MSMS Offers New Courses this School Year


Gina Nguyen

Dr. Tina Gibson teaches her Intro to Epidemiology class.

Hua Chen, Staff Writer

As the 2018 to 2019 school year gradually unfolds, MSMS is excited to be able to introduce new courses to incoming juniors and seniors. The new classes offered are Photography, taught by Mr. Andy Snyder, Intro to Epidemiology, taught by Dr. Tina Gibson, Astronomy, taught by Dr. Charles Vaughan, and Introduction to Engineering, offered in partnership with Mississippi State University.  

The Photography class is a semester course offered to both juniors and seniors who are interested in learning aspects of using various settings to take photographic works. This new addition allows students to become more familiar with the concepts of digital cameras.  

Snyder commented on his excitement for being able to offer a photography class to the school.

“I’m very excited to add photography to the art classes here at MSMS. My degree is in photography, so I am beyond excited to be teaching the class. I’m hoping in the near future the class can expand beyond digital photography and explore shooting with film and some alternative processes,” Snyder stated.  

Snyder teaches Photography I during the fall and Photography II during the spring.  

Gina Nguyen
Junior Elijah Dosda applies learned methods from Mr. Snyder’s photography class when taking pictures.

Elijah Dosda, a junior enrolled in Photography I, commented on the different aspects of the class.

“It’s often a field approach. We usually go out and take photos, learn the camera and all its features,” said Dosda. “There are multiple aspects you have to learn, and the textbook perspective can’t really cover that.”

“I’m really hoping to elevate my foundations in photography and be even more experienced because the only way you can go from here is up. I’m curious about seeing what my potential will be at the end of this semester,” Dosda said.

Another new course is Intro to Epidemiology, the study of the pathways of diseases and health. This curriculum is taught by Dr. Gibson, one of MSMS’ science instructors. This course is also one semester long and is offered for seniors in the fall and both juniors and seniors in the spring. In the class, students work together on real life scenarios of outbreaks. Some of the students behave as field agents and others as epidemiologists. They act out the scenario, interpret what the problem is, where it originated and how to resolve it.  

Courtesy of Dr. Tina Gibson
Seniors Camryn Mason and Devin Chen are enrolled in the epidemiology class.

Gibson commented on the different activities of the class.

“We try to develop skills to work in a group and to think like an epidemiologist. We do enactments of real case studies that the CDC has traced and try to figure out what and why there is an outbreak if there is an outbreak,” Gibson said.

The class is primarily based on working together collaboratively to determine the origin of outbreaks and their pathways.  

“I would definitely recommend everyone to look into this course, especially those curious about the medical field. It doesn’t drastically help you in college, but overall it definitely exposed me to different aspects of medicine,” said Devin Chen, one of Gibson’s epidemiology students.  

Furthermore, Astronomy has also been introduced to the MSMS course catalog. This course is taught by physics instructor Dr. Charles Vaughan. In Astronomy, students are exposed to the telescope as they begin to learn about the solar system, the stars and their historical backgrounds. Students also observe current news regarding astronomy, including some of the recent missions into space. They do some field activities as well and obtain knowledge about various equipment used in astronomy.  

Gina Nguyen
Dr. Vaughan sets up his telescope in front of the Hooper Academic building to view sunspots.

“We recently had a viewing this past Monday with the Astronomy Club and the class as a whole. We saw a lot of planets such as Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the moon. It was really fortuitous,” Vaughan said. 

“This was my research focus when I was finishing grad school. I spent six years studying comets and their mechanics and chemical compositions; so naturally, this is my area specialty.” 

“We are currently learning about Galileo and what he discovered. We sometimes go outside and view certain things. We viewed Jupiter and Saturn the other day which was really cool. This is a really fun class,” said Malerie Holloway, a member of both the class and club. 

Lastly, MSMS was able to offer students a university course at MSU. This course exposes students to various engineering related disciplines and topics. It introduces students to skills that allow them to succeed in the engineering field by showing them how to deal with problems that would be encountered in engineering.  

Victoria Gong
Many students are doing the mentorship offered through MSU.

“Previously, students who take this class usually didn’t expect it to be a technical writing class, but Mrs. Brown has asked them to be more like a survey of different types of engineering class,” said MSMS school counselor Doctor Heath Stevens. “I think it would be a good choice for students in general to attend this class because you would learn about what engineering actually is. A lot of people don’t really know what engineering is. This class would help students to understand it further.” 

“We focus more on the ethics and the general engineering concepts, not primarily on math and physics. It’s an introductory class; everyone should take it!” said Lori Feng, a senior currently enrolled in the class.

The engineering class meets every Wednesday during 7 and 8 period.  

Excluding introduction to engineering, the new courses are open to both juniors and seniors. Students of various interests are recommended to take these courses even if their interests do not correlate.