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MSU faculty research featured in Science magazine

MSU News - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 4:58pm
Farshid Vahedifard

Contact: Allison Matthews

Farshid Vahedifard

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State University assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering is the lead author on a letter published last week [Aug. 21] in Science magazine.

Farshid Vahedifard, an MSU Bagley College of Engineering faculty member since 2012, is lead author on the letter titled “Drought threatens California’s levees,” which may be viewed at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6250/799.1.full. Additional authors are Amir AghaKouchak of University of California, Irvine, and MSU civil engineering graduate student Joe D. Robinson of Meridian, Vahedifard’s advisee.

The letter discusses the threats that ongoing extreme drought poses on California’s levee systems and highlights an urgent need to invest in research regarding the vulnerabilities of these systems under extreme climatic events. Earthen levees protect dry land from floods and function as water storage and management systems, the letter states. Vahedifard points to a 2011 report by the California Department of Water Resources which says that over 21,000 kilometers of earthen levees deliver approximately two-thirds of potable water to more than 23 million Californians and protect more than $47 billion worth of homes and businesses from flooding.

However, current drought conditions pose “a great risk to an already endangered levee system,” the authors warn. Drought conditions – and particularly drought ensued by heavy rainfall and flooding – may cause similar catastrophic failures in California’s levee systems as seen in 2008 along river banks of the Murray River at the peak of Australia’s Millennium Drought and in 2003 in the Netherlands’ Wilnis Levee.

Vahedifard, who completed a second master’s degree and his doctoral work in civil engineering at the University of Delaware after completing previous academic work in Iran, said the commentary is important because there is very little information published about the effect of drought on the performance of critical infrastructures. The civil engineer who specializes in geotechnical engineering added that the National Levee Database shows that only around 10 percent of U.S. levees are rated as “acceptable,” with the rest being rated as “minimally acceptable” or “unacceptable,” indicating that the levee has a minor deficiency or the levee cannot serve as a reliable flood protection structure, respectively.

In California, a vast quantity of levee systems are currently rated as “high hazard,” meaning they are in serious danger of failing during an earthquake or flood event. This indicates that the resilience of these levee systems is a major concern without even considering the effects of the ongoing extreme drought, Vahedifard said. Prolonged droughts threaten the stability of levee systems by inducing soil cracking, increased water seepage through soil, soil strength reduction, soil organic carbon decomposition, land subsidence and erosion, he explained.

“When you have a marginal system, then you just need the last straw to create a failure,” Vahedifard said.

He began research related to climate change and its impact on critical infrastructure with his colleague AghaKouchak, a hydrologist, since 2013. They hypothesized that California’s current extreme drought will accelerate the ongoing land subsidence—or sinking. Recently, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology published a report that shows the Central Valley is undergoing an unprecedented subsidence period of as much as two inches per month in some locations.

“This is exactly what we predicted, that this drought would lead to increased land subsidence,” Vahedifard said. The danger, he explained, is that it increases the risk of water rising over the top of the levees.

“At MSU, I have been working on quantitatively assessing the resilience and vulnerability of critical infrastructure to extreme events under a changing climate. While several large-scale studies have been conducted to evaluate various aspects and implications of climate change, there is a clear gap in the state of our knowledge in terms of characterizing uncertainty in climate trends and incorporating such findings into engineering practice for planning and designing critical infrastructure,” Vahedifard said.

“An improved understanding of the resilience of critical infrastructure under a changing climate indisputably involves many authoritative and complex technical aspects. It also requires close collaboration between decision makers, engineers, and scientists from various fields including climate science, social science, economics and disaster science. Community engagement and public risk education also are key to enhancing the resilience of infrastructure to climate change,” he added.

“The impacts of climate change on infrastructure pose a multi-physics problem involving thermo-hydro-mechanical processes in different scales. Further research can help communities and decision makers toward developing appropriate climate change adaptation and risk management approaches,” he said.

