May 25, 2019  

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USM Student Wins Recognition from SHAPE America

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Danielle Luethke with her award.

University of Southern Mississippi student Danielle Luethke was honored by SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators as a Major of the Year during the organization’s 133rd National Convention & Expo held last month in Nashville, Tenn.

The award celebrates outstanding undergraduate students in the health, physical education, recreation and dance professions who are nominated by a faculty advisor or professor. Luethke was recognized during the Major of the Year Awards Ceremony.  

“The outstanding achievements of future professionals like Danielle 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 Fran Cleland.

Luethke, a native of Kingsport, Tenn., was nominated for the award by Dr. Robert Doan, assistant professor in USM’s School of Kinesiology.

“Just being nominated for this award meant the world to me. I was honored that Dr. Doan even recognized my hard work and thought of me as someone who deserved to be nominated,” she said. “I still feel so lucky to be able major in and learn more about a subject area that I am passionate about. Receiving the major of the year award to me means that one day all of my hard work is going to pay off, and that I am right where I am supposed to be.”

Doan notes that Luethke has been very active in the sport coaching and physical education program at USM, demonstrating knowledge and leadership in many areas.

“Ever since meeting Danielle two years ago, she has expressed willingness to learn and teach others. She is a vocal leader and always worked hard in my classes,” said Doan. “I have been very impressed with her passion and attention to detail while working with her on multiple projects at USM. She has also showed a willingness to be a life-long learner.”

Luethke is on track to graduate in 2019, with a double major in Physical Education and Sport Coaching.

For more information about SHAPE America’s National Convention & Expo, visit the website and follow #SHAPENashville.


About SHAPE America

SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators is the nation’s largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals. Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our National Standards for K-12 Physical Education serve as the foundation for well-designed physical education programs across the country. We provide programs, resources and advocacy to support health and physical educators at every level, from preschool to university graduate programs.


SHAPE America has 50 state affiliates and is a founding partner of national initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Active Schools (formerly Let’s Move! Active Schools) and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs. “50 Million Strong by 2029” is our commitment to put all children on the path to health and physical literacy through effective health and physical education programs. For more information, visit