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This year’s 28th Annual Explosion of Excellence will be held in May at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jackson County Campus. This year’s Keynote Speaker is Dr. Kimberly Cox Rasmussen. This scholarship program honors the academic achievements of the graduating high school seniors who are in the top ten percent of their classes in all area high schools in Jackson County (including the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science).
Dr. Rasmussen is the Grants Bureau Director at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and has previously worked at The University of Southern Mississippi, The Bacot McCarty Foundation and the Office of Personnel Management, Federal Investigative Services Division. Dr. Rasmussen holds a Bachelors in International Studies and a Masters in Criminal Justice, both from The University of Southern Mississippi. She has also attended the Goethe Institut and Viennese Center for Middle Eastern Studies, both for German language study. She holds a doctorate in International Law/Criminal Justice from the University of Vienna (Vienna, Austria), where she focused her dissertation on substance abuse treatment among the incarcerated population.
Dr. Rasmussen is active in her community where she serves on numerous boards and participates in many volunteer organizations. She serves as President of the Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport, Chair of the Gulf Coast Centurions Association and is a member of the Salute to the Military Dinner Planning Committee. She is a graduate of Leadership Jackson County and previously served as a Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador. In addition to her professional and civic responsibilities, Dr. Rasmussen enjoys singing the National Anthem at various community events. Dr. Rasmussen is a 2000 graduate of Gautier High School and a former Explosion of Excellence scholarship recipient. She currently resides in Gautier with her husband, Ric, and their two daughters, Julep and Iris.
The Explosion of Excellence is a program jointly sponsored by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and all high schools in Jackson County. It is a fund of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The Chairman of this year’s Explosion of Excellence is Pat Descher of the McDonald’s Descher Organization, and the Co-Chairman is Dr. Bill Descher.
The public is encouraged to consider a $250, $1,000 or $5,000 scholarship. These scholarships are donated by the public to encourage these students to consider employment in Jackson County when their education is finished. The scholarships can be made in memory or in honor of someone, in the name of a company or individual or left anonymous. The public can help honor these students by writing a check to the “Gulf Coast Community Foundation/Explosion of Excellence” and mailing it to “Explosion of Excellence, Post Office Box 480, Pascagoula, MS 39568-0480.”
To answer any questions, please call the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce at 228-762-3391 or email Valerie Dedeaux, Administrative Assistant, at Chamber@jcchamber.com.