Alumni couple says you’re ‘mine’

S&T alumni Genevieve (DuBois) Bodnar and Greg Sutton exchange vows in the Experimental Mine on Dec. 20, 2014.

S&T alumni Genevieve (DuBois) Bodnar and Greg Sutton exchange vows in the Experimental Mine on Dec. 20, 2014. Contributed photo

Hard hats? Check. Overalls? Check. Steel-toed boots? Check.

Marriage license? Checkmate.

In an unusual twist on the fairy tale wedding, Missouri S&T alumni Genevieve (DuBois) Bodnar and Greg Sutton were married underground at S&T’s Experimental Mine on Dec. 20, 2014. Wearing hard hats, overalls and steel-toed boots, the couple tied the knot before hard-hat-wearing friends and family.

Bodnar and Sutton first met at a Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration meeting in St. Louis about eight years ago. They’ve both participated in and judged the International Intercollegiate Mining Competition, which is considered by some to be the Olympics of mining, with seven events that demonstrate techniques used by old time miners.

“We just came up with the crazy idea we wanted to be married in the student mine,” says Bodnar, who earned bachelor’s degrees in metallurgical engineering and mining engineering from S&T in 1998 and 2001, respectively. Bodnar also helped start the Haunted Mine that’s become a Rolla Halloween staple.

The wedding took place about 100 feet inside the mine from the adit – the horizontal entrance to the experimental mine. Portable lights illuminated the ceremony.

“We decided to do it that way because of our great appreciation of mining,” says Sutton, a 1988 mining engineering graduate. Sutton helped teach a drilling and blasting lab and a surveying lab at the mine during his time on campus. He also worked at the experimental mine as a laborer.

Jimmie Taylor, the experimental mine supervisor who oversees all mining operations, including explosives storage inventory, has worked at S&T since 1992. He’s seen about all there is to see when it comes to the mine – until December.

“It’s the first I have heard of anyone getting married at the mine,” he says.

They capped the ceremony – literally – by setting off seven blasting caps with an old-time plunger detonator on a five-second delay. Dr. Paul Worsey, director of explosives engineering education and professor of mining engineering, and senior mine mechanic DeWayne Phelps set up the explosions, Taylor says.

Dr. Samuel Frimpong, chair of the mining and nuclear engineering department, gave permission for the wedding to take place – safely. No alcohol was served.

These days, Sutton runs G&G (Genevieve and Greg) Mining Solutions in Bunker, Missouri, where the two make their home. Genevieve works for the Doe Run lead mining company, which is where Greg worked from 1992 to 2014.

For the couple, mining is in the blood, and getting married in S&T’s experimental mine was the next logical step.

“It was a way to incorporate our passion for each other into our passion for the mining industry,” Sutton says.

Are you one half of a Miner couple in love? Share your story in the Comments section.

By Joe McCune

Alpha Phi Alpha at S&T turns 50

Happy Phriday

Members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha high five fellow S&T students as they enter the Havener Center on Friday, Jan. 23. Every Friday at lunchtime during the school year the fraternity brothers host such “Happy Phriday” events. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Chartered in 1965 at the height of the civil rights movement, Missouri S&T’s oldest African-American fraternity encountered obstacles on the way to its 50th anniversary, especially in the early years.

“There were some difficulties in getting the fraternity off the ground,” says Henry Brown, a 1968 civil engineering graduate of Missouri S&T and one of 18 founding members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

There was pushback from the university when Howard Manning, a 1967 civil engineering graduate, and Louis Smith, a 1966 electrical engineering graduate, transfer students and Alpha Phi Alpha brothers from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, approached administrators with the idea of establishing a chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha in Rolla.

Administrators questioned the need for a new, historically black fraternity when there were already a handful of nationally recognized fraternities at the university, Brown says. “But it wasn’t a realistic possibility for us to walk up and join one of the fraternities already on campus,” he says.

