Jones College’s Fall Blood Drive inspires student

ELLISVILLE –Jones College sophomore, Amanda Bozeman of Foxworth bravely gave her first pint of blood during Jones College’s Fall Blood Drive as part of a personal challenge. After successfully making it through the process, she is now contemplating whether it could be a new habit for her.

“I always wanted to give but I couldn’t in high school because I didn’t weigh enough and I couldn’t get past the idea of blood leaving my body,” said Bozeman. “I decided to give it another try because you only live once and I like helping people.”

The future pharmacist’s friend, Emily Callender of Gulfport, helped to ease Bozeman’s fear of the process. However, she ultimately wanted to join Bozeman and donate blood.

“I’m glad my friend can give blood, but I didn’t pass the pre-screening. Helping her is another way I can support the cause,” said Callender.

Jones College sociology instructor, Stacy Ruth said she has been supporting the cause for more than 30 years. She said she gladly gives her “O+” blood at every possible opportunity. Ruth said Vitalant often calls her to donate because of her “universal” blood type which most people can receive, despite their blood type.

“They come to campus making it convenient. There’s no reason not to come and do something that is simple, that I can do,” said Ruth.

Vitalant collected 103 units of blood during the three-day blood drive on the Jones College campus with 130 students attempting to give.  Donor Recruitment Representative, Sara Dyess said more than 300 lives will be saved with the donations.  As an extra incentive to donate, everyone who gave blood was given the test for COVID-19 antibodies. For more information about Vitalant and its services check out the webpage,

Jones College & Lauren Rogers Museum create mural for Laurel’s Social Club

LAUREL – A colorful collaboration between Jones College’s Visual Arts Department Chair and instructor, Mark Brown, and the Education Outreach Coordinator for Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Kelly Rosa, produced a beautiful rainbow for downtown Laurel to enjoy. Along with Brown’s daughter Maddie, the three painted a rainbow mural for the Social Club of Laurel which is a place for individuals with sensory and social sensitivities.

According to Social Club Director, Crystal Phillips, “The mission of the Social Club is to provide a community-based outreach center that hosts ability inclusive recreation and socialization, while also serving as an educational and networking hub for both caregivers and professionals. With the artist’s help, the center will be a little brighter to enjoy.”

The Brown’s and Rosa said they were happy to provide their services to render a rainbow-themed mural for the waiting area of the center.

“I genuinely enjoy helping out within our region and community and try to model the importance of community involvement for my children and students,” said Brown. “I have always valued the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art and was very grateful to Kelly Rosa for lending her talents.”

The three artists spent a Saturday drawing and painting the 12-foot-wide mural inside the Social Club Center, hoping it will be enjoyed by many for years to come.

“It’s always a pleasure and a privilege for me to be involved in a community project, especially murals and other forms of public art; it’s a great way to share art with many people and to offer enrichment and inspiration,” said Rosa.

For more information about the Social Club of Laurel, contact Crystal Phillips at 601-342-5247.

Jones College’s Maroon Typhoon performs despite challenges  

ELLISVILLE – In the “band world” at Jones College, the August Band Camp is vital. Before working on the show, the band’s marching and performance techniques are perfected, ensuring everyone is in sync. Because of the Covid-19 virus, the 2020 marching season was in limbo when the camp was canceled. Director of Bands, Dr. Ben Burge, the assistant directors and the 180 members of the Maroon Typhoon Marching Band have since learned how to “march on” and adjust to the daily challenges to not only ensure the health and safety of the group but to also ensure the show would be ready.

“Instead of our students working together as a band family on music, marching, drill, and choreography, the Typhoon met for the first time virtually, via ZOOM! The administration approved for us to meet in small groups of 15, for the first few weeks of the semester with the physical distancing and mask protocols in place. Band students could only work for 45 minutes in sections, one day a week compared to our usual two-hour group practices, four times a week,” said Burge.

