http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=PT+Sans Do better when you know better, keynoter tells M2M summit at Hinds CC

Author Archives: Danny Barrett

Full Name: Danny Barrett Website:
Info: Danny Barrett Jr. is a 18-year journalist with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. Barrett covered county government and business at The Vicksburg Post for 10 years and came to Hinds Community College in 2015.
Do better when you know better, keynoter tells M2M summit at Hinds CC
Posted by
20 September

Do better when you know better, keynoter tells M2M summit at Hinds CC

PEARL – College is a time for traditional-age students when decisions can make or break their lives for years – and the time for discipline is now, said the keynote speaker at the M2M Education Meets Excellence summit Sept. 13.

 

Antonio Robinson, director of Upward Bound Math and Science program at Trident Technical College in Charleston, S.C., told about 250 students of Hinds, high schools from the region and others his talk wasn’t so much to preach, but to lay out the best life strategies for college and beyond.

 

His presentation was titled A Gentleman’s Guide to Personal Development.  

 

“When students spend a year with me, they will come out different,” he said. “If they’re the same person they were a year ago, then I’ve failed at my job.

From left, Ahmad Smith, Antonio Robinson, Dr. Aleisha Escobedo, Dwayne Jefferson, Colleen Hartfield, and Keith Williams, Jr. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“I call it the gentleman’s guide because a gentleman doesn’t force stuff on you,” he said. “It’s here for you to take with you. You know how you know what’s right and you don’t always do what’s right? My mission in life is to close the gap between knowing and doing.”

 

Robinson, who holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in counseling from Charleston Southern University and has counseled in high schools and colleges for 20 years, spoke of the importance of making good decisions in all facets of life, starting in college. Examples ranged from how diligently to study for tests to their choices of friends.

   

Your network will determine your net worth. Surround yourself with people who have a value of themselves. Hang out with people who force you to step it up. You’re always one decision away from a totally different life.” 

Students from Jackson Public School, Hinds County School District and The Piney Woods School attended this fall’s summit, held in the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus.  

 

“I learned you have to be well-organized and be attentive,” said Steven Little, a junior at Murrah High School. “And have a good appearance, because people really do judge you on your appearance in life.”

Breakout sessions were conducted by Oklahoma-based Paradigm Shift, a nonprofit group specializing in motivating youth. 

Steven Little, a junior at Murrah High School, listens to a presentation during the M2M Leadership Summit held Sept. 12 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

 

“This summit provided an opportunity for our students to engage with their peers and serve as active leaders and forward thinkers,” M2M director Dr. Aleisha Escobedo said.

 

The grant-funded initiative on campus that has provided leadership training, career counseling and other services to help African-Americans succeed in college is building on a $1.6 million federal grant secured in 2016 under the Title III, Part A, Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) Formula Program of the U.S. Department of Education. The two-year grant is $2.1 million.

 

The funds will enable the college to improve its instructional program and emerging technologies, plus augment student support services. The grant also provides innovative faculty and staff training efforts designed to close the achievement gap between African-American students and other student populations at the college. The five-year grant ends in 2021. 

20 September, 2018 News more
Phi Theta Kappa and Honors at Hinds CC a perfect place to start college life
Posted by
14 September

Phi Theta Kappa and Honors at Hinds CC a perfect place to start college life

PEARL – Being part of something greater than yourself is a common theme in school and is especially true for members of the Alpha Omicron Omega chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Hinds Community College Rankin Campus.

Eric Kinan, left, and Ashlyn Rader, are members of the Alpha Omicron Omega chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Hinds Community College Rankin Campus. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“It gets me involved both with the community and other students,” said Eric Kinan, of Florence, a third semester student and PTK member studying Veterinary Technology. It has helped me develop my leadership skills. It made me see the importance of community service.”

The Alpha Omicron Omega chapter was chartered in 1989 and is part of the 1,200-chapter international honor society for community and junior college students. Students who have earned a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA on 12 hours or more are eligible for PTK.

Rankin Honors was established on the campus in 2015. Generally, incoming freshman students may enter the program with a 3.5 high school GPA, composite ACT score of 25 or instructor recommendation. Honors at Hinds affords high-achieving students a chance at challenging coursework and community service opportunities.

One of those opportunities is an International Studies trip to Costa Rica where students engage in service learning projects while earning Hinds college course credits. Students have helped re-forest along biological corridors there, cleared trails in cloud forests, and dug trenches to prevent flooding along trails on a volcanic mountain.

