Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College


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Students spend MLK Day giving back

Stephens students today made and delivered fleece blankets to Boone Hospital, spent time at area nursing homes and assisted at the Rainbow House as part of the College's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

In the morning, students gathered in the Student Union to create the colorful blankets. About 35 students then met in the afternoon to walk over to the hospital and deliver the blankets, which were then distributed among patients.

A different group of students spent the morning at the Rainbow House, which provides support and housing for children. Some assisted with creating marketing materials for Child Abuse Awareness Month in April, while others sorted donations in the pantry.

Two other groups spent the afternoon with residents at the Bluffs Nursing Home and Bluff Creek Terrace Assisted Living.

While helping out, students expressed interest in working with the groups again in the future, said Ada Gallup, interim director of the Leadership and Programming office.

"It's the perfect marriage of our talent and uniqueness going out and impacting the community for the greater good," she said. "Connecting students with leaders in the community and letting them give back through service is invaluable. They're seeing the importance of giving back and how important it is to be invested in your community."


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Poets of Infinity promotes justice through words

Poets of Infinity, a slam poetry club formed at Stephens this past fall, will perform poetry promoting social justice during Diversity Week events, including at tonight's Celebration of Leadership in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. in Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall.
The group, which has 14 members, aims to shine a light on issues through the power of spoken word, said Gabriel Cole, the club’s president.
“Our ultimate goal is to express ourselves through words,” she said. “We believe that doing so can make an impact. Our group is called infinity because words live forever. … When people hear our poetry, we want them to feel our words. Even if they aren’t always able to instantly connect with what we are saying, we still want them to feel them and understand them. We are aware that our poetry is very impactful and that’s what we aim to do—impact people.”
Member Tiana Williams agreed, citing Maya Angelou’s famous quote that people will forget what you did but not how you made them feel.
“Even if people don’t remember a single word of my piece, if I made an emotional connection with them, they will remember that feeling,” she said. “I truly believe that poetry is unifying. It humanizes and connects us by revealing our struggles because despite all differences, we bond through our struggles.”
Williams said she knows she can’t tell people how they should feel but “I can tell the story I’ve been given to tell and allow each their own reaction and interpretation. But I do want people to reflect on the bigger picture. I want people to allow themselves to feel whatever emotions rise to the surface.”
Cole has been writing since she was young and wanted a community in which to share her poetry. Knowing Stephens has many talented writers on campus, she created the group to give everyone opportunities to share their works. Poets of Infinity meets weekly and hosts two public poetry slams each semester.
Williams said the group wants to “spark some flames to create change.”

“Since I started performing last year, I have realized the poetry is unifying and ground breaking,” she said. “Poetry is the only platform I have to advocate for issues that need to be addressed, and I do my best to spread awareness and encourage not only listeners but encourage myself to contribute what I can to the cause. I often have to remind myself that this is more than me, more than me standing and saying words with fiery passion and receiving accolades. This is about sparking fires within people to contribute to the explosion or revolution. I feel obligated to deliver the ‘wake up-call.’”

Watch the Poets of Infinity on "On It! With Stephens Life" here
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Competitive dance team kicks off season

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
LIBERTY, Mo. – The Stephens College competitive dance team kicked off the 2014-15 competition season this past weekend at the William Jewell College Dance Challenge in Liberty, Mo. Several high schools from the region participated as well as the Starlets.
William Jewell was originally set to compete with the Starlets in the College Mix division; however, the Cardinal dance team did not have the minimum number of student-athletes to compete and dropped out at the last minute. The Starlets' performance continued as an exhibition.
Judged with the official National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) scoring rubric, the Starlets averaged a score of 80.75 out of 120 with the highest total being a 94.
Participating for the Starlets were Destiney Lockhart, Natalya McDaniel, Ta’Shayla Montgomery, Bernadette Murray, Beck Saunders and Victoria Vitale.
The Stephens squad scored well in the areas of hip-hop technique, execution and staging transitions, while receiving rave reviews for its energy in the opening, timing and synchronization and clean turns.

Next up for the Starlets is the Lindenwood University–Belleville In-Season Competition on Friday, Jan. 23. It starts at 7 p.m.
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Stephens to celebrate Diversity Week

Stephens College is celebrating diversity next week with panel discussions, service projects, activities and a campus-wide celebration.

Stephens will, as in the past, remain open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to allow for a focus on programming. Students who would normally be in class on Monday are required to attend at least one of the service events or the evening celebration in honor of Dr. King. The Celebration of Leadership in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall and will be a special evening of performances celebrating individual uniqueness.

As social events play out across the country, the Stephens community will spend Diversity Week—and weeks following—talking about differences, similarities and how people can empathize with those unlike themselves.
“So much is happening at this time in history,” said Ada Gallup, interim director of Leadership, Programming and Diversity. “Everything is coming to a head. People are tired of being marginalized by society. They’re saying, ‘I do matter. I do have a voice. I am important.’ The ground is fertile for these conversations and social changes.”
The time for change is “right in our face,” said Brianna Jackson, president of the Student Government Association.
Today's juniors and seniors were on campus during the last presidential election, and the campus was “booming with conversation,” she said. Since then, though, political dialogues have quieted.
“It's been silent,” she said. “People keep their thoughts to themselves or their friends. The media—whether that be traditional or social—has stirred up a lot of feelings and made people feel a certain type of way. Students are finally ready to open back up and start participating in a change.
“That's what Stephens needs. We as Stephens College and past Stephens Women have been trailblazers, initiators, defenders of human rights, of social advancement, of women since we began. This new generation is finally stepping into what it means to be a Stephens Woman. They are aware, they are ready, they are hungry.”
Emily Cross, president of The Human Experience, agreed.

