Alumna Establishes Endowment in Sister’s Memory

Gift will fund scholarships and other assistance for students in School of Applied Sciences

A planned gift from sisters ZonaDale Taylor (left) and the late Bonita Lyons will help support the School of Applied Sciences. Photo courtesy ZonaDale Taylor

OXFORD, Miss. – Bonita Lyons’ giving spirit is evident in the sentiments shared on her Facebook page.

“Hers was a life of purpose disguised as work,” posted Cory Major, who worked with Lyons in her capacity as director of academic status and retention services for the University of Memphis, a position the University of Mississippi graduate held for 16 years until she retired in 2008.

“She drew people to her and they left all the better for having known her. Some may forget what she said and what she did. But she will never be forgotten because of how she made us feel.”

Nyrone Hawkins, a student of Lyons’, wrote: “Doc, you are truly a special lady. Your spirit will always live within me. As I think back over our history together, I am truly blessed. You were the embodiment of Christ’s love. You took young people full of potential and showed them unconditional love … you were the picture of His love to so many of your children.”

Lyons of Memphis, Tennessee, received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education in 1969 from Ole Miss and a doctorate in education from the University of Memphis in 1977. She had no biological children, yet when she died in May 2017, she left a legacy among the young people she mentored and treated as her own, many of whom called her “Mom.”

Her legacy continues at Ole Miss, where generations of students will benefit from a scholarship endowment established in her memory.

With a $100,000 planned gift, Lyons’ sister, ZonaDale Taylor of Collierville, Tennessee, has established the Dr. Bonita Lyons and ZonaDale L. Taylor Legacy Endowment. Half the gift creates a scholarship for transfer students pursuing a degree in the UM School of Applied Sciences; the remainder is available as an emergency fund for students facing unforeseen financial crises.

“We always said we would do something together for Ole Miss,” said Taylor who earned a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in home economics at UM in 1961. “You always think you have a lot of time and, although we had never signed an agreement, we had often discussed what we wanted to do.

“After her unexpected death, I wanted to fulfill the actions that we had discussed because our time at Ole Miss was a very important phase in our lives.”

Like her sister, Taylor spent part of her professional career as an educator, teaching at Mississippi State University and later at McNeese State University. Over time, both educators witnessed financial crises among their students.

“My sister often worked with students with limited means who were struggling academically,” Taylor said. “As a result, she started a program early on, where she would pass the hat in the office when somebody couldn’t get a book or needed to pay a fee or had other unexpected expenses.

“Using that example, I’ve requested that Ole Miss use these funds to help those in similar situations who don’t necessarily have the higher grade-point averages. While advising students, we both worked with people who really wanted a degree and whose grades were average because they were either working one or more jobs, or they had children to support and they just couldn’t meet basic needs. They had ability but they just didn’t have much time to study. We discussed this need many times.”

The sisters, who grew up in New Albany, just 30 miles from the Oxford campus, would attribute their philosophy of giving to their parents. For example, their mother always emphasized the importance of helping others and of preparing for life by first obtaining a college degree.

Their father set an example of generosity by planting a larger garden in order to share food with older people in the community.

“We did things very differently, my sister and I, but our final goals were very much the same regarding the importance of education,” Taylor said. “We’ve always tried to provide assistance to the people who need help in attaining an education.”

On completing coursework for her degree from Ole Miss, Taylor had an immediate job offer.

“I was not even able to walk to get my diploma because I had started to work as a home economist for Mississippi Power Co. in Meridian before the ceremony,” she remembered.

“I loved my job. I had a little company car and went to several small towns near Meridian, visiting schools to present programs and also visiting homes to teach people how to use the features of an appliance that they had purchased from the power company.”

In 1964, after almost five years in Meridian, Taylor accepted a position in Birmingham, Alabama, writing articles about household equipment, housing and home furnishings for Progressive Farmer magazine. It was during this time that The Progressive Farmer Co. was developing a new magazine for urban residents, and she became one of the founding editors of Southern Living magazine, which boasts a circulation of 2.8 million.

A few years later she married and joined her husband, Charles, a chemical engineer with PPG Industries, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Taylor began working toward a master’s degree at McNeese State University.

Upon completion of this degree, she was recruited to teach at Mississippi State University, giving her husband an opportunity to pursue a master’s degree at his alma mater.

After completing his degree, the couple returned to Lake Charles, where she joined the Home Economics Department at McNeese and Charles returned to PPG. A few years later, they were transferred to Pittsburgh. There, she became manager of consumer and public affairs for Beecham Products USA, which would later merge with GlaxoSmithKline.