Gabbi Walters is a member of the Alpha Omicron Omega chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Hinds Community College Rankin Campus. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“I’m looking forward to going to Costa Rica with Honors here,” said Gabbi Walters, of Pelahatchie, studying Veterinary Technology. “It’ll give me a broader view of the world than just what’s here and learn about different cultures. Overall, it’ll make me a better, well-rounded person.”

On campus, being in PTK and Honors offers the chance at forming some of the first working relationships in someone’s academic career.

“For me, the best part has been meeting a bunch of great, new people just like me,” Ashlyn Rader, of Puckett, who is studying nursing. “We meet on Tuesdays with people taking classes similar to ours, and find out if they need help. PTK is also a great resume-builder for college. When other colleges see that in your portfolio, they know you care a lot about your grades.”

14 September, 2018 News more
Hinds CC a perfect place to take next step in healthcare careers
Posted by
10 September

Hinds CC a perfect place to take next step in healthcare careers

JACKSON – Ter’Bria Hopkins works in the healthcare field as a phlebotomist and wants to build on her credentials.

Carla Gray-Taylor, Associate Degree Nursing instructor at Hinds Community College, gives a tour of the ADN lab during the Fall 2018 Nursing Allied Health Showcase Sept. 6 at Hinds Community College Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center. From center are Ter’Bria Hopkins, Andrea Ellis and Kira Harvey, all of Jackson. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

That desire is so great that she took her own photos during the fall 2018 Nursing Allied Health Showcase held Sept. 6 at Hinds Community College Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center.

“I love taking care of my patients and people in general,” said Hopkins, 24, of Jackson, looking to add to the associate degree already under her belt.

Hopkins was among about 150 people who attended this fall’s event, which is held each semester at the Chadwick Drive complex. Prospective students and others toured the campus’ learning labs, spoke with faculty, explored the college’s 12 health-related and two short-term programs and got the latest on requirements and deadlines.

“Guests spoke with our faculty one-on-one to learn about our programs of study and the promising careers in healthcare that Hinds graduates obtain,” said Kathryn Cole, district director of Enrollment Services.

Programs showcased included Associate Degree Nursing (RN), Dental Assisting Technology, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Emergency Medical Science, Health Care Assistant, Health Information Technology, Medical Laboratory Technology, Physical Therapist Assistant, Practical Nursing, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care Technology, Surgical Technology, and two short-term programs, Nursing Assistant and Phlebotomy.

Brandy Ruth, right, of Pearl, looks on as Hinds Community College student Allison Frock explains how X-rays are taken in the Radiologic Technology lab during the 2018 Nursing Allied Health Showcase Sept. 6 at Hinds Community College Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“We are excited to offer nursing and allied health programs that provide excellent employment opportunities for our students,” said Nursing and Allied Health Dean Dr. Libby Mahaffey. “Graduates of our programs are employed at rates of 90 to 100 percent within a year of graduation and consistently meet national benchmarks for licensure/registry pass rates.”

The event draws potential students across a wide spectrum of professional experience, including working adults who seek a challenging career change.

“It’s good to get a feel for what the medical field involves,” said Brandy Ruth, 30, of Pearl. “I’m a secretary right now, so I’d be starting from scratch.”

Shaniqua Bush, 20, of Kosciusko, is hearing-impaired and sees her foray into healthcare as just another success. She checked out the Respiratory Care Technology lab, where a pig’s lung was used to show how the equipment worked.

“My goal is to show that deaf people can do the same things hearing people can do,” Bush said via her interpreter, Loretta Sutton, of the college’s Disability Support Services department. “I’m interested in looking at the ventilators because I’m curious to know.”

Shaniqua Bush, left, who is hearing-impaired, looks on as Loretta Sutton, an interpreter with Hinds Community College’s Disability Support Services department, explains with sign language how equipment in the Respiratory Care Technology program’s lab works during the Fall 2018 Nursing Allied Health Showcase Sept. 6 at the Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Mikeyia Lewis, left, and Allison Humphries, both of Forest, look on as they tour the Radiologic Technology lab during the Fall 2018 Nursing Allied Health Showcase Sept. 6 at Hinds Community College Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amber Garcia, of Pelahatchie, left, asks a question in the Practical Nursing lab at the Fall 2018 Nursing Allied Health Showcase at Sept. 6 at Hinds Community College Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

10 September, 2018 News more
Hinds CC, ERDC partner on Coding Academy, seek applicants
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04 September

Hinds CC, ERDC partner on Coding Academy, seek applicants

VICKSBURG – Hinds Community College has partnered with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center on a computer coding academy and is looking for applicants.

