Senior, Spanish and Exercise & Movement Science Major
MaKenzie is helping members of her community through the organization that helped her own family during their time of need – Ronald McDonald House. Having earned her 100 hour service pin, MaKenzie gives 2-3 hours every Saturday at the Mercy Children’s Hospital Ronald McDonald House helping check-in new families, providing house tours, cleaning rooms or cooking meals. She recently was able to use her Spanish language skills to help a Hispanic family understand the check-in process and feel welcomed to RMH. MaKenzie says, “finding the right organization to volunteer with gives you purpose. It’s always heartwarming when a family thanks you for donating your time. Life is short, so I think we should always be doing something that matters!” In addition to RMH, MaKenzie also volunteers at Ozarks Food Harvest, participates in Delta Zeta service opportunities and has studied abroad in Ecuador learning the culture and language.
For her passion to give back and serve others, MaKenzie Judy is a wonderful example of what living the public affairs mission is all about! We are proud to recognize her as December’s Public Affairs Student Spotlight.
Rachel Peterson’s energy and upbeat attitude are evident whether she is at work or volunteering. Among numerous volunteer efforts, this Spotlight focuses on Rachel’s service role as board member of the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater West Plains area. In 2009, a group of community leaders came together to raise the funds for a local Boys and Girls Club to provide a safe, fun and positive environment for children. Rachel joined the board in spring 2012 just as the group started to move full steam ahead to make the dream a reality, with the club officially opening in May 2013. Coordinating volunteers and fundraisers through food and arts and crafts drives are just some of the activities that are always needed to keep the BGC up and running. It’s been stated that, “whenever help is needed, Rachel is there!”
For her dedication to engaging and helping children in the West Plains community, we are happy to recognize Rachel as December’s Public Affairs Staff Spotlight.
Janice’s enduring passion for serving at-risk children has created numerous opportunities to make a real difference in the lives of children, families and our community. Currently serving on the Board of Directors for both Community Partnership of the Ozarks and the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch, Janice takes on many roles to help ensure that viable programs and resources are available to those in need. Most recently, Janice has been instrumental in developing the new girl’s program through the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch. The Women’s Transitional Living Program, to be opened in December in Willard, will serve young women who are aging out of the foster care system and must learn to live independently.
Janice serves as a model in understanding and living the public affairs mission both personally and professionally. She says, “from a young age, we teach our Greenwood students the importance of and the joy that can be gained from their giving to others. That may be through food and clothing drives or by informing others of particular areas of need and opportunities to get engaged and make a difference.”
For her commitment to ethical leadership and community engagement we are pleased to honor Janice Duncan as our December Public Affairs Faculty Spotlight!
Jennifer Johnston is the mother of a beautiful daughter named Isabelle who has Down Syndrome. Early on, Jennifer discovered that this condition is misunderstood by both the public and the medical field, and has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the myths and truths about it. She joined the Down Syndrome Group of the Ozarks (DSGO) in January of 2012 and has since helped plan and recruit volunteers for their major annual fundraiser, Step Up for Down Syndrome. The event includes a family carnival, an awareness walk and a night with the Springfield Cardinals. In the fall of 2012, Jennifer joined the DSGO board of directors and serves on the New Parent and Medical Outreach Committee that visits families in the hospital, provides emotional support and steers them toward available resources. This committee also organizes new parent play groups and gives presentations to the medical community about empathic communication strategies when dealing with families with Down Syndrome.
Jennifer spearheads her own awareness campaign by distributing DSGO calendars and posting interesting Down Syndrome facts and stories on Facebook. She gets particularly busy in October during Down Syndrome Awareness Month. As November’s Public Affairs Staff Spotlight, we are proud to recognize Jennifer’s community engagement and ethical leadership through improving the lives of those with Down Syndrome, their families and their communities.
Hillary is a great example of living out the cultural competence pillar of public affairs! Growing up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, most of what Hillary knew of America and American culture came from the movies. But living in Springfield has been a very different experience than movie life portrayed in big city New York or the California beaches. The transition of leaving home, new college classes, the language barriers, coupled with the ‘quiet’ of small town living, has not been without struggle and a longing for home. However, Hillary’s high school dream of studying abroad in America along with her tenacity to branch out in new directions, has kept her focused, involved and surrounded by new friends. Hillary says, “I do my best to really push myself out there to get involved in new experiences and make friendships with a variety of different people. Also having a local host family through International Friends of Missouri State has been a great opportunity to experience American culture and to not feel so homesick!”
