Do you wish someone had told you how to network? Looking to connect with future graduates for your business? Now you can help current Missouri State students learn these skills and meet upcoming alumni by volunteering at a special speed networking event on campus on April 19 from 4:30-7 p.m.
This fun event is divided into two parts, speed rounds and then open networking. There’s a 30 minute registration time from 4:30-5 p.m with mingling and hors d’oeuvres.
In the first segment students pair off with alumni and practice one-on-one introductions. After five minutes alumni are paired with new students.
In the second segment alumni and students have the chance to mingle casually. This gives all participants the chance to network with both working professionals and students.
Volunteering at this event has paid off for alumnus Ryan Cosby, ’11, whose company hired people he met at the event.
“My bank is part of a 13-bank holding company and we have found two quality hires in the process of this,” Cosby said. “If I can provide a good pipeline to our institution while also adding value to the university services, it is a win win win. A win for my alma mater, a win for my company and a win for Springfield.”
Alumnus Zach Swartz, ’08, recommends alumni help out even if students are in a different field.
“The students who attend are motivated and are looking for a connection. As alumni, we often have connections across professions,” Swartz said. “We have the ability to point the undergraduates in the right direction, even if that isn’t in our firm or profession.”
In fact, alumnus Travis Liles, ’11 and ’12, says modeling professional behavior is an easy way to help students.
“It’s about creating a potential relationship with a student who is learning about networking and how to engage in the professional world. Learn about that student and don’t focus so much on yourself – that way the student learns that is the proper way to network,” Liles said.
This short event is an easy and fun way to give back to Missouri State, Swartz said.
“Just show up. Our students are great and just want to find connections. I have never regretted going to these events,” he said.
Alumni volunteer information
Check-in – 4:30 p.m.; event starts at 5:00 p.m. and lasts until about 7 p.m.
Alumna Judith Rowland completed her political science degree in 2011 and immediately began improving lives on a global scale. She works as a U.S. policy and advocacy manager for Global Citizen. This is an organization intent on fixing issues such as poverty, water sanitation and gender inequality. Rowland helped obtain more than 100 co-sponsors on the 2014 Water for the World Act. It was approved by Congress and signed by former President Barack Obama. She is being honored for her work with Global Citizen at the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame on April 7.
What did you see as a young person that inspired you to work as a humanitarian?
My parents and my church community in Springfield taught me the value ‘loving our neighbors as ourselves.” In high school, my father helped organize a group of people from our church to travel to Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. With chainsaws in hand, we worked long days through humid weather. It was moving to see people use their vacation days to help others recover and rebuild. In college, my campus ministry United Ministries in Higher Education funded my travel to Haiti to witness extreme poverty, and to learn about the work that nonprofits and businesses were doing to help communities lift themselves out of poverty.
It was on that trip that I realized that I could build my career around the goal of ending poverty.
The notion that where you are born shouldn’t impact the opportunities available to you has been with me my entire life. We rise and fall together. The world is becoming even more connected. If we want to love our neighbors we need to look beyond just our neighborhoods. My faith, my love for the world, my patriotism and the example set for me growing up in Missouri make me a global citizen.
Missouri State’s influence
What professors or students inspired you while you attended MSU?
I had a very close relationship with Dr. Ken Rutherford in the political science department and Ann Fuhrman who ran Missouri State’s U.N. Depository Library. Dr. Rutherford inspired me with his stories of serving in the Peace Corps and working on landmine issues at a global level. Ann taught me the value of the United Nations system. Both helped me see that I wasn’t just an American or a Missourian but a citizen of the world.
What organizations were you involved in that helped you develop your skills?
After I completed my masters in Development Studies at the London School of Economics, I met people working with Global Citizen and felt that I’d found a job where I could make a meaningful difference. I started working with Global Citizen in London, and then continued working with them in New York when I moved back to the U.S. in 2012.
How do you keep from getting overwhelmed by all of the crises in the world?
I stay motivated by the progress that we have already made on so many issues. Since 1990, the number of people living in extreme poverty has been halved. Polio cases have decreased from 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 37 last year.
We have the tools to end poverty, hunger and inequality forever. The challenge for our generation is to put these tools to use.
I’m comforted knowing that 8 million Global Citizens worldwide join me and my colleagues in the fight to end extreme poverty. Together, we stand on the shoulders of giants.
How do you stay motivated?
