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Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, right, and University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones joined forces at a news conference podium in Jackson last week to announce the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program, or MET. A joint effort by the colleges of Education at the two rival universities, the program is designed to attract the state's best and brightest students into the education field. A private gift of more than $12.9 million from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation is funding the innovative program. PHOTO: Megan Bean | University Relations

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Mohawk? Elvis? BCoE welcomes NASA engineers
The world watched last August as the Curiosity rover descended onto the surface of Mars. This week, two of the project's most visible engineers will visit Mississippi State to share how this unmanned mission does more than satisfy idle curiosity. Bobak "Mohawk" Ferdowsi and Adam "Elvis" Steltzner will begin their visit on Tuesday with robotics demonstrations from high school participants from the Mississippi BEST competition. The day's events will continue at 6 p.m. in the Colvard Student Union with the men's presentation, which is free and open to the public.
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Spring Visiting Writers Series begins Thursday
Award-winning writer Lorraine M. López will be the featured guest Thursday for the first 2013 spring semester program of Mississippi State's Robert Holland Visiting Writers Series. Open to all and sponsored by the university's English department, the reading by the Vanderbilt University faculty member begins at 7:30 p.m. in McCool Hall's Taylor Auditorium (Room 124).
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PCSM Diversity Award nominations being accepted
The President's Commission on the Status of Minorities is accepting nominations for the 2013 MSU Diversity Awards. The annual awards program is designed to recognize individuals and teams of individuals who have demonstrated a significant commitment to enhancing diversity at Mississippi State. Nomination packets are due this week.
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Work-study service coordinator positions available
The Maroon Volunteer Center at Mississippi State details a number of volunteer opportunities for the campus community in its current newsletter, including Mentors in Training, Bulldogs on the Move, Jeans for Teens, work-study service coordinator positions, and more.
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New art faculty exhibit underway
New faculty in Mississippi State's Department of Art are showcasing their artwork during an exhibition running through Feb. 23. Titled "New Associations: Works by New Faculty in the Department of Art," the show in the gallery in McComas Hall will feature works by Adrienne Callander, Neil Callander, Gregory Martin and Suzanne Powney.
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Policy reminders from University Health Services
University Health Services at Mississippi State reminds the campus community of several important policies for its patients to keep in mind when seeking treatment, parking, refilling a prescription online, and privacy.
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This Week in Mississippi State Sports, 01/28/13
Women's Tennis hosts Southern Miss on Tuesday at 2 p.m., and Houston at 1 p.m. on Sunday... Men's Basketball hosts Texas A&M on Wednesday at 8 p.m. (CSS-TV), and LSU at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday (FSN-TV)... Women's Basketball is on the road to Knoxville for a game against Tennessee on Thursday at 6 p.m. (CSS-TV), and then hosts Arkansas at 2 p.m. on Sunday (SportSouth TV)... Track and Field competes at the New Balance Invitational in New York City on Friday and Saturday, and also at the Meyo Invite in South Bend, Ind.
Hoblet president-elect for national association
Dr. Kent Hoblet, dean of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, has been selected president-elect for the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. He will serve in this role until he becomes president of the association in July 2013. The association represents more than 4,000 faculty, 5,000 staff, 10,000 veterinary students, and 3,000 graduate students.
Peterson wins 2012 Cotton Biotechnology Award
A Mississippi State University genetic researcher recently won a national award for his collaboration with a team of scientists to map a cotton genome. Daniel Peterson, director of MSU’s Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology and scientist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, received the 2012 Cotton Biotechnology Award from the National Cotton Council of America and Cotton Incorporated.
Lifetime achievement, Fellow honor for Newman
Recognizing his work in fatigue and fracture research, two national organizations honor a Bagley College of Engineering professor’s nearly 50-year career. James C. Newman Jr., the Richard H. Johnson chair of aerospace engineering, received the Fatigue Damage of Structural Materials Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 International Conference on Fatigue Damage of Structural Materials in September. In February, Newman will join Mississippi State colleague Mark F. Horstemeyer, mechanical, in being recognized as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Engineering Section.
Playing in the dirt leads to a horticultural career
Patricia Drackett has a life-long love of playing in the dirt with worms, nature’s original gardeners, and she has the picture to prove it. The photo of a little girl covered in dirt and holding a long earthworm is old and faded, but it remains one of Drackett’s most treasured possessions, especially after it survived Hurricane Katrina. Today, Drackett serves as the director of Mississippi State University’s Crosby Arboretum near Picayune.
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