MURRAY, Ky. — Below is information regarding recent news, notes and accomplishments from Murray State University for the week of May 13-17.

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Former Murray State University faculty member and dean of the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology Dr. Neil Weber and his wife, Joan, have established a scholarship for University students.

Through the Neil and Joan Weber Endowed Scholarship, created through a generous gift from the Weber family, incoming full-time freshmen pursuing a degree in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences may apply for the one-time award. Recipients must have a 3.0 high school GPA on a scale of 4.0, and financial need may be considered.

Neil’s career at Murray State spanned 28 years; his roles included that of a faculty member, director of the Mid-America Remote Sensing Center, chair of the Department of Geosciences and dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Former Murray State University faculty member and dean of the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology Dr. Neil Weber and his wife, Joan, have established a scholarship for University students. Pictured from left to right are Murray State University professor and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Dr. Robin Zhang, Joan Weber, Dr. Neil Weber and Dr. Claire Fuller, dean of the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering & Technology.
Former Murray State University faculty member and dean of the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology Dr. Neil Weber and his wife, Joan, have established a scholarship for University students. Pictured from left to right are Murray State University professor and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Dr. Robin Zhang, Joan Weber, Dr. Neil Weber and Dr. Claire Fuller, dean of the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering & Technology.

In 2008, Dr. Jesse D. Jones, the college’s namesake, established the Neil Weber Award for Excellence, an award given to outstanding faculty.

Joan’s career includes 26 years as a certified interdisciplinary early childhood education teacher, elementary school teacher and director. She is a Murray State graduate, having earned her Rank 1 teacher certification at the University. She came to Murray State in 1984 as a multi-age preschool teacher and director, then served as a Head Start preschool teacher at North Elementary School and Calloway County Preschool. From 2000-06, Joan rejoined the University as an adjunct instructor.

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The Murray State University Office of Multicultural Initiatives, Student Leadership and Inclusive Excellence welcomes the new executive board for Black Student Council for the 2019-2020 academic year.

President: Brittney Williams (Louisville, Kentucky)

2nd Vice President: Chelsea Carter (Louisville, Kentucky)

Treasurer: Amari Thomas (Jackson, Tennessee)

Parliamentarian: Destiny Thomas (Jackson, Tennessee)

Historian/Secretary: Kaya White (Jackson, Tennessee)

“This is an excellent and passionate group of young leaders,” said Dr. SG Carthell, executive director of the Office of Multicultural Initiatives, Student Leadership and Inclusive Excellence. “I look forward to their leadership in the campus community.”

The first vice president will be elected from the BSC/NAACP Caucus in the fall semester.

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Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture Dean Dr. Tony Brannon recently testified before a committee of the United States Environmental Protection Agency on development opportunities and needs for the regional hemp industry.

Speaking to members of the EPA’s Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee, Brannon outlined hemp production processes, including pesticides (currently, there are no pesticides registered by the EPA specifically for use on hemp, though some pesticide labels list help among other crops). He also delved into the agricultural, academic, economic and rural development impact hemp has had within Murray State’s 18-county service region.

Murray State has been at the forefront of fostering this fledgling industry; the Hutson School of Agriculture recently announced its Center for Agricultural Hemp, a project that pushes forward hemp research, education, policy and education in coordination with industry partners.

“Certainly, the opportunity to speak to a committee of this magnitude is because of our leadership position with the creation of the Murray State University Center for Agricultural Hemp,” Brannon said. “Along with our foundational partner GenCanna, I spoke on the agricultural, academic, economic and rural development impact of this new crop opportunity within our service region. I was able to compare agricultural hemp to the state of soybean and dark tobacco production in the 1960s, when they were produced without chemicals and only with mechanical control methods.”

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The public is invited to hear stories about business, economic and workforce issues from seasoned National Public Radio business correspondent Yuki Noguchi on June 6 at 7:30 p.m. WKMS and Murray State University’s Town and Gown Partnership are hosting the free event in Wrather Auditorium.

The public is invited to hear stories about business, economic and workforce issues from seasoned National Public Radio business correspondent Yuki Noguchi on June 6 at 7:30 p.m. WKMS and Murray State University’s Town and Gown Partnership are hosting the free event in Wrather Auditorium. Photo courtesy of Linda Fittante/NPR.
Yuki Noguci, 2014. Linda Fittante/NPR.

Since joining NPR in 2008, Noguchi has covered a range of business and economic news, with a special focus on the workplace. In recent years, she has covered the rise of the contract workforce, the #MeToo movement, the Great Recession, and the subprime housing crisis.

In 2011, she covered the earthquake and tsunami in her parents’ native Japan. Her coverage of the impact of opioids on workers and their families won a 2019 Gracie Award.

Noguchi started her career as a reporter, then an editor, for The Washington Post. She reported on stories mostly about business and technology. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, inflicts her cooking on her two boys and has a degree in history from Yale.

Individuals can submit questions in advance by emailing msu.wkms@murraystate.edu or also submit a question at the free talk.

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Murray State University occupational safety and health students Ryan Cannady, Alex Lacey and Bayley Ranes, with the oversight of faculty mentor Dr. Yousif Abulhassan, were awarded second place in SESHA’s (Semiconductor Environmental Health and Safety Association) student poster competition and won a $3,000 scholarship. The poster was titled “A Cutting Edge Approach for Assessing Ergonomic Risks in the Semiconductor Industry.”

