Meet Our Spring 2020 Oxford Stories Reporters
Hayden Wiggs is a sophomore broadcast journalism major with minors in English, history, and theatre arts. Originally from Atlanta, Wiggs has been involved in journalism since age 14 when she began working as a staff writer for her local newspaper, The North Gwinnett Voice.
On the Ole Miss campus, she is a reporter for Rebel Radio, 92.1 FM. In January 2020, she was named a top 10 finalist in the Southeast Journalism Conference Best of the South contest for her news package on Kiese Laymon’s speech at the 2019 Southern Foodways Alliance Food Festival. She is also an active member of the Alpha Phi sorority and the Ole Miss Cardinal Club.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, attending Ole Miss athletic events and writing. She is in the process of querying her first novel for publication. She plans to graduate in May 2022 and pursue a career in either investigative journalism or as a novelist and screenwriter.
Cearra Moore, 19, is a junior journalism major with a minor in digital sales media. She was born and raised in a small town north of Mississippi. Moore is known for her optimistic mindset and caring ways. As the daughter of two disabled victims of cerebrovascular accidents, she refuses to take life and her time given for granted. Moore often mentions that she tries to live by the phrase “the sky’s the limit.”
She finished her high school career with honors prior to recently graduating from Itawamba Community College early with honors. Along with being in the top percent of her high school graduating class, she was also a member of BETA and Upward Bound. Moore now works part-time while being a full-time student and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa.
She enjoys reading books and catching up on the latest news. With an indescribable love for pen and paper, she hopes to never let the fact that she is a small town girl influence her big dreams. She plans to consistently help others and continue to take care of her loved ones while upholding and supporting multiple organizations.
Christopher Dylan Barnett, 20, is a junior majoring in anthropology and journalism with a minor in history. He plans to never do just one thing in life. Before Ole Miss, he graduated with an associate’s degree from Itawamba Community College.
Barnett is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. He recently joined the National Society of Leadership. Barnett enjoys writing poetry and fiction, playing video games and engaging in social gatherings. He likes relaxing and reading. He is interested in basketball and boxing. He plans to graduate in December of 2021.
Michelle Bruce, 20, is a junior general business major with a double minor in English and journalism. She was born in San Antonio, Texas and was adopted when she was 5 along with her older brother and younger sister by parents who both worked in the Air Force.
She has lived in multiple places, including Colorado Springs, Colorado; Oxford, Mississippi; and Warrensburg, Missouri with her military family. When she isn’t at school, she resides in Overland Park, Kansas with her mother, sister; their dog, Bailey; and their cat, Marigold.
Bruce enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, writing mainly fiction and poetry, listening to music and creating playlists, napping and watching movies. Her favorite movie is an animated film by Studio Ghibli called Howl’s Moving Castle, which she has seen at least 20 times. Her favorite song is “Rhythm of Love” by Plain White T’s.
She lived in Oxford during 6th-9th grade and wanted to attend Ole Miss since she was a freshman in high school. She hopes to become a writer and editor, and spends quite a bit of time daydreaming about writing the perfect story. She likes to think of herself as being spontaneous, which can be evidenced by the occasional radical haircut or intense wardrobe change. Online shopping is the bane of her existence.
Bruce was most likely named after The Beatles’ song “Michelle,” which she says is simple and lovely, but entirely underrated. Her favorite time of the year is near the end of spring because everything has come back to life and the weather has warmed up to the ideal temperature of 70 degrees with the occasional cool breeze. She also very much enjoys the flowers.
Michael Quinn Taplin, 20, is a sophomore majoring in integrated marketing communications with specializations in social media and public relations and a minor in general business.
Born and raised in Edwardsville, Illinois, Taplin was slightly fearful to venture off and move away from his close friends and family. However, his twin sister decided to become an Ole Miss Rebel and stay close to her favorite sibling.
Taplin recently founded a photography company with plans to capture moments for senior graduates, brides and grooms, families, and expecting mothers. He wants to set up a scholarship program for students in journalism, business, and art-related fields who have created businesses to enhance their skills and give back to others.
While enrolled in 15 credit hours, Taplin has a journalism-related internship as a social media ambassador. His duties include creating content for UM’s Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts; assisting with email-marketing campaigns; analyzing social media accounts to find trends; and executing promotions with students on campus.
