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Arkansas achievers

March 19, 2023 at 3:35 a.m.

Po-Lin Pan, professor of strategic communication at Arkansas State University, has been elected president of the Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication. An affiliate of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication promotes the recognition, welfare and progress of journalism and mass communication education in the Southwest United States. As president, Pan will help plan the organization's 2023 Symposium to be held at Arkansas State University.

Mitch Mathis, instructor in physical education and teacher education at Arkansas State University, has been elected executive director of SHAPE -- the Society of Health and Physical Educators) -- Arkansas. Mathis will serve as the point of contact for SHAPE Arkansas and lead the organization as it hosts educational enrichment opportunities for its members in the state. SHAPE Arkansas aims to help Arkansas children become better equipped to lead healthy, physically active lives.

Norma Sims of Harrison has been named Tourism Person of the Year and Grace Pepler, Dogwood Hills Guest Farm won the Rising Star Award during the 49th annual Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism. The Tourism Person of the Year is presented annually to an individual who has been actively involved in tourism and who has made a substantial contribution, within the past year, to the betterment of the tourism industry as a whole. The Rising Star Award is presented to a young tourism professional in recognition of specific accomplishments, demonstrated leadership and commitment to the industry.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville sent two teams to compete in the opening round mock trial championships in Fort Worth, Texas. Team T-Rex competed as Arkansas A, and Team Velociraptor competed as Arkansas B in a field of 24 top teams from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana and Georgia. Arkansas A -- captained by Julianna Kantner and Bryton Miller, coached by Jose Ruiz and made up of Madalyn Acton, Jared Presley, Harrison Merrick, Vasoula Drosopoulos, Trinity Tipton and Maddie Gwinner -- finished with a 6-2 record, placing third. This brings the A team's combined record for the semester to 28 wins, two losses and two ties. With a third-place finish, U of A Mock Trial will send a team to the national tournament for the first time in program history. Arkansas B -- captained by Zoee Simpson and Anthony Sterba, coached by Adam Rose and made up of Piper Harris, Luke Hubbard, Josh Marvine, Bryce Mitsdarfer, Dylan Reynolds, Abby Walton and Gabe Miller -- ended with a 2.5-5.5 record, improving from their performance at the tournament last year. In addition to advancing to the National Championship Tournament, Arkansas A also had two competitors receive individual awards. Competitors receive "ranks," with a maximum of 20 ranks. Harrison Merrick received an Outstanding Witness award, receiving 17 ranks on the Defense. Julianna Kantner received an Outstanding Attorney award, receiving 19 ranks on the Defense.

Arkansas Achievers is an opportunity to give recognition to Arkansans for their achievements. Civilian and military achievements are accepted.

Please follow these guidelines: Achiever(s):

1) Must be an Arkansan or have graduated from a school in Arkansas.

2) Received an award, scholarship, medal or promotion.

Pageants, deans' lists, graduations or military enlistments are not accepted.

No photographs please.

To submit an Achiever, email us at [email protected] with the words "Arkansas Achievers" in the subject line.

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