McLean Institute Grant Award to Fund Community Engagement

Hearin Foundation provides support for research and service efforts

The University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement welcomed a new group of outstanding students from around the globe this fall, representing majors from across the university. First row from left, Albert Nylander, Hannah Newbold, Navodit Paudel, Kristina Fields, J.R. Love, Laura Martin; second row from left, Michael Mott, Allison Borst, Zachary Pugh, Joshua Baker, Kendall Walker, Curtis Hill; third row from left, Bryce Williams, Elena Bauer, Adam Franco, Arielle Rogers, Virginia Parkinson, Anna Katherine Burress, Ashley Bowen.

OXFORD, Miss – A grant from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation for the University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement will fund research and service aimed at increasing community and economic development in Mississippi communities.

The McLean Institute welcomes a new group of outstanding students from around the globe this fall, representing majors from across the university. This scholarship opportunity serves to build actionable partnerships across the state to promote entrepreneurship and economic development.

Albert Nylander, director of the McLean Institute, professor of sociology and principal investigator for the Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, or CEED, program, said he is thankful for the approximately $500,000 provided by the foundation.

“The wonderful people at the Hearin Foundation continue their remarkable record of supporting university students through fellowships to make a difference throughout Mississippi,” Nylander said.

Fifteen students were selected this year to continue a nearly $2 million McLean Institute investment from the Hearin Foundation to bolster community and economic development in Mississippi. This grant will support UM students through 2021.

The CEED Initiative works with Ole Miss students and faculty to implement projects and conduct research that directly affects Mississippi communities. These students join a network of more than 50 UM students and faculty, as well as a collaboration of more than 400 community and business leaders in the state, who embarked on the first CEED project in 2014-18.

The annual entrepreneurship forums, business webinars, youth leadership programs and other activities are focused on spurring economic growth in the state.

“We are thankful to the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation for providing the opportunity to continue working in Mississippi with business and community leaders in partnership with UM students to help move our state forward,” said J.R. Love, CEED project manager.

The program’s annual Mississippi Entrepreneurship Forum, which helps strengthen the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, will take place March 8, 2019, at Millsaps College in partnership with other universities throughout the state.

The CEED program supports undergraduate and graduate students and faculty members to research poverty, education, asset building, and health care in Mississippi.

“As a McLean Institute innovation fellow, I am to think critically about the issues of poverty and development in Mississippi, in particular the Delta area,” said Ashley Bowen, a master’s student in computer science from Lambert. “Through sustained community engagement, and by applying strategies in community development, I have been able to positively impact the community and develop myself professionally.”

The McLean Institute also supports faculty research projects through the CEED Initiative. Cristiane Surbeck, associate professor of civil engineering; Kate Centellas, Croft associate professor of anthropology and international studies; David Holben, professor of nutrition and hospitality management; Tejas Pandya, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; and Annie Cafer, assistant professor of sociology, all have received funds to conduct projects in Mississippi.

The 2018-19 CEED program includes students from the College of Liberal Arts and the schools of Accountancy, Applied Science, Business Administration, Engineering, Journalism and New Media, Law and Pharmacy.

Other students in the program are: Josh Baker, a junior majoring in economics from Katy, Texas; Elena Bauer, second-year law student, Freiburg, Germany; Allison Borst, junior in biological sciences and sociology, Madison; Anna Katherine Burress, junior in pharmaceutical science, Water Valley; Kristina Fields, junior in psychology, Belden; Adam Franco, senior in public policy leadership, Birmingham, Alabama; Michael Mott, junior in integrated marketing communications and Spanish, Chicago; Hannah Newbold, junior in integrated marketing communications, Roswell, Georgia; Virginia Parkinson, sophomore in marketing and corporate relations, Oxford; Navodit Paudel, junior in general business, Dhading, Nepal; Zach Pugh, sophomore in public policy leadership, Oxford; Arielle Rogers, sophomore in accountancy, Guntown; Kendall Walker, junior in communication sciences and disorders, Tupelo; and Bryce Williams, master’s student in exercise science, Ridgeland.

For more information on the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, visit or contact Albert Nylander at 662-915-2050, or

Stuttering Expert to Present Fall Institute Keynote, Campus Lecture

Patricia Zebrowski to present research at annual CSD conference and universitywide lecture

OXFORD, Miss. – Helping people who stutter is the focus of this year’s installment of the Ole Miss Fall Institute and a related campuswide lecture by a respected researcher and clinician in the field.

