Alumni Seminars

Saturday, October 18, 2014 MSMS will host a series of seminars conducted by our alumni for the benefit of our students. All reunion goers are invited and encouraged to attend any of the seminars they wish. The seminars will run concurrently from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm that Saturday morning. Details about the speakers, their topics, and the locations of the seminars are listed below.

It's Not Rocket Science: My Path From MSMS To Neurosurgery

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Dr. Atif Haque, Class of 1994
Location: Hooper Auditorium
Seminar Times: 9:00 am, 10:00 am, and 11:00 am

Dr. Atif Haque is a neurosurgeon and partner at the Fort Worth Brain and Spine Institute in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Haque will talk about how he made the decision to enter medicine and eventually neurosurgery and how he got to where he is today. He also plans to talk a bit about neurosurgery itself and answer any questions you might have. Originally from Vicksburg, Dr. Haque attended Duke University upon graduating from MSMS where he earned a degree in Biomedical Engineering. He later attended the University of Mississippi Medical Center where he received his MD. Dr. Haque received his surgical training and neurosurgery specialization in Texas at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. 

Engineering, Sales, and Entrepreneurship

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Mr. Nick Cotton, Class of 1999
Location: The "W" Room, Hogarth Student Union
Seminar Times: 9:00 am, 10:00 am, and  11:00 am

Mr. Cotton is the owner and founder of DVC Resale Market, which is the fastest growing reseller of Disney Vacation Clubs in the world. From 2004-2008, Mr. Cotton was an engineer for Disney. He worked on projects for Disney World, Disney Paris, and the Disney Land Cruise Line. Mr. Cotton plans to talk about his time as an engineer for Disney and how that led him toward becoming a successful real estate entrepreneur. Mr. Cotton is originally from Columbus, Mississippi. He attended Mississippi State University after MSMS where he earned a degree in Industrial Engineering.

A Day In the Life of a Flight Physician

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Dr. Woods Curry, Class of 2004
Location: Hogarth Auditorium
Seminar Times: 9:00 am, 10:00 am, and 11:00 am

Dr. Woods is a flight physician for the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. His job is to be dispatched via helicopter to medical emergencies and save lives in the skies. Dr. Curry will talk about what it’s like to be a doctor in a helicopter. Originally from Woodville, Mississippi, Dr. Woods attended Millsaps College after MSMS where he earned degrees in Chemistry and Religious Studies. He later attended the University of Mississippi Medical Center where he received his MD.

Retina Medicine and Surgery 101

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Dr. Aziz Khanifar, Class of 1994
Location: Hogarth Club Room
Seminar Times: 9:00 am, 10:00 am, and 11:00 am

Dr. Aziz Khanifar, an ophthalmologist, will talk about retinal causes of blindness, the training involved in becoming a retina surgeon, and current and future treatment of retinal disease. Dr. Khanifar, grew up in Clinton, Mississippi, and attended Clinton High School prior to coming to MSMS.  After graduating with the Class of 1994, he received a Bachelor of Engineering degree with Honors in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Spanish from Vanderbilt University in 1998.  He then attended the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and graduated with a Doctor of Medicine degree in 2002.  His post-graduate training consisted of a residency in Ophthalmology at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, a fellowship in Medical Retina and Research at the Duke Eye Center, and a fellowship in Vitreoretinal Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.  Following completion of his training, Dr. Khanifar was awarded the Paul Kayser International Travel Scholar Award by the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology.  In 2010, he joined The Retina Group of Washington and currently cares for adults and children with medical and surgical vitreoretinal diseases in Silver Spring and Clinton, Maryland.  Additionally, he is currently active in clinical research as well as the training of residents and fellows at Georgetown University and Children’s National Medical Center.

Working for the Empire: A 'Softie AMA

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Mr. Corey Rogers, Class of 1999
Location: Hogarth Training Room
Seminar Times: 9:00 am, 10:00 am, and 11:00 am

For the past six years, Mr. Corey Rogers has worked as a software engineer for Microsoft’s Xbox Division. He has worked on projects that include Viva Pinata, Forza 2, Netflix, Twitch and game DVR. After graduating from MSMS, Mr. Rogers received degrees in Computer Science and Game Design from Jackson State University and Full Sail University respectively. He worked as a lab instructor for C++ and Windows Programing at Full Sail before contracting on what would become known as Bing for Microsoft. Mr. Rogers invites you to attend a Q and A session about software development, working for one of the largest software companies in the world, and game design in general.

