Faces of MU

Monday, May 8, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:49 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

She's a librarian...

Anne Barker

When Anne Barker, a reference librarian at MU’s Ellis Library, is asked her favorite thing about her job, she politely smiles.

“Helping people find things,” she says.

After a pause, she opens up a bit more, saying she has great colleagues and loves that she gets to spend her days working with everything from ancient manuscripts to the latest technology.

As a librarian, Barker has been asked to look up some unusual things. While working at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Barker received a phone call from a person in Massachusetts looking for a book on the language of Enoch. John Dee popularized Enoch in the 1500s when he announced that angels revealed the language to him during a séance. Barker was able to locate a copy of the book at a library a little closer to Massachusetts than Illinois.

Barker, who is from St. Louis, has worked for MU for the past eight years. Before that, she was a librarian at St. Louis University for four years and at the Illinois school, where she had also studied to be a librarian and earned a master’s degree in library and information science.

Barker enjoys reading mysteries by Henning Mankell and John Brady, as well as spinning, weaving and knitting. She also enjoys the outdoors and likes to go biking when the weather cooperates.

At home, Barker’s tortoiseshell cat, Flannery, is named for the author Flannery O’Connor. If she were to get another cat, Barker has already decided to call it Eudora, after Eudora Welty — to keep with the theme of Southern female authors.

She's an event planner...

Natalie Strobl

Natalie Strobl, a junior communications major at MU, refuses to settle for a “normal” college experience — that is, choosing a major, getting a degree and hoping to land a job after graduation. Instead, she’s taken her future into her own hands.

Strobl is senior chair of MU’s Special Events Committee, has a marketing internship and helps coordinate Zou Crew, a Mizzou basketball pride group. And she does all of that on top of being a full-time student.

“So much more goes in to planning events than I ever imagined,” says Strobl, who in February attended a student-activites conference in Boston and has since worked on events such as a dodgeball tournament and a drag show.

In Boston, Strobl met with students from other schools, along with artists and performers.

“They had about 500 booths set up with all these different people trying to sell me their artist, which was unbelievable,” Strobl says. “I met Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins) from ‘Saved By The Bell’ and some of ‘The Real World’ cast members who wanted to come and talk to us.”

Strobl says she enjoys the interaction that comes with planning events.

“I love talking to people, and that’s what special events is all about,” she says. “There are so many different people you have to be in contact with,”

Strobl’s first big event was VH1’s “Best Week Ever,” a live show she worked to bring to MU.

“I was very excited just to see how everything worked backstage,” she says. “But the day of the show, the performers showed up wanting to film, which we had to deal with because it wasn’t in the contract. That show was my most proud (moment), because until then I had not been a part of a big production, and I was put on the spot to manage the situation.”

She's a disciple...

Enjoli Sims

Like a painter, Enjoli Sims has a canvas, supplies and a vision. Each day, she scrupulously tries to bring fragments of her vision to canvas to create the life she believes she is meant to have. She fills her painting with ideas, thoughts, dreams, successes, failures and pain.

Sims, a junior at MU in elementary education, says she wakes up each day grateful for the mercies bestowed upon her and for the opportunity to give, live and love life. Optimistic and buoyant in personality, she works to bring as many people to Christ as possible and to teach them how to make the Bible applicable in everyday life.

Sims believes that through faith, people can be healed of past hurts, dump their emotional baggage and forsake anything that hinders them from being who they were made to be.

“I think the best way to see this come to pass is to stay humble before the Lord, remain obedient to his direction and build relationships with people by meeting them where they are — not judging them, (but) loving them and being consistent in what I say and what I do,” Sims says.

Sims, who comes from a Kansas City household that sometimes saw violence and crime, says she uses her life as a testament to let others know that they, too, can make it. She is the first among her family and many of her friends to go to college.

“I’ve always been successful, safe and kept by the hand of God,” she says. “I now realize that there is nothing about the choices I made that got me to where I am. It was God — his love and faithfulness towards me. I want to be like him.”

She's a friend to students...

Adela Caratti

What started as a part-time job for Adela Caratti has become a passion for serving MU students with a smile and a loving flavor. Caratti, a cafeteria worker at Eva J’s, is a familiar face to students in her line, asking them, “What’ll it be today, babe?”

“It’s physical, but it’s a lot more mental, because you’ve got to make sure you respond to each (student) differently — for who they are, not for what you want them to be,” Caratti says, calling that the key to her job. Students feel this from Caratti, describing her as cheerful, helpful and giving.

But she’s modest when it comes to her work. Asked about her passions, she hesitates. A co-worker says, “What does Adela have a passion for? That’s easy: talking.”

“That’s my job, to get to know people and how they’re feeling,” Caratti replies.

“You’ve got to have that thing with other people,” she says. “If you don’t say hello, it would be a very lonely eight hours.”

