USM Distinguished Faculty, Staff Honored with Annual Arts and Sciences Awards

Published 5:03 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is proud to announce the recipients of its annual awards commemorating faculty and staff for their recent accomplishments in creative and scholarly research, teaching, advising and mentoring, and service.

“The accomplishments of our faculty and staff are driven by a genuine desire to provide the best possible experiences for our students,” said Dr. Chris Winstead, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We are proud to honor their exemplary achievements and contributions that not only positively impact the lives of our students, but also propel the academic vision of the University forward.”

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An award also commends the achievements of outstanding alumni, who are making significant contributions to their field and epitomize the level of commitment to their alma matter that we would like our students to aspire to; this year honoring alumnus Alejandro Drago who has made significant contributions to the field of music, as announced previously.

As noted by Dr. Jay Dean, director of the School of Music and Dragos’ major professor during his time at USM: “Alejandro Drago is one of our most outstanding graduates from the School of Music. From the time he arrived until the time he left, he consistently made a positive impression on everyone who worked with him. He is an extraordinary musician and scholar.”

Award recipients include:

Creative Scholarship Researcher

Dr. Joshua Bernstein
Assistant Professor

School of Humanities


Scholarly Research of the Year

Dr. Susannah Ural
Full Professor
School of Humanities

Faculty Advisor and Mentor of the Year

Dr. Christopher Foley
Assistant Professor
School of Humanities


Junior Faculty Award for 2021

Dr. Jacques Kessl
Assistant Professor
School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Teacher of the Year-Teaching Track 

Keltoum Rowland
Senior Lecturer
School of Social Science and Global Studies

Teacher of the Year-Tenure Track 

Dr. James Lambers
Full Professor
School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences


Faculty Service Award

Marlene Naquin
School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences


Staff Service Award

Liz Hamm
Business Manager
School of Ocean Science and Engineering


2021 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year 

Alejandro Drago
Professor of Violin & Viola, Director of the Chamber Orchestra at the University of North Dakota