Patricia Zebrowski, former director of the Stuttering Research Lab at the University of Iowa and professor emeritus in the university’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, will address best practices for clinicians working with older adolescents who stutter in “Therapy with Teenagers Who Stutter: Facilitating Readiness for Change and the Plan to Accomplish It,” the keynote for the Ole Miss Fall Institute. The institute runs Thursday and Friday (Oct. 11-12) at The Inn at Ole Miss.

“Dr. Zebrowski is an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association fellow and a board-recognized fluency specialist,” said Vishakha Rawool, chair and professor of communication sciences and disorders, or CSD. “She is primarily interested in the onset and development of stuttering in childhood and stuttering intervention.

“She also serves as the co-director of the University of Iowa Summer Program to Educate Adolescents and Kids Who Stutter, an intensive residential therapy program for teenagers who stutter.”

More than 70 million people worldwide stutter, according to the Stuttering Foundation. Approximately 5 percent of all children go through a period of stuttering that lasts six months or more. Three-quarters of those will recover by late childhood, leaving about 1 percent with a long-term problem.

Zebrowski received her master’s and doctoral degrees in speech pathology at Syracuse University. Her text, “Manual for Stuttering Intervention,” as well as several book chapters and journal articles, has helped increase knowledge and therapeutic intervention for stuttering.

The CSD department and the university’s chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association host the Fall Institute each year to offer educators and speech-language pathology practitioners an opportunity earn continuing education units and learn more about discoveries in their field. This student-planned event gives CSD students an opportunity to develop professional and organizational leadership skills under the mentorship of Brad Crowe, co-director of the UM Speech and Hearing Clinic and clinical instructor.

Online registration for the Ole Miss Fall Institute is encouraged, as seating will be limited. The cost of the two-day event is $275 for on-site registration. A link to the secure payment site is available at under the “Fall Institute” tab.

In conjunction with the institute, the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association chapter will host a 5-K run benefitting the Sarah Wheat Voice Lab, a facility used for evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with voice disorders. It is named after an Ole Miss CSD graduate student who died in 2012.

The run is set for 6 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 11), starting in front of the Lyceum. Registration is $25 for timed runners and $15 for nontimed runners or walkers. To register, visit

Anyone who wishes to make a donation in lieu of race participation should can send a check payable to the Sarah Wheat Voice Laboratory Fund to 100 George Hall, 325 Rebel Drive, University, MS 38677.

Besides her role as keynote speaker for the annual continuing education conference, Zebrowski will serve as the School of Applied Sciences’ first visiting research scholar for the 2018-19 school year.

The school began its Visiting Research Scholars Forum last year to connect meritorious research scholars from across the country with members of its own faculty.

“Dr. Zebrowski aligns well with the applied science focus on the importance of having evidenced-based research direct clinical practice protocols,” said Teresa Carithers, the school’s interim dean. “We are lucky to have her for both our Fall Institute and Visiting Research Scholars Forum.”

Zebrowski will present “Readiness to Change in Therapy for Stuttering” in a meritorious lectureship for the campuswide community at 4 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 10) in Bryant Hall, Room 209. Anyone interested in attending the free lecture should visit to register.

For more information about the Ole Miss Fall institute, email or visit

For more information about the Visiting Research Scholars Forum, visit

UM Awards First Bonita Lyons and ZonaDale L. Taylor Legacy Scholarship

Community college transfer poised to complete bachelor's degree, pursue career in mental health

Drew Lefmann (right), coordinator for social work advising, recruitment and retention, congratulates Steven Swinford, a junior social work major from Potts Camp, on being selected for the first Dr. Bonita Lyons and ZonaDale L. Taylor Legacy Scholarship. Photo by Sarah Sapp/School of Applied Sciences

OXFORD, Miss. – While unloading a truck at his part-time job at Wal-Mart, Steven Swinford received news that he had been awarded the first Dr. Bonita Lyons and ZonaDale L. Taylor Legacy scholarship at the University of Mississippi. His immediate response was disbelief.

“I said, ‘Me? No, not me. I’ve never gotten anything like this,'” Swinford explained. “I’ve always been in the background, and I don’t receive help.

“This really boosts my confidence and self-esteem. It makes me feel like I can achieve whatever I want.”

A graduate of Northeast Mississippi Community College, Swinford is on track to earn his Bachelor of Social Work in August 2019 after completing 18 hours this fall, 19 hours in the spring and a required summer internship.

“It’s stressful, but it’s worth it,” Swinford said.

He explained that while his family offers praise for his dedication to higher education, he is the first in his immediate family to pursue a four-year degree.

“I wanted to go a step further to see if I can achieve something even bigger – to make sure I have the willpower to do what I want to do later in life,” Swinford said.

His passion for social workers’ role in mental health drives his ambition.