He emphasized that design and monitoring guidelines may need to be modified to ensure resilient infrastructure against extreme events under a changing climate.

MSU is Mississippi’s flagship research university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

MSU, SEC To Honor Mike Slive With Prostate Cancer Awareness Game

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 1:00pm
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Southeastern Conference will help raise awareness of prostate cancer prevention and honor former commissioner Mike Slive, who battled the disease during his athletics administration career, with Prostate Cancer Awareness Games on each of the 14 league campuses during the month of September.

MSU Bulldogs In The NFL

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 11:59am
Below is a list of former Mississippi State student-athletes who are currently on NFL rosters.

Chiropractors Offer Advice to Those With Diabetes

Lifestyles - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 8:23am

(NewsUSA) - If current trends hold, 1 in 5 Americans will have diabetes by 2025 -- and 1 in 3 by about a generation after that.

So says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which rightly calls the figures "alarming." But when you think about our lifestyles -- too often sedentary, with unhealthy diets -- should we really be that surprised?

"We simply cannot sustain this trajectory," says the agency's Dr. Ann Allbright.

Certainly genes also play a role in explaining why 29.1 million Americans already suffer from the disease. It's characterized by the body's inability to produce, or properly use, the hormone insulin that's needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy.

But when it comes to those lifestyle issues -- which, unlike genes, we can do something about -- perhaps the best advice to limit the growing epidemic of diabetes comes from Dennis Marchiori, DC, PhD, current president of the Association of Chiropractic Colleges: "Simply put, when you live healthier, you have a better chance of managing your blood sugar."

The "DC" stands for doctor of chiropractic. And today's chiropractors, with a minimum of seven years of education and clinical training, are helping to address the roots of lifestyle-acquired Type II Diabetes through their emphasis on healthy living and natural lifestyles. They're also well-trained in nutrition, enabling them to construct individualized health regimens for patients that include:

* Eating well-balanced meals that are low in processed sugar.

* Consuming a variety of fiber-rich foods like fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

* Weight management.

"Type II Diabetes is a preventable disease, and choosing a healthy lifestyle is critical," says the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress' Gerard Clum, DC.

Of course, especially if you're new to exercise, a chiropractor's skill in manual care will also come in handy.

For more information or to find a chiropractor in your area, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.

Perkes interviewed for MPB's Katrina documentary airing this week

MSU News - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 1:00am

The director of Mississippi State University's Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is part of Mississippi Public Broadcasting's new documentary about Hurricane Katrina, its impact on the region, and the 10-year recovery process.

MPB interviewed David Perkes about the center's work for its special, "Rising About the Surge: The Post Katrina Coast."

The documentary will air on Wednesday [Aug. 26] at 7 p.m., and again on Saturday [Aug. 29] at 7 p.m., as part of MPB's special coverage of Hurricane Katrina 10 years after it made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is embedded in Biloxi, and provides planning and architectural design assistance to communities and nonprofit organizations following Hurricane Katrina. Since Katrina struck in August 2005, the design studio work has led to over 150 new houses and redevelopment plans for neighborhoods along the Gulf Coast.

For more information, please visit www.gccds.org or contact Perkes at 228-436-4661 or dperkes@gccds.msstate.edu.

McFatrich Announces Anderton, Singleton And Warren As 2015 Team Captains

Bulldog Beat - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 9:01pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – A week remains until a new era of Mississippi State volleyball kicks off at Newell-Grissom. With Aug. 28 rapidly approaching, coach David McFatrich has named his team captains for the 2015 season.

Soccer Falls 2-1 To Murray State

Bulldog Beat - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 6:00pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Freshman Kiley Martens recorded her first collegiate goal, but Mississippi State was unable to capitalize as a second-half penalty kick proved to be the difference with Murray State escaping the MSU Soccer Field with a 2-1 victory.

