MURRAY, Ky. — See below for the latest news from Murray State University, including student, faculty, staff and alumni accomplishments, announcements, upcoming events and much more for the week of Sept. 14-18.

In this Racer Report:

  • Professor receives award from NASA Kentucky EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Development Grant
  • Alpha Sigma Phi chapter earns Grand Senior President’s Cup
  • Professor recognized as 2020 Teach Ag Champion
  • Black Student Council names executive board members
  • 2020 dietetic internship class passes Registered Dietitian credentialing exam with 100 percent success rate
  • Alpha Gamma Delta chapter awarded Annulet
  • Professor featured in BookAuthority for book on LTE technology

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Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences associate professor Dr. Bassil El Masri has received a $40,753, one-year award from the NASA Kentucky EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Development Grant (RIDG) to help better understand how plants respond to changes in water availability.

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences associate professor Dr. Bassil El Masri has received a $40,753, one-year award from the NASA Kentucky EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Development Grant (RIDG) to help better understand how plants respond to changes in water availability.
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences associate professor Dr. Bassil El Masri has received a $40,753, one-year award from the NASA Kentucky EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Development Grant (RIDG) to help better understand how plants respond to changes in water availability.

The grant will fund research to evaluate and assess the impacts of evapotranspiration and gross primary production (GPP) on Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) water use efficiency (WUE) product, using observed data from two eddy covariance flux towers in Kentucky.

The grant will allow El Masri and a colleague at the University of Kentucky to validate ECOSTRESS WUE and quantify the impacts of GPP errors and solar-induced fluorescence-derived GPP on the overall accuracy of ECOSTRESS WUE. Such information can be used to determine whether plants are stressed, providing necessary information for stakeholders to address potential drought conditions. 

“This funded project will help increase our understanding of how the natural ecosystems in Kentucky are responding to changes in water availability and how accurate we can monitor such changes using new satellite imagery,” El Masri said. 

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The Delta Tau chapter of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity at Murray State University has received its seventh overall Grand Senior President’s Cup award from Alpha Sigma Phi national headquarters. The Grand Senior President’s Cup is awarded to the best fraternity chapter in the nation and now ties Delta Tau as the most winningest chapter with one other within the entire national organization.

Grand Senior President’s Cup winners best exemplify the ideals and purpose of Alpha Sigma Phi, scoring the highest in all areas of the fraternity’s annual report. This is the highest honor a chapter can receive.

The Delta Tau chapter celebrated its 25th anniversary last fall.

Mike Young, a founding father and former University staff member, serves as the grand chapter advisor for the Delta Tau chapter. Young has served since the chapter’s founding in 1994.

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David Black from the Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture (HSOA) has been recognized as a 2020 Teach Ag Champion as part of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Teach Ag celebration, for contributing in significant ways to the Teach Ag mission of ensuring a quality and diverse supply of agriculture teachers. 

Black joined the University in 2013 and leads the HSOA high school dual credit program as part of Murray State’s Racer Academy program for high school students. 

David Black from the Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture (HSOA) has been recognized as a 2020 Teach Ag Champion as part of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Teach Ag celebration, for contributing in significant ways to the Teach Ag mission of ensuring a quality and diverse supply of agriculture teachers.
David Black from the Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture (HSOA) has been recognized as a 2020 Teach Ag Champion as part of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Teach Ag celebration, for contributing in significant ways to the Teach Ag mission of ensuring a quality and diverse supply of agriculture teachers. 

“I am honored and humbled to be recognized as a National Teach Ag Champion through NAAE,” Black said. “I was privileged to have a quality agriculture education at Murray State University under the direction and leadership of Ag. Ed. Champions Dr. Heathcott and Dr. Jacks. Then, I was able to teach at Fulton County High School with wonderful and supportive family, staff, parents, students and community. I am now in my eighth year as the coordinator of the Racer Academy of agriculture at Murray State under the leadership of other Teach Ag. Champions Dr. Tony Brannon and Dr. Brian Parr. I am truly blessed to have other champions in my life to support me and lift me up.”

“As coordinator of our Racer Academy of agriculture, Mr. David Black is a Teach Ag Champion to teachers and students all across the commonwealth of Kentucky,” Hutson School of Agriculture Dean Dr. Tony Brannon said. “We appreciate him greatly.”

