Five groups of Drury students were given $500 awards on April 30 as winners in the Drury/Community Foundation of the Ozarks Student Challenge. Those five teams were chosen out of 32 groups made up of more than 150 students that researched and proposed solutions to solve some of Springfield and Greene County’s community issues.
For the Drury/Community Foundation of the Ozarks Student Challenge, students from four of Drury’s Alpha classes and two Business Foundations classes selected a “red flag” issue affecting area citizens identified in the most recent Community Focus: A Report for Springfield and Greene County. After choosing a topic, teams researched the “red flag” by talking to organizations in the community who deal with that issue and then submitted a proposal for a project designed to address the problem. The five teams were given their awards prior to Jack Stack’s convocation speech at Clara Thompson Hall.
The winners were:
- Rock ‘em and Sock ‘em Mentorship Program. Program designed to curb substance abuse by focusing on middle school students. Team members: Molly Bly, Ashley Holst, Sarah Milholen, Eli Hokanson, Jackson Norris and Elizabeth Moriondio
- Drury Leadership/Pipkin and Central CSI (Coordinator of Site Intervention) Program. Aimed at reducing the dropout rate by working with Springfield Public School staff. Team members: Darbi Heinlein, Jay Borg
- Central High School Dropout Prevention Program. Focuses on career options as a way to discourage dropouts. Team members: Derek Jenkins, Bailey Greene, Bonnie Lyons, Kati Thompson and Sarah Verdone.
- Methamphetamine Homeowners Education Program. Informational pamphlet intended to educate homeowners on how to identify if their home may have been a meth lab. Team member: Christine Harkey
- Central High School Job Shadowing Program. Program that exposes ninth grade students to career opportunities in an effort to lower the dropout rate and create a more competent workforce. Team member: Brandon Talty
The prize money comes courtesy of a $2,000 gift from the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and a $500 gift from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. The proposals were judged by Drury faculty and staff members as well as CFO staff.
This project was created to show students how the liberal arts have real-life applications. Alpha Seminar, the main course targeted for this project, is ‘the gateway to the global perspectives program at Drury University.’ Among other things, this course teaches freshmen critical thinking skills and asks them to reflect on their roles as citizens. Business Foundations is an introduction to business course.
Students often participate in a research project at the end of the spring term; this project was designed as a culminating project that would connect the students’ newly learned critical thinking and research skills with real-world problem solving. The project also encouraged students to learn more about their community.