I’ve always been inspired by Roosevelt’s quote about the ‘man in the arena’. Roosevelt argues that the credit belongs to the man who is in the arena with a face marred by dust and sweat and blood. (He says) there is no effort without error and shortcoming. He emphasizes the value of ‘daring greatly’ and ‘spending’ oneself in a worthy cause.
There are hard days and I often felt ‘spent.’ Prayer keeps me focused on the vision of a world free of poverty. Exercise and clean eating give me the energy to continue the fight.
How to help
What are some simple ways students and alumni can improve the lives of people around them?
Becoming a Global Citizen at GlobalCitizen.org is a simple way to learn more about the issues affecting people around the world and to use your voice to call for global change. In addition, there are so many local organizations in Missouri that are transforming the lives of people across our community.
Judith is based in New York City. She has traveled to more than 80 countries. Find out more about her work at Global Citizen, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Spencer Whaley is a senior in General Studies with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship, Graphic Design, and Religious Studies. He is from O’Fallon, Missouri, and intends to graduate in December 2017. Spencer said he jumped at the chance to enter the Be a Bear T-shirt contest. R.E.A.L. Bears, which connects current students with alumni for professional development, sponsors the annual competition.
We sat down with Spencer to find out how he came up with his idea.
What made you want to design this shirt?
I designed the shirt for the experience. I have been a graphic designer for years now and I’m always looking for opportunity to grow and to challenge myself.
How did you come up with the design?
The phrase “Anytime. Anywhere. Be A Bear” was about finally finding a place at Missouri State. The old slogan was “Follow Your Passion. Find Your Place.” I have always believed in following your passion because I believe passion comes from the Lord. He gifts us with abilities and fuels us with passion to make positive change. At Missouri State, you have followed your passion and have found a place at MSU. You have been accepted into the community and campus as a Bear and it is part of your journey now.
What concepts helped you create this bear and its claws?
I made the bear claws design in high school. We were creating screens for screen printing by hand and so I hand-drew and painted that design. I have the actual original hand-printed shirt back home in O’Fallon. I thought that it wasn’t something I had seen and I wanted to create some sort of depth on a 2-D print.
Spencer runs an apparel company called Whaley Design. He is developing several business ideas and intends to start additional design companies.
“My personal mission statement is: ‘To create a radically counter-cultural brand that embodies and abundant, adventurous, and approachable life.’ It really encapsulates all of my passions together into a beautiful statement. I want my designs to inspire conversation and change. I want to create something that is radically counter-cultural and one that embodies a type of life that is contagious and true above all things,” he said.
Spencer said he felt reserved when he heard his design won.
“When I found out that I won I was in the car with my friend and I literally said, ‘Oh, dope. I won that t-shirt contest,’ Spencer said. “Not a very exciting response, I know.”
“Natural disasters are devastating. My friend’s hometown was actually struck by a tornado last night,” Spencer said. “Anything that can even begin to help those affected by natural disasters I’m happy to help. It’s nice to know that something as small as a shirt design can help someone in need.”
The new Be a Bear T-shirt is available from March 17 through Homecoming, when it’s retired and a new design contest begins. Spencer received a $50 gift card from the bookstore and a prize pack from MarooNation, the official university alumni association.
Join fellow Bears fans at The Hangout, the official hospitality room for Missouri State University fans, during the MVC Basketball Tournaments in March. You can enjoy the game by getting into the maroon and white spirit without missing any of the action.
Watch other MVC games on televisions and scope out the competition.
Enjoy free snacks and soft drinks plus a cash bar is available.
Get ready for the action with a pep rally before every Lady Bears game with Bear Mania Basketball Band, MSU Cheer Squad and the Sugar Bears.
Update your maroon and white with BearWear from the Missouri State Bookstore and decorate posters to show your Bear spirit.
Hoops in the Heartland
What: Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament
Need a ride from Springfield to see the Lady Bears?
Hop on the fan bus departing from Springfield! Time TBD depending on seeding. Roundtrip bus ride is only $60 per person. Hotel rooms will be booked for bus passengers at a 2-night minimum of $105 per night. All-session and individual game tickets are available for purchase. To sign up, please email JulieWright@missouristate.edu or call 417-836-4143.
Can’t make it to the game?
Check out the livestream on WatchESPN. Blackout restrictions may apply.
As humans, we all seek love from our peers, our family and those we cherish most in life, but for many that love is not always unconditional and can come with a high price. Alumna Sarah Austin, ’05 and ’07, works with women who have come to find love as a prison instead of a sanctuary.
