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Arts and Letters graduates leveraging Southern Miss degree for success

Photo credit: USM Photo credit: USM
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi.

After the last photo was taken wearing the cap and gown, the final toast of the weekend offered and the remaining family and friends departed for home, graduates at The University of Southern Mississippi prepared for the next chapter of their story. Leaving Southern Miss better than they found it, many of the latest alumni of the College of Arts and Letters are already pursuing new goals.

Meredith McPhail graduated third in the spring class of 2016 at Southern Miss. She was a standout in the Department of English and was also a star on the USM Debate Team. McPhail, a native of Mobile, Alabama, is pursuing a Juris Doctorate degree at the University of Michigan, and wants to work as a public interest attorney in child advocacy or human rights.

Graduating fourth in the spring class of 2016, Kacey Holifield was one of the best graphic designers from the Department of Art and Design. Holifield, originally from Laurel, was an Arts and Letters Ambassador her senior year, designed the College of Arts and Letters annual report her junior year and was a designer with Rise, the student-run graphic design agency on campus. Holifield is now a graphic designer at Roberts Creative in Laurel.

Dance alumna and Memphis, native Alexandra Robinson spent the summer teaching at a camp in Franklinton, Louisiana, called “Believe” for children. She is currently involved as a guest artist with “Chalk Walk” in Knoxville, Tennessee. The project, funded by a grant from the Knoxville Arts Coalition is called “penny for penny” and brings together visual and performing artists to collaborate in community-based work.

Columbia native Josh Polk received the Outstanding Student of Spanish Award his senior year. Polk, a graduate from the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, earned a full scholarship to study law at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Karis Tucker Machado was awarded a graduate assistantship to attend the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music to pursue a master of music degree for voice this fall. Machado is originally from Romania and studied at Southern Miss under vocal professor Maryann Kyle.

Also receiving an assistantship to attend graduate school is Amanda Kleinhans, who is from Vicksburg, and a recent graduate of Art and Design. She will join the Fine Arts Department at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

“It is gratifying to the faculty and administration of the College of Arts and Letters that so many of our graduates enjoyed such distinguished undergraduate careers. We can’t wait to see what they do next,” said Maureen Ryan, dean of the college.

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