Mississippi College

Clinton High Educator Joseph Kazery Joins MC Biology Faculty

August 16, 2013

A former Clinton High science teacher, Joseph Kazery will return to his alma mater as an educator at Mississippi College in late August.

Moving to Clinton with his family later this summer, Kazery is delighted to join Baptist-affiliated MC as an instructor and lab coordinator in the Department of Biological Sciences.

“Being in a Christian environment gives a sense of family that is an attractive feature for a college or any work environment,” said the 31-year-old Mississippian. “Plus, I had such a great experience when I was here doing graduate work.”

Kazery earned a master’s degree in biology at Mississippi College in 2010 and penned his thesis on the dragonfly larvae of small woodland streams. He worked closely with biology professor Bill Stark, a longtime expert on insects.

Lately, Kazery has spent time learning valuable lessons from Terry Dent, his predecessor as a biology instructor and lab coordinator at the Christian university. “Terry is a great person who’s helped me very much. He helped show me the ropes.”

Dent stepped down recently to become director of student success at Mississippi College.

His past five years as a Clinton High chemistry and biology teacher and two years as an adjunct instructor at Mississippi College prepared Kazery for his new full-time post.

“I have been very blessed, receiving opportunities to teach in Clinton’s school system and work as an adjunct at MC,” he said. He worked in an extraordinary Mississippi school district. Clinton High was rated the third best in the state last year and the district’s test scores have consistently ranked near the very top in the Magnolia State.

A graduate of Forest Hill High, Kazery began his teaching career in August 2007 with the Jackson Public Schools.

The Jackson native received his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Mississippi in 2005. His hobbies range from diving to ceramics and sailing at the Ross Barnett Reservoir. Kazery keeps two aquariums at home and serves as a volunteer at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

He and his wife, Ashley, a Mississippi College graduate and elementary school administrator in Hinds County, are the parents of two boys, Jaden, 5, and Jordan, 3.

Beth Dunigan, who chairs the Biology Department, believes Kazery will be an asset on the Clinton campus. “Joseph’s energy and knowledge is a welcome addition to our faculty,” she said. “He cares about his students and I know they will benefit greatly from having him as a teacher.”

Another new faculty appointment to the Biology Department is Dr. Chinelo Udemgba, who earned her medical degree in May from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She will teach human gross anatomy and other courses. “In addition to her dissection experience, she brings clinical knowledge that is unique to someone who has earned their MD degree,” Dunigan said.

A Natchez native who received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry Cum Laude at Ole Miss in May 2009, Dr. Udemgba, 26, is the daughter of college professors. Her father, Benedict Udemgba, teaches business at Alcorn State University. Her mother, Elizabeth Udemgba, is an Alcorn math instructor.

A Jackson resident, Chinelo Udemgba was active the past three years in the medical student research program at UMC.

The new professor says she looks forward to preparing students for medical and dental schools. The university’s new 22,000-square foot medical sciences building on College Street, with its cadaver lab, histology lab, modern lecture halls and the latest research facilities, was one of the factors attracting her to Mississippi College. “The building is very nice. It’s a beautiful facility.”

Her extracurricular activities include volunteering at the Grace House, building Habitat homes and serving as a student doctor at the Jackson Free Clinic. Gardening, camping and playing the trumpet are among her other outside interests.

Photo: Joseph Kazery, new biology instructor and lab coordinator at Mississippi College Department of Biology. He's a former Clinton High chemistry and biology teacher.

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