The ISWD Department celebrate our alumni. We appreciate the ways that our graduates represent us to the larger community and encourage you to continue to participate in our work of preparing students for the workforce. There are many ways you can contribute to the success of ISWD.
- Tulsika Patel
- Amanda Skinner
- Joe Cowart, B.S. in Industrial Technology and Master of Science in Technology (MST)
- Logan Hayes, B.S., MSIT
- Ronald Gatewood, B.S., MSIT
- Yi Yang, Ph.D.
- James Starks
- Scott Tollison, Ph.D.
- Jackie Martin
- Jenny Bailey Jones
- Justin Allison
- Jonathan Dale
Alumni Spotlight Archive
Tulsika Patel, B.S. in Information Technology Services
Your time at MSU
Why did you choose the ITS program?
The ITS Program offered combination of exposure to technologies, software and methodologies, all of which I was interested in during my college career.
What was your favorite class/memory/moment while getting your degree in ITS?
In my IT Project Management class, we were divided into teams to complete all of the tasks / documents (budget, milestones & etc.) required to successfully complete a real-life IT Project Management job. The goal was to upgrade all the hardware in an ITS building. There have been several times when I’m working or thinking of a project today at work, and I’m reminded of this project and all the hurdles we went through as a team.
What organizations/activities were you involved in during your time at MSU?
I was a General Secretary for the India Student Association and a dance member for the NACH group. Apart from those, I worked for the MSU IT department and other various departments as a work-study student. Also, I attended several football games and basketball games and tailgated.
What is one piece of advice you would pass on to new ITS students about the program or about college in general?
Almost everything that I learned in ITS, significant or insignificant, enabled me to be successful in building my career. No matter where you work, you’ll always be learning. Find your style of learning in college so you can apply it towards building your career.
What advice would you give to students who will be graduating in May?
It’s hard to build up experience at first, so get yourself in the door and gain experience doing things you may not like so much. This will lead you towards what you really want to do and will help you find your niche.
What are you doing now?
What is your current job?
IT/Financial Project Management for Epiq Systems in Portland, Oregon.
How did your degree prepare you for the job that you have now?
My degree taught me team work, presentation skills (etiquettes which I still use religiously), my strengths, weaknesses, importance of learning to find the right answers, and so much more. For instance, every job I’ve ever held I had to do a performance review where you must highlight your strengths and weaknesses. I remember doing surveys at the end of projects for Dr. Brandenburg’s class.
What does your typical day look like at work? What are some things that you do throughout your work day?
I track multiple on-going projects throughout the day by communicating with various team members in a development cycle. I track budget and expenditure for a given project and make financial assessments. I work on weekly/monthly reports to showcase budget spent/remaining. I ensure projects are delivered on time (budget and risk wise) and that releases of the projects are on-time. Lastly, I communicate out to stakeholders of ongoing of projects.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Flexibility. I currently run my own consultancy company and work as an independent contractor.
What are some of your hobbies or interests other than IT?
I enjoy reading in my free time and started doing some woodwork as well as arts and crafts. I like to try new recipes that I’ve never cooked before and master already known recipes.
We are excited to have Amanda Skinner as our next alumni spotlight candidate! Amanda graduated from Mississippi State with a double major in Business Administration and Information Technology Services. She is currently working as the Information Technology Coordinator for Student Housing.
Here are some questions we asked Amanda about our program:
What was your favorite class/memory/moment while getting your degree in ITS? (Could be about a class or organization etc.)
I loved creating design tutorials in Dr. Beriswill’s Design and Evaluation class. That work is one that I am most proud of; and, I use it when I am asked to see an example of my work.
What is one piece of advice you would pass on to new ITS students about the program or about college in general?
Experience, experience, experience. It was something that I heard in school but I did not gain a lot of experience during my college career. However, you get your experience, volunteer or paid, get that experience along with the degree and you will go farther sooner.
What made you want to work for Mississippi State?
