Seven political science students present original research

After almost a year of gathering data and developing a thesis, seven political science students recently presented their original research at the Midwest Political Science Research Conference at Park University in Parkville, Missouri.

All Drury students in the political sciences department complete a capstone course in the fall and create a research proposal of a topic of their interest. These seven students took their proposals a step further and actually gathered statistics and data to complete a study.

At the conference, students were divided into different panels based on their research topic. A discussant provided feedback on both their papers and presentation, and opened discussion for attending audience members.

Max Byers, a senior majoring in American Political Studies, presented “The Effect of Democratic Party Mobilization on Black Voter Turnout” and worked closely with his professors throughout the research process.

“Voter turnout is one of the most studied topics in political science, so I had to dig through a ton of information to determine what was meaningful and what was relevant,” Byers said. “It was eye-opening to see how much work goes into journal articles.”

Byers is currently an intern for Meryll Lynch and hopes to receive his MBA in the future and work as a financial analyst.

Lindsay Lehmen, a senior double majoring in Mathematics and Politics and Government, presented “Voting Isn’t Fair: The Underlying Voting Power Distribution of the United States’ Electoral College.” Lehmen’s research doubled as her senior-year Honors project.

Lehmen began her research in January 2013 after she studied the power index in her math senior seminar class. In the fall, she interned with the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and had the opportunity to do much of her research in the Library of Congress. She was still enrolled as a full time student at Drury and completed class work in D.C.

Lindsay Lehmen

Lindsay Lehmen

Seeing the presentations from a variety of students from other universities left Lehman with a strong sense of pride in the work she and her fellow classmates had done at Drury.

“It was clear that Drury has an incredible research requirement for their students,” Lehmen said. “All of our professors really pushed original thinking instead of piggybacking off of someone else’s research. The discussant was really impressed with my project and it was big confidence booster.”

Other student researchers and their topics included: Lexi Brewer, “How Internal Factors of States Influence International Diplomacy;” Kate Elam, “More than Material: Explaining Public Support for Environmental Protection in Western Democracies;” Garrett Hurd, “Contemporary Conservatism in America;” Dakoda Trithara, “South China Sea: A U.S. Foreign Policy Dilemma;” and Aaron Tucker, “Corporatism, Economic Equality, and Unionized Labor: An Empirical Survey.”

Lehmen attributes her and her classmates’ success at the conference to Drury’s small class size and the study-faculty interaction.

“Our professors really know our strengths and capabilities, sometimes better than we know them ourselves. We’re not just a number to them.” Lehmen said. “We have incredible faculty that care about our success and I’ve never felt like I was on my own. They were there every step of the way.”


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

Drury, North Arkansas College sign reverse transfer agreement

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 5, 2014 — Drury University and North Arkansas College (Northark) in Harrison, Arkansas, have finalized a new agreement that enables students to retroactively earn an associate degree by combining their Northark credits with those earned at Drury.

The Reverse Transfer and Articulation Agreement allows Northark students to transfer back academic credits for course work completed at Drury to satisfy associate degree requirements. This means students who have earned some but not all of the required credits for an associate degree could be awarded both the two-year and four-year degrees at the same time, provided all requirements are satisfied.

In addition, Drury University and Northark are working together to provide students with transfer guides to outline coursework required for bachelor’s degree completion options through the College of Continuing Professional Studies (CCPS) at Drury.

“This agreement allows both Northark and Drury to help our respective students complete their degrees and get the recognition they deserve,” says Aaron Jones, Dean of Drury CCPS. “It gives them credit where credit is due and makes them more attractive to employers.”

As part of the agreement, Drury is extending a 10 percent reduction in tuition costs for all Northark students pursuing a bachelor’s degree from Drury CCPS if the student has earned an associate degree from Northark. Drury is also extending a 10 percent reduction in tuition costs for all Northark employees seeking a bachelor’s degree from Drury CCPS.

A celebration ceremony with representatives from both institutions was held on April 29 at on Northark’s Center Campus in Harrison.

For more information, contact: Aaron Jones, Drury CCPS Dean, (417) 873-6829 or; or Kristy Nelson, CCPS Director of Marketing, (417) 873-7317 or


Summit will highlight Drury’s present and future engaged learning efforts

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 30, 2014 — Drury University will host its inaugural Engaged Learning Summit on Friday, May 2 to discuss the many ways in which students, faculty and staff are reaching out beyond the campus to enrich our community. The summit also marks the beginning of an enhanced collaboration with community leaders to strengthen these efforts.

