Gates Millennium Scholars, graduate NSF fellows recognized at MSU

MSU recognized its Gates Millennium Scholars and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Fellows on Wednesday [April 12]. Pictured, from left to right, are MSU Graduate School Dean Lori Bruce, NSF Fellow Danielle Grimes, Gates Millennium Scholar Eric Matthews, NSF Fellow Amber Kay, Gates Millennium Scholar Juan Rodriguez, MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner, Gates Millennium Scholar Sharniquica Stiles and NSF Fellow Derrick Jones. Not pictured are Gates Millennium Scholars Shelby Jones, Malcolm Robinson and Steven Romero. (Photo by Beth Wynn)

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University brought together two distinguished groups of students Wednesday [April 12] for a luncheon in their honor.

MSU’s Gates Millennium Scholars and three National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program Fellows were recognized by MSU’s Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President and Office of the Graduate School for their contributions to the university community.

Launched in 1999 by the United Negro College Fund through a gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program helps talented minority students with demonstrated financial need pursue a college education. Since the program began, $112,092 has been awarded to support MSU students. Currently, six MSU students are part of the program.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.

“I’m proud of each of you and what you have done at MSU,” Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner told the students. “I look forward to following your careers and seeing what you do next.”

Universities that host Gates Millennium Scholars are encouraged to offer the students information about graduate programs, fellowships and assistantships. Graduate School Dean Lori Bruce and the three graduate NSF fellows spoke about how graduate school has benefitted them and their research focus.

The Gates Millennium Scholars enrolled at MSU include, by hometown:

ABERDEEN—Eric W. Matthews, a junior industrial engineering major;

COLUMBUS—Shelby D. Jones, a sophomore biological engineering major;

KOSCIUSKO—Juan D. Rodriguez, a senior biochemistry major;

LAUREL—Malcom C. Robinson, a junior art major;

OCEAN SPRINGS—Steven L. Romero, a senior philosophy major;

PIKE ROAD, Alabama—Sharniquica Stiles, a doctoral student in industrial and systems engineering;

MSU’s NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Fellows include, by hometown:

CALHOUN, Georgia—Amber M. Kay, a doctoral student in biological sciences;

JACKSON—Derrick T. Jones, a doctoral student in mathematical sciences; and

STARKVILLE—Carla “Danielle” Grimes, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering.

For more on the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, visit More on the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program can be found at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at