After retirement and 23 years in Pittsburgh, the couple moved to Collierville to be closer to her sister and their aging parents.

“We are deeply grateful to ZonaDale Taylor for her longtime interest in and support of higher education,” said Teresa Carithers, interim dean of the School of Applied Sciences. “ZonaDale has enjoyed an exceptional career, and we are proud to count her among the esteemed alumni of our great university.

“ZonaDale and Charles’s compassion for students who face financial crises will truly meet a need in (the School of) Applied Sciences, where we had very limited resources to assist in the past,” she said. “They have a true understanding of the impact that such a resource can have on a student’s ability to complete their education due to an unexpected change in their financial status.

“Many students transferring from community colleges face financial challenges as well. The Lyons and Taylor endowment will therefore be especially beneficial to these students and will help enable them to receive an education that will serve them well throughout their lives. We greatly appreciate ZonaDale’s generosity.”

Planned gifts award donors membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university welcomed its first students. The society recognizes those who thoughtfully provide for the university through bequests and deferred gifts.

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

Additionally, 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 http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

UM Faculty Help Mississippi Students ‘Fuel to Learn’

Pilot curriculum integrates nutrition knowledge into math and language arts

Thirteen fourth-grade teachers from north Mississippi are taking part in UM’s Fuel to Learn pilot program, which integrates nutrition with mathematics and English language arts. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Several north Mississippi fourth-grade teachers are taking part in a University of Mississippi study that aims to help children learn more about nutrition while also learning mathematics and English language arts.

Called “Fuel to Learn,” the project is funded by a grant from the Mississippi Center for Obesity Research at the UM Medical Center in Jackson and led by Ole Miss faculty, including Melinda Valliant and Kathy Knight of the School of Applied Sciences, and Alicia Stapp of the School of Education.

“The vision is that this will become a statewide curriculum,” said Stapp, an assistant professor of health and physical education. “We are starting this very, very small, which is how we want to start, but we hope to have a regional presence and then a statewide presence.

“We see no reason why there can’t be a curriculum for the whole state.”

Thirteen teachers are participating in the pilot program. In each lesson, students will learn a math or English language arts skill while also learning about healthy eating. For example, one lesson requires students to measure the grams of sugar in multiple beverages and then break that number down into milligrams.

The lessons are centered on five “key messages”: hydration, portion size, fruits and vegetables, dairy, and healthy snacks.

“These five key messages are the big things that can have a snowball effect and make a big difference,” said Valliant, an associate professor of nutrition. “This is an outstanding curriculum, and I think it will really help children have a better understanding of what a healthy diet looks like.”

During a meeting July 24 at Ole Miss, Knight, Stapp, Valliant and recent UM graduate Sarah Howell trained the teachers – who hail from Myrtle, New Albany and Potts Camp – to implement the curriculum, which provides ready-to-go lesson plans.

The pilot curriculum includes 10 lessons in math and 10 in English language arts. Each teacher received a kit of teaching materials for their classrooms, as well.

Each lesson is aligned with Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards as well as learning objectives in individual subject areas. Developers hope that besides helping students learn, an increased literacy in nutrition will improve long-term educational outcomes.

“The relationship between academic performance and diet cannot be understated,” said Knight, an associate professor of nutrition. “Most of the beginning research in this area started in the ’60s and ’70s and showed that children who were malnourished did not learn as well (as children who were).”

During the event, Knight also explained that research concerning school breakfast programs show that children who eat full breakfasts perform better academically.

From September through January, the 13 teachers will implement the pilot with a pacing guide that requires them to use a minimum of two lesson plans per month in their classrooms and upload their results to an online portal.

“I think it’s great because it fits into the curriculum that I already teach and goes right along with state assessment,” said Kristi Cox of Myrtle Attendance Center.

Between lessons, the teachers took “Brain Breaks,” where they got to know one other better and participated in active movement exercises, which they can use in their own classrooms. The teachers also got a tour of the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center.

“They are not just giving us the lesson plans; they are teaching us how to integrate these lessons into what we are already doing,” said Farrah Speck of New Albany Middle School. “This is really valuable to me as a teacher.”

Jackson Heart Study Vanguard Center at Oxford Debuts New Leadership

School of Applied Sciences commits to building research capacity in early-stage researchers

Paul Loprinzi (center), associate professor of health, exercise science and recreation management, celebrates his appointment as primary investigator and administrator for the Jackson Heart Study Vanguard Center at Oxford alongside Tossi Ikuta (left), assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, who will continue to serve as data curator and Vokay Addoh (right), assistant professor of health, exercise science and recreation management, who will serve as the new director of research engagement. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The Oxford-based Jackson Heart Study Vanguard Center that serves as a secondary data repository for the largest single-site, prospective, epidemiologic investigation of cardiovascular disease among African-Americans ever undertaken is under new leadership from the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi.

