The public affairs mission challenges the Missouri State University community to use its knowledge and skills to better the world.
For 11 years, the Board of Governors has recognized faculty and staff members who model the public affairs mission in their academic and on-campus work. This year, Missouri State recognizes three faculty members and three staff members with the Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Public Affairs.
Each winner receives $1,500 for research, professional development or projects related to their public affairs work.
Dr. Paul Durham, distinguished professor of biology and director of the Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences in the College of Natural and Applied Sciences
Durham inspires the next generation of scientists.
Grounded in integrity, humility and accountability, his teaching equips students to understand the implications of their findings to both the individual and society.
Durham was the 2019-20 Provost Fellow for Public Affairs. In this role, he developed the annual public affairs theme, the “21st Century Digital World” and chaired the Public Affairs Conference.
Dr. Ann Rost, professor and psychology assistant department head in the McQueary College of Health and Human Services
Rost guides her students to be ethical agents of change, in both research and clinical interventions.
Her academic expertise in mental health, chronic diseases and early detection practices are the cornerstone of which she represents the university and community.
Her roles with the city of Marshfield, the Webster County Health Unit and the state’s Committee of Psychologists for licensing and ethics, have contributed to notable change in local rural communities.
Dr. Suzanne Walker-Pacheco, professor of sociology and anthropology in the College of Humanities and Public Affairs
Known for creating results through engaging on-campus and community opportunities for students, Walker-Pacheco is driven to ensure student voices are heard.
With expertise in skeletal biology, she provides free forensic consulting to law enforcement, medical examiners and coroners throughout southwest Missouri. Through that partnership, she has created invaluable consulting experiences for students.
She also led projects and student opportunities that have impacted the health and literacy outcomes for the local Latino community.
Walker-Pacheco created Paws to the Polls, a nonpartisan, student-led group promoting voter education and civic engagement.
Christina Bowles, coordinator of student success coaches for the Center for Academic Success and Transition
Bowles advises, mentors and creates cultural and community opportunities for students and staff alike.
For over 10 years, Bowles has displayed the public affairs mission. She has served on the Staff Senate public affairs committee since 2012, teaches GEP 101 and advises the MSU: I’m First student group.
In all aspects, she models inclusivity and how everyone can be strong leaders.
Carrie Crews, administrative assistant II for the Darr College of Agriculture and event coordinator for the Darr Agricultural Center
From small acts of kindness to managing high-profile events, Crews’ leadership develops productive partnerships among students, campus and the community.
She mentors students to become more culturally informed by increasing their learning experiences. Her mentorship equips students to effectively communicate with those from different backgrounds.
While providing administrative support and hospitality, and coordinating events, she displays the difference hard work and a positive attitude can make.
Daezia Smith, leadership program specialist with International Programs
From MSU student to graduate assistant to now employee, Smith enriches the lives of others.
Her work has bridged cultural divides experienced by both international and domestic students.
Smith has also created platforms for partnerships and friends built on respect, admiration and continuous learning.