MSU recognizes exemplary faculty, staff in natural resources

Contact: Vanessa Beeson

Faculty award recipients include (left to right): Mark McConnell, Joshua Granger, Sandra Correa, Peter Allen and Shaun Tanger (not pictured: Courtney Siegert).
Faculty award recipients include (left to right): Mark McConnell, Joshua Granger, Sandra Correa, Peter Allen and Shaun Tanger (not pictured: Courtney Siegert). (Photo by Dominique Belcher)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State faculty and staff in the College of Forest Resources and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center are being honored for excellence in teaching, research and outreach.  

“Our greatest asset is our people—faculty and staff who work to train future conservationists, conduct research to enhance and conserve our natural resources and then transfer that knowledge to landowners,” Wes Burger, CFR dean and FWRC director, said at a recent awards ceremony and advisory meeting. “This year’s honorees are dedicated individuals invested in fulfilling our land-grant mission.”

Those being honored include:

—Assistant Professor Mark McConnell, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, CFR/FWRC Early Career Achievement Award. In the last three years at MSU, McConnell has published 13 manuscripts, garnered $6.27 million in extramural funding as principal or co-principal investigator and received funding for 25 projects with more in review. Invested in student success, he is a mentor for the undergraduate research scholar’s program, serves as major advisor to eight current students and has directed a total of 15 graduate students since joining the MSU faculty.

—Assistant Professor Shaun Tanger, Department of Forestry stationed at the Coastal Research and Extension Center, CFR/FWRC Extension/Outreach Award. In the past three years, Tanger has produced 61 programs for landowners, land managers and youth. These programs include short courses, workshops and 4-H youth events and in-service training for MSU Extension Service agents. He also has produced 13 peer reviewed publications and 60 extension publications while serving as principal or co-principal investigator on 14 projects and earning almost $1 million in extramural funding with another $1.4 million pending.

—Associate Professor Courtney Siegert, Department of Forestry, CFR/FWRC Research Award and CFR Advising Award. Siegert actively manages $6.5 million in extramural funded projects. In the last three years, she has published 19 manuscripts with three more in acceptance or review and authored or co-authored 22 papers presented at state, regional, national or international venues. In her nine years at MSU, she has advised nine graduate students, served on eight graduate student committees and worked with students to present 36 posters. She serves as undergraduate curriculum coordinator and has supervised 24 undergraduate researchers in addition to advising nearly 150 undergraduates.

—Assistant Professor Joshua Granger, Department of Forestry, CFR/FWRC Service Award. A member of 16 professional organizations, Granger is active on a variety of committees at the university, college and department levels. He is on the Academic Review Board and the Tree Campus Higher Education Advisory Committee and serves as advising arborist for MSU’s Landscape Services. He directs the Forestry Summer Field Program and is co-curator of the department’s herbarium.

—Assistant Professor Sandra Correa, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, CFR/FWRC Teaching Award. Correa teaches the second largest class in the college, Applied Ecology, in addition to Ichthyology and submitted a new special topics graduate level course, Ecology of River Ecosystems, which she recognized as a need in the department. She regularly engages and supports graduate and undergraduate students alike helping them secure internships and providing mentorship. She has received funding to mentor undergraduate research scholars four years in a row and has been highlighted multiple times by the university for her innovative and informed teaching techniques.

—Professor Peter Allen, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Regina and Glenn Doran Faculty Excellence Award. Allen, who has served the department for 13 years, is known for his advising and mentorship to students, as a collaborator in research and for his service to the profession, which all form the basis for this award. He is noted as “going the extra mile” in support of students, from securing undergraduate research opportunities to recommending internships and job opportunities. He also serves as a mentor to both faculty and staff.

Staff award recipients include (left to right): Karen Brasher, Charlsie Halford, Jessica Myers and Susan Blanton.
Staff award recipients include (left to right): Karen Brasher, Charlsie Halford, Jessica Myers and Susan Blanton. (Photo by Dominique Belcher)

—Jessica Myers, senior accountant for CFR and FWRC, Doris Lee Memorial Staff Award, in the professional/non-faculty category. Myers, who has served CFR/FWRC for 16 years, is noted for her strong work ethic and high level of job knowledge.

—Susan Blanton, administrative assistant I, Doris Lee Memorial Staff Award, in the support staff category. Serving the Department of Forestry for three years, Blanton is viewed as pivotal in managing the department’s day-to-day operations.

—Karen Brasher, manager of communications for MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources marketing team, Beverly Smith Professional Staff Award. Brasher, who has been with the university for 26 years, manages marketing and communication for the CFR and FWRC, as well as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. She is noted as an innovative, award-winning communication professional. Brasher previously has been recognized as a Doris Lee Memorial Staff Award recipient.

—Charlsie Halford, administrative assistant II for CFR and FWRC, Beverly Smith Support Staff Award. Halford has been with CFR for 11 years and is noted as a “go-to” individual with a high level of resourcefulness, as well as a positive demeanor.

For more on MSU’s College of Forest Resources, visit Learn about the university’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center by visiting

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