Gazebo Gazette

Students, faculty and staff started their first day at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM)’s Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, Miss. with hopes for a positive semester.

Dr. Shannon Campbell, Senior Associate Vice President for Coastal Operations, is excited for the return of students on campus and a new academic year.

“The beginning of fall semester brings a sense of optimism and enthusiasm as our students begin their classes and get involved in student organizations. Their futures as Golden Eagles are bright, and we look forward to interacting with them,” said Campbell.

The Lofty Return, Bear Point Bayou Pavilion and the Friendship Oak are landmarks around campus where students could be seen catching up on syllabuses, book requests and getting organized.

Mary-Esther Leckie, a marine biology major and Niquesha Francis, a phycology major are both excited to start a new semester at Gulf Park in Long Beach.

“I’m glad to be back on campus! It’s refreshing to be out of the house doing schoolwork,” said Francis.

“I’m having a great first day! All my classes are interesting,” said Leckie.

Students flooded the Gulf Coast Library to brace the Gulf Coast heat along with utilizing the many resources the library provides during the semester.

Justin Easterday, Education, Human Sciences and Health Librarian of the Gulf Coast Library assist students, faculty and staff with different services around campus.

“Here at the Gulf Coast campus, we are a little bit of a commuter campus,” said Easterday. “The library helps answer any questions students may have. We point the students in the right direction where other student services are. We do a lot of collaboration with faculty and students.”

Additionally, the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is proud to announce the expansion of its academic faculty for the School of Social Work at the USM Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, with a focus on educating students about the challenges and resilience of coastal communities. This initiative aims to prepare students for the unique situations they may encounter within a coastal community, including the aftermath of natural disasters.

Coastal resilience is symbolic of the precarious position that coastal communities often find themselves in, as well as their ability to rebound and thrive after significant events. With the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters, future professionals will require a comprehensive understanding of the complexities involved in working with clients in coastal communities.

Dr. Erica Morgan and Dr. Deslie Bonano-Broussard, each with more than 22 years of experience in a coastal community environment, will be joining the academic faculty at the Gulf Park campus. They have worked closely with patients during challenging times, including the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Their firsthand experience and expertise will provide students with invaluable insights into the unique situations they may encounter when working with clients in coastal communities,” states Dr. Jacob Breland, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Coastal USM.

“It is important to me that students have a full understanding of the unique situations they may find themselves in with a client,” says Dr. Jerome Kolbo, Director and Professor for the School of Social Work at Gulf Park. “It is not just about everyday interactions, but also about how individuals cope with the aftermath of natural disasters in a coastal community.”

Dr. Deslie Bonano-Broussard earned her MSW from The University of Southern Mississippi and a DSW from Tulane University. Broussard has previously worked in areas of adoption and family preservation.

Currently, she has a private practice in Picayune, MS. In addition, Broussard is a volunteer grant writer for Family Helping Families, a doctoral student mentor at Tulane University and a trauma-informed yoga teacher. She recently served on the doctoral accreditation committee at Tulane School of Social Work. Her research focuses on clinical and adjunctive treatments for traumatic stress.

Dr. Morgan received her MSW from Louisiana State University and DSW from Tulane. Her extensive background includes working in various settings, from traditional outpatient to residential care in public mental health, private practice, private hospitals and non-profit organizations.

She has also been actively involved in suicide prevention efforts, serving as Vice-President and Board Member of the St. Tammany Outreach for the Prevention of Suicide (STOPS) from 2010 to 2019.

The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus is committed to providing students with a comprehensive education that prepares them for the challenges and opportunities of working in coastal communities.

By expanding its academic faculty and incorporating real-world experiences, the university aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to make a positive impact in these vulnerable areas. For more information, please visit USM School of Social Work.

(All Photos by The University of Southern Mississippi)