“There’s a common image of a typical trafficking victim that follows the issue around: A woman or girl cowering in a corner with tape over her mouth and her hands in chains,” Sarah says. “Trafficking victims often look like normal, everyday women. The chains that keep them with their traffickers are usually emotional and not physical.”
Human trafficking is a means to entice or coerce another human being into forced labor or commercial sex work. For example, forced labor might mean promising someone a job, then taking his identification and refusing to pay him. Sex trafficking could mean enticing someone into a seemingly loving relationship before exploiting him or her into prostitution. Nightlight says an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders each year.
Sarah studied technical and professional writing at Missouri State and earned her master’s in 2007. She heard about a local organization which combats human trafficking at a Rotary meeting. She recognized a staff member from Nightlight, Shauna Storey, from classes at Missouri State. After hearing Storey talk about the organization, Sarah started volunteering in August and joined the staff in January 2016.
Working with victims
Working with victims is more than reaching out to women in the commercial sex industry. Sarah says instead, it’s really about learning to love.
“I spend a lot of time figuring out how to love these women well and how to build relationships with them,” she says.
Nightlight is different from other organizations because it doesn’t make a distinction between trafficking victims and those who work in the sex industry by choice, Sarah says.
“We believe that every woman we meet is worthy of love and dignity and respect, regardless of whether they’re the victim of a prosecutable crime,” she says.
Sarah characterizes herself more as a cheerleader for these women, so “if and when they decide to pursue different work, more education, etc., we are there for them.”
She says those who are lured into trafficking are often girls who’ve grown up without unconditional love or live in homes where there is domestic violence or sexual abuse. These women develop low self-esteem and become easy targets.
“Pimps are experts at reading people and look for the girls who are lonely and vulnerable. They will groom a young woman with lots of love in the beginning of their relationship and slowly and methodically break her down. That’s one reason why it’s so hard for the women to leave; they want to get back to that honeymoon phase of their relationship. Not every moment with their pimp is terrible,” Sarah says.
You can help
As an outsider, it’s easy to believe you can’t help or miss “red flags“, but Sarah says there’s lots of resources to help you pick-up on those warning signs.
“Be mindful of recruiters that hang out where young women congregate. Recruiters for “modeling agencies” at local malls are red flags. Also be wary of contact from people you don’t know online, especially those offering too good to be true jobs, like modeling or acting gigs. Those jobs often turn into pornography work, and there are often threats to send photos or video to a victim’s family or school if the women wants to leave the job,” Sarah says.
Combating sex trafficking can be as simple as following the same rules as TSA, “If you see something, say something.”
“If you’re in a situation where something fishy is going on, I believe you’re there for a reason. It’s so easy to keep driving, turn your eyes away, or tell yourself, ‘I’m just imagining that.’ But, if you know what trafficking and the commercial sex industry looks like, if you know the red flags, you’ll start seeing at-risk people. You have to listen to your gut that’s telling you something isn’t right and do something,” Sarah says.
If you suspect trafficking you should call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. The hotline is staffed with connections in law enforcement who can investigate the situation and agencies who can assist the victims. You can get additional resources from the U.S. Department of State.
The Missouri State Chorale will be performing during the presidential inauguration on January 20, 2017, and Blake Richter, ’15, will be there to record it. Richter was chosen to accompany the Chorale as videographer and will document the historic event for future Bears. We caught up with him to find out how preparations are going.
What is it like knowing you have this chance for such a cool opportunity? Did you ever think you’d get to go to an inauguration?
I feel so blessed to be able to go on this incredible journey with the Chorale. Being an alum of the group makes it even more special. I’ve been wanting to travel to D.C. for quite a while now since I have never been there, but I never thought I would be going there to sit on the U.S. Capitol Building with the MSU Chorale during the presidential inauguration. It’s so crazy that this is real!
How were you chosen to do this work?
I graduated from Missouri State with a Bachelor of Music Education and I am now the music teacher at Inman Intermediate in Nixa, MO. I also run my own business called Blake Richter Productions, which focuses on audio engineering, video production, and photography. Dr. (Cameron) LaBarr is a huge reason why my production company has been so successful. I started doing recordings for the Choral Studies Program about a year and a half ago and because of that, other choirs have had me record for them. I have worked alongside Dr. LaBarr for many projects and I’ve also done some recordings for his wife Susan, who is the editor of Walton Music. They have both recorded in my home studio as well. The day it was announced that the Chorale will be performing at the inauguration, I texted Dr. LaBarr congratulating him and he responded with, “So are you in?” About two weeks later, we sat down for coffee, talked through logistics, and it was official that I was going along to capture all of the behind the scenes footage of the trip.
