MUWAA announces new board members - MUW

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MUWAA announces new board members

Alumni AssociationCOLUMBUS, Miss. – The Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association recently announced its new board, welcoming back four new board members this year and another for a second term.


The newly elected board members are Katherine Shell Benson of Southaven, Brandy N. Burnette of Horn Lake, Christopher T. Halbrooks of Southlake, Texas, and Carrie Pate of Ocean Springs.  Malinda Mabry-Scott of Clarksville, Tenn., was elected to a second term, as she joined the board in 2011. Board members were elected by the general membership of the MUWAA and sworn in at the university’s annual Homecoming in March.

“We are so pleased to welcome these new board members, and happy to have Malinda back for a second term,” said Jenny Katool, president of the MUWAA. “They have all been active in the MUWAA as members and through their chapters. This group has already been an asset to the board, and we look forward to working with them this year.”

Benson graduated in 2003 with a culinary arts degree and is the co-owner of Bella Baxter Special Events, an event planning and design company with offices in Little Rock, Memphis, Charleston and Nashville. She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Junior League of Memphis, where she serves as the 2014 vice chair of Merry Marketplace. Benson has been active in the Mid-South chapter of the MUWAA and is currently the organization’s president.

Burnette, who graduated from The W with a psychology degree in 2000, was active as a student. She was involved in the Mortar Board Honor Society, serving as student representative on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Burnette continues to be active as an alumna of the university, and she serves alongside Benson as the Mid-South chapter secretary. After graduating from The W, she went on to law school at the University of Mississippi. She practiced law in Memphis before moving to her current position, working for Congressman Alan Nunnelee in the area of constituent services for Mississippi’s First Congressional District.

 She said, “The W has been such an integral part of my life since I first set foot on campus years ago. I feel blessed to be allowed to serve on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and give back to the institution that has given me so much, personally and professionally.”

Halbrooks graduated with a degree in management information systems in 2001 and is currently a manager for the Tenet Healthcare, where he is responsible for the integration of the company’s physicians. Prior to Tenet, Halbrooks has worked for Perot Systems and Nuance Communications. While at The W, he was involved in student government, Alumni Ambassadors, Chorale and was voted Henry L. Whitfield Man of the Year.

Pate, a 2007 graduate, also serves as president of the MUWAA Gulf Coast. For the past four years, she has worked as a therapist for the Gulf Coast Family Counseling Agency, a non-profit counseling center. After earning her master’s degree in social work at the University of Georgia, she has returned back to school to gain her PhD in psychology.
“I am both honored and humbled to serve on the MUWAA Board of Directors, and I am excited about helping to promote The W,” she said.

Mabry-Scott, class of 1978, majored in fashion merchandising and journalism while at The W, and has a marketing degree from Austin Peay State University. She is founder and owner of Mabry-Scott Transcription Services. In her community, she volunteers at Loaves and Fishes, a local soup kitchen, and helps coordinate the Trinity Episcopal Church Empty Bowls Luncheon. Mabry-Scott was elected by the board as the MUWAA treasurer for the 2014-2015 term.

The MUWAA exists to support and promote the mission of Mississippi University for Women while providing alumni engagement opportunities. Any person who has been officially enrolled for at least 12 semester hours and has not met donation requirements is considered a general member. A $40 donation to the university constitutes active membership and voting rights for the calendar year. Board members are elected by the general membership, are required to be an active member and serve a three-year term.

For more information, visit the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association at

May 23, 2014

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