In addition to rehearsal changes and safety protocol, the staff is diligently disinfecting the practice areas and equipment daily. Adhering to the guidelines is important to Burge because it is important that one of the largest groups on campus, the marching band does its part to help slow the spread of the virus.

“The students are eager to return as a group, as soon as possible so that we can once again work together,” said Burge who before September 21, had not practiced with the entire band at one time because of COVID-19 protocols. “The Touch of Gold, feature twirlers and the Bobcat Colorguard has been working on choreography by audio/video. The four drum majors have been coming in to work in the office preparing music, folders, and organizing everything for the show with the goal of performing at the first home football game, Thursday, October 1.”

As most performers know, the show will go on despite the myriad of modifications, including a change in band staff. Brass instructor for the past 12 years, Dr. Patrick Richards returned to his home in Virginia over the summer. The Maroon Typhoon has since welcomed high brass instructor, James Jenkins and low brass instructor, Allen Parrish.  Also, this year the Maroon Typhoon will have a more casual look to address the concerns with costuming and adhering to COVID-19 restrictions. The “summer uniform” look allows the Maroon Typhoon to have some fun with energetic music like, “Blinding Lights” made popular by the band, The Weekend and the hit song, “Rain on Me” from the pop icons, Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. The marching band will also perform the Grammy Award-winning artist and producer, Chuck Mangione’s classic, Latin groove and big brass chart, “The Children of Sanchez.”

Emma Burge, Graeme Forrest and Kayla Powell.

Adding some continuity on the field will be returning sophomore drum majors, Graeme Forrest of Richton, and Danielle Beech of South Jones. Freshman, Emma Burge of Oak Grove, and sophomore, Katelyn Powell of Petal, will be joining Beech and Forrest on the podium as new drum majors. The glitzy and fiery, feature baton twirler, Kayla Webb of D’Iberville will be back on the field with freshman, Kaia Taylor from Vancleave.

Assistant Band Directors include flute instructor, Dr. Lindsey Keay in her seventh season, with percussion instructor, Dr. Josh Frans in his second year, and woodwinds instructor, Michelle Graham is in her third season at Jones.  Lora Davis, the Touch of Gold advisor and Jones alumna, returns for her 27th season.

Upcoming performances of the Maroon Typhoon include the first home game, Thursday, October 1, with the JC Bobcats facing the Warriors of East Central at 7 p.m. in Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field. The Hall of Fame Game and the annual Cat Fight between Pearl River and Jones will be held, Thursday, October 29, at 7 p.m. Maroon Typhoon Alumni are also encouraged to attend Homecoming festivities on Thursday, November 12, when the Bobcats face the Co-Lin Wolves. For more information about the Jones College Fine Arts Department, contact 601-477-4203. For more information about the Maroon Typhoon, contact Dr. Ben Burge at 601-477-4095.

Five Jones College students named Tullos Scholars

ELLISVILLE – Five Jones College sophomores were selected as Tullos Scholars which is the highest honor bestowed upon students. Rylee Brabham of Waynesboro; McKay Lee Bray of Leakesville; Faith Houston of Laurel; Lauran Page of Bay Springs and Katherine Wallace of Brookhaven. As members of the international honor society, Phi Theta Kappa and current students in the Charles Pickering Honors Institute, all five students were nominated by faculty to apply for the Tullos Scholarship at the end of their freshmen year. Each of the sophomores has distinguished themselves and impressed selection committee member and Jones College instructor, Dr. Ronald Bishop.

“Recipients of the Tullos scholarship are among the brightest, most generous and the most involved students on our campus,” said Bishop, who is also Jones College’s Dean of the Charles Pickering Honors Institute and Social Science Division Chairman. “These students study hard, play hard and work hard to make the world a better place. This is a deserving group of students and I am happy that they were selected as Tullos Scholars.”