“I plan on working in mental health because I’ve struggled with it and so have all my friends,” Swinford said.

Social work often plays a major role in mental health, said Drew Lefmann, UM coordinator of advising, recruitment and retention for social work.

“In fact, 65 percent of all mental health professionals are social workers,” said Lefmann, who advises Swinford and nominated him for this scholarship.

Swinford is exploring options for graduate study and career paths where he can apply his passion for mental health, including public policy, public health, education and gerontology.

Playing a role like his adviser, Lefmann, a licensed social worker who also teaches in the department, is an enticing idea, Swinford said.

“I really can’t put my finger on what I want to do yet exactly,” he said. “I know I want to be that person who can help guide a person, an advocate.

“I want to show people they have potential and help them believe in themselves, because I have a hard time believing in myself sometimes. Everybody needs someone like Drew.”

Lefmann described Swinford as determined, noting that he commutes from his home in Potts Camp to work in New Albany and to school in Oxford.

“I’ve worked with Steven as he has tried to figure out what he can handle, what is reasonable and what is too much,” Lefmann said. “He has been really open to the advising process, and I believe this has helped him to be successful. He is so open and engaged in advising, and I hear from faculty how open and engaged he is in classes, too.”

Teresa Carithers, interim dean of the School of Applied Sciences, met with ZonaDale Taylor, of Collierville, Tennessee, when she established the scholarship endowment in honor of her late sister, Bonita Lyons, an Ole Miss alumna and former director of academic status and retention services for the University of Memphis.

After meeting Swinford, Carithers was persuaded that he possesses the true spirit of this award.

“He is actually the epitome of the student they were looking for,” Carithers said. “What really amplified our gratitude for this wonderful gift was the overwhelming numbers of students we identified during our selection process needing this kind of assistance.”

The Dr. Bonita Lyons and ZonaDale L. Taylor Legacy Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or visit

Planned gifts award donors membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university welcomed its first students.

For information on including Ole Miss in long-term estate planning, contact Sandra Guest at 662-915-5208 or

School of Applied Sciences Honors Students of the Month

Madaline Ball and Meliah Grant recognized for academic excellence

The UM School of Applied Sciences has honored Meliah Grant (left), of Jackson, as its Graduate Student of the Month and Madaline Ball, of Oxford, as Undergraduate Student of the Month for September. Photo by Sarah Sapp/School of Applied Sciences

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Applied Sciences has named Meliah Grant, of Jackson, as its Graduate Student of the Month and Madaline Ball, of Oxford, as Undergraduate Student of the Month for September.

Having completed her undergraduate degree at UM, Grant is in her first semester of graduate school in communication sciences and disorders, or CSD.

“Meliah Grant is an Ole Miss Honors College alumna and McNair scholar who successfully completed her thesis entitled ‘The Effects of Prosthetic Tactile Feedback on Persons Who Stutter,'” said Gregory Snyder, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders.

“However, her more impressive research project, with data collection still underway, is ‘The effects of acetaminophen on emotional pain and stuttering desensitization.’ This latter dataset was presented at the Joint World Congress of Fluency Disorders in Hiroshima, Japan in July of 2018 and was well-received by international leaders in the pharmaceutical treatment of stuttering.

“Her research represents a legitimate paradigm shift in the efficacy and expediency of the stuttering treatment process, using simple over-the-counter medications.”

As part of the CSD graduate program, students are required to clock clinical hours. Grant’s clinical placements are with Aural Rehab, a campus support group for older adults; Early Intervention, helping children ages 0-3; and Augmentative and Alternative Communication assessment. 

“Grad school is definitely a lot harder,” Grant said. “It is a bigger workload, and then you’re also balancing clinic and things like that, but it is a lot of fun.”

Upon graduation, Grant would like to work in a hospital setting.                          

Ball is a senior CSD major. The Oxford native works part time at her family’s restaurant, Pizza Den, in addition to maintaining a 3.7 overall GPA, with a 3.8 GPA in her major courses.

“Madaline displays maturity and leadership that is exemplary,” said Amy Livingston, speech language pathologist and instructor. “This summer, as she worked with us at our Social Skills Camp as part of her undergraduate practicum, she showed natural clinical skills in high-pressure situations while working with children with moderate-to-severe language disorders.

“I often forgot that she was an undergraduate student. She always goes above and beyond to volunteer and help in the CSD department.”

This semester, she is working at Bramlett Elementary School, helping a student with autism transition to an inclusive classroom.

“Based off my summer experience, I was working with one of our clients, transitioning into her first year in kindergarten,” Ball said. “I was asked to help her out in the inclusion classroom.

