Alumni Network

Continue the connection

Our alumni are a large part of continuing our program, adding value and experience to the knowledge we share with students. We want to hear about your personal and professional accomplishments because your success is our success. Also, alumni are a great resource for practicum and internship experiences, helping the next generation of our students. Contact the sociology program with updates about your personal and professional achievements so we can celebrate with you. If you are already a member of the Alumni Association, make sure to update us when you move with the address update form.

Once a Bear, always a Bear

Stay in touch with your alma mater and other graduates of the sociology program through the Missouri State Alumni Association.Your involvement includes a number of benefits like:

  • Access to Missouri State's online community, MarooNation.
  • Networking: connecting with alumni in similar fields, positions and locations.
  • Being informed: receive the most up-to-date information about what’s happening on campus and in your academic field.
  • Celebrating all things maroon and white with special event invitations and reunions.
  • Giving back to the University community in a way that fits you – shaping the future of Missouri State.
  • Sharing your story. Leaving your mark. Defining your legacy.

Attend alumni events

Alumni events are held in cities throughout the United States. These events are great opportunities for you to network, establish new relationships and reconnect with old friends in your area. See the upcoming alumni events to find an event in an area near you.

Giving back to the program

Alumni donors can demonstrate their desire to continue improving the quality of education of the sociology program at Missouri State by giving a private contribution.Your gift – no matter its size – supports sociology programs, funds scholarships, improves facilities and provides for faculty development and research.

Our alumni apply their skills in various fields all over the world.

By having a variety of careers, they help showcase how many different options there are for those who have a degree in sociology or anthropology.

Those wishing to contact alumni should first contact the department.

Erica Houston

BS Sociology

Deputy Juvenile Officer: Greene County Juvenile Detention Center
Current Graduate Student at University of Missouri in Human Development and Family Science with an Emphasis in Youth Development

My Info: I currently reside in Springfield, MO. Since graduation, I have been working as a Deputy Juvenile Officer at the Greene County Juvenile Justice Office. In the future, I plan on working as a Youth Coordinator for a few years. Going forward, I would like to start and operate a rehabilitation focused center for juveniles to deter them from entering the adult criminal justice system. Both my education at Missouri State University, and my studies in the field of Sociology prepared me for working with children from diverse backgrounds. My current work at the Greene County Juvenile Detention Center is the perfect stepping-stone for other careers in my field.

My Advice: Seize opportunities! Anything from a research assistantship, to an internship, to a job that can give you extra opportunities to learn more about your passions or your interests should be taken and used.

Kyesha Wilson

BS Sociology

Behavioral Technician at The Miriam Foundation

My Info: I currently reside in my hometown of St. Louis, MO. Since graduation I have worked in various roles with children who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder and other learning disabilities as well as their families. What I appreciate the most about the Sociology degree at MSU is that it prepares you for any job where you have to connect with individuals that you lack similarities with.

My Advice: My first piece of advice is get involved as much as you can with other students in your major and with individuals who share similar aspirations. Second, try to complete internships and volunteer work in the field you want to transition into post graduate because for most entry-level jobs volunteer work and internships can count towards work experience. The last thing is don’t feel pressured to enter graduate studies directly after graduation if you do not feel ready. If you feel the need to take some time and feel your way around your career field before you commit do so, it was the best decision I made.

Drew Geer

BS Anthropology & Sociology

Associate Program Director
The Bridge Fund: New York City, NY

My Info: Thanks to Missouri State I got to take courses that gave me a framework apply to my job, but it gave me a context to see the world though that helps me understand the complex connections between homelessness policy. Most of all my Missouri State experiences imprinted on me a sense of community based learning and giving that keeps my focus and goals deeply rooted in a better future. My current position gives me the opportunity to see the direct results of my labor. I work hands on with people in eminent danger of being evicted from their homes and through my actions and efforts I am able to assist them in keep their housing and prevent another person from living on the streets of NYC.

My Advice: Don't be afraid to apply. Out of college it feels like you don't have any of the experience employers are looking for, but you'd be surprised just how much Missouri State prepares you, especially in ways you never expected. More specifically if you want want work in crisis services, case management, social service, etc. find ways in college to build a confidence in building relationship and effective communication.

Kara Venzian

BS in Anthropology

Former Peace Corps Volunteer

Current Graduate Student at the University of Notre Dame

My Info: During my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer I worked as a community youth empowerment volunteer on a remote island of Fiji, where there was no electricity or running water. My anthropology background greatly prepared me for this experience, as well as fueled my passion for discovery about the iTaukei people (indigenous Fijians). When I completed her Peace Corps stint, I applied for the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program. It provides financial assistance to returned volunteers who want to attend graduate school. I got a full ride to study global affairs with a concentration in sustainable development at the University of Notre Dame. I have found that my particular culturally sensitive and research-based view-points and set of skills have come in handy in classes, as well as in professional work with my program.

