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New MU Hillel director steps in on temporary basis

Thursday, February 14, 2013 | 5:39 p.m. CST; updated 7:59 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 14, 2013
Jeanne Snodgrass, Mizzou Hillel interm director, plays with her youngest daughter Allaina, 2, at Mizzou Hillel on Thursday.

COLUMBIA — An interim director of MU Hillel brings experience working with college students and knowledge of running a business.

Jeanne Snodgrass began working last week at Hillel. She previously worked with students of The Society of Dance Arts at Truman State University in Kirksville, leading workshops on modern dance and choreography.

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Snodgrass was also involved in Jewish education and owns a restaurant in the northeastern Missouri town of Memphis with her husband, Dave Snodgrass. Before moving to Missouri, she worked five years for a non-profit dance company in Albuquerque, N.M.

“It seemed like a really good fit,” she said of MU's Jewish campus center.

Ian Aberbach of MU Hillel's Board of Directors said three candidates were interviewed, and Snodgrass "was the best of the three with her experience running a business and working for a non-profit, which included writing grants."

The full-time position is expected to be filled this summer on a permanent basis, Aberbach said.

Brian Mitchell, the previous director, left suddenly for an opportunity he could not pass up, Aberbach said. Mitchell, who started as director of MU Hillel on August 2011, took a job as a director at a summer camp in Arizona. 

The process of finding a new director lasted a month from the time Mitchell resigned and Snodgrass accepted the offer.

“Right now, were just going to continue and expand on programming here and see what happens," Snodgrass said. 

Students are encouraged to be involved in helping with programming and outreach if they’re interested.

“Any transition is difficult. No one is the same person. Overall, it’s been a relatively smooth transition for a new director in the middle of the year,” said Taylor Werthauser, a student intern at MU Hillel and the president of Jewish sorority Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi.

Snodgrass said her goal was to keep things going without interrupting programs while getting used to the system and working out kinks. 

“Everyone’s been super welcoming and helpful," she said. "It’s really a student-driven organization, so the student board and other students involved are the ones keeping programming going. I’m really here to facilitate and help them with what they want to do."

Mitchell started birthright trips to Israel specifically for MU students last year. Snodgrass plans to continue the trips; registration for the summer trip opened Wednesday.

“Students can go together and see each other on campus and share their experiences with each other,” Snodgrass said.

Twenty-seven MU students attended the winter break birthright trip, and the program is expected to grow.

“It was amazing and probably one of the best experiences in my life," said Emily Schiffman, a student intern and member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, who attended the trip last summer. Snodgrass moved to Columbia with her daughters Hannah, 8, Brianna, 5, and Alainna, 2.

“There are a lot of Mizzou fans in Memphis, so you hear a lot about it, but this is sort of the big city, especially for my girls who haven’t lived in bigger places.”


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