Caratti, a Mexican-American, says she came with her husband to Columbia almost a decade ago. Her eyes light up when she talks about her husband of 22 years. Italian, Welch, German and Irish, he’s “a little Heinz 57 guy,” she says.

Family is important to Caratti. The former stay-at-home mom calls 15-year-old Steven “my million-dollar player — it’s his personality and his bear hugs.” Five-year-old Sophia, she says, is “my baby girl — the way she runs up to me after work and she says she loves me.”

Caratti says she plans to stay at MU until her son starts a family of his own, and then she’ll help raise his children.

Caratti, who left California nine years ago, says she hopes to be able to visit family there this summer. Meanwhile, her mother has plans to visit Caratti in Columbia.

“You’re always hoping to go somewhere,” she says.

He's a servant to the needy...

Elijah Kerry

As each school year begins, some college seniors develop a case of tunnel vision, focusing only on whatever it takes to make it to graduation.

But there are always exceptions.

By becoming president of MU’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity during his senior year, Elijah Kerry proves that it is never too late to make a difference.

“This year, as president, I really saw it as an opportunity to make the organization a lot bigger,” Kerry says.

When he joined in 2003, there were only eight or nine members. Now, Habitat for Humanity has more than 160 students signed up, with about 40 people attending each meeting.

In addition to increasing membership, Kerry has increased the number of building projects organized by the MU chapter. “This year, we’ve had eight builds as opposed to last year where we had two,” he says.

Habitat for Humanity is known for building houses for people who can’t afford them, but Kerry points out there are other activities throughout the year.

The group has joined the American Cancer Society’s national fundraiser, Relay for Life, and had two teams in April’s event. Kerry was captain of both teams.

Habitat also held its own fundraiser during the same week as the relay. Students lived outside for five days to raise money for Habitat’s upcoming projects.

Kerry is a computer engineering major from Columbia. He is also involved in Eta Kappa Nu, an honors computer engineering fraternity, as well as the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and other organizations.

Next year Kerry will move to Austin, Texas, where he will take a job with National Instruments, a prestigious engineering firm.

What is Kerry’s secret to managing his obligations?

“Not a lot of sleep,” he says, “and a lot of coffee.”

She’s a runner...

Katanna Clark

Katanna Clark, an MU sophomore from Kansas City, harbors a big dream.

“I want to use Mizzou track as a springboard to the Olympics,” Clark says.

She attributes her inspiration to Olympic track star Marion Jones, because Jones started so late in her career. Although Clark is still in training and faces team tryouts in August, she diligently follows her motto: to “train hard.”

As she practices her favorite run, the 100 meters, time seems to slow down for her. “I think of myself as running against Marion and time itself,” Clark says.

Before she came to MU, Clark attended University Academy, where she was involved in leadership and service groups. One of these groups included Leadership 2020, an inner-city program for which she was nominated by her teachers.

Clark also received the President’s Service Award for three years straight for her efforts around her community. She won awards in high school track, and she was the women’s track captain for three years.

She finds great joy in cooking and takes every opportunity she can to practice her skills. Clark — who learned to cook from her father, Elliott Clark — says being in her kitchen “gives a little amount of peace” and the flexibility to create whatever she wants and eat it, too. At home, she is known for her Mickey Mouse cinnamon pancakes.

Clark is majoring in English and hopes to attend law school, a goal her mother, Aquilla Clark, says Katanna has had since childhood.

Next fall, Clark will take the head desk attendant position at Wolpers Hall.

She says she tries to carry into all she does “a want to live, strive, survive” and a desire to achieve.

He’s an activist...

Kevin Hallgren

Be it the creation of materials using pulsed electricity or equal rights for gay men and lesbians, Kevin Hallgren is not afraid to tackle complicated issues.

Hallgren co-founded Mizzou Students for Gay and Lesbian Equality in 2004. Though organizations that addressed these issues existed before, Hallgren said he did not think any specifically addressed the political aspects of those issues.

“There should be a venue for people interested in gay-rights activism on campus,” Hallgren said. As co-president of the group, Hallgren helped organize the same-sex marriage rally in Speakers Circle in April 2005 as well as October’s “Live Homosexual Acts,” which aimed to show that “homosexuals are the same as everyone else ... the gender of the person you love is the only difference,” Hallgren said.

He was also involved in organizing the April event “God Hates Shrimp.” The event took aim at religion-based anti-gay beliefs.

When not at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center, where he’s worked for the past two years, Hallgren can be found at MU’s Pulsed Power Laboratory. A junior studying electrical engineering, Hallgren is conducting honors research on the creation of new materials using pulsed electricity.

Though much of his free time is spent on his socio-political and scholarly interests, he manages to find time to pursue cooking and enjoys taking a stroll or jog around town.