Classes begin Sept. 13 at ERDC’s facility on Halls Ferry Road and represents opportunities aplenty for the Vicksburg-Warren Campus and those looking to build a career in Information Technology. The classes will meet 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“This is the first for-credit course we’ve done at Vicksburg, and it’s a great chance for the community to move toward the kinds of skills needed to compete in the workforce of the future,” said Marvin Moak, vice president of the Vicksburg-Warren Campus.

Students in the program will learn the most current computer coding skills in a mix of classroom and practical training. Students will focus on the practical application of technology in a hands-on work environment and learn the soft skills necessary for employment. Upon completion of the course, students will receive a certificate from HCC.

“The Vicksburg Coding Academy is a unique educational opportunity that will provide a hands-on immersive workplace environment that will provide a wide variety of coding instruction that will result in skills we need at ERDC and other employers in the region,” said Jerry Ballard, ERDC’s Information Technology Laboratory Computational Science and Engineering Division chief.

The program represents another opportunity to grow the local economy through cutting-edge workforce training.

“The future of technology developments in our community is tied to a highly capable coding workforce,” said Dr. Jeff Holland, chairman of the Warren County Economic Development Foundation and board member of the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership. “The Vicksburg Coding Academy is a critical step toward achieving that workforce. It sets our community up for success.”

For information on the program, contact Moak’s office at 601.629.6804.

04 September, 2018 News more
Hinds CC graduates more than 600 in summer ceremonies
Posted by
30 July

Hinds CC graduates more than 600 in summer ceremonies

PEARL – Hinds Community College graduated 611 students during the summer semester at its six locations.

Among 319 participating in two ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus was Tierra Williams, of Jackson, who earned an Associate in Arts degree from the college.  

In all, 391 credentials were conferred to the 611 who graduated from the college. 

Jasmine Coleman lost her mother several years ago and has dedicated each step in her education to her memory.

 “It was sudden to have lost her, just before my high school graduation,” Coleman said. “So, I’ve dedicated both my high school and college graduations to her.”

 Coleman, 22, of Jackson, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education, a field she’s eager to enter spread her caring sense and motherly instincts.

 “I have a son, Morgan, who is two, so he’s in that dedication as well,” Coleman said.

 Yolanda Houston, the college’s district director of Teacher Education, based on the Utica Campus, is a close confidant to Coleman and a family friend.

 “I taught her in grade school,” Houston said. “I’ve watched her mature and be strong through adversity and still be able to graduate.”

Of the total graduating, 197 did so with honors. That includes 85 who earned the cum laude designation, which is a 3.2 to 3.59 grade point average. Another 47 graduated magna cum laude, or a 3.6 to 3.99 grade point average, and 65 graduated summa cum laude, or a 4.0 grade point average. The total field of honor graduates equaled about one-third of the summer graduating class.  

Crystal Mays had waited a long time to celebrate a graduation in her family, which made her sister’s commencement from Hinds Community College all the sweeter.

“I’ve waited a long time for this,” Mays said amidst tears as she watched her sister, Eronda Graham-Daniels, walk across the stage after earning her Associate in Arts degree. “This is why I talk so much about finishing school.”

Peggy Hobson Calhoun, who represents District 3 on the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, spoke to graduates at both ceremonies. Calhoun implored graduates not to give up when adversity strikes when they enter the workforce.

“You may think your vision of becoming successful is too difficult to realize, but it can become real,” Calhoun said. “I don’t know what your aspirations and pursuits are, but don’t blind your vision. Hold on to your visions and your dreams. Your vision defines what it is you want to accomplish out of life.”

