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HEADWARE recipients from Southern Miss

photo courtesy USM

HATTIESBURG, Miss.- A faculty member and student at the University of Southern Miss have been recongized by HEADWARE.

This is a news release from the University of Southern Mississippi

A faculty member and student from the College of Health are The University of Southern Mississippi’s recipients of the annual Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) award.

Dr. Elaine Molaison, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Systems, and junior exercise science major John Davenport of Moss Bluff, La. are recipients of the HEADWAE Outstanding Faculty and Students Awards. They were honored the Mississippi Legislature and at a luncheon Feb. 2 in Jackson.

The HEADWAE award was established in 1988 by legislative resolution to honor academically talented students and faculty members who promote academic excellence at the state’s public and private institutions of higher learning.

I was truly humbled and honored to receive this recognition,” said Davenport. “There was such a strong sense of community present from being surrounded by students and faculty members of all community colleges and universities in the state of Mississippi, yet there is no other institution that I would have preferred to represent other than The University of Southern Mississippi.”

Davenport is currently preparing to spend a semester studying abroad in Townsville, Australia. After graduating, he plans to earn a graduate degree in kinesiology before pursuing a career in recreational sports.

Davenport has served as president of the Honors College Ambassadors, vice chairman of the Student Government Association Judicial Board, a student adviser for the Lambda Sigma Honor Society, and a member of the Southern Miss Activities Council. Davenport is also a personal trainer and group exercise instructor at the Southern Miss Payne Center.

Molaison is helping steer new national educational standards for nutrition and dietetics students. As chair of the Expanded Standards Workgroup, a subcommittee of the standards committee for the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), she and the committee are responsible for assuring good accreditation practices are followed in creating new, degree-based standards. She said this experience was one of the most rewarding and educational experiences in her career.

“I am humbled to be selected for the HEADWAE award by a group of my academic peers,” said Molaison. “It is an honor to join past recipients of the award, who are all outstanding in their respective fields.”

Molaison is proud of the successes achieved by the students she has taught during the past 16 years. “I am always sure to celebrate my student’s success, as I value their accomplishments as if they were my own.”

She earned her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, her master of science in nutrition and dietetics from Louisiana Tech University, and her doctorate in nutrition and food systems from Southern Miss. Molaison’s research interests include behavior change theories, motivational interviewing in dietetics, child nutrition and obesity prevalence, and outcomes in clinical nutrition. She has also researched policy issues related to the topic of obesity in Mississippi.

Her research contributions and teaching service is recognized on a state and national level. Molaison was awarded the 2011 Distinguished Researcher Award from the Southern Miss College of Health and the American Dietetic Association Foundation’s New Researcher’s Award in 2000. For her teaching and service Molaison earned a Health Care Hero award in 2012; Outstanding Faculty Service 2010, College of Health; Outstanding Dietetic Educator 2007, Mississippi Dietetic Association; Who’s Who among American Teachers 2004 and more.

For information about the College of Health, visit

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