Missouri State University
Political Science Blog

Where Are They Now – Tony Simones

Former professor, pre-law advisor, and Phi Alpha Delta sponsor, Dr. Anthony Simones, has been Manager of Judicial Education and Programming for the Office of State Courts Administrator since August 2011. After eight years of teaching in Georgia, he returned to Missouri because his wife, Shawntay, wanted to start a family in her home state. They now have a fifteen month old daughter, Mary Margaret Gracyn.

As Manager of Judicial Education, Tony is responsible for educational programming for the state’s judges, juvenile officers, court clerks and court reporters. In addition, he is working with the Supreme Court’s Civic Education Committee, creating presentations for judges to make, as well as writing and producing videos dealing with legal issues. His latest effort is “The Battle of Skokie,” dealing with a landmark First Amendment confrontation: http://www.courts.mo.gov/civiceducation/pages/home.html

He would love to hear from former students and can be reached at Anthony.Simones@courts.mo.gov.

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Vladislava Petrova Nears the End of her PhD Studies

Always interested in International Relations, after graduating with a Master degree in International Affairs and Administration (now MGS) from MSU in 2004, Vladislava spent a year in Melbourne, Australia as an Ambassadorial Scholar for Rotary International. Upon her return to Missouri she worked for two and a half years as an exchange lecturer at MSU and Drury University, where she taught diverse undergraduate courses.
In 2009 Vladislava returned back to school for her PhD degree at Southern Illinois University. She is now preparing for the defense of her dissertation titled “Helping Others or Helping Oneself? NGO Coordination and its Consequences” in Spring 2015. While at SIU, Vladislava was awarded a Dissertation Research fellowship and in 2013 together with Dr. Stephen Bloom she published her article “National Subversion of Supranational Goals: ‘Pork-Barrel’ Politics and EU Regional Aid” in Europe- Asia Studies. She is excited to finish her studies and is ready for new challenges as she is re-locating back to Europe.

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PLS Instructor Expands Student Horizons

Dr. Gary Rader’s American Democracy and Citizenship class (PLS 101) takes the Public Affairs mission component of cultural competence quite seriously. Joined by Springfield Mayor, Bob Stephens, Dr. Rader’s class recently participated in a web conference with students from the Instituto de Enseñanza Superior (IDES) in Rio Tercero Argentina (pictured below).

If you would like to read more about this project (and practice your Spanish) follow this link
Tribuna 7-10-14 MARIANA – Proyecto compartido entre jóvenes locales y de EEUU

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Toto, We’re Not in Missouri Anymore – PLS and MPA Degrees Take Nolan Sunderman to Prairie Village Kansas

Nolan Sunderman, 2005 Political Science and 2007 Master of Public Administration alumni, recently accepted a position with the City of Prairie Village, KS as the Assistant to the City Administrator. Prior to his position with the City of Prairie Village, Nolan was the Economic Development/Convention & Visitors Bureau Director for the City of Lansing, KS for the last seven years. Along with economic development and CVB duties, Nolan was also responsible for oversight of public information, information technology, grant administration, community events, and the local history museum. His current responsibilities include parks and recreation, legislative affairs, and emergency management.

As a student at Missouri State, Nolan took advantage of two opportunities he had to travel that he would highly recommend. The first was the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference (www.usna.edu/fafac) which he had the opportunity to attend twice. The second opportunity was through the National Council of U.S.-Arab Relations (http://ncusar.org/) when he traveled to Kuwait.


Nolan currently lives in Shawnee, KS with his wife Natalie and their son Connor (What a great name).

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William and Brittney Bishop: Father and Daughter Find Path to Business Through Political Science

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William Bishop earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in History at Missouri State University, graduating May of 1989. William took a management position with YRC Freight upon graduation where he sharpened his critical thinking skills and began a long career in logistics. In 1994, William took a position with a logistics consulting startup, where he quickly became a principal with the company. After ten years, William left to start Bishop Enterprises, LLC., along with his wife and business partner Ginger Bishop (MSU class of 1997). Along the way, William earned a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University. Today, William is the managing operating partner of Bishop Enterprises, which is celebrating its tenth year of business.

