Recent grad thrives, finds her path during time at Drury

The new year looks bright for Emily Cline, one of more than 280 December Drury graduates.

A Springfield native who majored in biology and Spanish while also playing on the women’s soccer team, Cline is headed for a career in physical therapy. She’ll begin work on her doctorate this fall. A 4.0 student, she’s already been accepted to Washington University in St. Louis and has interviews at several other top-flight schools such as the University of Colorado and Northern Arizona.

Dr. Kevin Jansen, professor of biology and one of Cline’s faculty advisors, says he won’t be surprised if Cline is among the top in her class no matter where she chooses to pursue her advanced degree.

“She’s excellent at critically evaluating what’s in front of her, whether it’s a defense on the soccer field, a question on an exam or a patient’s needs,” Jansen says.

Emily Cline at Trustee Science Center

Evaluating her career at Drury, Cline says it’s been a time of growth and self-discovery. She chose Drury because it was a place where she could pursue both athletics and academics in “a place where I wouldn’t be just a number.” She finished knowing more about her path in life.

Studying Spanish opened her eyes to other cultures, especially after a semester abroad in Spain. Beyond getting to know the people and the language better, the time spent in an unfamiliar setting taught her something important about herself.

“I’ve never felt great about making mistakes,” she admits. “My time abroad put me in situations where I felt a little unsure at times, but I started to feel OK with that. I learned to navigate places I’ve never been before and that gave me confidence to do other things. I became more independent.”

Cline currently lives in Drury’s Foreign Languages House, an on-campus residence that is also a gathering place for foreign language club events and international student dinners. Living on campus has also taught her a lot, she says, beginning with having freshman year roommates she’d never previously met.

“That was the start of opening up to more people and being more receptive to different ways of life,” she says.

But it was her time in Drury’s rigorous science curriculum and multiple physical therapy internships that revealed a career path to Cline. She wants to specialize in neurologic physical therapy, where she will be able to form very close one-on-one relationships with patients who need direct care to fight diseases like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis.

Emily Cline soccer goal

“When I came to Drury it was because I wanted to be able to get to know my professors, and later in life I want to have that kind of relationship with my patients, too,” she says.

Jansen says Cline’s combination of intellect and people skills will serve her well in the field. Like many Drury students, Cline is exceptionally accomplished but knows she still has so much to learn, he says.

“That combination of intelligence and gratitude for the opportunities to reach higher goals is what makes our students special,” Jansen says.


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.”


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


Drury’s Department of Languages Receives a $20,000 Grant

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Jan. 24, 2012 — Drury University’s Department of Languages has received a $20,000 grant from the C.W. Titus Foundation to fund ten scholarships for foreign language study abroad.

Ten Drury students will receive up to $2,000 each to help cover expenses directly related to study abroad education.  These expenses include travel to and within the host country, tuition, food, lodging and educational supplies. The scholarships are available to students participating in short-term study abroad programs, as well as semester and year-long programs. Scholarships are limited to full-time day students for the 2012-2013 school year.

Applications for study abroad scholarships will be accepted beginning in the fall 2012 semester. The Department of Languages faculty will consider applications based on the following criteria: commitment to foreign language study, success in foreign language study, years in school and financial need.

Dr. Patrick Moser

The goal of the scholarships is not only for students to increase their understanding of international cultures but also to share their educational and cultural experiences with Drury and the Springfield community upon their return. This could include presentations in appropriate classes, university clubs, venues such as the campus Global Insights Luncheon, or civic organizations. Students are also encouraged to participate in tutoring services on campus or with local elementary, middle school or high school students.

In the past five years, the C.W. Titus Foundation has awarded $94,000 to Drury’s Department of Languages through its scholarship program; 35 students have been selected to study languages in France, Spain, Germany, Chile, Peru and Argentina. “The Department of Languages is extremely proud to work with the C.W. Titus Foundation to help Drury students study and travel abroad, and to have our community enriched by their experiences,” said Dr. Patrick Moser, associate professor of French.

Contact: Dr. Patrick Moser, Associate Professor of French, Office: (417) 873-6957, E-mail:


A long-time Drury professor says “auf wiedersehen” after nearly four decades

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 6, 2011 —Drury University congratulates Dr. Eltjen Flikkema on his retirement after 39 years of service at Drury.

After earning his Ph.D. at Michigan State, Flikkema joined Drury’s faculty in 1972, expecting to stay for one year as a professor of German. He soon found that Drury suited him well. “You have to like people here,” he says, “You have to like students.”

He has held several positions, including: Director of Admission, Assistant Dean, and Chair of the Languages Department. He was the first Director of the Drury Honors Program, but it’s clear that teaching is the role of which he is most proud.

Dr. Eltjen Flikkema

Flikkema’s German students, including many graduating seniors, gave him a surprise send-off today at the completion of his last class. Students remember Flikkema’s storytelling in the classroom and the life-lessons he imparted beyond his German instruction. “There were wonderful students 39 years ago,” he says, “but no more wonderful than these.”

When he was three years old, his parents immigrated to the U.S. along with his older brother. His parents spoke no English, and he credits this bilingual upbringing for his lifelong fascination with languages. A native of The Netherlands, Flikkema and his wife Jerri have two daughters. The 66-year-old gets up before dawn every morning to swim before heading to work at Drury. Upon retirement Flikkema plans to stay active and has plans to travel, including a summer trip to China with his wife to celebrate their upcoming 45th anniversary. He also hopes to volunteer with community organizations that address hunger in the Ozarks.