“It was amazing to see the children. They loved her and wanted to be friends with her. It drew them to her, and it created a lot of social and language skills.”

Ball is considering graduate school at Ole Miss in hopes of pursuing a career in speech pathology.

The School of Applied Sciences calls for nominations by faculty and staff throughout the school to recognize students for extraordinary scholarship, leadership and service. Nominations should be emailed, along with a nomination form, by the fifth of each month to

For more information about the School of Applied Sciences, visit


Homecoming Week to Feature Variety of Fun Events

Activities begin Monday on campus

The Pride of the South leads the 2107 Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Starting Monday (Oct. 1), the University of Mississippi’s homecoming week will be in full swing. For students, faculty and members of the greater Oxford community, the week will be an opportunity to show some school spirit.

Here’s a list of the events scheduled for homecoming week, highlighted by Saturday (Oct. 6) afternoon’s showdown between the Rebels and the University of Louisiana at Monroe Warhawks:

Monday (Oct. 1)             

Homecoming Art Market – 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the Circle – Come enjoy this open-air market brought to you by the Student Activities Association.

Silent Disco – 9-11 p.m., the Grove – This dance party is one the likes of which you’ve probably never experienced, so come by the Grove Monday night to dance like no one’s listening. In case of rain, the event will be held in the Student Union Ballroom.

Tuesday (Oct. 2)

Alumni Association Class Cab – 10 a.m.-1 p.m. – Catch a ride to class on the class cab. Departs from Triplett Alumni Center.

Wheel of Wow – 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Galtney-Lott Plaza – Come one, come all and spin the wheel for a chance to win various giveaways for students. This event is sponsored by the Student Activities Association.

Trivia Night – 6:30-7:30 p.m., Student Union Ballroom – A great chance to meet some new people over some trivia and free food. This event is sponsored by the Student Activities Association.

Wednesday (Oct. 3)

Alumni Association Class Cab – 10 a.m.-1 p.m. – Catch a ride to class on the class cab. Departs from Triplett Alumni Center.

Mechanical Shark and Popcorn – 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Galtney-Lott Plaza – Daring people are invited to come ride a mechanical shark. Be honest, how long have you been waiting to ride a Landshark?

Antonina and David: The Mentalists – 7-8 p.m., Student Union Ballroom – Prepare to have your mind blown in this extraordinary show of telepathy and mindreading. Skeptics welcome.

Thursday (Oct. 4)

Free Sno-Biz with SAA – 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Galtney-Lott Plaza – Stop by and get a snow cone.

Meet-and-Greet the Homecoming Court – Noon-1 p.m., the Circle – Come meet the ladies and gentlemen on the homecoming court.

Everybody’s Formal – 8 p.m.-midnight, The Jefferson – Come to the event where – get this – everybody’s invited. Dress in semiformal attire and get ready to dance the night away.

Friday (Oct. 5)

Coffee with a Cop – 7:30-9 a.m., Galtney Lott Plaza – Come enjoy free coffee, fruit juice, Shipley’s doughnuts and great conversation with local law enforcement.

Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally – 5:30 p.m. – Get ready to rally, folks. The parade begins at the Circle and continues to the Square for a pep rally.

Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception honoring the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients – 6 p.m., The Inn at Ole Miss – The Alumni Association hosts a reception honoring the winners of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony and Dinner (ticketed event) – 7 p.m., The Inn at Ole Miss – Following the reception is the ceremony and dinner in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom.

Saturday (Oct. 6)

Annual Meeting of the Alumni Association – 10 a.m., Triplett Alumni Center – Alumni and friends are encouraged to join the annual meeting. The Ole Miss Alumni Association will not be hosting Member Zone, but the building will be open 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. to enjoy coffee and fellowship.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Tailgate – Noon, the Grove – The undergraduate and graduate chapters of the organization will host a pre-game tailgate at Metcalf Lane and Walls Walk.

BSU, MOX, E.S.T.E.E.M., Gospel Choir, NAACP and Black Alumni Tailgate – Noon, the Grove – Join alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends for a pre-game tailgate.

English Department Alumni Tailgate – noon, Triplett Alumni Center lawn – Join English alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends for a pre-game tailgate.

School of Applied Sciences Alumni Tailgate – Noon, Yerby Center lawn – Join alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends for a pre-game tailgate.

School of Engineering Tailgate – Noon, Brevard Hall lawn ­­­– Join Engineering alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends for a pre-game tailgate.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Tailgate – Noon, the Grove – The undergraduate and graduate chapters of the organization will host a pre-game tailgate at Metcalf Lane and Walls Walk.

