Ursa Experience Leaders

Ursa Experience group leaders (we call them Ursa Majors) guide new students (called Ursa Minors) as they participate in fun, engaging activities designed to help them learn about Missouri State University's history, tradition, and public affairs mission. They also help Ursa Minors connect with each other and begin to identify as Missouri State Bears!

  • Victoria Rice

    Victoria Rice
    Assistant Director of Student Engagement - Programs

  • Max Wagner

    Max Wagner
    New Student & Family Programs Graduate Assistant

  • Randi Beldon

    Randi Beldon
    Hometown: Shelbina, MO
    Major: Public Relations

    The week before starting at Missouri State, I felt… Terrified. I seriously thought I wasn't going to be able to make any new friends. Within a week I had met some of my closest friends here at Missouri State.

  • Melanie Biggers

    Melanie Biggers
    Hometown: St. Charles, MO
    Major: Speech Language Pathology

    I’m proud to be a Bear because… Missouri State is a fairly large campus, but no matter where you are there's always a friendly smiling face around every corner. The people make it feel like a family.

  • Rachel Bohrer

    Rachel Bohrer
    Hometown: St. Charles, MO
    Major: Social Work

    My tweet to new students… FEAR NOT. You will find your home at MSU. We are all very welcoming and excited to have more Bears.

  • Tim Bries

    Tim Bries
    Hometown: St. Charles, MO
    Major: Human Resource Management

    I’m proud to be a Bear because… Our public affairs mission's three pillars of ethical leadership, cultural competence, and community engagement. I take pride in what I have accomplished in my community and improvements I have made on my leadership skills. This university has taught me to be more accepting of people's differences and a better person because of it.

  • Brendan Brothers

    Brendan Brothers
    Hometown: Barnhart, MO
    Major: Wildlife Biology

    My best advice for new students is… Don't seclude yourself. Talk to the people on your floor or in your class and see if they want to hang out at one of Missouri State's on-campus events, or study together. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to make a new friend here.

  • Sam Buchanan

    Sam Buchanan
    Hometown: Arnold, MO
    Major: Entertainment Management

    I’m proud to be a Bear because… I couldn't imagine spending college anywhere other than Missouri State. Our campus atmosphere is great to be a part of and the friends I've made here and organizations and groups I've become a part of are things I will remember and have forever.

  • Tricia Busch

    Tricia Busch
    Hometown: Ballwin, MO
    Major: Political Science

    My best advice to new students is… Use a planner. Write down every due date and exam date as soon as you get your syllabus, and take it with you because you never know when you'll need to schedule an appointment, meeting, etc. You'll stay so much more organized and on top of life!

  • Taylor Christopher

    Taylor Christopher
    Hometown: Bloomington, IL
    Major: Global Studies

    My best advice to new students is… Find what interests you and get involved in it! There are over 350 student organizations here, so you're bound to meet people who share your interests. The more you get involved, the more Missouri State will feel like home.

  • Josh Crotty

    Josh Crotty
    Hometown: St. Joseph, MO
    Major: Broadcast Journalism

    My most helpful campus resource is… The Counseling Center. It's important to be able to discuss any concerns or problems you may have with a trained professional. Every student can benefit from counseling and it's free to all students!

  • Zach Cull

    Zach Cull
    Hometown: Platte City, MO
    Major: Socio-Political Communication

    A fun fact about me is… I have a very cool voice and I can sound like an announcer. I've been told I have a face for radio.

  • Lindsey Dennis

    Lindsey Dennis
    Hometown: Odessa, MO
    Major: Psychology

    A fun fact about me is… I studied abroad in Gold Coast, Australia for a semester.

  • Monique Fahy

    Monique Fahy
    Hometown: New Madrid, MO
    Major: Elementary Education

    Before going through Ursa, participants should know… Be yourself, be willing to learn, and be interactive. To get the most of it, you have to fully immerse yourself in every activity we do. This experience will give you friendships, confidence, and the knowledge you need to be successful during your first year of college.

  • Emily Friedrichsmeyer

    Emily Friedrichsmeyer
    Hometown: St. Louis, MO
    Major: Education of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

    I’m proud to be a Bear because… Being a Missouri State Bear means so much more to me than being a student. Being a Missouri State Bear involves being fully involved and immersed in Missouri State's culture and engaging in the surrounding community.

  • Riley Greisemer

    Riley Greisemer
    Hometown: Springfield, MO
    Major: Elementary Education

    I’m excited to be an Ursa Major because… Ursa has a special place in my heart. It introduced me to MSU and I got to meet a lot of people of many different backgrounds and ages. It made me more willing to go to events around campus and talk to new people, which I wouldn't have previously done. I grew so much during my freshman and sophomore years because of my experience in Ursa, and I am so excited to see change in the incoming students.