From going to sporting events to going to work with my aunt and uncle, I have been around Mississippi State my whole life. I have always wanted to be a Bulldog. Even after I graduated and accepted a job with USDA Risk Management Agency in their Business Applications Branch in Kansas City, MO, I always returned home for MSU football games. When I was given the opportunity to work for Mississippi State University, I could not believe that I now have the chance to return to my second home. To add icing on the cake, I returned home with my dream job.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I would have to say that I love the range of IT related tasks that I cover. I cover all things IT in my office from smaller daily IT tasks such as troubleshooting a computer that will not turn on to bigger administrative tasks such as siting in strategic and operational meetings that plan for how students and staff can interact through technology.
What are some of your hobbies or interests other than IT?
I spend most of my time surfing the web to stay abreast of the latest and greatest things in technology. When I am not doing that, I enjoy swimming and playing basketball.
Joe Cowart, B.S. in Industrial Technology and Master of Science in Technology (MST)
Joe Cowart earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology (INDT) from Mississippi State University in the fall of 2000. After finishing his undergraduate degree, he continued his education and completed his Master of Science in Technology (MST) at Mississippi State University. After receiving the MST degree, he accepted a position as Manufacturing Engineer at Taylor Machine Works. While working at Taylor Machine Works, he gained experience with manufacturing process and methodology. His group dealt with identifying opportunities for improvement.
After working for Taylor Machine Works for five years, Joe moved to Lewisville, Texas, to work for Metl-Span, the recognized leader in the advancement of insulated metal panel technology. At Metl-Span he served as General Manager responsible for production of Architectural, Cold Storage and Commercial Industrial products.
After seven years at Metl-Span, Joe has moved back to Louisville, Mississippi, and rejoined the Taylor team as Manufacturing Engineering Group Leader. He is responsible for overseeing the development and efficiency of the manufacturing process to maintain proper product functionality and efficiency.
Joe credits the faculty at Mississippi State for preparing him for the challenges he’s encountered throughout his career.
Logan Hayes, B.S., MSIT
Logan Hayes earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology Services (ITS) from Mississippi State University in the fall of 2011. After finishing his undergraduate degree, he continued his education and completed his Master of Science Instructional Technology.
After receiving the MSIT degree, he accepted a position as Network Analyst I in Little Rock, Arkansas, with Windstream, a Fortune 500 company that provides voice and data networks for commercial and residential customers. While working in the Data Network Operations Center, he gained experience with Ethernet and ATM switching, routing and VLAN configuration. His group dealt with network data outages, slow speeds, packet loss and IP drops. He was promoted to Network Analyst II after a year of work experience in the company.
After working for Windstream for almost two years, Logan moved to Jackson, Mississippi, to work for Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., the nation’s largest fresh egg producer. At Cal-Maine he is an IT Support Specialist where his responsibilities includes troubleshooting different PC and program issues as well as fulfilling the role as a server administrator.
Logan credits the faculty at Mississippi State for helping and motivating him in school which prepared him well for his job and his future in technology.
Ronald Gatewood, B.S., MSIT
Mr. Ronald Gatewood, Jr., received his Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology Services (ITS) from Mississippi State University in 2007. After completing his undergraduate degree, Mr. Gatewood was employed as a computer programmer at Dillard’s Headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. After serving as a programmer for one year, he returned to MSU to as a Desktop Support Specialist I in the Information Technology Services Department. Since his time at MSU, he has been promoted to the role of Desktop Support Specialist II.
He provides technical support for the Office of Research and Economic Development and the Athletic Department. His duties consist of troubleshooting basic computer issues, consulting clients on the best technology needed to be more efficient, or setting up video conferences with people located in other geographical locations.
Mr. Gatewood also earned the Master of Science in Instructional Technology (MSIT) degree from MSU in the Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development in 2012. He is currently pursuing the Ph.D. in Instructional Systems and Workforce Development also at MSU.
Yi Yang, Ph.D.
Dr. Yi Yang graduated with the Ph. D. in Instructional Systems and Workforce Development in 2006. She then joined Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio as an instructional design faculty. During her doctoral study at Mississippi State University, she maintained a 4.0 GPA, served as the Senior Graduate Student Council Representative for AERA Division C (Learning and Instruction), published several articles and made numerous presentations with faculty members from the ISWD Department at various international conferences including AERA, AECT, ISTE, and ED-Media.
Dr. Yang continues her research activities and publications on online education, e-learning, and game-based learning as a faculty member at Franklin University. In addition, she has served as an adjunct professor teaching in the master’s program in Educational Technology for The Ohio State University and Purdue University’s Learning Design and Technology program.
