Missouri State University
Political Science Blog

Miko McFarland Takes on Education Abroad at the University of Kentucky

Long time MSU staff member and MGS alumni, Miko McFarland, has accepted a postition at the University of Kentucky as Assistant Director of Education Abroad at the University of Kentucky. In her new post, she will be managing an education abroad office that sends approximately 1,100 University of Kentucky students abroad each year.

Congratulations Miko!

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Engaged in Public Service: Heather Lockard Fights Poverty in Missouri


MPA alumni, Heather Lockard, is the Executive Director of Missouri Association for Community Action, INC (MACA).

MACA is an association of community action agencies fighting poverty in Missouri. Their mission is to be an effective advocate in policy and program development which impacts low-income families and to strengthen the capacity of Missouri’s Community Action Agencies. Based in Jefferson City, they have nineteen Community Action Agency Areas across the state, including Springfield.

United in purpose, the Missouri Community Action Network will inspire and engage people to ensure that all families and communities thrive. For more information, see http://www.communityaction.org/

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Sara Kruse and City Year: Civic Engagement at Its Best

Sara Kruse

Sara Kruse earned her Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History at Missouri State University, graduating May of 2012. Sara currently serves as the Training and Evaluations Manager for City Year Tulsa (http://www.cityyear.org/tulsa), where she plans and implements a rigorous leadership development curriculum for a group of 50 young idealists, preparing them for their work full time in schools as tutors, mentors, and role models to youth at risk of dropping out. Sara also serves as the Site Literacy Lead, creating and implementing processes and procedures that enhance the quality of literacy tutoring at City Year.

City Year is a national non-profit that unites a diverse group of 17-24 year olds for a year of full time service in schools. Serving as tutors, mentors, and role models to students at risk of dropping out, City Year corps members are given the opportunity to truly change the world. City Year has locations in 25 cities in the U.S. and 3 international locations. For more information about City Year, click on the video links below. Civic engagement at its best.



Sara and her husband, Chase, live in Tulsa with their 7 month old daughter Caroline.

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Dr. Indira Palacios-Valladares Garners APSA Funding Award

Congratulations to Dr. Indira Palacios-Valladares. Indira was selected by American Political Science Association (APSA) Fund for Latino Scholarship for funding of her 2014 proposal to investigate differences in the scope of student political mobilization in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay since their respective return of democracy in 1983, 1990, and 1985.

This grant allowed Indira to complete archival research in the Library of Congress
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as well as hire a young, but extremely capable research assistant.
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Zach Clapper Discovers a Non-Profit Niche


As Assistant Visitor Experience Manager, Zach Clapper’s responsibilities are quite varied in nature. Being part of the management team allows him to manage many areas of focus in the organization including operations, retail, rentals, volunteer management, and fundraising. The best and worst part of working for a nonprofit organization is the necessity of simultaneously filling a multitude of professional roles. It is both exhausting and rewarding work. It gives him the opportunity to recruit volunteers, manage a gift shop, and raise money to continue the important work of Discovery Center.

Discovery Center of Springfield has been Zach’s passion since 2011. It is not only the area’s only science center but also a valuable educational resource to the community. Working for DCS has allowed Zach to expand his professional skills and discover new interests. He would highly recommend experience in working for a nonprofit in some point of your career.

For more information about the Discovery Center, see http://discoverycenter.org/

For a video clip of one of the coolest exhibits, watch at http://www.ozarksfirst.com/story/fall-fun-at-the-discovery-center/d/story/xf3VfPdYQUWklbpO8F1RfA

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PLS Department Welcomes Kazakhstan Ambassador

The Political Science Department is delighted to support An Evening With The Ambassador, the first of a planned series of speaker events. Join Congressman Billy Long and the Master of Global Studies faculty for a brief presentation and a question and answer session with His Excellency Mr. Kairat Umarov, The Ambassador of Kazakhstan for “Kazakhstan: Heart of Eurasia” on Thursday, August 21st from 7:00 to 8:00 in Strong 003 (in the basement of Strong Hall).


Ambassador Umarov is visiting Southwest Missouri to learn about our region and meet with Springfield businesses to explore opportunities for collaboration in the areas of manufacturing, agriculture, education and new technologies.

For more information, contact the Political Science Department at 417-836-5630.

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Internships Lead to Success for Lauren O’Reilly

Lauren O’Reilly earned a BS degree, with a minor Music, in 2009. While at Missouri State, Lauren was active in MSU political groups and the founder of two. She completed four internships in Washington, DC during her time at MSU. She received college credit for an internship at the Leadership Institute and then stayed in DC that summer to intern for Public Advocate of the US and the Susan B. Anthony List. She later returned to DC as a summer intern at The Heritage Foundation.

After graduation, Lauren served as an intern for Koch Industries, Inc. in Wichita, KS which evolved into a full-time job in HR coordinating the Koch internship program. She moved to Washington, DC in 2010 to work in the office of Congressman Mike Pompeo’s (R-KS); serving as scheduler and office manager. In 2012, Lauren became an Associate Manager at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where she manages meetings and events, files lobbying reports, and serves as the gatekeeper and calendar manager for executives.

Lauren's Professional Photo 2013

Recently married, Lauren and her husband, Keith Puzder, live in a suburb of Washington, DC.

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Josh Erisman Follows His Passion for Music and Finds his Place in Strafford, MO

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Josh Erisman earned his Bachelor of Science in Political Science with minor in Communication at Missouri State University in 2008. In 2011 he earned his Master of Arts in Church Music, with highest honors, at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, where he was the recipient of the Lora Lee Kieser Church Music Award. Josh is the Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church of Strafford, where he plans and leads music for worship services and special events, directs the worship choir, vocal teams, and band, as well as manages the church’s website, social media, and communications. He also is an Adjunct Professor at Baptist Bible College where he teaches U.S. Government, Local Church Music, and Fundamentals of Music, as well as serving as staff accompanist for the College Choir & Orchestra and the Choral Conducting class.

Josh and his wife, Brittany, live in Springfield with their 3-year-old son Malachi and 9-month-old daughter Lydia.

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Kelly Hoover Serves the Citizens of Missouri in the Highway Patrol

Kelly Hoover majored in political science, minoring in anthropology, and was a residence hall advisor. She graduated in May of 2009 and was presented with the Advisee of the Year award. Upon graduation she joined the Missouri Highway Patrol and is assigned to Troop B, in Macon, MO, and patrols Zone 7, serving Knox and Lewis counties in Northeast Missouri. While we are proud of all of our graduates, Kelly’s service to the citizens of Missouri should be applauded. For more information about law enforcement careers with the Highway Patrol visit their webpage at http://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/MSHPWeb/PatrolDivisions/HRD/Trooper/troopCareer.html.


If you look closely, you just might see a little brown monkey hanging from the rear view mirror.

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MPA Program Reaccredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration

After a rigorous process that included a self-study, external review, and site visits, the Master of Public Administration program at Missouri State University has been fully accredited by the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) for the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). NASPAA represents the “global standard in public service education” and their endorsement indicates that the MPA program has demonstrated our commitment to quality public service education.

Dr. Mark Rushefsky, emeritus professor and former MPA Director, provided exceptional leadership as the MPA program successfully navigated the reaccreditation process. He is to be congratulated for his efforts along with all of the MPA faculty. Well done all.

More information about NASPAA and its programs can be found at http://www.naspaa.org/. The full text of COPRA’s accreditation letter can be found here: NASPAA decision letter Missouri State University

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