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Center for Cyber Innovation Researcher, David May, Honored with Annual Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award

April 22, 2020

David May
Photo by Russ Huston
Mississippi State is honoring more than 50 students, faculty and staff for their exceptional contributions to the university’s research enterprise.

The annual awards, given each spring, celebrate MSU’s research achievements by honoring faculty, staff and students from each of the university’s eight academic colleges, as well as MSU’s research administration, centers and institutes. MSU is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as an R1-Very High Research Activity institution. With $244 million in research and development expenditures in FY2018, MSU is the top research university in the state and is ranked in the top 100 nationally by the National Science Foundation.

“The dynamic research activity taking place at MSU makes a tremendous impact on our state, nation and world,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “It is inspiring to see the Bulldog family working every day to solve critical problems and create new knowledge.”

David May, professor in the Department of Sociology, is being recognized with the university’s top research honor—the Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award. The Powe Award is a memorial to the MSU alumnus and longtime research vice president who died in 1996. The selection is made at the university level from nominations received from the MSU community.

May, who received his doctorate in sociology from MSU, has been a part of the university faculty since 2012. He is active in research and service in community crime prevention and school safety work, reentry and other correctional issues for both officers and inmates, and cybercrime research. He has authored or co-authored six books and over 100 scholarly articles, and currently serves as principal investigator or co-principal investigator for research projects funded by the NSF, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, the Henry Family Foundation and the Department of Defense.

“I would like to congratulate Dr. May and all of this year’s award winners,” said MSU Interim Vice President for Research and Economic Development Julie Jordan. “Our world-class research capabilities are a tremendous asset to the university and the state of Mississippi, and they provide excellent hands-on learning opportunities for our students. It takes hundreds of people working together to make all of this activity happen, and these awards are one way we can say ‘thank you’ to everyone for their hard work and help.”

The Research Awards are presented annually by the Office of Research and Economic Development and the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Research Awards banquet was canceled. However, the banquet’s program, which includes winner bios, can be viewed online.

Faculty, Staff and Student Winners

Other 2020 research award winners include (alphabetically, by academic unit):
  • Bagley College of Engineering: Masoud Karimi Ghartemani, faculty; Natalie Beatty, research support; and Jack Francis, graduate student.
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station: Mark Shankle, faculty; Brad Burgess, research support; Michael Nattrass, graduate student; and Andrew Tyler Nuss, undergraduate student.
  • College of Architecture, Art and Design: Alireza Shojaei Kol Kachi, faculty; Sheri Johnson, research support; and Sydney Cozart, undergraduate student.
  • College of Arts and Sciences: Dipangkar Dutta, faculty; Silas Knox, research support; Chaminda Lakmal Hetti Handi, graduate student; and Emily Tingle, undergraduate student.
  • College of Business: Alvaro Toboada, faculty; Robin Tang, graduate student; and Choteau Kammel, undergraduate student.
  • College of Education: Yan Sun, faculty; Starsha Jamerson, research support; Alana Turner, graduate student; and Hannah Freeman, undergraduate student.
  • College of Forest Resources and Forest and Wildlife Research Center: Courtney Siegert, faculty; Crissy Hathcock, research support; Will Kruckeberg, graduate student; and Rachel Nation, undergraduate student.
  • College of Veterinary Medicine: Trey Howell, faculty; Edward Meek, research support; Brittany Szafran, graduate student; and Hannah Scheaffer, undergraduate student.
  • MSU-Meridian: Jeffrey Leffler, faculty.
  • Office of Research and Economic Development: Kim Rayborn, research support; and Sloan Davis, graduate student.
  • University Centers and Institutes: Anna Linhoss, faculty; and Vince Sanders, research support.

Inventors, FY19

Mississippi State’s success with developing intellectual property and licensing new technology is part of the celebration as the Office of Technology Management recognizes Fiscal Year 2019 patent recipients:
  • Stephen Pruett, jointly with Frank Austin and Shien Lu: “Occidiofungin Formulation and Uses Thereof”
  • Frank Austin, jointly with Shien Lu: “Occidiofungin, a Unique Antifungal Glycopeptide Produced by a Strain of Burkholderia Contaminans”

2019-2020 James D. McComas Faculty Leadership Program Graduates

Graduates of the university’s 2019-2020 James D. McComas Faculty Leadership Program were also recognized:
  • Linda Coats, Educational Leadership
  • Stacy Haynes, Sociology
  • Haitham El Kadiri, Mechanical Engineering
  • David Lang, Plant and Soil Sciences
  • Matt Lavine, History
  • Laura Marler, Management
  • Dan Reynolds, Plant and Soil Sciences
  • Wes Schilling, Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion
  • Brad Trinkle, Accountancy
  • Jervette Ward, English

Learn more about the Office of Research and Economic Development at or the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Story by James Carskadon