Southeast Student Honored with AKA Undergraduate Scholar Award

The American Kinesiology Association (AKA) has selected Southeast Missouri State University senior Melissa Stephens for its 2017 AKA Undergraduate Scholar Award.

Stephens was chosen among all sport management students at Southeast and will now be a candidate for the AKA National Undergraduate Scholar Award.

Southeast faculty nominated Stephens for the award because she has demonstrated exceptional interest in the field of kinesiology through independent research, service, and her high potential for making a significant impact in the field.  The American Kinesiology Association consists of 160 kinesiology departments in colleges and universities nationwide.

“Ms. Stephens is an exemplary student who embodies all of the qualities that the AKA is seeking in an Undergraduate Scholar Award winner,” said Dr. Joe Pujol, chair of the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at Southeast.

Stephen said, “I am thrilled to receive this award because I think that it showcases the amazing work that the faculty and staff of the Sport Management program here at Southeast put into each student to ensure that they will be prepared for their future careers.”

“When I first came to Southeast I had the dream of one day working in the community relations department of a professional sports team. My professors have been amazing in challenging me both inside and outside of the classroom to gain the skills necessary to accomplish this dream,” she said. “I believe that education is a continuous process, so I am incredibly excited to transfer the skills that this award focuses on to my internship with the Baltimore Ravens this upcoming year.”

Stephens, a sport management major from Jackson, Missouri, will graduate from Southeast on May 13.  During her career at Southeast, Stephens was named Sport Management Major of the Year and she placed fourth and fifth at the Phi Beta Lambda State Leadership Conference competition this year for her presentations in Sport Management & Marketing and Contemporary Sports Issues.  During the summer of 2015, Stephens worked as an intern for the Frisco RoughRiders, a minor league baseball team in Frisco, Texas.  She plans to intern with the Baltimore Ravens, a National Football League team during the 2017 season.

This is the eighth year the AKA Undergraduate Scholar Award has recognized the top kinesiology undergraduate students across the United States and Canada by honoring a single kinesiology undergraduate student from each AKA member institution. AKA promotes and enhances kinesiology as a unified field of student through a variety of programs and services.