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Mendes Selected As Distinguished Service Award Winner


JONESBORO – Kelly Ann Mendes of Jonesboro is one of eight outstanding students who received a 2017 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) at Arkansas State University. She was honored at a recognition dinner, Thursday, April 27, at 6 p.m. at the Cooper Alumni Center.

The DSA acknowledgement comes during A-State’s Convocation of Scholars, an annual celebration of academic achievement that includes college and departmental awards and recognition events.

The Distinguished Service Award winners are recognized as the institution’s most outstanding graduates because of their leadership, scholarship and citizenship. Faculty, staff, advisers to student organizations and other members of the campus community submit nominations for these prestigious awards.

All of the nominees have provided countless hours of service to the community, their classmates, their departments and colleges and to Arkansas State University. A committee comprised of students, faculty, staff and past Wilson Award recipients makes the final selections.

Dr. Matthew Costello, director of undergraduate programs for criminology, sociology and geography and assistant professor of criminology, nominated Mendes. Mendes, who graduated with honors in December of 2016, earned two degrees in criminology and sociology with a grade point average of 3.7. Her goal is to obtain a master’s degree in criminal justice.

Mendes is a non-traditional student, balancing a full-time career, full-time graduate studies and mother to four teenagers.  She is the recipient of the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship, Angelo Humanities and Social Science Scholarship, and Single Parent Scholarship and Junior Auxiliary scholarship.

She is active in several leadership roles and organizations including, president of Alpha Kappa Delta, the international honor society for sociology. She was a non-traditional senator for the Student Government Association, Delta Epsilon Iota member, Phi Kappa Phi member and member of Alpha Phi Sigma, a criminal justice honor society. She was also the recipient of the Above and Beyond award for non-traditional students in 2013.

Academically, she was on the Dean's List and three-time member of the Chancellor's List. She graduated cum laude in December 2016. She also received the Presidential Drum Major Award for community service in 2016 and worked with A-State's disability services program as a ghostwriter, which aids students with disabilities in note taking for classes. Bi-lingual, she also mentored and tutored students in Spanish.

She is currently working on her master's degree in criminal justice and was selected to work on a grant with the National Institute of Justice as a research assistant. In her undergraduate career, she organized several events for her department, including the annual research symposium and prison tours. She presented her academic research, which was titled, "The Fine Crime: The Economic and Criminal Injustice of Excessive Fining and Poverty."

Mendes is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She is also a member of Alpha Phi Sigma, the nationally recognized honor society for students in the criminal justice sciences, and Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.

As president of the Criminology, Sociology and Geography Club, Mendes organized several events, including the annual research symposium, prison tours, and increased membership for the organization. She also has a history of volunteerism with the Northeast Arkansas Humane Society, the NEA Food Bank, Hispanic Community Services Inc., St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, and worked with A-State’s Disability Services program in providing transportation to events for members with disabilities.