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Released April 19 2004

SOUTHERN MISS RECREATIONAL SPORTS STUDENTS
RECOGNIZED NATIONALLY AS OUTSTANDING STUDENT LEADERS

HATTIESBURG - Three students from The University of Southern Mississippi have been honored with the William N. Wasson Student Leadership and Academic Award from the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association.

Rachel King and Bryan Stednitz of Hattiesburg and Marilyn Leddy of Bagdad, Fla., were selected from more than 100 national candidates for the award.

Named after NIRSA's founder, Dr. William Wasson, the award recognizes outstanding undergraduate and graduate students who are active participants, employees or volunteers in collegiate recreational sports departments. Candidates are judged on criteria including self-improvement through leadership, academic success, activities, volunteerism and promoting inclusion.

"The Wasson Award is the most prestigious student award given out by NIRSA," said Steve Rey, associate director of the Division of Recreational Sports at Southern Miss. There are six regions in the national association, with four undergraduate awards and two graduate awards given in each region.

"For our university to receive three of those 36 awards, competing against campuses from all across the nation, that's just phenomenal," Rey said. He added that Southern Miss is the only university in the association that has received both a graduate and an undergraduate award every year since the award was founded in 1988.

King, an undergraduate student in therapeutic recreation, is also a group exercise instructor who teaches yoga, step, and water aerobics. She also serves as a floor supervisor for the Workout Zone in the university's wellness facility, the Payne Center.

King has shown leadership qualities through her involvement in the Catholic church, camp counseling, and recreational sports fitness and wellness programs. A certified group exercise and yoga instructor, King is also certified in CPR and first aid. She has also shown leadership skills in her participation in the Southern Miss Coca-Cola Classic Rodeo, American Heart Association's Heart Walk, Run for Love and local hospitals and children's centers.

Stednitz, a graduate student in sports administration and exercise science, is also a graduate assistant in fitness in recreational sports. Stednitz has shown leadership qualities by participating in recreational sports and wellness programs such as the Southern Miss Coca-Cola Classic Rodeo, American Heart Association's Heart Walk, Run for Love and American College of Sports Medicine. Stednitz is a certified health fitness trainer, group exercise instructor, and spinning instructor, and he is certified in CPR, AED and first aid.

Leddy, an undergraduate student in broadcast journalism, is a supervisor in the Workout Zone. Leddy has shown leadership skills through her involvement in recreational sports and wellness programs such as the Southern Miss Coca-Cola Classic Rodeo, American Heart Association's Heart Walk, Run for Love, Student Staff Advisory Council, Crossroads Student Ministry, Southern Miss Leadership Series and the Student Broadcaster's Association.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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