Paul Loprinzi, associate professor of health, exercise science and recreation management, has accepted the appointment as primary investigator and administrator. Tossi Ikuta, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, will continue to serve as data curator, and Ovuokerie Addoh, assistant professor of health, exercise science and recreation management, will serve as director of research engagement.

“The purpose of JHS is to engage and mentor faculty and graduate students in collaborative research, analysis and ancillary study requests,” said Teresa Carithers, interim dean of applied sciences. “Part of mentorship and capacity-building is to recognize unique potential in early stage investigators.

“Each of these faculty have unique skills and can bring novel approaches to this population-based longitudinal study.”

Teresa Carithers

Carithers was invited in as an investigator with the original JHS exam and wrote the initial diet assessment protocols while serving as co-primary investigator for the diet and physical activity sub-study. The sub-study resulted in the validation and calibration of two culturally sensitive food frequency questionnaires in a successful collaboration with USDA researchers.

Carithers, along with Ben Banahan from the UM School of Pharmacy, submitted the IHL request for the Vanguard Center in Oxford and served as the initial co-primary investigators. Banahan will continue as primary investigator for the School of Pharmacy, and Carithers will continue as an investigator and mentor.

The School of Applied Sciences has been intentional about capacity building among faculty researchers, as current research requires more robust and novel conceptual design, Carithers said.

“I expect great success from the new applied sciences leadership based upon their ability to design and execute innovative research with interdisciplinary collaboration and support of minority investigators, both key elements to the overall Jackson Heart Study’s mission,” she said.

“Dr. Loprinzi is a prolific publisher and highly respected mentor with deep familiarity of the data needed to examine health and physical activity. Dr. Addoh, a new assistant professor, came to UM with a medical background before earning his Ph.D. with us, which will lend a new area of expertise to our team. Dr. Ikuta is a neuroscientist who manages monumental amounts of neuroimaging data in his own research, so he brings both technical skill and unique research interest to this study.”

Ben Banahan

Funded by the National Institute of Health, JHS is a community-based cohort study of risk factors for cardiovascular disease among adult African-American men and women living in the Jackson metropolitan area.

A collaboration among three Jackson-area academic institutions, JHS operates a field center and a coordinating center with the University of Mississippi Medical Center; a community outreach center and graduate training/education center with Jackson State University; and an undergraduate training and education center with Tougaloo College.

JHS is supported by contracts from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, part of the National Institutes of Health.

For more information about Jackson Heart Study or the work done at Vanguard Centers such as the one at UM’s Oxford campus, visit http://www.jacksonheartstudy.org.

New Chair Brings Opportunities for Communication Sciences and Disorders

Vishakha Rawool contributes rich clinical expertise, research background to program

Vishakha Rawool

OXFORD, Miss. – The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Mississippi, under the leadership of a new chair, Vishakha Rawool, is poised to enhance its training of speech-language-pathologists by expanding clinical services to individuals with speech, language and/or hearing disorders and research activities in the field.

The School of Applied Sciences welcomed Rawool as the new department chair for CSD on June 1, beginning her tenure at UM as the department explores spaces off-campus to expand its training, research and clinical operations.

“With 45 years of experience in audiology and speech-language pathology, Rawool has extensive clinical experience in providing comprehensive diagnostic and rehabilitative audiological services and overseeing graduate students in clinical practicum,” said Teresa Carithers, interim dean of applied sciences.

Chief among Rawool’s areas of research expertise are auditory processing, hearing disorders, prevention of hearing loss and age-related deficits in speech perception – all critical elements of the clinical services the department offers through its Speech and Hearing Center, HILL Program for children with receptive and expressive language disorder, early intervention services and literacy programming.

Rawool comes to Ole Miss from West Virginia University, where she was a tenured professor, director of graduate study in audiology and director of the Audiology Research Laboratory.

Before her work at West Virginia, Rawool served in tenured professor roles in communication sciences and disorders at Southwest Missouri State University and the Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology at Bloomberg University.

She is the author of two textbooks and several publications, serves on the international editorial review board for the Journal of Audiology and Otology and has served as a peer reviewer for more than a dozen journals, including the American Journal of Audiology, the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, Audiology Research and Health Education Research.

“Dr. Rawool brings with her a rich history of mentorship and scholarship,” Carithers said. “She is respected internationally for her contributions to the field of communication sciences and disorders. She will be an incredible addition to this thriving department, and I look forward to even greater productivity under her charge.”

