COLUMBUS, Miss. -- The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi at Mississippi University for Women recently held its initiation ceremony, where two special honors were announced and 27 new members were inducted.
Dr. Brenda Dickey, assistant professor of education and assessment coordinator for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, was named Outstanding Faculty honoree. Alumna Dr. Doris Taylor, director of regenerative medicine research at Texas Heart Institute in Houston, was honored as the Outstanding Alum.
Dickey, who speaks fluent Japanese, has been an educational consultant in Japan and conducted cross-cultural missionary work there for 32 years. She also developed educational programs and English schools for Japanese in Chibo and Tokyo, Japan.
Additionally, she has served as an international educational consultant in Thailand. Dr. Dickey's resume also includes positions as professor of English as a second language, response to intervention specialist and K-12 guidance counselor. Her other accomplishments include implementing an early literacy intervention program at a school in South Carolina and serving as president of the National Teachers Association of Amite County in Mississippi.
She has experience teaching in both public and private schools in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. Most recently she taught at Mississippi College in the International Department teaching English as a second language to foreign students. She joined The W in 2011.
Dr. Taylor is been involved in both laboratory and clinical studies using cell therapy to treat disease. Her research focuses on the use of cell and gene therapy for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, tissue engineering of bioartificial organs and vasculature, cell-based prevention of disease, stem cells and cancer and holistic approaches to using cell therapy for treating chronic disease.
She and her team are internationally renowned for their research on “whole organ decellularization,” in which they have demonstrated that they can remove the existing cells from hearts of laboratory animals, and even humans, to leave a framework for building new organs. The hope is that this research is an early step toward being able to grow a fully functional human heart in the laboratory, which if it can be achieved would revolutionize the field of organ transplantation.
Dr. Taylor holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from The W and a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
Prior to her work with the Texas Heart Institute, Dr. Taylor had been serving as director of the Center for Cardiovascular Repair and Medtronic Bakken chair in medicine and integrative biology and physiology at the University of Minnesota, and before that she was an associate professor in cardiology at Duke University Medical Center.
The 2013 Phi Kappa Phi class includes: Barsha Aangdembe-Subba, Brenda Ballard, LoWanda Wells Butler, Andrea Davis, Ashley Danyel Diviney, Krista Green, Ruth Acosta Hays, Brittany Lea Hicks, Janette Hreish, Samantha Humphrey, Jonathan Tyler Jensen, Megan Johnson, Maggie E. Leake, Claire McElwain, Jacie Meyers, Alison Miller, Laura Elizabeth Moore, Jenna Petral, Jacqueline S. Ricks Phelon, Forrest Pogue, Tram Quynh Pokorney, Dionna Russell, Victoria Scott, Amber Shoffner, Suvechhya Shresta, Alexandra Torres and Emily Wicker.
Phi Kappa Phi members are chosen based on their superior scholarship and sound character and join a century-old community of scholars and professionals who include individuals who have distinguished themselves in positions of leadership and whose careers have been characterized by achievement.
Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Its chapters are on more than 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Each year, approximately 30,000 members are initiated.