Department of Public Policy Leadership

University of Mississippi


  Congratulations to PPL minor, Jaz Brisack for being awarded the Truman Scholarship! Also, congratulations to Allen Coon, PPL Major, as being named a Truman Scholarship finalist!

Congratulations to 3 PPL students who were named into Ole Miss Hall of Fame: Allen Coon, Austin Spindler, and Savannah Smith!

The 2018 University of Mississpi Hall of Fame. Photo by by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Congratulations to Elam Miller for being elected as the Associated Student Body’s President, Cady Cooper for winning the Secretary, and Alex Crouch winning Judicial Council Chair 2018-2019 school year!

Congratulations to Katherine Sistrunk for being elected as the Associated Student Body’s Attorney General for the 2018-2019 school year!

Annual Awards Program Honors UM Faculty and Students

HEADWAE recognizes academic achievement, contributions to higher education


John M. Ridoldi (left), professor of medicinal chemistry and environmental toxicology, and Dion Armstrong Kevin III, a senior from Oxford, are among the recipients of awards in this years HEADWAE progrm.

University of Mississippi students and faculty were among the honorees at the 31st annual Higher Education Appreciation Day-Working for Academic Excellence, or HEADWAE, awards program Feb. 20 in Jackson.

Dion Armstrong Kevin III, a senior from Oxford majoring in public policy leadership, and James Robert Ware II, a fourth-year medical student, were the university’s student honorees. John M. Rimoldi, professor of medicinal chemistry and environmental toxicology, and Molly Moore, assistant professor of nursing at the UM Medical Center, were the faculty representatives on the awards program.

“I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I would be honored with this award,” said Kevin, Associated Student Body president. “It’s a special experience to know that some of the state’s most esteemed public servants recognize my contribution to higher education as a student.

“It gives me confidence to keep working toward the betterment of myself and higher education in Mississippi.”

Moore said it is a great honor to represent the Medical Center.


Three of a Kind: Sistrunk Triplets Inducted into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society

By Christina Steube, Ole Miss News
The University of Mississippi chapter of Phi Kappa Phi honor society inducted 270 new members Sunday (Oct. 29), including three juniors from the same family. Ann Weston, Katherine and Will Sistrunk, triplets from Springfield, Missouri, were inducted into the most selective interdisciplinary honor society at the university. All three are members of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. “The invitation to be a member of Phi Kappa Phi is a great accomplishment and it is especially exciting to be inducted with my siblings, as I owe much of my success to the guidance and support of Katherine and Will,” Ann Weston said. Ann Weston is a public policy leadership major and is seeking minors in Spanish and intelligence and security studies. She plans to pursue a career in global health policy upon completion of graduate school. Also a public policy leadership major and a pre-nursing student, Katherine is minoring in Spanish and society and health. She wants to combine her love for public policy with a career in a health-related field. Will is majoring in biology and pursuing minors in chemistry and society and health. He plans to attend medical school after graduating from Ole Miss. “Being nominated for Phi Kappa Phi is an awesome honor and reward for me academically,” Will said. “It also is a reflection of the great opportunities I have had at Ole Miss, from advising in the Honors College to meeting with professors who are always willing to help. I am excited for all that Phi Kappa Phi has to offer.” To receive an invitation to join Phi Kappa Phi, juniors must have completed at least 72 credit hours and rank in the top 7.5 percent of their class. All three made the cut. Deb Wenger, Phi Kappa Phi chapter president and assistant dean for partnerships and innovation in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, said this is the first time she is aware of triplets inducted into any chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.The Sistrunks come from an Ole Miss family. Their parents, William and Camille Sistrunk, are university alumni and Mississippi natives, and when it came to the three choosing a college, UM was always a consideration. “As we were considering colleges, we initially had varying ideas on where we wanted to go and what we wanted to study,” Katherine said. “At first, I thought it was a definite possibility that we would end up at different schools. But, as we continued to visit other universities, Ole Miss kept calling us back. “Ever since we were little, we have called Mississippi our second home. Ole Miss has brought us friendships and memories, and we ultimately chose Ole Miss because it was not only where our family went to school, but because it felt like home.” UM was where the three siblings felt most comfortable and could each pursue the major of their choice. “We are all very close but independent and different in our own ways, and it was a great thing that we each decided Ole Miss was the right place for each of us,” Katherine said. “Aside from Ole Miss having so many outstanding academic and extracurricular opportunities in which to participate, choosing Ole Miss was like coming home, and I couldn’t image what my college experience would have been like without my family by my side.” But it wasn’t just the culture and the legacy aspect that drew them in. The Sistrunks said the scholarships offered through Ole Miss were the most generous of any institution to which they applied. “Ole Miss has been everything we expected and much more in providing an excellent academic environment in which our kids are thriving, and we are very grateful for that,” the triplets’ father, William, said. “We are excited that they are planting roots in Mississippi.” The university has since allowed each of them to academically perform to the best of their abilities. “I am motivated to achieve by the desire to one day be able to be a successful professional and say that I am an alumni of the University of Mississippi, and with that, hopefully give back to the university that has given me so much,” Ann Weston said. Ultimately, their independent achievements allowing them to come together in Phi Kappa Phi has made the family closer than ever. “To me, my sisters being at the same college has been a great resource and comfort,” Will said. “I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. However, I know wherever they go, they will succeed.”Their mother, Camille, agrees. “My husband and I are very proud of Ann Weston, Katherine and Will,” she said. “We are very blessed that they are happy and healthy kids and students who have always academically challenged themselves and each other.”