  • Sarah Hallemeier

    Sarah Hallemeier
    Hometown: Buffalo, MO
    Major: Communication Studies

    The week before starting at Missouri State, I felt… Terrified. I transferred from a small school and knew there'd be a lot of people, but I didn't know how many until breaks between classes. It took a while to get used to, but now (a couple years later) I couldn't be any happier to see all of my fellow Bears every day.

  • Macy Hankel

    Macy Hankel
    Hometown: Rogersville, MO
    Major: Middle School Education – Language Arts & Social Sciences

    My best advice to new students is… Never let the fear of your high school shadow kept you from doing anything you want to do. You can reinvent yourself in college and become exactly who you want to be!

  • Will Heideman

    Will Heideman
    Hometown: St. Louis, MO
    Major: Speech & Language Pathology

    I’m excited to be an Ursa Major because… I want to give incoming students the same experience I had. The Ursa Experience really prepared me for college and showed me the value of getting involved. The Ursa Experience got me excited about the school and allowed me to meet great people that I still talk to.

  • Riley Hirshey

    Riley Hirshey
    Hometown: Carthage, MO
    Major: Wildlife Biology

    A fun fact about me is… I can play ukulele and was the checkers champion of my 2nd grade class!

  • Rebecca Hopper

    Rebecca Hopper
    Hometown: Columbia, MO
    Major: History

    My favorite MSU tradition is… Bear Wear Fridays because it shows MSU pride and makes me feel more connected!

  • Hannah Horgan

    Hannah Horgan
    Hometown: Nixa, MO
    Major: Biotechnology

    My best advice to new students is… Step out of your comfort zone! Missouri State has so much to offer socially, physically or academically. There are so many resources to help you meet your goals if you are willing to take advantage of them and do things you would not normally do.

  • Chelsea Jennings

    Chelsea Jennings
    Hometown: Columbia, IL
    Major: Exercise & Movement Science

    My best advice to new students is… Live in the moment and do what truly makes you happy. College has lots of spontaneous moments and opportunities that I would have never thought of doing. Give new things a try and take chances.

  • Kailey King

    Kailey King
    Hometown: Wentzville, MO
    Major: Biology

    A fun fact about me is… Animals are my passion and I want to work with exotics. I currently work with tigers and it's one of the coolest experiences ever.

  • Syd Kohm

    Syd Kohm
    Hometown: Desloge, MO
    Major: Marketing – Advertising & Promotion

    My best advice to new students is… Pick something you love and keep doing it. It's not about being overly involved, but it’s about finding something you enjoy enough on campus to keep you plugged in and destress you when school seems too much.

  • Kelsey Kraatz

    Kelsey Kraatz
    Hometown: Independence, MO
    Major: Mathematics – Statistics

    My best advice to new students is… Don't be afraid to step outside the box and join something new. As a mathematics major, I never would thought I would love being on a programming board, but without it, my Missouri State experience wouldn't be what it is today!

  • Maggie Markus

    Maggie Markus
    Hometown: Weldon Springs, MO
    Major: Cell & Molecular Biology

    My most helpful campus resource is… The Bear Claw. It has really helped me with some of my harder classes. I do not think I would have received the grades I have without it.

  • Lauren Murphy

    Lauren Murphy
    Hometown: St. Charles, MO
    Major: Speech Language Pathology

    Before going through Ursa, participants should know… It's a once in a lifetime experience where you'll meet 200+ new people before even starting school! You'll learn about why we love MSU so much, opportunities for you to get involved, make friends that will last beyond URSA (and maybe even college), and much more. It's such a new and fun experience that you won't want to miss.

  • Jas Newman

    Jas Newman
    Hometown: St. Louis, MO
    Major: Sociology

    I’m proud to be a Bear because… Missouri State has so many opportunities in whatever area you are studying in. There are a ton of clubs that you can be a part of as well, and they want everyone to find their place here.

  • Lauren Plumlee

    Lauren Plumlee
    Hometown: Clinton, MO
    Major: Organizational & Interpersonal Communication

    My best advice to new students is… Have a healthy balance between school work and a social life. Constantly doing homework isn't going to give you the most rewarding experience when you look back on your college career, but on the flip side, know that it's okay to not hang out with friends one night if you're stressing over a class or upcoming test.

  • Kennay Proctor

    Kennay Proctor
    Hometown: Springfield, MO
    Major: Speech & Language Pathology

    Before going through Ursa, participants should know… This experience is going to kick off your journey at Missouri State. This is a way to meet new friends, learn to love the University, as well as well as learn traditions.

