Making the right move

Nearly 20% of incoming MU students have transferred from another institution to challenge themselves and realize their dreams. National Transfer Student Week celebrates these Tigers Oct. 17–21.

Oct. 17, 2022
Contact: Marcus Wilkins,

The University of Missouri — at the center of the Show-Me State, in America’s heartland — has been a literal and figurative crossroads since 1839. Each semester, from hometowns metropolitan and rural, new Tigers arrive in Columbia to sprint through the Columns toward their collegiate goals.

But for students transferring from other institutions with credits already under their belt — nearly 1,200 this fall at Mizzou — getting involved and finding a niche looks a bit different. That’s where the MU Transfer Center (located in the Student Success Center on Lowry Mall) comes into play.

“We’re here to make sure students who transfer to Mizzou have the opportunity to get involved,” said Cecilia Olivares, director of Academic Pathways, the unit that encompasses the Transfer Center and Discovery Center. “That means undergraduate research, service-learning, peer mentoring programs, student organizations and many other activities.”

As we enter National Transfer Student Week Oct. 17–21, read about a trio of Tigers who started their collegiate journey elsewhere and ultimately found their home at Mizzou.

Josiah Fansler headshot Josiah Fansler

Senior psychology major from Fenton, Missouri

After graduating from high school, Josiah Fansler appreciated the full support of his family as he took a deep breath and some time to travel and consider next steps before starting college. Eventually, he enrolled at St. Louis Community College – Meramec where he explored various academic avenues while working through general education courses. Then, all of the sudden — it clicked.

“I had done some research, and I knew the MU psychology program had a great reputation and would be a good place for me to land,” Fansler said. “Plus, I already had a bunch of friends from the St. Louis area at Mizzou, so I had built-in support right off the bat.”

Fansler transferred to MU in January of 2021 and quickly capitalized on Mizzou’s undergraduate research opportunities through the Department of Psychology’s Family and Child Development Lab. It was there he realized he enjoyed children, a passion that helped narrow his academic focus to marriage and family counseling.

“Getting involved in the Family and Child Development Lab, and having the support of associate professor Ashley Groh, has been a great resource for me,” Fansler said. “I also joined Transfer Experience and Advising Mentors (TEAM) and Tau Sigma, a national honor society designed exclusively for transfer students. Now I’m looking forward to a fulfilling career in counseling.”

Libby Mooney headshotLibby Mooney

Senior secondary biology education major from Fredericktown, Missouri

Having grown up in Fredericktown, Missouri, a town with a population of about 4,000, Libby Mooney said she experienced some culture shock when arriving in Columbia.

“Fredericktown is literally a one-stoplight town, so traffic and the sheer amount of people around me was a big adjustment,” Mooney said. “I chose the University of Missouri because I really like the College of Education and Human Development — plus my dad and oldest sister got their education degrees at Mizzou. When I got here, I found a great community in the Women’s Center and got involved through the Transfer Center.”

Mooney, who lived on a 168-acre farm where she caught lizards and bugs as a child, plans to teach high school biology. She said the Transfer Center was a conduit for her to join various student organizations, including Transfer Experience and Advising Mentors (TEAM) and the National Science Teaching Association student chapter.

“I hope to teach in Fredericktown, and one of my goals is to eventually get my master's degree,” Mooney said. “I want to provide a safe space for students in a rural area who may not experience that at home. And I can’t wait to bring what I’ve learned at Mizzou back home.”

Melanie Oliva headshotMelanie Oliva

Senior journalism major from Kansas City, Missouri

Melanie Oliva knocked out her general education courses at community college before heading to her “dream college” — Mizzou. A self-described extrovert, she couldn’t wait to get to Columbia, make new friends and attend events at a big SEC school. Then COVID hit.

“Somehow I found light in that experience and joined clubs — even if they were only meeting virtually,” Oliva said. “I joined a hiking club, magazine club and the Association of Latin@ American Students.”

Oliva also participated in the scaled-down version of Tiger Walk for transfer students — and loved every second of it. When she witnessed Tiger Walk for incoming freshman this fall, it only served to amplify her anticipation for Senior Sendoff.

“When I saw the thousands of students running through the Columns, I thought, ‘Oh, I wish I had that experience,’” Oliva said. “But now I’m looking forward to Tiger Prowl when I graduate, and running through the Columns in the opposite direction.”

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