Missouri State University - West Plains

Cindy J. Bridges, MBA

Cindy J. Bridges

Hometown: West Plains, MO

Currently Resides: West Plains, MO

Occupation: Academic advisor in the student advisement & academic support (SAAS) center at Missouri State University-West Plains and per-course instructor of business math.

Academic Degrees:

  • Associate of Arts in General Studies, Missouri State University-West Plains, 2000
  • Bachelor of Science in General Business, Missouri State University, 2002
  • Master of Business Administration, Missouri State University, 2005

Family Information:

I have one daughter, Emily, who graduated in May 2011 from West Plains High School and is attending Missouri State University-West Plains this fall!

Why did you choose to attend Missouri State-West Plains?

The West Plains campus of what was then Southwest Missouri State University provided me an opportunity I would not otherwise have had. Newly divorced and a single mother, I chose to attend this campus to stay close to my family support system. At the time, I was working part time in the academic support center (now SAAS) and my boss, Janice Johnson, was very influential in my decision to enroll in classes as I continued to work on campus. I knew education was the only real path to creating a better life for me and for my daughter.

How did the West Plains Campus help you accomplish your goals?

Again, the West Plains campus opened the door to higher education for me – an opportunity arose that I thought might not exist for me otherwise. The fantastic support I received from faculty, staff, my boss and co-workers, as well as my family, played such an important role in my accomplishments. After completing the Associate of Arts in General Studies degree, I continued my education through the Missouri State Outreach center. I was able to complete my Bachelor of Science in General Business as well as my master's degree in Business Administration thanks to the unique position Missouri State University-West Plains holds within the Missouri State University System.

Were you involved on campus during your time here?

At the time, Missouri State University-West Plains did not have nearly the variety of student organizations it does now. Also, as a working, single parent, I did not have an abundance of "free time." However, I was involved in many other aspects of the campus. In addition to the 20+ hours per week I worked as a math tutor in the support center and carrying a full course load, I spent my free time utilizing the campus resources, including the library, computer labs and Putnam Student Center. Basically, the campus was – and still is – my home away from home!

What are your fondest memories of your time at the West Plains Campus?

How do I choose? I have been storing them up since I began working for the University in 1995! As a student, some of my fondest memories are of the college algebra and trigonometry classes I took with Rita Fugate. She was always a ball of energy and enthusiasm and was a true inspiration to me. She made a great impact on me, not just as one of her students, but also in my roles as math tutor, then later as instructor and academic advisor.

How would you sum up your experience at Missouri State-West Plains?

Positive. Rewarding. The West Plains community and surrounding area is truly blessed to have this campus and the opportunities it provides. I know from my experience in working with students that many of them, like me, would not have the opportunity to pursue a higher education and build a better life without this campus.

Do you have any advice for potential students?

Own your education. No one can go to class for you, learn the information for you, or walk across that stage and graduate for you. Reach out when you need help – take advantage of the available support – whether through utilizing the free tutoring services or communicating regularly with your instructors and academic advisor, or, preferably, both!