Soccer Looks To Bounce Back Sunday Against Murray State

Bulldog Beat - Sat, 08/22/2015 - 2:00pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – After a heart-breaking loss on opening night, Mississippi State wraps the opening weekend of soccer on Sunday as it hosts Murray State at 1 p.m. from the MSU Soccer Field.

MSU’s Valiant Effort Falls Short In 1-0 Defeat to South Alabama

Bulldog Beat - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 11:00pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – A solid effort on opening night wasn't enough for Aaron Gordon's squad as Mississippi State fell 1-0 to South Alabama in front of a crowd of 1,088 at the MSU Soccer Field.

Men and Women of Color Summit takes place Aug. 27-28

MSU News - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 5:17pm

Contact: Zack Plair

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Three leaders in business and government will be featured speakers next week at Mississippi State’s first combined Men and Women of Color Summit.

Taking place Thursday and Friday [Aug. 27 and 28], the summit is organized by the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. More than 700 are preregistered. Organizers said that preregistration has closed, but participants still may register at the door.

“Reframing the Dialogue around Men and Women of Color: Academic Success in Higher Education” is the theme for the free event at the new Mill at MSU Conference Center on Russell Street.

Speaking Friday morning [the 28th] will be Albert J. Williams, an MSU alumnus now president of the Chevron Pipe Line Co., and La Doris Harris, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. Lori Harper, vice president for supply chain management with Ingalls Shipbuilding, will address that day’s luncheon.

The Friday schedule gets underway at 8 a.m. with greetings by MSU President Mark E. Keenum and Jerry Gilbert, provost and executive vice president.

“At Mississippi State, we consider diversity both a point of pride and a reason for our success as an institution,” said Cedric Gathings, interim assistant vice president for multicultural affairs. “Events like the Men and Women of Color Summit expose our students of color to people who once were in their shoes and made the most of their opportunities.”

Gathings predicted participating students “will be inspired by the wisdom and success stories of our presenters.”

Summit chair NaToya Sanders said the program is specifically designed to engage minority students with faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and others interested in dialogue about critical issues related to academic and professional success.

Sanders, OIDI’s recruitment, retention and program specialist, said activities begin at 6 p.m. Thursday [the 27th] with an Empowerment Dinner, also at the new conference center.

Friday workshops and discussion panels will address issues ranging from higher academic achievement, time management and health to strategies and solutions for minorities dealing with law enforcement.

Sanders said her office began sponsoring separate summits for men and women of color in 2012 after campus enrollment statistics indicated low retention rates among minority students. Support for the events are provided by offices of the President and Provost.

As she explained, a snow threat earlier this year forced cancellation of the women’s summit and resulted in its rescheduling with the men’s program planned for this month.

Sanders expressed excitement at the prospect of witnessing the dynamic created by having both male and female perspectives represented at a single gathering.

“We hope the students leave feeling empowered,” Sanders said. “I tell students all the time, ‘I’m inspired by the speakers, so I know you will be.’”

During Thursday’s dinner, MSU also will recognize six alumni and faculty for high achievements in leadership, innovation, public service and contributions to a better society. The honorees include Linda Cornelious, Marilyn Crouther, Sebetha Jenkins, Albert J. Williams, Wanda Williams and Camille Scales Young.

For more information on the OIDI, visit www.oidi.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s flagship research university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Christina Richardson Joins Hail State Hoops

Bulldog Beat - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 4:37pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer added additional Division I experience to his Hail State Hoops staff with the addition of Christina Richardson as the program's graduate assistant.

Fan Day, Yard Sale Set For Saturday

Bulldog Beat - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 3:29pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State supporters can meet the 2015 Bulldog football, soccer and volleyball teams at the annual Fan Day celebration on Saturday, Aug. 22, inside the Palmeiro Center.

Updated Stats: 26 Diamond Dawgs In Professional Baseball

Bulldog Beat - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 2:51pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Twenty-six former Mississippi State baseball players are currently in professional baseball, including four currently playing in Major League Baseball. Below are their updated stats following games that ended Thursday, August 20, 2015. Please tweet any corrections to @HailStateBB.