Taplin once served on the board of directors for the Edwardsville Art Center as a student liaison, but recently became the center’s public relations officer to help with marketing needs and news releases.
In his free time, you can find Taplin surrounded by his friends. Activities include listening to new music, golfing, and attending parties.
In high school, Taplin was involved with student government and served his peers as class president, student council president, and was the leader of the student fan section called Orange Rush.
He also felt the need to include and introduce every new student to Edwardsville High School. Taplin founded New Student Ambassadors, who gave tours to new students in the school district and welcomed them into a high school of 2,500 students.
Taplin also helped the newly founded club receive a four-year grant for $5,000 – $1,250 annually. These extra funds allowed the program to increase in size, and he created the same program at two middle schools in the school district. For his dedication and service as a student leader, Taplin delivered the commencement address at his senior graduation.
After college, Taplin wants to work in politics and hopes to one day become the press secretary for the President of the United States of America. He feels this is the highest level of journalism because it is news for Americans and is broadcast from the White House. Taplin doesn’t mind what political party is in office while holding the position.
Maddie Pipech, 18, is a freshman studying journalism at the University of Mississippi from Southeastern Connecticut, where she graduated from the Marine Science Magnet High School in 2019.
She loves spending time with friends and her dog, Jax, in Connecticut. She also loves traveling and exploring nearby Rhode Island and Boston.
When she is not doing school work, she loves to be creative and paint. Back home, Pipech played volleyball for three years, varsity lacrosse all of her high school career and was captain her senior year. She volunteered as a co-religious educator on Sundays with two friends and was also vice president of National Honor Society.
On campus, she is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and the Ole Miss Club Lacrosse team. In Oxford, she loves to go to Hotworx with her sister and try new restaurants in town.
Pipech is unsure about her future career path, but is open to new experiences to help narrow her interests and discover that occupation.
Kennedi Cooper, 19, is a freshman at the University of Mississippi majoring in broadcast journalism. She aspires to work for a major network one day.
Known for her outgoing personality and positive attitude, Cooper is involved in Chi-Alpha, a Christian organization. She is a 2020 Most Mentor, and she is a member of the Black Student Union.
She enjoys spending time with family and friends, taking pictures and making fun memories. Her favorite place to visit is New Orleans because of the city’s deeply rooted, vibrant culture and festivities.
Her favorite hobby is dancing, something she has been passionate about since age 4. She also loves writing because it allows her to express herself.
Evan King, 20, is a junior majoring in geological engineering with a minor in mathematics and journalism/communications. He was born and raised in the small town of Opp, Alabama graduating from Opp High School in May 2017.
His hobbies include basketball, football, baseball, and gaming. King has been the vice president and treasurer of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He is also currently serving on staff at Ole Miss football as a student worker.
Greek life was a good opportunity for King to learn leadership. Football has taught him those same lessons and led him to pursue a minor in journalism/communications. These activities demonstrate his work ethic and ability to communicate with others. He hopes to use this to pursue a career in college athletics through the communications sector.
King enjoys football and loves his job. Having the ability to travel and work with SEC coaches is every football players’ dream, he said. King hopes to continue his job through the remainder of his college career and let it serve as work experience for a job after school. He is set to graduate in May 2022 with the possibility of earning a master’s degree and serving as a graduate assistant with Ole Miss football.
Landon Prestwood, 21, is a sophomore studying journalism, broadcasting, and cinema. He works two restaurant jobs in Memphis and is a college news reporter for NewsWatch Ole Miss, a student led media organization.
He hopes to one day have his own television platform discussing breaking news, current events, and everything pop culture. He secretly aspires to become a comedian regardless of having never made a single person laugh, he said.
Prestwood enjoys catching up on celebrity news, binge watching reality TV, exercising, and playing with his two dogs, Cooper and Tucker. His biggest achievement is having his most admired YouTuber reTweet and “like” one of his Tweets. This model student is grateful to be a part of the Ole Miss family.
Sela Ricketts, 21, is a sophomore integrated marketing communications major with a minor in business and art. She was born in Portland, Maine, but grew up in Oxford and Greenwood, Mississippi. She came to the University of Mississippi to continue the line of Ole Miss grads in her family and study marketing. She currently works as a social media manager for her parents’ restaurant, Fan and Johnny’s.