The department is looking for an off-campus location to increase the amount of space for its clinics and programs that help thousands of people throughout the region each year. More square feet designated for operations will provide more room for clinicians to offer vital community services and train graduate students.

Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate students (center, right) Ann Hazel of Tupelo and Rae Godart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, perform a routine evaluation in the UM Speech and Hearing Center. Photo by Sarah Sapp

During the 2016-17 academic year, 122 students earned bachelor’s degrees and 31 earned their master’s. In the last year, associated clinics, under the directorship of clinical instructor Brad Crowe and clinical assistant professor Rebecca Lowe, provided speech-language-hearing screening services to 4,066 individuals, completed speech-language diagnostic evaluation for 23 clients, and provided speech-language therapeutic services to 101 clients and audiological services to 732 clients.

Meanwhile, the HILL Program served 27 children, offering hands-on training to 18 undergraduate and 29 graduate students. All these services and programs are housed in 11,640 square feet of space in George Hall.

Besides making a clinical impact in the community, faculty in the department published research across diverse areas of research.

Davis Henderson is lead author of “Dynamic assessment of narratives among Navajo preschoolers,” soon to be published in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research. Toshikazu Ikuta was lead author of “White matter integrity in the fronto-striatal accumbofrontal tract predicts impulsivity,” published in Brain Imaging and Behavior earlier this year. This study is the first ever to isolate impulsivity pathways in the human brain.

In 2017, Susan Loveall was lead author of “A cross-sectional analysis of executive function in Down syndrome from 2 to 35 years,” published in the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, while Gregory Snyder was lead author of “The role of mirror neurons relative to the core stuttering pathology and compensatory stuttering behaviors,” published in Clinical Archives of Communication Disorders.

The department capped off the academic year on a strong note as faculty garnered statewide and national honors in their field.

At the national level, Carolyn Higdon, professor of communication sciences and disorders, was inducted into the National Academy of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology as a distinguished scholar and fellow. At the state level, Lisa Ivy, clinical instructor and speech-language pathologist, won the Mississippi Speech Language Hearing Association’s Clinical Achievement Award, and Lowe won the Honors of the Association awards for her years of dedication and service to MSHA.

With a new department chair, prospective new facilities, growing clinics and faculty drawing statewide and national attention for their contributions to the discipline, the department and the populations it serves have a lot to look forward to in the year ahead.

For more information about the UM Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, visit http://csd.olemiss.edu/or call 662-915-7652.

 

Gift from Mississippi Scottish Rite Helps Fund Literacy Program

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, community children benefit from annual gift

Brad Crowe (left), co-director of the UM Speech and Hearing Center; Gloria Kellum, CSD professor emeritus; Teresa Carithers, interim dean of the School of Applied Sciences; Lisa Ivy, clinical instructor and speech-language pathologist; Pam Michael, former interim CSD chair; and Bill Sloan, deputy of the Supreme Council for the Mississippi Scottish Rite, celebrate the establishment of the Mississippi Scottish Rite Literacy Program. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – A recent gift to the University of Mississippi established the Mississippi Scottish Rite Literacy Program, which will offer literacy programming for area children, with the potential for statewide outreach.

All literacy programming, provided by certified speech-language pathologists and graduate student clinicians from the UM Speech and Hearing Center, will be designed to improve children’s reading skills and make interventions available for children with reading disabilities. The program will provide quality services for children diagnosed with a reading disability and those at risk for learning to read, as well as clinical training for graduate students in the UM Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, or CSD.

This program expands the Mississippi Scottish Rite‘s support of children with language and literacy problems through direct service as well as through educating graduate students who will continue this work in their professional practices.

“On behalf of the approximately 2,400 Scottish Rite Masons of Mississippi, it is with great pleasure that we partner with the University of Mississippi to establish a literacy program for children, while enabling student practitioners to hone their skills,” said Bill Sloan, deputy of the Supreme Council for the Mississippi Scottish Rite.

“The Scottish Rite Masons work hard to help support the identification of dyslexia and literacy issues with children to improve their learning abilities at the earliest stage as possible,” Sloan said. “This leads to a more positive learning environment, enhancing their perspective and comprehension and bringing about better-prepared young adults and more productive citizens.

“We look forward to many years of supporting Mississippi’s youth and teachers in this field through this partnership with the University of Mississippi.”

Ann Michael, who just completed her term as interim chair of the CSD department, initially reached out to the group because of its strong record of supporting language and literacy programs at a state and national level.

The Scottish Rite is well-known for its philanthropy with programs that help children achieve their greatest potential, said Sue Hale, CSD alumna and advisory board member and former American Speech-Language-Hearing Association president.

