MSU joins National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Gulf Scholars Program

A scenic picture of the Mississippi Gulf Coast
As a new member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Gulf Scholars Program, Mississippi State University will support approximately 50 students pursuing degrees in fields that impact the Gulf Coast region. (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University has been selected to join the latest cohort of the Gulf Scholars Program, an initiative led by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM).

As a member of the third Gulf Scholars Program cohort, MSU will receive funding to provide scholarship support to approximately 50 students over the course of five years, along with additional support for involvement with high-impact projects along the Gulf Coast. The initiative, led through NASEM’s Gulf Research Program, aims to prepare undergraduate students to address pressing environmental, health, energy and infrastructure challenges in the Gulf of Mexico region.

“We are delighted to welcome Mississippi State University as a member of the Gulf Scholars Program,” said Karena Mothershed, senior program manager of the Gulf Research Program’s Board on Gulf Education and Engagement. “As a first-rate educational institution with deep connections to Gulf communities, we believe it is an excellent partner for our efforts to support and inspire talented undergraduates in the region.”

Jamie Dyer, Interim Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies at MSU and principal investigator for the grant, said the Gulf Scholars Program at the university will revolve around a new minor in Gulf Coast studies, which will be developed through collaboration among faculty across campus. The university also will support student involvement in outreach projects, internships and other opportunities to engage with communities along the Gulf Coast.

“The minor will provide an interdisciplinary educational experience for students to gain not only the knowledge of the social, physical and historical aspects of the Gulf Coast, but also the skills necessary to design and develop solutions to existing challenges that face local communities,” Dyer said.

MSU joins a growing network of 18 institutions hosting Gulf Scholars Programs on behalf of NASEM. MSU’s cohort includes Auburn University, Prairie View A&M University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Florida.

The National Academies’ Gulf Research Program is an independent, science-based initiative founded in 2013 as part of legal settlements with the companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. It works to enhance offshore energy system safety and protect human health and the environment by catalyzing advances in science, practice and capacity to generate long-term benefits for the Gulf region and the nation. The program has $500 million for use over 30 years to fund grants, fellowships and other activities in the areas of research and development, education and training, and monitoring and synthesis.

MSU leads several academic and research efforts that strengthen understanding of the Gulf Coast in areas such as aquaculture, atmospheric and oceanic sciences, architecture, engineering, social sciences and more.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, engineering and medicine. They operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.

For more information on the MSU Gulf Scholars Program, contact Dyer at

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