Missouri State University

SOAR: Student Orientation, Advisement and Orientation

SOAR Leaders

SOAR leaders inform freshmen about Missouri State and campus life, they help students build their first semester’s schedule of classes, and they assist students with building long-term relationships with faculty, staff members and their peers.

SOAR team leaders

Our SOAR team leaders are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations and preparations of the program.

Justin Drane

Justin Drane

Justin is a senior pursuing a bachelor of science in education in unified earth science. He firmly believes Missouri State as has helped him mature as a person and a leader, while expanding his horizons and making him a well-rounded individual.  

In his five years at Missouri State, he has been involved on campus as a resident assistant, a member of a social fraternity, and an intramural referee. Justin has also played on several intramural sports teams and participated in the University’s Dance Bear-a-thon, Relay for Life, Science Olympiad events, and Welcome Weekend activities. Justin has a wealth of experience in helping students transition to Missouri State; the summer of 2013 will be his fifth as a SOAR Leader. 

For the future, Justin is currently considering pursuing a master of natural and applied sciences at Missouri State University or beginning a teaching career in local area high school.

Liv Parks

Liv Parks

Liv is a senior pursuing a bachelor of arts in theatre studies. She has characterized her time at Missouri State as "the greatest experience anyone could ask for" and noted that finding life-long friends, making incredible memories, and expanding her knowledge in unknown areas have been some of the greatest parts of being a student here.

Liv has been very involved on campus, serving as co-president of Spectrum (LGBT students and allies) and as a resident assistant.  She has also been a member of the University of Theatre & Dance organization, the Homecoming Committee, the Elections Commission for Student Government Association, and Hammons Hall Council. She plans to enter the Student Affairs in Higher Education graduate program this fall. As she pursues her master’s degree, she will also be serving as the graduate assistant for Fraternity and Sorority Life in the Office of Student Engagement. 

SOAR leaders

Nii Abrahams

Nii Abrahams

Hometown: Carl Junction, MO

Major: Communication (Ethical Leadership emphasis)

Why I'm Proud to Be A Bear...
I love everything about being a Bear. There is such a passion about this school that radiates from everyone here: it's contagious!

Ali Bajwa

Ali Bajwa

Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan

Major: Computer Science/Applied Mathematics

My best advice for freshman...
Be friendly and try to meet as many people as possible the first few months. You will be surprised to see how many connections you can make and how it can change you as a person.

 

Sarah Christenson

Sarah Christenson

Hometown: Springfield, MO

Major: Cell and Molecular Biology/Hospitality and Restaurant Administration

My best advice for freshman...
Get involved with something, or you aren't going to have as good of a college experience. Why not meet some new people and expose yourself to some great new experiences while you have the chance?

Trevor Collins

Trevor Collins

Hometown: Clarence, MO

Major: Marketing

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
I wish I had known to stay on campus in the residence halls during SOAR. It provides a great opportunity network with other students and create lifelong friendships. It also adds to your SOAR experience.

Paige Dimmitt

Paige Dimmitt

Hometown: Shelbina, MO

Major: Elementary Education

Why I'm Proud to Be A Bear...
The people that make up this campus are the reason I love [Missouri State] so much. The students here are very involved on campus and in the community and truly care about each other. Faculty members always make time for their students and are always willing to answer any question.  Being around the people on this campus everyday always puts me in a good mood!

Mary Disney

Mary Disney

Hometown: Wentzville, MO

Major: History Education

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
I wish I would've known that college is much harder academically than high school.  It's very possible to be a successful student, it just takes good time management!  Set up a schedule to study and socialize--that will best help you be successful!

Bob Eberling

Bob Eberling

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Major: Socio-Political Communications

Before SOAR, I Wish I Would Have Known...
Although SOAR is a time to plan schedules and prepare for the semester ahead, it's also a time to have lots of fun and meet some very cool people. I also wish I would've known how fun the SOAR leaders are during night activities!