“This country is at a pivotal moment for civil rights and social consciousness on a wide range of intersecting issues, including race, sexuality and mental health,” she said. “Stephens students have been hungry for a chance to be heard, and Diversity Week gives us the perfect opportunity to tell our stories. I hope everyone finds a chance to tell their story and to listen to others this week, but above all, I hope everyone has one moment where they realize they aren’t alone.”
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Stephens alumna creates dresses for 'Selma'

Those watching the movie “Selma” this month might pay particularly close attention to some of the dresses on the big screen.
Many were constructed by Zina Wilson Arthur, a Stephens alumna who graduated with a fashion degree in 1978. Specifically, she made the turquoise dress Oprah Winfrey is wearing during the scene in which she recreates Annie Lee Cooper’s struggle with officers; a burgundy dress Winfrey wears during a voting scene; and a green print dress Carmen Ejogo wears while portraying Coretta Scott King in a courthouse scene. She also made all but one of the stunt garments—which are prominent in an “aftermath” scene, she said.
The film credits list Arthur as a “cutter,” which is technically a patternmaker in the film industry, she said. She got the job on the referral of a friend.
“I was familiar with ‘Selma,’ so that was important to me,” she said. “And then I heard Ruth Carter was the designer. I’d hope to someday meet her—so when I found out she was the designer, I was thrilled.”

This was Arthur’s first feature film, although she has done work for television and theatre. The difference, she said, is having to keep in mind just how large the garments will appear.
“Every angle counts,” she said. “Everything is blown up, so you’re evaluating everything you see.”
Arthur did not take a costume design course while at Stephens—she was afraid to, she admitted.
“I was scared of it because I’d heard it is so fast-paced,” she said. “Speed is not my gift, and going into film and TV is a lot of ‘hurry up.’ I had to face my fear and go ahead and do something that’s not my strength.”
Arthur came to Stephens with a knack for sewing. During college, she said, she honed her patternmaking skills, as well.
“One of the very good things about Stephens was that it was so hands-on so quickly,” she said.
Arthur has enjoyed a longtime career as a designer, tailor and patternmaker. She hopes more film work is in her future, as well—even though she admits it’s changed how she watches movies.

“I had to see it for a second time,” she said. “The first time, I found myself evaluating the costumes so much.”
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Longtime professor packs up colorful office

Dr-Michael_BowlingDr. Michael Bowling, standing amidst boxed-up books and nearly empty cabinets, points to a pro-feminism bumper sticker pinned to a bulletin board.

“Do you want it?” he asks, then happily takes it down following an enthusiastic “yes.”

Book by book, artifact by artifact, one bumper sticker at a time, Bowling is divvying up nearly four decades worth of stuff as he prepares to vacate his office in the Pillsbury Science Center.

He retired in 2012 but has been a regular fixture on campus while slowly moving out of his longtime office—trying to find proper departments and offices to pass along the historical books, documents and other materials in his possession.

Since joining the mathematics department in 1978, Bowling has made quite a mark at Stephens. He served in numerous faculty and administrative positions; on committees—he was the first man elected to the Women’s Studies Advisory Board; and has received many honors, including the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1996. A popular adviser among students, today the College gives out the annual Dr. Michael Bowling Distinguished Advising Award in his honor.

Last month, as Bowling was cleaning out the final drawers and sifting through the last of the documents, he lamented the fact that some of his more unusual recognition will likely be painted over: the colorful walls and ceiling tiles in his office.

It all started in the fall of 1999 when facility crews painted the science hallway. Someone asked him what he thought of the fresh paint job. It’s nice, he remembers saying, but still “dull, institutional beige.”

Two days later, one of the concrete walls in his office had been painted purple.

And the seniors in his class that year got in on the joke. Before leaving Stephens, they snuck into his office and filled in the lines between the purple concrete blocks with a bright green paint—adding a green block on the opposite wall complete with their signatures and class year. Future classes followed suit, adding their own colored blocks and signature touches. The Class of 2001 added orange flowers to the purple-and-green wall. Next came pink stems—and a pink-themed adjoining wall courtesy of the 2002 graduates. Those graduating in 2005 got really clever and painted the ceiling tile blue. Later, classes added decorative touches to the interior windows.

Bowling had the colorful walls photographed before leaving, knowing that whoever occupies the office after him will, no doubt, want a new paint job.

He’s not too sentimental about moving on, though. Bowling and his wife, Markita Price (who taught at Stephens from 1979 to 2000), have been enjoying their time off. They’ve recently traveled to Wales, Prague, Scotland, Ireland, Greece and Vienna, and are looking forward to future travels abroad. They also spend a lot of time in Oregon where they visit family, including two grandchildren.

“We’re enjoying retirement,” he said. “Although I don’t plan on being completely absent from campus as I have a few treasured ex-colleagues to visit from time to time.”

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Fashion professor to live blog, tweet Golden Globes

Who will rock the Red Carpet at the Golden Globes this weekend? More importantly, who will be a fashion fail?
Lisa Lenoir, assistant professor of fashion communication, will judge the good, the bad and the, ahem, not so attractive at this weekend’s award show for the Chicago Sun-Times.
She will be blogging for the newspaper’s website at and will be live tweeting the action from her personal Twitter account @lisalenoir. Follow along using the hashtag #GoldenGlobes.
Lenoir worked as a fashion reporter and editor, as well as travel and society editor, at the Chicago paper before joining the world of academia. At Stephens, she teaches fashion communications and has represented the College twice at LIM College’s annual Fashion: Now & Then Conference in New York City.
Lenoir got a practice round in live tweeting an awards show this week as she critiqued the celebrities attending the People’s Choice Awards. Viola Davis, Robert Downey Jr. and Amy Adams all got a fashion thumbs up (although Adams could have used a simpler necklace, Lenoir opined).
But she’s no stranger to the Red Carpet scene. During her days at the Sun-Times, Lenoir was part of a team that covered all of the awards shows, from the MTV Music Video Awards to the Oscars.