Homecoming Game: Ole Miss vs. Louisiana-Monroe – 3 p.m., Vaught-Hemingway Stadium – Head over to the Vaught and check out the 2018 edition of the Ole Miss Rebels football team.

Halftime ceremonies – No ordinary halftime show; another reason why you should come cheer on the Rebels. The show will feature the introduction of the Alumni Awards Day recipients and the crowning of homecoming queen Hallie Gillam. Plus, a performance by the Pride of the South Marching Band.

Sunday (Oct. 7)

70th Annual Miss University Pageant – 5:30 p.m., Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts – This ticketed event will round out Homecoming week.

School of Applied Sciences Enrolls First Student in Gerontology Program

New interdisciplinary degree provides academic preparation, practical experience

Clark Ross (right) thanks his grandmother, Gloria McGregor, for encouraging him to pursue the new Bachelor of Science in Applied Gerontology. Photo by Sarah Sapp/School of Applied Sciences

OXFORD, Miss. – The School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi recently welcomed its first student into the school’s new interprofessional degree program for applied gerontology.

Clark Ross, a junior community college transfer from Oxford, was exploring academic majors at UM when his maternal grandmother, Gloria McGregor, recommended considering a new interdisciplinary degree that provides students with preparation for a range of aging-related careers and graduate study.

McGregor was familiar with the quality associated with programs in the School of Applied Sciences and the types of students they attract. With 32 years of service at the university, McGregor worked in the school from its inception in 2001 to her retirement in 2007 with roles ranging from records coordinator to assistant to the dean.

“Students in applied sciences are all about people,” McGregor said. “They interact with people. They care about people.

“I see this new program being one that is really needed because we are an aging population. We will need services and people who are compassionate, not just looking at it as a job. We need people who really know what is expected of them. This is a great and much-needed program.”

The compassion McGregor described as inherent in the school’s students is easily spotted in her grandson.

“When my grandfather was diagnosed with leukemia, hospice care came in,” Ross said. “They helped him quite a bit. I was kind of like, ‘I like what these people do. They’re providing a needed service.’

“I’ve always known I want to help people, so I looked into this major.”

Longer lifespans signal an imminent population shift. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for aging-related occupations is projected to grow 17 percent from 2014 to 2024 across health care, education, government agency, community and private practice settings, much faster than average.

The Ole Miss program is designed to meet career goals of a broad spectrum of students and give them a competitive edge in the job market. Ross aims his career aspirations toward counseling.

“If you have a sick or dying family member, your mind is going a million miles an hour; you really don’t know what to do,” Ross said. “You may say you do, but it helps to have someone there for you.

“If I could be there for someone who has an aging or sick family member, they could count on me.”

Coursework across diverse disciplines such as communication sciences and disorders, nutrition, social work, exercise science, legal studies, and sports and recreation administration offers a holistic approach to understanding the many facets of aging.

Besides 35 hours of general education courses, students must complete 33 hours of professional applied gerontology core courses and 27 hours of additional support courses for applied gerontology to earn their Bachelor of Science in Applied Gerontology. Students will have exposure to additional disciplines while completing the general education and minor requirements.

They will graduate with career-ready skills or may choose to pursue graduate study. The degree was designed to fulfill many of the requirements for graduate study in programs across applied sciences.

The program’s interprofessional educational structure provides students with a comprehensive educational foundation, which includes program-directed seminars and diverse community engagement experiences.

“For students, the practical experiences and skills learned through community engagement and practicum include the opportunity to observe and interact with professionals engaged in day-to-day activities in an agency working with older adults or needs of the aging population,” said Marcia Cole, lecturer and director of internships and community engagement for the program.

The program includes experiential learning opportunities in diverse public and private organizations that advocate for and serve older adults. This will include organizations providing services to healthy older adults as well as those serving elders with long-term care and family support needs, veterans and elders with disabilities.

Along with Cole, the program is under the leadership of Teresa Carithers, the school’s interim dean, who serves as program director.

“It is so exciting to be involved in education with such relevance for the future,” Carithers said. “While the majority of applied gerontology graduates will migrate toward the elder care workforce, the broad scope of experiential internship opportunities will prepare students to enter almost any occupation or graduate school venue with abilities to provide leadership in policy development, customer service and discipline-specific quality of life engagement to older adults, who will constitute a much larger portion of the population in the near future.”

To provide expanded academic exposure, all applied gerontology majors must complete an official minor or declare a second major. Ross found his minor in cinema studies.

“It kind of sounds like a weird pairing, but film is one of the best ways to preserve a piece of history,” said Ross, who expresses a deep reverence for the elderly, especially his grandmother and great grandmothers.

