Nicki Donnelson | KBIA

Nicki Donnelson

Nicki received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Missouri State in marketing, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. After gaining experience in writing, marketing, special event planning, fundraising and public relations, she returned to the university to work as the public relations specialist in the office of university communications. There she tells the university’s story by sharing the stories of individuals at Missouri State. 

When you think about technology, perhaps you consider the huge biomedical advances it has propelled forward. Or perhaps you think of the family dining at a restaurant that can’t be bothered to hold conversation – instead they are enraptured by their smartphones.

Technology. It’s yin and yang.

Dr. Paul Durham, distinguished professor of biology at Missouri State University, is serving as the lead for this year’s public affairs conference, The 21st Century Digital World.

In every sport, athletes risk injury. Athletic trainers support and assist these athletes to lower that possibility. They help them warm up, stretch and prepare the body for rigorous action.

Dr. David Carr, associate professor in the department of sports medicine and athletic training at Missouri State University, shares a story about a tragedy that highlights why adequate medical training is important on the sidelines.

As a butterfly enthusiast for his entire life, Dr. Chris Barnhart remembers collecting caterpillars in a grass-filled Radio Flyer wagon as a young child.

Now a distinguished professor of biology at Missouri State University, Barnhart says his hobby turned into an outreach program about a decade ago.

Hundreds of third through sixth grade students from the local area are taking a big field trip on Sept. 25. They'll be visiting the International Culture Fair, hosted by Missouri State University's modern and classical languages department.

"It's essentially a trip around the world," said Dr. Heidi Backes, coordinator of the event. "Students get a bag and a passport booklet. They visit 12 different booths, each representing a different country, and they do a particular activity related to the culture of each of those places."

When you think “gothic,” you think about dark, foreboding, mysterious. In literature, it is all of those things. Dr. Heidi Backes says it is often constructed to tell a tale about the underlying sociopolitical environment or economy.

Backes, assistant professor in the modern and classical languages department at Missouri State University, shares about what you can see between the lines of these gothic tales.

In the state of Missouri, approximately 4.5% of students in schools are classified as English learners. Although this is half of the national average, it's a growing population. It presents unique challenges for teachers and others in the education system.

In star-studded Hollywood, Bobby Lewis hustled but had success. After being there about three years, tragedy hit his family. His mom, dad and younger sister were killed in a car accident.

Bobby Lewis, assistant professor in the department of media, journalism and film at Missouri State University, shares how this experience brought about magnificent change.

One hundred percent of living humans are aging every day. That shouldn't surprise any of us. But did you know that 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day? By 2030, 20% of the U.S. population will be older adults, which will meet or outnumber children.

Dr. Lisa Hall, coordinator of the Gerontology program within the psychology department at Missouri State University, is here to tell us how that demographic shift is changing the world we live in.

It's not what you say, it's how you say it. It's cliché, but true. For people with mental health disorders, how they say something may be quite different than someone not living with a mental illness.

Dr. Isabelle Bauman, interim department head for communication at Missouri State University, has been studying how mental health influences communication styles, and is writing a book on this work. She gives an example of communication differences. 

A carefree summer fling causes romantic clashes, bodies pile up in an Agatha Christie classic and an imposter leads the FBI on a merry chase.

That’s what Tent Theatre at Missouri State University has in store for audiences this summer during its 57th season.

Mark Templeton, managing director, tells about the lineup.

Hundreds of volcanoes exist in the United States. Most are considered dormant and haven't erupted for more than 10,000 years. That doesn't mean that they can't or won't.

Dr. Gary Michelfelder, assistant professor in the department of geography, geology and planning at Missouri State University, says that though you may not know it, volcanoes affect our lives every day. 

When you sit down to watch your favorite show do you watch just one episode? Or is your DVR full of stockpiled episodes ready for a marathon? Maybe you stream episode after episode, immersing yourself in a show. Binge watching is what we're discussing today on the Missouri State Journal.

The world is constantly changing. Scientists and conservationists showcase events of climate change and global warming worldwide and are striving to slow down the effects.

Dr. Deb Finn, assistant professor of biology at Missouri State University, has spent her career studying flowing water environments, but she specifically loves the alpine streams, which are in high altitude environments above the permanent treeline. 

Having a stroke or a traumatic brain injury can make you feel like a foreigner in a strange land. Your cognition may still be fully intact, but sometimes you just can't speak the language.

After a stroke, most individuals need speech therapy, something that is offered free at Missouri State University's Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic, and they often recoup much of their language. If you haven't recouped it all, you may become your own worse critic. This makes it difficult to engage in everyday social situations. You may feel embarrassed and become isolated.

