Missouri State University
Public Affairs Blog

March Faculty Spotlight: Dr. David Johnson

Dr David JohnsonDavid Johnson

Associate Professor, Political Science Department

David lives the pillars of civic engagement and ethical leadership through his devotion to improving the safety and security of both man and animal in Springfield, Greene County and SW Missouri.

Since 2009, David has been volunteering with the Springfield-Greene Co. Office of Emergency Management (OEM). His initial involvement as a volunteer evolved into serving as a Community Emergency Response Team member. He soon transitioned to the OEM reserve, where he supports the staff in the event of a disaster and takes part in several responses, drills, and exercises.  His passion for animals has David devoting time caring for the animals housed at Springfield’s Castaway Animal Rescue as well as being a driving force to develop a county-wide Animal Response Team.  David recently wrote a $5,000.00 grant for needed equipment and training.

David also volunteers with the Region D Incident Support Team as a Geographic Information System Specialist and Unit Leader.  During the Joplin tornado in 2011, David’s interest in amateur radio gave him the opportunity to assist in communication efforts via the Greene County Amateur Radio Emergency Services.  He is also called upon during natural and other disasters as a member of the US Health and Human Services National Disaster Medical System to help ensure medical care provisions during a disaster. In 2001 he headed a medical strike team to the World Trade Center attack and another to provide coverage for the 2006 State of the Union address.

Beyond this, David is a Lay Eucharistic Minister for All Saints Anglican Church and voluntarily working toward ordination as a deacon.  We are delighted to recognize David Johnson as the March Public Affairs Faculty Spotlight for his significant contributions both locally and nationally!

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March Student Spotlight: Scott Berndt

Scott-Mar2015Scott Berndt

Senior Economics major, Sigma Phi Epsilon, MO ETA Chapter

Scott thought he’d simply volunteer and go home, but instead that first experience with Community Partnership of the Ozarks (CPO) has led to a passion for serving and opportunities to cultivate key leadership skills.

Making the most of his free time, Scott volunteers the hours he has to assist with CPO fundraising events by helping wherever is needed most.  After he was the only student volunteer to return to CPO for four weeks to help finish what was started during an MLK Day of Service, he recruited 25 of his Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers to help complete the construction of a miniature golf course, which is the centerpiece for CPO’s Golf Tournament.  As this fundraiser finances a major portion of CPO’s educational, drug prevention and community development projects, Scott’s dedication to seeing the job through to completion was a significant factor in the success of the fundraiser, says Will Carter, CPO Director of Communications.  Scott and his fraternity brothers have continued their service commitment by providing much needed manpower for this year’s miniature Golf Tournament as well as volunteering with the HOPE Connection event where they assist with set-up and meal service to Springfield’s homeless.

“I’ve learned that the more I put in to my volunteer experience, the more I get out of it in terms of tangible results and personal satisfaction.  Opportunities to coordinate, supervise and lead others have made the experience even more meaningful” says Scott.  As a great example of living the public affairs mission through community engagement and ethical leadership, we are proud to recognize Scott as the March 2015 Student Public Affairs Spotlight.

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February Student Spotlight: Allyssa Miget

AllyssaMigetICMA Katy trailAllyssa Miget

Graduate Student, Master of Public Administration

Allyssa is passionate about helping people.  Her career path is to make a difference in the community by serving in local government.  “Being in on the local level really keeps you on your toes with having to understand a broad spectrum of problems and issues that affect all different segments of your community.”  From Arnold, MO Allyssa remembers dinner table political discussions and participating in union marches with her mother as foundations for her current interests.

Last summer, Allyssa traveled to Los Angeles through the Study Away Program where she worked with the Human Relations Commission and the Commission on the Status of Women designing research to better understand the beliefs and needs of the unemployed and underemployed women of the area. She says it was a great opportunity to understand and interact with the city’s unique culture and citizens.

Allyssa is living the Public Affairs mission through involvement in student organizations, campus and community projects and by working to understand and solve the complex problems and issues affecting her community.  For her commitment to ethical leadership and cultural competence, we are pleased to highlight Allyssa Miget as the February Student Public Affairs Spotlight!

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February Staff Spotlight: Lisa McEowen

LisaMcEowenLisa McEowen

Library Associate III, Catalog Department, Meyer Library

“Community involvement and volunteerism is an essential part of creating a full life for me” says Lisa.  She has been sharing her time and talents in numerous ways for over 20 years.  Her passion to serve has inspired a diverse set of interests and projects that has impacted children, families, the environment and cultural heritage.

Lisa is currently President of the Ozarks Greenways’ Board of Directors, working to preserve the Ozarks’ natural heritage by developing a network of greenway trails and on-street bike route system.  For a number of years she dedicated her time as the Volunteer Coordinator and Headquarter Chief for the Ozark Greenways Adventure Race.  She is also active with the Scottish St. Andrews Society of Springfield, having previously served as treasurer and chaplain.  Through programs and events, the SSAS works to keep the memory of the Scots and Scots-Irish heritage alive in the Ozarks.

After being inspired at an MSU performance of the Kansas City Heartland Men’s Chorus, Lisa’s creativity and passion for music motivated her and her two friends, an MSU student and MSU faculty member, to form the Men’s Chorus of the Ozarks in 2011.  She has served as vice-president and public relations director for the local nonprofit choral group that celebrates and values diversity in all things, and even coined their tagline: “Giving Voice to Diversity in the Ozarks”. Other organizations she has worked with include the Greene County District 3 Community Emergency Response Team, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s endurance sports Team in Training program, and the Family Violence Center.

As one friend states, Lisa’s heart is in whatever she does!  As February’s Staff Spotlight, we are proud to recognize all the ways Lisa gives service to her community and is living out the public affairs mission.

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Nominations invited for Faculty Excellence in Community Service Awards

Faculty Nominations – Deadline Friday, February 20th!

Each year up to two faculty 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.  MSU students, employees and members of the Springfield area community are encouraged to nominated MSU faculty who have at least three years of service with the University.  Awardees will be acknowledged during the spring All Faculty Recognition Reception.  View information, previous faculty awardees and the nomination form on the Excellence in Community Service Awards webpage or contact Stacey Trewatha-Bach at 836-8832, staceytrewatha@missouristate.edu.

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December Student Spotlight: MaKenzie Judy

MaKenzie JudyMaKenzie Judy

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.

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December Staff Spotlight: Rachel Peterson

"Derby Party" Benefit for the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater West Plains Area.
“Derby Party” Benefit for the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater West Plains Area.

Rachel Peterson

Recruitment Specialist, West Plains Admissions

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.

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December Faculty Spotlight: Janice Duncan

Janice Duncan pictureJanice Duncan

Director, Greenwood Laboratory School

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!

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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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