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GEMS Leadership Team
Who Are We & What We Do

The GEMS Leadership Teams is currently engaged in the following projects:

  • Seeking out an external funding foundation (e.g., NSF ADVANCE program) to improve the recruitment, retention, and professional development of underrepresented faculty in STEM disciplines at USM

  • Supporting the implementation of goals and initiatives related to SEA Change Membership and the GEMS taskforce 


Assistant Professor - Science Education, Center for STEM Education

Faculty Affiliate - Women and Gender Studies

Dr. Wallace is an Assistant Professor of STEM Education and Women & Gender Studies Program Faculty Affiliate at the University of Southern Mississippi. Earning a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with specializations in Curriculum Theory, Science Education, and a graduate minor in Women’s & Gender Studies from Louisiana State University, Dr. Wallace's research and teaching aim to deterritorialize beginning (science) teachers’ subjectivities and practice. Drawing on conventional qualitative research methods and post-qualitative modes of inquiry, Dr. Wallace's research (re)imagines ways beginning science teachers are ‘known,’ named, and re/produced. 
Visit Dr. Wallace's professional website for more information:

Dr. Sarah Morgan

Full Professor & Associate Director -

School of Polymer Science and Engineering

Dr. Morgan is Bennett Distinguished Professor and Associate Director of the School of Polymer Science and Engineering at The University of Southern Mississippi. She joined the university in 2003 after a 14-year career at GE Plastics in engineering thermoplastics, where she held technical and managerial positions at GE locations around the world. Morgan’s research is focused on morphology control in bionspired polymer systems, high performance polymers, and nanocomposites. She is equally passionate about polymer education and development of the next generation of scientists and engineers. Her research is funded by NSF, NIH, DoD, and industrial partners. She is Science Director of the state-wide NSF Center for Emergent Molecular Optoelectronics and PI of the multi-investigator Multifunctional Materials to Address Military Engineering U.S. Army Corps of Engineers research collaboration.


Dr. Jason Wallace

Assistant Professor - School of Education

Dr. Jason K. Wallace's research centers on issues of equity and inclusion in higher education, investigating the systemic and institutional forms of oppression impacting Black and first-generation students. As a first-generation college student, Dr. Wallace seeks to strengthen the pipeline to graduate education for first-generation college students of Color. His dissertation, titled "The ancestors are watching; make them proud": Narratives exploring Black first-generation doctoral recipients' use of  cultural capital at non-Black serving institutions, highlights the cultural wealth that Black first-generation student possess and contribute to higher education. 

Dr. Wallace received a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in College Student Affairs Administration and a graduate certificate in Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies from the Mary Frances Early College of Education at the University of Georgia. 

Dr. Wallace was named the 2022, Nine Bell Suggs Endowed Professor. 

Dr. Shahid Karim

Full Professor - School of Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Dr. Karim conducts fundamental and applied research focused on decoding the salivary armamentarium of tick vectors using molecular, physiological, biochemical, pharmacological, and computational tools. The overall goal of ongoing research in Dr. Karim's laboratory is to dissect the tripartite interactions between vectors, their pathobiome (pathogens + microbiome), and pathogens they transmit to their mammalian hosts. 
Please click on the link for the list of published work:


Mary Farrell Hitchcock

Graduate Assistant - Gender Equity and Movement in STEM

Mary Farrell is a second year graduate student at the University of Southern Mississippi earning her M.Ed. in Higher Education: Student Affairs. She received her BA in Public Relations in 2021, graduating from USM with highest honors. Upon her upcoming graduation in May 2023, Mary Farrell plans on continuing her work with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher Education while also using her background in Public Relations and Advertising. 

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