Missouri State University
Public Affairs Blog

July Spotlight: MSU-West Plains Campus

MSU West Plains campus

West Plains Campus

Operation 50K


This month’s Spotlight is dedicated to the students, faculty and staff of Missouri State-West Plains for their Operation 50K project!  This year-long initiative challenged the campus community to donate 50,000 hours of service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the West Plains campus, celebrate its public affairs mission, and as a way to express their thanks to the area communities who have given their support to MSU-West Plains over the years.

“We knew this would be a big challenge,” Chancellor Drew Bennett stated, “but we thought out of the box and invited students, faculty, staff, their families, our advisory board members and their families, and others throughout the community with ties to the university to participate.”  With students providing the largest percentage of hours, the campus exceeded their goal by officially logging in 56,531 hours.  Calculated at minimum wage, this totaled $423,982 of volunteer labor to the community and its civic causes.  West Plains SGA President, Dakota Bates, who gave the initiative its name, thanked all the students for their hard work and dedication that made this dream a reality.

For their contribution, dedication and exemplifying all three pillars of the public affairs mission, we honor the entire West Plains campus as July’s Public Affairs Spotlight!

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June Student Spotlight: Nicole Noonan

Nicole NoonanNicole Noonan

Junior, Cultural and Regional Geography major


“My inspiration for service comes from experiencing first-hand how your efforts really make a difference in people’s lives.” Working on her degree in Cultural and Regional Geography, Nicole says she enjoys studying the interconnectedness of the world and how it came to be in its present state. This interconnectedness lead to the discovery of one particular passion – gardening.

Outside her class work, working as a Computer Services Lab Assistant and being President of the Bear Service Team, Nicole also volunteers with the Springfield Urban Agriculture Coalition.  Recently she assisted in the planting of apple trees at the new Farmers’ Market Pavilion and this summer, is interning with the Coalition to help expand their curriculum with the DIRT’s schoolyard garden projects. “For several years now kids have been learning how to grow their gardens, but now they need to know how to use and eat what they grew!” Nicole is creating a curriculum on how kids can safely prepare, cook and eat foods from the garden.

As June’s Public Affairs Student Spotlight, we are proud to recognize Nicole’s leadership both on and off campus, her active community engagement and her dedication to environmental stewardship!

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June Staff Spotlight: Kimberly Callahan

Kimberly CallahanKimberly Callahan

Administrative Assistant II, FGB Department


On any given evening or weekend, you might just spot Kimberly Callahan lending a hand around town! She is living out the public affairs mission through a multitude of interests and projects ranging from local fundraisers, writing and leading Bible studies, to volunteering her social media talents to help others generate cause awareness.

Moving to Springfield from Sacramento, it didn’t take long for Kimberly to get involved in community projects and start making an impact both locally and globally.  She participates annually for the Friends Against Hunger’s Meals-a-Million, Walk MS and Bass Pro’s Marathon Weekend.  A current goal is to participate in at least one 5K a month. Most recently in May, Kimberly worked the AIDS Project of the Ozark’s Red Ribbon Ride where she cheered on riders and put together hygiene and cleaning kits for their clients in need. She also chairs several committees for the Springfield Metro Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

Kimberly says, “The Friends of the Library book sale was the first event I got involved with in Springfield and that, along with projects through North Point Church and Convoy of Hope are my favorites, although I of course enjoy all the organizations I’m involved with!”   For providing a wonderful example of what living Missouri State’s public affairs mission is all about, we are proud to recognize Kimberly Callahan as the June Public Affairs Staff Spotlight!

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June Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Lorene Stone

LoreneStoneDr. Lorene Stone

Professor, Sociology Department

Community service is an integral part of life for Lorene Stone. She credits her parents and Girl Scouts for instilling an early awareness and importance of being an engaged citizen. Her earliest service work included picking up litter along country roads, running errands for elderly neighbors and using her weekly allowance to buy gloves and hats for her hometown’s annual mitten tree.

Lorene endeavors to make a real difference in the lives of children and families. She has served on the Board of Directors for both the Victims Center and CASA and gives her time and expertise to The Rare Breed and the Good Community Committee. Last year, she gave nearly 100 volunteer hours to Help Give Hope fundraising events, preparing food baskets for 260 low-income families, and accompanying impoverished mothers on inspiring, yet emotional, shopping trips. If not through the efforts of Help Give Hope, the children of these families would not likely have gifts, clothing or a nice meal during the Christmas season.

