Applied Sciences Students Take Top Two Awards in 3MT Competition

Matthew Frakes and Prabhdeep Sandha win top doctoral category honors

Matthew Frakes delivers his winning presentation on nutrition intervention in concussion treatment at the Three Minute Thesis Competition, sponsored by the UM Graduate School. Photo by Megan Wolfe/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Matthew Frakes, of Columbus, Ohio, and Prabhdeep Sandha, of Jalandhar City, Punjab, India, won first and second place in the doctoral category in the recent Three Minute Thesis Competition sponsored by the University of Mississippi Graduate School.

This annual competition asks graduate students to present a compelling oration on their research thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes. They are allowed to use one PowerPoint slide.

“My 3MT topic was looking at a nutrition intervention at the time of concussion diagnosis or suspicion of a sports-related concussion throughout the athlete’s concussion protocol until the athlete returns to baseline measurements,” said Frakes, a doctoral student studying sports nutrition in the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management.

Frakes said the nutrition intervention helps support overall energy and nutrient intake that is potentially diverged due to athlete’s loss of appetite or nausea symptoms experienced in concussions.

“I am also observing athlete symptomology and assessing total calorie intake and overall dietary intake, where these observations and recordings may be related to the return to baseline measurements from pre- and post-concussion assessments,” he said. “The goal of my study is to contribute to the findings on sports-related concussion recovery, and the impact overall energy intake has on return to baseline recovery time.”

Melinda Valliant, professor of nutrition and hospitality management, oversees Frakes in his doctoral research.

“Matthew has done an excellent job learning from and managing all facets of his pilot research project,” Valliant said. “His success in the 3MT competition is a testament to his willingness to take feedback and apply it.

“Matt has demonstrated that he is not afraid to step out of his comfort zone and take risks, and I am so happy that has received this well-deserved honor.”

Prabhdeep Sandha took second place in the doctoral category in the UM Three Minute Thesis Competition. Photo by Megan Wolfe/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Sandha’s thesis also examined nutrition, but her research interest is in food security.

“One in eight Americans, or 40 million Americans, experience some form of food insecurity in a 12-month period,” said Sandha, also a doctoral student in nutrition and hospitality management.

“My research examined the impact of produce intervention on produce intake and behaviors of parents/caretakers of elementary school students in an economically distressed, highly food insecure, rural Appalachian Mississippi region.”

Three schools participated in the study; two were control schools and one was the intervention school. A six-week intervention was implemented with three important parts: cafeteria tasting station twice a week, nutrition education, and provision of take-home materials and gadgets.

Every Friday, participants at the intervention school also received $15 worth of fresh produce to replicate tasting station recipes at home.

“We utilized a validated 10-item USDA Household Adult Food Security Survey Module, which had questions like, ‘We worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more’ or ‘We couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals,'” Sandha said.

Sandha and her research partners found the perceived willingness to try new fruits and vegetables was significantly higher in the intervention group parents, compared to the control group.

“With this project, we were able to transform the household food environment to make it more likely that the family members have an adequate amount and access to healthy foods,” Sandha said. “This program also enhanced the university’s Flagship Constellation mission, which is to transform life through community outreach and community well-being.”

David H. Holben, professor of nutrition and hospitality management, oversees Sandha’s research.

“Ms. Sandha is very deserving of this award,” Holben said. “She is a servant-leader who excels in the classroom, in her assistantship at the Institute for Child Nutrition and in a research setting. This award recognizes her excellence.”

For more information about the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, visit

School of Applied Sciences Welcomes New Development Officer

William Fisher joins staff as large-scale renovation projects approach completion

William Fisher

OXFORD, Miss – Greenwood native and University of Mississippi alumnus William Fisher has joined the university’s School of Applied Sciences as its new development officer.

Fisher has been a member of the Ole Miss family for as long as he can remember.

“Ole Miss is a family affair,” he said. “I am a third-generation student at the university, including two of my four grandparents, both of my parents and my brother Martin, who is the associate director of admissions.”

Fisher graduated from UM in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, featuring minors in public policy, history and journalism. He began his career as a graduate assistant for the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct and later was promoted to coordinator within the office after earning his master’s degree in higher education.

He served as chapter president of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. During the 2014-15 academic year, Fisher helped raise $40,000 for the fraternity’s philanthropy, Delta Streets Academy, a Christian-based alternative school for at-risk youth in the Mississippi Delta. He remains active as a chapter adviser.

Through efforts with his fraternity and later in his graduate position, Fisher worked with different campus offices and organizations, quickly learning to work with people from all backgrounds. Since the School of Applied Sciences has the highest enrollment of historically underrepresented students of any professional school on campus, his background is important to the school’s leadership.

“We are excited to welcome William onboard,” said Teresa Carithers, interim dean of applied sciences. “He has already proven to be an asset in helping establish key funding priorities.

“Given his engaging personality and knowledge of the university, we have great expectations for the coming year.”