“This brings back a lot of memories but within a new digital age,” she said. “In the early days, we’d watch the pre-shows with Joan Rivers and do a story on the best and worst (for a print edition). The issue with that is if something happened later in the show or someone had a costume change later and my deadline had already passed. It will be interesting to see how my former critique system works in this new era.”
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Sanders named Mid-Missouri's Counselor Advocate of the Year

Dr. Gina Sanders, director of the M.Ed. in Counseling program at Stephens, has been named Counselor Advocate of the Year by the Mid-Missouri School Counselor Association.

She was honored at an appreciation luncheon last month and now is among 12 regional recipients to be considered for the state award.

The team of counseling faculty members at Stephens nominated Sanders, praising her for her tireless advocacy of the program.

“Under her leadership, our school counseling program at Stephens has flourished significantly,” Ann Landes, Carolyn Roof and Bragg Stanley wrote in the nomination letter.

Students also praise Sanders for her encouragement and accessibility.

“Dr. Sanders is a caring, thoughtful lady,” said Courtney Blankenship Perry, an M.Ed. in Counseling student. “She has gone above and beyond to make each student’s learning experience organized and worthwhile. ... Her overall nurturing, yet driven, personality made coming to class each evening enjoyable.”

Sanders said she is honored to be nominated, but said she feels as though she’s just doing her job.

“As the director of the M.Ed. in Counseling program, I feel it is my responsibility to understand the complexities and intricacies of each educational track we offer,” she said. “Therefore, I have put much time and effort into learning about school counseling and the Missouri Comprehensive Guidance Program so I can best support our school counseling students and instructors.”

She praised the faculty, saying Landes, Roof and Stanley “are a joy to work with—it’s hard not to get excited about school counseling when I’m around them. Their enthusiasm for teaching and sharing the world of school counseling is infectious, and I am honored to have them as colleagues and as part of the Stephens team.”

She said she also appreciates the support given by Leslie Willey, dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Sean Livengood-Clouse, DESE certification officer.


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Trebek foundation supports lectureship for M.F.A. program

A popular game show host and his wife are funding a lecture position for Stephens College’s new Master of Fine Arts in TV and Screenwriting.
The Alex and Jean Trebek Family Foundation is supporting what will become a guest lectureship in screenwriting: the Guest Lectureship in the Psychology of Character.
Trebek, longtime host of Jeopardy!, and his family are personal friends of Program Director Ken LaZebnik, a Columbia native who is a screenwriter in L.A. The families’ children attended school together.
“We became friends with Alex and Jean over the years,” LaZebnik said. “Jean is the sweetest person in the world. I just wrote a letter to her, knowing they have a family foundation and knowing of her interest in psychology.”
LaZebnik solicited support for a position that would focus on the psychology of film and television characters, and “they made a quick decision to give us the support.”
The M.F.A. program is currently enrolling students for August 2015. It’s a low-residency program that will give students the opportunity to spend 10 days each semester taking classes at the Jim Henson Studios in L.A. The rest of the semester will be spent working online with professional mentors.

The gift marks the first foundation support for the program, which has also garnered support from women writers, including Winnie Holzman, best known for creating the ABC series My So Called Life, and Linda Woolverton, who wrote the 2014 hit Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie.
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Stephens celebrated new programs, historic gift, national honors in 2014

This year, Stephens College welcomed new leaders, launched a new brand and celebrated a historic gift.

The College began 2014 with a string of awards and recognition. Moki Blanding, who graduated earlier this month, earned a regional ADDY Award; the Master in Strategic Leadership was named second best leadership degree in the country by a consumer advocacy group; and Harbinger won Outstanding Literary Arts Journal for the fourth time in five years.

In February, Stephens welcomed TRYPS to the family, announcing that the 15-year-old Theatre Reaching Young People and Schools would relocate to campus and become part of the School of Performing Arts.

That same month, Stephens announced that an anonymous donor had given the College a $15 million unrestricted gift—the largest in school history. President Dianne Lynch at the time vowed to use the funding strategically to make Stephens even better.

The College this year saw a boost in national rankings. Stephens jumped to No. 23 Best Regional College in the Midwest on U.S. News and World Report’s list, up seven spots from 2013. And Stephens remained in The Princeton Review’s Best 378 Colleges guide, which named the theatre program the 12th best in the country.

In April, the College’s brand got a makeover with bright new colors and messages reflecting the attitude of Stephens Women. A new Stars logo for the College’s eight athletic programs was revealed in the fall.

Stephens launched several new degrees this year, including B.F.A. degrees in musical theatre and vocal arts. An M.F.A. in TV and Screenwriting will give Stephens a presence in L.A., where students will spend 10 days each semester working in the Jim Henson Studios. And a Physician Assistant program will begin in 2016.

Dean Gail Humphries Mardirosian joined the School of Performing Arts this year, as well as several faculty members, athletic coaches and academic support leaders.

Specific programs had a memorable year, as well. The School of Fashion and Design took another step closer to becoming an official member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The Equestrian Center welcomed two mules into the program for the first time. The film program saw two of its students—Meredith Jacob and Madeline Carl—travel to 50 states in 50 days for a feature-length documentary. And Creative Ink, the student marketing firm in the School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication, worked with Columbia Transit to design a new logo for city buses.

Stephens ended the year by awarding one 14-year-old girl a full scholarship if she meets the College’s admissions standards when she graduates. Dominique Victor, who lives in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn, was profiled on the “Today” show. An alumna, Paula Goldenberg, brought her to Lynch’s attention, and the College presented the scholarship on a follow-up episode of the morning news program.
Lynch expects upcoming years at the College to be just as significant. “The next several years are going to be exciting,” she said earlier this year. “We have an amazing network of generous and involved alumnae. We also have so many community members who support Stephens. That’s the incredible thing about this place—whether you’re coming to campus for a film or play, visiting our stables, sending your children to our children’s school—you’re part of our family. You’re going to see amazing things coming from the Stephens campus.”
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Stephens awards full scholarship on ‘Today’ show

More than 2.5 million of America’s children will be homeless this Christmas – a number equivalent to the population of Chicago.

