Missouri State University
Public Affairs Blog

November Staff Spotlight: Jennifer Johnston

Jennifer JohnstonJennifer Johnston

Academic Specialist, English Language Institute

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.

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November Student Spotlight: Huong ‘Hillary’ Thao Vu

Student Hillary VuHuong ‘Hillary’ Thao Vu

Student, Computer Animation major

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!

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MSU Honors Sacrifice The Purple Heart

veterans_day_purple

 

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.

 

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Shoe Collection Trailer Closed Today

InfoGraphicDocMSU-NoWebsites (2)

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.

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Staff Excellence in Community Service Awards

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, staceytrewatha@missouristate.edu .

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October Faculty Spotlight: Dr. James Philpot

JamesPhilpotDr. James Philpot

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!

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October Staff Spotlight: Dennis Erfling

DennisErflingDennis Erfling

Electrician, Facilities Management-Maintenance

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!

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October Student Spotlight: Emma Sudholt

EmmaSudholtEmma Sudholt

Senior, Spanish and Global Studies 

Studying Spanish and global studies with an emphasis in politics and the environment, Emma is living out the Public Affairs mission through her involvement in numerous student organizations, campus projects, and helping others locally, regionally and globally.  Already a world traveler, Emma has twice studied abroad both in Spain and in Ecuador where in addition to her studies, she gave her free time to work with local school children of various ages. For over two years, she’s volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield and helped lead this summer’s Public Affairs Academy for high school students.  Her passion for working with kids and teens led to an internship working public relations with the St. Louis nonprofit, The Covering House who provides refuge and restoration services for girls 13-17 years old who have experienced sexual exploitation and/or sexual trafficking.

For her role as a student leader and dedication to community engagement and cultural competence, we are honored to recognize Emma Sudholt as the October Public Affairs Student Spotlight!

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Shoe Collection Trailer Closed Today

InfoGraphicDocMSU-NoWebsites (2)

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.

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September Staff Spotlight: Stacey Trewatha-Bach

StaceyKidsSpotlightPicStacey Trewatha-Bach

Special Projects Coordinator, Office of Public Affairs Support

Stacey has a passion for all things public affairs.  Whether locally or abroad, personally or professionally, she is happiest when giving of herself to serve others.  She states, “As a young child my parents instilled the conviction that caring for and serving others is our responsibility as human beings, and exposed me to multiple cultures and experiences that impact my actions today.”  In addition to local projects and volunteer efforts, she was called to Central America in 2009.  Having been to Honduras twice, she recently co-led a construction team to rural Nicaragua through the Rainbow Network.  “I am inspired and hopeful when I can be a part of providing long-term solutions and not a band-aid approach, to helping some of the poorest people in the world. I love our public affairs mission because it gives structure and definition to what we do, and it’s difficult to be involved in one pillar without learning about and being immersed in the other two.”

For her contributions in living out the public affairs mission, we recognize Stacey Trewatha-Bach as our September Public Affairs Staff Spotlight!

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