Kimberly Whitaker nationally honored as Major of the Year in public and community health


Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) honored Kimberly Whitaker of Murray State University as a Major of the Year during an awards ceremony March 16 at the organization’s 132nd National Convention & Expo in Boston, Mass. The award celebrates outstanding undergraduate students in the health, physical education, recreation and dance professions who are nominated by a faculty advisor or professor.


Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) will honor Kimberly Whitaker of Murray State University as a Major of the Year during an awards ceremony March 16 at the organization’s 132nd National Convention & Expo in Boston, Mass.

“The outstanding achievements of future professionals like Kimberly is integral to the caliber of the individuals SHAPE America is looking for to teach standards-based health and physical education programs to our nation’s children,” said SHAPE America President Jackie Lund of Georgia State University.


Whitaker said, “It is an honor to receive this award from SHAPE America. Being recognized as someone who is committed to improving the health of others is extremely important to me.”


Whitaker is highly involved in the Public and Community Health program at Murray State. Whitaker helped found and is president of the Student Health Educators Association (SHEA), which began as a student organization for those in public and community health and has since been opened up to all majors on campus to include anyone that has an interest in improving their health or the health of others. SHEA offers a variety of health programs on campus and throughout the community. Whitaker also assisted SHEA in starting a “Take One, Leave One” food program on campus in the residential colleges. This program provides containers in which people can donate food and those in need can take food. Periodically, overflow food is taken to the local Need Line organization that helps feed people in the Murray Community.


Additionally, Whitaker is a student ambassador for the applied health sciences department and helps recruit members for the public and community health program. Through this program, Whitaker assisted in a citywide “Rethink Your Drink” initiative that encouraged individuals to choose healthier beverage options.


Whitaker also presented the research “Photovoice Project: Assets and Barriers to Infection Prevention on a College Campus,” along with classmates Matthew Allen and Chelsey Delaney, during the office of research and creative activity’s fall 2016 Scholars Week.


Furthermore, Whitaker has been conducting research under Program Director Dr. Miranda Terry, titled “Health Matters for Students: Mini-Lessons for All Classrooms.” This program provides educators with 5-minute health lesson plans and activities that can be included in all classrooms. Dr. Terry and Whitaker presented the program at the Southern District SHAPE Conference in January 2017.


“I have great students! Kimberly has been a standout student from the program not only because of her high level of academic success but also because of her level of involvement in the program, department, and on campus as well as in research,” said Dr. Miranda Terry, assistant professor and director of public and community health, Murray State University. “She is passionate about learning how to improve the health outcomes of our community and takes advantage of every opportunity she is provided, and she creates her own, too. I love that! It is unique to see that quality in an undergraduate student.”


In 2017, Kimberly Whitaker will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Public and Community Health.


For more information about SHAPE America’s National Convention & Expo, visit

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