In high school, she was co-president of the yearbook committee. She was part of the team that organized layouts, designed the cover and collected money for the yearbooks. She has been active in theatre arts since she was 9 and has been stage manager and director for multiple productions, including Ragtime and Suddenly, Last Summer.
Ricketts loves learning all she can about anything that interests her, including mythology and folklore, history, science, album covers, and the blues. She also enjoys listening to music, specifically classic rock, but she will listen to almost anything.
She has worked for Fat Possum Records as an album designer. She loves all animals, especially dogs. Her favorite is her dog, Fizzgig. She is a cute, scruffy, pound puppy whom Ricketts thinks about every day.
She hopes to proceed through her integrated marketing communications degree and art minor, and graduate in May of 2022, but it might be longer. After college, she plans to go to graduate school for graphic design and work in the field creating brand identities and logos.
Aaliyah Goldman, 20, is a junior majoring in mathematics with a double minor in Korean and digital media studies.
Goldman is a member of five campus organizations. She is in Ole Miss Generation (a K-Pop dance group), IMAGE (an engineering group for minorities), the International & American Student Alliance, the Black Student Union, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She enjoys meeting new people from various backgrounds and learning new cultures.
In her spare time, she likes to draw landscape pictures, write short fiction stories, and read books. She plans to graduate in May 2022 and pursue a master’s degree in statistics or data science.
Cole Catalano is a freshman at the University of Mississippi, born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. While Ole Miss was an obvious choice after moving to Oxford at age 17, he has multiple reasons for choosing this university.
His grandfather was a professor at the university for over 30 years. His parents both graduated from Ole Miss, as did his older sister. He has been attending Ole Miss sporting events since shortly after birth. He includes the 2016 Sugar Bowl and 2013 Music City Bowl as some of his favorite sports memories.
Catalano is a journalism major, which also played a role in his decision to attend the University of Mississippi. He decided at a young age he would like to be a journalism major after realizing how much he enjoys writing and covering sporting events. His dream job is a sports reporter or sports blogger.
Growing up in St. Louis, he has a passion for hockey, specifically, the St. Louis Blues. He was lucky to attend Game 6 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final and the 2017 NHL Winter Classic. He includes these as some of his fondest memories.
Catalano transferred to Ole Miss the spring of his freshman year after attending Northwest Mississippi Community College to play football. He is still hoping to continue his football career at a four-year university.
While only a freshman, he is focused on earning his journalism degree in four years. He hopes to earn a specialization in sports while minoring in sports administration or sports rec.
Sara Brooks Adams, 20, is a sophomore broadcast journalism and political science major who was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. UM was not her first choice when choosing colleges, but family comes first, so she followed her brother to the Ole Miss.
In high school, she was involved in many activities. She was on the tennis, basketball, cheer, track and soccer teams and a state champion in all. Sports have always been part of Adams’ life. She continues to play club sports and play for fun with family and friends.
Adams enjoys keeping up with daily news stories, and never fails to later debate and discuss them on the phone with her father, who is also very into politics. When she is not playing sports or discussing the latest news, she enjoys listening to music and hanging out with friends. She is also an animal lover, who will ask to pet everyone’s dog she meets.
Adams is a member of the Chi Omega Sorority and is the president’s assistant. She is on the Dean’s Honor Roll. She hopes to earn her broadcast journalism and political science degrees, and eventually earn a law degree from Tulane University. She also wants to one day work on FOX News and become a news anchor like Megyn Kelly.
Cooper said her experience at Ole Miss, so far, has been outstanding. She has enjoyed the football games, the Grove experience, and the close-knit, family feeling, warm smiles and sweet greetings she receives daily.
Donnetta Johnson, 20, is a sophomore journalism major with an emphasis in broadcasting and minor in cinema who aspires to create her own film production company. Johnson traveled a long way from home, as she is originally from New York City. Basketball brought her to Oxford.
Johnson is a student-athlete at Ole Miss and competes on the women’s basketball team. She loves traveling. Her favorite place in Oxford is Marble Slab. She loves all kinds of ice cream.
Johnson spends her time at the gym and works on her craft when she is taking a break from her studies. She enjoys spending time with family whenever she has the chance because her time is limited. She loves participating in community service. Her drive for giving back to the community sets her apart from most.