“I think it might be fun if someone wanted to film an aging family member and have them talk about what they lived through and their experiences,” he said. “As people, we want to feel important and we want to have a purpose. Your story needs to be told; otherwise, people will stop caring.

“If you can get some of that on film, you have that for future generations. You never know who can benefit.”

For more information about the applied gerontology program, call 662-915-7900 or email

Department of Social Work Hosts Voter Empowerment Seminar

Speakers offer insights on professionals' role in activism

Amber Cain (left), of Florence, discusses ways to influence policy change with Clark Ross, of Oxford, at the recent Voter Empowerment Seminar. Photo by Halleigh Derrick

OXFORD, Miss. – With the November primaries around the corner, University of Mississippi social work students examined their professional responsibility to affect change through the power of voting during a recent Voter Empowerment Seminar.

“Voter empowerment is a way to engage more with the community,” said Amy Fisher, associate professor of social work. “Voting is an incredibly important part of social work.”

Existing evidence indicates that voter engagement increases individual well-being, advances civic participation and increases social justice, all central goals of the social work profession.

The seminar was part of the Department of Social Work’s Voter Empowerment Project, a yearlong, student-led community engagement project funded by the Council on Social Work Education and supported by Mississippi Votes and the Campus Election Engagement Project.

Fisher joins Na Youn Lee, assistant professor of social work; Patricia Digby, visiting clinical instructor; and Austin Conner, a master’s student in the department, in steering committee work for the project.

Mississippi Votes is a nonpartisan organization that offers programming and outreach strategies to empower young people, encourage civic engagement and educate communities on voting rights through place-based grassroots organizing. Arekia Bennet, the organization’s executive director, addressed voting history and laws in Mississippi, barriers to voting and why voting matters.

“It is important to lift up the history of Mississippi’s voting past in order to understand where we are now,” Bennet said.

Bennett encouraged students to explore barriers to voting and why voting matters. She emphasized that as social workers, it’s important to know what is going on around the state in terms of voting.

Amber Cain, a senior psychology major from Florence, is taking a social work course as an elective and attended the seminar.

“I learned a lot about measures taken that make voting more difficult not only in Mississippi’s past, with things like literacy tests and taxes, but also modern-day (barriers) like difficulties with transportation, lack of online technology and Mississippi having the longest list of felonies that make you ineligible to vote,” Cain said.

UM students work in small groups to create a voter action plan during the Voter Empowerment Seminar, hosted by the Department of Social Work. Photo by Halleigh Derrick

The Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan national organization that helps administrators, faculty, staff and student leaders at American colleges and universities engage students in federal, state and local elections. Chris Shefelton, Southeast regional director of the group, explained how students can actively use their voice to promote change.

Students were divided into teams and given a position, either for or against various voting policies, such as automatic voter registration. Shefelton illustrated step-by-step how to construct a plan to influence policy change.

The conference also included a presentation by Tanya Smith, executive director of the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work. The institute works to increase political participation and influence of social workers and the communities they serve through education and training, research and agency-based nonpartisan voter engagement.

Smith encouraged students to think about how they are building political power in their communities.

“Shift your thinking of social work from being a helping professional to an empowering one,” Smith said. “We are training your capacity to be evangelists for voting.”

The seminar included social work students from the Oxford campus and from Tupelo campus via distance learning technology. It also was recorded for dissemination to the social work program housed at the UM DeSoto Center campus in Southaven.

“Social work as a profession works at multiple levels,” Lee said. “Faculty and staff started this Voter Empowerment Project pilot in hopes that our students get to try social work at the macro level, in our surrounding communities and in the state of Mississippi, and develop a special social work professional identity.”

For more information about the Department of Social Work, visit

Health Risk Behavior Expert Offers Suicide Prevention Insights

UM social work faculty member explains warning signs, interventions

Yi Jin Kim

OXFORD, Miss. – September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time dedicated to sharing information and resources about this sensitive and prevalent topic.

Each year, more than 41,000 people die by suicide, often as a result of untreated mental health conditions, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Sixty-five percent of all mental health professionals are social workers, and faculty in the University of Mississippi Department of Social Work are doing their part to study health risk behaviors related to mental health, including suicide.

“People normally show a sign before they commit suicide,” said Yi Jin Kim, assistant professor of social work who dedicates his research to health risk behaviors. “That’s why suicide is preventable in many cases. If we understand suicide warning signs, we can prevent loved ones’ tragedy.”