Shelby Blakenship, center-right, of Brandon, earned an Associate in Applied Science from Hinds Community College during summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. She completed the Transition to RN program and plans a healthcare career. With her are her brother, Bryce; her mother, Maria; her father, Kirk; and Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse, left, and Shelby Blankenship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tirzah Burt, center, of Brandon, earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Practical Nursing from Hinds Community College during summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. From left are Hannah Burt, Lizzy Burt, Rachel Williams and Sarah Hartman, all her sisters, and Ella Kate Elmore, her cousin. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Andrea Felder, center, of Jackson, earned an Associate in Applied Science degree from Hinds Community College after having completed the Associate Degree Nursing program. With her during summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus are husband Karick, son Avery, and son Everette. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Javeon Green, of Brandon, left, and Deloris Greer, bookstore manager at Hinds Community College Utica Campus, pose before summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on Hinds Community College Rankin Campus. Green earned a Technical Certificate in Automotive Technology. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Jasmine Coleman, right, of Jackson, earned an Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood Education during summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. With her is District Director of Teacher Education Yolanda Houston, left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crystal Mays, of Louisville, sheds tears as she watches her sister, Eronda Graham-Daniels, graduate from Hinds Community College during summer graduation ceremonies at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Tierra Williams, of Jackson, was among more than 600 students who earned credentials during the summer semester at Hinds Community College. Williams earned an Associate in Arts degree during graduation ceremonies July 27. With her is friend Tamara Sullivan. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Jiles, center-left, earned an Associate in Arts degee from Hinds Community College during summer graduation ceremonies at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. He plans to study aerospace technology. With him are Joseph Jiles, his father, Esther Jiles, his mother, and Joseph Jiles Jr., his brother. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Ignatius Fluker, right, earned a Technical Certificate and a Career Certificate from Hinds Community College in Diesel Equipment Technology during summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. With him is his grandmother, Christine Fluker. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sha’quitia Williams, center, of Vicksburg, earned a Career Certificate in business from Hinds Community College during summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. With her, from left, are friends Kimmer Williams, Chasity Jefferson, Kontonia Smith, and Janeshia Jefferson. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

From left, Advancement Specialist Bethani England and Jackie Granberry, executive director of the Hinds Community College Foundation, who was the mace bearer for summer graduation ceremonies July 27.,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erin Rawson, left, of Brandon, and Kimberly Prater, of Yazoo City, await summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at Hinds Community College. Both earned Associate in Applied Science degrees after completing the Transition to RN program. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

 

Christopher Hunsinger, right, of Clinton, earned an Associate in Arts degree from Hinds Community College during summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. With him is his girlfriend, Shantenicka Henry. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

 

30 July, 2018 News more
Hinds CC helps make career changes possible for nursing, allied health graduates
Posted by
27 July

Hinds CC helps make career changes possible for nursing, allied health graduates

PEARL – When Judye Braneff’s job in the banking industry was eliminated, it was time to come up with Plan B.

Judye Braneff, left, of Jackson, and Tamara Daniels, of Vaughan, share a pose before summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. Each earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Technology. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

 

 “I lost my job in the industry and came to Hinds,” said Braneff, 60, of Jackson, who had her aptitude for getting into health data and statistics eyed early on by her instructors.

 “This was a perfect fit for me,” she said as she prepared to graduate among 319 people participating in two summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. In all, 391 credentials were conferred to 611 who graduated from the college. 

Braneff, who earned an Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology, was among about 130 who participated in the 8 a.m. ceremony for nursing and allied health graduates, many of whom switched careers to take advantage of Hinds’ stellar offerings in health-related areas of study. Graduates in academic and career-technical programs received credentials at a ceremony held at 11 a.m.

 “This was a wonderful opportunity to come to Hinds,” said Cherilyn Switzer, 45, of Pearl, who was a teacher’s assistant before moving over to healthcare.

Clyde Wilson, 45, of Jackson, was in a management position before pursuing his own Associate in Applied Science credential in the same field.

Peggy Hobson Calhoun speaks to graduates during summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“It’s been a change for me, but I’ve gotten a whole new career now,” Wilson said.

Wilson was among 197 who graduated with honors, in his case cum laude, which is a 3.2 to 3.59 grade point average. Another 47 graduated magna cum laude, or a 3.6 to 3.99 grade point average, and 65 graduated summa cum laude, or a 4.0 grade point average. The total of 197 honor graduates equaled about one-third of the summer graduating class.  

Peggy Hobson Calhoun, who represents District 3 on the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, spoke to graduates at both ceremonies.

“Evaluate needed areas of improvement, and keep your vision alive for your profession,” Calhoun said. 

