Student Success Stories:
How does a person who was born in Springfield, Missouri, and grew up in Germany end up attending college at Missouri State University-West Plains? Through a series of providential events, says Nathan Yancy.
The son of a soldier in the United States Army and a German mother, Nathan spent 12-and-a-half years in Germany with his family, making friends and attending school on the Army's post near Kaiserslautern where his father was attached to the 21st Theater Sustainment Command. After graduating from the post high school in 2011, he stayed on for two years to work as an assistant coach with the school's football team.
In 2013, however, Nathan decided to return to the states to attend college at his father's alma mater, Missouri State University in Springfield, to study physical education or athletic training. Although he submitted his application, it was determined that he was one credit shy of the selective admission standards used at Missouri State. Instead, an admissions representative suggested he attend Missouri State-West Plains and transfer into the Springfield campus after completing the requirement.
Deciding it was his best option, Nathan applied and was admitted to Missouri State-West Plains for the 2013 fall semester. The first time he stepped foot on campus was when he attended the STudent Advising and Registration (STAR) Orientation program with his father that summer.
Although he had experienced many different cultures as the child of a military serviceman, Nathan admitted his first few months of "country living" in the Ozarks were a bit of a culture shock. "My first semester here, I was mainly in class or in my room," he said.
Eventually, he ventured out and got involved on campus, thanks in large part to the encouragement of Coordinator of Student Life and Development Rogers Taylor.
"Rogers has been like a third parent to me, not because of the fact I'm a resident assistant in the Grizzly House and work for him, but because of how he comes across to everyone who lives in the dorm. He's a parent figure, but he still treats everyone like adults and expects us to act like adults," Nathan explained.
"And, he used to be in the military, so he understood where I was coming from. That really helped more than anything," Nathan added.
With Rogers' urging, Nathan began working part time at the Student Recreation Center, joined the Tri Lambda student spirit organization and became its vice president, served as a group leader for Welcome Week activities at the beginning of the 2014 fall semester, and served as a member of the Student Government Association.
"I had originally planned to go here just a year then transfer to Springfield, but I had so many opportunities open up, I decided to stay here and get my associate's," he explained.
He accomplished that goal on May 16, 2015, when he received an Associate of Arts in General Studies, and he plans to transfer to Missouri State, where he will study physical education so he can become a coach.
Nathan admitted the thought of leaving Germany, at first, was not a pleasant one because he was leaving his family and the life he had known for so long behind. But his ability to acclimate to new surroundings, thanks in large part to the life he had led as a military child, and the support he received at Missouri State-West Plains made his first foray into the Ozarks a positive experience and one he does not regret.
"No matter what culture you're from, there's going to be someone at Missouri State-West Plains who is going to understand where you're coming from or will have had a similar experience, so don't think that you're alone," he said.