Lorene has always encouraged students and others to get involved and become part of the solution. She states that while serving on agency boards and committees are important, it’s the direct hands-on work that is the most rewarding for her. For her contributions in ethical leadership and community engagement, we are pleased to honor Lorene Stone as the June Public Affairs Faculty Spotlight!

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May Student Spotlight: David Lind

Dave LindDavid Lind

Graduate Student, Student Affairs


David Lind’s passion? To live the public affairs mission to its fullest extent. His love for helping others and community outreach embodies the three pillars of ethical leadership, cultural competence, and community engagement.

David attributes his ‘ah-ha’ public affairs moment to his service-learning class with Dr. Tim Knapp.  Introduced to the Rare Breed, an outreach center for at-risk and homeless youth, it was apparent how interconnected the three pillars actually were when trying to address community issues. “I realized that you cannot be an ethical leader without being culturally competent and, being truly engaged with your community. I followed my passion for helping others and found my place advising other students, especially through service learning. I love the teaching moments I get to have with every student I work with.”

David’s active citizenship embodies community outreach to the Rare Breed, working with high school students at MSU’s Public Affairs Academy, advising MSU and OTC prospective and enrolled students, promoting community service learning partnerships and volunteering numerous hours to the annual Public Affairs Conference and other campus projects. For his time, contributions and impact to the University and the community, we are pleased to recognize David Lind as the May 2014 Public Affairs Student Spotlight.

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May Faculty Spotlight: Paula Rector

Paula RectorPaula Rector

Instructor, Criminology Department

“Harmony House”


Combining personal and professional passions has had unexpected but positive outcomes for Paula Rector. Passionate about helping victims of family and relationship violence, Paula says it’s a true privilege to be able to apply her academic knowledge to help impact a community issue and organization, such as Harmony House.  Harmony House plays a vital role in Springfield and surrounding area by providing shelter, advocacy and education to survivors of domestic violence.

She assists in a number of roles including chairing the Executive Committee, serving on the Board of Directors and leading the Programs/Shelter subcommittees. Whether she’s teaching or developing safety educational programs, creating new community partnerships or negotiating a $5 million capital campaign, Paula’s focus remains on ensuring the needs for the 110 women and children that seek nightly shelter at Harmony House.

Paula states that one of the unexpected, but most enjoyable outcomes of her community service is its impact on her teaching and her students. Many of her students are taking action to help address the domestic violence issues of the community through volunteerism, internships and service learning opportunities.

For Paula’s commitment of time and ethical leadership to Harmony House and for fostering the growth of a responsible community we are proud to recognize Paula Rector as our Public Affairs Faculty Spotlight!

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May Staff Spotlight: Nancy Copeland

Nancy Copeland Spotlight
Nancy, husband Jim and friend, Liu Xin

Nancy Copeland

Collector, Financial Services

“International Friends of Missouri State”


Nancy has a passion and keen ability to strengthen the common bonds that unite people, both locally and internationally. Beyond her diligent efforts to increase academic success through her work in Financial Services, Nancy is involved in a multitude of projects and activities that aim to inspire, motivate and serve the needs of those in her community.

Her involvement as a host with International Friends of Missouri State includes her entire family participating in cultivating cultural exchanges and developing new friendships. Recently matched with her third students, Nancy says “I’m not sure who benefits the most, the student or myself! I have enjoyed every moment I spend with our international friend and their interaction with my children and grandchildren has been priceless.”

Nancy also schedules time as a mentor in the Young Parent Program through Missouri Mentoring Partnership, a program designed to support young single mothers and fathers up to age 21.  In addition, she participates in various public affairs campus projects, organizes holiday gift wrap groups for the Developmental Center of the Ozarks, serves as a church lay speaker at the local and district levels, as well as several other impactful activities.  Nancy states that in life we all have common goals, no matter our background or culture, and the process of learning and discovering those commonalities is a joyous and meaningful path.

For her contributions impacting cultural competence and community engagement, we are delighted to recognize Nancy Copeland as our Staff Public Affairs Spotlight!