The event is by invitation only but media are invited to cover the summit. The summit will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Reed Auditorium in the Trustee Science Center, located on the southwest corner of Drury Lane and Bob Barker Boulevard.

Drury leaders and students will report on the already robust state of community engagement at the University, as well as look ahead to the “Drury Connect” concept, which aims to strengthen those efforts. The heart of Drury Connect is the establishment of nine advisory councils in areas that include the environment, business and economic development, healthcare, the performing arts and architecture. Members of these councils include some of the region’s most influential leaders who will help shape Drury’s academic and community agenda in each area. Several of those who have committed to serve on a Drury Connect advisory council will be in attendance Friday.

“Springfield’s history of collaboration between town and gown is one we cherish and are committed to strengthening,” says Charles Taylor, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We want to demonstrate the added value we can provide to the community we serve, and show the community that this is the lens through which we view the work of educating our students.”

In addition to an overview of Drury Connect, several students will be on hand to make poster presentations about their recent engaged learning efforts. These efforts include work with local schools, performing arts projects, architecture and design projects, and more.

For more information about the Engaged Learning Summit and Drury Connect, contact: Dr. Charles Taylor, Vice President for Academic Affairs, (417) 873-7391 or


Season’s final Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra concert features Mahler

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 29, 2014 — The Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra (SDCO) will present its final concert of the year at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 1 at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts. The concert is free, although donations help insure the orchestra’s continued operations.

Finishing its season of “First Symphonies,” the orchestra will perform the mighty Symphony No. 1 (once subtitled “Titan”) by Gustav Mahler – marking the first time the SDCO has performed a work by this composer. The concert will also feature Charles R. Hall Young Artist winner pianist Mei Mei Chao, who will perform the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Camille Saint-Saens.

The Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra is southwest Missouri’s regional community orchestra. Founded in 2005, the 90-plus-member ensemble comprises a combination of Drury students, students from most of Southwest Missouri’s regional universities, professional performers and educators, and dedicated community members. Now in its 9th season, the SDCO presents a yearly four-concert season of orchestral masterworks — all free and open to public.

For more information, visit or find the SDCO on Facebook.

Media contact: Dr. Christopher Koch, SDCO Music Director & Conductor, at (417) 873-7298 or


Founder of Living Lands & Waters will speak at Drury on April 28

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Apr. 28, 2014 — Drury will host Chad Pregracke, the President and Founder of Living Lands & Waters (LL&W), at 6 p.m. tonight in Reed Auditorium in the Trustee Science Center.

LL&W is the world’s only “industrial strength” not-for-profit river cleanup organization. Pregracke formed the organization at age 23 after spending his life growing up and working on the Mississippi River. Over the last 16 years, the organization and its volunteers have removed over 7 million pounds of garbage out of the United States’ rivers.

LL&W has also broadened its mission to include a MillionTrees project and an Adopt-A-River Mile Project, as well as a floating classroom aboard a barge that Pregracke and his crew live on 7 months of the year.  Its goal is to teach students, educators and individual citizens about the value of rivers and natural resources. Pregracke was recently named the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year.

His presentation, “Helping to Clean America’s Rivers: From the Bottom Up,” will discuss his life growing up on the Mississippi and how his experiences led to a career in conservation. This event is free and open to the public, and is part of Drury’s 2014 Earth Day.

For more information about this event, contact Dr. Wendy Anderson at


Drury hosts first International Culture Fair for local schools April 28

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Apr. 28, 2014 — Drury hosts an International Culture fair for local school students in the Findley Student Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

About 400 students from Boyd, McGregor, Pipkin, and Central will be attending the fair.  Throughout the day, students will have the chance visit 11 booths representing 13 different countries. Drury volunteers will lead the students through the fair to learn more about each country’s culture and language.

At each booth, students will also participate in a traditional activity from the represented country. Activities may include learning a traditional dance, playing an instrument, or tasting authentic food from one of the highlighted cultures.  Students will also receive a passport booklet with questions relating to the country and receive a stamp in their passport after each visit.  They will also receive souvenirs related to the fair and their visit to Drury.