The 18 founding members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

The founding members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha: Wayne C. Harvey, Henry Brown (first row), David B. Price, Wayne R. Davis (second row), Maurice W. Murray, John H. Jackson, Lloyd Sowell, Gregory Bester, Louis W. Smith, Walter G. Reed (third row), Howard Manning Jr., John D. Abrams Jr. (fourth row), Robert L. Coleman, Gerald Lyons (fifth row), Reginald L. Ollie, Daniel H. Flowers (sixth row), Theodore T. Marsh Jr., Paul L. Silvers Jr. (seventh row), and Eugene D. Jackson (eighth row). Not pictured: James E. Brown III. Contributed photo

Using the clout of Lawrence C. George, who had agreed to be the fraternity’s resident advisor, the students eventually convinced school administrators to approve the new fraternity. George, a respected Rolla chemist, was an alumnus of Alpha Phi Alpha’s Beta Pi chapter at Dillard University.

With a resident advisor, the fraternity was now in need of a house. Once again, the fraternity got pushback – this time from local real estate agents.

“You have to think about what Rolla was like in the ’60s – a small, Midwestern town,” says Brown, a native of St. Joseph, Missouri.

The fraternity spent the spring and part of that summer contacting local real estate agents for house tours. Brown says that fraternity members had no trouble scheduling tours by phone, but when they showed up in person, they were almost always turned away.

With traditional housing options exhausted, George once again stepped in to help. He had an acquaintance who owned a former car dealership that was willing to sell the property to the new fraternity. It wasn’t ideal, but the fraternity brothers worked every day that summer to rehab and convert the building into suitable housing.

George, who only stepped down as the fraternity’s advisor in 2013, passed away in March. “He was very influential on not just us, but the well-being of all black students in Rolla,” said Akil Hutchins, a senior in engineering management from St. Louis.

“He touched a lot of people’s lives,” added Lister Florence, 1995 civil engineering graduate and the fraternity’s current advisor. “He was a father figure in my life.”

Through a half century of service at S&T, Alpha Phi Alpha has been instrumental in forming a number of student and faculty organizations focused on diversity and inclusion, including the Association for Black Students, National Society of Black Engineers, the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on African American Recruitment and Retention, and Black Man’s Think Tank. The fraternity also helped bring the Minority Introduction to Technology and Engineering summer camp to campus and created a number of scholarships for minority students.

Members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha hanging out at the 1969 Greek Week; two fraternity brothers enjoying the 61st “Best Ever” St. Pats; the fraternity’s original house, as pictured in 1965. Contributed photos by Henry Brown

Members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha hanging out at the 1969 Greek Week (clockwise from left); two fraternity brothers enjoying the 61st “Best Ever” St. Pats; the fraternity’s original house, as pictured in 1965. Contributed photos by Henry Brown

With Alpha Phi Alpha’s continuing involvement in diverse service projects and organizations on campus, the fraternity promises to be a voice for minority students for the foreseeable future.

Florence says he certainly owes a great deal to the fraternity.

“I don’t think I would have become the man I am today without Alpha Phi Alpha,” Florence says. “They did a really good job, not just with the fraternity members, but everyone, of reaching out to African-Americans, Hispanics and students of other nationalities. The door’s were always open,” he says. “They understood what you were going through. They understood what it was like to be singled out.”

Nowadays, you may recognize an Alpha Phi Alpha brother as someone you emphatically high-fived last Friday at the entrance to the Havener Center, but the brothers of the Epsilon Psi Chapter do so much more than brighten your “Phriday.”

 

Every February, the fraternity sponsors a National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in conjunction with Black History Month. Members also organize outreach events in conjunction with their national organization, such as A Voteless People is a Hopeless People and Go-To-High School, Go-To-College. And they host Missouri’s longest-running collegiate dance competition, Dance XXXPLOSION. The 2015 event will be held at the ARK in Waynesville, Missouri, this April.

The fraternity will also be hosting a week long 50th anniversary celebration centered around the chapter’s charter day on April 27. The celebration will begin in earnest with a welcome reception on Thursday, April 23 at 6 p.m., and will feature a golf tournament, bowling tournament, flag football game, BBQ, and roast and dance. More details will be posted to the fraternity’s website as the event nears.

By Greg Katski

Taking the Earth’s temperature

Since installing 144 geothermal wells on campus over the past two years, Dr. Curt Elmore, professor of geological engineering, has led a couple of ongoing geothermal research projects.

Since installing 144 geothermal wells on campus over the past two years, Dr. Curt Elmore (center), professor of geological engineering, has led two ongoing geothermal research projects. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

On the surface, it looks like nothing more than a turf-covered soccer field. But the ground beneath Missouri University of Science and Technology’s intramural field houses a complex system of 144 wells, each one 400 feet deep, that supply the campus’s Gale Bullman Building with heating and cooling using geothermal energy.

