President Choi's Blog, Page 2

Building futures with the Trulaske College of Business

President Choi and Interim Dean Chris Robert.

On a warm spring day, I stopped by the Trulaske College of Business to thank faculty and staff for their work supporting our students and the university.

The college’s numbers are on a good trajectory, with more than 4,400 undergraduates enrolled in fall 2022. Their results are even more impressive when you consider widespread declines in university attendance across the nation. Mizzou is bucking the trend of declining enrollment because we prepare students for great careers and have the graduation rate (75%) and job placement rate (95.4%) to prove our value.

We’ll continue working with leadership to nominate nationally-recognized prospective College of Business faculty for MizzouForward. We’re spreading the word that MizzouForward provides startup costs, salaries and fringe benefits while also investing in projects that support student success.

Whether students want to lead a major company – or start their own – Trulaske is the perfect place to launch an incredible future.

— Mun

CAFNR prepares students for success

A photo of President Choi joining Vice Chancellor & Dean Christopher Daubert and Senior Associate Dean Bryan Garton in honoring ten CAFNR winners of the Drivers to Distinction award for student advising.
President Choi joins Vice Chancellor & Dean Christopher Daubert and Senior Associate Dean Bryan Garton in honoring ten CAFNR winners of the Drivers to Distinction award for student advising.

MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) excels at helping students graduate and launch great careers. The statistics are impressive. For graduates from the 2022 academic year, 98% reported career success within 6 months – and 68% of them are employed in Missouri.

I met with more than 120 faculty and staff to applaud their work and see how we can further improve. I also helped congratulate nine CAFNR staff and a faculty member who received awards for their dedication to student advising.

CAFNR has shown solid growth in undergraduate enrollment. It’s up to us to continue that momentum and share the value of our university – and a Mizzou education.

Agriculture is Missouri’s number one economic driver, and CAFNR is dedicated to training the next generation of industry leaders. I’m proud of their accomplishments.

— Mun

Student-researchers at the Missouri Capitol

A photo of President Choi with Noura Alhachami and Aravind Kalathil.
President Choi with Noura Alhachami and Aravind Kalathil.

Last week, we hosted our annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Missouri State Capitol. Elected officials mingled with nearly 50 student-researchers from across the UM System, including 11 from Mizzou, who shared their groundbreaking work. I also encouraged researchers to connect with their peers from other UM System universities.

One accomplished pair of MU presenters was Aravind Kalathil and Noura Alhachami. Both research at MU’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment and are focused on improving the understanding and treatment of autism. Their work is partially funded by the Department of Defense.

Aravind has been researching since his freshman year, and will attend graduate school next semester. Noura’s brother is autistic, and their family initially moved to Columbia to be closer to the Thompson Center. Noura said the move has benefited her family, and she is also able to explore her interest in research. She plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.

This event shows the immense talent of our students, who are already creating the next generation of breakthroughs for Missouri.

— Mun

Bringing precision health to rural Missouri

A photo of the Mobile Simulation Truck at Extension’s MU for You conference in Columbia.
The Mobile Simulation unit at Extension’s MU for You conference in Columbia.

MU School of Medicine’s Mobile Simulation unit provides training to doctors, nurses and first responders throughout Missouri to ensure high-quality care in every county. Their new two-room vehicle features realistic simulations of emergency situations, including infant and OB care, as well as life-size models to practice using a defibrillator and intubating patients. 

The program is part of the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Clinical Simulation Center and began more than 10 years ago in a 30-foot Winnebago. It has grown along with the need for highly trained medical professionals, especially in rural areas. 

In the coming months, the Mobile Simulation team will visit more than 15 communities, including Tarkio, Sikeston and Moberly. I want to thank Dena Higbee, executive director of simulation, and Kathleen Quinn, associate dean for rural health, for their work and service to Missouri citizens.

We are invested in the health and future of our state. Mobile simulation is one of many ways we make an impact.

— Mun

Greek Week Blood Drive

A photo of Greek Week Blood Committee members Macy Noonan, Sydney Hilker and Haliey Loog, along with Will Mason (director of the Blood Committee) and President Choi.
(Left to right) Greek Week Blood Committee members Macy Noonan, Sydney Hilker and Haliey Loog, along with Will Mason (director of the Blood Committee) and President Choi.

I was honored to be a VIP Donor for the 2023 Greek Week Blood Drive in MizzouRec. Since 1990, our fraternity and sorority community has collected nearly 80,000 total donations. On Monday they gathered 804 units, the highest one-day total in Greek Week history.

The event is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through April 5. To participate, you can sign up on the Red Cross’s website by entering the code MIZZOU.

The blood drive is one of many Greek Week activities that emphasize hands-on service, sportsmanship and teamwork. I want to thank Greek Week organizers and volunteers for hosting this lifesaving event.

