Campus Notes

Advertising & PR Major Lands Coveted National Internship

Natasha Sanford, a junior majoring in Advertising and Public Relations and minoring in Web Communications and Design, was awarded a prestigious internship this summer with cosmetics company Urban Decay.

In June, Sanford will head to Newport Beach, Calif., as part of the 2014 American Advertising Federation Stickell internship program. Each year, a handful of outstanding students are selected for a 10-week internship and are matched at U.S. media organizations, advertising agencies, and client and supplier companies throughout the country. Forty-eight students were nominated this year as one of the best individuals from their AAF student chapters and only 16 were selected.

Sanford is the sixth student from Drury to earn this honor since 2005, showing the strength of Drury’s Communication Department and student body.


“The Stickell Internship program offers talented advertising students the opportunity to work alongside the best and the brightest in the integrated marketing communications profession,” said Dr. Regina Waters, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication. “Natasha is an outstanding student, and I am confident she will have much to offer the Urban Decay brand management team.”

After Sanford was nominated for the internship, she completed an application that included a cover letter, resume, ad critique and essay.

Sanford, who originally wanted to major in marketing but then “fell in love” with advertising and public relations, feels her Drury experience prepared her well for the internship. Sanford is on the AD Team, is the social media chair for the AD/PR club, is Vice President of Communication for the Student Government Association, and is actively involved in Greek life.

“I’ve learned so much from my classes, and all of the extracurriculars I’m involved in have helped me develop my leadership and communication skills,” said Sanford. “This summer will be a great opportunity to gain even more experience in the field, and I’m very thankful for everyone who’s helped me get to where I am.”


Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and Writing major at Drury. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Fellowship Allows Professor to Study Lives of Former Slaves

Dr. Dan Livesay, assistant history professor at Drury, will spend July 2014 piecing together bits of history in hopes to uncover the life stories of slaves living during the colonial era.

Livesay was awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities “We the People” Fellowship in African American History, a completive fellowship at the Rockefeller Library in Williamsburg, Va. The library contains the only existing records for several prominent Virginia planters of the eighteenth century. It also contains a specialized collection of books, manuscripts, letters and records from colonial America.

It is difficult for historians to understand the everyday struggles of those who lived through slavery — partially because many slaves could not write, did not have the resources to write, or simply because the records did not survive history.

Livesay hopes to illuminate the lives of slaves beyond the time they spent laboring.

“Scholars have looked at slaves’ lives primarily through the work that they did — picking cotton, cutting tobacco, harvesting sugarcane, etc.,” Livesay says. “My hope is that by fleshing out that later period in slaves’ lives, we can continue to uncover the humanity and lived experiences of those individuals whose lives were spent in extreme oppression.”

Daniel Livesay

A veteran of the research process, Livesay expects some tedious work, but he is excited by the possibility of what he may uncover.

“You never know what you’ll find,” he says. “Sometimes you can go days without turning up any relevant information. And some days you can be overwhelmed with information, and not have enough time to take it down. That’s both the frustration and thrill of doing work in the archives.”

Livesay received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan in 2010 and came to Drury in 2012. He teaches courses on the history of early America, transatlantic slavery and indigenous people in the Americas.

Livesay hopes to present his findings to the university and public this fall.


Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, a junior English and writing major at Drury. A version of this story first ran in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Physics Major Has Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Bag

Physics major Ebenezer Obasiolu never knew he had an entrepreneurial passion until he came to Drury and began pursuing an entrepreneurship minor. It was in these classes where he gained the knowledge and support to officially launch his business, O’Bazzië Classics.

Obasiolu, also known as EB, was motivated to start his business after his grandmother died in 2012.

“I was 12 years old when I left Nigeria, and that’s the last time I saw her,” said Obasiolu. “She had cancer and my family wasn’t able to fly her here for treatment, and I wasn’t able to go there to visit her before she died. After that, I thought, ‘What can I do right now to make sure that I can travel and make money?’”


Obasiolu says he likes to “dress nice” and has always had a love for fashion. His first product reflects that — he has created an all-purpose, leather satchel that both men and women can use for causal or business activities. These hand-made bags are made in the U.S., come in a variety of colors, and come in three different sizes to fit books, a laptop, tablet, and other items.