Senior public policy leadership major Christina Lawler is Ole Miss’ 2017 Homecoming Queen! She’s pictured with Hal Moore, president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association.


Congratulations to PPL Student Savannah Smith for being named 2017 Miss Ole Miss!

Congratulations to PPL Student Christina Lawler for being named 2017 Homecoming Queen!


PPL Class of 2021 Orientation


Summer 2017 Lott & PPL Study Abroad in Pachuca, Mexico!


Congratulations to PPL Students Austin Powell, John Brahan, and James Rowland-Marcos on their induction into the 2017 Hall of Fame.

Congratulations to PPL Student Dion Kevin for being elected ASB President for the 2017-2018 school year

Public Policy Leadership Students in Policy Advocacy Class Working With Mississippi State Governor and State Legislators

PPL Students With MS State Governor Phil Bryant and Representative Snowden

PPL Students With MS House Speaker Phillup Gunn and House Clerk Andrew Ketchings

PPL Students in MS House Chambers

PPL Students With House Education Committee

PPL Students in Front of MS State Capital

Summer 2016 Lott & PPL Study Abroad in China




PPL Alumnus Authors Article

New Image

Artair Rogers, PPL Graduate and Lott Scholar, is currently a Senior Consultant for Kaiser Permanente working at the intersection of Health and Social Justice. Artair was ASB President and graduated from Georgetown with an MS in Public Health Administration. Artair has recently published an article on meeting the health care needs of underserved populations that can be found at: .

Congratulations to PPL Students Austin Powell and Michael Howell for being elected ASB President and Vice President for the 2016-2017 school year


Two PPL Seniors Receive Hall of Fame Honors

PPL Seniors William Kneip and Rod Bridges were honored with membership in the prestigious Hall of Fame, one of the university’s highest honors.


PPL Student Tysianna Marino Wins George Treadway Pearson Diversity Award


PPL Students Austin Powell and John Brahan receive Philanthropy Award for Fraternity


Congratulations to PPL students Tysianna Marino and Buka Okoye

Congratulations to Public Policy Leadership students Tysianna Marino and Chukwuebuka “Buka” Okoye for being recipients of the 2016 NAACP Chairman’s Award at the NAACP Image Awards show, on behalf of the University of Mississippi NAACP.

NAACP Awards


  Congratulations PPL Who’s Who Recipients

Mary Katherine Berger, Rod Bridges, Mary Chandler Cossar, William Fisher, Mary Kakales, William Kneip, Joseph Latham, Caroline Loveless, Vivian Paris, Ryan Snow, Anna Grace Stout, Camille Walker, Anna Lee Whisenant

PPL Student Named UM College Corps’

February Member of the Month

Public Policy Leadership student Steven Dillard has been named our February Member of the Month. He is a first-year Corps member who serves at the Ole Miss Food Bank. His site supervisor, Anne McCauley, nominated him for the award.

