Bear Breaks Executive Board

Check back in the Spring for Executive Board Applications!

The Bear Breaks Executive Board works alongside the Center for Community Engagement, advisors, and community agencies to plan and lead retreats, meetings, trainings, and service days for Trip Leaders. The Board works closely with other student leaders to ensure trip leaders are prepared to lead engaging and meaningful immersion trips for Missouri State students. Key actions of the Board are to:

Develop Vision and Goals - The Executive Board members are responsible for the program’s strategic planning process. This includes solidifying a yearly timeline, developing training curriculum, etc. They check regularly on the progress of that plan to be sure board members, Trip Leaders, Program Advisors, and Faculty/Staff Advisors are fulfilling their roles. They also plan to implement program-wide special events that work toward overarching goals.

Train and Advise Site Leaders - The Board plans and implements training sessions throughout the year, troubleshoots challenges with Trip Leaders in regular advising meetings, and models behavior and attitude for Trip Leaders and Participants. The Executive Board leads a retreat for trip Leaders as part of the comprehensive Training for the year.

Ensure Quality Trips - The Board ensures there is a Diverse offering of high-quality trips held at different times during the year, including Fall Immersion, Weekend Immersion, Winter Immersion, Spring Immersion, etc. With program values and rubrics, they help Trip Leaders plan Immersion experiences that achieve Missouri State’s Public Affairs Mission and adhere to the eight components of a quality trip.

Oversee Program Operations and Promotion - The Board works closely with Community Involvement & Service staff to oversee program operations, including finances, fundraising, and budgeting. They also take major responsibility for promoting Immersion Trips on campus, setting a tone of excitement and integrity for the program, coordinating participant recruitment, representing the program as ambassadors to the campus and community, and coordinating with other service and social justice efforts on campus.

Plan and Implement Program-Wide Events - The Bear Breaks Executive Board coordinates large events, including community engagement speakers, service days, tabling at community fairs, etc. They also ensure Trip Leaders implement team-based reorientation, advise on best practices, and follow up to capture outcomes and successes.



Meet our Board

YiKen Jongeruis

Director of Membership & Education

YiKen is a Junior this year, majoring in Social Work. She calls Overland Park, KS home and is involved in University Ambassadors, Fraternity and Sorority Life, and of course Bear Breaks! She was a participant her Freshman year and a Trip Leader last year for the Chicago trip that focuses on Homelessness and Hunger. She loves Bear Breaks because she has met so many cool people, who are also passionate about service and social justice. She is excited to work with this year's Trip Leaders and gain new insights about leadership and service.

YiKen near river with Chicago in background

Sarah Harp

Director of Community Outreach

Sarah is a Professional Writing major with a minor in Linguistics. She has participated in the Atlanta and Chicago trips, and co-lead a trip to Dallas. This year, Sarah is serving as Director of Community Outreach, which means she will be working with community partners to plan Trip Leader Days of Service, Weekend Immersion, and Coffee & Change. Sarah's favorite Bear Breaks memory is spending time at a community center in Dallas. "It was so neat to hear their stories!"


Liz Wyman

Director of Retreat, Reflection, and Orientation

Liz is a biology major and in her final year at Missouri State. She is from New Hampshire and has been both a Trip Leader and participant for the community revitalization trip to New Orleans. Her favorite part of Immersion Trips is growing with participants and gaining additional insights into the communities she supports through service projects. She is excited to take on this new role in her last year and leave a lasting impact on future Bear Breaks trips.