Given the health, safety, security and emotional challenges they face every day, few of those children will finish high school, much less go on to earn a college degree.
But Dominique – a 14-year-old eighth-grader living with her mother in a New York City homeless shelter – is determined to beat those odds. 
And she won’t have to do it alone.
Thanks to the “Today” show’sWillie Geist and the generosity of Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., Dominique is going to receive the opportunity, support and financial aid she needs to become a college grad.
Geist met the eighth-grader during a “Today” show segment on homelessness, during which she spoke eloquently about her aspirations to attend college. He reached out to a New York marketing firm to see if employees there could help identify corporate and educational sponsors to support the shelter; one staff member, Paula Goldenberg, is a 2014 graduate of Stephens, and she decided that her alma mater was the ideal environment for a student of Dominique’s background, academic strengths and life challenges.
Stephens President Dianne Lynch agreed. 
“For 180 years, it’s been Stephens’ mission to provide the kinds of opportunities to women that truly transform their lives,” she said. “As a women’s college, we offer our students a unique level of attention and support; we know them, we understand their particular needs and challenges, and we are here to assist them every step of the way.”
Dr. Leslie Willey, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stephens, was present Thursday morning when the “Today” show revealed improvements to the shelter and a variety of other surprises for the children who live there. Stephens’ offer of a scholarship for Dominique was among those surprises.
“We know you have hopes and dreams, and we want to help you with that,” Willey said on the show. “We know you’re going to be a great Stephens Woman.”
Like every student, Dominique will need to meet the college’s admission standards, a goal she is determined to achieve. Once she has been accepted, Stephens will provide her a full four-year scholarship, including room and board. But because the college understands that Dominique may not have the resources she needs to make the transition to college, Stephens also has committed to providing support for her travel from New York to Columbia for summer and holiday breaks; the amenities – from a computer and a television, to a mini-fridge and cozy bedding  – that are standard equipment in the college’s dormitories; and the academic and social support to ensure her success.
“The White House just held a summit for higher education leaders to talk about how to improve college success among minority and first-generation students,” Lynch said. “We believe you do that by sticking your institutional neck out and saying yes whenever and however an opportunity to help presents itself – and that’s what we’re doing here.”
It’s a partnership and an investment, not a gift, Lynch said. “We provide the opportunity, and the students provide the commitment, resiliency, ambition and intellect. Together, we transform their lives.”
That transformation will begin this summer, when Stephens invites Dominique to campus to participate in one of its many summer enrichment programs – from the sciences, to film, to fashion design, to equestrian studies, to musical theatre. Each summer until she graduates from high school, Stephens will offer Dominique the opportunity to spend time on campus – ensuring that the college truly begins to feel like a home.
And while she’s in Missouri, she may have an opportunity to meet another group of middle school students from New York City: Since 2011, Stephens College each summer has hosted a group of students from the Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School, a charter school in New York City, in a week-long Leadership Academy. The students learn leadership skills, ride horses, visit local attractions, live in a dormitory, and imagine themselves as college students. In 2013, Stephens announced a Public Prep full scholarship that will be provided to a Public Prep graduate every year beginning in 2017, when the school’s first graduating class will be entering college.
“This is what providing real opportunity is all about,” Lynch says. “You can’t do it half-way. These kids need somebody to give them what they need to succeed. And that’s not just tuition. It’s a community that pays attention, and that cares enough to help them find their way.”


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Campus is transformational for foster pets, too

For young women, Stephens College is a transformational place they call home for three to four years. For some cats and dogs, the campus is also a temporary home — but one that’s just as“I am in the pre-vet biology program and have always loved animals — so it was just something I needed to do,” said Sandra Wicklund, a Stephens College freshman.Dozens of students fostered pets this semester as part of the two-year-old partnership Stephens has with Second Chance, a no-kill shelter in Columbia. There are 20 scholarships offered to first-year students in exchange for fostering, but many students say they simply want to make a difference in an animal’s parents agree that preparing dogs and cats for “forever homes” is the most rewarding part of participating in the program. That involves getting the animal used to being around new people and learning to trust them, senior Cheyenne Smith said.Students benefit, too. Tiawna Johnson, a junior, said she knew she’d be lonely coming to college without her dog. After fostering a cat, she fell in love with felines. Johnson said she likes coming home to a pet after a long undergraduate students foster animals inspired Alexis Guth, a graduate assistant, to participate. “I was inspired by the students who were giving back to their community,” she said. “After I began fostering, Second Chance encouraged me to assist with the program. I now manage foster cats on campus and help students who foster with any needs they may have.”cat-photo-4

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Speakers tout Ten Ideals at Commencement ceremony

Stephens College Trustee Sara Herrnstadt Crosby ’76 challenged graduates to dig deep within themselves and explore how the College’s Ten Ideals might become actions throughout their lives.
“As you leave Stephens and venture out, I challenge you to find your Courage, the Second Ideal, and incorporate into your lives courage to change, to grow and the persistence to practice it every day,” she said during the December Commencement ceremony on Friday.
Crosby shared her own story of coming to Stephens with a dream of acting and pursuing that dream before transitioning into a career in social work. Throughout her keynote address, she shared how the College’s Ten Ideals—Intelligence, Responsibility, Courage, Independence, Creativity, Leadership, Respect, Sensitivity, Belief and Support—have come into play in her life.
The Ideals were also the theme of the undergraduate speech. Madeline Carl and Meredith Jacob, who both earned a B.F.A. in Digital Filmmaking, praised their Stephens education for fostering in them a sense of independence, responsibility, respect and leadership.
“Our time at Stephens has taught us to truly embrace all of these Ideals and we are so grateful that we have had this experience,” Carl said.
Stephens President Dianne Lynch conferred roughly 50 bachelor's and master's degrees during the ceremony, held in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall.
Sandra Silva, who earned a Master in Strategic Leadership, represented the graduate class during her remarks. She shared her own story of trying to pursue a graduate degree while balancing other work and life obligations. To everyone graduating, she encouraged the class to “go out and share your journey with others. You will add more rich experiences to their life story and to your own. You will change their world and, believe me, you will change yours.”
Watch the Commencement ceremony video here.
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Lee, SCCS enjoy Christmas party at President's Home

Children from Lee Elementary and the Stephens College Children’s School had a chance to tell Santa their Christmas wishes during the annual Christmas Party at the President’s Home on Friday.