My Advice: Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Take classes that are interesting and explore different opportunities.

Matt Nowak

BS Anthropology
Certificate in Cultural Resource Management


My Info: After graduating from MSU in the spring of 2018, I applied to several private CRM firms in the southeastern US. I received an offer from SEARCH, who informed me the offer was extended due to my prior experience and well-written resume, both a result of skills obtained at MSU. Since being hired at SEARCH, I have received two major promotions, which were a direct result of his technical writing skills, good work ethic, and knowledge of field practices. This combination of knowledge, practice, and writing were obtained through my work in the Anthropology department and the CAR (Center for Archaeological Research). The instruction and assessment of professors within the department and professionals at the CAR were pivotal in shaping me into a well-rounded professional archaeologist.

My Advice: Take advantage of the opportunities for professional development that are provided through the department, CAR, and MSU. These opportunities are equally important as the time spent in the classroom.

Jessie Ferguson

BS Sociology

Client Experience Associate
Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute

My info: Getting a Bachelor's in Sociology and in Communication Studies from Missouri State University helped me understand that whether it's the people I'm working alongside or the people I'm serving, I am motivated to change, do better, and be the best version of myself that I can.

My advice: I believe true leadership takes courage, commitment, and compassion. It isn't easy...but it's worth it."

Felicia Baltzell

BA Anthropology

Adviser, Officer of Education Abroad
University of Alabama Birmingham

My Info: I am the Adviser for the Office of Education abroad. Before joining UAB, I worked in different capacities at Missouri State University such as teaching French as a per-course faculty member and serving students a a Global Ambassador in international education. I graduated from Missouri State University in 2017 with my B.A. in Anthropology and French, Minor in International Relations.

My Advice: If you have the means, study abroad!

Alissa Day

BS Sociology

FosterAdopt Connect
Resource Development Advocate

My info: The work I do now is due to the Sociology and Anthropology department faculty of MSU. The department faculty has a way of challenging you to get out in the community and to think outside the box. I am able to be an advocate for the families who are serving the children and to ensure the children are in the safest situation.

My advice: current Sociology students is to go to the faculty, use them as a resource, and ask questions. Also, do no be afraid of research and be willing to volunteer.

Katie Seale

BA Anthropology and History

Senior Archivist
State Historical Society of Missouri

My Info: My course work at MSU, especially my anthropology class, led me to the public history field. It was at MSU that I really started looking outside of my box and to look at new and different cultures, people, and places with an open and curious mindset. As an archivist I not only get to explore new facets of history in the materials that are donated to SHSMO, but I also get to explore and engage with people numerous research topics as I help them find resources.

My Advice: Be curious! If you do not understand something, ask questions, do the research, and find out the story behind things. Do not be afraid to try new things, experience new places, and meet new people.

DeVon A. Douglass, J.D.

BS Sociology

Community Engagement Director, City of Houston, Texas

My info: The education I received at Missouri State University in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology laid a strong foundation for my post-graduate education and my career. Sociology gave me a lens through which to view and solve problems...and the tools to approach reconciliation with my eyes open."

My advice: "When you see a deep need in a community and your talents can meet that need: go there. Help solve problems that no one has thought to solve before in the way you would solve them."

Kyle Rieman

BS Sociology

Office of the Governor and State of Missouri, Office of Administration
Executive Director for the Joint Committee on Legislative Research: Oversight Division

My info: Statistics and theory skills acquired at MSU were of the most benefit to me in my current position. My position requires research and analysis on large scale budget and policy programs.

My advice: "I recommend working toward something you enjoy. Try to take advantage of other opportunities outside of just classes and organizations that may provide some experience that is relevant to the goals you have."

Amanda Stadler

BA Sociology

Community Partnership of the Ozarks
Continuum of Care Coordinator

My info: Public Sociology has assisted me in many ways, from finding employment to making connections in my current job. The sociology courses that I took at MSU are what motivated me to get involved with the Springfield community.

My advice: Update your resume as you go- don't wait until you apply for a job. Be a volunteer, it lets you try something new without a huge commitment and also take the time to find out what makes you happy.