During her tenure at Franklin University, she helped create the master’s program in Instructional Design and Performance Technology in 2010. In 2014, she led a team established a doctoral program in instructional design leadership. Recently she was elected to the position of Vice President of Programs on the Executive Board of Association of Talent Development (formerly American Society of Training and Development) Central Ohio Chapter.
Dr. Yang's profile can be found at http://faculty.franklin.edu/yi-yang/.
Mr. James E. Starks, coordinator for academic affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Pharmacy, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology Services (ITS) at Mississippi State University in December 2006. In the fall of 2007, he embarked on a new journey by pursuing his master’s degree in Business Administration at Delta State University and working as a graduate assistant at the Mississippi Small Business Development Center at Delta State University.
After finishing his MBA in the fall of 2008, James continued to work for the Mississippi Small Business Development Center through the AmeriCorps*VISTA program until 2010. He began employment as the assistant coordinator at the Delta Business Institute of Health at Delta State University in the fall of 2010, where he was part of the grant writing team for starting this organization.
James continued to work in higher education for three years as a financial aid counselor at the Student Financial Assistance Department at Delta State University and now in his current position as coordinator for academic affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Pharmacy. James writes, “The ITS degree program prepared me well for a growing career in higher education administration.”
We salute our successful alumnus, Mr. James Starks, for his excellent achievements and wish him the best in his future endeavors!
Scott Tollison, Ph.D.
Dr. Scott Tollison graduated with the Ph.D. in Instructional Systems and Workforce Development in 2009. During his graduate studies, Scott worked as an instructor at Mississippi University for Women and in 2007 assumed the role of assistant professor. While pursing the doctoral degree, he maintained a 4.0 GPA and made time to present at various professional conferences, including Mid-South Educational Research Association Conventions and the International Academy of Business Administration Disciplines.
Scott’s impressive work ethic continued after graduation. Scott became the Interim Program Director for Paralegal Studies at Mississippi University for Women and the Interim Chair for the Department of Business and Legal Studies. In 2011, Dr. Tollison was promoted to Chair for the Department of Business. In the following year, Scott was named the Dean for the College of Business and Professional Studies at MUW. We salute our former student, Dr. Scott Tollison, for all of his hard work and wish him the best in his future endeavors!
Mrs. Jackie Martin received the bachelor’s degree in Technology Teacher Education (TTE) at Mississippi State University in May 2003 and the Master of Science in Technology (MST) degree also at MSU in December 2006. Upon graduation with her undergraduate degree, Jackie began her career as a business and computer technology teacher at Crystal Springs High School. She was recognized as the 2006 CSHS Teacher of the Year and the 2006 Crystal Springs Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year.
After graduating with the master’s degree in technology, she assumed administrative positions as Tech Prep Coordinator and the Director of Career and Technical Curriculum and Assessment at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Jackie was honored as a recipient of the Howell C. Garner High Performance Award and NISOD Teaching in Excellence Award at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
In 2012, Jackie became the director of the Brookhaven Technical Center. After serving as director for a year at Brookhaven Technical Center, Jackie returned to Copiah-Lincoln Community College and now serves as the Dean of Career, Technical and Workforce Education.
We salute our successful alumnus, Mrs. Jackie Martin, for her excellent achievements in teaching and educational administration and wish her the best in her future endeavors!
Jenny Bailey Jones, Academic Administrator
Jenny Bailey Jones, the Academic Dean for the Goodman Campus at Holmes Community College, has gained experience from the perspective of both a teacher and an administrator. Holmes Community College has been a part of this graduate’s life since the fall of 1995. She has served the eLearning Department since 2010 in two capacities—Instructional Design Coordinator and eLearning Coordinator. Before 2010, she served as the Portal Manager and Media Specialist for the IT department for three years. Prior to that, Jones was an instructor for the Business and Office Technology Department for 12 years. She has also been an instructor for the Mississippi Virtual Community College since 2001. Currently, she serves as the academic dean of Holmes Community College, Goodman campus.
She also serves on the Kosciusko School District Board of Trustees and has been a member of the National Business Education Association, Southern Business Education Association, Mississippi Educational Computing Association, and the Mississippi Business Education Association.
