Statewide gifted education conference at DU focuses on STEM – and more

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 14, 2014 — A statewide conference taking place on the Drury campus later this week will explore two parts of the educational spectrum that aren’t often discussed together – gifted education and learning disabilities.

The Gifted Association of Missouri (GAM) will hold its annual conference on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 17 and 18 on the DU campus. The conference theme is “FULL STE²AM AHEAD.” Most people are familiar with the focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in today’s classrooms. The “STE²AM” theme adds two additional components. The first is “twice-exceptional” students who meet the eligibility requirements for both giftedness and learning disabilities (for example, a student may be delayed in language arts but advanced in mathematics). The second component is the arts.

The conference will take place in Lay Hall and the Findlay Student Center. For more information about the conference or to set up interviews, contact Mary Potthoff, director of Drury’s Center for Gifted Education, at (417) 873-7386 or mpotthof@drury.edu; or Robin Lady, executive vice president with GAM at (314) 203-1165 or robin.lady.gam@gmail.com.

About Drury’s Center for Gifted Education

Drury has been a national leader in providing education and enrichment programs for academically gifted students more than 30 years. The Drury Center for Gifted Education is the most complete center for gifted education in the state of Missouri and is one of less than 20 complete gifted education centers in the United States. Visit Drury.edu/giftededucation for more information.

About GAM

The Gifted Association of Missouri has actively supported the needs of high-ability and high-potential learners in Missouri since 1980. GAM provides teacher training, curriculum development, parent support, regional seminars and workshops, scholarships, student competitions and awards. For further information, visit: www.mogam.org.

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One-day conference will help Midwest nonprofits hone communication skills

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 8, 2014 — Hundreds of community leaders representing organizations from Missouri and seven surrounding states will gather Thursday, Oct.16, at Drury University for the 2014 Nonprofit Communication Conference.

The one-day annual conference, presented by the Drury University Center for Nonprofit Communication, features training on a variety of topics including public relations, technology, crisis communication and fundraising. Representatives from many of Missouri’s largest health systems, universities, charitable and civic groups will be in attendance.

According to the IRS, there are more than 1,500 registered nonprofit organizations in Springfield – including many of the region’s top employers. A recent study by the Center revealed Springfield nonprofit organizations comprise more than 50 percent of the city’s total private workforce – almost 40,000 people daily.

The 2014 Nonprofit Conference will be held in the Breech School of Business on the Drury University campus. Conference cost is $40 per person, and includes lunch by Panera Bread and refreshments by Krispy Kreme. Registration is online at www.Drury.edu/Nonprofit.

Major conference sponsors include KPM Accountants, Panera Bread and Traders Printing.

For more information, contact conference organizer Dan Prater at (417) 873-7443 or via email at dprater@drury.edu.

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Daughter follows in dad’s footsteps into the Breech MBA program

Sometimes it’s tough to live up to the standards and expectations your parents have for you. It might be even be a little tougher when you follow in the footsteps of your father into a rigorous and challenging Masters in Business Administration program.

Liz Crain recently completed Drury’s five-week-long MBA “Boot Camp” that’s designed to prepare those without an undergraduate business degree for the MBA program. She begins classes in January.

Her father, Mike West, earned an MBA from Drury in 2010. Hav­ing graduated from Drury in 1996 with degrees in physics and mathematics, he also went through the Boot Camp to prep for his master’s degree. Then he recommended the program to his daughter.

“I don’t feel too competitive about it, but the standards are set pretty high,” Crain says with a grin, when asked if there’s any family rivalry in play.

Liz Crain and her father, Mike West

Liz Crain and her father, Mike West

Angie Adamick, director of the MBA program, says West and Crain represent two very different, but valued types of students who go through the program.

“Mike is the professional who has so much expertise and rich experience to offer in the classroom and Liz is full of fresh and innovative ideas,” she says. “The combination of these kinds of input in the Drury MBA classroom makes for incredibly dynamic discussions.”

Crain, 23, has seen that already. She says she enjoyed the stimulating mix of younger minds and experienced professionals during the “intense five weeks” of the Boot Camp.

West continues to be involved in the program post-graduation by serving as an MBA mentor, speaking at the orientation and encouraging his colleagues to pursue their MBA through Drury. Now he’s excited to bring his daughter into the Drury fold as well. He still has many close, personal and professional connections from both his undergraduate days and his MBA experience.

“Drury, to me, is a family school,” he says. “Everybody knows everyone.”

Those interested in applying for the program can find more information about www.drury.edu/mba, or by calling (417) 873-7612.

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Story by Trevor Cobb, writing major at Drury. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Drury honors three graduates with 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 7, 2014 — Drury University honored three outstanding graduates with the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards during the annual Alumni Reunion on October 3. Fellow alumni nominate candidates and the DU Alumni Council chooses the honorees. The award winners are chosen for career success and service to their communities.