That well field is also home to two ongoing geothermal research projects led by Dr. Curt Elmore, professor of geological engineering at Missouri S&T. The first project is designed to monitor possible long-term changes in the Earth’s temperature that could result from the operation of a large-scale geothermal system.

With funding from the geological engineering program and in partnership with the physical facilities department, Elmore and his team outfitted one of the wells in the center of Missouri S&T’s intramural field with eight pairs of thermocouples placed every 50 feet to measure temperature at various levels throughout the 400-foot well.

Wires connect the sensors to a small flush mount vault that looks like a water meter you might find in your yard. Nearly every day, Charlie Smith and Jordan Thompson – two students working with Elmore on the project – connect equipment to read the temperature measurements that the sensors recorded. An additional well, drilled 20 feet from the geothermal well field, provides baseline readings for comparison. Thompson, a junior in geological engineering, is working on the project as part of the Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences program (OURE).

Before the geothermal system went live, the researchers collected about six weeks of background temperature data. Once the system was operational, they began to notice a change in the ground temperature.

“We observed that the average temperature did increase over the course of the summer as energy from the building was transferred to the subsurface,” says Smith, a Ph.D. candidate in geological engineering. “We are now observing the cooling of the subsurface as energy is being removed to assist in the heating of the building. We would like to record data during several full heating and cooling cycles to fully see any long-term overall warming or cooling trends.”

Over time, changes in ground temperature could effect the performance of a geothermal energy system, Elmore says.

“A ground source geothermal system works by taking heat from the air and sending it into the ground,” Elmore says. “Or we take heat from the ground and send it into the air. Here, cooling is predominant. If the ground is warmer, it can’t take on as much heat and that could effect the performance of the geothermal system,” he says. “Let’s say you want to chill a bottle of Coke, for example, and you’re used to putting it in cold water for 10 minutes. If your water gets warmer, it will take longer to cool your Coke. If it’s really cold, it will cool faster.”

An expert in groundwater remediation, Elmore is also working on a project to see if geothermal energy could be used in place of electricity to treat water as a part of an innovative desalination process.

“Geothermal energy has the potential to heat and cool water during the treatment process, thus reducing the amount of water wasted and reducing the amount of energy required to treat the water,” Elmore says.

To pilot the project, Elmore is designing a small desalination system that will fit on a utility trailer towed behind a pickup truck.

Elmore is working on the project with Dr. Mostafa Elsharquawy from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia. They hope to build a water treatment facility that uses geothermal energy.

“Saudi Arabia spends millions of dollars every year changing sea water into drinking water,” Elmore says. “Geothermal energy could provide a much more cost-effective treatment system.”

Missouri S&T’s geothermal energy system – one of the most comprehensive in the nation – provides heating and cooling to 17 buildings on campus and chilled water to the majority of campus buildings. Completion of the system allowed S&T to decommission its World War II-era power plant last spring. The system is expected to cut energy usage by 50 percent and reduce the university’s carbon footprint by 25,000 metric tons per year.

By Mary Helen Stoltz

Improving rural drinking water

Danielle West

Danielle West, a Ph.D. student in chemistry, is screening Missouri drinking water for contaminants and seeking new treatment techniques that could minimize the impact of harmful byproducts generated by disinfectants used in water treatment operations. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Disinfectants used in water treatment operations could generate harmful byproducts that are unregulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

But Danielle West, a Ph.D. student in chemistry, is screening Missouri drinking water for contaminants and seeking new treatment techniques that could minimize — or even eliminate — those byproducts.

With grants from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the EPA, West is helping to develop a rapid, sensitive and cost-effective method to detect perchlorate and bromate in drinking water, as well as a technique for removing perchlorate. The advanced detection method will play an important role in the monitoring of drinking water quality in the future.

“There are just so many chemicals that have potential to get into water,” West says. “Many harmful chemicals aren’t currently regulated and can be potentially found in many communities’ drinking water. Our goal is to minimize the formation of these chemicals or find technologies capable of removing them to ensure safe drinking water.”

