Huntington native making an impact in students’ lives, her community

Published 10:33 am Wednesday, June 23, 2010

BECKLEY — Kathy Lewis-Payne, a Huntington native, brings honor to the city through her service and commitment to educating students in southern West Virginia.

Lewis-Payne is an assistant professor at Mountain State University in Beckley, and is the daughter of Jack and Sue Lewis of Huntington. She graduated from Huntington East High School and Marshall University with a master’s degree in business and business education.

Upon marriage, she moved with her husband, Christopher B. Payne, to Fayetteville, W.Va. Her husband is a corporal in the West Virginia State Police, and their son, Charles Lewis-Elkins, is a 2009 graduate of Mountain State University currently employed as a pilot and instructor for Albatross Air in Beaver, W.Va.

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Lewis-Payne teaches marketing courses for Mountain State University’s School of Business and Technology and leads the university’s Students in Free Enterprise, or SIFE, team.

SIFE is an international organization that works with academic professionals and business and community leaders to apply their business background to leave a lasting impact on their respective campuses, communities and the environment.

It is evident when observing Lewis-Payne working with her SIFE team, that she is truly passionate about her work.

Ben Burford, who graduated in May with a B.S. in business administration from Mountain State and is the former president of the university’s SIFE team, discussed Lewis-Payne’s ability to connect with students.

Burford stated, “Professor Payne is a great instructor because she always goes above and beyond what is expected of her. When it comes to SIFE, she always pushes us to take the extra step to not only help others, but to also learn from the experience.

If anyone in her class or on the SIFE team needs help, we all know that she will do whatever she can to help. She puts in countless hours to make the SIFE team so successful. Personally, she has shown me I can do anything that I set my mind out to do.”

Lewis-Payne’s SIFE team competed last month at the SIFE USA National Exposition in Minneapolis, Minn. Approximately 180 SIFE teams from campuses across the country competed in different events at the National Exposition.

MSU SIFE won the Campbell’s Silver Spoon Award for raising over 6,000 pounds of food since October. The team also finished second in the nation in the “Lasting Hunger Relief” division for the Campbell’s Let’s Can Hunger campaign. Lewis-Payne was recognized at the competition for her winning record and 10 successful years of SIFE teams.

The team earned its fifth consecutive trip to the National Exposition.

In order to address hunger issues in the Beckley community, MSU SIFE joined forces with the Campbell Soup Company to launch the “Let’s Can Hunger” campaign. The project focused on raising awareness about hunger relief, satisfying immediate hunger needs in local communities and implementing long-term solutions that help hunger victims address the cause behind their needs. The direct community benefits of the program include:

6,000 lbs of food and $390 raised to help purchase food for families in need. One local Beckley food pantry was able to increase the number of families it feeds a month from 100 to 125.

Media kits created for food pantries to personalize their marketing efforts and attract more donors.

1,000 community members and potential donors educated on hunger facts affecting residents in the immediate area and state.

250 recipients of food donations from local pantries and shelters who have been educated on steps to make the most of their monthly food supply, save money and stretch their food dollars.

One local food pantry that is in the process of becoming a Feed the Children Distribution Center in this area. This would guarantee the pantry receives a specified amount of food each month and increase the likelihood that the pantry can become a sustainable source of immediate food in the area.