“These three impressive individuals represent the continuing tradition of outstanding Drury alumni,” says Dianne Johnson, vice president of Development & Alumni Relations. “They combine career achievement with leadership and service, and they demonstrate how to lead satisfying and meaningful lives to their families, our students and their communities.”

Kim Harrison Hamm

Kim Harrison Hamm

Kim Harrison Hamm ’86  Distinguished Alumnus Award for Career Achievement

Celebrated for her long and successful career as a partner at BKD, LLP, and for providing more than 25 years of expertise in audit and consulting services for clients in the real estate, not-for-profit and government industries. Hamm has also presented numerous seminars on a variety of topics, assisted with the implementation of insightful solutions for her clients, and remained active in the recruitment of college graduates for the firm.

Eunice Schmiechen Wallar

Eunice Schmiechen Wallar

Eunice Schmiechen Wallar ’63  Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service

Honored for her passionate pursuit of education, the arts and children’s advocacy in her professional life. Wallar owns and manages Waverly House, the longest continuously operated art gallery in Springfield, and has raised more than $60,000 for local children’s charities. She has served on boards including the Camp Fire Boys and Girls, Friends of the Springfield Art Museum, and the Drury Panhellenic Alumni Council.

Nathan Pettyjohn

Nathan Pettyjohn

Nathan Pettyjohn ’01 – Distinguished Young Alumnus Award

Recognized for his innovative advancements in the mobile services and advertising industries. Pettyjohn is the founder and CEO of aisle411, the leading mobile commerce and location services platform for retailers. He and his company have been featured on CNBC, The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times and more. With more than 12 years of experience, he has a rich understanding of business, management, technology and marketing.

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Partnership puts future health care professionals in clinical setting

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 30, 2014 — As entry into professional health and medical schools becomes more competitive, a new partnership between Drury and Jordan Valley Community Health Center (JVCHC) gives undergraduates the chance to experience and work in a real-world medical setting well before they take that next step in their academic careers.

The Drury Health Service Corps places pre-health sciences students inside the federally qualified health center in downtown Springfield to work alongside the medical staff and interact with patients. This gives them valuable – and increasingly, essential – volunteer experience in a real clinical setting. The work includes helping patients navigate the building and sign up for the online patient engagement portal, as well as assisting the JVCHC staff with a variety of customer-service related tasks.

The Drury Health Service Corps seeks to go beyond a mere “shadow” internship and to truly place undergraduates in the midst of the patient-provider dynamic. It will help them cultivate the empathy, understanding and skills necessary to build relationships with the medically underserved, so that they are better prepared to become patient-centered health care providers in the future.

“Medicine is certainly a ‘people’ business and that’s something medical schools are looking for — individuals who are not only academically prepared but are able to go out and interact with people in a really positive way,” says Dr. Beth Harville, assistant professor of biology and chemistry and director of Drury’s pre-health sciences program.

“This is such a win-win for both Drury University and Jordan Valley Community Health Center,” said Dr. Chan Ngo Reyes, medical director at Jordan Valley Community Health Center, and a DU alumna. “It is so important for pre-health sciences students to get meaningful, first-hand experiences in terms of patient care and what it means to truly treat and help patients in the medical setting. Through their volunteer hours, Drury students achieve self-confidence in meeting and speaking with patients who come to the clinic, learn how to work effectively and efficiently with others to meet the same goals, and observe experienced medical professionals practice within a clinic setting.”

The partnership further bolsters Drury’s pre-health sciences program, which has a strong history of producing graduates who move on to successful health care professions in medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, pharmacology and more. Drury has partnerships that allow undergraduates who meet certain academic standards early acceptance to five medical schools – Saint Louis University, Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, the University of Missouri and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In the last 5 years, approximately 90 percent of Drury students who applied to medical school were accepted. Today more than 100 Drury alumni are practicing physicians in southwest Missouri.

Mikaela Speakes is a junior biochemistry major at Drury who has already been accepted to medical school at SLU. Participating in the Health Service Corps is a feather in the cap for the St. Louis-area native.

“Professors try to teach you patient care in the classroom, but it’s hard – you really have to do it for yourself,” Speakes says. “You have to get out there and interact with patients. And it’s a great break from studying and class. It’s something different.”

Health Service Corps students work in pairs at Jordan Valley from 1 to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Each pair works one day a week, for a total of about 65 hours worth of work by semester’s end. New groups of students will work during the winter break and spring semester. In all, more than 30 students will take part this academic year. Media interested in covering the program can make arrangements through Mike Brothers, DU media relations director.

