Writing Specialist/Grizzly Writing Lab
Testing Coordinator/Testing Center
What services does your department provide students?
I run both the Writing Lab and the Testing Center, and both departments help students meet their college goals. In the Writing Lab, we assist students in becoming their best writers. Mostly what we do is support students in meeting their instructors’ requirements, help students think through their ideas and then aid them in writing those ideas cogently. We do a lot of work with citation formats and helping students with editing their own work–the writing tutors will not fix papers, but the tutors will show the writers strategies for how to proofread their own papers. The tutors are great because they are students with just a little more experience, so they give a student-to-student perspective, which helps to ameliorate writers’ nervousness about seeking feedback on their writing. Students can make an appointment or walk in to see tutors, and the Online Writing Lab is available for online students or students who have a really packed schedule making it hard for them to visit the Writing Lab face-to-face.
The Testing Center helps students be successful by providing a quiet space to take a variety of tests at convenient times for our very busy students. About half of our tests are for classes: We proctor tests for online classes and make-up tests by providing test integrity for the teachers. We also administer a wide variety of tests for both students and the larger community. For example, we offer the Kaplan Nursing Admissions Test, the Missouri General Education Assessment, and the Graduate Record Exams, which are the “so, you want to be a nurse, teacher, graduate student” exams. We proctor the Peace Officer and Standards Test, which is one of the tests necessary to become a police officer, and we also administer the Missouri Content Assessment and the Praxis exam, both of which are certification tests for educators. Plus, we offer a host of other tests for the community, like the HiSET, tests for the Post Office, the Crane Operators, Missouri Insurance, Certified Optometrists, etc.
What do you find most rewarding about working at Missouri State-West Plains?
I’ve lived here 10 years now, and my answer to this question remains the same: West Plains is everything I didn’t know I wanted. I love my community here. My students are fantastic people starting a new chapter in their lives, and I enjoy being part of the complex equation that helps them grow into new versions of themselves and watching them as they go further than they thought they could. My coworkers are wonderful people who accompany me in the journey to make our shared workspace collaborative, fun and beneficial in guiding students to their next steps in life. I appreciate the multiple levels of contact coming from living in a small town: I see coworkers and students at work, but then I also meet them at church, in community theatre, etc. I love that people in the community are so friendly, look each other in the eye and smile in acknowledgement of each other, and that people driving wave at each other with all five fingers. Ten years later, I still think all of that is fabulous.
What advice would you give a student about succeeding academically in college?
What’s great about college is you learn a lot in a short amount of time, but it can be overwhelming. College is a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on the task in front of you and complete it to the best of your abilities. Then move on to the next task. Just keep making forward progress, and you’ll meet success at various stops along the journey.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
The best two hours of my week are church choir practice. I love my church choir, and participating in that group makes my life better. I’m also involved in community choir, and I’ve been in several of the summer musicals over the last few years, which is great fun and completely worth the effort and time. I’m part of a regular role-play gaming group in Willow Springs, and though I’m still a neophyte, I do enjoy the camaraderie and fun of trying on new characters in imaginary worlds with the element of random dice rolls wrecking the best of intentions. The rest of my free time is just cooking binges, Netflix binges, reading binges, and good food and drink with friends, though I do hope to get back to kayaking, hiking, camping, and traveling next year.