Four recognized with student achievement awards from MSU’s Association of Retired Faculty

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Abby Jackson (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Three current students and one recent Mississippi State graduate are the newest recipients of outstanding achievement awards from the university’s Association of Retired Faculty.

Founded in 1986, the association presents outstanding student achievement awards that serve as tributes or memorials to colleagues and association members who made major contributions to student development during their careers at the 140-year-old land-grant institution.

Chosen by MSU faculty members in their respective academic disciplines, recipients were recognized with a $500 award at the association’s recent end-of the-year banquet.

Honorees include:

—Audrey A. “Abby” Jackson, a fourth-year architecture major from Ripley, receiving the William L. Giles Award for Excellence in Architecture. A student in MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, she is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, as well as Mortar Board Senior and Tau Sigma Delta Architecture honor societies. In addition to her service as a student worker at MSU’s Carl Small Town Center, Jackson has shown her commitment to the architecture field as a member of the School of Architecture Director’s and College of Architecture, Art and Design Dean’s student councils.

Martin McCandless (Photo by Beth Wynn)

—Martin G. McCandless, a senior aerospace engineering/aeronautics major and mathematics minor from Ridgeland, receiving the Harry Charles F. Simrall Award for Engineering Excellence. His research activities have included work in the Bagley College of Engineering for the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, High Performance Computing Collaboratory and the Department of Aerospace Engineering, as well as the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Basic Sciences and the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. The Shackouls Honors College student also has conducted research as a part-time production line technician for Quiet Technologies Inc. in Ridgeland. McCandless has volunteered with the Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity and Jackson Free Clinic, and has served as a tutor for fellow aerospace engineering students.

—Kate E. Parsons, a senior animal and dairy sciences major from Columbia, Tennessee, receiving the Charles E. Lindley Leadership in Agriculture Award. After serving for nearly two years as a resident adviser for MSU’s Department of Housing and Residence Life, Parsons joined the department in May as an administrative assistant. She has served since 2016 as a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ambassador and as president of Circle K International at MSU, a collegiate organization of the Kiwanis International service club. Also pursuing an international studies in agriculture minor, she has completed many hours of community service as a four-year member of MSU’s Block and Bridle club.

Kate Parsons (Photo by Beth Wynn)

—Katelyn P. Vance of Olive Branch, a May magna cum laude English and philosophy bachelor’s graduate, receiving the Peyton Ward Williams Jr. Distinguished Writing Award. At MSU, she was a Shackouls Honors College student, poetry editor for MSU’s student-run creative writing journal, The Streetcar, and a Writing Center tutor. She also participated in campus and community service projects through her membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Sigma Alpha Lambda leadership and honors organization. Her research interests range from science fiction to Soviet Russia and Cold War literature.

For more on MSU’s Association of Retired Faculty, visit

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Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 2:48 pm