A diverse group of University of Mississippi students, both graduate and undergraduate, traveled to Atlanta Sept. 20-22 for this year’s SEC Symposium. This year’s theme was “Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” and UM represented each of these areas at the event.
The university received the Excellence in Student Attendance Award, which is given to the university with the most students at the symposium. In recognition of the honor, the SEC will make a donation to the university’s general scholarship fund.
From engineering backgrounds to fine arts and everything in between, the UM team included nine undergraduate students, eight graduate students and two alumni.
“The SECU Symposium was a great opportunity for students and faculty to learn about ways to foster creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship within and across disciplines,” Interim Provost Noel Wilkin said. “It was nice to see our students participate in the conference and engage with faculty and students from other SEC universities.”
Since students were a central focal point for this year’s symposium, each school was asked to send one undergraduate student as an ambassador. The Ole Miss ambassador, Michael Davis, is a senior majoring in management information systems. Davis helped by with assisting speakers before their speeches, registering attendees for the event and performing other tasks assigned by conference organizers.
“I got the chance to meet and network with people all across the SEC,” Davis said. “My experience was great!”
“One of the best aspects of the SEC Symposium was the opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and to work with faculty,” said Clay Dibrell, executive director for the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship,
“I know that I have personally enjoyed working with students associated with the different schools across campus and faculty outside of the business school. Once again, it illustrates the diversity of talent, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit which permeates everything we do at the University of Mississippi.”
Clay Wooley, a mechanical engineering major and a member of both the Center for Manufacturing Excellence and Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, displayed a piece in the Student Applied Arts Exhibition.
Hailey Hodge, who is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree, displayed a piece titled “Fragmented House” in the Student Creative Works Exhibition.
Two Ole Miss students, Austin White and Daniel Roebuck, participated in the SEC Jazz Ensemble.
Alex Ray, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, and Caleb Robinson, who earned his bachelor’s in computer science, participated in the Student Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition with their Web-based business plan for ZynCareers.com.
“The judges offered a lot of great feedback for our business,” Ray said, “We now have a few ideas of where we want to take the site in the next few weeks, and I think it’ll make our future pitches a lot stronger.”
The remaining 12 students were competitively selected by the university’s SEC Symposium planning team to represent the university based on their interest or track record in creativity, innovation or entrepreneurship.
The students selected were Andres Diaz Lopez, representing MIS; Deidre Jackson, higher education; Nick Keeling, pharmacy administration; Colin Wattigney, MBA; Cary Allen, Business, Center for Manufacturing Excellence; Kristin Howitt, mechanical engineering; Ashley Irons, accountancy; Josh McGlawn, civil engineering; Michael Williams, integrated marketing communications and Chinese; Pierre Whiteside, integrated marketing communications; Dave Thomas, mechanical engineering and the Center for Manufacturing Excellence; and Valencia Lloyd, psychology.
“I’m excited to see how SEC students impact the future,” Ray said.
Courtesy of Elizabeth Burgreen and the Ole Miss News Desk