Miranda Elliston

Miranda Elliston

Hometown: Carl Junction, MO

Major: Psychology

My best advice for freshman...
Your success is based solely upon your effort; no one will look over your shoulder to make sure you are keeping up with responsibilities. You have to put forth the effort if you want to succeed. It may sound a little scary, but you'll be so proud of yourself when you do!

Calen Faulk

Calen Faulk

Hometown: Poteau, OK

Major: English Literature

My best advice for freshman...
If you don't know who you are yet, don't worry! College is about finding yourself. It's about learning what you truly like and dislike, what you want to stand behind full force, and what you believe about the world. Don't take it for granted.

Mal Fournier

Mal Fournier

Hometown: Independence, MO

Major: Child and Family Development

Why I'm Proud to Be A Bear...
I am proud to be a Missouri State Bear because of all the opportunities the campus has to offer.  From the welcoming staff and students, to the close-knit campus, the athletic events, to different leadership positions and involvement on campus, each aspect of campus has become a part of me!

Kelley Fugett

Kelley Fugett

Hometown: Neosho, MO

Major: Administrative Management/Logistic and Supply Chain Management

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
Before SOAR, I wish I had known to stay on campus overnight so I could meet new people.  I was kind of shy and didn't think that much stuff was going on, but when I came back the next day everyone talked about the cool stuff they did.  I was so jealous!

Keeley Gierer

Keeley Gierer

Hometown: Wright City, MO

Major: Fashion Merchandising and Design

My best advice for freshman...
Please, please, please remember that college is different from high school. It's supposed to be! It's a good thing - but it means change, and that can seem scary and weird. STICK IN THERE! Embrace it, jump in head first - hang out with the people on your floor, try a student organization you've never heard of before, find something that interests you and run with it! It's all about finding you following your passion.

Savannah Gomez

Savannah Gomez

Hometown: Rogersville, MO

Major: Undecided

Why I'm Proud to Be A Bear...
I'm so proud to know that I am part of a school that focuses so heavily on diversity. It really motivates me to try new things such as study abroad.

Ryan Graham

Ryan Graham

Hometown: Kansas City, MO

Major: Public Relations

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
I wish I would have known to try the leadership programs on campus. Even as a freshman, it is still your campus and you can make a difference. Being young should never be a reason not to apply.

Josh Hammack

Josh Hammack

Hometown: Ballwin, MO

Major: General Business

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
If I'd known how informative SOAR was going to be, I would have listened more closely. Have a lot of fun at SOAR, but make sure to pay attention so you don't end up missing something important.

Allie Hammond

Allie Hammond

Hometown: St. Peters, MO

Major: English Education

Why I'm Proud to Be A Bear...
I am proud to be a Bear because our University has a reputation known for helping the community. We have so many opportunities for service from fraternity and sorority life to Bear Blitz, our short-term volunteer programs. Everyone has a chance to get involved and help in some way. It makes me proud to know that students at Missouri State don't only care about themselves but others as well.

Katie Hash

Katie Hash

Hometown: Osceola, MO

Major: History Education

Why I'm Proud to Be A Bear...
What fills me with the most pride about this campus is how friendly everyone is. Making friends was one of my biggest fears in coming to college; however, the students here are so friendly and it is super easy to make friends.

Byron Himes

Byron T Himes

Hometown: Billings, MO

Major: Computer Science

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
When I attended SOAR, I was only there because I was supposed to be. I wish I had told myself to be more involved and pay attention more, that way I wouldn't have been so lost my first semester. There's a lot of critical information that the SOAR leaders dispense during those two days, and part of making the process work is having a student who cares.

Matt Hinken

Matt Hinken

Hometown: Blue Springs, MO

Major: Psychology

My best advice for freshman...
Talk to your professors! So often we forget that our professors are people too, and we don't think about all the opportunities they can provide us. It's important that you form those relationships; whether you want to go to grad school, get a career, or just want a degree, your professors are the key to success.

