“Language is the key to the world,” is a motto Davina Watson, a German and literature major at Southeast Missouri State University, lives by. This motto has spurred her to study several languages, including Spanish, Arabic and German, with vigor.
College of Liberal Arts: English - Creative Writing
Students who live in Myers Hall at Southeast Missouri State University have Emily Seagraves, Southeast student and resident assistant (RA), to help them make the transition into college as smooth as possible.
College of Liberal Arts - Department of Theatre & Dance
During her time at Southeast, alumna Audrey Stanfield loved to spend her days reading plays at Cup & Cork in downtown Cape Girardeau. Now, she spends her days rushing around New York City attending auditions, exploring the vibrant city and jumping on every opportunity available to her.
In nearly every phase of his life since high school, Doug Smith has served his country in one manner or another. A former United States Air Force pilot, Doug is now head of a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Billy Husher is a Southeast Missouri State University alumnus who desired to go beyond the role of the average citizen. As the state affiliate political organizer (SAPO) for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in Colorado, he also serves as the political director and political mobilization organizer.
College of Liberal Arts & College of Science & Mathematics
A day at the office for Adam Schaefer is unlike a day at the office for most people. While others are dealing with paper jams and staff meetings, Adam is studying and working with marine mammals on the beautiful Florida coast.
Southeast Missouri State University graduate Jeff Davis is one of only five Public Service Commissioners for the state of Missouri. However, his job frequently takes him outside of the boundaries of the state lines, and, occasionally, into other countries. Jeff recently spent four days in Guatemala working with the Association of Central American Electric Regulators.
College of Health and Human Services, College of Liberal Arts
For William Harris, deciding what he wanted to do was sin esfuerzo (effortless). As a double major in nursing and Spanish, he took every opportunity to study abroad and gain all the practical experience he could.
Southeast Missouri State University graduate Nick Brockmeyer loves America’s favorite pastime. Combining business savvy with a little sports know-how, he and fellow Southeast graduate Bert Fulk own the largest baseball talent agency in the state of Missouri.
Dr. Kenneth Stilson, professor of the Department of Theatre and Dance, continues to challenge the belief that “those who can’t do, teach.” His award-winning play, 'Fire Lily', was picked up by an independent film company with production beginning this summer. His professional and artistic success demonstrates his philosophy: “Only those who can do should teach.”
An alumnus of Southeast, Fred Jones decided the perfect job was right at home, as an associate professor in the Department of Communication. A film maker from Jackson, Mo., Jones got his start with a Bachelor of Arts in English degree at Southeast before studying film at the University of Utah.
Southeast Theatre and Dance alumnus Mike Culbertson’s career path has taken him from a medium-sized town in the Midwest to the hustle and bustle of the West coast, and even to the tropical rainforests of Central America.
Southeast student Paul Veneziano of Cape Girardeau recently completed an internship at the Woodward Resource Center, in Woodward, Iowa. Paul, a senior psychology major, served as a psychologist’s assistant.
Southeast Missouri State University freshman Hunter Hempen, of Breese, Ill., has been directing and producing short films since he was a freshman in high school and is now a film and television major at Southeast.
When Nick Cutelli was in fourth grade, he discovered his desire to make people laugh. Now, several years later, Nick makes people laugh weekly in his comedic routines at Donny’s Skybox at the Second City in Chicago, Ill.
They say working at a job for 40 or more years is tolerable and even enjoyable if you truly love what you are doing. If this is so, Roger Forsythe should have no problem continuing his career for many years to come.
Michael Painton of Oran, Mo., just completed his first year of graduate school in the College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. After finishing three years of study, he will earn a master of landscape architecture professional degree.
Dr. P. Joseph Powers '71, '86, majored in history and political science at Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently an assistant professor at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., but before moving to the college level, Powers had a long career as a high school administrator.
For Scott City native, John Casebolt, a trip to Washington, D.C., last spring break to participate in the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank program, altered the route to graduation a bit for this engineering/physics and applied mathematics major and political science minor. John was offered an internship with the CSIS, which he is currently serving in this spring.
Southeast Missouri State University alumna Jeannine Cinco began life after college half-way across the world. Jeannine, a native of St. Charles, Mo., graduated in December 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in German and recreation. After graduation, she became the athletic director for the U.S. Naval Base in Juffair, Bahrain.
For Dr. Bonnie Davis, who was born and raised in Cape Girardeau, Mo., earning her bachelor’s degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University was only the beginning of what would transform her into a best-selling author.