The event also gave Lee children a chance to perform Christmas carols for Stephens President Dianne Lynch—which has become a popular part of the annual celebration.

Stephens is a Partner in Education with Lee Elementary, located next to the President’s Home. This is the third year Lynch has hosted the holiday event in the historic President’s Home, which reopened in December 2011.

Children from both schools heard a story from Mrs. Claus, enjoyed sweet treats and colored winter-themed pictures during the party. They also had a chance to see the decorations they made in school on display in the public areas of the home.

See photos from the event here

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Juniors prepare for CFDA competitions

A Stephens alumna and faculty member critiqued student designs last week as junior fashion majors prepare for this spring’s round of Council of Fashion Designers of America competitions.
Morgan Powers, a designer and product developer, and instructor Amy Parris helped students select the best of their designs and suggested improvements to the pieces.
The student works will be considered for the CFDA competitions, which challenge students to mimic the works of designers such as Liz Claiborne and Geoffrey Beene.

They will also be among the garments judged at the annual Jury of Selection, which allows industry professionals to select which designs will be showcased at the annual student designer fashion show in April.
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President of military academy visits Stephens Children's School

Long before his successful career in the corporate world and current position as president of the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Tony McGeorge was a Stephens student.

Well, sort of. McGeorge and his twin sister, Nancy, attended a nursery school on the Stephens campus in the early 1950s. He doesn’t remember much about it—he was 3—but he does remember his mother talking about the wonderful foundational education the school provided before the family relocated to the East Coast.

“My mother used to talk about Stephens and how wonderful it was,” he said. “She loved the fact that it was a women’s college and she loved the people—the students and teachers.”

So when McGeorge returned to Missouri in 2012, he wanted a chance to revisit where it all began. 

On Wednesday, he and a small delegation from the military academy had the opportunity to tour the current Stephens College Children’s School facilities before McGeorge read a book to preschoolers.

Prior to coming back to Missouri, McGeorge enjoyed a successful career at Johnson & Johnson, where he was a national spokesperson during the Tylenol poisoning crisis that became a Harvard Business School case study. Tylenol famously pulled all of its products during that period despite financial risks. The company—and McGeorge—were adamant about doing the right thing for customers. Those are values learned at an early age, he stressed.

“It all starts at this level,” McGeorge said at the preschool. “This is where the seeds are planted.”

The preschoolers at Wednesday’s reading weren’t necessarily interested in McGeorge’s roots—they were more interested in letting him know how Santa gets into their chimney-less houses. But he definitely made an impact, reading from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in his distinguishable East Coast dialect.

“Let’s see how this thing plays out,” he said at one point in the story, quieting the kiddos who wanted to chime in.

A grandfather of four, McGeorge easily won over his crowd. Several children rushed to give him hugs before he left.

“The most special part was the kids’ reactions,” he said afterwards. “I’m a grandfather, and I tell you, that just melted my heart.”
This isn’t the first time the Missouri Military Academy, under McGeorge’s leadership, has partnered with Stephens. The all-women’s campus last year hosted the all-male academy and its guest, Shabana Basij-Rasikh, as part of a special program. McGeorge said he hopes to find more ways to connect in the future.
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Commencement is Friday; Crosby to deliver keynote

Sara_Crosby_HeadshotAward-winning actor, therapist and children’s theatre facilitator Sara Herrnstadt Crosby ’76 will deliver the keynote address at Stephens’ December 2014 commencement ceremony.
The event is 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12, in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall. Roughly 50 students will participate.
Crosby received her B.F.A. in Theatre from Stephens and enjoyed a varied acting career based out of New York City. Her roles brought her to Off-Broadway, television and film as well as regional theaters. Most notably, she starred in Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” opposite Kevin Spacey for the Barter Theatre at George Mason University and Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre as Wilhelmina in “The Passion of Dracula.” On television, she appeared on “All My Children.”
In 1984, Crosby left N.Y.C. for Chicago where she began the Graduate Social Work program at Loyola University of Chicago. Since graduating in 1986, Crosby has worked as a psychotherapist with individuals, couples and groups in the Chicago area and Madison, Wisc. She has given many workshops on several issues, including women’s issues, prejudice and discrimination, and suicide prevention, to name a few.
In 2001, Crosby co-founded the award-winning Dakota Academy of Performing Arts (DAPA). She is the lead facilitator and a director for DAPA at the Pavilion Plays for Living Theatre Company. 
Crosby also sits on the board of directors for the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, and works as a consultant in the field of social justice and as a consultant for Plays for Living National in N.Y.C. 
She is the 2013 Champion for Children award winner for South Dakota Voices for Children. Crosby is a licensed clinical social worker and lives in Sioux Falls, S.D., with her husband, Daniel, where they raised their three children.

Meredith Jacob and Madeline Carl, both earning B.F.A.s in film, will deliver remarks on behalf of the undergraduate class and Sandra Silva, who is earning a Master in Strategic Leadership, will represent the graduate class.

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Reale represents on Daktronics-NAIA list

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The postseason awards continue to roll in as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced its 2014 Daktronics-NAIA Volleyball Scholar-Athletes on Friday. Rightside hitter Madison Reale represents Stephens College on the list of 455 volleyball student-athletes.
In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved junior academic status to qualify for the honor.
Reale, a strategic communications major from Manchester, Mo., has maintained a 3.59 GPA in three years at Stephens. The junior captain is a two-time AMC Academic All-Conference honoree and has been a three-year starter for head coach Rose Obunaga. As a rightside hitter, Reale is closing in on career marks of 500 kills, 500 digs and 100 blocks.