“Scottish Rite has a distinguished history of providing funding to language and literacy programs nationwide, and I am grateful that CSD at Ole Miss will be able to extend its good work through their contribution to this partnership,” Hale said.

The Mississippi Scottish Rite Literacy Program will directly address components of UM’s mission by creating, sharing and applying knowledge in a format that trains students to use evidence-based practice to serve the people of Mississippi.

The student training and client remediation for this program will be based on the latest research recommendations for reading instruction. Designed to meet the unique characteristics and needs of each child, the remediation will include explicit one-to-one instruction as well as some small-group interactions.

Offering comprehensive reading evaluations to identify targets for intervention is a top priority for the CSD department, which operates the Speech and Hearing Center. CSD is also focusing on creating an after-school literacy program, preventive programs in collaboration with local schools and summer literacy camps.

“We are incredibly grateful for this gift from the Mississippi Scottish Rite, because it allows us to provide a critical service to children and a clinical opportunity for our graduate students to expand their practical experience and research,” said Teresa Carithers, interim dean of the School of Applied Sciences.

For more information about the Mississippi Scottish Rite Literacy Program, call 662-915-7652.

To contribute to the program, send a check with the initiative’s name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

Pharmacy Students Receive Gateway to Research Scholarships

American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education award encourages students to pursue careers in research

Mary Paige Thrash

OXFORD, Miss. – Austin Fitts and Mary Paige Thrash, both rising second-year professional students at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, have been named recipients of the Gateway to Research Scholarship by the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education.

The award provides students an opportunity to work on faculty-mentored research projects while improving their knowledge of clinical skills.

“I was extremely excited because this fellowship, quite literally, will be used as my gateway to research the topics which I am interested in, such as oncology,” said Fitts, a native of Myrtle.

Fitts has worked with Chalet Tan, UM associate professor of pharmaceutics and drug delivery, exploring the delivery of microRNA via exosomes to treat a variety of cancers. His interest in this area came after studying the isolation and characterization of exosomes at Jackson State University in summer 2016.

Fitts hopes this award will assist in his plan of earning a doctorate in biochemistry, cancer biology or medicinal chemistry.

“I am very proud of Austin for receiving this scholarship,” Tan said. “Austin has an inquisitive mind and unusually strong interest in cancer biology and drug delivery. His undergraduate research training was exceptional, which is the key impetus for the current project.”

Austin Fitts

Originally from Columbus, Thrash is studying new ways to target and defeat cancer cells along with forming new therapies. She said she believes this award will allow her to develop new laboratory skills.

“When I heard the good news, I was very excited,” Thrash said. “I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of the research community that is making strides to advance the field of medicine. I am honored to be given this chance to learn and work alongside faculty who have inspired and supported me throughout my research experience.”

Thrash recently helped design and create new molecules that could have potential therapeutic benefits for diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s and based her Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College thesis on the research. She is a member of the research team of John Rimoldi, UM professor of medicinal chemistry and environmental toxicology, who called Thrash’s commitment to research “extraordinary.”

“I was thrilled to learn that Mary Paige was awarded this highly competitive AFPE scholarship,” Rimoldi said. “She is most deserving of this award, and I am confident she will make significant and impactful contributions towards her proposed research in drug discovery and development.”

Online Master’s in Hospitality Management Opens Doors for Workers

Application deadline for those interested in beginning new program in August is July 15

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is rolling out a new online Master of Science degree in hospitality management to help meet the needs of a growing industry. The program is designed for people working in the industry in management roles to develop more effective operational and analytical skills, talents needed for top-level jobs in a global hospitality marketplace.

“There was no program like this in the state for working people in the hospitality industry to advance their careers,” said Jim Taylor, UM associate professor of nutrition and hospitality management. “We have established an incredibly strong graduate program here in Oxford, but offering this program 100 percent online allows people from all over to benefit from our comprehensive curriculum and faculty experts.”

With the hospitality industry’s projected growth at 6 percent in lodging, 11 percent in meetings, conventions and events, and 9 percent in food service from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, businesses are looking for tomorrow’s leaders. From hotels and travel companies to restaurant groups and tourism, the need for executive-level professionals who have skills to oversee complex operations is increasing.

Joey Vasilyev, a 2003 graduate from the hospitality management program, understands the demands of the industry and sees great value in offering this advanced course of study in an online format.

Work schedules of the hospitality workforce are wide-ranging and unique, said Vasilyev, CEO of V2 Inc., a franchisee of Taco Bell.

