Office of Food and Nutrition Security Opens at South Oxford Center

Applied Sciences faculty and student researchers expand food security research

UM graduate students Marta Dees (left) and Rebecca Henry pack take-home bags full of nutritious foods for Calhoun City High School football players. The effort is part of a study at the School of Applied Sciences’ Office of Food and Nutrition Security. Photo by Sarah Sapp/School of Applied Sciences

OXFORD, Miss. – The School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi has opened a new Office of Food and Nutrition Security at the South Oxford Center.

Although David H. Holben, professor of nutrition and hospitality management, has been producing food security research at UM since he arrived in 2015, he and his students finally have devoted space to analyze data, conduct focus groups and interviews, and engage with community members.

“My vision for the Office of Food and Nutrition Security at the University of Mississippi is to be the recognized leader in providing innovative solutions for food insecurity in Mississippi, the United States and the world,” said Holben, who has been studying the problem since 1997.

“I’m hoping that we can have a global impact. I think (establishing a formal office) just reinforces the support that the university and the school have for this issue of food insecurity.”

Food insecurity is a lack of regular access to enough food to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. According to the USDA’s 2017 estimates, some 15 million American households were food insecure.

More than 13 percent of rural households reported food insecurity, much higher than those in metropolitan areas. Between 2015 and 2017, food insecurity in Mississippi was among the highest in the nation, at 17.2 percent.

The university community is committed to helping solve this problem through its Flagship Constellations initiative, which seeks to find meaningful solutions through multidisciplinary response to health and social issues affecting Mississippi communities, the nation and the world. One of those constellations is Community Wellbeing, which works to find solutions to the challenges affecting rural communities to build stronger and more vibrant communities.

Holben brings food security expertise and research from the Office of Food and Nutrition Security to this collaboration.

Students and staff conducting research through the Office of Food and Nutrition Security have presented their findings at international conferences, including discussions of seven studies at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ annual conference in October.

Doctoral student Prabhdeep Sandha, of Jalandhar City, India, earned the Mead Johnson Nutrition/Research Dietetic Practice Group Student Research Award at the conference for her study, “Impact of a Produce Intervention on Parental Produce Intake and Behaviors,” co-authored by fellow graduate student Michelle Weber, of Cincinnati.

“Our (office) is continuously working to make a difference in Mississippi through fresh produce and healthy food interventions, community engagement and community education,” Sandha said. “With our previous projects, we were able to see some great results, which I hope will be evident in our future projects.”

Undergraduate students also are gaining research skills through the new office. Katelyn Tarr, a junior dietetics and nutrition major from Pawnee, Illinois, presented a study on “Food insecurity and type 2 diabetes risk of adults with school children” at the conference, with funding from the first Undergraduate Travel Grant awarded by the UM Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

“Dr. Holben brought me in to learn how to write an abstract and make a poster for a conference, which is something that graduate students would normally do,” Tarr said. “It really helped me prepare for my post-graduate career.

“I was excited to work on nutrition research, but it turns out this really hits close to home for me. I’m from an area that has high food insecurity, so it was awesome to be a part of that.”

Five of the abstracts presented at conference stem from the Farm-to-YOUth! Project that Holben and his students have been working on since 2016, studying varying nutritional and educational interventions and their impact on food security in a rural Mississippi county.

From produce tastings and take-home produce for elementary school children to summer nutrition education and feeding programs at the public library, the faculty-student team has examined different ways to improve food security for people living in rural areas.

This fall, the office rolled out a new study in Calhoun County to examine food education interventions for high school athletes.

Holben, along with an external consultant, develops the twice-weekly programming that includes a lesson, snack and educational handouts. Graduate students Marta Dees, of Oxford, and Rebecca Henry, of The Plains, Virginia, teach the lessons and give each football player a take-home bag of fuel for the week, including peanut butter, yogurt, fresh fruit and granola bars, to implement the practices at home.

“We’re primarily hoping to change the food environment at home,” Holben said. “They’re learning eight to 10 basic principles about food and nutrition that we’re helping them to implement through take-home food packages.

“I think we can play a really key role in teaching basic sport nutrition principles to high schoolers, while keeping performance nutrition at the forefront of the coach’s mind. The hope is we can fill in the gap if they do have food insecurity in the home to help them to implement some performance nutrition principles since they’re athletes.”

Holben, lead author of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ most recent position paper on food insecurity in the United States, is elated with the opportunities that come with having an official office at the South Oxford Center. He looks forward to playing a significant role in fulfilling the university’s commitment to creating healthier, more vibrant communities.

For more information about programs of study in nutrition at UM, visit


Peter W. Grandjean Named New Applied Sciences Dean

Former Baylor associate dean has more than 30 years of education experience

Peter Grandjean

OXFORD, Miss. – Peter W. Grandjean has been named the new dean of the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi.

Grandjean comes to UM from Baylor University, where he served as associate dean for research collaboration and graduate studies, director of the university’s Division of Health Professions, and as a professor in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences.

A nationally recognized professor and researcher, Grandjean has more than 30 years of experience in education, beginning as a high school biology teacher in New Braunfels, Texas, in 1986.