Mandisha Hocklander

Mandisha Hocklander

Hometown: Nixa, MO

Major: Elementary Education

Why I'm Proud to Be A Bear...
I am proud to be a Missouri State Bear for many reasons. Not only does MSU have a great reputation academically, we also have an excellent athletics program and I love cheering on our teams. It feels great to know I am part of something so great. MSU is welcoming, proud with school spirit, and always booming with a positive atmosphere. I love being a part of that.

Taylor Homeyer

Taylor Homeyer

Hometown: Bentonville, AR

Major: Psychology / Interpersonal Communications

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
I wish I would've known that Fraternity and Sorority Life wasn't what the media has depicted it to be.  Coming to Missouri State, I was very hesitant to join a fraternity.  After hearing only positive responses of their experiences, I decided that I would go through recruitment my sophomore year. I absolutely love it!

Houlie Ibrahim

Houlie Ibrahim

Hometown: Salem, MO

Major: Special Education

My best advice for freshman...
Want to kick procrastination's butt? Get yourself a planner...like NOW. It won't solve all your problems, but it's so much less overwhelming looking at what you have to complete when it's all organized.

Layne Ivy

Layne Ivy

Hometown: Kennett, MO

Major: Geospatial Sciences

My best advice for freshman...
Visit the Career Center! I wasn't sure what I wanted to do in the future, so the staff there helped me set up job shadowing opportunities with local businesses.  It really helped me make some decisions about my major.

Kelly James

Kelly James

Hometown: Jackson, MO

Major: Psychology

Why I'm Proud to Be A Bear...
I am proud to be a Missouri State Bear because being here has shaped me into the person I have always wanted to be. Being a part of this university has allowed me to explore who I am and where I want to be in my life down the road. The opportunities to grow here are amazing, and I am thankful for choosing to be a Bear every day!

Ashton Lafeber

Ashton Lafeber

Hometown: Saint Charles, MO

Major: Elementary Education

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
Before attending, I thought would just be two days of boring information. I should have got out of my comfort zone and met people! Your SOAR session is the first time you will meet people that will attend Missouri State alongside you. Just have fun, go to different activities that are offered, and meet new people.

Simonne Lockwood

Simonne Lockwood

Hometown: Hallsville, MO

Major: Digital Film Production

Why I'm Proud to Be A Bear...
I love everything about Missouri State. The diversity offered by such a wonderful study away department, the "close" and homey feel of the campus, the willingness of the professors to help you any way they can, and the friends that I have made here. I have so many more opportunities to chase my potential here than anywhere else!

Christina March

Christina March

Hometown: Springfield, MO

Major: Middle School Education

My best advice for freshman...
GO. TO. CLASS. Freshmen are often tempted to skip classes to hang out with friends or to get other work done. You need to BE THERE though. Your grade may not depend on your attendance, but you might miss something important.

Amellia Martin

Amellia Martin

Hometown: Branson, MO

Major: Cell and Molecular Biology

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
Ask questions at SOAR! I was so intimidated by everything during my session, but after I started asking questions and realizing how helpful everyone was I felt a lot more comfortable. Don't forget -- we're here to help!

Morgan Mills

Morgan Mills

Hometown: El Dorado Springs, MO

Major: Elementary Education

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
I was one of the students who thought that the world was coming to an end when I didn't get a class I had wanted. There are little hiccups every semester regarding scheduling, and I have survived! Make sure to relax and take class scheduling in stride at SOAR.

Taylor Moody

Taylor Moody

Hometown: Holcomb, MO

Major: Entertainment Management

My best advice for freshman...
To be successful here at Missouri State, or anywhere for that matter, it is all about staying true to who you are. Always go into a situation confident in yourself and you will go far!

Tina Osborne

Tina Osborne

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Major: Public Relations

My best advice for freshman...
Go to class, sing the fight song, and challenge yourself to do more than what you're used to.  Get involved and make a difference here at Missouri State!

