Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: James O'Loughlin

Chris Richardson


At 72 years young, James O’Loughlin has developed quite the resume. After spending decades in the military, O’Loughlin began his studies at The W in 2010. He was awarded Bachelor of Arts degrees in 2011 and 2013, but he decided to continue his education and pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not in class, O’Loughlin can often be found in the school’s cafeteria or gym, and when he learned about The Spectator, he sent a request to be interviewed for our Student Spotlight series, so that he could share his story with students all across the campus. 

Q: Where are you originally from? 

Student Spotlight: Kelly Idella Benford

Frederick L. Brown


Kelly Idella Benford, a sophomore communication major and theatre minor, is from Greenville, Miss. Benford is a 2014 graduate of Greenville Weston High School. Benford is a very talented dancer and serves as the vice-president of the Audacity Dance Team on campus. Benford is also dealing with a rare skin disorder called "ichythyosis."

Ichthyosis is a family of genetic skin disorders characterized by dry, scaling skin that may be thickened or very thin. Ichthyosis affects people of all ages, races and gender, and there is currently no cure for the disorder. While a cure is being sought, researchers and physicians have been working to develop effective ways to help manage the disorder. For more information, visit

Student Spotlight: Blossom Brown

Mallory Johnston


Advocate. Faith-driven. Inspiring.

These are three words to describe Blossom Brown, an openly transgender woman who is studying public health education at Mississippi University for Women. The Greenwood, Miss., native is a motivational speaker and a volunteer for the Human Rights Campaign, where she works to solve issues that surround the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer (LGBTQ) community. She has appeared on the popular daytime talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and the reality show, "I Am Cait," a series documenting the life of Caitlyn Jenner after Jenner's gender transition.