Congratulations to the six recipients of the 2023-2024 Board of Governors’ Excellence in Public Affairs Award. Three faculty and three staff were chosen for their accomplishments in integrating the public affairs mission into their academic and on-campus professional work. The Board recognized each awardee at the October 18, 2023 Board of Governors meeting with a plaque and $1,500 internal funds to be used toward advancing their professional public affairs work and projects.
Dr. Paul Durham is a distinguished professor of biology and director of the Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences in the College of Natural and Applied Sciences. Dr. 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. Paul 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 is a professor and psychology assistant department head in the McQueary College of Health and Human Services. Dr. 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 is a 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, Dr. 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. Suzanne created Paws to the Polls, a nonpartisan, student-led group promoting voter education and civic engagement.
Christina Bowles is the Coordinator of Student Success Coaches for the Center for Academic Success and Transition. Christina advises, mentors and creates cultural and community opportunities for students and staff alike. For over 10 years, Christina 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 is an Administrative Assistant 2 and Event Coordinator for the Darr Agricultural Center. From small acts of kindness to managing high-profile events, Carrie’s 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 is the Leadership Program Specialist with International Programs. From MSU student, to graduate assistant, to now employee, Daezia enriches the lives of others. She created the Global Leaders as Mentors program and advanced the New International Student Orientation program. Her work has bridged cultural divides experienced by both international and domestic students. Deazia also creates global citizen platforms for new partnerships and the development of friendships built on respect, admiration and continuous learning.
Congratulations to all this year’s winners!