Disinfectants like monochloramine could generate harmful byproducts that are unregulated by the EPA. West and her colleagues are researching the use of an alternative disinfection agent to treat the water. The disinfectant could provide an economical approach to limiting the formation of contaminants. They believe that incorporating this disinfectant into current water purification processes will improve drinking water safety.

Yinfa Ma, Curators’ Teaching Professor of chemistry, and Honglan Shi, associate research professor of chemistry, are West’s advisors.

By Peter Ehrhard

Meeting a 20/20 challenge

Sandy Simmons-Gamble

Sandy Simmons-Gamble, fiscal assistant in the international affairs office, with one of her Borzoi dogs. Simmons-Gamble donated $30,000 to S&T to establish the Milton L. Simmons Endowed Scholarship in Ceramic Engineering in honor of her late father. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

When Milton L. Simmons, 1949 ceramic engineering graduate, died in 2005, his daughter knew she wanted to do something special to honor his memory.

“My father loved this university,” says Sandy Simmons-Gamble, fiscal assistant in the international affairs office at Missouri S&T. “He always had so many stories about his time at Rolla and about the education he got — what it meant to him. He loved his time here and truly appreciated his education.”

Gamble was an administrative assistant in the development office in early 2013 when the University of Missouri System announced the 20/20 Challenge.

Through the 20/20 Challenge, the UM System would give Missouri S&T $400,000 in state funds to create 20 need-based scholarships, but S&T had to raise matching funds in private donations.

Gamble accepted that challenge and donated $30,000 to establish the Milton L. Simmons Endowed Scholarship in Ceramic Engineering. The state matched $20,000, bringing the total endowment to $50,000. Like all of the scholarships established through the 20/20 Challenge, Gamble’s scholarship will be awarded to a student who qualifies for the federal Pell Grant program, which provides tuition assistance to undergraduates from economically disadvantaged families.

The Milton L. Simmons scholarship will go to a Missouri S&T student in ceramic engineering.

“My father worked at Ferro Corp. in Cleveland, Ohio, his entire career,” Gamble says. “He started as a ceramic engineer, traveling to places like Japan and South America with my mother. After a few years, Ferro sent him to law school and he became the company’s patent attorney.

“I always thought that when I was able to, this would be something to honor him,” Gamble says. “He was a brilliant man. Growing up here, I’ve always had high opinions of this school. Missouri S&T has produced some really impressive people who have gone on to do some amazing things. I thought this would be a good way to honor my father and at the same time, help a future leader.”

Gamble raises Borzoi, dogs that used to be known as Russian Wolfhounds, on a farm outside Rolla. She shows her own dogs and is approved by the American Kennel Club to judge four breeds in Conformation Dog Shows, as well as all breeds in Lure Coursing.

For more information about giving opportunities, visit giving.mst.edu.

By Mary Helen Stoltz

Persistence pays off

Nuclear engineering senior Dylan Prévost was awarded the Pursuit of Life Scholarship from Team Orion.

Nuclear engineering senior Dylan Prévost was awarded the Pursuit of Life Scholarship from Team Orion, a group of three young alumni who founded the scholarship with funds left over from their senior design class. Photo by Sam O’ Keefe

Dylan Prévost, a senior in nuclear engineering from Wickenburg, Arizona, learned who he really is by overcoming adversity. His decision to attend Missouri S&T was a huge leap of faith in himself and his family.

Prévost’s father was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, almost 11 years ago. His father was unable to continue working due to the illness, while Prévost’s mother stayed at home to help care for him. As the family downsized, the possibility of a college education became more and more uncertain.

“Finding the financial backing to attend college has been a challenge,” admits Prévost. “But I dream big and want to be able to help my family in the future.”

Prévost applied for dozens of scholarships hoping to study nuclear engineering. Once he chose Missouri S&T, he moved to Missouri to qualify for in-state tuition.

Last fall, Prévost was awarded the Pursuit of Life Scholarship from Team Orion, a group of three young alumni who founded the scholarship with funds left over from their senior design class. The alumni, each of whom overcame immense adversity to get to S&T and graduate, agreed that the best use of the leftover money would be to give it to a student in need. Team Orion awarded two scholarships to students who demonstrated perseverance and ambition, and overcame adversity in their lives.