Clyde Wilson, of Jackson, prepares for summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. Wilson earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Technology. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Cherilyn Switzer, of Pearl, adjusts a fellow graduate’s cap before summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. Switzer earned a Technical Certificate in Surgical Technology. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

27 July, 2018 News more
Hinds CC announces speaker for summer graduation ceremony
Posted by
17 July

Hinds CC announces speaker for summer graduation ceremony

RAYMOND – Summer graduation ceremonies are set for July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus as students earn career or technical certificates and associate’s degrees from Hinds Community College.

Peggy Hobson Calhoun

The college will confer 389 credentials to 591 students in two ceremonies. All nursing and allied health graduates will receive their credentials at 8 a.m., with commencement for academic and career-tech graduates to follow at 11 a.m.

Peggy Hobson Calhoun, who represents District 3 on the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, is the speaker at both ceremonies.

Calhoun, of Jackson, was first elected in 1992 and has championed issues of economic development, public health and safety. Over the years, she has received numerous awards and recognitions for services rendered to promote the development of women, as well as small and minority-owned businesses.

In 2017, Calhoun was selected by fellow county supervisors on the Mississippi Association of Supervisors to be the organization’s president for the 2017-18 term.

She is a member of Mount Nebo Missionary Baptist Church and has two adult children with her husband, state Rep. Credell Calhoun.

17 July, 2018 News more
Environmental passion honed through Hinds’ CC Honors program
Posted by
13 July

Environmental passion honed through Hinds’ CC Honors program

RAYMOND – Christopher Lockhart is as plugged into the “connected” world as any self-respecting millennial. But, he hasn’t forgotten his love of the outdoors since graduating from Hinds just a few years ago.

Christopher Lockhart

“Growing up, I was one of those kids playing outside – digging in the dirt, bringing bugs in the house,” Lockhart said. “I caught a lot of stuff. Right now, even, I have a pet snapping turtle.”

That passion for enjoying a beautiful day on land or sea fuels both his jobs these days, teaching biology at Clinton High School and owning Capital City Kayaks, which offers tours of local waterways including the Pearl River and the reservoir.

“It’s a way to get people accustomed to the water,” he said of his business, started three years ago as an extension of his many outdoor hobbies as a kid. “There are pockets of hidden gems around here to see in a kayak where you feel like you’re not even in the city.”

Lockhart graduated from Murrah High School in 2008, then honed his aptitude for math and science at Hinds before earning a bachelor’s degree in biology education from Mississippi State University in 2012.

“It was a wonderful transition,” he said of his Hinds experience.

He credits his experiences in the Honors Institute and the Gamma Lambda chapter of Phi Theta Kappa on the Raymond Campus for becoming a well-rounded student – in particular the community service projects that open Honors students’ eyes to the world.

“I love all those instructors,” he said. “They gave me the opportunity to go to Costa Rica and study environmental science for free. And I got to kayak there, which was the highlight of my trip right there. We saw a sloth coming down a tree, which was a rare sight.

“We did a lot of team and character-building activities. It was definitely an experience being able to learn from those people, the kinds of people where you’re definitely not the smartest person in the room.”

Retired biology instructor and Honors dean Kristi Sather-Smith remembers the trip with Lockhart to Costa Rica well.

“That’s when I learned about how passionate he is about all things living,” Sather-Smith said. “Chris always took every opportunity to learn and ran with it. He never wasted time, but never seemed to be in a hurry.”

 

Starting his education at Hinds eased him into his higher education and offered a multitude of perspectives from peers.

“Hinds offered a four-year feel but in a more intimate space,” he said. “You still meet people from all around, even though it’s a community college. I met people in the dorm from Jamaica, from Russia, from all kinds of different places.”

His connection with Hinds has continued in the past few years, as he’s giving an assist to the same Honors program he enjoyed as a student.

“I was approached by the college’s Office of Sustainability and the Honors program to help out on community service projects geared toward preserving the environment, mainly donating some boats and time to work with Hinds’ Honors students,” he said. “I said ‘I most certainly would!’

“I saw some of my recent former students at Clinton High in the program. It was a heart-touching moment seeing them there, since it hadn’t been that long since I was in it. A lot of them hadn’t been in a kayak before. Before you knew it, they were paddling around picking up trash like professionals.”

 


Note: This story appears in the summer 2018 issue of Hindsight alumni magazine. Find out more information about the Hinds Alumni Association and Foundation scholarships.

13 July, 2018 News more
Scientist flies high in new career with help from Hinds CC
Posted by
13 July

Scientist flies high in new career with help from Hinds CC

VICKSBURG – Career changes can happen for a variety of reasons and at any time in a working man’s life.