Murray State University occupational safety and health students Ryan Cannady, Alex Lacey and Bayley Ranes, with the oversight of faculty mentor Dr. Yousif Abulhassan, were awarded second place in SESHA’s (Semiconductor Environmental Health and Safety Association) student poster competition and won a $3,000 scholarship. Pictured from left are Abulhassan, Cannady, Ranes and Lacey.

Murray State University occupational safety and health students Ryan Cannady, Alex Lacey and Bayley Ranes, with the oversight of faculty mentor Dr. Yousif Abulhassan, were awarded second place in SESHA’s (Semiconductor Environmental Health and Safety Association) student poster competition and won a $3,000 scholarship. Pictured from left are Abulhassan, Cannady, Ranes and Lacey.

The poster competition is a part of SESHA’s student scholarship program. The goal of SESHA’s student scholarship program is to encourage students to pursue careers in environmental health and safety in the high technology industry. The student poster competition was held during SESHA’s 41st annual International High Technology ESH Symposium and Exhibition in Scottsdale, Arizona, from April 29 to May 3. Topics related to environmental, industrial hygiene, safety or sustainability as well as the semiconductor industry or high tech industry were required to enter the poster competition.

Awards included first place ($5,000), second place ($3,000), third place ($1,000) and two honorable mentions ($500) which were presented during the closing ceremony.

SESHA, founded in 1978, is an organization dedicated to the prevention of workplace injuries and accidents through the sharing of safety and health information and the promotion of technological advances in high technology, safety and health.

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The Murray State University Robotics Team wrapped up its season with a strong showing at the 2019 IEEE SoutheastCon Conference held last month in Huntsville, Alabama.

For this year’s competition, the robotics team participated in the SoutheastCon Hardware Competition. The team built an autonomous robot that could traverse an enclosed course while identifying objects and their color, before moving them to color-coded areas. Each robot had three minutes or less to identify and move 12 objects.

Overall, the team placed 12th out of 46 competing universities.

“From the robotics competition to the paper presentations, Murray State had an excellent showing at this year’s IEEE SoutheastCon Conference,” said team president Brevin Tilmon. “It was a great ending to many of the team members’ time at Murray State and we look forward to seeing the team progress next year.”

Aside from the competition, team members Aaron Sexton and Muhammad Hamed Fawzy Abdelraziq successfully presented their published papers at the conference.

Team members include:

President: Brevin Tilmon

Vice president: Alex Hayden

Secretary: Aaron Sexton

Treasurer: Maggie McHugh

Team members: Erik Johan Anderson, Brian Williams, Dana Buesseler

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Three members of the Murray State Stock Seat Equestrian Team traveled to Syracuse, New York, to compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Horse Show. These three had qualified by showing at IHSA Semifinals in Ocala, Florida, and placing in the top four of their class. There are over 10,000 riders nationwide riding in IHSA and around 400 qualified to ride at Nationals in the hunt seat and the stock seat divisions collectively.

The Hunt Seat Team had competed at Zones in Auburn, Alabama, but had failed to place in the top two in order to advance. Preston Davidson and Meredith Stine had barely missed the trip, placing third and fourth respectively in their respective zone.

High point stock seat rider in his region, Travis Fortune of Boonville, Indiana, competed with 24 other high point riders from across the United States, finishing sixth overall after scores from reining and horsemanship were averaged. Fortune additionally was qualified to show in the Individual Western Horsemanship Open division. With an extremely good ride both on the rail and in his pattern, he finished third in the nation, which qualified him to represent not only Murray State but IHSA at the AQHA Collegiate Challenge, held in August at the AQHA Youth World Show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Murray State student Travis Fortune is pictured competing in the IHSA National Horse Show in Syracuse, New York.
Murray State student Travis Fortune is pictured competing in the IHSA National Horse Show in Syracuse, New York.

Alumna Amanda Belcher from St. Louis, Missouri, but now a resident of Kentucky, finished as reserve champion in the nation in alumni reining. She will now compete in June at the Alumni Invitational, held in Ohio this year. Belcher also showed in alumni horsemanship, finishing eighth.

Alumna Amanda Belcher from St. Louis, Missouri, but now a resident of Kentucky, finished as reserve champion in the nation in alumni reining in the IHSA National Horse Show. She will now compete in June at the Alumni Invitational, held in Ohio this year. Belcher also showed in alumni horsemanship, finishing eighth.
Alumna Amanda Belcher from St. Louis, Missouri, but now a resident of Kentucky, finished as reserve champion in the nation in alumni reining in the IHSA National Horse Show. She will now compete in June at the Alumni Invitational, held in Ohio this year. Belcher also showed in alumni horsemanship, finishing eighth.

Junior Kiley Stadmiller from Rochester, New York, competed in the individual advanced horsemanship competition. With an excellent ride on the rail and a very good pattern, she finished sixth in the nation in her division.


Three members of the Murray State Stock Seat Equestrian Team traveled to Syracuse, New York, to compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Horse Show. Pictured is junior Kiley Stadmiller from Rochester, New York, who placed sixth nationwide in her division for the individual advanced horsemanship competition.

“I am very proud of our riders and the excellent way they represented Murray State University at the IHSA National Horse Show,” said Sue Robinson, coordinator of riding, IHSA coach and lecturer.

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