Requirements for the scholarship include being a full-time sophomore, submitting a résumé with two-faculty recommendation letters, having outstanding academic achievements, being engaged in college activities, leadership positions and participating in community service. Each student received medallions and $1,000 scholarships in recognition of being named after the scholarship donors, Gene and Nada Tullos.

“It is an absolute honor and privilege to be a recipient of such a prestigious award. I would like to express my appreciation to the Tullos family for making this all possible. Because of his donation and dedication to this college, it inspires and encourages me to continue to work hard and make a difference in the lives of others,” said Bray who is currently serving as Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality 2020 and Distinguished Young Woman of Greene County 2019. The JC Presidential Honor recipient was also selected as Freshman Class Favorite and Bray was elected to the Senate for the Student Government Association and serves as Vice President of Leadership for PTK. Additionally, the biology/pre-med major is also a member of the Concert Choir, Bobcat Brigade, FCA, Jones OnStage, Diamond Girl and volunteers for numerous organizations in her hometown and at Jones.

Through the years, Faith Houston has volunteered in her hometown of Laurel at the Glory House. She has also served as a page in the state capitol for two years and Houston has also assisted her sister and JC alumna, Anna campaign for state political candidates. She is currently serving as Jones College’s Student Government Association secretary and historian for PTK. However, Houston has decided she can best help people as a pharmacist.

“Being a hospital pharmacist will enable me to help support my future family financially while also providing me time to spend with my family. Also, as a hospital pharmacist, I will be able to care for patients who really need it.”

Tullos Scholar, Lauran Page is also planning on a career as a pharmacist. The 2019 Jasper County Miss Hospitality said she enjoys volunteering with the Laurel organization, Tomorrow’s Promise because she is passionate about helping people.

“The decision to major in pharmacy was influenced by my passion for helping people and a desire for a career in healthcare.  Each opportunity to volunteer for several different organizations has taught me a new lesson. I’ve learned to evaluate my skills, assess my goals in life and set goals to maximize my abilities as an individual. Being a pharmacist is a perfect combination of my love for mathematics, chemistry and biology, and helping others,” said Page.

Rylee Brabham is often found volunteering her time in her hometown of Waynesboro at Samaritan’s Closet and Pantry or picking up litter as part of her church’s First Serve Sunday project. The Bobcat Brigade member and SGA Senator aspires to be an architect and interior designer as a unique way to help others.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize how interior designers have the ability to improve the quality of life for those existing within the spaces they create. This career will allow me the opportunity to use my artistic and intellectual abilities in my career helping people,” said Brabham.

Juggling a softball schedule and volunteering for numerous organizations in Brookhaven, Jones County and internationally through her church missions’ program, Katherine Wallace is also majoring in math. Inspired by her grandmother, a high school math teacher, Wallace is pursuing a career in accounting. However, she also pursues a daily “calling” to make a difference.

“While at Jones, I aspire to make a difference in the people I encounter daily. From the cafeteria servers to my softball teammates, I hope what I do and how I treat others makes a difference in their lives.  Starting at Jones College, we can make the world a better place and that begins with serving others,” said Wallace.

Gene Tullos came to Jones in 1960 on a basketball scholarship which he said, gave him a jumpstart and a great foundation to begin Law School.  Endowing scholarships, like the Tullos Scholarship Program was his way of returning the “favor” to the college that provided an excellent foundation for a successful career as an attorney in Smith County.

“As he made the single, largest donation ever at Jones, Gene Tullos said he wanted to recognize outstanding students from various majors who are shining stars, to recognize them and encourage them to feel special,” said Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith.  “When Gene established this Scholarship, he explained, because of the encouragement he received at Jones he felt like he could make it and be successful. In fact, Gene was a successful attorney for 50 years, only missing three days of work related to his cancer treatment before he passed away in 2016.”