To learn more about the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete award, click here.
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Students gather to show solidarity, support

Nearly 100 Stephens students, faculty, staff and administrators gathered in the Student Union today to show solidarity and pay their respects for the African Americans who have died in recent months and for their respective communities.
Students made and carried signs, added their handprints to a banner and listened to fellow students share poetry. Student Government Association President Brianna Jackson then encouraged students to be part of improving social conditions.
“Take time to acknowledge what’s going on and try to understand someone else’s reality and what they’re going through,” Jackson said.

She thanked students for taking time to be part of the event, but encouraged them to continue to have discussions.
“Today it’s a black issue, but tomorrow it could be an LGBT issue or an Asian issue—but it will continue to be an issue if we do nothing.”

Following her remarks, students broke off into groups. Some held a “die-in,” in which they outlined their bodies in chalk to represent those slain. Others joined President Dianne Lynch in her office for a “sit-in,” where they shared ideas and observations.
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Basketball team defeats Benedictine University-Springfield

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  – Despite a slow start on the road, the Stephens College basketball team (1-6, 1-2 AMC) found life offensively and claimed its first win of the season by defeating conference opponent Benedictine University-Springfield, 67-50. Thursday’s victory marks the first of the Ray Fron era and also helped the Stars snap a 38-game losing streak, which dates back to Feb. 14, 2013.
The Stars shot a season-best 48 percent from the field and had four players score in double figures. Defensively, Stephens limited Benedictine to 29 percent shooting and held the Bulldogs without a 3-point field goal (0-for-12).
Neither team started off on the right foot as the two teams combined for just six points in the first five minutes of play. BENU (0-4, 0-3 AMC) knocked down a free throw to get on the board first, but forward Makayla Butler answered back with a 3-pointer in the corner to give the Stars their first lead of the game.
The offense began to emerge and the momentum was on display when Butler walked right down the lane on a beautiful backdoor play from Dana Heggemann. Heaton, the Stars’ leading 3-point shooter, knocked down a couple of 3s and helped SC to a 10-point lead and pushed it to 12 with a perfectly-executed inbounds play to Kaitlee Hess underneath the basket.
After Stephens extended its lead to 20, the Bulldogs showed a glimpse of life and went on a 6-0 run in large part due to three consecutive SC turnovers. The Stars responded before the halftime with a clutch three by Bridget Teixeira. With two seconds left, Teixeira swished one through to give Stephens a 37-18 advantage heading into the break.
It was by far one of the best halves offensively for SC as the Stars shot 57.1 percent from the field and were 5-for-12 (.417) from 3-point range.
The freshman quartet of Hess, Butler, Heaton and Carlson combined for 28 first-half points and were 70.5 percent from the floor. Carlson led all scorers at half with nine points.
Benedictine scored the first six points of the half to cut the margin to 37-24, but the Stars once again found an answer and led by as many as 20. The Bulldogs gave it one last run inside the 10-minute mark and narrowed the lead to 12, but were unable to get within single digits.
Leading the way for Stephens were Carlson and Heaton, who came off the bench to score 15 and 14, respectively. Finishing 6-of-10 from the field, Carlson surpassed her career-high by four points and was also active defensively with five steals. Joining the two freshmen in double figures were Heggemann (12 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) and Butler (12 points) with a team-high eight rebounds. Other notable performers included Hess with seven points and Teixeira with five.

The Stars are on the road again Saturday for a conference matchup with Harris-Stowe State (1-3, 1-1 AMC) at 2 p.m. 
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Schools collect, donate nearly 5,000 pounds of food

Stephens College students collected and donated nearly 5,000 pounds of food this holiday season to The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri as part of a first-ever contest among each of the College’s five schools.
The School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication won the competition, collecting a total of 113 points, with each “point” representing a food item or dollar.
“I’m so proud of everyone,” Pam Shackelford, interim dean of the school, said during a campus-wide assembly. “Thank you for doing an amazing job for an amazing cause.”
Susies Organized for Service, or SOS, spearheaded the initiative with help from the Student Government Association and other campus organizations. SOS President Kristen McCurdy and other student leaders agreed that while the competition was fun, the food drive was about Stephens helping others.
“Doing and giving back to others is so important—it stands for something,” said Brianna Jackson, president of SGA. “Giving back is a vital and important part of who we are.”
During the ceremony, President Dianne Lynch praised students for coming together for a cause. “You stopped and thought about others and how you could make a difference,” she said.

Lynch also announced that the food drive competition would become an annual event. 
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Four become soccer program’s first NAIA Scholar-Athletes

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced this past week that four Stephens College soccer players—Jazmin Gac, Anna Martin, Briannica Ponder and Dani Wilson—have been named 2014 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. They are among a total of 578 women’s soccer student-athletes to make the list.
It marks the first year that Stephens has placed students on the Daktronics-NAIA Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete list. In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved junior academic status to qualify for the honor.
In early November, the quartet of Gac, Martin, Ponder and Wilson also received recognition for their academic achievements with a spot on the AMC Academic All-Conference team.
Senior defender Jazmin Gac, a fashion marketing and management major from Louisiana, Mo., has carried a 3.79 GPA, while playing three seasons for the soccer Stars. During her career, Gac played in 37 matches and made 23 starts.
Junior defender Anna Martin, a strategic communications major from Florissant, Mo., has maintained a 3.66 GPA and played the past two seasons for the Stars. She has been a mainstay on the backline for Stephens, starting in 28 matches.
Junior goalkeeper Briannica Ponder, a theatre major from St. Louis, has maintained a 3.58 GPA. A three-year letterwinner, Ponder had a record-setting season in 2013 as she set an NAIA single-game record for most saves in a match with 36 stops against Lyon College. In addition, the goalkeeper finished the season ranked first in the NAIA in saves per game (14.20) and total saves (255). She logged two career wins in goal and started in 17 contests.
Junior midfielder Dani Wilson, a fashion design and product development major from St. Louis, carries a 3.67 GPA and has been a member of the team since its resurrection in 2012. The two-time captain has made 34 career starts and notched a pair of goals during the 2013 season.
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Stephens establishes Academy of Health Sciences

Furthering a long-standing tradition of excellence in preparing women for current market demands, Stephens College is establishing an Academy of Health Sciences to promote interest in the sciences and connect students of all ages to promising futures in the healthcare industry.