Kim described several common suicide warning signs that concerned friends and family members should be aware of, including hopelessness, excessive sadness or moodiness, sleep problems, reduced social relationships, changes in personality or appearance, self-harmful behavior, writing a suicide note, giving away personal possessions and cleaning his or her room.

Much like mental health conditions, suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. More than 70 risk factors are linked to suicide, but the most common root causes include a previous suicide attempt, having a family member or close friend who committed suicide, substance use and mental health issues, Kim said.

“There is a significant association between high level of stress and suicidal thoughts,” he said. “There are diverse factors that might increase stress level, such as low income, poor relationships with others, substance abuse and low life satisfactions.

“Exercise can be an excellent method to reduce stress level. Also, it can directly reduce suicidal thoughts.”

Kim encourages anyone who notices a loved one exhibiting suicidal behaviors to act.                                

“If you think the person is in an urgent situation, call 911,” he said. “If you do not know what to do, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to get support. You may want to get professional help by calling a crisis line for advice and referrals.

“Encourage the person to see a mental health professional, help locate a treatment facility or take them to a doctor’s appointment. You can also remove lethal means of suicide, such as a firearm.”

downloadable card is available that includes contacts for several 24/7 hotlines, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“Please print this and share it with anyone you believe is contemplating suicide or wants to prevent a loved ones’ suicide,” Kim said.

Students also can connect with support systems on the Ole Miss campus, including the Student Health CenterPsychological Services Center or the Counseling Center.

Amy Fisher, associate professor of social work, encourages students who are passionate about helping others struggling with mental health issues to consider a career path in social work. Licensed clinical social workers must complete a Master of Social Work for employment in supervisory, clinical and specialty practice.

“Our MSW program prepares graduates to become clinical mental health practitioners,” Fisher said. “Students receive direct training that enables to them to effectively assess suicide risk and intervene appropriately on a professional level.”

Since mental health plays such a critical role in community well-being, the department contributes research, including health risk behavior research, to the Community Wellbeing Flagship Constellation at the university. UM faculty work across disciplines to find new solutions to the health and social issues affecting not only Mississippi communities, but also the nation and the world.

For more information about becoming a social worker, contact the Department of Social Work at 662-915-7336 or email

New Hires in Applied Sciences Position School for Research Expansion

Incoming faculty bring expertise in data analytics, clinical service and community engagement

Teresa Carithers (front, second from left), interim dean of the School of Applied Sciences, welcomes post-doctoral research associate Heontae Kim (front, left) and new faculty members Vishaka Rawool (front row, third from left) and Marcia Cole and (back row, from left) Taeyeon Oh, Thomas Andre, Min Jung Kim, Shaun Riebl and Ovuokerie Addoh. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s School of Applied Sciences recently welcomed seven faculty members to the university’s professional school where academic study, clinical training, creative research, service-learning and outreach aim to improve human health and well-being.

The new appointments span several of the school’s academic and service units:

Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management

With a 30 percent enrollment increase over the last three years and a 78 percent increase in research productivity since 2016, the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, or HESRM, welcomed four new assistant professors in Taeyeon Oh, Thomas Andre, Ovuokerie Addoh and Min Jung Kim to fill recent faculty vacancies.

With a Ph.D. from Seoul National University and post-doctoral research fellowship from the Center for Global Sports and Recreation Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University, Oh brings a research focus in data analytics of sport phenomena, sports marketing, and media and sports industry.

“(The Department of) Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi pays attention and invests its resources in analytics, which is my primary research interest,” said Oh. “I was hired not only as new faculty, but also to help pioneer new programming in sport analytics.

“My primary concern is to build and develop new courses, making sure they fit well with the existing classes in the department,” Oh continued.

Oh brings new data analytics techniques that will enhance researchers’ abilities to work with big data and advanced statistical problems . These are welcome skills for the department’s new Health and Sports Analytics Laboratory, under the direction of department Chair Minsoo Kang, and the school’s new Applied Sciences Research and Analytics Laboratory, opening this year.

Andre brings teaching and research experience from both Clayton State University and Baylor University, where he earned his doctorate. He also brings experience in personal training, rehabilitation and wellness programming.

He is author and contributor to journal articles that span a wide range of research areas within his discipline, from resistance training and skeletal muscle adaptation to dehydration and supplemental performance nutrition.

Addoh joins the HESRM faculty with education and training in medicine from Igbinedion University Okada in Nigeria and health and kinesiology from Ole Miss. Addoh, an August 2018 doctoral graduate, has been named director of research engagement for the Jackson Heart Study’s Vanguard Center at Oxford.

“Within the next year, I will be creating a new lab, the Physical Activity Translational Health Science, or PATHS, Lab,” he said. “This new line of inquiry will be complementary to ongoing work in applied sciences.

