JCJC HEADWAE recipients honored

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2017-02-22 18:17:06

ELLISVILLE – A prestigious statewide honor was recently bestowed upon Jones County Junior College science faculty member, Shubuta native and current Sumrall resident, Dr. Joan McCoy and JCJC sophomore chemical engineering major, Shameria (Shay) Jones of Hattiesburg.  They are two of the 72 outstanding students and faculty members from 34 Mississippi public and private universities and community colleges who received special recognition from the Mississippi Legislature.  They were selected as JCJC’s Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) recipients.  The 30th annual HEADWAE coordinators honored a faculty and student representative from each of Mississippi’s higher institutions as a reward for their excellence in education. 
“Dr. McCoy’s outstanding achievements on a local, state, national and international level have proven that her contributions to academia during her instructional career are what are touted and valued by our institution and legislature and that is what has garnered her recognition. Ms. Jones has also shown that her academic performance, activities and research were key to receiving this recognition. We are proud of them and their accomplishments and look forward to celebrating their recognition as the past, present and future of academic excellence,” said JCJC VP of Instructional Affairs, Candace Weaver.
Dr. Joan McCoy is an alumna of JCJC and has taught biology for 22 years at JCJC and she taught at USM as an undergraduate and grad student for six years. Her list of publications and honors are extensive with more than 50 published chapters, abstracts and short articles covering science education and professional development, selected for the 1996 Exxon Education Foundation Innovation Teaching Award, and she was the recognized by the 1997 state legislature for her significant contributions in teaching and for being named the National Director of the National Junior Academy of Science for 10 years. McCoy is currently the president of the NJAS’s parent association, the National Association of the Academies of Science. She has also represented the U.S. at various international conferences.
“Receiving this award was a big surprise to me,” said McCoy.  “I felt there had to be someone that was more qualified.  I’m not used to being in the limelight.”
McCoy also serves her community as a member of the City of Sumrall Beautification Society and Lions Club.  She will be retiring from education in May with plans to manage her tree farm and enjoy her family, Kevin Cooksey (son) and his son, Chandler; Melinda Lott (daughter) and her husband Hank Lott with their three children, Lauren, Stone and Tucker and her youngest son, Matthew Messer.
“JCJC was my lifeline when I needed help and managed to change my life.  JCJC is also responsible for me and my family having a comfortable life and I am grateful to have been a part of the Jones family,” said McCoy.
Student HEADWAE honoree, Shameria Jones manages to juggle her rigorous academic load with being a Senator, representing the Math Division, a member of Student Government Association, Engineering Society, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the National Society of Professional Engineers.  Additionally, she was selected for the Letter “J” Award, Leadership Class, Hall of Fame and Who’s Who at JCJC. 
“I am honored to be chosen for the prestigious HEADWAE award.  I was humbled and happy to represent Jones County Junior College at the HEADWAE event,” said Jones.
The Oak Grove High School graduate credits her high school chemistry teacher with creating a passion for science, which led her to win the science fair and a desire to pursue a career in research.
“The chapter on combustion fascinated me,” said Jones. “Over the summer, I interned at USM’s Polymer Research Center which solidified my career goal. My mentor and I worked on Novel UV cured foams for improved impact energy mitigation, for foam in protective helmets.  We synthesized them from thio-urethane molecules,” explained Jones.
Jones plans to earn a doctorate degree in computational sciences and study combustion reactions for the purpose of refining space travel.  She hopes to find an efficient and economically affordable fuel for the space program. 
The honorees were invited to the State Capitol and were acknowledged in each chamber of the Legislature.  The day concluded with a luncheon, thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors, where each student and faculty honoree was recognized for their accomplishments.


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