The academy will provide learning opportunities using strong academic and experiential curricula on the Stephens campus in Columbia. Programming will be available to K-12 through undergraduate students.

“We want to inspire a new generation of healthcare professionals interested in making the world a better place,” Stephens President Dianne Lynch said. “The healthcare profession is a growing field, and we want to challenge students to explore these careers.”

While programming will be co-ed, a strong emphasis will be placed on giving girls and young women a safe, supportive and nurturing environment where they will feel free to ask questions, share ideas and take on leadership roles.

“As the second-oldest women’s college in the country, we understand the importance of introducing girls to the world of science in an environment in which they will thrive,” Lynch said.

Stephens has a long history of high-quality science education and recently expanded programming. In addition to a biology degree, students can also earn a Bachelor of Health Science. The Equestrian Studies program offers unique opportunities for those interested in preparing for veterinary school. The College was the first in the country to offer a distance learning Health Information Administration degree and remains a leader in HIA education. And this year, Stephens announced the creation of a new Master of Physician Assistant program, scheduled to begin in 2016.

Debbie Brunner, who recently served as interim director of career services and previously worked as the education coordinator for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, will serve as executive director, working with an advisory board of professionals and faculty who will develop and enhance programming.

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Stephens fashion students win FGI scholarships

Two Stephens students earned $1,000 scholarships through Fashion Group International of St. Louis, Inc.’s annual Scholarship Program.
Senior Audrah Davidson won first in the fashion design category, and junior Sarah Vitel won first in the fashion marketing division. There were a total of three scholarships awarded.
For the design competition, Davidson submitted a black and white wool tailored coat, as well as a body of illustration work, sketches and a customer board outlining traits of her ideal client.
“I felt pretty confident in my work,” she said. “And I collaborated with” Assistant Professor Irina Tevzadze “to make sure everything was pristine and that the packaging told a story when you opened it.”
Vitel’s submission included a Roxy-inspired mini-mag that showcased the sports and beachwear the company is known for. She recruited sophomores Taylor Barber and Jenna Westra to model the fashions in downtown Columbia. Vitel is confident that the mini-mag, which she styled and edited, earned her the prize.
Vitel was coming back from Phoenix with her parents over the Thanksgiving break when she got the call that she’d won the scholarship.
“I was so excited,” she said, adding that putting together the submission and meeting all of the contest guidelines proved to be a lot of hard work. “I got off the phone and just started crying.”
She and Davidson are now headed to FGI’s Spring 2015 Trend Report & Scholarship Presentation at Washington University in St. Louis today. After a reception, they will present information about their respective projects.
Davidson plans to use the money to bolster her senior collection, which she’s currently working on for the spring fashion show. The collection is based on modern art and architecture.
“This scholarship will help push the collection to the next level,” she said.
That desire to always push oneself is a cornerstone of the fashion program, Davidson said.
“Faculty really do push us to do better, and you learn so much from that,” she said. “They challenge us to be more creative in our designs and to really design what we want and what we’re passionate about. And they’re always willing to help.”
Vitel, a Chicago native who also plays soccer and is involved in Kappa Delta and the modeling group, agreed.
“Everyone here is so passionate about what they do,” she said. “And it’s a supportive community. Everyone is everyone’s cheerleader. I know I am always going to have someone who will support me. And there are a lot of opportunities—I’m grateful for that.”
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'Anne of Green Gables' begins this weekend

The Playhouse Theatre Company at Stephens College is producing the classic story, “Anne of Green Gables,” this week.
The play begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, and again at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, and Thursday, Dec. 11. Ticket information
The play, by R. N. Sandberg, is adapted from the original L.M. Montgomery novel and stays true to the story of an orphanage mix-up and a young girl who captures the hardest of hearts. And Assistant Professor Carol Estey, who is directing the show, expects audiences to be just as taken by Anne as her reluctant guardians.
“It is a really sweet story focused on a young girl with an irrepressible spirit who struggles to overcome prejudice and a fair amount of bad luck,” Estey said. “She is a bright and willful girl who has to learn how to function in the society she enters. She has never known love, and the family that adopts her has had an uncluttered life and has never known parenthood. What develops between them is a rich discovery and a richer life. … Even though they almost all want to resist her, they can’t help but be affected by her.”
First-year student Clara Bentz is taking on the title role of Anne Shirley. For the role, Bentz has watched videos of the TV adaptation and the PBS animated series and is reading the book. She’s also discussed the character at length with Estey and Professor Rob Doyen, concluding that the chatty 13-year-old orphan needs to talk in order to feel safe.
“There’s a back story you have to understand,” Bentz said. “She’d been shuffled from family to family. Talking is a way to escape.”
In addition to a heartwarming story, audiences can expect an innovative set and period costumes designed by students.

“This is an opportunity to see our Stephens students being the best they can be in a really lovely play,” Estey said.
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Stephens senior named to Daktronics-NAIA scholar-athlete list

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – One member of the Stephens College cross country team was recognized by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete.  

For the second year in a row, runner Emily Mendoza-Fellers (a senior from Iowa City, Iowa) made the list. The announcement was made by the NAIA National Office on Monday following this weekend’s Cross Country National Championships.
Overall, 340 women’s cross country student-athletes were named 2014 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athletes. Indiana Wesleyan University led all programs with 10 individuals on the list.

Mendoza-Fellers carries an impressive 3.98 cumulative GPA as a double major in business and psychology. The Iowa City, Iowa, native is a three-time AMC Academic All-Conference honoree and has been a mainstay on the dean’s list with high honors. 