— Mun

Serving Missouri with Extension

A photo of Jody Squires, Chad Higgins, Jayla Smith, Alison Copeland and President Choi.
(Left to right) Jody Squires (interim director of off campus operations & regional director), Chad Higgins (interim vice chancellor for extension and engagement & interim chief engagement officer), Jayla Smith (40 years of service from Daviess County), Alison Copeland (deputy chief engagement officer) and President Choi.

All 114 Missouri counties (and St. Louis) were represented at Extension’s MU for You conference. The high-energy gathering was the first since 2019.

More than 200 Extension council members and staff traveled to Columbia to share ideas, participate in workshops and tour MU’s campus. It was also a chance to listen and learn how we can better serve all Missourians. I was pleased to attend and congratulate Extension members receiving awards for decades of service.

Council members are locally elected and serve as a bridge between their communities and MU. They work every day to maximize Extension’s impact throughout the state.

A photo of Jody Squires, Chad Higgins, Anita Brace, Alison Copeland and President Choi
(Center) Anita Brace (29 years of service from Warren County).

We are a land-grant university with a focus on teaching, research and service that makes a difference. Extension is central to how we fulfill that mission.

I am grateful for their important work.

— Mun

Maize researchers win career achievement awards

A photo collage of Kathleen Newton and David Braun
Kathleen Newton and David Braun

Two faculty members were recently honored for their groundbreaking careers researching maize (corn), one of Missouri’s leading crops.

Kathleen Newton, professor emerita of biological sciences, received the R. Emerson Lifetime Maize Genetics Award. David Braun, professor of biological sciences and plant sciences, received the L. Stadler Mid-Career Maize Genetics Award. Both were recognized by the Maize Genetics Cooperation.

Prof. Emerita Newton is the third member of MU’s world-renowned Interdisciplinary Plant Group to receive the lifetime achievement award. Mizzou is the only university with multiple recipients.

Prof. Braun’s award is named after Lewis J. Stadler, who held a joint appointment at MU and the USDA for more than 30 years. Stadler co-discovered that X-rays cause mutations, a tool now commonly used in plant research. Prof. Braun continues that tradition of excellence as director of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group and the Missouri Maize Center.

We are leaders in ag research and stewards of a legacy that continues to deliver for all Missourians.

— Mun

Curator Wenneker honored with Lieutenant Governor’s Women of Achievement Award

A photo of Curator Robin Wenneker
Curator Robin Wenneker

University of Missouri Board of Curators Vice Chair Robin Wenneker was recently named as a recipient of the 2023 Lieutenant Governor’s Women of Achievement Award. The award recognizes the accomplishments of 10 Missouri women in conjunction with Women’s History Month.

Curator Wenneker was appointed to the Board of Curators in 2020 representing District 4, including Columbia. She’s a Mizzou alum and incredible supporter of our research, learning and outreach mission.

The recipients were announced by Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and will be honored during a ceremony on March 23 at the Missouri Capitol. Congratulations to Curator Wenneker!

— Mun

Preparing communities at the Earthquake Summit

A photo of Brian Houston presenting at the Earthquake Summit.
Brian Houston

Running from southern Illinois, across the Missouri Bootheel and into northern Arkansas ­– the area surrounding the New Madrid Fault is one of the most active seismic zones in the country.

Last week, I joined several Missouri elected officials and representatives from state and federal agencies for the annual Earthquake Summit. Hosted at our Fisher Delta Research, Extension, and Education Center in Portageville, I shared the work of researchers systemwide to understand and prepare for earthquakes in Missouri and across the region.

A great example of our impact is fellow presenter Brian Houston, an MU communications professor and director of the Disaster and Community Crisis Center. Prof. Houston studies community awareness about that fault’s risk and its impact on earthquake insurance.

A photo of Eric Sandal, Conne Burnham and President Choi at the Earthquake Summit
Eric Sandvol, Conne Burnham and President Choi

Also attending were Eric Sandvol, MU professor of geological sciences and chair of the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission, as well as Conne Burnham, an emergency management coordinator with Extension. Conne is leading a collaborative USDA grant to train Extension staff to respond in an emergency.

As Missouri’s land-grant university, we have a duty to stand with our state. I appreciated this opportunity to highlight research that supports communities now and for years to come.

— Mun

Meeting our E-Week Royalty

A photo of President Choi, Dean Noah Manring and the E-Week Court.
E-Week Court, Engineering Dean Noah Manring and President Choi with a proclamation from Gov. Mike Parson.

Mizzou Engineers’ Week (also known as E-Week) dates back to 1903. One of the week’s oldest traditions is to name two students as E-Week King and Queen. Last Friday, I stopped by the college’s awards banquet to congratulate the ten members of the 2023 Royal Court, and all faculty, staff, alumni and students who were honored during the ceremony.

Court candidates received a proclamation from Gov. Mike Parson recognizing E-Week and the accomplishments of all Mizzou engineers. At the St. Patrick’s Ball on Saturday night, students officially crowned Trenton Foster and Kyarra Gorham as King and Queen.

The College of Engineering is a leading innovator for our state and world. E-Week ­­­– and its many traditions ­– celebrates that legacy and the lasting impact of our community.

— Mun