Shea Hammond

For Shea Hammond, the reason was to hop on the latest wave of technology before it passed him by, with the help of the Unmanned Aerial Systems program at Hinds.

“It was time to see what I could do with drones, perhaps start a business and make money off this technology,” Hammond said recently, from his office at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, where he works as a wildlife biologist and lead UAS pilot and developer in the Environmental Systems Branch.

The 42-year-old Greenville native had joined the U.S. Marine Corps right out of Vicksburg High School, where his family moved when he was 12. It was during his days in uniform as a reconnaissance officer that technology first spurred his career and became a common thread in each step of the way.

“While in the Marines, I got to play with some of the toys of the time,” he said. “It was when GPS was coming out and when people were just learning to send texts and other digital messages. It was also when I began working with thermal night-vision glasses.”

After leaving the Marines, he earned a master’s in biological sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi, then went to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service studying bats and managing caves in the Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oklahoma. “I don’t mind getting rained on, getting muddy or being bit by bugs,” he said.

Over time, he saw the potential value in using Unmanned Aerial Systems, or drones, to do the kind of geospatial mapping that had been done for years using satellites in space. “An image coming off a satellite might be rather large, 30 meters by 30 meters per pixel, but one coming from a drone can be down to millimeters or centimeters in size per pixel. So, the resolution is much better and the questions you can ask from a biological standpoint become more resolute.

“I could see this wave coming with the technology,” he said. “So, my wife and I made a really tough decision, along with my mother-in-law who lives with us, to move back home to Mississippi and leave the comfort and security of working with the federal government so I could educate myself in this new technology.”

A few online searches and a conversation with Hinds’ UAS program director Dennis Lott helped him overcome his lack of experience with the aircraft, which have revolutionized aerial photography and related mapping technologies just in the past decade.

“I had no aircraft experience whatsoever,” he said. “I only had experience with the data.”

In a six-month span of time in 2016, Hammond took classes that covered the piloting, construction, design and practical mechanics of multi-rotor and fixed-wing drones. “I pretty much pitched a tent and lived there in the hangar,” he said. “We learned the nuts and bolts of how these things work, plus take data with the kinds of sensors drones carry.”

Lott recognized the willingness of the ex-Marine – one with a master’s degree in one science already – to learn a whole new science and enhance an already impressive resume’.

“Shea Hammond was the perfect student,” Lott said. “He came to the Hinds CC Unmanned Aerial Systems program anxious to learn all he could as fast as he could. He never missed a class and always engaged in discussions. Not only that, but he expanded the discussion.”

ERDC’s interest in a sensor Hinds owned turned into a job opportunity for the budding UAS specialist.

“I happened to be there the day they came in to see what the sensor could do,” he said. “Down the road, they told me they were interested in thermal tracking. Turns out, they developed the toolkit and software I was using to track bats with in the Ozarks.”

His job at ERDC involves all the skills he learned in just a few months in the UAS program at Hinds. When it comes to the aircraft themselves, flying them might be the smallest part of it all.

“It’s one of the most interdisciplinary jobs you can have in any STEM career,” he said. “There’s the biological sciences, the geographical sciences, the mechanical and electrical engineering, and the software, since these are basically flying robots. Then, you also have to be able to write about the science. We have to work as a team to make these systems work. When you go to the field with them and they don’t work, you need to be able to fix them on the spot.”

Those skills are easily accredited to Hinds and the level of instruction he received in a short period of time.

“I didn’t initially see myself transitioning into a completely different field,” he said. “I’m not a bat biologist anymore – I’m a pilot, a roboticist and developer. And that wouldn’t have happened without Hinds. I get the opportunity each day to play with $250,000 aircraft with state-of-the-art equipment.”

 

 


Note: This story appears in the summer 2018 issue of Hindsight alumni magazine. Find out more information about the Hinds Alumni Association and Foundation scholarships.

13 July, 2018 News more
Self-made businesswoman credits Hinds CC for ‘major role’ in life, career
Posted by
13 July

Self-made businesswoman credits Hinds CC for ‘major role’ in life, career

PORT GIBSON – Born into a family of 10 children in agrarian Lake Providence, La., Jeanette Felton was a breadwinner before she even learned to read at grade level.

Jeanette Felton

She had very little choice, she recalls.

