Name: Cory Neal
Hometown: Mountain View, MO
Currently Resides: Columbia, MO
Occupation: School counselor, Prairie Home R-V School District, Prairie Home, MO
All Degrees and Certificates Received: AAS-Computer Graphics & Programming, Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP), 2015; AA-General Studies and AAS-Child & Family Development, MSU-WP, 2018; BS-Child & Family Development, MSU, 2018; MS-Counseling, MSU, 2021.
Attending MSU-WP “was the best decision I have made in my post-secondary career!”
During his senior year of high school at Mountain View-Birch Tree Liberty, attending Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) was the last thing on Cory Neal’s mind.
“The only thing I really wanted to do was to move as far away from my hometown as possible,” he recalled recently. “Obviously, that did not happen because I went to college in a town that was 30 minutes away.”
Even so, Cory didn’t know what subject to major in or what career path to pursue when he enrolled at MSU-WP. “I was straight out of high school with no idea what I truly wanted to do with my life; however, as I went through the different programs, they helped me develop an idea of the career paths that were best suited for me and those that were not, whether through assignments researching different career paths or doing internship hours at different locations,” he explained.
“The Child and Family Development program at MSU-WP is arguably the best program available on campus.”
Cory found just what he was looking for when he began taking classes in the Associate of Applied Science in Child and Family Development program, and he credits his epiphany to the program’s instructors, Dr. Renee Keith and Dr. Brenda Smith.
“Dr. Keith and Dr. Smith have become the best mentors for me. They helped me develop and grow into the professional and person I am today. I was a Corps of Opportunity student with the CFD program, and during that time I developed a relationship with both instructors that I still have to this day. If it wasn’t for these two, I’m not sure I would have accomplished the things that I have in my life,” Cory said.
Dr. Keith, he said, spent countless hours helping him research various degrees and career paths and selecting the courses and degrees he needed to accomplish his goals.
Those degrees have allowed Cory to obtain his current position as a school counselor at Prairie Home R-V School District near Columbia, Missouri.
“My degrees allow me to work alongside students who will one day be leading our nation,” he said. “I am so honored to work with these students on a daily basis, helping them with their worries and issues, and helping them develop into young adults who will one day not only be taking care of you and me, but also leading our nation.”
They also have allowed him to obtain his certifications as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor (PLPC).
“My experience at MSU-WP was a blessing in disguise.”
Cory said he wouldn’t change his decision to attend MSU-WP. “I truly believe that, if I did not go to MSU-WP, I would not have gained the knowledge or skill set that has helped me develop and grow into the person and professional that I am today,” he said.
He also encourages current and future students to “NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK! I have developed relationships with several professionals while I was at MSU-WP that I can use as references in the future. I also was able to discover different careers, some that I truly loved and some that were just not the right match for me.”