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April Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Ed McKinney

Left - Ed McKinney with Sunnyside Up
Left – Ed McKinney with Sunnyside Up

Dr. Ed McKinney

Professor and Chair, History Department, West Plains Campus

“Ozarks Music Preservation”  


Dr. Ed McKinney holds a life-long interest and passion for the old time music of the Ozarks.  In his spare time he works tirelessly to promote and preserve bluegrass and folk music through leadership, education and entertainment.  Ed is well known for his band “Sunnyside Up” and playing back-up rhythm guitar for old-time fiddlers, where he previously won 3rd place overall in Missouri at the State Fair Fiddlers’ Contest.  Ed states that Sunnyside Up strives to entertain, uplift and encourage audiences at the Old Time Festival in West Plains, the HOBA Bluegrass Festivals, fundraisers, retirement groups and nursing homes.  He shares his passion with multiple generations through workshops, shows and other activities, especially mentoring and educating the younger generation as they learn the music’s history and the art of playing old time music. 

For over 20 years Ed has been active in the Heart of the Ozarks Bluegrass Association serving as both President and Board Member and also serves as Master of Ceremonies for a weekly local jam session where both young and old are encouraged to sing, pick, dance or simply sit and enjoy the great area talent. He is a fine luthier, building and repairing acoustic guitars and mandolins at his home in West Plains. Replicating unique construction techniques of the past, it can sometimes take years to complete an instrument.   Dr. McKinney strongly believes that the music of the Ozarks is a unique and special branch of folk music, and works to see the genre preserved and expanded in a time when trends are focused on popular music.  Folk music is the lyrical language of common folk, and McKinney says “there are more of us common folks than any other group.” 

We are pleased to recognize Ed McKinney as April’s Public Affairs Faculty Spotlight for his civic and cultural engagement to preserving the musical legacy of the Ozark’s and for sharing his passion to the next generation of folk and bluegrass musicians. 

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April Staff Spotlight: Brian Kincaid

2012 Academy
2012 Academy - Brain Kincaid far right

Brian Kincaid

Business Incubator Coordinator, The eFactory

“Missouri Public Affairs Academy”


From student to Missouri State staff member, Brian Kincaid has been living out the Public Affairs mission.  One particular passion is his involvement in MSU’s intensive week long Missouri Public Affairs Academy (MPAA).  Years after having participated in the program as a high school student, Brian now volunteers during a week’s vacation to serve as Assistant Coordinator for the program. Each summer the Academy brings talented high school students from across the state to develop their understanding of public affairs and their role as citizens working “for the greater good.”  Through activities, projects and speakers including community leaders, government officials, journalists and university professors, young students begin to learn the leadership skills necessary to effect positive change in their communities.

Professionally, Brian assists individuals and businesses in efforts to strengthen the local economy.  His role as mentor at the MPAA is an extension of that effort by helping develop future leaders within our communities.  Brain says that in many ways, successful economic development entails a commitment to community organizing and public outreach and that is what we are instilling in these young students.   Brian has inspired and mentored over 90 high school juniors and seniors to become involved and educated citizens through civic engagement and leadership. 

We are proud to recognize Brian Kincaid as the April Public Affairs Staff Spotlight for representing the pillars of public affairs and helping inspire today’s youth to become active and engaged citizens.    


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April Student Spotlight: Alexis Carter

AlexisCarterCloseUp2Alexis Rivierre Carter

Senior, Fine Arts major

“Storm Drain Reveal Project”


Fine Arts senior, Alexis Carter, is being showcased for her engagement to help protect and improve water quality in the Ozarks.  Alexis was chosen as one of the artists to participate in the 2014 Storm Drain Reveal Project, a joint effort by the City of Springfield and the James River Basin Partnership to educate the community that whatever goes down a storm drain, leads directly to our rivers and other water resources.  Storm drains in downtown Springfield have been transformed by local talented artists from plain drains into beautiful reminders of our connection to our waterways. 

Outside of classes and producing works for the Brick City Gallery student art exhibition in May, Alexis has spent hours first planning and designing the message and then producing the artwork on the storm drain located on the corner of St. Louis St. and Jefferson Ave.AlexisCarterPic

Alexis states, “I think many times the Visual Arts get overlooked as a way to communicate and be of service to the community, as it has the ability to encourage, inspire, teach and influence all.  Being a part of this project is just one way I can personally give back to the community and to raise awareness of how careless actions leave a footprint for years to come on our water quality and resources.”

Thank you Alexis for living out the public affairs mission through your community engagement and artistic gifts to bring awareness to an important community issue.  We are pleased to recognize Alexis Carter as our April Public Affairs Student Spotlight!  

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