We're excited to get to know you!

We believe in the mission of Stephens College, and we can’t wait to share with you why Stephens is the best place for you to pursue your education. Tell us more about you, and we’ll help you plan the perfect visit, navigate programs and majors, connect with faculty and understand your financial aid options.


Dr. Steve Pankey

Vice President for Enrollment Management

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Steve Pankey has had the pleasure to serve the higher education community in various capacities over the last 15 years. He has served in numerous roles that have spanned from two- and four-year institutions as well as public and private organizations. During that time, Dr. Pankey has led numerous recruitment and retention initiatives, including leading the departments of admissions, academic advising, counseling, the Registrar's Office, and financial aid. Prior to the Vice President of Enrollment Management role at Stephens College, Dr. Pankey oversaw the Enrollment Services and Registrar's Office for Des Moines Area Community College, which included Recruitment, Admissions, International Student Services, Academic Records, Scheduling, Transcripts, Credentials, and Registration. Dr. Pankey graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia with his bachelor's and Avila University with his master's in counseling psychology, and completed his doctor of education degree in higher education administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. After working in mental health for several years, Dr. Pankey discovered his passion for student development and enrollment management, and has been dedicated to supporting student access, success, and persistence. He is an avid fan of any sport, a musician, and general music enthusiast. Steve, his wife, 9-year-old daughter Blake, and 7-year-old son Beckett transitioned to Columbia from Ankeny, IA.


Dr. Taylor Kinde

Director of Admissions

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Taylor KindeTaylor Kinde has had a passion for higher eduction for more than a decade. She has served at both private and public institutions. Taylor was born and raised in Iowa. She has studied and lived in Italy, Sweden, Costa Rica and Ecuador. She completed her dissertation data collection in Sweden, titled, "Higher Education Student Services: A Qualitative Study of Two Mid-Size Universities' Direct Exchange Services."

Taylor completed her bachelors degree in International Studies and Social Work from the University of Central Missouri. She received a masters degree in Educational Administration, Student Affairs from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition, she completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Outside of the office, Taylor enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, thrifting, baking and running outdoors.


Dr. Trish Parsons

Director of Student Retention and Success

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Dr. Trish Parsons has served as the associate vice president for academic affairs since April 2019. She has been an educator at Stephens College since August 2015, first as a coordinating tutor with the Margaret Campbell Student Success Center, and later becoming the assistant director of the center. She has also taught as an adjunct instructor in the School of Health Sciences.

Before following her passion to work with students, Dr. Parsons was a research scientist. She directed research studies in pathobiology at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine before coming to Stephens. Prior to moving to Missouri, Dr. Parsons held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics at the School of Dental Medicine at University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Parsons earned her Ph.D. in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Her research focused on the evolutionary development of the mammalian skull. She earned a B.S. in Biological Anthropology from Penn State.


Keri Gilbert

Director of Financial Aid

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Keri Gilbert headshotKeri started her career in financial aid at the University of Missouri-Columbia and rapidly discovered her passion for helping students navigate the complex world of paying for college. She has a deep love for advocacy and has visited with legislators in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C. to fight for program funding and initiatives to simplify the financial aid process. Keri’s passion and dedication to students and their success is infectious, and she has been recognized at both the state and regional level for her work. She has received numerous awards for her committee efforts, and is a recipient of both the MASFAP Bob Berger Newcomer Award and MASFAA Outstanding New Professional Award. Keri is also one of only 65 individuals from across the nation to have earned all 17 NASFAA credentials, and has been certified as an NCAN Access Advisor. In addition to her work with Stephens, Keri serves on the Executive Board of the Midwest Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators as well as the City of Columbia New Century Fund, Inc. Board. Keri received her Master of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri-Columbia. When she isn’t dreaming up ways to simplify the FAFSA, you will find Keri spending time with her friends and family, traveling, and snuggling up with a good book.


Jason Enright

Assistant Director of Financial Aid

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Born and raised in Missouri, Jason spent time at several different institutions of higher education as an athlete before ultimately graduating from Columbia College with a Bachelor of Arts in General Studies. He almost immediately took the opportunity to enter higher education as a profession with Columbia College as a financial aid specialist, working five and a half years in various roles with his alma mater. Jason brings a passion for higher education and the role it can play in shaping students personal and professional life as they transition in the years beyond high school. In his spare time, Jason enjoys attending local sporting events; spending time with his wife and son; and assisting his wife, who is an equine veterinarian, on farm calls.