She is also passionate about writing and filming. Her main hobbies are writing, reading, listening to music, and creating mini films.
For the rest of her sophomore year of college, she plans to create as many short films as she can, write fabulous stories for the university and attract more non-profit organizations.
Doug Nikhazy, 20, is studying political science with a minor in journalism. Nickhazy grew up in Winter Garden Florida just outside of Orlando. At age 7, his father began teaching him about baseball. He has been a part of two national teams and won a pair of state championships in Florida. He plays for the Ole Miss baseball team.
Nickhazy loves participating in different outdoor activities, including slackline walking, camping, and hunting. He began going on these life adventures in high school when he met a great group of lifelong friends. He enjoys spending most of his free time planning trips or going on trips where he can expand his horizons and become more in touch with nature.
Nickhazy decided to study political science in high school when he joined the debate team. Debate was a traveling club event in which schools compete against each other arguing the logistics of specific arguments. Nickhazy found foreign policy and other governments interesting. He is now engaged in the political science field hoping to eventually graduate and attend law school.
Ally MacPherson is a sophomore IMC major who wants to be a sports advertizer for the New Orleans Saints or the Nashville Predators hockey team. Originally from Nashville, she said she has developed excellent communication skills and considers it her best quality.
She was captain of her dance team in high school. She grew up riding horses, and this love led her to the Oxford Police Department’s barn. She works there every weekday, Monday through Friday. She has to wake up at 6 a.m. every morning to do her job, and that shows she loves what she does.
Having a part-time job and being a full-time student has taught MacPherson time management skills and responsibility. She has learned to be flexible and take any challenge head on.
When she graduates in 2022, she wants to live in New Orleans with her older sister. Her heart belongs to the South, and she would never consider living anywhere else. She knows she will have to work hard if she hopes to accomplish her dreams, but she has demonstrated that she has a strong work ethic. When she sets her mind on something, nothing can stop her.
Brandon Hardaway, 24, is a junior broadcast journalism major from Memphis who graduated from Southaven High School in Southaven, Mississippi. He chose to continue his education at the university because of the amazing journalism program and prestige the university holds, he said.
Hardaway is deeply immersed in the fine arts. Throughout middle and high school, he was part of the illustrious Southaven choral program. He’s an avid photographer, a love that came from watching his late uncle develop film and talk about photography. He hopes one day to open up numerous studios for people around the world so they can learn the art.
In his free time, he loves to study different types of cameras, poses, and think of different photo concepts he may later use. He also loves music and spending time with family.
While staring down the back end of his college career, Hardaway hopes to become the first college graduate in his family, make his mother proud, and put his degree to great use. He would love to transition into photojournalism after college, and plans to expand his photography into cinematography. He also hopes to direct his first written film before he graduates or soon after.
Pixie Anderson, 19, is a sophomore majoring in hospitality management and nutrition, but considering changing to journalism. She is from New Orleans, Louisiana, where she graduated from The Academy of the Sacred Heart in May of 2018.
Ole Miss was the only school for her. Her father was born and raised in the Oxford community, where she spent many weekends coming to Oxford to see family and attend Ole Miss. She evacuated to Oxford in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit her hometown.
She attended school at Bramlett Elementary for the two months she lived there. Since her whole family attended the University of Mississippi, and with an older brother enrolled, she knew Ole Miss was the perfect fit.
Anderson enjoys spending time with friends and family, especially her dog, Lucky. She likes to listen to music, go on road trips, watch new movies and binge watch Netflix shows.
She was named after her grandmother, who found the name Pixie in the newspaper and adopted it as a nickname. Her mother named her Pixie in remembrance of her grandmother.
On campus, Anderson is an active member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She has found amazing friends, and was welcomed into a great community of girls.
Anderson is unsure about the career path that she wants to follow. She started college majoring in hospitality management, but she doesn’t think it is the perfect fit for her, and is working on finding something she is passionate about. Although she is only a sophomore, her goal is to find work and eventually move back to her hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Anna Tate, 19, is a freshman broadcast journalism major. She enjoys attending Ole Miss sporting events and cheering on her beloved Rebels. She has resided in Mendenhall, Mississippi all of her life.