Although his long-term plans are undecided, Hallgren said he hopes to leave the Midwest and explore other parts of the country and world. He said he thinks he will continue being involved with gay and lesbian equality no matter where he goes.

“Everywhere you go,” he says, “there’s the opportunity to educate people.”

He’s an intern...

Rob Smithson

Rob Smithson didn’t go home over Thanksgiving break, and he didn’t go home for spring break either. Instead of eating turkey in November, he and 12 friends piled into three cars and drove south to help with hurricane relief. Over spring break, he skipped the parties and did it again.

An international intern for the MU chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ, Smithson and fellow crusaders drove to Louisiana to aid Katrina victims. It was such an uplifting experience, Smithson returned — this time with 112 students and two charter buses.

“There was so much more that needed to be done,” Smithson said of his decision to organize a larger trip over spring break.

As an intern, Smithson plays a key role in Campus Crusade operations. He plans meetings, organizes trips and retreats, and mentors students in a practice called “discipleship” — listening to student concerns and personal problems and offering advice from an experienced perspective.

“It’s basically life with someone,” said Crusade service master of ceremonies Heather Saenz. “It’s hanging out with them, going through stuff with them, talking to them, that kind of thing.”

Smithson, 23, who graduated from college in July, first attended MU as a study-abroad student from the University of Reading in England. He was invited to intern with Campus Crusade in Columbia after he graduated.

“I was the first person sent from England to the United States as an intern in Campus Crusade,” Smithson said.

Smithson intends to stay at MU for two years before moving on. From there, he plans to stay on staff with Campus Crusade and possibly move to Colorado, which he fell in love with during a retreat over winter break.

Otherwise, Smithson might return home.

“I would like to go back to England and join the police,” he said.

She’s a yoga instructor...

Terry Wilson

Familiar faces gather inside Studio C to escape the rather hectic activities of everyday college life. Preparing to find a deep relaxation within the walls of the Mizzou Student Recreation Center, students await the beginning of class. Their attention is drawn to the front of the room, where Terry Wilson will lead them in yoga.

For the past five years, Wilson has taught yoga free of charge through the Student Health Center.

“Yoga has been a major intervention,” said Wilson. “College students have gravitated toward yoga for stress management.”

Teaching yoga is only one part of Wilson’s expertise. She also is involved with nutritional counseling, Sexual Health Advocate Peer Education, teaching a mindfulness-based stress reduction class and co-chairing a committee that focuses on how a student’s health supports learning.

“I have been in the health field for over 32 years, received a master’s in health education, and one of my major areas of passion is stress management,” she said.

Many of the areas in which Wilson is involved deal with stress management. Through her teaching, she tries to provide outlets to discard unneeded stress.

“Stress is never-ending,” she said. “Yoga and the mindfulness model seem to be really effective.”

Wilson applies what she knows to her own life.

“I like the more traditional yoga to grow and get to know my mind and body,” she said.

Wilson tries to keep stress out of her life by starting each day with yoga. From her experiences, she has found the relaxation she wishes to share with others.

She’s an environmentalist...

Liz Kindel

Liz Kindel, an MU junior psychology and sociology major, would say she is just an average twenty-something.

“I’m a heterosexual, white female that doesn’t have any drama or anything out of the ordinary hanging over my head,” Kindel says. “I’m mostly just incredibly boring.”

Nonetheless, she has many attributes that set her apart from the crowd — for instance, her choice of dress. “I would describe my clothing style as ‘so ugly, it’s cute,’” Kindel says while sporting a pink and green tank top, a belt high around her waist and her signature lilac ballet flats.

Her favorite article of clothing is one she made during winter break.

“It’s a tunic that is made of flannel fabric with ugly cats on it,” she says. “Oddly enough, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it.”

As a firm believer that one’s trash is another’s treasure, Kindel finds most of her clothes at secondhand shops and thrift stores in the area.

“I rarely pay full price for anything — or buy anything new, for that matter,” she says.

Although updating her closet might not cost as much as it would for some other students, Kindel has a side job to support some of the costs of student life.

When away from school, she works at a second-run movie theater where tickets are $2.50 per show; she’s had the same job for the past 5½ years.

Kindel says that, if she’s passionate about anything these days, it’s recycling.

“I recycle on my own but have been known to fish in trash cans for bottles that people are too lazy to recycle,” she says.

She is also a member of Sustain Mizzou, a student organization focusing on public awareness and local action regarding the environment. Every Thursday, Kindel and her friends clean up litter on campus.

“We call ourselves the Planeteers,” says Kindel.

Kindel says she’s known for a long time that she wanted to be a psychologist.

“Somehow, I must have seen a psychologist on some TV show — a trashy one, I’m sure,” she says. “And I knew that’s what I wanted to be.”

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