MSU to be well-represented Saturday at Mississippi Book Festival

MSU News - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 12:44pm

Contact: Allison Matthews

STARKVILLE, Miss.—This weekend’s inaugural Mississippi Book Festival at the state capitol will include a number of prominent authors with close Mississippi State University connections.

Free and open to all, the 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday [Aug. 22] event is being called a celebration of both contemporary authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas and imagination. For complete details, visit www.msbookfestival.com.  

English professor Michael Kardos, director of the university’s creative writing program, will moderate a session on short stories to begin at 11:30 a.m. He is the award-winning author of “Before He Finds Her” (Mysterious Press, 2015), among other works.

A 2 p.m. session on history and biography features, among others:

—Former Gov. Haley Barbour, author of the just-released “America’s Great Storm: Leading through Hurricane Katrina (University Press of Mississippi, 2015). He also will be at MSU’s Mitchell Memorial Library Monday [the 24th] as a continuation of his national book tour.

—Professor Dennis Mitchell, head of MSU-Meridian’s Division of Arts and Sciences and author of “A New History of Mississippi” (University Press of Mississippi, 2014).

—Professor Minion K.C. Morrison, head of the political science and public administration department and author of the just-released “Aaron Henry of Mississippi: Inside Agitator” (The University of Arkansas Press, 2015).

—Alumnus Don Thompson, a College of Forest Resources graduate whose “Stennis: Plowing a Straight Furrow, The Story of Statesman John C. Stennis” was released earlier this year by Oxford-based Nautilus Publishing.

Also:

—A 3 p.m. session titled “What Reading Means for Our Culture: Reading, Writing and Journalism’s Influence in Mississippi” will feature MSU accounting alumnus and international bestselling fiction author John Grisham.

—A 4 p.m. session on the Civil War will involve, among others, Michael Ballard, author of “The Civil War in Mississippi: Major Campaigns and Battles” (University Press of Mississippi, 2011). Ballard is an MSU alumnus now retired as the university’s archivist.

—A separate 4 p.m. session on sports and outdoors will feature Sid Salter, MSU’s chief communications officer and author of “Jack Cristil: Voice of the MSU Bulldogs,” first published in 2011 and now being released in limited quantities as a revised edition by University Press of Mississippi.

Portions of the event will be broadcast live on C-SPAN, coordinators said.

Books will be available for purchase throughout the day courtesy of Lemuria Books and Mississippi’s independent bookstores. Authors will sign copies of their books at a signing tent immediately following their respective panel discussions.

MSU is Mississippi’s flagship research university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Greenan Completes 2015-16 Class With Pair Of Signees

Bulldog Beat - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 12:22pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Building on an already stellar recruiting class, Mississippi State women's tennis coach Daryl Greenan announced the addition of two more newcomers to the Bulldog family on Friday.

New MSU center helps veterans start businesses

MSU News - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 11:44am

Contact: Zack Plair

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Entrepreneurs who are military veterans now have a new resource at Mississippi State to help get their businesses off the ground.

The university recently became one of five new locations for a Veterans Business Outreach Center that provides counseling, training and other resources to former service members seeking to launch their own commercial operations.

Designated to serve residents of Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee, the center is located next to campus in Suite 105D at 60 Technology Blvd. in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Park.

A grand opening is set for 11 a.m. Aug. 28 at its office in the business incubator, where U.S. Congressmen Gregg Harper and Trent Kelly, along with Small Business Administration Mississippi District Office Director Janita Stewart will be keynote speakers. MSU President Mark E. Keenum and MSU College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald also will speak.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing $825,000 over three years to fund the center, a partnership between the College of Business and its Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, along with MSU’s nationally recognized G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans.

The SBA now supports 14 such facilities nationwide, said MSU center director Mark Scott, a U.S. Army veteran and former Raytheon Corp. employee who said his office already has assisted more than two dozen clients in some way since opening its doors in May.