Obasiolu said it took him about 8 months to perfect his design. He asked many of his friends for their opinions, made changes, and then sent his design to a factory for production.

“I have about 29 designs that no one has seen,” he said. “I’m a huge perfectionist and I wouldn’t make something that I wouldn’t wear.”

O’Bazzië Classics is preparing to launch a website this spring as part of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship’s “StartUp Drury” Business Model Competition.

Obasiolu currently has an 8-person team working for him, helping him to manage social media, sales and marketing. Three members of the team attend Drury. Obasiolu has already created 46-page marketing plan and an 80-page business model. He is also planning to tour the West Coast this summer to Vancouver, Los Angeles, Portland and even Brazil for marketing and sales events.

Although Obasiolu wants to make a profit, he also has a philanthropic mission with his company. For every bag sold, O’Bazzië Classics will send a bag filled with school supplies to a child in Africa. O’Bazzië classics also plans to collaborate with an international humanitarian organization in the future. The idea of using O’Bazzië Classics to solve a social problem came out of taking a class called “Social Problems/Entrepreneurial Answers” with former instructor Kay Osborne.

“I will always be thankful to her,” Obasiolu said of Osborne. “That’s where I really realized my entrepreneurial potential.”

By next year, Obasiolu hope to sell at least 10,000 bags. You can currently view the products from O’Bazzië Classics on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To purchase the products, customers can email or message one of the company’s social media outlets.


Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and writing major at Drury. A version of this story first ran in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Student Group Continues its Work with Art Inspired

Drury Enactus, formerly known as SIFE, has been hard at work this year expanding the business they helped develop three years ago, Art Inspired. In collaboration with Abilities First, Art Inspired was created to offer meaningful employment to people with developmental disabilities.

Officially launched in August 2012, Art Inspired has grown and transformed in the short time it has been open. It started as a document disposal agency that converts recycled paper into artwork. Some of the products available for sale include frames, stationary, decorative letters, wine racks, and even furniture. 

Each year, Drury Enactus works with Art Inspired to help broaden its appeal and revenue. The business now includes an art gallery, art classes, and a “creation” station where customers can use the store’s paper and supplies to decorate their purchased product at a cost of $5 an hour.

Matt Hill, en employee at Art Inspired, makes a mold for a candle holder. He's using material make from shredded paper.

Matt Hill, an employee at Art Inspired, makes a mold for a candle holder using material made from shredded paper.

This year, Drury Enactus has worked with Central High School’s Special Education Department to develop an internship program at Art Inspired. Now included in their curriculum, students in one of Central’s Special Education classes travel to Art Inspired twice a week to learn about customer service and job shadow some of the current employees.

“This is a great opportunity for the students to get real-world experience,” says Drury Enactus member Emma Wheat. “They go through the job application process, learn about work place etiquette, and gain skills to put on their resume.”

Drury Enactus is also working with Art Inspired to expand its event space rentals. For $100 an hour, people can rent out the space for up to four hours. Art Inspired can also coordinate the rental of chairs, tables, sound systems, food, and other services for an additional charge. It can hold 150 people seated or 250 standing.

This versatile space has already been used for a networking event with the Chamber of Commerce, wedding receptions, office and social events, and art exhibits. The artwork of Edward Deeds, an Ozark man who spent most of his life in a mental hospital in Nevada, Mo., was revealed at a gala event during March’s First Friday Art Walk and is currently displayed at Art Inspired.

Without help from the Springfield community, none of these endeavors would have been possible, says Dr. John Taylor, faculty advisor of Drury Enactus.

“The core mission of Art Inspired is to serve as an employment and growth opportunity for individuals with special needs,” Taylor says. “Everything the Enactus team does in its partnership with Art Inspired serves that mission. In order for the business to fulfill its mission, we need the support of the community. Their patronage is key to the success of the store.”

The Drury team will present their work and compete at the 2014 Enactus National Exposition April 1-3. For more information about Art Inspired, visit its website or Facebook page, or the store location at 310 S. Campbell Ave.


Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and Writing major at Drury.  A version of this story originally ran in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Drury Community Works to Help Campus Neighborhood

Drury University has been a fixture of the Midtown landscape for more than 100 years, and faculty, staff and students like to find ways to positively impact the lives of the university’s neighbors.