Mrs. McCauley said, “He is a hardworking, positive and productive member and has been a great addition to the UM Food Bank program.  Steven has proven himself to be very responsible and takes his work very seriously.  He works hard and always shows up for his scheduled work hours.  I have enjoyed getting to know him as a person as well.”

You can read more about Steven below:


Homecoming 2015

PPL Students William Kneip and Mary Elizabeth Kakales are recognized as this year’s Mr. and Miss Ole Miss.

PPL Homecoming

Congratulations to PPL student William Kneip for winning Mr. Ole Miss 2015

Mr. Ole Miss

Congratulations to PPL student Mary Kakales for winning Miss Ole Miss 2015

Miss Ole Miss


2015 Freshmen Retreat

IMG_4101The students of the Public Policy Leadership Class of 2019 at the Freshmen Retreat, August 23rd, 2015.


William Gottshall, the Executive Director of the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, addresses the students prior to the mock Senate simulation. 


PPL Junior Tysianna Marino plays the role of Senate Minority Leader during mock Senate simulation.


Public Policy Leadership students participating in a mock Senate simulation, focusing on immigration reform, receive instructions from Caroline Angel Burke of the Kennedy Institute.


Students engage in a round table discussion as a part of mock Senate simulation.


Dr. Chen observes students preparing a speech they will give as a part of the mock Senate simulation. 

Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow (LOFT) Names

Jody Holland, Ph.D., Executive Director


Oxford, MS: August 3, 2015- Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow (LOFT), a local community foundation through which individuals, families, organizations and corporations invest in the well-being of Oxford and Lafayette County, has named Jody Holland, Ph.D., as its new Executive Director. Dr. Holland brings over 15 years of private, public, and non-profit leadership experience to the position.

Dr. Holland is charged with developing long-range strategies as well as providing leadership and executing administrative functions for LOFT. Jody will be responsible for asset development, public relations, and grant writing.

“I am excited about this opportunity to help continue develop and grow LOFT, which has contributed so much to the Lafayette and Oxford community”, said Dr. Holland.

The President of the Board of Directors at LOFT, Walt Davis, expressed that, “all of us on the Board are thrilled to have Jody on board as our new Executive Director. We’ve already been blessed with the help of wonderful and talented Executive Directors and Jody now continues that tradition.”

Founded in 2002, Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow (LOFT) is a community foundation that supports the arts and cultural, civic, educational, health and human services, and municipal activities that improve the quality of life for all Lafayette County and Oxford residents. Since 2005, LOFT has awarded nearly $200,000 in grants to many deserving non-profit, charitable organizations across Oxford and Lafayette County to fulfill LOFT’s mission. Additional information about LOFT can be found at


PPL students in South Africa for 2015 Lott/PPL Summer Study Abroad

South Africa 2015 sa 2

Methodology in Medicine


Anna Grace Stout as a summer research intern in the Biomedical Ethics Program at Mayo Clinic this summer.

This Summer, Ms. Stout has the opportunity to participate in Mayo Clinic’s Biomedical Ethics Summer Program in Rochester, Minnesota. This program immerses students in the biomedical ethics world through educational sessions and research projects. Working with her two mentors–Dr. Katherine Caroll and Dr. Megan Allyse, Anna Grace is exploring the complex intricacies of human milk donation, fetal medicine, obstetrics, and gynecology with aims to improve patient experiences during prenatal genetic screening.

Congratulations to Rod Bridges and John Brahan


Rod Bridges and Madeleine Dear celebrate after he was announced ASB president in front of the Lyceum, Tuesday.

Rod Bridges, who ran unopposed, was elected ASB president with 93.36 percent of the vote. He will hold the executive power of the ASB and be required to serve at least 40 hours a month toward student services.

John Brahan Vice Present

John Brahan speaks with his campaigners in front of the Student Union while campaigning Tuesday.

John Brahan was elected ASB vice president with 55.38 percent of the vote.Vice president serves as president of the senate and is required to serve at least 35 hours a month toward student services.