Tate is a member of the “Pride of the South” Marching Band and the Ole Miss Drumline. She loves volunteering at Big Creek Missions in Bear Branch, Kentucky during the summer and participating in her church youth group in Mendenhall. Her favorite thing about Oxford is it feels like her second home.
While growing up, Tate attended every Ole Miss football game, including both wins over Alabama in 2014 and 2015. Along with football games, she attended basketball, baseball, and softball games. Her favorite memories are the men’s basketball team beating Mississippi State on her birthday and meeting Marshall Henderson. She also remembers the baseball team winning their regional in 2014, and the softball team winning the SEC tournament in 2017.
In high school, Tate was the percussion section leader co-captain of the varsity fast-pitch softball team. She helped lead the “Tiger Pride” Marching Band to a bronze medal her senior year and the softball team to their first playoff win her junior and senior year while at Mendenhall High School. She was also involved in many other organizations, including FCCLA, FCA, BETA, and National Honors Society.
She plans to use her degree in broadcast journalism to conquer her dream to be a commentator for ESPN or the SEC Network.
Jaznia Tate, 21, is a junior integrated marketing and communications major. UM was her last choice for college until she visited the campus and felt at home.
Tate has always loved dancing and tumbling. She participated in gymnastics for nine years and cheered for six, including middle school and high school. Today, she teaches beginner cheer and gymnastics classes twice a week. She also loves to travel. She has been to three different countries and will be heading to Italy the summer of 2020.
Tate has been a member of the Black Student Union for three years and has served as the director of special events for the past two years. She has also been a member of the Fastrak Learning Community, where she served as a senior peer leader for the past two years. Lastly, she is a very active member in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Tate plans to continue studying integrated marketing communications with a specialization in public relations. She hopes to become a future publicist, have a successful blog, and write her own book. Her biggest hope is to represent Fenty Beauty or Ivy Park.
Molly Roberts, 20, is a freshman from Mobile, Alabama, who attended St. Paul’s Episcopal School for high school. Roberts came to UM to gain new experiences and become part of the School of Journalism and New Media.
With a major in integrated marketing communications and a minor in business, she hopes to pursue a career in marketing and journalism. Mass communications has been a long-term interest for Roberts, and in high school, she pursued this interest as a member of the school’s marketing team.
Roberts’ other interests include traveling, writing, photography, social media, graphic design, and fashion. She hopes to gain traveling experience through study abroad programs. Vogue’s YouTube videos and articles continue to fuel her interest in fashion writing.
Roberts is a member of the sorority Kappa Delta, and she lives by their commitment to building confidence and encouraging strong women. Her inspiration is Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, and she hopes to become a powerful, career-driven, hardworking woman.
Her personality type is INTP, also known as the logician. Some characteristics of this personality type include being logical, analytical, insightful, and curious. The personality type is fairly rare and makes up only three percent of the population, she said. A few famous logician personality types are Bill Gates and Albert Einstein.
Lauren Perry, 21 is an art major who has lived in Austin, Texas for 14 years. Prior to that, she lived in California and Canada. She loves spending time with friends.
Due to growing up hearing “If you don’t cook, you clean” from her mom, she got tired of doing dishes and decided to learn how to cook. To her surprise, cooking is now one of her biggest passions. Perry has an 18-pound cat, Zoey, who has been her best girl since kindergarten, so naturally she brought her to Oxford.
Perry’s guilty pleasures include every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Cherry Garcia ice cream, pot roast, and sleeping in as late as humanly possible on the weekends.
Lily Grace Duce, 19, is a sophomore IMC major minoring in general business and double-specializing in public relations and social media. She chose to attend UM because of its vast opportunities and Oxford’s bright atmosphere.
Duce grew up in Winter Haven, Florida, a small town that helped her value the little things in life. Throughout her four years at Winter Haven High School, she was a competitive, varsity athlete and played volleyball.
She was also a member of Future Business Leaders of America and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She graduated with honors in May of 2018 and was among the few who attended college out of state.
After coming to the university, Duce became an active member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. In her free time, you will find her with her face in a fashion magazine, on the Square with friends, and frequenting Hotworx. Duce also has a passion for travel and hopes to see all the places and cultures the world has to offer.
Even though she is only a sophomore, her goal is to pursue a career in the fashion industry and possibly open her own boutique after working in the field for a number of years. The creative minds in high fashion inspire her to accomplish her goals.