Meet our Faculty and Staff
Dr. John O’Haver serves as Chair of Chemical Engineering and Director of the CMSE. John earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in secondary education from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. O’Haver taught high school mathematics, chemistry, and physics for 12 years prior to earning his Ph.D. In Chemical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. In 1996, John joined the faculty at the University of Mississippi.
Dr. Alice Steimle serves as the Associate Director of the Center for Mathematics and Science Education. Dr. Steimle has been a part of the CMSE since its inception in December 2006. Alice earned her Associate of Arts degree from Jones County Junior College, her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Mississippi College and both her Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Mathematics from the University of Mississippi. While a graduate student at UM, Alice was a graduate research fellow and project manager of the NSF North Mississippi GK-12 and GK-8 projects under the direction of Dr. John O’Haver. It was during that time when Dr. O’Haver and Steimle developed the concept of the CMSE. Dr. Steimle has always had a passion for inspiring students through STEM education. She enjoys seeing the impact of the various programs within the CMSE and looks forward to its continued growth.
Alice resides in Oxford with her husband, Landon, and two children: Andrew and Mary-Claire.
Dr. Julie James is the Professional Development Coordinator for the Center for Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Mississippi. Julie began working with the CMSE as a Graduate Research Fellow in 2007 and took on the role of Professional Development Coordinator in 2011. Her research interests include understanding how exploring mathematical progressions may impact teacher content knowledge. She received her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Mississippi, her master’s degree from Grand Canyon University, and her bachelor’s degree from Mississippi University for Women.
Dr. Whitney Jackson is the Science Professional Development Coordinator for the Center for Mathematics and Science Education. After graduating from Mississippi College, Whitney began teaching second grade at Raymond Elementary School in Hinds County. After relocating to North Mississippi, she found herself at North Pontotoc Middle School where the student population was growing. She initially divided her time between seventh grade science and eighth grade reading. Over the next four years, Whitney taught a mix of science and language arts at the middle school level. After several years of attending a NASA sponsored workshop led by the Center for Mathematics and Science Education (CMSE) at the University of Mississippi, she applied for the graduate fellowship which allowed her to pursue a graduate degree as a full time student. During this time, Whitney has led professional development sessions both locally and nationally as well as participated in multiple teacher workshops and conferences offered through the CMSE.
Her research interests focus on improving student perceptions of scientists in order to promote STEM careers as viable options for Mississippi’s students. Whitney hopes to continue influencing teachers by leading statewide professional development sessions. She is also interested in developing district-wide science curriculums, focusing on supporting teachers in primary grades.
April Kilpatrick joined the Center for Mathematics and Science Education in December 2009. Since that time, she has served as the Center’s K-12 Outreach Coordinator (2009-2012) and then went on to become the CMSE’s first Research Coordinator (2012- 2015). In this role, April served as a Data Analyst/Grant Writer in which she helped collect, analyze, and report internal project/program impact on grant proposals aimed to fund new and current opportunities for the Center. Currently, April is managing two of these funded projects: Teachers for a New Tomorrow (TNT) Noyce Scholarship Program and the Creating Continuity & Connections across Content (C4) Project.
Prior to joining the CMSE, April lived in Jackson, MS, where she worked in retirement plan administration for over 7 years. In 2006, April decided to enter the higher education sector and was employed with Mississippi State University for 3 years.
April received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from the University of Mississippi and a Master of Science degree in Information Science and Education from Mississippi State University.
April resides in Oxford with her husband, Scott, and their three children: Anna Grace, McCala, and Wesley.
Mannie Lowe is currently the FIRST Program Manager for the Center for Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Mississippi. He is responsible for the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) program for Mississippi after previously doing so in Georgia. Mannie has helped grow FTC in Mississippi from 4 teams to almost 60 since 2012. Mannie is a firm believer in the mission of FIRST (www.firstinspires.org) and how it can impact students into a better way of life. He has coached and mentored several FTC, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), and FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams to award-winning seasons as well as serving as a resource to many other coaches and mentors throughout the country. In 2016, Mannie was honored as the FIRST Tech Challenge International Volunteer of the Year.
Prior to moving to Mississippi, Mannie was a software engineer and project manager for several companies in the Atlanta area. Mannie also taught computers and robotics at Atlanta’s Pace Academy, a private K-12 school. Mannie is co-author of Winning LEGO MINDSTORMS Programming with James Trobaugh which will be updated with a second edition and hopes to author a book on the FIRST Tech Challenge.
Erica Paige Gillentine, Ph.D, joined the Mathematics Department at the University of Mississippi as an Instructional Assistant Professor in August 2013. As a professor, she teaches Mathematics for Elementary Teachers I (MATH 245) & II (MATH 246) and Techniques in Teaching Secondary Mathematics (MATH 390) to education majors. Dr. Gillentine’s office and the classroom where she teaches these courses are located in the Center for Mathematics and Science Education at the Jackson Avenue Center.
Dr. Gillentine is from Booneville, Mississippi and obtained her Ph.D in Secondary Education with an emphasis in mathematics at the University of Mississippi. While in attendance at the University of Mississippi, Dr. Gillentine worked as a Graduate Research Fellow at the Center for Mathematics and Science Education. Since obtaining her degree, she continues to provide service for the outreach and professional development opportunities that the CMSE provides each year.
A native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Justin Mills, currently serves as the Educational Outreach Specialist at the Center for Mathematics and Science Education. As the Educational Outreach Specialist, Justin oversees the events held by the Professional Development Division and acts as the liaison with secondary school teachers and administrators. In addition, he coordinates social media marketing and website development for the CMSE.
Justin is a graduate student of the University of Mississippi’s School of Education seeking a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi and an Associate of Arts degree from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Since his residence in Oxford, MS, he has developed a passion for the Lafayette-Oxford-University community and hopes to be able to give back by being as active in the community as possible.
Meredith Miller joined the Center for Mathematics and Science Education in April 2017 as the Operations Supervisor. As the Operations Supervisor, she coordinates the daily administrative activities throughout our center.
Meredith, of Tupelo, Mississippi, holds a bachelor of arts degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Mississippi. Since her attendance at the University of Mississippi, Meredith has worked in various local businesses in the hotel and food and beverage industry. She has developed a passion for customer service and helping others achieve their highest potential. She hopes to channel this passion within the CMSE.
Iesha Richardson joined the Center for Mathematics and Science Education in September 2017 as an AmeriCorps VISTA. As a VISTA, her job is to alleviate poverty through education. At the CMSE, Iesha’s main responsibility is to plan and coordinate field trips for K-12 students called STEM Excursions which have the goal of exposing children to a college campus and possibly sparking an interest in the STEM fields. She also plans trips in which STEM Experts or professionals in the field of STEM visit schools to lead demonstrations or provide presentations,. Iesha’s other roles consist of spreading the reach of the portable STARLab Planetarium, the MATCH (Mississippi Achievement Through Chess) program, and the MATHCOUNTS program through the state of Mississippi to help promote the STEM fields.
Iesha, of Oxford, Mississippi, obtained a bachelor’s of arts degree in Biology with a minor in Psychology from the University of Mississippi in May 2017. After Iesha’s time is complete as a VISTA, she plans on continuing her education in the pursuit of becoming a Pediatrician.
“I hope that my service during this year at the CMSE has a lasting impact on the youth of Mississippi and will be another brick laid down in the path of improving STEM education in the state of Mississippi.”