Six Public Policy Leadership Students Inducted into Ole Miss Hall of Fame


Six Public Policy Leadership students and members of the Lott Leadership Institute were inducted into the Ole Miss Hall of Fame on January 30.

Rob Barber of Hernando, Miss, Christine Dickason of Collierville, Tennessee, Channing Landsdell of Nettleton, Miss, Briana O’Neil of Brandon, Miss, Anna Kathryn Suggs of Kingwood, Texas and Phillip Waller of Madison, Miss were among the ten inductees to the Hall of Fame’s 2015 class.

These students were honored by the University for their dedication to community service and academic achievements during their tenure at the University and the hard work they put forth to show leadership skills on campus.

“I am completely honored and humbled to be a member of the Ole Miss Hall of Fame,” said Briana O’Neil.  “It means a lot to me that the Ole Miss community felt my work and dedication to the University of Mississippi meant enough to be selected to such an outstanding group of students. PPL and the Lott Leadership Institute helped develop my leadership abilities and allowed me to have the desire to practice my learned skills in real life situations.  I feel that PPL and Lott put a drive behind me to continue to do great things on campus.”

“I am honored and humbled to be a part of the Ole Miss Hall of Fame 2015,” said Waller. “I think that the Lott Leadership Institute and the public policy department in general attracts and recruits a specific kind of person. These people are the leaders on their high school campuses and their local communities. They grew up taking the lead, and the Lott Leadership Institute facilitates that drive for success by providing them with not only the educational opportunities to learn how to lead, but also the opportunity to interact with other students of the same high achievement level.”


Barber, a public policy leadership major, was selected as the university’s 2014-15 Mr. Ole Miss. He is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and served as sophomore student senator and student director. He served as an orientation leader, an Ole Miss Ambassador and a Columns Society member, a group of 24 students who serve as official hosts to the university. Barber held several leadership positions within the Associated Student Body, including a senator from the College of Liberal Arts and the director of outreach. He is a member of the Ole Miss Model United Nations team, Mississippi First, College Democrats and active in Reformed University Fellowship and Delta Psi fraternity. Barber is a founding member of RebelTHON, a 12-hour dance marathon that raises funds for LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, and serves as director of social media for the event. He participates in UM’s Big Event community service project and volunteers as an English as a Second Language conversation partner. After graduation, he plans to attend medical school with an interest in psychiatry. His parents are Bob and Karol Barber.

Dickason is a public policy leadership major and a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. A Taylor medalist and Truman Scholarship finalist, she was on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll every semester. She was a research assistant and wrote opinion pieces and columns for The Daily Mississippian. Dickason held leadership roles with the Associated Student Body, Ole Miss College Democrats and Mississippi First, and served as the student director and chair of staffing for the UM Food Bank, which helps those in need within the university family. She is completing an internship in Washington, D.C., this semester. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy. Her parents are David and Karen Dickason. As a part of her senior thesis for the Honors College, Dickason made a documentary film about education and college preparation in public schools in Mississippi. The film, “The Way I See It,” will be a part of the Oxford Film Festival Feb. 26-Mar. 1.

A public policy leadership major, O’Neil is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, a Trent Lott Leadership Scholar, a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society and on the Chancellor’s and Dean’s lists. She served as an Ole Miss Ambassador, orientation leader and a member of the Columns Society. O’Neil is an active member of the Black Student Union, having served as the organization’s president. She played an instrumental role on the Black Leadership Council and on the Black History Month Planning Committee and the Black History Month Gala. O’Neil is involved with a number of community service initiatives, including Relay for Life, Leapfrog and Habitat for Humanity. She also served as the director of volunteer recruitment for the Big Event, UM’s largest community service effort. After graduation, O’Neil plans to attend law school and pursue a career as a trial attorney. Her parents are James and Quanya O’Neil of Brandon.

Suggs is public policy leadership major. She is president of Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, a member of Phi Kappa Phi and on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll. Suggs is active in Moneythink, a financial literacy program, having served as a mentor, vice president of recruitment and vice president of external relations. She serves a tutor on campus at the FedEx Student Athlete Success Center and in the community at LeapFrog, an after-school tutoring program serving at-risk students. Having served as the campus campaign coordinator for Teach for America, Suggs plans to spend two years with Teach for America after graduation in the Mississippi Delta. She is the daughter of Alvin and Anita Suggs.

