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Haley Barbour Scholars

The Haley Barbour Scholars are named after a distinguished public servant and native of Yazoo City who rose to the position of Chair of the Republican National Committee. As RNC Chairman, Haley Barbour inaugurated an aggressive fundraising, public relations, and candidate assistance program that led the GOP in 1994 to majority control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. Barbour was elected Governor in the 2003 state elections, when for the first time Republicans won half of Mississippi's statewide executive offices as well as historically high percentages of state house and state senate seats.

Barbour Scholars

Patrick Young, a senior Barbour Scholar, is the tall student in the back row. He is double majoring in political science and communication with a concentration in broadcasting and journalism. Patrick graduated from Sparta High School in Illinois in 2005 where he was student body vice president and president of the band. Young recently completed an internship with the "Today Show" on NBC where he conducted research, escorted guests and assisted producers on shoots. He currently works as a publications intern with the Sustainable Energy Research Center on campus and is a news writer for the student newspaper, The Reflector.

He is also a lab assistant for the Instructional Media Center at Mitchell Memorial Library with extensive computer knowledge. For the 2007-2008 school year, he was the student director for the Campus Activities Board. During his term as student director he created two new divisions and increased membership in the organization by nearly 50 percent. Patrick is a member of the Student Broadcasting Association and Rick's Rowdies. A member of the Shackouls Honors College, he has been a President's Scholar or Dean's Scholar every semester at MSU. Patrick's career interests relate to his passion for promoting equal rights for all people by fighting against prejudice and social stigmas. He hopes to get his master's in political journalism and become an international journalist.

Heather Lewis, another senior Barbour scholar, is on the right of the middle row. She is double majoring in political science and in foreign language with a concentration in Spanish. Heather is a member of the Appalachian Leadership Honors Program, where she has been honored with a scholarship. Heather's community service activities involve working with Habitat for Humanity, Sally Kate Winters, Ability Works, mentoring Day One freshmen, and volunteering with children. She has been a President's Scholar or Dean's Scholar every semester at MSU. Heather's career interests are in international diplomacy, where she plans to combine her expertise in political science and Spanish.

Our newest Barbour Scholar, Katie Allen (not pictured), is a graduate of Murrah High School in Jackson, and is also a senior Barbour Scholar. She has been a President's Scholar and has received the Honors Phase 1 Certificate. Katie is very active at MSU, serving as Vice President of the Stennis Montgomery Association (SMA). She has attended the 2009 Presidential Inauguration in Washington with the SMA, and the Southern Regional Model United Nations conference in Atlanta as a participant in the Mississippi Model Security Council. She has also attended the national conference of the National Organization for Women and serves as a community member of the board of the Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Freedom Coalition. Katie has also been actively involved with the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, helped raise money for the Columbus Rape Crisis Center, and served as a rape crisis counselor for Catholic Charities.

Jeffery Hooks, a third senior Barbour Scholar, is second from the right on the back row. From Grenada, Miss., Jeff served in the Army for four years of active duty and was deployed to Iraq in 2003 with the 11th Chemical Company. Jeff also served for three years in the National Guard and was a member of the 631st Field Artillery Brigade. On campus, he serves as a resident adviser, helping students with their problems, and is also a member of the Resident Advisers Association. Jeff is also a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary as well as Pi Sigma Alpha. Jeff is a people-person who is interested in learning what motivates people and what their political interests are. He looks forward to one day working in the emergency management field.

Barbour Scholars

Our most recent Haley Barbour alumnus is Mason Hester, in the photo to the right on the extreme right. Mason is from Long Beach, Miss., and graduated from Saint Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis, Miss. He was an active student at Mississippi State, pursuing majors in both political science and philosophy. He maintained a straight-A average during his time here. He worked with the College Democrats, and was active in MSU's Pre-Law Society. He was also a member of the University Honors Program.

Barbour Scholars

Justin Starling, third from the left in the photo to the right, is one of our most recent Haley Barbour Scholar alumni. A graduate of Jones County Junior College, Justin has been a President's Scholar at MSU. He served as Vice President of the Pre-Law Society, was previously its membership chairman, and was also a member of the Stennis-Montgomery Association. Justin was also very active at Jones County Junior College, serving as chapter President of Phi Theta Kappa and organizing a leadership conference for high school students. His community service work has supported such causes as a nursing home, children's hospital, and domestic abuse shelter. Justin plans to attend law school, practice law, and pursue a career in public service. He has been awarded a full scholarship to attend the Mississippi College School of Law.

Christy Vinson, second from the right in the above, is another recent Haley Barbour Scholar alumnus. She was an active and academically accomplished MSU student, majoring in political science. Christy served as a Student Association Senator, a member of the SA Cabinet, and served as SA Director of Voter Registration. She was also a member of such MSU student organizations as College Republicans, the Pre-Law Society, and the Stennis-Montgomery Association. Christy served MSU students as an Orientation Leader, a Roadrunner, and as a member of Campus Activities Board. She has contributed to Habitat for Humanity and serves as Vice President on the Administration Team of her sorority, Delta Delta Delta. Christy's future plans include attending law school and later entering a career in public service.