  • Sarah Radecki

    Sarah Radecki
    Hometown: Wildwood, MO
    Major: Exercise & Movement Science

    My best advice to new students is… Get into a routine right away. In college, you get so much free time and don't have your parents constantly telling you your responsibilities. It’s good to figure out times to study and a place you feel feels the most comfortable to study in.

  • Amy Ramirez

    Amy Ramirez
    Hometown: Independence, MO
    Major: Socio-Political Communication

    My tweet to incoming students… Don't look back, you're not going that way.

  • Analise Reed

    Analise Reed
    Hometown: Springfield, MO
    Major: Health Communication

    I’m proud to be a Bear because… Most Missouri State students have one thing in common: WE LOVE OUR SCHOOL! Once a bear, always a bear. I love the campus environment. It is a truly uplifting and inspiring place to be. We bears look out for one another.

  • Husref Risvanovic

    Husref Rizvanovic
    Hometown: Kansas City, MO
    Major: Microbiology and Biotechnology

    A fun fact about me is… I have a twin brother and I learned English from Rosetta Stone!

  • Ana Rodas

    Ana Rodas
    Hometown: O’Fallon, MO
    Major: Dietetics

    The week before starting at Missouri State, I felt… Terrified, but also excited for a new, fresh start. I had fears that I wouldn't make any new friends and I would fail all of my classes. They were definitely unfounded, because once I started everything went smoothly and I loved being here!

  • Alexa Rogers

    Alexa Rogers
    Hometown: Cuba, MO
    Major: Psychology

    I’m proud to be a Bear because… I'm proud to be a Bear because I get to be a part of a community that becomes one big family who pushes you to be your best, supports those in need, and makes me feel right at home.

  • Kat Schroeder

    Kat Schroeder
    Hometown: Holden, MO
    Major: Public Relations

    My tweet to incoming students… Be your own bear.

  • Mackenzie Sherman

    Mackenzie Sherman
    Hometown: Eureka, MO
    Major: General Business

    My favorite MSU tradition is… I love Family Weekend. My family and I are very close so it was hard to be away from them so much.  However this tradition lets them come visit and see what our new home is like.

  • Samantha Siebert

    Sam Siebert
    Hometown: Fenton, MO
    Major: Media Production

    My most helpful campus resource is… I spend more time in and around the Office of Student Engagement than I do in my own apartment. The staff there has helped me and others get involved in student life on campus beyond the classroom, leading to lasting memories, knowledge, and relationships.

  • Drew Sigler

    Drew Sigler
    Hometown: St. Louis, MO
    Major: Modern & Classical Languages - Latin

    I’m excited to be an Ursa Major because… I want to meet new students and help them get off to a great start and help them find their place at MSU.

  • Lauren Silva

    Lauren Silva
    Hometown: Springfield, MO
    Major: Public Relations

    I’m excited to be an Ursa Major because… I can share my experience with incoming students and help them transition to college.

  • Sami Stadts

    Sami Stadts
    Hometown: O’Fallon, IL
    Major: Cell & Molecular Biology

    I’m proud to be a Bear because… It is something bigger than myself. I never saw myself going to a large school because I was never a people person, but the people in this community have opened me up to new ideas and have made me the person I have always wanted to be. I have never heard someone say they didn't like going to MSU. It makes me proud to go to a school that everyone loves and has pride for.

  • Ben Sullivan

    Ben Sullivan
    Hometown: Fenton, MO
    Major: Psychology

    Before going through Ursa, participants should know… They will learn about MSU and what it is like to be a Bear. It is a great way to come into college and immediately meet new friends.

  • Grace Walker

    Grace Walker
    Hometown: Ballwin, MO
    Major: Socio-Political Communication

    Before going through Ursa, participants should know… Ursa is something that will help students become engaged, informed and proud during their time at MSU. Students create a connection with the campus and with other students before school even starts, which is comforting and makes the experience of a first year all that more fun.

  • Kezia Wesley

    Kezia Wesley
    Hometown: Blue Springs, MO
    Major: Fashion Merchandising and Management

    The week before starting at Missouri State, I felt… Very excited! I was lucky enough to be a part of the first group of Ursa Minors and just a couple of hours into the program I felt at home. I instantly made friends and learned so much about Missouri State.

  • Jamie Westermeyer

    Jamie Westermeyer
    Hometown: Eureka, MO
    Major: Ceramics

    My tweet to incoming students… Always stay true to who you are. College is a time to try new things and join new clubs, to discover yourself!