A journalism and public policy leadership major, Waller is a member of the Lott Leadership Institute, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and a Taylor Medal recipient. His academic, leadership and service organizations include the UM Big Event, the university’s largest community service project, Relay for Life and Mortar Board, holding leadership positions in each organization. Waller is a contributor to The Daily Mississippian and editor-in-chief of the Ole Miss yearbook, previously serving as photography editor. His work earned him an award for the Best Non-Fiction Magazine Article and first place in the On-Site News Photography Competition at the Southeast Journalism Conference. After graduation, Waller is considering law school and graduate school in Washington, D.C. His parents are Ronald and Deborah Waller.

Lansdell is a public policy leadership and accountancy double-major, a member of Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and a Luckyday Scholar. He held leadership roles in Omicron Delta Kappa and Lambda Sigma honor societies. He served on the Associated Student Body and the University Judicial Council and is active in his fraternity, Delta Psi. His numerous service projects include participating in a trip to New York City with the Honors College to help organize the annual “Aid for AIDS” fundraiser. Lansdell is completing a tax internship in real estate and asset management with KPMG in New York this semester. After graduation, he plans to attend law school. He is the son of Bill Lansdell.

(Bios were provided by Kelley Norris; University Communications)


PPL Student Named UM College Corps Member of the Month

Page Meredith, Public Policy Leadership major, is the November Member of the Month of the UM College Corps program. She was nominated by her site supervisor, Camie Bianco, at Oxford Lovepacks. At Lovepacks, Page assists with organizing food drives and increasing awareness of the organization as well as the need to fight hunger.


About Page: 

Major: Public Policy Leadership

Classification: Senior

Hometown: Gloucester, Virginia

Service Site: Lovepacks (

Why Serve?: Giving back is the truest form of human compassion, and compassion for others can go a long way.

Favorite thing about serving in College Corps: Knowing that every weekend children are getting fed and going to school Monday with their focus on learning.

Favorite thing about life in LOU: I feel deeply connected to this community; College Corps has allowed me to interact and work with people from all across Lafayette-Oxford county.

Things you enjoy doing in your spare time: Catching up on current events, eating Thai food, playing with my cat, and buying candles.

Your motto: Always be moving.


Senior Public Policy Leadership Major Featured in View from Ventress Newsletter; Also has paper published in philosophy journal

View from Ventress Photo- Screenshot


UPDATE: Christine’s paper on racial integration in public schools was recently published in the Acta Cogitata, an undergraduate philosophy journal. You can read the paper by clicking here

Senior public policy leadership major Christine Dickason was recently featured in the newest addition of The View from Ventress, a newsletter featuring the College of Liberal Arts. Dickason was featured in the article for her achievements both inside and outside of the classroom.

Christine has focused many of her efforts on social issues and education policy. She serves as the vice president of the UM chapter of Mississippi First, working on policy issues such as comprehensive sex education, access to pre-K, and college preparedness. She is also involved with the Associated Student Body and has served as director of community service, organizing the 9/11 Day of Service in 2012. Dickason was a finalist for the national Truman Scholars program and her opinion column is featured in the Daily Mississippian on a weekly basis. Dickason was also one of four public policy leadership students to present at a national conference last spring at Eastern Michigan University.

To read the complete article featuring Christine, view the digital version of The View from Ventress below. The article is on Page 7. 

Public Policy Leadership Students Visit China

china group 1

china group 3

china group 4


5 PPL Majors Inducted into the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame

Photo by Robert Jordan / Ole Miss Communications

According to Elaine Pugh’s announcement about the award winners, the “Honorees [were] lauded for achievements, service, and potential for future success.” There were 10 inductees into the Hall of Fame, and 5 of them were PPL majors (from left to right in the photo below): Tim Abram, Madison Coburn, Gregory Alston, Daniel Roberts, and Vinod Kannuthurai. Congratulations to all inductees!

For Pugh’s full story about the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees, click here.