Through a volunteer program called Drury Neighborhood Activities, or DNA, the university community provides nearby Boyd Elementary School students with mentoring, access to fun outdoor activities and —during the holidays —a little bit of joy. Each year, several campus departments sponsor families in need.

The impact is significant, says Boyd’s school nurse, Laura Smith, a key organizer at the school.

“When you’ve got new clothes to wear, you feel good about coming to school,” Smith says. “When you’ve got a new coat, you feel excited to go outside and play. It’s that simple.”

Smith helps identify families that could use a hand. They don’t ask for help, she says. But they are grateful. One of the families that has been helped included a student recently diagnosed with a serious illness.


Brian Shipman, a Drury video instructor and a DNA organizer, says holiday gifts for families ranged from video games and bikes to clothes and even turkey dinners. Gifts were delivered personally —no secret Santas here.

“I want them to be in the neighborhood, meet the people and get a good handle on what the neighborhood is like,” Shipman says.

Summer activities involve float trips and weekly swimming at Silver Springs Park. Students learn to swim and build confidence. With more than five years under its belt, DNA is bringing back program alums now in high school to participate as counselors.

“One of the founding principles of this partnership has been the philosophy that …there’s no significant learning without a significant relationship,” says Boyd Principal James Grandon. “To me, that speaks volumes about the kind of community that Boyd, Drury and the Midtown neighborhood have put together.”

This story was published in the Campus Notes section of the Springfield News-Leader on Jan. 13, 2014. 

Drury’s Breech Pool gets a makeover

Springfield, Mo., Nov. 4, 2013 — Breech Pool, the home pool for the defending national champion men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams at Drury, is undergoing its first renovation in 27 years.

The Breech pool renovations started a little over a year ago, and include everything from updating the visual appeal of the pool to improving behind-the-scenes equipment. Workers took down the old acoustical tile, painted the ceiling black, installed a new timing system, and changed out the lighting, which now uses one-third of the power of the previous system. The ultraviolet lighting system also allows the pool to run lower levels of chlorine in the water, which helps to improve the air quality for both athletes and spectators.

Drury's Breech Pool

After draining the pool, workers water-blasted all the plaster off of the surface and replaced it with tile, which will last longer and require less maintenance.  Additionally, the pool deck has been updated with a more slip-resistant surface.

“These renovations have been long overdue, but they have definitely prepared us for the coming years,” said Brian Reynolds, Drury’s head swim coach.

The biggest improvements include the installation of a new HVAC system and new air handling equipment, which cuts down on the heat and humidity in the pool area.

The new renovations have greatly improved the air and water quality.  There was recently a youth club swim meet in the Breech pool and Reynolds said that parents were especially impressed with the updates, “Aesthetically, this has always been a beautiful pool from the amount of natural light available. The sliding glass doors allow us to open it up, which draws in passersby. With the renovations, we have ultimately improved the overall experience for athletes and spectators and made it a more enjoyable place to be in.”

The renovations aren’t entirely complete, new windows will be installed around the perimeter of the building. This will decrease condensation on the windows.

The Drury swimming and diving program truly deserves the improvements as it has won the last nine consecutive men’s national swimming and diving championships and four out of the last five on the women’s side. Reynolds said, “the athletes are noticing the difference everyday—the water is cleaner and clearer and the better air quality makes it perfect for training.”

Drury swimming and diving will show off its newly refurbished facility on their first official home meet on Nov. 9, 2013 at 1 p.m. against Delta State.


Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, a junior English and writing major at Drury University

Drury’s Psi Chi named a model chapter

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 26, 2013 — Drury’s Psi Chi chapter, the International Honor Society of Psychology, has been named a model chapter for 2012-2013.

Model chapters have to meet certain criteria, such as, submitting paperwork and dues by a certain deadline along with participation in at least one service project and a regional convention or research conference. Drury’s Psi Chi chapter took part in a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser, and several Psi Chi members attended the Southeastern Psychological Association Conference in Atlanta where they presented undergraduate research.

The honor comes with a $100 stipend.