Aimee Cocran, global studies major and native of Sikeston, Mo., is taking full advantage of opportunities to study abroad. She attended the University of Monterrey for the past two semesters and plans to participate in the student EuroTrip.
Senior graphic design major Zachary Penrod of St. Charles, Mo., spent a summer as an intern with the Touchwood Creative firm in downtown St. Louis. The firm handles large presentation projections for companies' employee conferences. They use multiple media forms such as animation and video to achieve this end.
Scott Crean is a Belleville, Ill., native who attended Althoff Catholic High School, and will graduate from Southeast in December 2008. He is majoring in corporate communication and public relations and minoring in integrated marketing communications.
Two Southeast theatre majors are working hard to perfect their art this summer. Cody Heuer, a native of Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Charles Davis, a native of St. Charles, Mo., are both working at the Orris Theatre in Ste. Genevieve, Mo., as it presents two major productions: “Cabaret” began June 19 and ran through July 6, and “Fiddler on the Roof” will begin July 17 and run through Aug. 3.
Anna Powell, a literature major and historic preservation minor from Risco, Mo., has a passion for travel. As a missionary child, she spent a number of years in the Philippines and Honduras. This summer, however, that passion led her to Europe.
Any student or colleague of St. Louis, Mo. native, Jeff Noonan, professor of music history and classical guitar, knows he is a true musicologist, and he knows what his subject matter. Jeff’s students will tell you he is “one of the most knowledgeable professors they have had and that it is amazing how he can correctly answer almost any question on the spot.”
Caleb Daughhetee took the scenic route on his way from Charleston, Mo., to Southeast Missouri State University. After graduating from Kelly High School, he went to Colorado Springs, Colo., to visit the prestigious Air Force Academy.
After earning a B.S. in Education in Speech and Theatre at (then) Southwest Missouri State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Theatre Arts at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Professor Robert (“Rob”) W. Dillon, Jr. came to Southeast in 1989.
Life is in sixth gear for Southeast Missouri State University graduate student Erin Webb. Erin, originally from Farmington, Mo., is working a full-time job in St. Louis as the regional admissions counselor for Southeast in the St. Louis and St. Charles, Mo., area in addition to taking classes in Southeast’s Master's in Higher Education Administration program.
When Sarah Vickery graduated from Southeast in 2004, she knew her degree would open the door to many chances for success. What she didn’t know, however, was that she wouldn’t have to look far to find a position in her field. As the director of sales and marketing at the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, she remains close to her family while receiving opportunities to travel and meet interesting people.
Curiosity, combined with passion and a disciplined work ethic, is why Tyson Wunderlich has succeeded in his field. Of course, a strong background always helps. He said he has been passionate about music his whole life.
Most people are aware that there’s more to a theatre performance than what is on the stage, but they might not be aware of the organized chaos behind the curtain. The entire production can be compared to a piece of embroidery: beautiful and organized in presentation, abstract and (seemingly) disorganized in preparation. A few students of Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance first learned this during their experiences on campus, but now they are discovering its truth as professionals.
Jason LeGrand, a 1997 Graduate of Southeast says, “I had great mentors among the University faculty and staff, including Jay Goff, Juan Crites, Loren Rullman, Debbie Fulton, Joe Low and Ferrell Ervin. Each affected my experience and outlook, and contributed to my professional career choice and success.”
When asked what he would like students to know about him, Dr. James Dufek, professor of Mass Communication, said, “I love my wife and I love my children.” He also gave this advice, “Never underestimate the value of hard work.” These two quotes say a lot about a hard-working and family-oriented man.
As the Crisp Bootheel Education Center (CBEC) of Southeast Missouri State University at Malden celebrates 20 years of existence this year, it is easy to see the positive impact it has had on the area. One area educator has been affiliated with the CBEC for most of those 20 years. This fact makes Larry Speight, full-time English instructor for Southeast, very proud.
Summer in the high desert as the sun begins to set behind the Sangre de Cristo mountains, atmosphere cooling as the color fades from bright yellow to orange to gold to red, the audience applauds the entrance of the conductor, he spreads his arms and then a…one…a two…a three…the orchestra begins the perennial favorite “Carmen”. This was the scene in the summer of 2006 at the John Crosby Opera house, an outdoor amphitheater on the outskirts of Santa Fe, N.M., where Stephen Fister, a Southeast Missouri State University performing arts senior, was behind the scenes as a scenic artist apprentice.
