5 PRCC students receive Mississippi Space Grant Consortium STEM Student Stipend Award

Published 2:28 pm Thursday, May 12, 2022

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Five Pearl River Community College students have been selected to receive the Mississippi Space Grant Consortium STEM Student Stipend Award for 2022.

Applicants were selected based on their work completed in the STEM Club as an active member, their coursework at PRCC, service to school & community, and recommendations by instructors. Each student received $500 that can be used to offset the expenses of attending college.

This year’s honorees were Magee’s Carlee Cockrell, Honor Elchos of Hattiesburg, Annie Ladner of Necaise, Ahmarion Luckett of Sallis and Kellie Watts of Picayune.

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“Being part of the Mississippi Space Grant Consortium helps provide opportunities for our STEM students to explore different STEM career pathways, STEM internships, and funding to continue student’s educational goals,” said PRCC Space Grant (MSSGC) Coordinator and Instructor of Biology Melinda Miller. “We are fortunate to have our PRCC administration support our Space Grant program goals each year along with the NASA Space Grant in Mississippi and the NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement.”


Cockrell is a sophomore who graduated from Simpson County Academy. She is quite active on serving as Vice President of Leadership for Phi Theta Kappa, a River Navigator (Student Recruiter), Sophomore Representative for the Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute, and a Sophomore Representative for Student Government Association. She is also a Forrest General Hospital Student Ambassador and works at The Vault Restaurant in Magee as a waitress on the weekends.

She plans to attend Mississippi College to further her studies in Biology-Medical Sciences while minoring in Chemistry. She aspires to attend the University of Mississippi School of Medicine with the goal of becoming an anesthesiologist.

“This award helps me pay for my schooling at PRCC while I am becoming one step closer to my long-term goal of becoming an anesthesiologist,” said Cockrell.

Elchos is a freshman who graduated from Sumrall High School. He is currently a freshman representative for the Honors Institute and an active member of PTK. After PRCC, he plans to attend Mississippi State University to get a degree in biomedical engineering.

“This award is a great help in paying for school supplies and brings peace of mind so that I do not have to worry about funds as much,” said Elchos.

Ladner is a sophomore who graduated from Hancock High School graduate. She is currently the Vice-President of the Dr. William Honors Institute and a member of PTK. She plans to attend Mississippi State university in the fall to pursue a degree in civil engineering.

“This reward will help me to cover the cost of tuition at Mississippi State,” said Ladner.

Luckett is a freshman who graduated from Leland High School. He plans to attend Mississippi State University or University of Southern Mississippi to study physical therapy.

“Receiving this award would help me buy the equipment to prepare for this long journey ahead,” said Luckett.

Watts is a freshman who graduated from Picayune High School. She plans to attend Mississippi State to major in electrical engineering. Her current career aspirations are to work for a company needing electrical engineers, such as NASA, Chevron, etc.

“Receiving this award helps me expand on my education goals with extra and needed backup,” said Watts. “I am using this money to fund my future education in additional expenses at PRCC. I am also using this to support the direction of leadership and fellowship I wish to take with other programs, such as Phi Theta Kappa, which will help with the drive of my academic processes.”


The PRCC Space Grant program is an affiliate of the Mississippi Space Grant Consortium (MSSGC). The MSSGC program is designed to Empower, Enhance, and Enlighten the next generation of Mississippi explorers through opportunities to engage with and contribute to NASA’s mission.

PRCC Space Grant programs are designed to focus on the Human Research Program of NASA’s mission to apply knowledge and technology to improve our nation’s competitiveness, education, and quality of life on Earth. The STEM student stipend is designed to assist the students with their current or future educational expenses and/or their continued project needs in their focused STEM area.

PRCC is one of ten community colleges in Mississippi that participate in the program. Along with the STEM student stipend, funds are used to assist with Honors Biology and Zoology projects, middle school and high school science competitions, K-12 STEM teacher development, Community College STEM professional development opportunities, and promoting STEM to the general public.