Zoë Jones was named the 2020 Missouri Western Student Employee of the Year and Student Employee of the Year for the State of Missouri. She served as editor-in-chief of the Griffon News student newspaper.

The National Student Employment Association, in conjunction with the Midwest Association of Student Employment Administrators, coordinates a National Student Employee of the year to recognize the outstanding achievements of students who work while attending college.


Four elementary education majors traveled to Interface A, the Missouri State Science, and Math Conference with Dr. Ollie Bogdon, assistant professor of education: Melissa Berger, Katherine Yeacker, Makayla Hedge, and Shelby Pettigrew. With Dr. Bogdon, they presented a three-hour workshop, The Story Behind 3 Dimensions and Phenomena Based Units.


Hannah Berry and Josiah Schmedding were nominated to represent Missouri Western at the 33rd annual Missouri Governor’s Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values held last spring in Jefferson City, Missouri.

The forum challenges students’ character development by encouraging them to reflect on their own decision-making skills, values, and belief systems. The forum’s guiding principle is teaching students to embrace altruism rather than egotism.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft welcomed students to the annual forum that was created by his father, former Missouri Governor and 79th U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. Students began the day having breakfast with Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson at the Missouri Governor’s Mansion.


Dr. Jordan Atkinson, assistant professor of communication, had an article published with his co-author, Dr. Nicholas Tatum (Abilene Christian University), in the Basic Communication Course Annual, “Best Practices for Recruiting Students from the Basic Course.” The Basic Communication Course Annual publishes the best scholarship available on topics related to the basic communication course and is distributed nationally to scholars and educators interested in the course.


Missouri Western’s student chapter of the Wildlife Society participated in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s statewide Share the Harvest Program, which provides healthy animal protein through venison donated by sport hunters each year. Students picked up loads of readied venison from the meat processors and delivered it to Second Harvest Community Food Bank. In 2019, The student chapter distributed 3,366 lbs. of venison, enabling the delivery of a record 26,928 meals to the needy in the St. Joseph and surrounding area.


Dr. Marianne Kunkel, assistant professor of English, was one of five poets invited by Kansas City’s Mid-Continent Public Library to write an original poem for National Poetry Month in April 2020. Her poem, “Wonder,” was posted on The Story Center’s Facebook page.


At a virtual ceremony in the spring, Student Affairs awarded its annual Student Organization Awards:

  • Outstanding Student Organization Member Award: 3rd – Caitlin Dillon, 2nd – Mackenzie O’Neill, 1st – Alyssa Bonnett
  • Outstanding Student Organization Advisor Award: Dr. Pam Clary, advisor for the Organization of Student Social Workers and Renewal, and Dr. James Carviou, advisor for the MWSU Chapter of Society for Collegiate Journalists
  • Dean Hoff Outstanding Achievement Award: Sophomore – Zoë Jones, Junior – Mackenzie O’Neill, Senior – Cecilia Tackett
  • Dr. Robert A Vartabedian President’s Outstanding Leader Award: Jocelyn Sands
  • New Program of the Year: Residential Life Northside RAs for “Escape Room”
  • Program of the Year: Geography Club
  • Community Service Program of the Year: Organization of Student Social Workers
  • Glenn Marion Community Service Award: Geography Club
  • The Spirit of the Griffon Award: Phi Delta Theta
  • Fraternity and Sorority of the Year: Fraternity – Alpha Sigma Phi, Sorority – Delta Sigma Theta
  • Outstanding Faith Based Organizations: Renewal
  • Best New Student Organization: American Institute of Graphic Artists
  • Student Organization of the Year: Student Athlete Advisory Committee


Although the Alpha Chi National Conference did not take place face-to-face in Albuquerque, New Mexico, students in Missouri Western’s Lambda Chapter, Breanna Hancock, Devin Mattoon, Rebecca Prest, Becca Smith-Grantham and Dr. Angela Haas, assistant professor of history, uploaded their collaborative research project, Culturally Transmitted: Controversies and Conspiracies Plaguing the Modern Vaccine, and won the grand prize of $5,000. The collaborative research projects include extensive investigation of a topic by a team of students from different majors, culminating in a paper and conference presentation. Smith-Grantham submitted the paper, The Reciprocity Equation: Engagement and Expectation in the Social Media Exchange, and won a $3,000 Benedict Fellowship to pursue graduate studies. The sponsor of Alpha Chi Lambda, Dr. Teddi Deka, professor of psychology, received the Distinguished Service Award for service to Region IV.


Griffon Media students received the following Collegiate Media Association awards for the fall 2019 semester:

Best TV Special Event Coverage – third place, Griffon Update

Best Newspaper Feature Page/Spread – second place, Griffon News

Best Yearbook Division Page/Spread – honorable mention, The Griffon Yearbook

Best Podcast – honorable mention, Griffon News Four-Year Yearbook Adviser of the Year – Dr. James Carviou


Griffon Media students received the following Missouri Collegiate Media Awards at a virtual ceremony in the spring of 2020:

Advisor of the Year – Dr. James Carviou 

Griffon News Awards

Journalist of the Year – Zoë Jones

In-Depth News Reporting – third place, Christian Sarna, “Who is the ‘campus cult?’”

Investigative Reporting – second place, Christian Sarna, “Who is the ‘campus cult?’”

Website – third place, Griffon News

Griffon Yearbook Awards

Overall Theme Development – first place, Griffon Yearbook staff

Feature Photography – first place, Wil Abeling

Feature Writing – first place, Christian Sarna

Student Life Design – first place, Bethany VonSeggern ’18

Feature Photography – second place, Alicia Otto ’20

Feature Writing – second place, Alicia Otto ’20

Personality Sketch – second place, Alicia Otto ’20

Student Life Design – second place, Alicia Otto ’20

Personality Sketch – honorable mention, Alicia Otto ’20

Student Life Design – honorable mention, Bethany VonSeggern ’18

Student Life Design – honorable mention, Bethany VonSeggern ’18

Personality Sketch – honorable mention, Bethany VonSeggern ’18

Sports Design – honorable mention, Bethany VonSeggern ’18


The 2019 Griffon Yearbook also received two awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association:

Gold Circle Award, second place, Table of Contents – Bethany VonSeggern ’18

Certificate of Merit, photography – Wil Abeling