The community is invited to help a Drury sculptor create public art

Springfield, Mo. – Drury University’s Art of Space collective and sculptor Blaine Whisenhunt will install their Rhizomatic Grotto, built from stacked and corbelled wood shipping pallets, on the Springfield Art Museum’s grounds. The public is invited to participate in the construction of the Grotto, which will begin at 9 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, August 24, and continue until completion. This will be the first installation of large scale public art on the Museum grounds in three decades. Located on the green just east of the Museum, between E Bennett St., E Brookside Dr., and S Green Ave., Rhizomatic Grotto will be open to the public until November 2.

The Rhizomatic Grotto. Photo by Gerard Nadeau

“We’re thrilled that Nick Nelson, who’s been director at the Springfield Art Museum for only a year, has invited us to create something unusual and new to Springfield at the Museum,” says Gerard Nadeau, founder of Art of Space. “It’s significant for Springfield that the Museum is sponsoring a communal art work made from recycled materials, after 30 years of little change on the Museum grounds. The Art Museum is helping to usher in an entirely new way of thinking about public art in Springfield.”

For Blaine Whisenhunt, whose explorations of “emergent art” established the basis for the project, the Grotto also represents a unique opportunity.  “My current research aims to demonstrate how sculptural and architectural practice share a common language, material, and expression. What is great about collaborating with Art of Space and the Springfield Art Museum is that by working at a monumental scale and through involving the public, elements of emergent design can be more fully realized.  I envisioned Rhizomatic Grotto as a metaphor for community.”

Blaine Whisenhunt with his Rhizomatic Grotto. Photo by Andrew Harris

The installation on August 24 is a great opportunity for all those interested in building community through the creation of public art in Springfield. No artistic background is needed to assist in the creation of the Grotto, which will take form as a monumental, semi-enclosed space resulting from the accumulation of over 500 used shipping pallets.

An artist talk, featuring members of the public who participated in the construction, is scheduled for Friday, August 30 at 5 p.m. The talk will occur in the Museum Auditorium before moving outdoors to the Grotto itself.

The Springfield Art Museum is located at 1111 East Brookside Drive, Springfield, Missouri.  For information telephone 417-837-5700.


Drury student earns award from an International Honor Society

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 20, 2013 — Drury senior education major Erica Hankison has been awarded a scholarship from Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), International Honor Society in Education. Hankison earned the $500 Harold D. Drummond scholarship for undergraduate students in education.

Erica Hankison

According to KDP, the scholarship is based on transcript review, a student’s involvement in KDP and a written essay. A review committee evaluated the scholarship applications from around the country. Hankison is the first Drury student to receive this award.

“I’d never entered big, national scholarship contests before, but I recently learned about scholarship opportunities through KDP and applied. I was very happy and honored to learn that I had won,” said Hankison.

Hankison is a 2010 graduate of Nixa High School. She will finish up her final semester of classes at Drury this fall and complete her student teaching in the spring of 2014. Upon graduation in May 2014, Hankison says she hopes to find a job in elementary education in southwest Missouri.

Founded in 1911, Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, is a dynamic learning community that recognizes and enhances growth in scholars and leaders. The Society’s vision is advanced through:

  • Recognizing and confirming the status of scholars and educators to achieve and sustain preeminence in teaching, scholarship, and service;
  • Focusing on effectively addressing the needs of members through the phases of their careers as scholars and educators; and
  • Providing an energetic, diverse learning community that enhances professional growth through high-quality programs, services, and products.


The Princeton Review names Drury a “Best in the Midwest” university

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 6, 2013 —The Princeton Review has named Drury University one the best colleges in the Midwest in its website feature “2014 Best Colleges Region by Region.” Drury is one of 155 institutions named to the Princeton Review’s “Best in the Midwest” section.

In the profile on Drury University at Princeton Review’s website, Drury students offered the following descriptions:

  • “The global awareness aspect is one of the greatest strengths of the school.”
  • “My professors truly care about their students: they know each of us by name.”
  • “I fell in love with the school immediately. It is small and intimate, but still has things to do.”

The 155 colleges named to the “Best in the Midwest” section come from 12 states: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Collectively, the 643 colleges named “regional bests” constitute about 25 percent of the nation’s 2,500 four-year colleges

The Princeton Review is an education services company known for its test-prep courses, tutoring, books and other student resources. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.