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USM Announces Recipients of NASA-Mississippi Space Grant Consortium Scholarships, Computing Competition – The University of Southern Mississippi

Tue, 07/19/2022 – 11:20am | By: Ivonne Kawas
Mississippi Space Grant ConsortiumThe College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) announced 25 Space Grant scholarship recipients and four winners for the Innovative Design in Computing Competition (IDCC) awarded through the state-wide NASA-Mississippi Space Grant Consortium (MSSGC) program, which supports students to inspire them to pursue science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) careers.
The NASA Space Grant program is designed to encourage and motivate excellence in student performance and to raise awareness of NASA employment and research opportunities among students with relevant majors at USM.
“As the Southern Miss campus coordinator for the NASA-Mississippi Space Grant Consortium, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to award some of our hardest working STEM students with these scholarships and prizes,” said Dr. David Cochran, professor of geography and interim associate dean for research and graduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences. “It is gratifying to be part of an initiative that provides funding to students and promotes participation across the university in some of the many opportunities available through NASA.”
The 2022-2023 NASA-Mississippi Space Grant scholarship recipients include:
Dr. Amer Dawoud, associate professor in the School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering and coordinator of the annual IDCC, said they were able to award monetary prizes to four participants in the competition for their projects, including undergraduate and graduate students all of whom are affiliated with USM’s School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering.
The IDCC competition winners and projects included:
Christopher Bourn from Purvis, Miss. and Joseph Heirendt from Hattiesburg, Miss.
Project: Mental Health Responder: A REST API Prioritizing Mental Health Awareness and Response
The students created a Mental Health Responder (MHR) platform for IT and HR administrators that provides employees, students, or departments with a first response communication monitoring tool to combat mental health challenges in real-time.
Project: Raspberry Pi Weather Station
Raspberry Pi is a small but powerful computer that can fit in the palm of your hand. It is capable of having devices connected directly to the Pi’s power, ground, and GPIO pins, which allows for unlimited development possibilities. With the use of various pieces of software and hardware, the students created a fully functioning, weatherproof weather station that automatically uploads the data for remote users to view.
Colby Dorsey from Woodville, Miss. and Daniel Rennier from Matthews, Miss.
Project: Motion Sensor with Surveillance Camera
The students created a smart security system for residential use. Using a Raspberry Pi Camera module, they programmed its motion sensor through Python coding language to create a variety of sensing “states”, ranging from at home, away, and off. When activated, the motion sensor triggers the camera to make a screen shot of its live feed, which can be remotely retrieved by the user.
MSSGC is a statewide non-profit organization supported by NASA whose membership includes 17 institutions of higher learning across the state. Headquartered at the University of Mississippi, MSSGC is led by Dr. Nathan Murray, director, and Dr. Earnest Stephens, assistant director. MSSGC provides opportunities for Mississippians who are interested in participating in NASA’s aeronautics and space programs by supporting and enhancing STEM fields, research, and outreach programs. For more information, visit msspacegrant.org 
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