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Moroccan professor teaches Arabic at Drury thanks to Fulbright program

For 10 years, Jalal Ismaili taught English to students in his home country, Morocco. This year, as part of the prestigious Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship program, he is teaching Arabic to American students at Drury, creating an important cultural exchange that emphasizes Drury’s global studies mission.

Ismaili teaches elementary and advanced Arabic courses as part of Drury’s Middle East Studies minor. Arabic is the official language of Morocco and 21 other countries in Africa and Asia.

Jalal Ismaili

Jalal Ismaili

The Fulbright program is funded by the U.S. State Department and managed by the International Institute of Education. It involves a rigorous, competitive application process, and provides opportunities for students, professors and scholars from the United States to teach and study abroad, and vice versa. Six current Drury professors and even some former students have been granted Fulbright awards to study and teach in their fields overseas.

For nine years, Drury has also hosted an Arabic Foreign Language Teaching Assistant through the program.

“One of the great benefits for Drury is that we get the opportunity for people to come from the Middle East and teach an important and challenging language,” says Dr. Jeff VanDenBerg, professor of political science and director of the Middle East Studies program. “More significantly, we get a view of the Arab world in a human way — a cultural exchange and understanding that’s not just through news headlines.”

Ismaili spoke with the previous Fulbright FLTA scholar who came to Drury last year and consequentially had high expectations about what he would experience when he came to Springfield.

“He told me that the people here were very kind and welcoming and I can see that throughout the campus,” Ismaili said. “I’ve taught about American culture, but I haven’t gotten to actually live it, so this opportunity has really helped me in my career and given me a better, cultural understanding.”

Ismaili holds an M.A. in multilingual translation and is currently working on his Ph.D. in English. During his time at Drury, he hopes to act as an ambassador for his country. He teaches Arab culture, history and customs in his language courses, and has guest-lectured in other professors’ classes.

“I think many students have misconceptions about the Arab world just as I have had misconceptions about Americans,” says Ismaili. “People tend to overgeneralize on both sides. Changing those views is one of my priorities. I don’t just want to tell others about the culture, I want to bring them into it and into the environment.”

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

 

Environmental art exhibit featured at C-Street gallery in October

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sep. 29, 2014 —Drury on C-Street will open a unique exhibition featuring Missouri artist Shirah Miriam “Mimi” Aumann from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3. The exhibit, “Hemp and Pots – Grass and Trees” will feature 44 multi-media pieces, including the installation of “Tree Whispers,” which portrays the deforestation of the Earth for paper. The Drury on C-Street gallery is located on 233 E. Commercial Street.

“This exhibit is a wonderful opportunity to introduce the viewer to the strength and beauty of these natural fibres and get the environmental message across in a powerful and visual way,” Aumann says.

Aumann creates handmade papers and sculptures using tree-free, native plant fibers. She studied weaving for several years with Drury weaving instructor Harriet Mears, mother of Ellen Mears Kennedy, a noted papermaker.

Fluer de Iris, by artist Shirah Miriam “Mimi” Aumann

Fluer de Iris, by artist Shirah Miriam “Mimi” Aumann

The exhibition will open with a Creative Conversation at 5:30 p.m., featuring Aumann as well as Mike Lewis, executive director of Growing Warriors, a Kentucky-based organization that teaches veteran families the skills to grow naturally grown produce. Growing Warriors recently planted a successful crop of industrial hemp — a historic moment in Kentucky after decades of federal prohibition of industrial hemp.

After the opening, the public may view this exhibit from 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of the month. The exhibit runs through Oct. 29.

For more information, call (417) 873-6359, or visit Drury on C-Street’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DruryCStreet.

About Drury on C-Street

The Drury on C-Street Project is an initiative by Drury University, in partnership with other local organizations, to establish a Drury Center on Commercial Street. This center includes an art gallery, a business resource center, space for weaving looms, architecture classroom, and a multi-use area for additional classes and seminars. The Drury on C-Street Gallery is a professional, student-run gallery featuring emerging and established artists. The Gallery aims to inspire and enrich the community through a diverse, quality experience; and strives to create and maintain strong local partnerships.

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Drury named a “Military Friendly School” for fourth straight year

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 23, 2014 — For the fourth year in a row, Victory Media has recognized Drury University as a Military Friendly School. The 2015 Military Friendly Schools list honors the colleges, universities and trade schools doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and their spouses as students.

“Earning the 2014-2015 Military Friendly Schools designation puts Drury University in the top 20 percent of all eligible schools approved for G.I. Bill funding, and it tells prospective military students that Drury is pre-vetted with leading programs and policies to support military students,” says Sean Collins, Vice President at Victory Media, adjudicator of Military Friendly ratings and publisher of G.I. Jobs.