William and Ginger were pleased to be able to employ daughter Brittney Bishop at Bishop Enterprises, where she too began to learn basic business skills. Brittney also attended Missouri State University, where she graduated in 2012 with her Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in Religious Studies. Continuing her career with Bishop Enterprises after graduation, Brittney moved to Kansas City where she served as a Business Development Specialist. But after seven years of continuous employment by Bishop Enterprises, Brittney wanted to expand her experience beyond the family business, so she took a position as Service Director for Hanebutt Technologies Inc., in Overland Park, Kansas. Brittney has been able to use her political science training at Hanebutt to properly allocate engineering assets as needed by their customers, as well as utilize her customer service and sales experience from Bishop Enterprises.

With William and Brittney, political science and business has been a family affair, and along with wife and mother Ginger, MSU also runs deep in the family. (Son Colin is attending Robert Morris University-Illinois on a lacrosse scholarship where he is pursuing his degree in Accounting. Colin also worked for Bishop Enterprises while in high school).

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Dr. Yitan Li Finds Professional Success in Seattle

Dr. Li
Dr. Yitan Li is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Seattle University. After earning a Masters degree at Missouri State in 2002, Dr. Lee earned a second Masters degree at the University of Missouri and completed a Ph.D in Politics and International Relations at the University of Southern California in 2008. At Seattle University he is the Director, of the Global Awareness Program.

Dr. Li’s professional interests include International Relations, Comparative Politics, Foreign Policy Analysis, International Political Economy, East Asian Politics, Chinese Politics, Chinese Foreign Policy, and U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations. 2014 has been an eventful year with three academic publications: “US Economic Sanctions against China: Explaining Sanction Effectiveness from a Cultural Perspective” in Asian Perspective, “Constructing Peace in the Taiwan Strait: A Constructivist Analysis of the Changing Dynamics of Identities and Nationalisms” in Journal of Contemporary China, and “At the Nexus of New Challenges: China’s Leadership Change and Cross-Strait Relations” in Fudan Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Public Affairs Convocation Explores the Intersection of Strength and Compassion

As a kid growing up in Missouri, Eric Greitens loved “choose your own adventure” style stories. When he went to college, he resolved to make his life an adventure of his own choosing.


His passport stamps comprise a list of geopolitical hotspots: China, Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Bolivia, Afghanistan. His roles in these places have been diverse: teacher, aid worker, Navy SEAL, documentarian. And through his experiences, he realized “that it is within our power, and that the world requires of us — of every one of us — that we be both good and strong in order to love and protect,” an understanding he details in this year’s Common Reader, The Heart and the Fist.

Eric Greitens will share his journey during this semester’s Public Affairs Convocation at 7 p.m., Oct. 28, 2014 in Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.

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Dr. Denny Pilant Honored During Homecoming Gala


Professor of Political Science and former Department Head and Dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs, Dr. Denny Pilant was honored during the Homecoming Gala with the 2014 Award of Appreciation. A member of the Political Science Department for thirty-six years, Denny’s impact on the department, the college, and the University is immeasurable.

For a profile of Denny’s life of service to the University and greater Springfield community, see


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MGS Alumni Selected for Lead Asia Pacific Program

2014 MGS alumni Aaron Kruse has been selected to attend the Asia-Pacific Youth Organisation (APYO) Lead Asia Pacific (LAP) Program in Beijing China in November 2014. Aaron will be one of five people representing the United States at this special program for emerging leaders from the twenty-one Pacific Rim countries/economies that make up the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

According to APYO, the objective of its Lead Asia Pacific program “is to provide a high-level platform for 21 young leaders from across the region to research and debate with pressing regional issues with their peers and experience the workings of important regional summits and the leaders that attend them.” Presidents Obama and Xi will be in attendance.

Congratulations Aaron. A well-deserved honor.

More information about APYO can be found at http://apyo.org/.

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A Salute to Alumni Lt. Colonel Cory Baker

1999 Political Science and 2002 Master of Public Administration alumni, Cory Baker, was recently promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel in the United States Air Force.

In addition to being promoted, Lieutenant Colonel Baker was selected to be the 48th Medical Support Squadron Commander at RAF Lakenheath, England. He will manage approximately 200 personnel in the squadron and lead the support functions in the hospital (resource management, info systems, readiness, nutritional medicine, logistics, pharmacy, patient administration, and lab).

Congratulations to Cory and his wife, Jennifer, a 2012 Technology Management alumni of Missouri State University.

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