Nicki Donnelson

Co-host of "Missouri State Journal"

Nicki received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Missouri State in marketing, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. After gaining experience in writing, marketing, special event planning, fundraising and public relations, she returned to the university to work as the public relations specialist in the office of university communications. There she tells the university’s story by sharing the stories of individuals at Missouri State. 

Ways to Connect

Society has developed into a difficult place for many individuals with autism. Socialization and communication are fundamental, and these skills can be a hurdle.

Dr. Megan Boyle, associate professor of special education at Missouri State University, is a board-certified behavior analyst. She runs a clinic for children with autism spectrum disorders and prepares the next generation of educators for behavior issues in the classroom.

Individuals with autism experience the world differently, and often have challenges with social situations or communication.

Dr. Megan Boyle, associate professor of special education at Missouri State University, is a board-certified behavior analyst. She runs a clinic for children with autism spectrum disorders and prepares the next generation of educators for behavior issues in the classroom.

Hip-hop is its own unique culture, complete with music, fashion and art.

Dr. Ashley Payne, assistant professor of psychology at Missouri State University, studies hip-hop based education and identity development of Black adolescent girls and college-aged women.

Runway models, social media influencers, pageant queens, celebrities and even Barbie support troubling body image ideals. They are almost unequivocally identified as beautiful, as evidenced by the money we spend and who we choose to idolize.

We all know that physical activity is good for us and necessary for a healthy lifestyle. So why do we let it falter?

Dr. Sara Powell focuses on sport and exercise psychology in the department of kinesiology at Missouri State University.

Even outside of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals struggle with mental barriers to initiating and maintaining a physical activity routine, Powell noted.

Higher education continually needs to innovate to recruit and retain its students while making education accessible to more people. Sometimes this involves new programming, scholarships and other resources. Other times, it is reimagining curriculum and standards.

To understand the human experience, one of the most important things is for children to learn to identify emotions – what they feel, why they feel that way and how to validate and regulate the emotions in themselves and those around them.

It’s a big job, and every person a child comes into contact with plays a role in it.

Dr. Elizabeth King teaches in the College of Education at Missouri State University and researches the language preschool teachers use that either validate or dismiss emotions.

She starts by explaining gendered language.

Systemic racism: It’s even present in the way we gather data.

Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins, assistant professor of sociology at Missouri State University, recently gained grant funding to incorporate anti-racism modules into his statistics and methods course. works to empower more people of color on the university’s campus and one step is incorporating anti-racism into the curriculum.

The grant funding will be used to assist with resource building and professional development.

Ancient farmers, through trial and error, determined the best fit between a crop, the soil and weather conditions. They had plenty of land to choose from to find the perfect fields for their crops.

But as the availability of cultivable land diminishes and as climates change, our ability to grow enough food is becoming limited, too.

A teacher's job is complex. Not only does the teacher need to communicate subject matter clearly, he or she must do so in a manner that keeps attention. He must minimize distractions, answer questions as they arise, provoke students' critical thinking skills and perhaps most importantly, notice.

Music tells a story. It is a narrative that inspires and moves many. 

Daniel Ketter and Emlyn Johnson, faculty from the department of music at Missouri State University, share about their work with Music in the American Wild and how they are celebrating the Centennial of the women's suffrage movement.

They began Music in the America Wild in 2016 as a celebration of the National Park Service Centennial.

Unless you have a medical background, you likely feel slightly uneasy and confused when you, or a loved one, are in the hospital or are facing a new diagnosis. As doctors, and others on the care team, spout off procedures, you may catch only a portion. 

Tara Stulce and Jeanie Skibiski from the McQueary College of Health and Human Services at Missouri State University participate in an interdisciplinary committee that focuses on healthcare teams and creating better overall cooperation and communication among team members.

Do you have something you hope to change or build upon this year in your life?

If you've ever struggled to make a substantial life change, it might be because you're too focused on correcting your weaknesses rather than investing in your strengths. That's according to Clifton Strengths Finder.

Nora Cox, senior instructor of communication at Missouri State University, is a certified Strengths Finder coach. She says awareness of ourselves makes us more productive at whatever we hope to achieve.

In our changing world, how can teachers be confident they are still teaching and reaching their students?

Dr. Stefanie Livers, assistant professor of childhood education and family studies at Missouri State University, researches teacher preparation and professional development of those already in the field. Her goal: to improve access and equity for all students.

Not seeing eye to eye with someone? Need to find a solution without going to the courts? Dr. Stan Leasure, business law professor at Missouri State University, says alternative dispute methods might be your best bet.

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