Wednesday, April 27, 2011


This year I have been working on a large project with the Distinction in Public Affairs pilot program.
I was put in a group balanced with different strengths with the goal to learn more about the Public Affairs Mission at Missouri State.
(Which involves three parts: Cultural Competence, Community Engagement, and Ethical Leadership)

This Spring, we had to put together a project focusing on Awareness or Action.
My group decided to do research on how to better integrate International Students onto MSU's campus, and how that would benefit the Springfield community as a whole.

We called ourselves iPALs, or International Public Affairs Leaders, and we presented out findings at the Public Affairs Conference a couple of weeks ago. That was a nerve-wracking experience all on its own.

Now, that all the stress has passed, I want to share it with you all. :)

Here is our presentation:

Our conclusion from many interviews and focus groups with students, faculty, staff, and community members was essentially MSU is doing their best, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Most of this work relies on the local students reaching out to the international student community. We came up with a mentor program that we think would be really great.

One of our team members, Scott Turk, was just elected student body president, so who knows, maybe our dream will become a reality next year!

Remember we can all make a difference! Reaching out to one person different than you may impact their life in ways you will never know. 
Diversity starts with an attitude of curiosity and acceptance. :)

As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Here are some interviews from our project:
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Coffee Tour of Olympia, WA

I unexpectedly got stuck in Seattle for an extra day.
Thankfully, Robbie and Katie let me stay with them,
and I got an extra "coffee tour" of Olympia, Washington's capitol city.

First, we got our morning coffee at Olympia Coffee Roasting Company next to Robbie's job, Espresso Parts.
Olympia had a unique set up with a beautiful espresso machine, a La Marzocco.
The baristas were super sweet, and made me some yummy coffee on the Clover.

LOVE this door handle! 

Then we hopped on over to Espresso Parts.
This was a sight for a coffee nerd like me.
Coffee gadgets in every corner.
It was like a warehouse, but a lot smaller than I ever imagined.
I definitely feel like I am a cooler Barista now that I have seen where they make all the coffee making machines.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!


Happy Easter, everyone!

I am spending some time in the City of Roses with the family,
and reminiscing on Easters past.
I often think of my late kitty cat, Georgianne, around Easter.
Probably because in 4th grade,
she scratched my lip on Easter weekend, 
and I was rushed to the hospital.
I got over 30 stitches
and was MORTIFIED to take Easter photos,
but I did.  

My mom shared with me this old picture of Georgianne,
and it sparked my interest.
I started pillaging through old photos,
and I thought I would share some photos from Easters past. :)

Me and my sis, Tori.
The year Georgianne scratched me.
Yes, I held her in the family photo. 

Did you have a tradition of buying a new Easter dress every year with your mom?
I did.
I specifically remember being in the store to pick out the pink dress for me and the green dress for Tori.
I remember the first year we stopped this tradition.
At first it made me sad, now I am over it.

Have a wonderful day with your family!
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Coffee Capitol of the World

Seattle, WA, also known as the "Coffee Capitol of the World". 
It is also the place where Starbucks was founded in 1971.
As you know I visited, a "fake original" Starbucks, first.

Of course, being in Seattle, I visited EVERY coffee place I could.
I was in coffee heaven. :)

The first place (besides a Starbucks) I visited was Victrola.
Robbie, my former coffee manager, took me on my coffee tour.
It was a lovely little shop.
I ordered a cappuccino and a homemade coffee truffle. 

It was scrumptious.
A little background on the coffee shop, it was founded in 2000.
The name comes from the popular phonograph during the 1920's.
The really emphasized this theme with a 1920's jazz feel in the overall atmosphere of the shop. 

I also could not resist this fair trade coffee bar from Theo Chocolate Factory.
First off, it had a cat on it.
I LOVE kitty cats.
Second, it reminded me of good'ole Springfield's Askinosie Chocolate Company.

Then I headed straight over to the infamous Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
It was smaller than Victrola,
but had a very distinct, clean feel.
The Baristas knew Robbie, so we chatted for awhile.
They were super nice.

We both got an espresso,
and I got some Burundi beans (on the house).
Thanks, Stumptown!

Last and probably least, I did go to the "original Starbucks"
because you have to as a tourist in Seattle.
However, I was not impressed. 
The coffee was worse than the coffee served at my conference,
and the shop was small and had no chairs.
What is the point of a coffee shop if you can't cozy up in a chair?

Overall, Seattle's coffee scene was everything I anticipated.
Great shops mixed in with 1,000 Starbucks.
I am glad I have been to the "Coffee Capitol of the World"! 
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Barbara Bush and Global Health Corps

This week at Missouri State University we are having our 7th annual Public Affairs Conference. I have been doing a lot this week with it, and I will share more later, but I am just so excited about tonight's presentation, I have to share NOW. 

In a nutshell, the Public Affairs Conference is a chance for Missouri State to put the Public Affairs Mission into action. The three components of the Public Affairs Mission are Community Engagement, Cultural Competence, and Ethical Leadership. Missouri State brings together speakers from all over the world to offer their expertise and spark conversation about Public Affairs. This year the theme is "Leading in a Global Society" and the chair of the conference is my advisor, Dr. Gloria Galanes. She has done such a fabulous job putting this conference together.

Well, back to tonight.
I attended the plenary address of Barbara Pierce Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush and founder and president of Global Health Corps.

Essentially, what Global Health Corps does is act as a hub for recently graduated students to connect their expertise to a non-profit working in global health. Bush said that the program seeks to show young people that no matter their background, they can be a part of the solution for global health problems.