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Executive board members for the Murray State University Black Student Council have been announced for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

  • President – Darren Russell (public and community health/health and fitness) of Paris, Tennessee
  • Vice President – Nia Russell (business administration) of Paris, Tennessee
  • Secretary – Destiny Hagan (political science/legal studies) of Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Treasurer – Lily Sanchez (occupational safety and health) of Murray, Kentucky
  • Parliamentarian – Dayana Gilbert (elementary education) of McKenzie, Tennessee
  • Historian – Markeese Meriwether (chemistry) of Louisville, Kentucky

“It is a great honor for these students to be elected to represent students as an executive board member for Black Student Council,” said Dr. SG Carthell, executive director of the Office of Multicultural Initiatives, Student Leadership and Inclusive Excellence. “There is a long legacy of outstanding student leaders who have held positions on the executive board. I am confident that this group is going to do an outstanding job this academic year to continue that legacy.” 

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The 2020 Murray State University dietetic internship class has successfully passed their Registered Dietitian (RD) credentialing exam. This is the fifth year in a row the program has had a pass rate of 100 percent. The Murray State University Dietetic Internship program has been in existence for 21 years and has an overall pass rate of 97 percent. 

During the eleven-month program, students work a 40-hour week to complete supervised practice training in clinical nutrition, foodservice management, community nutrition and long-term care. The interns are eligible to sit for the national credentialing exam to become an RD after the successful completion of the program. 

Lori Crouch, director of the program, said most interns have a job before they graduate, with many employed at the facility in which they completed their supervised training. 

“Every year, we are proud of the work our interns do to become registered dietitians at the end of their journey here,” Crouch said. “Their hard work reflects the quality of Murray State’s program.” 

Bailey Lankster, a recent graduate of the Murray State internship program, completed her supervised practice training rotation at Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Kentucky, and received the 2019-20 Outstanding Dietetic Student award at the Kentucky Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics state meeting in August. 

“This is such an exciting way to wrap up my dietetic internship experience,” Lankster said. “I’m grateful for all of the support I received along the way from the internship faculty and my preceptors at Norton Hospital.”

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The Murray State University Gamma Xi chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta has been awarded the Annulet, the highest honor a chapter can receive as recognized by the international sorority.

Founded in 1904, Alpha Gamma Delta promotes academic excellence, philanthropic giving, ongoing leadership and personal development and above all, a spirit of loving sisterhood.

The Annulet, awarded each year during the sorority’s annual awards ceremony, recognizes a chapter’s overall excellence.

The chapter received additional awards, outlined below:

  • Activities Award – given to chapters that demonstrate a high level of campus involvement. Over 30 percent of the Gamma Xi chapter’s members are in leadership positions on campus, and over 90 percent of members are involved in other organizations on campus.
  • Recruitment Excellence Award (Honor Roll) – The award is given to chapters that demonstrate overall excellence in ALL areas of Panhellenic Recruitment 
  • International Council Merit Award (Honor Roll) – This award recognizes chapters that have made a great contribution to the campus, community, and beyond
  • Outstanding Advisor Team Member Award (two nominees) – Chapter Wellness Advisor Sarah Farmer Hultman and College of Education and Human Services Recruitment and Retention Center Coordinator Tressa Ross were recognized for their service
  • Circle of Excellence Award – This award is given to chapters that have met benchmarks in ALL areas of The Fraternity; such as scholarship, recruitment, retention, member programming, financial support, philanthropy, etc. 
  • Best Financial Support to the Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation ($44,853) – This award recognizes the largest cumulative total of funds donated to the foundation for the biennium (for size structure)
  • Additionally, the chapter was named among the top 10 collegiate chapters for foundation support from 2019-20 and was recognized for the 27th consecutive year as a Jewel Society Chapter, which denotes chapters that raise more than $2,000 each year.

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Dr. Abdul Yarali, professor and coordinator of the Murray State University cybersecurity and network management program, has been featured in BookAuthority for his book “Public Safety Networks from LTE to 5G,” which has been recognized as the best new LTE book to read in 2020.

BookAuthority, a website known for book recommendations, uses a proprietary technology to identify and rate books based on data metrics, from public mentions, recommendations, ratings, sentiment, popularity and sales history.

Dr. Abdul Yarali, professor and coordinator of the Murray State University cybersecurity and network management program, has been featured in BookAuthority for his book "Public Safety Networks from LTE to 5G," which has been recognized as the best new LTE book to read in 2020.
Dr. Abdul Yarali, professor and coordinator of the Murray State University cybersecurity and network management program, has been featured in BookAuthority for his book “Public Safety Networks from LTE to 5G,” which has been recognized as the best new LTE book to read in 2020.

“Public Safety Networks from LTE to 5G” provides an overview of technologies for public safety networks (PSNs). Including real-life examples of network applications and services, it introduces readers to public safety network technologies and covers the historical developments as well as emerging trends in PSNs such as today’s 4G and tomorrow’s 5G cellular network-related solutions.

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