“The online program will offer a solution to hospitality management individuals who seek an alternative method of educational advancement in the industry,” Vasilyev said. “It is very exciting to see the program continue to grow and evolve since my time as the first freshman to enroll in hospitality management.

“This program, with its competitive tuition cost and flexibility of schedule, will promote retention for hospitality professionals.”

Advanced food-service, lodging and service quality management classes coupled with advanced marketing, leadership and research course work are at the core of the curriculum. Faculty members tout expertise in sustainability practices, menu analysis, social media marketing, service quality management, consumer behavior, nutrition, human resources and financial analysis, so graduate students will have mentorship and support across a wide array of research interests.

Research is an important part of the program, and students will learn the methods and statistics needed to conduct meaningful studies for their organizations. Students will conduct professional research or complete a thesis on an industry topic important to them or their employer.

“We encourage people interested in this program to talk to their employers about tuition reimbursement for this endeavor,” said Mary Roseman, professor of nutrition and hospitality management and director of the hospitality management program. “They will bring to their organizations a new level of expertise that benefits both the employee and the business.”

The average cost of a master’s degree is between $30,000 and $120,000, according to FinAid.org. Tuition for the online M.S. in hospitality management costs $16,740 for a 36-hour program that students complete over the course of two academic years.

“Yes, this degree is one of the most affordable you will find of its kind, but beyond that, it is flexible,” Roseman said. “We’ve designed this program specifically for working people in an incredibly busy industry to log in according to their schedule.

“Our faculty made a commitment to be available to help students in an online format to the same extent that we make that commitment to our students in a live classroom setting every semester. We have to meet our students where they are. For people in this industry already in management positions, that could be any time of day or night they find in their schedule.”

Online graduate programs at Ole Miss are already garnering national attention for graduating exceptional professionals with advanced degrees. With the online MBA ranked No. 20 and the School of Education’s online graduate programs tied for No. 35 in the nation this year, according to U.S. News and World Report, UM is gaining a solid reputation for providing quality graduate-level programs in an online setting.

The application deadline for those interested in beginning the program in August is July 15.

For information about the program, the application or any other details, visit http://nhm.olemiss.edu/onlinemshm or call 662-915-1505.

 

New UM Program Funds Summer Undergraduate Research

23 students to conduct mentored summer research projects

Twenty-three University of Mississippi students are involved with the Ole Miss Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, an inaugural program to expand and enhance undergraduate research and creative achievement at UM.Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Twenty-three University of Mississippi undergraduate students are participating in the Ole Miss Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, an inaugural program to expand and enhance undergraduate research and creative achievement.

In May, the UM Office of Research and Sponsored Programs announced that 15 Undergraduate Research Grants, including two Faculty Group Grants and 13 Individual Student Grants, were being awarded from among 45 competing proposals submitted this spring by faculty and students. The grants, totaling $51,000, will provide funding for student living stipends, faculty mentorship stipends, travel, lab materials and other costs associated with these student research projects.

The 15 grants are being funded by the Office of the Provost with assistance from several other schools and departments.

“Undergraduate students can use these research experiences to help really make sense of what they are learning in their different classes and help them put it all together,” said Jason Ritchie, who is an undergraduate research development fellow in the Office of Research. He also serves as an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

“Getting them involved in research early is fantastic for the students, and I think they’ll get a lot more out of their undergraduate experience when they are very integrated into their department and integrated into their discipline and working one-on-one with faculty members. They get just a much richer experience out of this.”

Each of the two Faculty Group Grants funds up to five faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects within a disciplinary theme proposed by a faculty team. They are titled “Undergraduate Research in Data Science” and “Decision Making in the Delta: An Investigation of Community Resilience, Nutrition and Health for a Brighter Future.”

These Faculty Group Grants are intended not only to give students a quality summer research experience but also to give faculty experience running a summer student research program – an experience they can leverage in submitting proposals to funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation. The NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, for instance, supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the foundation.

While summer undergraduate research has existed on the UM campus for years, the Ole Miss Summer Undergraduate Research Experience is a new, organized program.

“Undergraduate research experiences add an important dimension to the undergraduate curriculum for many majors,” said Josh Gladden, UM interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. “These projects give students practical experience and the chance to work through the details of a problem related to their chosen discipline. These experiences are increasingly important for both prospective employers and admissions for graduate and professional schools.”

Adam Jones, an assistant professor of computer and information science at the University of Mississippi, talks to students and faculty involved in the Ole Miss Summer Undergraduate Research Experience. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

The 13 Individual Student Grants fund student-proposed, faculty-mentored research by students in majors ranging from exercise science and international studies to geology and physics. The projects are intended for each undergraduate student to work closely on his or her research with a faculty member over the summer.