In addition to his coursework, Prévost has worked various jobs on campus since starting at Missouri S&T in 2011. As a research assistant for Ayodeji Alajo, assistant professor of nuclear engineering, Prévost currently works to design a liquid thorium-fueled modular nuclear reactor that would be safer than existing reactor technology. He hopes to continue his education through graduate school to study computer-computational transport and how to improve the design of nuclear reactors.

“Nuclear energy is going to play a large part in the future of the world’s energy production,” says Prévost. “I want to dedicate my life to promoting cheaper, cleaner energy for everyone.”

In addition to his research, Prévost is a counselor at Missouri S&T’s Nuclear Engineering Summer Camp. He has been president of the American Nuclear Society student chapter at S&T for two years and is a member of the Phi Sigma Pi honor fraternity.

“My family has been through some struggles, but nothing is stronger than family and I have had great support from them,” says Prévost.

Read more about Team Orion and the Pursuit of Life Scholarship in the latest issue of Missouri S&T Magazine.

By Peter Ehrhard

A study in service

Alyssa Luczak

Biochemical engineering sophomore Alyssa Luczak has been volunteering at All God’s Children Daycare through The Community Partnership for her humanitarian engineering and science minor. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Although they come from different places and backgrounds, the first students to minor in humanitarian engineering and science at S&T have at least one thing in common – a desire to change the world for the better.

Founded in fall 2014, the HES minor offers a multi-disciplinary approach to improving the well-being of the underserved in the community and throughout the world through volunteer work and service learning.

Before the semester, Curt Elmore, professor of geological engineering and leader of the program, put a call out to interested students, inviting them to a presentation about the new minor. “He said he could only pick five students,” says sophomore Alicia McCabe, one of the students chosen.

Fellow sophomores Danielle Sheahan, Brianna Works, Kataryna Kraemer and Alyssa Luczak joined McCabe as the first to pursue the minor.

Elmore says that the students were a good fit for the program based on their previous volunteer work and their desire to make a positive impact on the world.

The minor requires at least 60 hours of formal experiential service learning; 20 hours a semester for three semesters. Each student is partnered with a campus, local or regional organization, and fulfills her volunteer hours through them. Elmore says he tries to match students up with organizations that have projects they are interested in or have a passion for.

Luczak, a biochemical engineering student from Chicago, works with The Community Partnership. Through The Community Partnership, Luczak has been volunteering at All God’s Children Daycare on North Olive Street.

Danielle Sheahan, Alicia McCabe, Kataryna Kraemer, Alyssa Luczak and Brianna Works

Left to right: Danielle Sheahan, Alicia McCabe, Kataryna Kraemer, Alyssa Luczak and Brianna Works are the first S&T students to minor in humanitarian engineering and science. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

She says she has always enjoyed working with children, but a young boy at the daycare center, in particular, touched her heart. He was shy and had social anxiety, and grew up in foster care, she says. “I knew he really liked bugs and insects, so I brought him a small microscope and some toy insects one day, and showed him how to view them,” she says.

“He has really taken to it,” Luczak adds, fighting tears.

Kraemer, a geological engineering student, is helping organize Phelps County Bank’s 2015 Take a Stand Against Child Abuse event. During the event, which takes place every July, children and their parents sell lemonade from stands set up throughout the community to help raise funds to prevent child abuse in the area.

A native of Barnhart, Missouri, Kraemer mentored troubled students in high school. “Kids that had just gotten out of rehabilitation, mostly for drug addictions or problems with parents,” she says.

McCabe, an environmental engineering student from Creve Coeur, Missouri, is also working with Phelps County Bank. Knowing her interest in computers, PCB assigned her to a project repurposing old computers for households in need.

Sheahan, an environmental engineering student from St. Louis, is partnered with Missouri River Relief, a nonprofit that holds community cleanups of the river and its tributaries. And Works, a geological engineering student from Ozark, Missouri, is developing strategies for poverty alleviation for the Phelps County Faith Distribution, a local, volunteer-based organization that serves the area needy with groceries and other items.

The students say they’re grateful for their service experiences so far, and look forward to further helping the community through the HES minor.

“I’ve always wanted to help people,” says McCabe. “Through this minor, I can help people and get college credit for it.”