 

Kristi Patrickus

Kristi Patrickus

Hometown: Camdenton, MO

Major: Instrumental Music Education

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
One thing I wish I knew before attending SOAR is that you meet an advisor in your field of study. I would have had more questions for the advisor if I had known I was going to get to meet her!

Emma Rapp

Emma Rapp

Hometown: Lee's Summit, MO

Major: Psychology

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
I wish I would have realized that SOAR is the first experience at MSU for most students. Everyone is nervous and new to the campus, so be as outgoing as you can and try to schedule classes with people in your SOAR group so you have familiar faces on the first day of class.

Jess Ratliff

Jess Ratliff

Hometown: Naylor, MO

Major: Animal Science

My best advice for freshman...
The best piece of advice I could give any incoming student is to not be afraid to ask for help.  There are countless campus resources that are literally here just to help you, and most of them are free!

Addison Reed

Addison Reed

Hometown: Columbia, MO

Major: Advertising and Promotion

My best advice for freshman...
Be friendly and try to meet as many people as possible the first few months. You will be surprised to see how many connections you can make and how it can change you as a person.

Dalton Reeves

Dalton Reeves

Hometown: Cuba, MO

Major: Acting/Psychology

Why I'm Proud to Be A Bear...
I love the sense of home that Missouri State has given me. Plus, being a bear is so much better than being any other mascot. Come on...who would want to be a tree or butterfly?

Erica Rens

Erica Rens

Hometown: Springfield, MO

Major: Psychology

My best advice for freshman...
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE! Just be you, you aren't at college to impress anyone but yourself. Try new things and don't say no to a new opportunity. Try everything at least once--unless it's illegal, of course.

Samantha Shadid

Samantha Shadid

Hometown: Kansas City, MO

Major: Undeclared

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
I wish that before attending SOAR I would have understood that college is a transitional moment in life. The first year of college is overwhelming. I wish someone would have told me that the way you find your place and make friends is by getting out of your room and joining clubs and organizations. Once I did that, I began to find my place at Missouri State.

Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith

Hometown: Lowry City, MO

Major: Psychology

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
I wish I had taken a step back from being stressed about scheduling and just enjoyed meeting everyone and getting ready to start college. Freshman, take your class scheduling seriously, but also know that in the end it will all work out and you will leave with a schedule!

Samuel Thompson

Samuel Thompson

Hometown: Joplin, MO

Major: Psychology/Gerontology

My best advice to freshman...
Of course it is important to get involved on campus. Just make sure that at some point you do something that is meaningful to you, not because it will look good on a resumé, lead to a career, or get you elected to homecoming royalty. When you've found something here that fulfills you and involves serving others, then you've found your place and you're truly involved.

Irina Tuluca

Irina Tuluca

Hometown: Lake in the Hills, IL

Major: Entertainment Management

My best advice for freshman...
Remember that college is what you make of it. There are so many opportunities to find something you love to do and a group of people you feel comfortable with. Be open to trying new things and meeting new people because that's how you will really get a lot out of the college experience.

Mista Volz

Mista Volz

Hometown: O'Fallon, MO

Major: Speech and Theatre Education

My best advice for freshman...
My best piece of advice I would give incoming students is to GET INVOLVED! People are going to tell you this so many times, but we do for a reason. Find SOMETHING to get involved with! We have over 300 student organizations, so there is literally something for everybody. It's a great way to meet people, have something to do outside of your classwork, and really help you make the most of your Missouri State experience!

Kristine Walkingstick

Kristine Walkingstick

Hometown: Peculiar, MO

Major: Exercise and Movement Science

Before SOAR, I wish I would have known...
I wish I would of known how beneficial SOAR was going to be. I came without my parents because I thought that it was going to be routine information. It was actually very beneficial! I learned much more than I thought I was going to--don't underestimate SOAR!

Derek Yost

Derek Yost

Hometown: Savannah, MO

Major: English Education

Why I'm Proud to Be A Bear...
I love the community at Missouri State.  We are a university of over 20,000 students, but no matter where I am on campus I run into someone I know.  It a big university with a small town feel.