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$500K in college funds allocated to 25 Brookhaven students

DAILY LEADER / PRISCILLA LOEBENBERG / Candra Haynes, (right) a junior at Brookhaven High School, spoke to Mississippi State University recruiter Matt McLaurin on Friday after a presentation at the high school.

DAILY LEADER / PRISCILLA LOEBENBERG / Candra Haynes, (right) a junior at Brookhaven High School, spoke to Mississippi State University recruiter Matt McLaurin on Friday after a presentation at the high school.

Living in Brookhaven has one big advantage for students wishing to go to college at Mississippi State University – the Swalm Scholarship. Twenty Brookhaven High School students and five Brookhaven Academy students with GPAs of 3.0 or higher may receive $20,000 each to pursue technical degrees.

Dave C. Swalm, a BHS and MSU alumnus, established the scholarship to assist hometown students. Swalm made his fortune in chemical engineering before establishing the Swalm Foundation. At MSU, Swalm Hall houses the department of chemical engineering.

BHS Principal David Martin said he loves the fact that Swalm chose to give back specifically to Brookhaven, and he hopes students take advantage of the opportunity. In the past, he said, some of the money offered through the scholarship has gone back into the fund because not enough eligible students applied.

Representatives from MSU visited local schools on Friday to tell students about the scholarship and promote the school.

Admissions Counselor Matt McLaurin said students sometimes don’t realize the variety of majors available with the Swalm Scholarship. Technical degrees can include agricultural engineering, architecture, building construction science, information technology and other concentrations.

Jonathan Pote, department head and professor of agricultural and biological engineering, gave the students detailed information about degrees in his department. He said MSU was one of the first colleges to offer a degree in biological engineering, which has been designated by Money Magazine and other publications as the most valuable degree in today’s workforce.

He said ecological engineering is another major that might appeal to students who prefer to live or work in a rural setting.

BHS and MSU graduate Michael Boerner was an architecture major whose Jackson firm, Wier Boerner Allin Architecture, has completed projects all over the country. Of the 14 associates at the firm, he said, all are graduates of MSU.

Boerner spoke about his firm’s renovation master plan for MSU’s Dudy Noble Field, a $45 million project

“Our goal is to create an experience within the facility that will be memorable,” he said. “By far, it is the best college park in the country.”

Boerner played an animated video created at his firm depicting the finished park. He said the computer skills used to create the video were really helpful in making people understand the architects’ vision.

Boerner said interested students could contact the firm to set up a visit to learn more about what they do.

After the presentation, students crowded around the speakers to ask questions about the scholarship and MSU.

BHS junior Candra Haynes was eager to talk to the recruiter. She said she is just beginning to explore her college choices, and she wanted to learn more about MSU.

The college might not be right for her, she said, because she is most interested in nursing. However, she is already looking forward to visiting the college in March, when juniors will be invited to the school.

Representatives pointed out that students can set up a visit at other times and seniors interested in MSU should visit the campus as soon as possible.

Students interested in applying for the Swalm scholarship should pick up an application from their school counselor.

Swalm Scholarship Majors

Primary Majors

Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business

Building Construction Science

Architecture (or Pre-Architecture)


Industrial Technology

Chemical Engineering (or Pre-Engineering)

Aerospace Engineering

Biological Engineering

Civil Engineering

Computer Science

Computer Engineering

Industrial Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Forest Products Concentration


Secondary Majors

Medical Technology


Geographic Information Systems

Business Information Systems

Information Technology Services