“Research and creative achievement are critical elements of our mission,” Provost Noel Wilkin said. “Undergraduate students gain tremendous experience and intellectual benefits by working with faculty to discover, create and expand knowledge. This should be an opportunity afforded to undergraduate students by every discipline on campus.”

All of the grants are expected to result in a student-led creative product, such as a manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed scientific journal, a student presentation at an academic conference or even a creative performance.

To enable these outcomes, the program also includes travel grants to help undergraduate students who have completed research to present their work at regional or national conferences. Applications from students are accepted year-round for these grants.

“Every discipline has scholarship expectations, and there are opportunities for students to be involved in undergraduate research and scholarship in their discipline,” Ritchie said. “I think we are establishing undergraduate research and scholarship experiences during the summer as a normal and desirable thing for students to want to participate in, and hoping to stimulate those opportunities across campus.”

The projects were selected by committees that include research fellows in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and various other members of the UM research community.

Baseline funding for the Ole Miss Summer Undergraduate Research Experience has been provided by the Office of the Provost. Year one co-funding is being provided by the College of Liberal Arts, the schools of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the departments of Computer and Information Science, Geology and Geological Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Physics and Astronomy, and Biology.

Communication Sciences and Disorders Workshop for Parents of Children with Disabilities Set for Saturday

Clinician and educator address children's behavioral problems as potential sensory issues

OXFORD, Miss. – The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Mississippi will offer a free parent workshop on Saturday, June 16 from 10 a.m. to noon to help families better understand if their child’s behavioral issues are actually sensory issues.

“A child’s tantrums or inattentiveness are not always strictly behavioral problems – they can be sensory issues,” said Amy Livingston, a UM instructor and speech-language pathologist with the HILL Lab, an on-campus learning-language program for children with moderate to severe receptive and expressive language disorders.

A joint presentation by a licensed special education teacher and a licensed speech-language pathologist will offer strategies for parents whose children with disabilities may have a sensory issue such as being hypersensitive to sights, sounds, textures, flavors, smells and other sensory input.

The program will be held at Willie Price Lab School on UM’s Oxford campus in 107 Kinard Hall. Free child care will be available for children of all abilities.

A “Sib Shop” will offer free games, snacks and activities for siblings (ages 6 and up) of children with disabilities.

The HILL program specializes in maximizing children’s language-learning capabilities while providing clinical training for undergraduate and graduate students seeking careers as audiologists, speech-language pathologists and SLP associates. The program works to engage with the community and conduct research that positively affects the lives of children in Mississippi and beyond.

For more information about this event, contact Livingston at ajliving@olemiss.edu or call 662-915-2942.

New UM Graduates Begin Tenure-track Appointments Across the South

Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management sends six students into faculty positions

The 2018 doctoral graduates from the UM Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management include (from left) J. Grant Mouser, Samuel Buckner, Matthew Jessee, Kevin Mattox, Robert Davis, Sam Wilson, Charles Caleb Williams and Vokay Addoh. UM photo by Sarah Sapp

OXFORD, Miss. – During Commencement ceremonies earlier this month at the University of Mississippi, the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management celebrated a record number of health and kinesiology doctoral students walking across the graduation stage directly into full-time, tenure-track appointments across the South.

“We had a remarkable group of nine doctoral students hooded this year,” said Allison Ford-Wade, professor and graduate program coordinator. “Of those, seven of the nine have accepted tenure-track faculty positions and one is pursuing a second doctoral program.”

Vokay Addoh, of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, was invited to join UM’s own faculty. Samuel Buckner, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, will join the faculty of the University of South Florida. Matt Jessee, of Claremont, North Carolina, accepted a position at the University of Southern Mississippi.

J. Grant Mouser, of Norman, Oklahoma, will begin his new appointment at Troy University in August. Charles Caleb Williams, of Lake Butler, Florida, will join the faculty at LaGrange College in Georgia. Sam Wilson, of Senatobia, will begin his tenure at Georgia Southern University.

Finally, Robert Davis, a December graduate, joined the University of Arkansas as an assistant professor of public health in January.

When you ask these students what attracted them to Ole Miss, their answers have a common thread: a talented, dedicated faculty and administration, the beautiful campus and all the resources that come along with studying at a flagship research university with Carnegie R1 status, indicating the highest research activity.

For Addoh, the prevalent health disparities in Mississippi and the need for health care professionals were another important aspect of his decision to join the program. His dissertation examined a potential method to enhance the positive experience of exercise, an area of health behavior research with potential ramifications for physical activity promotion.

“Moving forward, I intend to extend my inquiry on methods to enhance the experience of exercise and to further contribute to the science on physical activity translational research,” Addoh said.

