Staton Fund Makes Experiential Learning Opportunities Possible
During his tenure at UM, pharmacy major Jontae Warren of Booneville, combed the island of Oahu, Hawaii collecting and processing plant and animal samples as part of the UM Study USA program in 2017. Since then, Warren has completed his doctorate degree in pharmacy and is currently continuing his training as a pharmacy resident at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis.

A new travel fund that provides UM students with career-impacting experiential learning opportunities has now hit endowment level thanks to generous University of Mississippi donors.

The fund honoring the late Carolyn Ellis Staton, who served as the University of Mississippi’s first female provost, offsets expenses incurred by Ole Miss students who travel for learning opportunities within their fields of interest.

“The fund was started in 2017 as way to honor Dr. Staton’s commitment to meaningful learning experiences outside of a typical classroom setting,” Laura Antonow, director of UM College Programs said.

Staton championed Ole Miss students and worked to create many opportunities for them, including facilitating the establishment of the first Residential College and the Croft Institute for International Studies, which requires students to study abroad as part of its program.

“Experiential learning is a great way for students to delve into a class and see their classroom learning applied in the real world,” Antonow said. “Programs like Study USA and the UM Internship Experience are great opportunities, but the added expense of travel can make them challenging or impossible for some students.

“This travel fund makes these programs affordable and accessible to more students.”

Ole Miss alumnus Jontae Warren, of Booneville, was one of many students who has benefitted from UM’s Study USA travel program that this fund now supports.

“My Study USA experience is hands-down one of the best things I have ever been a part of,” said Warren, who graduated from the UM Pharmacy School in 2021 and is now a pharmacy resident at Indiana University Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Warren took Biology 380: Hawaiian STEM: Microbes, Symbiosis and Culture in Honolulu, Hawaii — a Wintersession class taught by Associate Professor of Biology Erik Hom, as part of the Study USA program. His class journeyed throughout the island of Oahu collecting and processing samples in hopes of finding new species and developments.

“I never would have thought I would get a chance to do scientific research in Hawaii with my professors.”

The fund was first established by Antonow; Marvin King, senior faculty fellow for Residential College South and other friends of Staton, as a tribute to the longtime educator.

“Dr. Staton loved to travel,” King said. “Opportunities offered through Study USA, study abroad classes, conferences or internships can materially change our students’ educational experience. Additionally, it can make our students more competitive upon graduation.”

The Carolyn Ellis Staton Student Travel Fund is open to support from businesses and individuals. Gifts can be made by sending a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund’s name noted on the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or by giving online at https://umfoundation.com/statontravelfund.

For more information about supporting the Staton Student Travel Fund or the Division of Outreach, contact Brett Barefoot, senior director of development, at bmbarefo@olemiss.edu or 662-915-2711.

By Mary Stanton Knight/UM Development