For more information about Jones College, visit the webpage,

Four Jones College graduates accepted in MS Rural Physicians Scholarship Program

ELLISVILLE – Four Jones College graduates are currently participating in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program (MRPSP). The four students eligible to receive $30,000 per year in scholarships are Jones College May 2020 graduates, Layne Boykin of Waynesboro, and Jada and Jazmin King of Bay Springs and 2018 Jones graduate, Tyus Wilson of Bay Springs.

“It is no surprise at all that these outstanding Jones students were selected for the MS Rural Physicians Scholarship Program. I am downright elated that we will have them as professional health care providers because they will represent the best of what the Jones College student body and the state of Mississippi have to offer in service to our community,” said Jones College Science Division Chair, Eric Shows.

Created in 2007, MRPSP identifies college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become competent, well-trained rural primary care physicians in our state. The program offers undergraduate academic enrichment and a clinical experience in a rural setting. Upon completion of all medical school admissions requirements, these students can use the scholarship at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine or William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Jazmin King said she is excited to start her medical journey at the University of Mississippi and then begin working in rural Mississippi. Pursuing a specialty in pediatrics or obstetrics/gynecology, King said she wants to give back to the community by offering free, health fairs to help students learn how to take care of themselves.

“I want to be part of the solution in fixing the healthcare issues we have in Mississippi. What better way to help fix the problems than by actually becoming a doctor and working in those underserved areas?” said Jazmin King.

The three recent Jones graduates have all been involved in multiple organizations and events serving their communities, while also maintaining excellent academic records, according to Shows.

“This scholarship selection is truly an extension and recognition of their initiative and work ethic,” said Shows.

MRPSP officials commend the consistent legislative support of the scholarship program which provides 61 medical students a total of $1,830,000 to support the education of MRPSP students this fall. In addition to the legislative support, three privately funded scholarships are also awarded from the Madison Charitable Foundation, the Selby and Richard McRae Foundation, and the Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi. Additional benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural physicians and academic support.

“These three young ladies made their decisions to pursue a rural medicine career before COVID-19 upended our daily lives, but I am incredibly thankful that they will be part of the next generation of professionals that we will have on the front lines of public health. The fact that they are products of a Jones College education should make us proud and remind everyone of the importance of supporting our community college system,” said Shows.

Upon completion of medical school, MRPSP scholars must enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, medicine-pediatrics, or obstetrics/gynecology. The MRPSP Scholar must provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 15,000 or fewer population located more than 20 miles from a medically served area. Boykin, who is currently at Mississippi State University said she is looking forward to returning to her hometown of Waynesboro, which has been designated as an underserved medical community.

“Growing up in Waynesboro, I am more than familiar with the love, care, trust, and hospitality that rural communities have to offer. Throughout my life, my community has encouraged, supported, and inspired me every step of the way. I would like to return to this community as a physician to give back as well as combat the need for rural physicians in Mississippi,” said Boykin. “I am also very appreciative of the guidance and assistance from Mr. Shows at Jones, who played a major role in this achievement and was very influential in my career choice.”

The MRPSP provides a means for rural Mississippi students to earn a seat in medical school, receive mentoring during the medical school application process, earn a $120,000 medical school scholarship in return for four years of service and learn the art of healing from practicing rural physicians.

Moselle native, and 2018 graduate of Jones College and 2020 graduate of the University of Mississippi, Katelynn McGowen, was recently awarded the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship valued at $30,000 per year for her medical training at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson at the annual scholarship ceremony. She was initially accepted into the MRPSP in 2018.

For more information, contact MRPSP Associate Director Steven Carter at 601-815-9022, or


The Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program and the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program were formed in an effort to increase the number of physicians and dentists serving the health-care needs of Mississippians in rural areas. Housed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, and collaborating with its schools of medicine and dentistry and the College of Osteopathic Medicine at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, the programs use various outreach, mentoring and training methods to identify, support, educate and deploy new generations of health-care workers for Mississippi’s underserved populations. To learn more about either program, MRPSP.