“Our mission is to aid the veteran who is transitioning out of the service, or the veteran who is already out of the service and wants to start a new business,” Scott said. Though some may never launch a business, all who visit the VBOC should be better prepared for the process, he added.

“There’s more to opening a business than hanging up a shingle and opening your doors,” Scott emphasized. “There are considerations like employees, taxes, insurance and many other things. We provide a lot of free resources to these veterans that can help them through the process.”

While the VBOC provides no grants or other funding sources, Scott said the staff will do everything possible to help clients identify avenues for accessing capital, including navigation of the bank loan process. Those already helped have represented businesses ranging from a bar to a fitness gym, he noted.

Franchises also are popular entrepreneurial options since they provide a structured business environment—and some even offer veteran-specific discounts for franchise fees.

Scott said spreading the word is key to the center’s mission, and he and others on the staff are working hard to let all interested former service personnel in the region know about their location.

He said many referrals also likely will come from through the SBA’s “Boots to Business” program, a two-day course offered by the Armed Forces’ Transition Assistance Program for those leaving active service. Other related SBA programs will be directing individuals to Mississippi State, as, of course, will the university’s College of Business and Montgomery Veterans Center.

A land-grant institution established in 1878 with the U.S. Military Academy as a model, Mississippi State has a long history of service and commitment to veterans. In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked the university 29th on its elite list of the 52 best national higher education organizations for veterans, service members, dependents and survivors.

Allison Pearson, the business college’s Jim Rouse Endowed Professor in Management, said the center is an excellent fit for the land-grant institution’s ongoing service mission.

“It’s a great opportunity to combine synergies at MSU,” said Pearson, who was a co-principal on MSU’s grant application for VBOC funding.

“The strength that Mark brings to the outreach effort, as a veteran and businessman himself, provides a great combination for what we want to help our veterans accomplish,” Pearson said. “We’re excited about the opportunity.”

For more about the VBOC at MSU, visit, www.vboc.msstate.edu/~vboc/index.php. The telephone number is 662-325-4990; the email address, vboc@business.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s flagship research university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Renfroe Promoted To Triple-A; Rooker Named Summer All-American

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 9:33pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Former Mississippi State baseball All-American Hunter Renfroe was promoted to Triple-A El Paso Wednesday afternoon, the San Diego Padres announced.

Ten TV Appearances Part of Bulldogs' 2016 SEC Slate

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 8:01pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – A day after unveiling a challenging non-conference slate, Mississippi State found out it will have 10 television appearances, including a pair of ESPN2 contests, as part of its Southeastern Conference slate released by the league office Thursday evening.

Facts about rabies from MSDH

MSU News - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 6:03pm
  • The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed the first rabies case in a land animal in Mississippi since 1961. The case was identified in a feral cat in Starkville described as a small, black and white kitten. At this point there is no ongoing public health risk.

 

  • Rabies is a viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. Rabies is commonly found in bats in Mississippi and has been found in feral and wild animals in bordering states in previous years. The university is working closely with the Department of Health and the Mississippi Board of Animal Health to ensure there is no ongoing public health risk.

 

  • Exposures to the rabid cat were reported in downtown Starkville and in a remote area in the general proximity of paved and developed portions of the Thad Cochran Research Park near the MSU campus. Health officials urge anyone who may have been bitten or scratched by a feral cat matching this description in either of these areas within the past 10 days to contact their primary healthcare provider or the Mississippi State Department of Health. Rabies is completely preventable if post-exposure shots are administered after contact with a rabid animal.

 

  • To protect yourself, make sure your domestic dogs and cats are vaccinated against rabies at three months, one year later, and every three years thereafter. Never handle or touch feral animals, animals you do not know, or wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes and coyotes that can carry rabies. If you see a feral animal acting strangely, contact your local Animal Control officials.
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