Her story was inspiring. Now, I want to be a "fellow", and go to Africa for one year. 
The neatest thing about the program is they partner up a foreign "fellow" with a local "fellow. My favorite story she shared was of a young man who was born in Rwanda. His family fled the genocide, and he returned to Rwanda to go to a university. He worked with Global Health Corps and an American fellow to create the first state of the art hospital for that region. Now, he serves his home country under the minister of Health.

Seriously, everyone should check out her program!

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Reflecting on PRSSA National Assembly 2011

Last week was a blur. Coming back from Seattle had me hitting the ground running leaving little time for blogging, which makes me sad because I have so many exciting things to share with you lovely people. :)

First of all, I was absolutely honored to represent my Missouri State Chapter at PRSSA National Assembly 2011 in Seattle, WA. As you all probably know, I was a bit apprehensive going to a National PRSSA event for the first time on my own with no context for the event, riding in an airplane for the first time on my own, and being with some of the top PR students in the nation.

All of my fears and worries were unneeded. I had a fabulous time as you can tell by all my photos. I want to really share and process this amazing opportunity with you all. Bear with me as I still am experiencing jet lag and sleep deprivation.

I do not know how to describe the instant connection I seemed to make with people there. Making friends seemed effortless. We all had many things in common: we are passionate about PR, love PRSSA, and want to succeed in our education and careers. And PR people LOVE people!

Friday was incredible. A lot of it was simply talking to other PRSSA members and seeing how they do things differently. I asked everyone "How do you set up your eboard?" "How do you organize your firm?", etc. Often conferences can be so jammed packed with important speakers, it leaves little time to engage with your peers at the conference. This was not the case at National Assembly.

People were oozing at the seams with ideas, and it was contagious to be around such passionate people.

Some ideas I have for my Chapter include:

  1. Having a fundraiser expo on campus charging businesses to be there, 
  2. Going to more National activities, 
  3. Having a social media calendar to give our Chapter a specific voice,
  4. Creating committees to support the e-board instead of having specific chairs,
  5. Establish lasting connections with our supporting PRSA chapter by possibly having a Professional Advisor.
The one item I took away from the entire experience is being a part of the election process. Watching my peers run for office, voting for them, and then see them become our new National Committee was priceless. I feel comfortable contacting any one of them about my Chapter because I established a personal relationship with many of them at Assembly.

As great as Seattle was, coming back to Springfield was harder than I anticipated. This past week it is almost as if I have experienced reverse culture shock. After being surrounded by such passionate PR people, it is difficult to come back to a diverse group of people and try to explain my experience and my ideas. Everyone has a listening ear, but some experiences have no words to describe them.

And jet lag doesn't help. :)

But I am feeling more like myself again, and ready to tackle the end of the semester!
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sleepless in Seattle Literally

this Seattle trip has truly been an adventure with little sleep.
I thought I would share as overview of my trip with you guys, 
and I will share more details of what I learned later this week.

To start off with, I successfully rode in an air plane alone for the first time.
It was scary,
but I am awesome. ;)

I had a great time with my roommate, Veronica, from Austin, Texas at St. Edward's University, and we hung out with her Texas friends and their roommates as well.

Friday started with a open forum with different Chapters.
I gained so much from this time just asking how other people do their PRSSA Chapters. I even got an very viable solution to a problem in our Chapter from a National Committee member.

Then we had some leadership sessions.
I especially appreciated the session on how Chapters can get involved at the National level.

That afternoon was free.
It was filled with exploring Pike Place Market, eating good food, and of course going to the wrong Starbucks.

That night we had a networking function with Edelman, a large PR firm.
Later, we went to dinner at the Fox Sports Bar
and went to bed early.

Saturday was all about National Assembly.
We started at 7: 45 am and ended at 5: 30 pm with only an hour break for lunch.
It definitely hailed over lunch.
It was all worth it to vote the 2011-2012 PRSSA National Committee:

That night I visited some coffee shops with Robbie and Katie, my youth minister and his wife at my church back home. It was so good to see them and drink coffee other than Starbucks.

The morning involved a speaker from Microsoft, Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President, Corporate Communications, saying good bye to last year's National Committee, and getting pumped for National Conference in Orlando, Florida.

I am so excited about National Conference this year,
and I hope to convince other people in my chapter to be as well!

It was a great weekend.
It was incredibly refreshing to be surrounded by people as passionate as PR and school as I am.
I will not easily forget all the wonderful people I met in Seattle,
and I can't wait to get to know them more this year.

I loved my adventure in Seattle!!!
I will definitely be catching up on my sleep for a while...
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The Original Starbucks #AprilFools

I am a very festive person.
I love holidays.
However, I hate April Fools Day.

Growing up my mom and sister always liked to prey on my dad's and my gullibility. It was always a source of conflict in our family. Looking back, I often overreacted to my sister's antics, but I am still not fond of April Fool's Day.

This year, I figured being in Seattle would secure me from any April Fool's jokes.
Who was I kidding?
No distance is too far for my sister.

This year she convinced our family that she had torn a hamstring at a pivotal track race and had to pull out. It was a brilliant devious joke because it was believable and incredibly scary for my family thinking she could be done with track and lose her scholarship next year.

I also managed to April Fool's myself.
A big group of us at PRSSA National Assembly definitely went to a Starbucks thinking it was the original Starbucks, and it was not. We took such touristy photos that must have made us look crazy.
When we found out, we all felt like idiots,
but I thought I would share photos anyway:

I had a coffee made on the Clover, which was actually yummy, and Veronica and I plan to visit the REAL original Starbucks tomorrow morning. Also, my coffee shops I visited tonight made up for that mistake.

I will share more about my coffee adventures and PR tips from Seattle later!
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