Outside of cross country, Mendoza-Fellers has competed on the Stephens College tennis team and has been involved with several groups on campus, including Alpha Lambda Delta, Stephens CRU and Kappa Delta. She has also served as a Financial Aid peer counselor, student ambassador and tour guide.

Earlier in November, Mendoza-Fellers capped off her four-year cross country career with a 62nd-place finish at the AMC Cross Country Championships, finishing with a 5K time of 25:45.20.

In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved junior academic status to qualify for the honor.
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Experienced higher ed leader named Vice President for Academic Affairs

Stephens College has named Dr. Suzan Harkness—an experienced higher education leader with an extensive and diverse background in academic leadership, most recently serving as Special Assistant to the President, University of the District of Columbia—to the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Harkness offers a wealth of expertise in areas, including academic programming, strategic planning, advancement efforts, strategic enrollment, accreditation, instructional delivery and technology, government relations and strategic management of international partnerships. She has been involved in Board/President relations, fiscal management, athletics and institutional leadership; recently served as a liaison to the President on Title III, IV and Title IX compliance review and engagement; and championed online education initiatives.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Harkness to Stephens College,” Stephens President Dianne Lynch said. “As an experienced higher education leader and innovator, she has consistently demonstrated her commitment to the success of students, institutions and outcomes. Her proven ability to collaboratively implement change will help propel Stephens forward as a institution committed to the creative arts and sciences; to educating successive generations of women; and to building on Stephens’ national reputation.”
About her appointment to Stephens College, Harkness said, “I am drawn to Stephens College because of its rich history, its innovative spirit and its experiential pedagogical approach. Visiting campus, I was struck by the dedicated faculty and staff, the amazing students, notable rankings, and visionary leadership of President Lynch. The institution has produced powerful alumnae and does so through its creativity and passionate ambition. It is literally bursting with big ideas, and I wanted to hitch my wagon and join hands in lifting Stephens College to its next paradigm.”
“I am committed to building upon existing strengths, supporting innovation and creativity, and leading the academic area with passion,” Harkness added. “As a team, we will explore new high-demand programs, new collaborations and flexible instructional modalities. I am dedicated to helping students live the dream.”
Dr. Harkness’ background includes several key positions at the University of the District of Columbia, including Assistant Dean, Learning Resources Division Founding Director, Center for Academic Technology; and as an ACE Fellow (Mount St. Mary’s University).
She served as Managing Director, Academic Affairs for the Washington Center for Internships & Academic Seminars, and as the legislative assistant to Congresswoman Diane E. Watson with oversight on health, gender, and educational issues.

She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Public Policy from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii. She also earned an M.A. in International Relations-Intercultural Studies from United States International University (Alliant International); and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
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Performer encourages first-year students at annual breakfast

A writer, performer and equal rights activist encouraged Stephens freshmen to be resilient in the face of adversity.
Diane Flacks—sister of Assistant Professor Laura Flacks-Narrol—was the guest speaker at the annual First-Year Experience Networking Breakfast this morning. Using comedy, Flacks told students how to benefit from the “black ice of life” that might sometimes cause them to slip.
“As an artist, you want and need to fail,” she said. “And that’s good because that will become your story. … Some of the most accomplished people fail big.”
Flacks shared stories of tragedies-turned-triumphs from women all over the world, encouraging students to keep going even if times get difficult.
The annual networking breakfast is a culmination of the First-Year Experience, a program that uses classes and labs to help first-time students adjust to college life.

In addition to the keynote speaker, the breakfast gives students a chance to network with women working in business, science, journalism and other industries in the mid-Missouri area. 
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Kircher, Phegley highlight All-Conference honors

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director

ST. LOUIS – Two members of the Stephens College volleyball team earned 2014 All-American Midwest Conference honors, the league announced Saturday following the championship match between top-seeded Park and Missouri Baptist. Middle hitter Kerri Kircher and setter Samantha Phegley both earned honorable mention, marking the first time in program history that more than one Star has received All-AMC accolades.
Following a productive freshman campaign in 2013, Kerri Kircher stepped up in a big way this year for the Stars. The sophomore sensation recorded double-digit kills in 11 matches this year, including five that came in conference play. She was the Stars’ top offensive weapon this season averaging 2.45 kills preset for 252 total kills. On top of being the strongest hitter, Kircher also led the team by a large margin in blocks. The Richmond, Ind., native was credited with the second-most solo blocks (42) in the AMC, while also contributing 54 block assists.
Samantha Phegley, the only senior on the Stars’ 2014 squad proved to be one of the most versatile players. In addition to her leadership skills, Phegley led Stephens in assists as the team’s primary setter and finished the year second in digs (222) and kills (179) and third in blocks (44). The West Plains, Mo., product transferred into Stephens last year and made an immediate impact for head coach Rose Obunaga. In two years with the Stars, she totaled more than 1200 assists, 450 digs and 250 kills.
Prior to the 2014 AMC Volleyball Tournament Quarterfinal matchup, Kircher and Phegley were also honored for their work in the classroom with AMC Academic All-Conference honors. Joining the All-Conference honorees were Taylor Edwards, Madison Reale, Yonne Nasimiyu and Emily Manczuk. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be in his/her second term of attendance at the institution and have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) as defined by the nominating institution.

Stephens ended the 2014 season with a 13-17 overall record and 5-7 in the American Midwest Conference. The five wins in league play is a new program best, while the 13 wins is the most in a single season since 2010 when the team went 16-20.
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Students place at NATS auditions

Six Stephens students took honors this past weekend at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Musical Theatre auditions held at Webster University in St. Louis.

Emy Blake took first place in the Advanced Women’s Division, and Mycah Westhoff took first in the Upper College Women’s Division. 
In the Lower College Women’s Division, Lauren Hardcastle took first; Chelcie Abercrombie placed second and Meaghan Parker took Honorable Mention.

Talia McCall took first in the Upper High School Division.

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