When Lori Mueller, a graduate student in Southeast Missouri State University’s Higher Education Administration program, began working at Southeast in 1998, she soon realized her desire to build a career in higher education administration. Lori, a St. Louis native, intends to graduate with her master’s in spring 2007.
When Lori came to Southeast after finishing her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, she thought Southeast’s Master of Business Administration program was how she wanted to continue her education. After working in the Office of the President for the past two years, Lori discovered she wanted to go in a different direction.
“This office has given me a greater understanding and appreciation of higher education administration, and I love the ‘behind the scenes’ work in this field,” explained Lori. “I hope that my master’s degree will assist with my work in the president’s office and lead to a professional administrative position in this field.”
Lori never knows what challenges she will encounter each day at her job. She says that working with other colleagues as a team can help alleviate the overwhelming amount of work that comes through the office. Lori says the job has tied in nicely with her graduate program, and she has used many of the techniques learned in her classes.
“I was able to complete the internship portion of my master’s program in the president’s office,” Lori said. “Because of the internship, I have received numerous projects and tasks that have become a part of my daily responsibilities.”
Lori says graduate school has contributed greatly to her success at Southeast.
“The faculty members I have in my courses really know their stuff and have encouraged me to get outside of my comfort zone and think about things in new ways,” she explained. “They are always supportive of my academic efforts and are continually challenging me to get the most practical experience I can from this program.”
Before working in the Office of the President, Lori worked in several other departments at Southeast. She says the experiences have helped her gain a broader knowledge of the University and have been helpful in the classroom because of the contacts she has made along the way.
“I often try to help students answer questions about what higher education administration is really like and direct them to the appropriate areas on campus for more information,” Lori said.
Lori says she has enjoyed her time at Southeast and feels like part of a campus community. She says she also enjoys spending time with Tim, her husband of five years.
“One of our favorite things to do right now is to eat at a local hibachi restaurant,” she said. “The food is great and it is very entertaining.”
Lori says she and Tim are very active in their church and participate in a program were they host youth members in their home over the weekend. The weekend is filled with fun activities such as scavenger hunts and Bible studies.
Lori’s best advice for future Southeast graduate students is to take the course GR691 Methods of Research early in the program.
“The class helps you learn how to write a graduate paper and a thesis,” she said. “Taking it early in the program has helped me learn research, writing and citation skills that I use in all of my classes.”