Lynda Bjorklun

Financial Aid Counselor

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When Lynda began working in financial aid in 1994, she never considered that it would become more than just a job. Communicating her knowledge of federal financial aid to students and then seeing their "aha" moment, when they understand and have a better idea of what to do next, is always a moment of great satisfaction.

Working at Stephens is a kind of homecoming. One of her daughters graduated from Stephens College and Lynda came to know Stephens through the eyes of a mother of a college student. She is so glad to be a Financial Aid Counselor at Stephens, and share the knowledge and help that was once shared with her and her daughter!

In her non-working hours, she loves to travel, spend time with family, watch sports of all kinds, go to operas and symphonies, read and listen to music.


Melissa Lewis ’16

Admissions Counselor

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Melissa is a proud Columbia, MO, native and Stephens College alumna. Since receiving her BFA in Digital Filmmaking in 2016, she has worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri and Stephens College, served as a commercial video producer/editor for the Midwest region, and co-founded Columbia’s newest community media center, Vidwest Studios. Melissa is excited to share with prospective students the unique life and culture that Stephens College and Columbia, MO, have to offer. In her free time, you’ll find Melissa hiking at Rockbridge State Park, collaborating on local video projects, and attending downtown concerts and performances.



Leonard A. King, Jr.

Admissions Counselor

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Leonard KingLeonard was born and raised in Selma, Alabama. He holds a BA in Business Administration and minors in Religion & Philosophy from Graceland University. He was a four-year varsity letterman for Graceland University's football team. Leonard served as a campus pastor and football team captain for three and a half years. Following his undergraduate degree, he worked for Graceland University as an undergraduate recruiter for seven months prior to joining Stephens College. Leonard believes in the benefits of small colleges and wants to allow others to know and take part in that. He will soon pursue a master's degree in Divinity. 


Bailey McDonald

Admissions Counselor

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Bailey McDonaldBailey grew up in San Diego, California and earned Bachelor Degrees in Political Science and Anthropology from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. She was the president of the Lehigh University Debate Society. Bailey moved to Columbia to further her education at the University of Missouri. She has a passion for working in higher education and assisting students in their college journey at Stephens. In her free time, she enjoys baking and gardening.



Madison Green ’21

Admissions Counselor

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Madison GreenMadison is from St. Louis and is a Stephens College alumna. Since receiving her BFA in Fashion Communication and minor in Women Studies in 2021, she has taken on her first full-time position post-graduation as an Admissions Counselor for Stephens College. Madison works part-time as social media director for a local counseling center and manages and runs her own fashion and lifestyle photography business known as Madison Jewel Photography. In her free time, you’ll find Madison at the gym, doing yoga at local parks, grabbing dinner at the sushi restaurants downtown, painting, or reading a book! 



Sean Curd

Graduate/Online Admissions Counselor

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Sean CurdSean was born in Murray, Kentucky, but grew up right here in Columbia. He holds a BA in Literature from Murray State University and an MA in Literature from the University of Missouri-St. Louis where he taught for two years. Following graduate school, he worked in the restaurant industry where he learned how to make a killer Daiquiri. Sean transitioned back into higher education at Stephens College to be part of an exciting institution that empowers women from diverse backgrounds and helps them chase down their dreams. In his free-time, Sean loves to explore the American West with his talented and lovely partner, play Mario Kart with his two daughters, or enjoy a glass of mezcal on his back porch.


Marlena Thompson ’18

Engagement Office Coordinator

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Born and raised in Columbia, Missouri, Marlena received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Communication from Stephens College in 2018. During her time at Stephens, Marlena held several leadership positions on campus, including resident director of Wood Hall, Class of 2018 president, and membership chair of Mortar Board. Marlena is excited to be able to share her Stephens experience with students while encouraging and supporting them to create their own.



Contact Us

Admissions + Aid

Lela Raney Wood Hall 222
(573) 876-7207 (573) 876-7237 [email protected] 1200 E. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65215 Meet the Team

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