“I hope to further integrate with the ongoing Flagship Constellation for Community Wellbeing. Within the next five years, I hope to contribute to the translation of research findings into community practice.”

This is Kim’s first full year as a faculty member, having joined HESRM in the spring with a background in sports management, organizational behavior and human resource management in sport from Florida State University. With previous work as an FSU sport management instructor and sports management graduate coordinator at East Stroudsburg University, she brings unique experience and research interests to the sport and recreation management area of HESRM.

Kim said she is looking forward to enhancing the sport and recreation management emphasis in the doctoral program and contributing to its success. Measurement and statistics are her strong suit, and Kim hopes to bring those skills to her doctoral students and the new departmental and schoolwide analytics laboratories. 

Communication Sciences and Disorders 

Vishaka Rawool joins the school as chair and professor of communication sciences and disorders. She was attracted to the School of Applied Sciences because of its wide breadth of departments and potential to conduct collaborative research across fields of health and human services.

Over the next five years, she hopes to ensure reaccreditation of the master’s program in speech-language pathology, improve the national ranking of the program and establish a doctoral program in communication sciences and disorders.

“My research interests are unique – prevention, diagnosis and remediation of age-related deficits in speech perception – relative to other research expertise in the department,” Rawool said. “I have 40-plus years of experience in providing clinical services, teaching and administration.”

Applied Gerontology

Marcia Cole’s advanced academic preparation in sociology provides a rich foundation for her new role as lecturer and director of internship and community engagement for the school’s new applied gerontology program.

She is well-acquainted with departments across the school from her previous roles as lecturer in nutrition and hospitality management from 2008 to 2016, adjunct instructor in legal studies in 2006 and associate director of projects in social work in 2003-05. Most recently she served as an academic mentor for students in the Fastrack Program in the College of Liberal Arts.

“I am excited about the new challenges involved in developing and implementing a new academic program,” Cole said. “By actively participating in the marketing of the applied gerontology program, I hope to increase the number of students who are educated and trained to meet the needs of the older adult population.”

Cole looks forward to increasing the number of community partnerships and collaborating with other gerontology practitioners and senior service entities.

Nutrition and Hospitality Management

Shaun Riebl, visiting assistant professor, joins the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management from recent appointments as clinical research coordinator with Duke University’s School of Medicine and clinical assistant professor with the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Riebl earned his doctorate in human nutrition, foods and exercise at Virginia Tech.

Riebl’s primary research interest is eating behaviors, with emphasis on disordered eating in athletes. This interest stems in large part from his clinical experience using medical nutrition therapy to address chronic disease, since behaviors around food play a big role in how clinicians manage a disease state with their patients.

Applied Sciences and Institute for Child Nutrition

Although he will not have a faculty role on campus, Heontae Kim, a visiting post-doctoral research associate, will play a very important role in the research the school’s faculty conduct through his role as data analyst and research consultant.

The Institute of Child Nutrition and the School of Applied Sciences will share Kim’s time and expertise.

“ICN has a wealth of data and information that will truly tell the story of the effectiveness of our trainings and resources,” said Aleshia Hall-Campbell, the institute’s executive director. “Having Dr. Kim on board to delve into the data and establish metrics to provide the evidence of our impact is groundbreaking for our organization.

“We’re currently conducting ongoing evaluations and assessments of our training programs, but having an in-house expert to assist with the data analytics and establishment of our research protocols is noteworthy and allows us to expand our evaluation efforts.”

Kim’s research consulting for the last four years at Middle Tennessee State University, where he earned his doctorate in human performance, was focused in kinesmetrics measurement and evaluation.

For more information about the School of Applied Sciences and its programs, visit or call 662-915-7900.

‘Succeed with Hearing Loss’ Support Group Sessions Offered this Fall

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and its Speech and Hearing Clinic is conducting a series of support group sessions for individuals with hearing loss.

Significant others, such as partners, children and siblings, also can participate in these sessions.

Examples of topics discussed during these group sessions include tips to improve communication, concerns with using hearing aids, handling difficult listening situations, emergency preparedness and self-advocacy.

During the fall 2018 semester, the sessions are set for 1-3 p.m. Sept. 7 and 21, Oct. 5 and 19, and Nov. 2, 16 and 30 in Room 106E on the first floor of the J.D. Williams library.

You need not have hearing aids to participate in these sessions, which are free of charge.

For those participating in the group aural rehab sessions, parking will be available in the spaces reserved for clients in the parking lot near George Hall. If you are interested in participating in these sessions, contact Rebecca Lowe at or Vishakha Rawool at