She holds a B.S. degree in Technology Teacher Education, a master’s degree in Technology (MST) and the Ed.S. degree in educational technology (Ed.S). Ms. Jones is currently a candidate for the Ph.D. degree in Instructional Systems and Workforce Development at Mississippi State University. Dr. Connie Forde and Dr. Joanna Beriswill serve as co-directors of her dissertation research.
Jones shared, “A highlight of my teaching career was being named the Mississippi Business Education Association Community College Educator of the Year in 2003.” While at MSU, Dr. Forde recalls she was a member of the Alpha Pi Chapter of Pi Omega Pi, a national honor society sponsored by the department.
Dr. Justin Allison graduated from Mississippi State University (MSU) with a Master of Science degree in Technology (MST) in December 2008. He continued his studies and earned a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems and Workforce Development (ISWD) in August 2014. Through opportunities provided by the ISWD department, Justin taught face-to-face and online undergraduate courses while completing his doctoral degree. In addition, he spent time working closely with ISWD faculty on research and was given opportunities to present at a variety of local, national, and international conferences.
After graduating from MSU, Dr. Allison accepted a full-time position as an Instructional Designer at Jackson State University (JSU). In addition, he accepted a part-time online adjunct faculty position at JSU. After serving as an Instructional Designer for a year, he accepted a full-time position at FedEx TechConnect as an Associate Technical Learning Analyst. Within this position, he evaluates the need for training and provides a variety of educational resources to the customer service division of FedEx. He continues to teach online courses within the Computer Science and Industrial Technology departments at JSU.
Jonathan Dale, B.S. in Industrial Technology and Master of Science in Technology (MST)
We are excited to introduce Mr. Jonathan Dale as our newest alumni spotlight candidate! Jonathan graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology (INDT) in December 2006. He continued his studies and earned a Master of Science in Technology (MST). Jonathan went on to work for ANEL Corporation for over four years as a quality engineer in a heavy metal fabrication shop, building parts for customers such as Caterpillar, Komatsu, Kubota and PAC-MAN, to name a few. For the last four years, he has worked at Aurora Flight Sciences. He started there working as a quality engineer and is now a quality program manager at a composite shop. Here, he works with customers such as Gulfstream, Sikorsky, GE, Boeing and Airbus. He has also taught workforce development classes at East Mississippi Community College for two years, and we are happy this fall to have him here at MSU as a new part-time instructor in the Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development.
Here are some questions we asked Jonathan to get to know more about him and his time here at State:
Why did you choose Mississippi State?
“As a second generation MSU alumnus, I grew up donning maroon and white and ringing my cowbell. As college grew closer for me, I started looking at universities with the degree that I had in mind. When visiting MSU, I couldn’t help but notice the rich traditions that ran deep in the hearts of the students. The deal was sealed when it was brought to my attention that MSU had a proven track record for students excelling in the workforce from the knowledge they gain in the classroom.”
What was your favorite class/memory/moment while earning your degree in INDT/MST?
“It’s hard to choose one class/memory/moment that stands out because there were so many great moments that happened during my time in college. One thing that does stand out is the relationships that I built with my fellow classmates. We were from all over the country, and we were all here working together to graduate and start our careers. It has been 13 years since I enrolled at MSU, and I still talk to many of my fellow classmates even though we are scattered from coast to coast now.”
What is one piece of advice you would pass on to new INDT/MST students about the programs or about college in general?
“Remember your commitments. You have committed to go to class, turn your assignments in on time, and strive for excellence. The INDT program is a wonderful program and will not only prepare you for a career in industry, but will also help to prepare you for whatever life will throw your way.”
What advice would you give students as they enter into the workplace?
“They need to treat an interview like an exam, study before going. Research the company they are applying to so that they will have talking points and questions during the interview. Be confident and answer questions honestly, and never pad your resume. Remember, being on time, work ethic, passion for your job and attitude require zero talent, but all are critical for success.”
What are some of your hobbies/interests?
“My hobbies include outdoor/wildlife photography, hunting, fishing, and spending time with my wife Melody and our Golden Retriever Jake.”
We are so excited to have Jonathan back at Mississippi State University and now a faculty member in our department! Hail State!