The Military Friendly Schools website (www.militaryfriendly.com) features interactive lists and search tools to help military students find the best school to suit their unique needs and preferences. Those selected by Victory Media exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience.

MFS15_200x200

Drury has a long tradition of serving those who have served our country. In the days after World War II, buses brought soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood to classes held on the Springfield campus. Today, one of Drury’s 11 branch locations is at Fort Leonard Wood.

“Being in the service can give a person the feelings of a fast-paced and stressful environment,” says Katelyn Vernon, president of the Drury chapter of Student Veterans of America. “But the thought of changing your path in life and returning to school is almost more stressful. Luckily, Drury is there with you every step of the way. The staff is knowledgeable of all the requirements from the Veterans Administration, which ensures everything is processed quickly and smoothly. I am proud that I had the opportunity to attend Drury and was able to share and influence other students with my experiences in the service.”

Victory Media’s annual Guide to Military Friendly Schools will be distributed in print and digital format to hundreds of thousands of active and former military personnel.

For more information on how Drury helps veterans find academic and career success, go to www.drury.edu/military.

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Students & faculty celebrate Banned Books Week with readings

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 22, 2014 — Drury University will observe Banned Books Week from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25, as students, faculty and staff will read aloud selections from books that are often in censors’ crosshairs. The readings will take place on the steps of Olin Library. Organized by the English honors society, Sigma Tau Delta, the event is open to the public.

Many American classics have been on lists of frequently challenged books, including “The Great Gatsby,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” as well as modern-day bestsellers such as “Harry Potter” and even “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Banned books stack

“Banned Books Week isn’t so much a protest as a celebration of great books that many haven’t heard of until they are banned,” said Dr. Kevin Henderson, professor of English and advisor to Sigma Tau Delta. “We don’t read selections to be merely provocative; we read to suggest the power and complexity of literature that sometimes gets reduced to a few offending words or scenes when it is placed a banned book list.”

Banned Books Week was started in 1982 by the American Library Association to draw attention to an increasing number of book censorships and challenges seen in communities across the country. Universities and libraries nationwide now celebrate Banned Books Week each year.

“In a country that explicitly values freedom of expression, it seems ridiculous that censorship is even still an issue,” said Alexis Dutt, vice president of Sigma Tau Delta. “Banned book readings celebrate authors who took risks and the readers who demand to make their own decisions on what they want to read.”

In addition to the readings, members of Sigma Tau Delta are also promoting a book drive this year for the Little Free Library project organized by Professor Jo Van Arkels’ CORE 101 class. The public can donate new and used copies of children’s books, young adult fiction and nonfiction, and literary classics during the event. The recently constructed Little Library will also be on display.

For more information, contact Dr. Kevin Henderson.

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Music professor wins statewide award for original composition

Dr. Carlyle Sharpe is both a professor and practitioner of music composition. His students have long recognized what he brings to the table as a teacher, and his peers have often recognized his talents as a composer – including a recent statewide nod.

Sharpe, professor of music composition and theory, was this summer honored with the Opus Award from the Missouri Choral Directors Association for his original composition, “Psalm 8.”

The award is presented annually to a Missouri composer with the most outstanding choral composition, nominated and voted on by members of the Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA). Sharpe’s piece was written in honor of the 75th Anniversary Convention of MMEA, and was performed by the Boys Choir of Springfield under the direction of Mark Lawley, director of music education at Drury.

Sharpe has numerous awards in choral, solo, orchestral and combination pieces, but his favorite part of composing is the creative process behind it.

“The award is icing on the cake, but the cake is the process of composing and the rehearsal of it,” he says. “You have it in your head a certain way — so what’s magical about it is when it lines up the way you envisioned it and the music comes to life.”

Carlyle Sharpe

A working composer, Sharpe teaches composition lessons, music theory and ear training courses at Drury, while he composes original music at home.

“I love teaching college students because its keeps you young and engaged,” Sharpe says. “I use the principles and theories I teach in my own work, and I think students appreciate that the person educating them is also practicing those techniques outside of the classroom.”

Every piece he composes comes with its own challenges, but Sharpe values both the Drury and Springfield communities for their continuous support and appreciation of the arts. Springfield and Drury ensembles have performed 30 of Sharpe’s works.

Dr. Allin Sorenson, professor of music and director of Drury Singers says, “There’s incredible value in having the composer directly work with the performers because he is able to provide insight into the music that is usually unavailable to musicians.”

Now entering his 15th year at Drury, Sharpe has seen the music department grow from just 17 music majors to about 100 music majors and minors — a record high.

“Seeing all the exciting potential at Drury and watching the potential come to fruition is incredible,” Sharpe says. “We are still relatively small, but we’re doing things on a big scale. We may be small, but we don’t think small.”

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