Advocating for students. Helping families. Promoting volunteerism. Serving food. Assisting leatherback sea turtles.
They’re all part of how Missouri State University faculty and staff demonstrate the public affairs mission.
The Board of Governors awarded its Faculty and Staff Excellence in Public Affairs award to five employees.
The recipients’ track records, work and accomplishments support the mission.
Each winner receives a $1,500 grant for travel and/or projects related to their public affairs activities.
Staff Excellence in Public Affairs winners
Gib Adkins, central region administrator, Outreach (Lebanon)
Adkins promotes public affairs to recent high school graduates and non-traditional students.
He developed the MSU-Lebanon student ambassador program. It provides a small stipend for student engagement. Adkins also helped create local scholarships that require engagement in public affairs.
Priscilla Childress, assistant director, New Student and Family Programs
Childress’s office motto – Engage, Educate and Encourage – endears her to students, parents and the campus community.
She sets high standards for ethical leadership. Childress also creates safe, inclusive environments through her work with Student Orientation, Advisement and Registration; Ursa and family-focused programs.
As a mentor and advocate, she models public affairs by showing others how to care, serve and persevere.
Susan Martindale, academic adviser, Advisement Center
Martindale’s advising and instructional philosophy centers on the global citizen concept.
She leads by example. The GEP 101 instructor and Jump START director shows her students how to be active, informed citizens. She encourages students to volunteer and to seek new relationships outside their familiarity.
Faculty Excellence in Public Affairs winners
Abigale Ehlers, senior instructor, hospitality leadership department
Ehlers’ teaching, university service and community leadership centers around the public affairs mission.
She has a passion for creative food sources and environmental sustainability. In addition, she creates ethical leadership and engagement opportunities. Students experience new cultures and innovative living concepts.
Her service projects develop a better, healthier community.
Ana Estrella-Riollano, assistant professor, biology and biomedical sciences, West Plains campus
Estrella-Riollano’s public affairs contributions are cross-disciplinary and international in scope.
She developed service learning projects and short-term study away experiences. Those trips affected the Puerto Rico ecosystem, as well as Costa Rica’s leatherback sea turtles and tropical ecology.
Her dedication to service creates a more inclusive campus and community. It’s inspired others to celebrate diversity and lead by example for meaningful change.