Advancing STEM Education: PRCC Students Earn Stipend Awards from Mississippi Space Grant Consortium

Published 5:05 pm Thursday, April 25, 2024


Five Pearl River Community College students have been selected to receive the Mississippi Space Grant Consortium (MSSGC) STEM Student Stipend Award for 2024.  

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 $750 which can be used to benefit and continue their education. 

This year’s honorees are Noah Bowman, Brennin Carlisle, Mason Holladay, Destiny Taylor and Sydney Thornton. 

“Since 1993, PRCC has actively participated in this statewide non-profit organization, backed by NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement, which originally funded community colleges for this program,” said Melinda Miller, PRCC Space Grant (MSSGC) Coordinator and Instructor of Biology, Human A&P, and Forensics. “We extend our gratitude to PRCC administration, NASA’s Space Grant in Mississippi, and the Office of STEM Engagement for their invaluable support in achieving program objectives.” 

“We extend our congratulations to these deserving STEM students and look forward to their accomplishments as they move throughout their academic career paths.”   

Bowman is a sophomore from Varnado, LA. He graduated from the PRCC Adult Education program after having been homeschooled. 

At PRCC, he has been a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Concert Band. He also serves as a peer tutor for Student Support Services/TRIO. After graduating, he plans to attend The University of Southern Mississippi to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry before applying for the veterinary program at Louisiana State University. 

“This award will help me achieve my educational goals by assisting in paying for my summer tuition so I can take all the classes I can here.” said Bowman. 

Carlisle is a sophomore from Poplarville who graduated from Lamar Christian School. He is a work-study student in the Career Technical Education building on the Poplarville Campus and frequently assists with activities in the science building. 

Carlisle is scheduled to graduate this May from the Automation & Controls Technology (Instrumentation) program. He plans to find employment at Stennis Space Center and wants to work on several personal projects that may get more people interested in STEM. 

“I work with 3D printing a lot, and I like to travel around to different schools to teach kids the benefits of 3D printers,” said Carlisle. “This money will help me expand my own personal knowledge so I can be better equipped to teach others.” 

Holladay is a sophomore from Kiln who graduated from Hancock High School. He is currently in the Health Sciences and Pre-Nursing pathway. After PRCC, he plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing. 

“I am so grateful for the stipend,” said Holladay. “I plan to use it towards my housing expenses while attending USM.” 

Taylor is from Carriere and a graduate of Pearl River Central High School. She is currently a student in the Electronics Technology program and is active in the eSports Gaming and Strategy Club and Ally Club.  

After graduation, she seeks to gain skills and experience in engineering or science, through internship or job opportunities. 

“I plan to use this award to fund my education and supply needs, enabling me to excel as an electronics technician,” said Taylor. “It’s a vital step towards achieving my career goals and making meaningful contributions in the field.” 

Thornton is a sophomore from Sumrall who graduated from Sumrall High School. She is part of the William Lewis Honors Institute and has been a member of The Spirit of The River Marching Band for two years, serving as trombone leader this year, as well as a member of The Jazz Cats. Additional activities include the Student Advisory Board, Student Government Association, and Phi Theta Kappa. Additionally, she is a work-study for the science department, assisting with activities like the recent Women in STEM Symposium and Solar Eclipse Viewing Party. 

Thornton is in the Health Sciences and Pre-Nursing pathway. She will graduate in May and plans to attend The University of Southern Mississippi. 

“I was just accepted into the USM nursing program and can’t wait to start the next segment of my journey,” said Thronton. “This award will help me further my education at USM and continue to strive for my goal of being a registered nurse!” 

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.