Scholars hit the road

University of Missouri System initiates new faculty fellows program.

April 13, 2018

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi announced a new initiative, the Presidential Engagement Fellows, that is designed to fulfill the university’s land-grant mission by sharing research discoveries with Missouri citizens in every county.  Marshall Stewart, vice chancellor for Extension and Engagement at MU, will lead this initiative.

“The University of Missouri is dedicated to the people of this state, and we are proud of the excellent teaching, breakthrough research and creative achievement, and meaningful engagement by our faculty,” Choi said. “We are here to serve the state by providing Missouri citizens with information about the life-changing discoveries that we uncover in our laboratories. This new program will encourage all of our faculty members to engage directly with Missouri citizens and help them improve communities across the state.”

The 2018-19 Presidential Engagement Fellows class includes the following six faculty members from MU:

  • Jimi Cook, Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Rebecca Johnson, Research Center for Human-Animal Intervention, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Rose Marra, School for Information Science and Learning Technologies, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Melissa Mitchum, plant sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Chris Pires, biological sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Angela Speck, physics and astronomy, University of Missouri-Columbia
The Presidential Engagement Fellows represent all four campuses of the University of Missouri System. This is a picture of all the fellows with President Choi and the four mascots.

The Presidential Engagement Fellows represent all four campuses of the University of Missouri System.

Choi introduced the first class of the Presidential Engagement Fellows at April's Board of Curators meeting. As part of this program, selected faculty members will represent the UM System at a number of speaking events throughout the state, where they will discuss their research and share how that knowledge can help Missouri citizens.

“We have fantastic faculty on every campus who want to help improve the lives of Missouri citizens, whether that is through better agriculture practices, new treatments in health care, technological discoveries or providing world-class artistic performances,” Choi said. “This new program will help us fulfill our mission as a land-grant university. We are Missouri’s university, and we owe it to every Missouri citizen to share with them what we have discovered that can improve their lives.”

The 2018-19 Presidential Engagement Fellows class also includes the following individuals:

  • Diana Ahmad, history and political science, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Joel Burken, civil, architectural and environmental engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Simon Friedman, School of Pharmacy, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Andrew Granade, Conservatory of Music and Dance, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Jane Greer, English and women’s and gender studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Beth Huebner, criminology and criminal justice, University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • Catherine Johnson, mining and nuclear engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Patricia Parker, biology, University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • Todd Swanstrom, political science, University of Missouri-St. Louis

To be selected, faculty members were nominated by each campus based on their demonstrated excellence and their ability to communicate their research to the public. To request a fellow for a speaking engagement or presentation, please visit:

There is no cost for an organization or individual to host a speaker. For more information, please visit:

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