One Patent Attorney's Journey to the Intersection of Science and Law

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Mrs. Mattie Clay, Class of 2004
Location: Shackelford Auditorium
Seminar Times: 9:00 am, 10:00 am, and 11:00 am

Mattie Clay is a registered patent attorney and class of 2004 alum.  Her hometown is McLain, MS, and she attended Greene County High School before coming to MSMS. Mattie spent a year at Millsaps College in Jackson, MS before going to Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa to complete an undergraduate in physics in 2008.  During undergrad, Mattie conducted research at the University of Chicago in the Physics Research Experience for Undergraduates Program in the semiconductor field.  Mattie’s training with Dennis Reed at MSMS destined her to make history at Grinnell College as one of the first African American women to earn a B.A. in physics at Grinnell College.  She then taught high school math and physics and worked as a retail banker before deciding to go to law school in 2010.  Mattie returned to Iowa to earn her Juris Doctor at the University of Iowa College of Law. 
While in law school, Mattie interned in the Office of General Counsel at Rockwell Collins Inc., examined patent applications through the Patent Examiner Externship Program at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and assessed new ventures for patentability and marketability as an intern at the University of Iowa Research Foundation. Mattie also conducted patent searches, analysis, and application drafting in the medical device field as a member of the Iowa Medical Innovation Group.  During her law school tenure, Mattie also served on the executive boards for the University of Iowa Moot Court and the Black Law Students Association.
Mattie now works as a patent attorney at Foley & Lardner LLP in Milwaukee, WI.  As a patent attorney, Mattie has drafted utility patent applications for technological innovations in a variety of areas, including financial systems, software applications, engine systems, in-flight entertainment systems, and vehicle components.  Mattie also has experience drafting appeal and reply briefs to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, responding to Office Actions, and conducting IP due diligence for clearance projects, patent sales, and IP acquisition projects.
Mrs. Clay will briefly discuss the career of a patent attorney/agent, including what patent attorneys do and how to become a patent attorney.  We will identify and discuss the impact patent law has in different areas of society.  Also, students will analyze a patent and understand how to identify the essential components of a patent.  All future engineers, doctors, teachers, researches, inventors, (and yes, even Shark-Tank lovers) should attend! 

Mathematics: Pure and Applied

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Mr. Sam Watson, Class of 2004
Location: Hogarth Rec Room
Seminar Times: 9:00 am, 10:00 am, and 11:00 am

Sam Watson grew up in Oxford and went to North Delta School in Batesville prior to attending MSMS. He majored in Mathematics, Physics, and Classics at Ole Miss, and in 2009 he received a Gates Cambridge scholarship to go to the University of Cambridge for a master's in math. Since 2010 he has been working toward a PhD in mathematical probability at MIT. He will graduate in December of 2014 and begin a postdoctoral research position at Brown University in February 2015. 
Mr. Watson will talk about what it's like to be a pure mathematician, and he will give his perspective on applied math through the lens of the applied projects he has been involved in over the years. Mr. Watson will also talk about ways for people to get involved in middle school and high school mathematics education as undergraduates and beyond, even if they are pursuing a career in something else. 

Spy Games and Smart Bombs: Going After the Bad Guys

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Mr. Ted Blaney, Class of 1994
Location: Hooper 113
Seminar Times: 9:00 am, 10:00 am, and 11:00 am

Originally from Starkville, Mr. Blaney graduated from MSMS in 1994 and went to Virginia Tech for a BS in aerospace engineering. While there he worked as a co-op student with Pratt & Whitney, developing the engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. After graduating in 1999, he went to work blowing things up as part of the Lethality and Vulnerability Assessment branch for the Air Force Research Lab Munitions Directorate.  After a brief detour to get an MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, Mr. Blaney moved on to the Washington, DC, area as a contractor supporting the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Hard Target Defeat branch, where he helped design weapons such as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), a 30,000 lb bomb whose purpose is to destroy the deepest underground bunkers.  Currently, Mr. Blaney helps the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) understand and defeat Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) by exploiting multiple intelligence-gathering methods and engineering expertise to figure out what our adversaries are up to and how best to disrupt their plans.  He currently lives in Alexandria, VA, with his wife and dog, and his hobbies include reading, video games, ultimate Frisbee, and traveling the world.

During his talk, Mr. Blaney plans to talk about his career in the defense and intelligence industries, and he will show some examples of how the mathematics, scientific principles, and analytical skills you are learning right now are applicable to the real world.