Grandjean, who assumes his Ole Miss role Jan. 3, takes the spot of Teresa Carr Carithers, who has served as the school’s interim dean since July 2017.

“Dr. Carithers and her leadership team have done a remarkable job in establishing the school’s firm foundation, growth and trajectory,” Grandjean said. “I look forward to building on the great work already going on within the school by fostering an environment where interdisciplinary teams can serve and research together to address major challenges that exist in our world today.

“I look forward to supporting faculty and staff as they strengthen existing academic programs and grow new degree programs and certificates that highlight the need to serve others through interprofessional cooperation.”

Grandjean received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Anderson University in Indiana in 1986, his master’s in exercise physiology from Texas Christian University in 1992 and his doctorate in exercise physiology from Texas A&M University in 1996.

“I am thrilled that Dr. Grandjean has accepted our offer to be the next dean of the School of Applied Sciences,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “He is an accomplished faculty member and leader who has the experiences to benefit the school.”

Established in 2001, the School of Applied Sciences includes the departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management; Legal Studies; Nutrition and Hospitality Management; and Social Work, along with an interprofessional degree program for applied gerontology, the Institute of Child Nutrition and the Jackson Heart Study Vanguard Center at Oxford.

As dean of applied sciences, Grandjean will oversee one of the fastest-growing schools on campus. The school, which seeks to improve the lives and conditions of people and communities across Mississippi and the region, also has a growing research imprint at UM, with more than $8.4 million in external funding received in fiscal year 2018.

“I was immediately captured by the University of Mississippi’s strong reputation as one of the nation’s top academic and research universities and by the interdisciplinary potential within the School of Applied Sciences,” Grandjean said. “The school includes an exciting group of academic departments, an institute and center that are known for developing leaders who advance and apply knowledge of health, well-being and human flourishing in an integrated, interprofessional manner.

“I was particularly drawn by the opportunity to build on the strong, vibrant programs that already exist within the school and to work alongside other academic units as we nurture team-based approaches to experiential learning, research and service among our students.”

Grandjean joined the Baylor faculty in 2010 as an associate professor. He previously was a faculty member at Auburn University, and before that served as a graduate assistant and post-doctoral research associate at Texas A&M and as a graduate assistant at Texas Christian University.

While at Baylor, he also served as director of the Baylor Laboratories for Exercise Science and Technology, and as director of The Center for Healthy Living.

Grandjean is a member of the American Physiological Society, the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association and several other professional affiliations.

Carithers will return to the School of Applied Sciences faculty as a professor of nutrition and hospitality management and program director of applied gerontology.

“We are grateful to Dr. Teresa Carithers for her exceptional leadership of the school during this transition,” Wilkin said. “She has brought stability to the school and continued its trajectory of success.”

School of Applied Sciences Honors Students of the Month

Evi Addoh and Alan Cuff recognized for academic excellence

The School of Applied Sciences has honored Alan Cuff (left), of Mandeville, Louisiana, as its Undergraduate Student of the Month for October and Evi Addoh, of Delta State, Nigeria, as Graduate Student of the Month. Photo by Sara White

OXFORD, Miss. – The School of Applied Sciences has honored Evi Addoh, of Delta State, Nigeria, as its Graduate Student of the Month and Alan Cuff, of Mandeville, Louisiana, as Undergraduate Student of the Month for October. 

With a 4.0 GPA, Addoh is a second-year student in the master’s program in health promotion, part of the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management.

“Ms. Addoh is collegial, bright and overall an exceptional student both inside and outside the classroom,” said Allison Ford-Wade, professor of health, exercise science and recreation management. “She is the first person that many of the faculty calls on for leadership among the graduate students, and she is always the first person to volunteer whenever help is needed on community projects or research.”

Some of her previous volunteer experiences with community health organizations and events include the Mississippi Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, Project SCORE, or Student Centered Outcomes Research Experience, and the Entrepreneurial Learning Centers conducted by the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement.

Before studying at Ole Miss, Addoh worked as a dentist in Nigeria.

“I studied dentistry, and while I was in school I got very involved in organizing some oral health promotion programs,” Addoh said. “It made me interested in health promotion, so I thought it would be a great idea to further my education in this field.”

Addoh is interested in continuing her education in health promotion or the dental public health field.

Cuff is a junior working toward a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in homeland security.

“Alan has shown himself to be a remarkable and dedicated student,” said Kimberly Kaiser, assistant professor of legal studies. “His work ethic and dedication have been excellent.”

Over the summer, Cuff worked in an undergraduate research program.

“Through this program, he has carved out a piece of research that he is planning to present at the national conference of the American Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and develop into a published, peer-reviewed research article,” Kaiser said. “His contributions to the program were superb.”

As an active member of Alpha Phi Sigma, a criminal justice honor society, Cuff serves as president of the Ole Miss chapter.

Following graduation in spring 2020, he plans to attend law school, ideally at UM.

“I love it here,” Cuff said. “It has a beautiful campus and a great feel.”

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

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