Missouri State-West Plains Student Success Story
New Beginnings … Endless Possibilities
On Dec. 13, Kristi Ary reported for work for the last time in the student life and development office at Missouri State University-West Plains. For the past two-and-a-half years, the 2010 Mountain Grove High School graduate, who completed her Associate of Arts in General Studies and Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy degrees last month, has worked in some capacity in the department, supplementing her A+ Plus Program funds and veteran's benefits with money earned as a part-time student worker for the University. She is one of many students on campus who help keep offices and departments running smoothly and efficiently while taking classes.
"My husband, Tony, had Rogers Taylor (student life and development coordinator) as a teacher, and I happened to be in Putnam Student Center with him one day, and Rogers asked me if I wanted a job, and it went from there," Kristi said of her employment.
Kristi was hired in July 2011 as a receptionist for the newly opened Student Recreation Center, working 20 hours a week at minimum wage. Her duties included scheduling events for the center, developing a calendar of events, checking equipment in and out, cleaning equipment after it had been used, setting up the volleyball net, – "basically anything that needed to be done," she said. "I decided to take the job because it worked well with my school hours," she explained. "Rogers worked really well with me to work around my clinicals schedule."
A year later, Rogers asked Kristi to work in the student life and development office in Putnam, answering phones, taking messages, filing papers and updating websites. She also continued to develop the calendar of events for the Student Recreation Center.
"The job was very rewarding," Kristi said. "I was able to interact and work with a lot of different students. It allowed me to meet people I probably wouldn't have met otherwise. It also made me a lot more organized. It helped me to learn to make quick decisions and work through problems. It made me realize just how much time is – or isn't – in a day." There were other benefits, as well. "This job allowed me to live here, pay all my bills and not have to drive back and forth to Mountain Grove every day," Kristi said.
Although busy with classwork and her job duties, Kristi still found time for a variety of other activities on campus. She served as vice president of the Student Government Association during the 2012-13 academic year, was a member of the Welcome Week Steering Committee and the Grizzly Cheer Team, serving as captain one year, and participated in the Future Alumni Organization and Tri Lambda student spirit club activities.
"I was still able to go to a lot of the events on campus and be involved on campus while being a student worker," she said. "Actually, the job made me more involved on campus and helped me with time management, forcing me to get my homework done."
Rogers said Kristi was an invaluable member of his department. "She was an outstanding student worker. She always completed her tasks, required little or no supervision, and helped ensure the office and department operated efficiently," he said. "Student life would not function well without student workers. They are vital to the operation of the campus. They have a viewpoint that other students can relate to, and they have a vested interest in the campus because they take classes and work on campus."
This month, Kristi began working in the respiratory therapy department at Cox Hospital in Springfield, and she believes the skills she learned as a student employee will help her in her new job. "If you have a chance to work on campus, do it," she said. "It will pay off in the long run."