Fisher said he appreciates the contributions the school makes in the state and nation to create healthier, more vibrant communities.

“The School of Applied Sciences prepares individuals to go into the communities and improve the conditions and people around them,” he said. “I am excited to have a small part in assisting those students.

“I am equally thrilled that I have the opportunity to work with faculty members by helping them find the resources they need to continue their world-class research.”

With two large building renovations – Garland, Hedleston and Mayes residence halls, being renovated as the school’s new home, and the South Oxford Center wellness facility – nearing completion, ample opportunities exist for donors to get involved with the school, particularly in honoring or memorializing others with gifts in their name.

“It is an exciting time to be part of the applied sciences team,” Fisher said. “It is my hope that after three years on the job, I will have helped facilitate gifts that impact the lives of students and faculty members on our campus.”

The School of Applied Sciences offers professional preparation programs that integrate academic study, clinical training, creative research, service-learning and community outreach, leading to the development of leaders whose professional endeavors will improve health and well-being. The school’s vision is for academic excellence: that each department will be recognized by their respective scientific, professional and community organizations as a hub for scholarly thought, professional development and community impact.

For more information about giving opportunities in the School of Applied Sciences, contact Fisher at 662-915-2293 or To learn more about the school and its mission, visit

Social Work Faculty Offers Insights on Domestic Violence Awareness

Understanding warning signs and ways to help are critical to helping combat problem

Social work professor Desiree Stepteau-Watson says that information is one of the most important tools for combatting domestic violence. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to share information and resources about an issue that affects millions of people every year.

At the forefront of domestic violence are social workers who say it is one of the most common issues they come across. Faculty members in the University of Mississippi Department of Social Work are doing their part to educate the community and state about the issue.

“The best resource to offer is information about where and how to seek help,” said Desiree Stepteau-Watson, Bachelor of Social Work program director and associate professor of social work. “It is also important to convey the message that victims will be supported, believed and heard.”

Domestic violence can be anything from physical violence, sexual assault, intimidation, threats of violence and/or psychological abuse.

Among the signs that a person may be a victim of domestic violence are unexplained injuries, being concerned about disobeying their partner, being in constant contact, having to check in with their partner, injuries at various stages of healing, and cutting off relationships with family members and friends, Stepteau-Watson said.

Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are at the greatest risk of experiencing of domestic violence, but it can affect anyone, regardless of economic or educational level, race, religion, age group (including the elderly) or sexual orientation, Stepteau-Watson said.

This type of behavior in relationships can be learned at a young age, as children who grow up witnessing or experiencing violence at home may believe that it is a normal way to resolve conflict. Drug and alcohol use may contribute to the violence, but do not necessarily cause it to occur.

“Common myths about domestic violence include perceptions that it is easy to leave violent situations,” Stepteau-Watson said. “Some people think if the abuse was that bad, then the victim should just leave, and if she or he doesn’t leave, that must mean they like it.

“In fact, it can be extremely dangerous to leave an abusive partner. The abuse may escalate and become more dangerous if the victim attempts to leave. Leaving may put family members, children and friends at risk of harm.”

Stepteau-Watson encourages anyone who suspects that a loved one is experiencing domestic violence to put their safety first by finding a safe place to talk, then focusing on what they want to do, not what they should do.

“Be sure to let them know that you want to be of support,” Stepteau-Watson said. “It is also important to document what you observe, keep a record of what you see and hear. Such a record could be a useful piece of evidence in the future.

“Learn more about domestic violence and get information from local domestic violence agencies.”

On a local level, victims can rely on the Family Crisis Services of Northwest Mississippi for resources. 

In 2017, 185 domestic violence arrests were recorded in Lafayette County through the Oxford Police Department, University Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department, said Mary-Margaret Chaffe, domestic violence advocate and program assistant at Family Crisis Services.

“That averages about 15.4 a month,” Chaffe said. “The scarier part is the number of ones that go unreported.

“Family Crisis Services is here to support and believe our victims, survivors and families. Our mission is to reduce the trauma of violence by providing immediate and long-term support to survivors.”

The organization provides victim advocacy, on-site counseling, resources, referrals, hospital accompaniment and court accompaniment services. It also operates a 24-hour crisis hotline, 800-230-9929.

“We are here for the victims and their families throughout their healing process,” she said. “Having the community involved in the awareness campaigns that we do means everything to the families we represent. We need to stand up against domestic violence as a community because no one should suffer in silence.”

Besides local groups, statewide agencies such as the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence can offer help. On campus, students can get help from the UM SAFE website or the Counseling Center.

The Master of Social Work program trains students to work with victims of domestic violence in mental health settings, courtrooms, hospitals, schools, family counseling and child protective services, Stepteau-Watson said.

“Our Master of Social Work program prepares graduates with the clinical assessment and intervention skills to address domestic violence with individuals, families and in communities,” she said. “The macro-level training that our MSW program provides, enables graduates to work on policy initiatives on local, state and national levels.”

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

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