Addoh credits Paul Loprinzi, associate professor of health, exercise science and recreation management, for his mentorship throughout the doctoral program.

Loprinzi not only is highly regarded by students for his caring mentorship, but he is one of the department’s most prolific publishers. Having published 73 peer-reviewed papers in 2017 alone, Loprinzi’s work has been cited more than 5,000 times since 2011.

Under Loprinzi’s direction, Addoh added 26 scholarly articles to his list of published works.

The potential to work alongside an intensely productive researcher drew Buckner, Jessee and Mouser to Ole Miss as well, specifically to study skeletal muscle adaptations to resistance exercise with Jeremy Loenneke, assistant professor of health, exercise science and recreation management and director of the Kevser Ermin Applied Physiology Laboratory, affectionately called the Ole Miss Muscle lab.

Jessee, who accrued 40 publications while at UM, explained that it was Loenneke’s passion for science and ability to prepare students for success that drew him to stay for his Ph.D.

“I felt that I could learn so much more from him than going elsewhere, because he is always pushing people to think critically and not just align with the status quo,” said Jessee, who will continue studying skeletal muscle health and function in his new research faculty role. He will be searching for new ways to attenuate muscle function loss due to aging and immobilization or injury.

While Mouser counts producing one of the largest published studies on blood flow following exercise as his most exciting project to date, Buckner found his passion in exploring the relationship between changes in muscle size and changes in muscle strength.

“The work we have done here is changing the way people think about skeletal muscle and how it adapts to resistance exercise,” said Buckner.

Loenneke also advised spring doctoral graduate Kevin Mattox of Pittsburgh, who is interviewing for assistant professor positions at a variety of institutions.

“I am both excited and sad to see these students graduate and move on with their careers,” Loenneke said. “All of them have done tremendous research here at the University of Mississippi, and it has been really special to work with each of them over the past three to four years. Their futures are bright.”

Martha Bass, associate professor and former graduate program coordinator, advised Williams’ research examining changes in bat swing kinematics in different areas of the strike zone among collegiate baseball and softball players. She also directed Wilson’s dissertation, where he found his true research interest.

“Our lab’s findings in this dissertation included novel aspects of possible roles of the neuromuscular system in the slip recovery process,” said Wilson, who plans to expand this research, examining older adults and special populations in his new role at Georgia Southern. “We hope we can translate these findings into effective ways of mitigating fall-related injuries and mortality.”

Minsoo Kang, chair of the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, congratulates Xi Jin at the 2018 Commencement exercises for the UM School of Applied Sciences. Jin will begin her second doctoral program in nutrition and hospitality management this fall. UM photo by Sarah Sapp

Xi Jin of Harbin, China, also a May graduate, will expand her research base by pursuing a second doctoral degree in nutrition and hospitality management in the UM School of Applied Sciences while assisting Teresa Carithers, interim dean, with the new undergraduate applied gerontology program.

Each of the graduates pointed to the outstanding professional and academic values of their fellow graduate student cohort, indicating the quality of their experience directly related to the academic profile and camaraderie of this particular group.

Davis, who is conducting studies focusing on substance use behavior and its association with mental health concerns since starting his career at the University of Arkansas, explained that it wasn’t only the talented faculty mentors, such as Bass, who helped pave his way to success.

“I am immensely thankful to have studied with the group of grad students,” Davis said. “I was fortunate enough to come through the HESRM department at a time of immense progress concerning scientific exploration and rigor.

“The quality of students who came through the program with me should be admired. These are some of the finest minds that I have had the pleasure of encountering. As great as the faculty I studied under are, I can say that I would not be the scientist I am without the advice, challenge and leadership exhibited in these friends.”

This progress in scientific exploration is exhibited not only in the success of this graduating doctoral class, but in the sheer number of peer-reviewed publications produced by the department. Faculty, with the help of these doctoral students, published 134 unique publications in 2017.

On average, faculty members in the field publish 3.6 peer-reviewed papers a year, said Minsoo Kang, HESRM chair, citing data from the 2015 National Academy of Kinesiology Doctoral Program Review. The Ole Miss department’s score of 9.57 publications is much higher than the national average.

“Considering that the top 25 percent of doctoral programs published only 5.52 publications per faculty per year, we just had a remarkable year in 2017,” Kang said. “We could potentially be ranked No. 1 in the nation in the number of publications category.”

The department’s research productivity exemplifies the teacher-scholar model, preparing students to lead their own research teams in an R1 environment, Carithers said.

For more information about the UM Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, visit http://hesrm.olemiss.edu/.