Graphic novels. They're just a fancy name for long-form comics. But when you think about one, you may picture the bulging muscles of Marvel's superheroes. But my guests say not to judge comics by this preconceived imagery.

Cole Closser and Jennifer Murvin teach a course at Missouri State University on creating comics and are paving the road to an interdisciplinary program that is largely unheard of at the undergraduate level. Murvin and Closser share about what keeps them intrigued in this medium.

American society has come a long way since the inception of the feminist movement. Even as recently as the 1990s. Gender studies could be seen as quite radical. Now, those same notions are largely internalized for kids, thanks to pop culture references, social media, and positive role modeling.

Over the last several years, wine enthusiasts have cheered over the revelation that red wine has positive health benefits. While many assumed it was the grapes, skins and juice providing the antioxidants, the grape seeds took the back seat - until now.

Dr. Paul Durham, distinguished professor of biology at Missouri State University, and Jessica Cox, graduate student in Durham’s lab, share the good news about their recent National Institutes of Health funded study in grape seed extract.

Do students lose their religious beliefs when they enter college? Many believe yes. Dr. John Schmalzbauer, Blanche Gorma Strong Chair in Protestant Studies at Missouri State University, worked with historian Dr. Kathleen Mahoney to examine this question: Where does religion stand in the heart of American universities?

They compiled their research in a new book, "The Resilience of Religion in American Higher Education." It was published in September.

The sustainability movement continues to grow and evolve. Individuals are more concerned than ever about the source of their foods, materials and products they purchase. This focus has caused many industries to look closely at their processes, products and byproducts – ultimately to improve themselves and improve the reputation of the organization as a whole.

There’s an ancient saying that says “We’re standing on the shoulders of giants.” It means that each discovery or truth builds on previous discoveries.  

Dr. Matt Siebert, associate professor of chemistry at Missouri State University, talks about how his foundational research works toward the goal of ending disease. This is the first in a two-part series with Siebert.

Literature uniquely reflects society. Without trying to be a historical document, novels can reflect the author's worldview, values and beliefs - either overtly or in between the lines.

Dr. Erin Kappeler, assistant professor of English at Missouri State University, tells us about how we can use literature as a lens into the past, present and future.

Your health can be affected by so many things. Genetics, diet, stress, the people around you - just to name a few.

Dr. Kyler Sherman Wilkins, assistant professor of sociology at Missouri State University, is a social demographer who is interested in the distribution of health in Americans.

In November 2017, Missouri State University was awarded a grant from the office of violence against women in the department of justice. That project, which supports programming on MSU and OTC's campuses, is Project HEAL (Help, Educate, Advocate and Listen).

Kunti Bentley, project coordinator, shares about the program.

"What we're doing with the grant is to really focus on prevention and counseling and then victim advocacy," said Bentley. "What we want to do is move on from that heightened awareness of these issues and move into action."

Each November, Native American Heritage Month is recognized with the goal of affirming and celebrating the identities of individuals who are often erased from history. Dr. Billie Follensbee, museum studies program coordinator in the art and design department at Missouri State University, has had a lifelong fascination with Native American history, art and archaeology.

Every day we ought to be thankful for our freedom, but one day every year, we publicly say thank you to the men and women in the military that served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Veteran's Day is Nov. 11, but Missouri State University will be hosting several public events leading up to this special day. 

Not being able to communicate effectively or understand people can be so discouraging and frustrating. It leaves you out – in the dark.
 
Lauren Jones, director of the Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic at Missouri State University, says parents usually become concerned around age 2 that their toddler isn’t talking as much as other children they know.

Missouri State is focused on developing educated citizens of the world – citizens who are engaged in the community, ready to lead with integrity and who are concerned with global issues and respect diverse perspectives. In order to get the campus invested in this mission, we host an annual Public Affairs Conference.

From the very first moments, your child is learning. They are soaking in their environment and learning to interact with it.

Dr. Sascha Mowrey, assistant professor of early childhood education at Missouri State University, gives tips for preparing your child for a lifetime of learning.

To her, one of the most important characteristics that parents can instill in a child is curiosity. It can be challenging to always be “on” and engaged, but Mowrey says the best way to teach curiosity is to model it.

Reading and writing serve as the foundation for so much of elementary school education and always has. While that remains unchanged, expectations of children and teachers evolve with the times.

Dr. Chloe Bolyard, assistant professor of elementary education at Missouri State University, shares recent changes in elementary education.

One of the biggest challenges for all teachers, noted Bolyard, is to meet the diverse and unique needs of all the children in a classroom. 

 In describing the work of German choreographer Pina Bausch, you might hear many terms – like performance art, wild or unresolved. But Telory Arendell, associate professor in the department of theatre and dance at Missouri State University, just calls it inspiring.


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