Barbour Scholars

Our Barbour Scholars periodically meet with Governor Barbour. In the photo to the right, Barbour Alumni Jane Anna Harris and Tonya Thorton-Neaves pose with the governor after a breakfast with him and MSU President Lee. Barbour offered the student scholars invaluable advice about networking and job hunting in Washington, D.C. Jane Anna is currently Executive Assistant to the Staff Director for the Senate Agriculture Committee. Tonya Thornton-Neaves, who completed the National Model U.N. Practicum in New York City, attended the UN Summer Intensive Study Program through Seton Hall University and the Southern Women in Public Service Conference while at MSU, is working at the MSU Social Science Research Center while pursuing an MPPA degree in our department. She was recently awarded the 2006 Outstanding Graduate Woman award by the MSU President's Commission on the Status of Women.

Barbour Scholars

Our previous Barbour Scholar Alumnus was Jamey Cresswell, pictured on the left standing next to Governor Haley Barbour. A graduate of Tri County Academy from Satartia, Miss., he maintained a straight-A average at Mississippi State University. Jamey interned with the George W. Bush White House and with the National Cotton Council in Washington, D.C. A Harry S. Truman Finalist, he served as Chairman of MSU College Republicans (CR), having previously been Chief of Staff for CR. His career plans are to become a leader in national agricultural policy, defending the interests of Mississippi farmers. He is currently in law school at the University of Mississippi. The photo is taken from the MSU College Republicans website.

Barbour Scholars

Our Haley Barbour Alumnus before that was Terry Griffin, who is on the extreme left in the back row of the photo to the right. A graduate of Holly Springs High School, he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lenwood Griffin and the grandson of Mrs. Willie Mae De'Berry and the late Mr. Roy Lee DeBerry of Holly Springs. Terry just graduated from our MPPA program, and today serves as a civilian Logistics Management Specialist for the Transportation Division of the U.S. Army.

Barbour Scholars

The previous Barbour Alumnus was Eushekia Carr, who was from Clinton, Miss. At MSU, she was President of the Public Service Scholars Forum, and President of Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honor Society. Eushekia volunteered with the Arts in Artesia children's program. She was actively involved in the Stennis-Montgomery Association, Mortar Board, and the Mississippi Model Security Council. She also served as a Student Association Senator and a member of the University Honors Council. Eushekia interned with the Mississippi Municipal League and worked for the John C. Stennis Institute of Government. She graduated from the Center for Leadership Studies in the Campaign Management program at Regent University, and is currently working for a nonprofit organization.

Barbour Scholars

Another Barbour alumnus is Matt Allen, who graduated from the University of Texas School of Law. Matt was so respected by his peers at MSU that he was elected Student Association President without opposition. He and Jason Strain were also named Truman Finalists. Matt is at right in the photo to the right, speaking with Associate Dean Buehler and Stennis Alumnus J.D. Shaw. Matt served as a law clerk for Judge William H. Barbour, Jr., of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi and then worked with Brunini, Grantham, Grower, & Hewes PLLC in Jackson.

Barbour Scholars

Staci Morgan, on the right in the photo to the right, is another Barbour Scholar alumnus. The SA Director of Governmental Affairs, Staci interned in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., and served as a Fellow for the Center for the Study of the Presidency. A former President of MSU Young Democrats, as the National Committeewoman for Young Democrats of Mississippi she served on the executive committee of Young Democrats of America. Staci worked on the campaign of a leading candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi, our own alumnus Amy Tuck. She also served as Press Secretary/Office manager for Rickey Cole, Democratic Candidate for US Senate, and as a campaign worker for Rod Nixon, Democratic candidate for State Auditor. Staci also served as a staff member for Winning Connections, a Democratic consulting firm in Washington, D.C. She currently works in the development department at Mount Vernon, a nonprofit that is the largest and oldest historical organization in the country.

Barbour Scholars

Barbour Alumnus Greg Threatt personally met Haley Barbour when Haley spoke at our departmental public service awards ceremony in 1997. Only the third African-American to serve as President of the Student Association in MSU's history, Greg was honored by the state legislature during the Working for Academic Excellence observance on Higher Education Appreciation Day. Greg also served as SA Attorney General, twice attended the Washington Center for the Study of the Presidency conference, and was named a Truman Finalist. He obtained an MA degree in our department and works for his family business.

Barbour Scholars

Our department's first two Haley Barbour Scholars were Tiyanika Keller and Mike Miller. Tiyanika obtained a graduate degree in urban affairs at the University of New Orleans, served as the residential director/judicial hearing officer at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., and then became Program Coordinator in the graduate school at the University of Arkansas. Tiyanika is now the Program Support Manager of the HIV/STD/Hepatitis C Section of the Arkansas Department of Health.

To learn more about Haley Barbour, click here.

Contact info on our current Barbour Scholars, which includes their e-mail addresses, is available upon request.

Contact Info

Department of Political Science
and Public Administration
Department Phone: 662.325.2711
Department Fax: 662.325.2716
Mailing Address: P. O. Box PC
Mississippi State University, MS 39762
Department Office: 105 Bowen Hall
Email address:polscipubadm@pspa.msstate.edu