyond. Every student who comes through the door at MSMS is impacted by the work Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens do. As a school community, we are lucky to have not one, but two outstanding professional counselors to call our own.

Julia MorrisonComment