2018-19 Annual Report


The 2018-19 Annual Report, published by the College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi, tells stories of outstanding achievements made by our faculty, students, staff, donors, and alumni over the course of the academic year.


In 2016, Katie appeared as a contestant on MasterChef. After applying on a whim, she was

immediately asked to audition in Jackson, Miss. Katie is self-taught and has no formal

training;however, she does enjoy taking cooking classes while traveling, learning to cook

international dishes, and putting her own healthy, Southern spin on them.

“For my audition, I made a salmon burger with a sweet potato mash. I brought along one of my

raw desserts for each judge, and they loved it! I swear that is what sealed the deal that day.”

Out of 22,000 applicants nationwide, Katie ultimately finished in the Top 6. She describes her

experience on MasterChef “like living in a dream. I still have a great relationship with Gordon

[Ramsey] and his team.” While on MasterChef, Katie made lamb curry for one of her challenges.

One of the judges was Edward Lee, a chef out of Louisville, Kentucky. “Chef Edward Lee told me

that my curry was one of the best he had ever had!”

In 2018, she competed once again, this time on Food Network Star and is currently under a

signed contract with Food Network.




During Katie’s collegiate career, she was very involved in campus life. She was a member of

Greek life, Southern Style and a cheerleader, while holding a full-time job as a waitress.

When asked who her favorite professor was, she stated that former marketing professor, Dr.

Bill Smith, and his wife, Ginger, are still close friends of hers. She explained that the principles

she learned throughout college have proven useful in owning her own business. While taking

his class, Dr. Smith told her, “If you meet the need of your customer, you will succeed.” She has

lived up to this advice by providing nutrient-rich food to Hattiesburg.

The Dixon family stays engaged with Southern Miss. “At USM, there is something for

everyone.” Coming back to campus as a family has become a bonding experience. She and

her husband Todd, who also graduated from USM, enjoy cheering for the Southern Miss

football team during the fall. The family attends beach volleyball games regularly because

of her 13-year-old daughter, Stevee Kate’s, interest in volleyball, and they enjoy coming to

plays performed by the Theatre department because of her seven-year-old daughter, Risi’s,

passion for theatre and dance. “We recently went and saw The Three Musketeers two nights

in a row on Southern Miss’ campus.”

Katie also visited Scianna Hall this spring to speak at the USM School of Marketing Major

Confidential, sharing her story with the students and encouraging them to follow their passions.

Katie’s future looks bright as she writes her first cookbook, travels for international catering

jobs, and searches for her second restaurant location.

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