The Mississippi Migrant Education Service Center at Mississippi State University has named Starsha Jamerson as director.
An MSU employee since 2016 and an alumna, Jamerson began her career as a statewide migrant advocate and later joined the center as educational services coordinator before assuming her new leadership role.
“The College of Education is excited to have Starsha Jamerson assuming the directorship of the Mississippi Migrant Education Center,” said Dean Richard Blackbourn. “Her appointment will result in significant accomplishments for the unit.”
The Mississippi Migrant Education Service Center offers supplemental and supportive educational services to ensure that migrant children in the state have access to all public education opportunities and achieve academic success. The center is funded through the Mississippi Department of Education and by federal agencies.
Jamerson explained that her experience working in the field as a service provider and later managing academic programs across the state allows her to understand the unique educational needs and challenges presented by the migratory lifestyle. This first-hand awareness has prepared her to work to expand the scope and effectiveness of the center’s outreach services.
The Illinois native has extensive experience in advocacy and education initiatives with refugee and immigrant populations from Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Jamerson said her research, academic studies and work abroad has helped her develop cross-cultural leadership skills and a solid foundation in global citizenry.
After her MSU graduation, Jamerson began working for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in South America. Upon returning to the U.S. to complete her master’s degree, Jamerson said she connected with MSU’s Migrant Education Service Center staff, who were looking to add someone with her skill set.
As director, she plans to continue building strategic partnerships to broaden the range of educational opportunities for Mississippi’s migratory youth, citing the center’s successful launch of an innovative project called Ciencia en Vivo, an on-going collaboration with Vicky Montiel-Palma, an MSU assistant professor of chemistry.
“Ciencia en Vivo is a Migrant Education program which offers live virtual chemistry classes to middle and high school migrant students,” Jamerson said. “Dr. Montiel-Palma and I are developing the curriculum around fostering critical thinking and scientific reasoning skills. In the future, the plan is for students to visit an MSU chemistry laboratory on Saturdays and during summers to conduct their own guided research.”
Jamerson aims to advance the center’s support of Mississippi’s migratory youth not only in completing high school, but by expanding the center’s scope toward making postsecondary education an attainable reality for its students.
“We want to inspire our students to pursue scholarly endeavors after secondary studies and provide the support they need to achieve beyond what they may have thought possible,” she said.
Jamerson is a recipient of MSU’s Office of Research and Economic Development Research Award. She completed undergraduate studies and a Master of Public Policy and Administration at MSU and currently is working toward a public policy and administration doctorate.
Established in 1903, MSU’s College of Education is home to six academic departments, one research unit and numerous service units. For more about the college, visit www.educ.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.