Do you still know people in the Chorale?
I know about half of the members in Chorale. I graduated in 2015, so some of the juniors and seniors were in Chorale when I was in it. I have also been a counselor for the Missouri State Choral Institute for the past two years, so I know some of the freshmen and sophomores through that experience.
The Chorale performs often. Is there a particular performance that especially stands out from your days singing at Missouri State?
I was a Baritone in the Chorale from August 2011-May 2015. During that time, we performed in Germany, Paris, Scotland, England, NYC, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, St. Louis, Kansas City, and obviously the Springfield area. In 2014, we performed at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. That was the last time Dr. Guy Webb conducted the MSU Chorale after teaching at MSU since 1981. That was a very memorable and emotional performance. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the choir or in the audience.
Sen. Roy Blunt, chair of the inaugural committee, stunned the Chorale when he invited them to perform during the ceremony. Did you know before that? How did you react to hearing that you could get to go, too?
About a month before the big announcement, I received a phone call from Dr. LaBarr. He didn’t give me any information, but he said, “If I had an amazing opportunity for you, would you be able to take off 2-3 days of school?” I responded with, “Well, it depends on what the opportunity is, but knowing you and how excited you sound right now, it’s probably a pretty great opportunity.” When I heard the announcement, I had a feeling he wanted me to go along. Sure enough, after I texted him congrats, I found out that I was going to go too! I immediately told my wife, who is also an alum of the Chorale, and we both were so excited! It took a couple of weeks for me to fully grasp the idea of me going along on this historic journey. I still don’t think it has fully hit that I will be experiencing this.
The Chorale will be performing a send-off concert on January 14 at the Welcome Center on the Missouri State campus. All are welcome to attend.
The holidays can be a time of joy and happiness as you relax around a brightly lit Christmas tree. You’ve bought perfect presents and toiled selflessly over homemade candies. You can’t wait to drive six hours to Ames to enjoy drinking egg nog and catching up with your beloved brother and his wonderful little angels, age 4 and 7.
If this isn’t your family, read on for ideas about dealing with seasonal stress with a spoonful of encouragement from Mary Poppins.
Let’s go fly a kite: schedule activities
You may not like spending time with your relatives. Whether due to differing political beliefs or child-rearing practices, it can be hard to stay calm around people who have known you the longest – and know how to push your buttons. Char Berquist, director of the Center for Dispute Resolution, offers some tips on keeping the peace by adjusting expectations and scheduling activities for kids.
The job’s a game: managing stress
In addition to family dynamics, buying gifts and traveling can contribute to holiday tension. While it’s common to feel frazzled during this time, some know how to handle pressure better than others. Rhonda Lesley, director of the Counseling Center, explains why how you think about stress influences how you react to it:
“Some students have very full lives, but they are able to manage pressures well, partly because they choose to think optimistic/hopeful thoughts about their situation:
‘I have so many demands, and they will be winding down soon…I’m so busy and don’t feel I can keep up, but I love everything I’m involved in and I will somehow get it all done…I will make it…I know how to cope well…’ A different student with the same situation might think in more distorted ways: ‘I have so many demands, and they’re going to ruin me…I’m so busy, and there’s no way out of this…I can’t do this…I’ll never be able to cope…”
Lesley also says that those who think optimistically will likely follow through on using good coping skills, while those who feel defeated by stress may respond negatively or even give up. She recommends healthy approaches like walks, time with friends, exercising, and intentional relaxation methods like deep breathing. Spending time with pets can also be soothing. The Counseling Center website includes links to additional helpful resources for anxiety and stress management.
Practically perfect in every way: reduce social media usage
Social media can be another source of anxiety during the holidays. We want to check in with friends and see pictures of their kids, but idealized images of so-called perfect lives can contribute to negative feelings about ourselves. Checking social media too often can even contribute to feelings of depression. The most common effect could be the fear of missing out, or FOMO. Combat those feelings by using social media to schedule fun with friends. Besides, if your high school teammate’s life looks a little too much like a sappy diamond engagement ring ad, consider this.
Just a spoonful of sugar: eat healthily for better energy
Diet can also affect stress management, and it can be hard to eat well when surrounded by piles of fudge and sugar cookies. While indulging is fun, a poor diet can cause lethargy at a time when you need stable blood sugar levels and lots of energy. Still, you know you shouldn’t live on peanut brittle for three days, but what to do when it’s right in front of you?
