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Megan Gilbertson: “Our state has a lot to offer without having to drive very far in any sort of direction.”

Megan Gilbertson has long blonde hair and wears a dark brown robe.
Rebecca Smith

Megan Gilbertson spoke with the Missouri on Mic team at the Central Missouri Renaissance Faire last October.

She spoke about her love of Johnson Shut-ins and the nature of the state, as well as some of her hopes for the future of Missouri.

Missouri on Mic is an oral history and journalism project documenting stories from around the state in its 200th year.

Megan Gilbertson: … [My] favorite Missouri memory… I think – I don't know if people can still go here, but Johnson Shut-ins has been one of my favorite Missouri memories. I used to play there as a kid, and I know that it can be a bit dangerous with the water in the rocks.

I don't know if I would still go back there today or let my children go there but growing up in the 90s and going to Johnson Shut-Ins was a blast.

I think it was probably one of my first experiences going to a place where basically there are no rules. There were no safety nets. There was no like theme park style lines and security systems perhaps.

And so, it just it felt really raw and really real to climb, you know, whatever rock you wanted to climb and go down whatever waterfall you wanted to go down – with parent supervision, of course.

So, Missouri in general, I'd say I try to highlight the fact that our state has a lot to offer without having to drive very far in any sort of direction.

So, if you want big city º– you've got to on either side of the state, and a couple of kind of larger cities in the middle as well, such as Columbia.

Rebecca Smith

But if you wanted just a place out in the middle of nowhere and you want to go camping, you want to go canoeing – anything you might want to think of in nature, you're not ever far from that anywhere in Missouri.

I think Missouri is a really unique state. I think if you look at our history, throughout the starting of our state, the birth of our state, and throughout the Civil War, and different historical happenings here – that have happened either in St. Louis or in different parts of the state – I think you have lots of really interesting things that are definitely worth celebrating about how we've grown as a state. How we've developed, and the way that we've helped shaped American history.

I'd love to see Missouri make its way in the country as a leading state when it comes to progressive policies.

I'd love for us to really find our voice and our path in this country to help other states lead us forward into the future – hopefully.

I hope that we continue to be a strong voice. I want us to continue to educate ourselves. I really, as somebody who works in higher education, I'm really passionate about education, in general and any individual getting education.

So I really – that's my hope for the future of Missouri – is stronger education, so that we can also become leaders.

Mack Moore is a senior at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and is currently working on KBIA's Missouri on Mic.
Caoilinn left KBIA in December of 2022.
Caoilinn Goss is the Audio Convergence Editor at KBIA. She trains and oversees student reporters, editors and anchors to produce daily afternoon newscasts. She's also a Missouri Journalism School alum.