Investing in the Future: PRCC STEM Students Awarded Mississippi Space Grant Consortium STEM Student Stipend Award for 2023

April 14, 2023

Five Pearl River Community College students have been selected to receive the Mississippi Space Grant Consortium STEM Student Stipend Award for 2023.  

Applicants were selected based on their work completed in the STEM Club as an active member, their coursework at PRCC, service to school & community, and recommendations by instructors. Each student received $500 which can be used to offset the expenses of attending college. 

This year’s honorees were Brennin Carlisle, Mason Holladay, Angelic Lopez, Destiny Taylor, and Caleb Thornton. 

Maroon rectangle with 5 student photos; Names left to right: Brennin Carlisle, Destiny Taylor, Angelic Lopez, Caleb Thornton, Mason Holladay; Text at top reads: Mississippi Space Grant Consortium STEM Student Stipend Awardees; Pearl River Community College logo between wavy lines.

“We are proud to provide our STEM students with numerous opportunities to pursue their educational goals, including internships, funding, and access to various career paths through the Mississippi Space Grant Consortium,” said Melinda Miller, PRCC Space Grant (MSSGC) Coordinator and Instructor of Biology. “PRCC has been part of this statewide non-profit organization supported by the NASA Office of STEM Engagement since 1993 when community colleges were funded for this program.  

“We are grateful for the support of PRCC administration, NASA’s Space Grant in Mississippi, and the Office of STEM Engagement in fulfilling our program goals.”   

Carlisle is a freshman from Poplarville who graduated from Lamar Christian School. He is a work-study student in the Career Technical Education building on the Poplarville Campus and frequently assists with activities in the science building. 

Carlisle is scheduled to graduate next year from the Automation & Controls Technology (Instrumentation) program. He plans to enter the workforce with his dream companies, such as Lockheed Martin, Relativity Space, or Rolls-Royce. 

“This Scholarship will greatly benefit me as I pursue my degree because the Instrumentation program often requires me to purchase expensive tools such as multimeters and various other kits,” said Carlisle. “This scholarship will allow me to purchase quality tools that will last.” 

Holladay is a freshman from Kiln who graduated from Hancock High School. He is currently a freshman in the Health Sciences and Pre-Nursing pathway. After PRCC, he plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing. 

“This award helps pay for schooling here at PRCC while I become one step closer to obtaining my dream job.,” said Holladay. “This award gives me less stress about funding and other needed school supplies.” 

Lopez is a sophomore from Hattiesburg and a North Forrest High School graduate. She is currently a member of The Spirit of the River Marching Band and in the Biology/Pre-Physical Therapy pathway. She plans to attend The University of Southern Mississippi to complete her degree in Biological Sciences to pursue a career in physical therapy.  

“Receiving this award will help aid my transition to Southern Miss in the fall,” said Lopez. “Whether it be for books, technology, living expenses, or for the occasional parking tickets.” 

Taylor is from Carriere and a graduate of Pearl River Central High School. She is currently a student in the Electronics Technology program and is active in the eSports Gaming and Strategy Club and Ally Club. After graduation, she plans to find a job as an electronics technician. 

“This award will help me further my education and fund the supplies needed for my career,” said Taylor. 

Thornton is a sophomore from Sumrall who graduated from Sumrall High School. He is a William Lewis Honors Institute representative, Vice President of Planning and Logistics for the Iota Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, and the Student Government Association President. 

He plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi with the goal of entering medical school. 

“I will be using my awarded stipend to fund my education and experiences of self-education,” said Thronton.  

The PRCC Space Grant program is an affiliate of the Mississippi Space Grant Consortium (MSSGC). The MSSGC program is designed to Empower, Enhance, and Enlighten the next generation of Mississippi explorers through opportunities to engage with and contribute to NASA’s mission.  

PRCC Space Grant programs are designed to focus on the Human Research Program of NASA’s mission to apply knowledge and technology to improve our nation’s competitiveness, education, and quality of life on Earth. The STEM student stipend is designed to assist the students with their current or future educational expenses and/or their continued project needs in their focused STEM area.  

PRCC is one of ten community colleges in Mississippi that participate in the program. Along with the STEM student stipend, funds are used to assist with Honors Biology and Zoology projects, middle school and high school science competitions, K-12 STEM teacher development, Community College STEM professional development opportunities, and promoting STEM to the general public.    

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), Facebook (@PRCCMKTG), and TikTok (@prcc_wildcats).

Article by Laura O’Neill.

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