SEC Academic Conference at MSU features speakers from government agencies, SEC institutions

Contact: Allison Matthews

STARKVILLE, Miss.—More than 60 academic and governmental researchers will participate in next month’s SEC Academic Conference as speakers and panelists when the SEC institutions come together to discuss “The Future of Water.”

Mississippi State University is hosting the March 27-28 event that will feature researchers and academic leaders representing all 14 SEC institutions. Governmental organizations, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Geological Survey, and Environmental Protection Agency, also will be represented, among others, including Mississippi’s Delta Council.

“The Future of Water: Regional Collaboration on Shared Climate, Coastlines and Watersheds” is the theme of this year’s conference that will focus on research collaboration. For the complete agenda and registration, visit

Headlined by best-selling author John M. Barry, former National Geographic executive environment editor Dennis Dimick, and University of California, Irvine, professor and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory senior water scientist Jay Famiglietti, the event is expected to engage experts on a variety of water resource topics.

The program includes:

—Carmen Agouridis, University of Kentucky

—William Andreen, University of Alabama

—Beth Baker, Mississippi State University

—Eban Bean, University of Florida

—Bennett Bearden, University of Alabama

—Diane Boellstorff, SERA-43, Texas A&M University

—Eve Brantley, Auburn University

—Mark Callahan, University of Georgia

—Edward Clark, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

—Denise DeLorme, Louisiana State University

—Baolin Deng, University of Missouri

—Jim Dobrowolski, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

—Jamie Dyer, Mississippi State University

—Heather Elliott, University of Alabama

—Isabel Escobar, University of Kentucky

—Susana Ferreira, University of Georgia

—William (Bill) Ford, University of Kentucky

—Laurie Fowler, University of Georgia

—Kathryn Frank, University of Florida

—Christopher Fuhrmann, Mississippi State University

—Scott Gain, U.S. Geological Survey

—David Gattie, University of Georgia

—Keith Goyne, University of Missouri

—Earl Greene, U.S. Geological Survey

—Gnaneswar Gude, Mississippi State University

—Amanda Gumbert, University of Kentucky

—Scott Hagen, Louisiana State University

—Brian Haggard, University of Arkansas

—Bill Herndon, Mississippi State University

—Blake Hudson, Louisiana State University

—Richard Ingram, Mississippi State University

—Matthew Interis, Mississippi State University

—Fouad Jaber, Texas A&M University

—Catherine Janasie, University of Mississippi

—Jeff Johnson, Mississippi State University

—Christine Klein, University of Florida

—Scott Knight, University of Mississippi

—Ron Lacewell, Texas A&M University

—Venkat Lakshmi, University of South Carolina

—Dayton Lambert, University of Tennessee

—Craig Landry, University of Georgia

—Eugene LeBoeuf, Vanderbilt University

—Bruce McCarl, Texas A&M University

—Robert Moorhead, Mississippi State University

—Chip Morgan, Delta Council

—James Morris, University of South Carolina

—Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, University of Florida

—John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University

—Lindell Ormsbee, University of Kentucky

—Jimmy Palmer, Environmental Protection Agency, retired

—Prem Parajuli, Mississippi State University

—Joel Paz, Mississippi State University

—Ben Scaggs, EPA Gulf of Mexico Program

—Stephanie Showalter-Otts, University of Mississippi

—Puneet Srivastava, Auburn University

—Cristiane Surbeck, University of Mississippi

—LaDon Swann, Auburn University

—Chris Thomas, Environmental Protection Agency

—John Tracy, Texas A&M University

—Robert Twilley, Louisiana State University

—Kevin Wagner, Texas A&M University

—Ranil Wickramasinghe, University of Arkansas

—Nicole Wilkinson, North Carolina Urban Water Consortium

—Chris Wilson, University of Tennessee

“This conference will bring together the best of the best in the SEC doing water research,” said Daniel Petrolia, an MSU associate professor of agricultural economics who is part of the conference organizing committee. “We will tackle some of the most pressing water issues facing the Southeast, the U.S. and the world,” Petrolia added.

Increased climate variability and water demand are bringing water issues to the forefront of research discussion, conference organizers said. Drought, declines in aquifers used for irrigation, and sea-level rise are among core topics of interest. The conference is designed to stimulate communication and collaboration toward sustainable and resilient water resource management in the Southeast, with overarching themes to include shared inland waters and aquifers, coastlines, climate and regional policy.

The SEC Academic Conference represents an expanded slate of academic programming currently supported by the Southeastern Conference. The on-campus event is expected to showcase SEC university research in areas of critical importance within the region and around the nation. SECU is the academic initiative of the SEC, and it serves as the primary mechanism through which the collaborative academic endeavors and achievements of SEC universities are supported and advanced.

For more on SECU, visit