“The hope is that student will not only learn about what life is like around the world, but that they will also grow to understand and appreciate the incredible cultural diversity here in Springfield,” says Dr. Heidi Backes, assistant Professor of Spanish at Drury. “I am very excited to be able to offer this experience to local students, and my campus volunteers are equally thrilled to get to share their love international culture and travel.”


“Reflections” features work by local street photographers at C-Street Gallery

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 28, 2014 — The Drury on C-Street Gallery will open “Reflections” from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 2, at the Drury on C-Street Gallery, located at 233 E. Commercial St. Curated by Drury Professor Emeritus, Tom Parker, the exhibit will highlight the photography of area street photographers Steven Spencer and Andrew Harris.

Steven Spencer says of the show, “I do believe unless you bring Truman Capote in to make something better this show is going to rock. So as I always tell Tom Parker, you better get extra crackers because we’re going to break the record.”

The reception will feature musical entertainment by Orlando native and producer DJ Nick Fury. Food and drink will be provided.

“Reflections” will run May 2-16, 2014. Gallery viewing hours after the opening reception will be 1 to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, call (417) 873-6359 or visit Drury on C-Street’s Facebook page at

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. To further its goals, the Gallery strives to create and maintain strong local partnerships.


Student veterans group challenges DU community to military fitness test

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 25, 2014 — The newly formed Drury chapter of Student Veterans of America (SVA) is holding its first fundraising event Saturday morning. SVA is challenging Drury students, faculty and staff to pass a military physical fitness test.

The event will be held at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 26, at Sunderland Field. The field is located just south of the Sunderland Residence Hall and is adjacent to Benton Avenue. Media are invited to cover the event. The challenge includes two minutes each of timed push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups or flexed-arm hang, plus a two-mile run.

Money from entry fees and donations will benefit the Home at Last program, which assists homeless veterans in Springfield. Home at Last is a new program funded by a Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Drury’s SVA chapter was founded earlier this academic year under the leadership of student veterans on campus. In September, Drury was named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media. The designation puts Drury in the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and their spouses as students and ensure their success on campus. The Military Friendly designation is another example of Drury’s deep and continuing commitment to meeting the educational goals of military students.

For more information about the physical fitness challenge or SVA, contact SVA president-elect Katelyn Vernon, at (817) 694-4461 or


Women’s Basketball Coach Steve Huber Resigns

Coach Steve Huber is resigning to pursue other opportunities. Drury University thanks him for his hard work and success, both on and off the court, this season. Drury wishes him well in his future endeavors.

Assistant coach Molly Miller has been named interim head coach of Drury’s women’s basketball team.


Students Choose Service for Spring Break Trips

Many students travel to a beach location for spring break; but this semester, around 20 Drury students headed out-of-state to serve communities in Washington, D.C., and Twin Lakes State Park in Virginia.

The Drury Alternative Breaks Program is a student-led program offering affordable, service-learning trips over academic breaks.  The Washington, D.C., group worked with nonprofits that focus on urban farming and sustainable development programs, while the Virginia group performed forestry and park maintenance work. Each attending student completed at least 32 hours of service work during the trips.

Each trip only cost students $75 — the rest of the cost was paid for through fundraising, money from the Student Government Association, and the Office of Community Outreach and Leadership Development. These trips also are counted as an Engaged Learning credits, which is a requirement in the Drury curriculum.

DC trip group photo

Kevin Daroga, a junior Finance major, attended the D.C. trip with 10 other students and two Drury advisors. While there, the group faced an unexpected snowstorm that changed some of their volunteering plans, but they remained flexible and found other ways to serve the community.

“Even though we were planning on working outside and our plans changed, everyone had a positive attitude and we found other ways to work with the nonprofits,” said Daroga. “We helped clean up indoor gardens where apartment residents could ‘rent’ plots of land to grow their own produce.  We also packaged fresh meals for children and the homeless and learned a lot about the benefits of composting.”

Students volunteered for four days and had one “free” day for sightseeing. The D.C. group took a tour of the White House and was able to visit some of the museums and monuments in the area.

Abbi Weller, a sophomore architecture major, also attended the D.C. trip for her spring break and enjoyed the service and educational aspects of the experience.

“I didn’t know anything about urban farming before the trip, but afterwards I thought I had a good understanding of the concept,” Weller said.  “It was awesome to interact and get to meet people who are so passionate about service work and about providing fresh food and gardening services to the public. It was an experience I would love to participate in again.”


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