Tim Weddle, alumnus of Southeast Missouri State University, didn’t exactly audition for a chair in a highly-esteemed orchestra. But he saw an opportunity and chose not to ignore it. As a result, he’s been accepted as an associate member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and has been invited to audition for a substitute position in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Father Bob Towner was riding in a dilapidated truck in the middle of nowhere, a mountainous region still lush with vegetation despite the large-scale deforestation taking place throughout the country. The truck had been left behind by American forces after World War II. A dozen other people were crowded in next to him, as well as another dozen sitting on top. They were moving away from their missionary zone, located in one of the poorest, most primitive parts of the Philippines.
“I never really know what to expect when I get up in the morning, which is kind of fun for me,” says Southeast alumna Laura Haug. “I never know where the day will take me or who I will get to meet.” Originally from Bonne Terre, Mo., she is currently living in Burbank, Calif., and working in Hollywood as the executive assistant to the vice president of a post production facility.
Despite the number of life-changing events coming up for Kristi Murray, she continues to aspire. She won the prestigious Newhouse Award from Binghamton University for the best-submitted portfolio from an incoming student for poetry.
Proper lighting, sound equipment and video work are all fundamental to a fine arts performance. That’s why Jeff Lovett, Southeast Missouri State University’s new technical director for the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, is essential to every department located at River Campus.
Southeast senior Justin Moore of Cape Girardeau, Mo., is a busy man with big plans. He is currently taking a “break” from his triple major in vocal music performance, vocal music education, and German to study abroad for the summer at the Friedrich-Schiller Universitaet in Jena, Germany, and privately with a vocal instructor who received her degrees from two of the most prestigious Conservatories of Music in Germany.
Balancing classes and homework with a job and family can prove difficult for some non-traditional students. But John Parsons has found a way to do both. And he even has time for his passion—bass fishing.
Robyn Mainor has always surrounded herself with history. As a child, she traveled the United States with her family to almost every state, visiting numerous museums and other historic sites, and her passion for history and culture have taken her to her perfect major at Southeast. A historic preservation major from Cape Girardeau, Robyn is a member of several committees both inside and outside of the University. Her interests also prompted her to get a minor in art history as well.
Kenndis Joy is an active, involved undergraduate at Southeast who embodies the idea of the well-rounded, liberal arts student. She comes from a family of seven in Jennings, Mo., and will be among the first generation in her family to receive a college degree.
Life is fast and furious for Southeast student and Chicago, Ill., native, Shnithia (Pepper) Newton. Shnithia, known best as “Pepper” by her close friends and co-workers, is currently completing a 180-hour internship for three ClearChannel radio stations in Chicago as part of her degree requirements.
Some people might say Brooke Privett, who is pursuing a bachelor of music in instrumental performance for the trumpet, has a biased opinion of Southeast Missouri State University. Brooke’s father was on the Board of Regents for nine years and her brother is a Southeast graduate. During her families’ involvement around campus, she said she had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people and fell in love with the beauty of Southeast. Because of this, attending Southeast was an obvious decision.
When Matt Hickey started attending Southeast, he didn’t waste any time getting involved on campus. His freshman year, Matt was recognized with the Student Life and Leadership Award for Outstanding Leadership for a first-year student. Now a junior, Matt is an integral part of the Southeast student body. He serves as the president for Student Activities Council and is a representative on Student Government. In addition, Matt is a Presidential Ambassador, a member of Rowdy Crowd and a Community Advisor in Towers North.
He never dreamed he’d ever be getting a school picture taken for the Bernie High School Cotton Boll yearbook some 26 years after donning a blue graduation gown. But Jeff Rodgers is back at his alma mater as a teacher and coach, and his wife Waynetta is just down the hall.
If you watch television on a regular basis, chances are you have seen the work of Southeast alumni Patrick Carter. Carter, originally from Paducah, Ky., is the operations manager at Creative Edge, Inc., a full-service marketing and video production company in Jackson, Mo.
“My favorite aspect of the job is working with future art teachers,” Tom said. “It is great to experience their enthusiasm and excitement about becoming a teacher, as well as helping them to prepare for a very rewarding career.”
If you witnessed the Homecoming Parade at Southeast Missouri State University this year, most likely you saw Southeast graduate student and St. Louis, Mo., native, Julie McCausland hard at work. Julie, who received her bachelor’s degree in psychology in May 2004 at Southeast, is currently enrolled in the University’s Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration program.
Junior DeLay, a political science instructor at the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center (SAHEC), brings real world experience to the classroom. DeLay is currently serving his 23rd year as the Mississippi County Clerk while teaching an introductory political science course at SAHEC.