Hillary is an active member of the Opal Agency within the College of Business, is the public relations officer with International Public Affairs Leaders (iPAL), participates in the Association of International Students (AIS) and works as a Lab Assistant with Computer Services User Support.
For Hillary’s dedication to exploring new directions, gaining multiple cultural perspectives and contributing her time and creativity to numerous university activities and programs, we are honored to recognize Huong ‘Hillary’ Thao Vu as the November Public Affairs Student Spotlight!
The Missouri State University Alliance for Veterans will host a Veterans Day celebration, Tuesday, November 11. The theme this year is: Honor Sacrifice: The Purple Heart. The day will start at 8 am with the Veterans Recognition Breakfast in the Plaster Student Union Ballroom. All military veterans and their guests are invited to attend this free breakfast. To make a reservation for the breakfast, please call 417-836-5636 (MSU Career Center) or at the Alliance website http://alliance.missouristate.edu by November 4. This year’s speaker will be Randy Thomas, Military Order of the Purple Hear. Mr. Thomas served in Vietnam from October 1968 to September 1969, as a helicopter crew chief and door gunner of a helicopter gunship. At 9:45 am the Missouri State Canteen will feature the music of The Hibernotes in the PSU Food Court North. The morning’s activities will wrap up with the Taps Project beginning at 10:30 am. The Bear Pride Trumpet Section, MSU, and community trumpets will perform a concert, followed by the cascade of “Taps” at the south entrance of McDonald Arena. Campus and community members are asked to pause at the sound of “Taps” to reflect on those who sacrifice all in public service.
Help MSU honor all veterans this Veterans Day and especially those who have sacrificed and have been honored with the Purple Heart.
Due to the prediction of continued rain, the Stomp Out Hunger Shoe Drive collection trailer will not be open today. The trailer will resume its normal collection hours this Wednesday and Thursday, weather permitting. If you would like your office or organization to serve as a collection site, please contact the office of Public Affairs Support 6-5073 to learn more about this opportunity.
Nominations now being accepted through October 24th!
The community is encouraged to nominate Missouri State University staff members for the Staff Excellence in Community Service Award. Each year, up to two staff members are recognized for their excellence in the area of volunteer work with charitable, nonprofit, church or similar organizations either locally or globally and earn a $1,000 award. Awardees will be acknowledged during the Staff Awards Recognition Luncheon, Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 11:30 am. Information and nomination form can be found at the Excellence in Community Service Awards webpage or contact Stacey Trewatha-Bach at 836-8832, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Associate Professor, Director-Financial Planning Program, FGB Department
A love of soccer and teaching has brought about numerous opportunities for Dr. James Philpot to make an impact in his community. Having played amateur soccer himself, James has been a licensed referee and referee trainer for nearly 17 years. From 3 year olds to high school matches, maintaining ethical playing standards for the sport is sometimes a thankless position, but as James states, “you savor the moments when you get the job well done and especially when you get a nod of affirmation from a parent or a player.”
Close to Dr. Philpot’s heart is his creation of an independent soccer association. While living in Arkadelphia, AR he saw an unmet need for children to experience the fun and resulting social and athleticism skills inherent in the game of soccer. Having developed and organized the program, it is still going strong today serving over 350 children a year in the Arkadelphia area.
In addition, James and his wife are active in their church, where they volunteer and contribute their time and teaching talents to directing the Youth Sunday School Program. As October’s Public Affairs Faculty Spotlight, we are pleased to recognize James Philpot both on and off the field for his dedication to ethical leadership and community engagement!
Serving others and living the public affairs mission is simply a part of Dennis Efrling. From local projects to international missions, Dennis works to make a positive impact – big or small. An avid individual and tandem bicyclist with his wife Melissa, Dennis has dedicated 25 years with the local Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society as both a Bike-A-Thon participant and as a volunteer member of the Mid-America MS Chapter Planning Committee. While many take vacation to relax, Dennis uses vacation time to wake at dawn and paint the route arrow markers for the approximate 150 miles of road used by Bike MS cyclists. Dennis also supports many other causes through 5 K’s and other bike-a-thons and states his new goal is to annually run and bike at least three events each for different local causes.
In addition, Dennis has spent extensive time helping Hurricane Katrina victims with clean-up and reconstruction efforts as well as traveled to Ecuador and Nicaragua over ten times to assist with construction and educational projects through his church and the Project Hope organization. Dennis states, “even though you don’t speak the same language, it’s the new friendships formed and the mutual learning from each other that is the most rewarding part of my international work.”
Dennis is a great example of living out the three pillars of public affairs both locally and abroad and we are proud to recognize Dennis Erfling as October’s Public Affairs Staff Spotlight!