“I missed a lot of classes in school since I was the oldest of 10,” Felton said. “I had to keep the children so my mother could work. A lot of basic things most people would have in school, I didn’t have. And I think I was the only black student in the class. I felt unprepared.”

Felton dropped out of high school in the 10th grade and, by 1973, had left her hometown. She and her husband landed in the Valley Park community in Issaquena County with her husband to work the vast tracts of farmland that blanket the South Delta.

It was the start of a long journey that continued at Hinds’ doorstep as one of the many success stories of the college’s Adult Basic Education program through the years. Now 67 and head of a company that’s among Mississippi’s largest home healthcare businesses, Felton continues to be awestruck by how big a role Hinds played in her personal and professional development.

“Hinds is absolutely the best,” Felton said. “They did things so well and so organized. People were always so encouraging. Hinds played a major role in my life and career.”

A mother of five by age 23, Felton felt a desire to work and make her own money in life despite not having completed her high school education. “After a while, I really wanted to start work,” she said. “But, if you don’t have a GED, you can’t get a job.”

In 1977, she aced her high school equivalency test on the second try, then worked at Rolling Fork Elementary in a variety of positions over the next several years. “I was a bus driver, then a cook,” she said. “The following year, I was able to work as a teacher’s assistant. Doing those jobs, I wasn’t even earning what the teachers were, but I liked the profession.”

Being around educated people made her want that level of achievement that much more, she said.

I knew nothing about college. I was out of my comfort zone. But, I just knew I wanted to do something. Working in the school system, these people had educations. And I wanted to prove myself.

“Elementary education was the early drawing point for me, but coming to Hinds and being exposed to other people taking classes in different things showed me nursing was a field where you could also earn a good living and go further in life.”

With that in mind, Felton went for broke on her education. She quit her jobs and set her sights on her first healthcare credential, which came in 1985 with her associate degree in Practical Nursing at the Vicksburg-Warren Campus and passing a licensure test. “You know the pressure was on, then. Failing was not an option. Back then, it took about three months to get the results back, but when I got them it gave me such a sense of accomplishment.”

The desire to keep helping people and the earnings potential of doing so propelled her to her next degree three years later. “Back then, you really weren’t supposed to be working while going to nursing school, but I did because I had to. And like today, nursing school isn’t easy. In LPN school, we started with a hundred people and graduated with about 17. But, when I finished, I was happy I’d be able to provide better for my children.”

 

In 1998, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Alcorn State University. Shortly thereafter, she began At Home Care, in Port Gibson.

The business has grown mightily in just 20 years – now employing about 450 people in its 11 offices statewide, including the main office along Church Street in Port Gibson. Its caregivers work in 48 Mississippi counties offering in-home care to those dealing with chronic medical conditions that might otherwise result in permanent residency in nursing homes.

“We try to help people in those situations stay at home longer,” she said. “As people age and if they’ve been self-sufficient all their lives, they prefer staying in their own homes. They can do that with the help our service provides, which include running errands for them, cooking for them, assisting them with a bath. It definitely has an important place in these people’s lives.”

Felton credits several instructors and counselors at the Vicksburg campus and in the ADN program for providing just the right helping hand at all the right times. “John Thomas, at the Vicksburg campus, was a counselor there and talking to him was always very encouraging. Becky Tustain taught some of my classes in the RN program, and, of course, Bobbie Anderson was the dean.”

In February, Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse spoke at this year’s Industry Appreciation Banquet in Claiborne County, organized by the county’s Economic Development District. There, Felton was recognized as an outstanding business leader.

“If you’re an economist and want to look at from here to here,” Muse said, holding his hands apart to demonstrate distance, “Look what we were able to help her do – not only for herself but her family and her community in economic development. That’s the kind of story you love to hear and tell people about.”

Her best advice to any young person in a similar situation to hers, particularly single mothers, is that there’s no substitute for persistence. It’s advice that, nowadays, she and her current husband, the Rev. Columbus Felton, impart to their 12 children, 17 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

“You have to stick to it and not give up,” she said. “You’ve got to lock your mind up around that. You can’t do anything else but keep moving. I’ve never been a lazy person. If you’re lazy, you can forget it. God will allow you to do whatever you want to do.”

 


Note: This story appears in the summer 2018 issue of Hindsight alumni magazine. Find out more information about the Hinds Alumni Association and Foundation scholarships.

13 July, 2018 News more