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

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.

Unimaginable and devastating. Those are words you might use to describe a sinkhole.

Dr. Doug Gouzie, geology professor at Missouri State University, explains why sinkholes are more common in Missouri than many other places in the world.

"About 60% of the rock underneath Missouri is limestone, or very closely related, dissolvable rock. About 20% of the country is that way, but that means only 20% of the country, including Missouri, has this kind of rock," Gouzie said. 

To even the playing field and to break the cycle of poverty, Missouri State University has taken a stance. The university is making it easier to access a college education, because we know that higher education helps people overcome socio-economic boundaries, and achieve personal and professional success.

Part of getting ready for college is imagining yourself there. But some students don’t have a clear idea of what that looks like.

Maybe he would be a first-generation college student. Maybe his school districts doesn’t have the resources for the fields he dreams of. Maybe he believes he has to declare a major when he walks on campus in order to be successful.

Opioids are commonly prescribed for those with a total knee replacement. But with the increased attention turned to the abuse of these narcotics, a new method was approved a few years ago: cryoneurolysis.

"Cryoneurolysis takes the nerve just to the point of slightly damaging, basically bruising it, so that it doesn't conduct the painful impulses anymore," said Dr. Jeanie Skibiski, assistant professor in the School of Anesthesia at Missouri State University.

"Oh, what a beautiful morning" – it's just one of the many iconic songs attributed to the team of Rogers and Hammerstein. In their first collaboration, they created "Oklahoma!" It's romance, Western and a piece of legendary Americana that many can quote by heart.

Missouri State University students will perform in the world premiere concert version of "Oklahoma!" alongside the Springfield Symphony this Nov. 9-10.

When you think about technology, perhaps you consider the huge biomedical advances it has propelled forward. Or perhaps you think of the family dining at a restaurant that can’t be bothered to hold conversation – instead they are enraptured by their smartphones.

Technology. It’s yin and yang.

Dr. Paul Durham, distinguished professor of biology at Missouri State University, is serving as the lead for this year’s public affairs conference, The 21st Century Digital World.

In every sport, athletes risk injury. Athletic trainers support and assist these athletes to lower that possibility. They help them warm up, stretch and prepare the body for rigorous action.

Dr. David Carr, associate professor in the department of sports medicine and athletic training at Missouri State University, shares a story about a tragedy that highlights why adequate medical training is important on the sidelines.

As a butterfly enthusiast for his entire life, Dr. Chris Barnhart remembers collecting caterpillars in a grass-filled Radio Flyer wagon as a young child.

Now a distinguished professor of biology at Missouri State University, Barnhart says his hobby turned into an outreach program about a decade ago.

Hundreds of third through sixth grade students from the local area are taking a big field trip on Sept. 25. They'll be visiting the International Culture Fair, hosted by Missouri State University's modern and classical languages department.

"It's essentially a trip around the world," said Dr. Heidi Backes, coordinator of the event. "Students get a bag and a passport booklet. They visit 12 different booths, each representing a different country, and they do a particular activity related to the culture of each of those places."

Below the surface and in the clear water, mussels abound. In Missouri alone, there are at least 60 species of mussels that are actively keeping our waterways clean.

Dr. Chris Barnhart, distinguished professor of biology at Missouri State University, is an international expert on freshwater mussels. He knows their ecological value as filter feeders and helps to replenish populations where they have been depleted.

When you think “gothic,” you think about dark, foreboding, mysterious. In literature, it is all of those things. Dr. Heidi Backes says it is often constructed to tell a tale about the underlying sociopolitical environment or economy.

Backes, assistant professor in the modern and classical languages department at Missouri State University, shares about what you can see between the lines of these gothic tales.

In the state of Missouri, approximately 4.5% of students in schools are classified as English learners. Although this is half of the national average, it's a growing population. It presents unique challenges for teachers and others in the education system.

In star-studded Hollywood, Bobby Lewis hustled but had success. After being there about three years, tragedy hit his family. His mom, dad and younger sister were killed in a car accident.

Bobby Lewis, assistant professor in the department of media, journalism and film at Missouri State University, shares how this experience brought about magnificent change.

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