Name: Rosemary Driscoll
Hometown: Brandsville, MO
Currently Resides: Springfield, MO
Occupation: English and communications teacher at Springfield Catholic High School
All Degrees/Certificates Received: AA-General Studies, Missouri State University-West Plains, 2018; BS-Secondary Education (English), Missouri State University, 2020; MA-Literature, Missouri State University, 2022
“Missouri State-West Plains was the perfect first step for me.”
When Rosemary Driscoll first began looking for colleges to attend after high school, she initially sought out those campuses that offered a full college experience away from home. It didn’t take long for her to realize, however, that Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) provided those very things close to home and at an affordable price.
“I was thrilled with the potential travel opportunities and ways to get engaged on campus at MSU-WP,” she said. “My four older brothers all attended MSU-WP at some point in their educational careers, and they had all shared stories about the amazing faculty and staff, fun activities, and welcoming environment of the campus.”
Once on campus, Rosemary quickly took advantage of those opportunities by becoming a Student Ambassador, joining the William and Virginia Darr Honors Program, exploring the world through study abroad trips to Paris and Amsterdam, and serving as an intern in the campus’s China Semester Study Away Program.
“I think some people think I am exaggerating when I try to tell them how much of a fresh start attending MSU-WP was for me,” she said. “It was 20 minutes from my parents’ house in a town I was already so familiar with, and yet it opened the world to me.”
“Living in China was the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Rosemary spent four months during the 2017 fall semester as an intern at MSU-WP’s campus at Liaoning Normal University in Dalian, China, taking classes and tutoring the Chinese students.
“It was the perfect combination of whirlwind experiences and quiet moments,” she recalled. “I made some incredible connections with the Chinese students who I worked with and tutored, some of whom I am still in touch with today! I was pushed to be a stronger communicator, a more reliable student, and a representative of my own school, country and culture, which created opportunities for self-discovery and self-awareness that likely would not have come up if I had not lived in a different country.”
Rosemary made her first foray outside of the country, however, a couple of months earlier when she traveled with the Darr Honors Program to Europe as part of a “thrilling” short-term study away opportunity.
“I was fortunate to be on that trip with some amazing friends of mine, and we found so much joy in every part of the experience,” she said. “However, the honors program was more than that trip. The academic aspect of the honors program, led at that time by Alex Pinnon, was just as much of a catalyst of discovery as international travel. I encountered questions I’d never entertained and grappled with perspectives I’d never considered. The content was compelling, and Alex Pinnon was a fantastic instructor who consistently encouraged us beyond our typical ways of thinking.”
Rosemary found opportunities for growth on campus, too
Calling it “one of the most fun parts of being on campus,” Rosemary’s time with the Student Ambassador program in the admissions office gave her the opportunity to be involved in campus and community events, share her enthusiasm for MSU-WP with future students, and develop skills that would serve her well beyond her years as a student.
“Rachel Peterson (former recruitment specialist) is a rockstar! She is someone who sees the highest potential in students, asks them to perform at that level and holds them accountable to taking the steps they need to get there,” Rosemary said. “I quickly became a big fan of my own university, so it was easy to be excited about showing it off to prospective students on campus tours and during Red Carpet Days.
“I attended a very small high school with a graduating class of just over 40 students, so I think it was important for me to be on a campus where I could meet plenty of new people but also see familiar faces every day,” she added. “I gained many fundamental skills at MSU-WP in academics, communication and professionalism, which translated perfectly to my next steps in school and in my career path.”
As an aspiring teacher, Rosemary also picked up a few classroom tips from some of her favorite instructors at MSU-WP. “I loved my public speaking class with Dr. Gary Phillips. It was such a fun class! I teach communications to high school freshmen now, and I’ve taken a few metaphorical pages from his book to use in my own classroom,” she said.
“Dr. Kathy Morrison was an awesome instructor to learn from,” Rosemary added. “It was exciting to be a part of her classroom because you knew just from the energy that she brought to the classroom that she wanted you to learn.
Although he has worn several hats at MSU-WP, Chancellor Dennis Lancaster also made an impression on Rosemary as her ethics class instructor. “His demeanor in the classroom is something I aspire to. He could approach any topic in the classroom with both delicacy and intensity, which created an ideal space for learning,” she explained.
After graduating from MSU-WP, Rosemary transferred to MSU in Springfield to complete her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, the latter of which she called “a huge professional milestone for me. It was absolutely not an easy task, and I had to push myself way out of my comfort zone, but ultimately it opened a lot of doors for opportunity and growth.”
But she’s kept the lessons and skills she learned at MSU-WP close to her heart as she’s entered the classroom. “When I first enrolled at MSU-WP, I was anxious to get on with life. My high school senioritis had me rushing to grow up and try new things, but the opportunities I started to encounter at MSU-WP woke me up to the present moment. I so appreciated the way that the faculty and staff invested in their students and in their local community that it made me want to do the same. I realized how necessary it was to do little things for people that would ultimately make a big impact, not on the world as a whole, but on the whole world of an individual person.
“As a new teacher, there is so much for me to learn in order to make my classroom and classes functional for my students, but I hope that the education that started with my college degrees allows me to continue to learn even in my role as a teacher,” she added.
“Seek out all the opportunities and resources that are available to you.”
Rosemary continues to be a big fan of MSU-WP and eagerly shares her experiences with others when given the chance. “I was looking for new opportunities when I got out of high school, and I was so pleasantly surprised by the plethora of opportunities that were offered to me on a small community college campus. I had so much fun and made some of my favorite memories while attending MSU-WP,” she said.
She encourages others who are attending or considering attending MSU-WP to look for the opportunities and resources available at the campus. “This campus offers so much to their students and so many of the faculty and staff are truly dedicated to your success. Ask questions, take a tour, and see if there’s anything that sparks your interest. If you invest positivity into your campus and your community, I think you will be impressed with the way positivity grows up around you.”