By Greg Katski

Keenan Johnson, SpaceX man

Keenan Johnson

Keenan Johnson will start working for space exploration company SpaceX after graduating this December. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

As a freshman, Keenan Johnson conducted experiments in near-zero gravity aboard NASA’s “weightless wonder” aircraft as part of Missouri S&T’s Miners In Space Team.

Soon, he will be writing computer software that will send other vessels into space and ultimately to launch a mission to Mars.

Johnson, who graduates in December with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, will start working for space exploration company SpaceX in February. He’s already worked at the Hawthorne, California, company twice – first on a co-op assignment from January through August 2013 and then on an internship last summer. In both cases, he was part of the team that writes code to launch rockets into orbit. In February, he’ll rejoin that team as a full-time employee.

“My team writes all the software responsible for launching and operating the spacecraft,” he says. “It’s pretty exciting because the stakes are high for rocket launches. There’s not a lot of margin for error.”

Keenan Johnson inside SpaceX's new manned space capsule with Niraj Patel, a SpaceX staff member. Contributed photo

Keenan Johnson inside a mockup of SpaceX’s new manned space capsule with Niraj Patel, a SpaceX staff member.

It’s the excitement of working on the edge of space exploration that inspires Johnson. “The work environment is super dynamic and everything happens very quickly,” he says. “Everyone there is very passionate about what they’re doing.”

Johnson didn’t always envision a career in space exploration. The Jefferson City, Missouri, native wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he enrolled at Missouri S&T. But after he joined Miners in Space as a freshman, “that taught me that this was possible,” he says. “In high school I never thought I’d be able to do anything like this.”

On his co-op and internship, Johnson developed software used to monitor and control the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft. The experience “taught me how awesome it is to work on technology that is changing the world.”

Earlier this fall, SpaceX and Boeing both won NASA contracts to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. It’s an ambitious project. But to Johnson, it’s only a small step to a far greater leap.

“I hope to change the world,” he says. “I want to make humanity a space civilization. I want to do the things that will allow future generations to explore the cosmos and increase the quality of life here on Earth.”

by Andrew Careaga

Whipping up a custom career

Darian Johnson

Chemical engineering junior Darian Johnson with cupcakes she made for her fellow camp counselors at Missouri S&T. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Food Network aficionado Darian Johnson always wanted to be a chef. In high school she also discovered an affinity for chemistry.

“I thought, ‘I like chemistry and I like food. What can I do with this?’” she says. “So I applied to all the food science-y schools.”

Of course, Missouri S&T was not one of them.

“My plan was to go to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville to study food science. My twin brother was going to UT-Martin. I thought it was perfect; we could be together!” says Johnson, a junior in chemical engineering from Kansas City, Mo. “But then I thought about my mom — she only has two kids and he’s going away to Martin. I just couldn’t leave her.”

Then her best friend from high school came to Missouri S&T and told Johnson, “I love it here, but there’s just one problem: You’re missing.”

A Missouri S&T representative who visited Johnson’s school during a college fair also encouraged her to give Rolla a try. “He said, ‘I’ve seen your test scores. You should really think about engineering,’” says Johnson. He suggested she study chemical engineering, supplemented with some online food science courses.

Johnson visited campus for a Pre-College Initiative program. “After meeting students and seeing campus I thought, ‘I might actually like this place,’” she says.

But when Johnson arrived as a freshman, she didn’t participate in anything outside of class. She also ignored numerous emails inviting her to meet potential mentors, she says.

“I just kept hitting delete, delete, delete. So my freshman year I didn’t have a mentor,” she says.

Today, she mentors others through the student diversity program, during Opening Week, and as a student success coach at the Burns & McDonnell Student Success Center. Johnson is also the new president of the Association for Black Students and is active in Phi Sigma Phi national honor fraternity.

“I love it here now,” says Johnson. “I’m meeting all types of new people and I’m very involved.”

She’s also networked with people in the food science industry and is researching online courses. “I would like to work in product development,” she says. “I want to make new food products that are more tasty, healthy and cost effective.”

By Linda Fulps

The essential creative experience

The essential creative experience

Laurie Myers leads students of all majors on a creative journey that combines artistic expression with digital technology in her Exploring Digital Art class. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Each week when Laurie Myers steps into her Castleman Hall classroom to teach Art 3001, she is more than a lecturer. She is a guide for students exploring digital art, problem-solving and professional development. [Read more…]

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