Dept. of Biochemistry,
Entomology & Plant Pathology
Years in Position: 1 Year, 8 Months
Years at MSU: 1 Year, 8 Months
Most jobs do not involve seeing one’s boss dressed up in a cockroach costume, but Jason Sanders loves his job working at the Mississippi Entomological Museum.
His primary responsibility is coordinating the Mississippi Bug Blues outreach program, which Jennifer Seltzer and JoVonn Hill launched in 2012. The program has undergone a metamorphosis since it began, expanding beyond education about invasive insect species to including conservation and biodiversity.
“My favorite part of the job is seeing the looks on people’s faces when they learn something new,” Jason said. “Insects are endlessly fascinating and are a great gateway to getting the public, especially younger children, interested in their surroundings and science in general. When anyone reacts with awe and wonder as we present them with new information or show them some of the amazing insect specimens we have housed at the Mississippi Entomological Museum, it’s a great day!”
Jason travels around the state educating people about why the environment is important and what they can do to help. In addition to speaking at public schools, agricultural events, wildlife camps and the Mississippi State Fair, the team launched its own campus-based events: Insect Movie Night and Mississippi State Insect Fair.
The path to this position began in 2010, when Jason graduated from Mississippi State with his master of business administration . . . and decided he didn’t like business. In 2013 he finished his bachelor of fine arts degree and took a job designing candles for Starkville’s local candle company, CURiO (formerly DPM Fragrance). When he saw the entomology department was looking for a graphic designer, he decided to go for it.
“I am no stranger to making really out-of-left-field life changes,” he joked. “Now here I am, talking to somewhere around 30,000 people a year about insects. Life really is a mystery sometimes.”
He enjoys classic movies and traveling with his wife of 5.5 years, Christin.
Learn more about the Mississippi Bug Blues program at msbugblues.msstate.edu.
Delta Research & Extension Center
Years in Position: 16 years
Years at MSU: 16 years
Steven Felston loves interacting with people and helping them solve problems on a daily basis. So his work in the Delta Research and Extension Center’s Communications Department fits him well.
Steven helps with logistics and set-up for the many meetings hosted at the center, including distance education video conferences. He also assists with building and grounds support and maintenance. He has enjoyed accepting the new challenges that have come about during his 16-year employment in Stoneville.
“I’ve always been interested in ag research and problem solving,” Steven said. “My recent move to the Communications Department has given me new ways to learn and continued opportunities for growth. I hope all of my colleagues consider me a resource for any type of problem or situation. My bottom line is making their jobs and work environment easier, positive and safe.”
During his career, Steven has gained appreciation for the most important traits required for success in his line of work.
“Be positive and solution-based,” he said. “Always lend a hand, no matter the person or situation. Strive for growth, work hard, be respectful, and remember that family and faith are high priorities in life too.”
Steven said he is blessed to have both of his parents still alive and enjoys seeing them nearly every day.
“I am also blessed to have been married to my best friend, Romelda, for nine years,” he said. “Together we have three wonderful children, Alazia, Nikeria and Taureon.” For fun, Steven enjoys basketball and cooking.
At each annual DAFVM Summer Celebration, the Staff Spotlight recipients from the previous year will be acknowledged. The DAFVM website will have an archive of all winners listed by month/date.
An employee cannot be chosen more than once during a two (2) year period.