Dr. Leslee Pollina has taught psychology to Southeast students for fourteen years. But Pollina has an entirely different set of students besides those in her psychology classes. They don’t turn in papers, tests, or read books on Sigmond Freud and Carl Rogers. Instead, these students focus on sitting, staying, and rolling over. They have four legs, loud barks and wet noses.
Southeast alumna, Alissa Murphy, says her dream job is to one day work in marketing and promotions for the St. Louis Cardinals. Alissa is well on her way to realizing this dream with her new job as the event coordinator for the Oakley-Lindsay Civic Center in Quincy, Ill.
“I think that if you can’t find a way to have fun doing what you do, whether it’s studying, your major, your employment, you need to stop doing whatever that is and find something that will be fun for you. Nobody said you had to settle for something that bores you.”
“On your mark…get set…GO!” The air gun explodes, the crowd starts to cheer and hundreds of runners set foot on the long stretch of pavement that will eventually take them to the finish line. This is how Dr. Mitchel Gerber likes to spend his Saturday mornings.
Taking full advantage of internship opportunities on campus, Kristine Gruver is well prepared for her upcoming career in literary communication. She spent last year interning with University Press, where her tasks included copyediting manuscripts, designing flyers and working on book promotions.
Maggie Eisenhart was a Southeast cheerleader for four years, and even now, her enthusiasm for the University bubbles over when she recalls her experiences. A 1995 Southeast graduate, Maggie is currently a sales representative for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. She says her studies at Southeast prepared her well.
In September 2003, Chris Schoessel quit his job as a financial planner, sold his house in St. Louis, packed his bags and officially moved to Nashville, Tenn. This Southeast graduate is well on the way to realizing his dream of becoming a successful country-music performer.
If you read the local papers or watch the evening news, you most likely know Abbie Crites-Leoni has made significant strides in dismantling drug trafficking in Southeast Missouri. As the Assistant U. S. Attorney, this former Wheatland, Wyo., resident represents the United States in drug trafficking cases in the Eastern District of Missouri.
The late nights working at The Capaha Arrow to get breaking news out to Southeast students prepared Alex Fees for his career in broadcast journalism. Originally from Union, Mo., Alex has spent the past six years as a free-lance television reporter and producer. Alex is a regular contributor at KSDK, Newschannel 5, the NBC affiliate station in St. Louis.
Dr. Leon Book, director of Southeast’s First-Year Experience program and professor of foreign languages and middle and secondary education, is definitely a believer in living a well-rounded and varied lifestyle, much like the well-rounded education of the University Studies program that he introduces to first-year students.
Dr. Bonnie Stepenoff, professor of history at Southeast, strives to inspire a passionate quest for the truth and an appreciation for the physical remnants of history in her students. In addition to encouraging her students in such idyllic pursuits, she also inspires them to break into song.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch review of a documentary on the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis touted the film as “both an archival and technical wonder, ready for worldwide consumption . . . this film is one of the greatest gifts to St. Louis since the Gateway Arch.”
During the summer months, Professor of Art Sarah Riley and a group of students regularly journey abroad to paint. For a few years she led them to Paris. The past two years, she and Dr. Laura MacCaskey, have led the students to Venice, where they’ve set up with watercolors and painted people, buildings, water and boats — some abstract work, some architecture.
Spending time in both the Sports Information and Admissions offices on campus, Southeast alumna Jennifer Enke has leveraged the experiences to find a fulfilling public relations career. Serving as a special events and direct mail manager for Boys & Girls Town of Missouri, she still relies upon the skills learned during her collegiate days.
Managing the public relations, Web communications and corporate giving for Arch Coal, Kim Link never has a “typical day.” The Southeast graduate’s time can be spent corresponding with news reporters and investors, or she might be assisting the chief executive officer in developing an internal presentation for the company’s 3,600 employees. Each day is different.
Nationally known for her expertise and innovation in senior housing and services, Southeast alumna Mary Alice Ryan serves as the President/CEO of St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors. Her days are spent strategically positioning the company’s entities for the future, fund raising, coordinating public relations and building a successful team of people who love what they do.
Art Professor Ron Clayton “practices what he teaches.” Not only does he teach at the University, he also is a professional artist who has had gallery shows in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Columbus, Ohio.
Everyone has heard the familiar adage “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Southeast communication professor Glen Williams lives by this mantra. Williams is fascinated by the impact of the spoken and written word on every aspect of our society.