Hometown: Montgomery City, MO
Occupation: Currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree in elementary education through Missouri State University’s Outreach Program
All Degrees: Associates of Arts in Teaching-Missouri State University-West Plains
“Missouri State University-West Plains has left me with connections, lifetime opportunities, and lasting friendships.”
For Kayla Andres, starting classes at Missouri State-West Plains was a brand-new experience. Between being a first-generation student and moving more than three hours from her home and everyone she knew, it all felt like a risk. Still, on the advice of her high school counselor, she toured the university.
“Once I stepped on campus, I had a sense of belonging and it felt like being at home. Every individual I met reached out and introduced themselves and was eager to help. I was coming from a small town so it was more than I could ask for,” Andres said. “I knew attending Missouri State-West Plains would be a good start on my college degree, but I simply did not know the everlasting effect it would have.”
Andres took advantage of the full college experience by living on campus and utilized her A+ scholarship and other scholarships to cover her expenses. She also wasted no time in joining campus life and organizations.
“I was given many unique experiences while attending,” she said. “I was able to work for the Office of Student Life and Development throughout my first two years. I was also a part of the Residence Life team, had the opportunity to serve as a Student Ambassador, and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa.”
Andres said she consistently applies these experiences to her daily life, and finds them helpful as she purses her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
“Earning the first college degree within my family and being a first-generation student is a great sense of accomplishment for myself.”
“Missouri State -West Plains helped me accomplish my goals by having faculty and staff members willing to push me. Each professor, faculty and staff member challenged me to try new opportunities and expand my learning,” Andres said. “It was great being able to receive the one-on-one help while attending this university.”
Now, Andres does her best to provide other students with one-on-one help. She is currently a Student Ambassador through the Outreach Program on the West Plains campus and talks to potential students.
“Ask as many questions as you can,” she tells them. “Do not be shy to ask questions. It can be intimidating, but Missouri State-West Plains is truly there to help all students. And be sure to get involved on campus and make connections with those around you!”
“My experience at Missouri State University-West Plains was simply remarkable,” she concluded.” I learned, I grew, and I received a well-rounded education that has opened great doors and opportunities.”