Lexi Amos

BS Anthropology

Ozarks-Springfield Regional Organizer
Jobs for Justice

My Info: As the Springfield-Ozarks Regional Organizer for Missouri Jobs with Justice (MOJWJ), I work to build powerful reciprocal relationships between organizations representing faith, labor, community, and student groups in the Ozarks and Missouri to fight for economic justice in our workplaces, in our community, and in our government. My experience at MSU doing ethnographic fieldwork, conducting structured and semi-structured interviews, and my labor internship is utilized every day. I am able to design, execute, and analyze an end of program analysis for MOJWJ because of my time studying applied anthropology at MSU.

My Advice: Work to see all the time and energy you are spending as a portfolio of skills that are desperately needed, because they are desperately needed, in any workplace. Before you decide what you are going yo do, work to decide who you want to be, and see if you can make that your career.

Jeremy Lockett

BS Anthropology

Police Officer
Springfield, Missouri

My Info: After 7 ½ years as a police officer, I have had the opportunity to see how important societal norms and values within the Ozarks affect different behaviors. From domestic disturbances to traffic violations, I have seen firsthand how one side of town can be compared to another side of town as being in a different country. Understanding how and why individuals live the way they do aids in resolving conflicts when dealing with a patriarchal / matriarchal household, language barriers, or different social / economic status. My studies in Cultural, Biological, and Linguistic Anthropology have provided me with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to join the workforce and succeed.

My Advice: Life is a marathon; a person will experience the mosaic of societies moral and ethic values as they meander through life. That same person may not recognize they have been exposed to an experience, that may have occurred with a simple conversation in a convenience store, until years later due to their own reservations or bias from their values.

Ann Maryniak

Ann Maryniak

BS Anthropology

Area Trainer
Amity: Okayama, Japan
My info: As a trainer, one of my primary responsibilities is helping to run programs for new teachers in Japan. I give presentations, counsel teachers, run workshops, and create new material for teachers throughout the country. I also provide guidance on life in Japan, and work with the other trainers to develop new curriculum for our company. Anthropology helped me to confront new situations with an open mindset, allowing me to successfully navigate cultural differences when I moved to Japan. I feel capable of greater flexibility because I’ve learned how to consider other cultural viewpoints.

My advice: As you look to your future try a little bit of everything. Take classes or go to events that sound interesting, even if they don't have an obvious bearing on your major.

Kristy Coffin

BS Sociology


My info: People should know that you can learn a lot from doing these programs and that you will get out of it what you put into it.

My advice: The experience you have depends so much on the program you chose to do, the team and leadership you get placed with, the school/grade level you are assigned... but I think it is still worth doing. No matter what career path you plan to follow in life, I think everyone can get something out of a service program like AmeriCorps or City Year.

Frank Burkybile

BS Anthropology

MA Public Health

President’s Malaria Initiative at USAID

My info: The skill sets and knowledge gained while pursuing a degree in anthropology, and the social sciences in general, have added real value to my ability as a professional. My background in social sciences helps me to understand the cultural, economic, and social context within which people live.

My advice: to actively seek out new experiences and ask great experiences. Find something that lights that fire in your belly and pursue it with passion.

Greg Lovely

BS in Sociology


Just Lovely Touch (Non-Profit)

My Info: My story is one of finding success in the business world through lots of hard work and a passion for athletics. My skills as a former professional athlete, work ethic, strong academic background, and most importantly my sociology degree from Missouri State University helped me to establish JUST LOVELY TRAINING.

My Advice: ...understand your strengths and weaknesses with precision, and learn time management skills in order to prioritize your academic success. Most importantly follow your passion.

Grace Gronniger

BS in Anthropology and MS in Applied Anthropology, both from MSU

Artifacts Lab Manager
Veterans Curation Program (VCP), US Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis, MO

My Info: The US Army Corps of Engineers created the Veterans Curation Program to process their at-risk archaeological collections. The program is managed by contractors and hires veterans as temporary technicians to process the collections. The veterans learn valuable workplace skills as well as assistance in resume building and job searches. As a manger, I get to not only do what I love, which is processing and curating archaeological collections, but also train others to process artifacts, write reports, and develop a basic understanding of what archaeology is and why it is important. At MSU, I studied anthropology with a focus on archaeology. This education not only prepared me for a career in my chosen field, but also helped me define who I am as a person. My experience in the MSU anthropology program, including the lab classes, field projects, internships, and other hands-on coursework, afforded me the opportunity to learn from a wide variety of people and helps me tremendously in my current position.

My Advice: If you are able, be open to job opportunities that take you to a new town or city. That new location may turn out to be the best place you’ve worked or to have the best people you’ve worked with.