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Alumni Class Notes – Spring 2016

Alumni Class Notes – Spring 2016
Yolanda Jones Mug

Yolanda Jones (’15)  recently received her doctorate in Urban Higher Education from JSU. She is director of the Comprehensive Counseling Center at Mississippi Valley State University.

valencia payne

Valencia Annik Payne (’00) is the Owner and CEO of Rn4students Education With A Twist and creation of the App, Rn4students. Her company provides nursing information that is fun, animated and informative to help nursing students pass their NCLEX, HESI, and ATI. Payne earned her  bachelor’s degree in biology from JSU and was a Navy registered nurse from 2008-2012. She is a Certified Google App Developer, (Healthcare Apps).

Dallas Reed

Dallas Reed (’10)  vice president of student development and campus life at Berkeley College in New York, was recently recognized by the YWCA-NYC at the 42nd Academy of Women’s Leaders Salute Luncheon. Reed received her Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from JSU. YWCA-NYC is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

Errick Simmons Mug

Errick Simmons (’00) is the new mayor of Greenville. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in economics from JSU, and a master’s in economics and juris doctorate degree from Howard University. He is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association; Magnolia Bar Association; American Bar Association; Association of Trial Lawyers of American and Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association.


Aubrey Thagard Mug

Aubrey Thagard (’00) an accomplished government executive, is the new Neighborhood Service Department director in Fort Worth, Texas. The agency administers grant-based housing, community development and human services programs aimed at improving neighborhoods. Thagard has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning.

Miller Taylor

Miller Taylor (’66) has published a new book, “The More Things Change.” It’s a sequel to his first novel, “A Lady and Her Man.” The newer publication tells a gripping story of two high school sweethearts and their struggle to turn their romance into a lifetime commitment. Both books are available on Amazon.com. Taylor has been a member of the Greater Washington, D.C.-area chapter of the JSU Alumni Association for 35 years.


Laphonza Butler Mug

Laphonza Butler (’01) is president of Service Employees International Union Local 2015, representing 300,000 long-term care workers throughout California (in-home caregivers and nursing home workers). In her previous role as a division director, Butler was responsible for the strategic direction of more than 250,000 janitors, security officers, window cleaners and food service workers throughout the country. She was also instrumental in reaching collective bargaining agreements on behalf of 20,000 security officers in nine major cities throughout the U.S.

Klarissa Hardy Mug

Klarissa Hardy (’06) a chemistry graduate, received a $660,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to further her research at Lipscomb University in Nashville to help those suffering from adverse effects of anti-cancer drugs. The award is reportedly the largest grant received by Lipscomb. The grant will further her research on lapatinib, a drug that causes liver damage in some patients.


Carlyn Hicks Mug

Carlyn Hicks (’06) is a recipient of the National Child Advocacy Award from the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. She is a senior staff attorney and director of the Parent Representation Program for Mission First Legal Aid Clinic in Jackson. The clinic offers legal services through a partnership between Mississippi College School of Law and First Baptist Church Jackson.

Eric Jefferson Mug

Eric Jefferson (’13) has earned credentials from the American Institute of Certified Planners. It’s the only national organization that verifies professional planners in the nation. Jefferson is director of planning and development for the City of Jackson. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University and his Master of Arts degree in Urban and Regional Planning from JSU. He was recently elected as the central regional representative for the Mississippi chapter of the American Planning Association.


Dr Justin Turner

Dr. Justin Turner (’00) is CEO of TurnerCare, LLC and serves as medical director of St. Joseph’s Hospice Agency and Camellia Home Health Agency. Among the youngest owners of a medical practice in Mississippi, Turner advises JSU students about careers in health care. He has served on the College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) 2014 Notable Alumni Panels and participated in its Summer Bridge program.

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