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Board recognizes faculty, staff and student accomplishments

Governors award inaugural Excellence in Public Affairs recognition
Thursday, May 16, 2013

Students sit outside SiceluffThe Missouri State University Board of Governors awarded its new Staff and Faculty Excellence in Public Affairs awards to five faculty and staff who excel at carrying out the public affairs mission. The Board also recognized three biology students for recent accomplishments during its May 17 meeting.

The recipients of the Excellence in Public Affairs awards are:

  • Juan Meraz, assistant vice president of multicultural services, who established the Student Transition and Education Program (STEP) –a recruitment program for Hispanic students to teach them about financial aid, admission and student life.
  • Wes Pratt, equal opportunity officer/director of institutional equity and compliance, who established The Gathering, a volunteer-led, community-focused group whose mission is to improve the Springfield community through partnerships that promote the educational, economic, political and social empowerment of all who live in the city and region.
  • Dr. Robert Pavlowsky, professor of geography, geology and planning, who serves as the director of Ozarks Water and Environmental Research Institute and developed a cultural and environmental program to benefit the community of Bluefields Bay in Bluefields, Jamaica.
  • Dr. Tim Knapp, professor of sociology and anthropology, who helped establish and educate the City of Springfield about social capital and worked with colleagues to conduct the first-ever statewide civic health assessment.
  • Dr. David Hays, professor of music, who founded and continues to work with the Missouri State String Project to mentor young students on string instruments in the Springfield area.

The biology students recognized by the Board include Michelle Williams, a senior from Kansas City, Mo.; Katie Schmelzel, a senior from St. Louis, Mo.; and Katelyn Barlett, a graduate student from Raymore, Mo.

The three students are members of Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kyoungtae Kim’s lab group, staffed by undergraduate and graduate student researchers. The group studies the molecular mechanisms involved in moving compounds into and out of cells. Their current focus is with how a protein complex called eiosome functions in yeast cells.

The students frequently make conference presentations and are co-authors on research articles published in scientific journals. The three students recently received top awards at the annual conference of the Missouri Branch of the American Society for Microbiology.

Bartlett was the first place winner is graduate student oral presentations, where she competed with doctoral students. The title of her presentation was “Reassessment of microdomains in budding yeast.”  Schmelzle was the first place winner in undergraduate oral presentations. Her presentation was titled “The functional cooperation between Vps1 and the retromer for endosome-to-Golgi recycling.” Williams was the second prize winner in undergraduate student presentations. The title of her presentation was “Vps1 at the trans Golgi Network and functions with clathrin.”

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