School of Applied Sciences Honors Students of the Month

Kymberle Gordon and Shanda Martin recognized for academic excellence

The UM School of Applied Sciences has honored Kymberle Gordon (left) as Graduate Student of the Month and Shanda Martin as Undergraduate Student of the Month for May. Photo by Sarah Sapp/School of Applied Sciences

OXFORD, Miss. – The School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi has named Shanda Martin, of Tupelo, as its Undergraduate Student of the Month and Kymberle Gordon, of Canandaigua, New York, as Graduate Student of the Month for May.

Martin is an Itawamba Community College transfer who graduated May 11 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She plans to begin the Master of Criminal Justice program at UM in the fall.

“Shanda has been participating in a new community engagement program called College2Youth, working with the middle school in Marks to understand the needs of the students regarding health and well-being,” said Kimberly Kaiser, assistant professor of legal studies. “As a part of this project, students expressed wanting to learn more about available careers and college majors.

“Shanda has shown impressive leadership skills in planning and preparing a college and career information fair for the middle school students. She has worked to contact community members to come talk about their careers and students from both UM and local community colleges to come talk about life as a student and their majors.”

Martin’s emphasis is in homeland security, and her minor is in intelligence and security studies, or ISS. She is interested in a career in crime analytics.

Last summer, Martin interned with Mississippi Bureau of Investigation’s Cold Case Unit in Batesville and is interning this summer with the U.S. Marshals Service.

“I started with my interest in investigations, but since I’ve been through the ISS minor, it led me on a path that maybe I would like to do something with analysis – whether that’s working in the intelligence community as an analyst or in the private sector as an analyst,” Martin said. “Just getting out of undergrad, I’m looking at options in homeland security in D.C.”

Gordon is pursuing a doctorate in nutrition and hospitality management after earning her undergraduate degree in health and kinesiology from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s in kinesiology from Mississippi State University.

As a college athlete on scholarship for volleyball, Gordon took an early interest in sports nutrition but quickly expanded her research interests in community nutrition.

“I recognized as a college athlete, you have an abundance of resources to help you be active and healthy,” Gordon said. “I think the resources need to be allocated to the public that doesn’t have that information or resources at their fingertips.

“When I started the program, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I started with school nutrition. The next semester, Dr. (Georgianna) Mann and Dr. (Annie) Cafer were talking about the Marks Project. I knew there was something there, so I went to the meeting and I was hooked.”

The Marks Project is collective of volunteers and organizations working to improve the economic, educational, health and wellness environment of Quitman County.

“I am still highly involved,” Gordon said. “I help with the food pantry and distribution. We’ve been creating a needs assessment for that community to try and assess the food environment and find solutions.”

Mann, an assistant professor of nutrition and hospitality management, has been impressed by Gordon’s enthusiasm for the Marks Project and her work as a research and teaching assistant.

“She has immersed herself in community-based work, far beyond the expectations for simply ‘doing research,'” Mann said. “She is proactive, self-motivated and has written her own grant for external funding.”

Gordon will present her research in a poster session at the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior 52nd Annual Conference, set for July 27-30 in Orlando, Florida. She recently learned she was awarded a pre-conference scholarship and assigned a conference mentor by the society’s Nutrition Extension Education Division, which will recognize Gordon as a conference scholarship recipient at the event’s annual business meeting.

Ultimately, Gordon sees herself working in community nutrition and nutrition policy research.

The School of Applied Sciences calls for Student of the Month nominations by faculty and staff throughout the school to recognize students for extraordinary scholarship, leadership and service. Faculty or staff interested in nominating a student for this honor should do so online at

The School of Applied Sciences, home of the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management and Department of Legal Studies, 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.