We reached out to Natalie Allen, dietetics instructor in the Biomedical Sciences Department, for help. She offered these tips for maintaining weight over the holidays, and a healthy recipe to get started:
Don’t skip meals and “save up” for the evening party. Instead, eat a balanced breakfast and lunch, and you’ll be less likely to binge on unhealthy party foods that evening.
Bring a healthy treat to the party so you know you’ll have at least one choice to eat.
Healthy, fun treats for a holiday party include: fruit kebabs (green grapes and red strawberries are festive at the holidays), veggie tray, hummus and pretzel thins, or black bean salsa and baked tortilla chips.
Drink water during the day. It’s easy to neglect healthy drinks when it’s not as hot outside, but water (try fruit flavored) is essential to good health.
Make it your goal to maintain, not lose weight, over the holidays. Be realistic -treats abound – and allow yourself a few splurges.
Track your steps. We tend to be more sedentary in the winter. By tracking your steps, you’ll be more likely to move and burn calories.
Watch alcoholic drinks because the calories add up fast.
Watch portions. Enjoy your favorite snacks, treats, cookies and appetizers … but in moderation.
Quite satisfactory: a recipe to get started
This crunchy snack is a crowd-pleaser as it’s both salty and sweet. Hands-down, this recipe is everyone’s favorite at my house, especially among kids. I often bring kettle corn to holiday parties and it’s a huge hit.
Homemade Kettle Corn
Recipe Source: Adapted from allrecipes.com
¼ cup oil (canola works well)
½ cup popcorn, unpopped
¼ cup white sugar
Turn stovetop burner to medium/high heat. Place heavy skillet on burner, add oil and 3 popcorn kernels. Cover with lid and wait for those 3 kernels to pop. Remove lid and add rest of popcorn, sprinkle evenly with sugar. Put lid back on skillet. Wearing an oven mitt, lift and shake the skillet occasionally over the next 2-3 minutes, to prevent the popcorn from burning. Popcorn is done when popping slows, so time will vary. Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt, as desired.
Makes approximately 8 cups popped kettle corn
Nutrition info per serving (1 cup): 85 calories, 7 grams fat
“The more you laugh
The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more we’re a merrier we”
Congrats, #BearGrads! You’ve stayed up all night studying, passed GEP 100, waited until 11:59 p.m. to turn in your assignments, and had ramen noodles and chicken nuggets for the last four+ years. It’s now time to strut your stuff across the stage and share your accomplishments with your friends and family. All the work you’ve done to get to this day has now paid off, and it’s time to start #adulting.
We’ve compiled a collection of resources to help you continue your success. You’re joining a network of over 110,000 Bears who have walked this path before you. Welcome alumni!
Once a Bear, always a Bear
MarooNation is the official Alumni Association of Missouri State University. We offer several ways you can stay connected with your alma mater:
Sign-up with our online community to receive email updates and find out about dozens of networking events both online and in cities across the U.S.
Get updates on fellow alumni including information about the Bears of Distinction awards banquet in June, plus nominate someone you know.
Remember, you have search options right here at the university.The Career Center is a good place to start. If you are ready to apply for jobs, sign up for Job Tracks, where you can submit resumes online.
Considering graduate school?
This can be a great way to learn additional skills and gain experience in competitive markets. Missouri State also has financing options such as graduate assistantships, which include paid tuition and a monthly stipend. Learn more by visiting the Graduate College.
We’re excited to welcome you into the Alumni Association, which connects more than 110,000 alumni around the world with Missouri State University.
We invite #BearGrads to visit the Graduation Giveaway table during commencement week to receive a gift and to learn more about MarooNation. Graduation Giveaway will be available:
Dec. 12-15: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Maroon Nation store in the Plaster Student Union (PSU)
Dec. 16: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. across from the information desk in the PSU
Photos with the PSU Bear
Celebrate commencement day with one of the most iconic Bears on campus.
Visit the Bear statue outside of Plaster Student Union to get your photo taken and to receive a free commemorative print. Photos will be available from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16.
Once a Bear, always a Bear
Wherever the future takes you, we encourage you to stay connected with Missouri State University.
Make sure you receive the monthly alumni newsletter, free copies of Missouri State magazine, invitations to alumni events and more by updating your contact information. You can also get the latest University news and connect with fellow graduates by following MarooNation on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Once again, we congratulate you on your graduation and wish you all the best.