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Is Lack of 'Soft Skills' Due to Poverty, Generation, or Both?

Deanna McNew works at PenMac in West Plains, Missouri. In a nutshell, she helps job-seekers and businesses connect. But she's noticing a trend: employers are reporting that workers lack so-called "soft skills" – especially timeliness and attendance. I ask her if this happens every day. "Absolutely. Sometimes, the messages are quite long. We have quite a few on our answering machine and several call in. Or clients notify us that so-and-so isn't at work, and, 'Can you see where they're at,'" McNew said. Poverty can play a role in the development and execution of these skills, she said—and transportation is a good example. "Their tires are bald. Their vehicles may not run very well. They've bought a 500 dollar vehicle that constantly needs to be repaired or maintained or something fixed on it," McNew said. Dr. Matt Hudson is the Dean of Technical Education at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield. He says when someone is focused on where they'll sleep that night or how they'll

New Book Tells Story of How a Local Legend Impacted an Ozarks Family

A piece of land north of Springfield is the setting for author Steve Yates' latest novel, "The Legend of the Albino Farm." KSMU's Michele Skalicky sat down with Yates, who now lives in Mississippi but who grew up in Springfield, to talk about his book. "People began telling the story of albino caretakers at a piece of land bordering north Springfield all the way from 1946 onward," said Steve Yates, author of the Legend of the Albino Farm. Those who grew up in and around Springfield have probably heard of the legend surrounding that large piece of property--the legend of the albino farm. The land, which was called Springlawn Farm, was first owned by the Headley Family and then the Sheedys. It was a recreational destination for locals in the 1800's, and postcards were even made depicting the farm. But, according to local legend, the farm had a dark side. It's long been rumored that a caretaker at the farm had albinism and scared people off with a shotgun. Other tales tell of experiments

Rountree News Update February 2017


Women in Tech: Where are they?

As our department begins a new program in speech processing with the students from the local Go Caps program, I couldn't help but notice the lack of women in the group. As I have mentioned before, we are struggling to increase gender diversity within some technical fields, especially physics, engineering, and computer science. We sometimes worry that the university system may be erecting barriers without knowing it. However, with no women in a tech strand of nearly thirty high school students, it is apparent that the issues start earlier that that. In the show we talk about ways we can work to increase the participation of women in these important technical fields.

Empowering the Teaching of Writing

Teaching students how to write is a challenging task. That's why the Center for Writing in College, Career and Community (CWCCC) at Missouri State University developed the Writing and Thinking Conference to empower teachers to improve student writing. Held twice a year, the spring 2017 conference is scheduled for March 3. CWCCC director Dr. Keri Franklin sheds more light on the conference and what participants can expect. The conference fee is $100 for an individual and $360 for a team of four. It includes a choice of three sessions, all materials, lunch and a parking pass. For more information and to register, visit the conference website .

"Girls on Fire" Adds Thursday-Night Performance for SCT Songbook Series

Springfield Contemporary Theatre's Songbook Series presents Springfield native Nedgra Culp in two performances next week. She comes to SCT from her current engagement portraying Aretha Franklin in Branson's "Legends in Concert," and she's joined by two more of Branson's top female vocalists, Chelsie Odom and Rebecca Taylor, to form the trio "Girls on Fire." The original Sunday Feb.19 show is SOLD OUT, so they've added an additional performance Thursday Feb.23 at 7:00pm at SCT Center Stage in Wilhoit Plaza, corner of Pershing and Robberson downtown. Culp says she and Rebecca Taylor came up with the name "Girls on Fire." "We wanted to name the production something feminine, but 'masculine' in the same sense. Our basic message is that we are girls that are intelligent, beautiful, compassionate." The group present a broad mix of big band, disco and R&B. "When we were designing the show, we wanted to make sure it was music that everyone would know some of the songs at least," says

Musician/Filmmaker Patrick Mureithi Featured in MSU's "Shattering the Silences" Series

The Missouri State University Division for Diversity and Inclusion and the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning welcome filmmaker and musician Patrick Mureithi for a special Black History Month event, "Shattering the Silences: Trauma and Healing in the Diaspora", Thursday Feb.23 from 4:00 to 6:00pm in Plaster Student Union Theatre. It promises to be an afternoon of musical healing, storytelling and collective engagement; it's billed as an Afrocentric look at social trauma and healing through a "house concert" musical presentation by Patrick Mureithi with streaming video of how communities can heal from past injustices and how personal traumas may be addressed through this process. Patrick Mureithi says he loves the "house concert" format. "I get to tell stories behind the songs, adn perform songs that are deeply personal to me. And in this particular presentation I'm also going to talk about documentary work that I did in Rwanda that focused on the gathering of ten survivors and

Musician/Filmmaker Patrick Mureithi Featured in MSU's "Shattering the Silences" Series

Weekend Outlook February 17-19, 2017

ARC of the Ozarks will host the ninth annual Hunt and Fish Outdoor Show tomorrow and Sunday (2/18-2/19) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Springfield Expo Center. The event will feature experts on a variety of topics, demonstrations and vendors. Proceeds will benefit the No Limits Summer Camp. KSMU's Michele Skalicky talks with Lauren Holder, Marketing and Communications director for ARC of the Ozarks, about the event. A Night of Art & Soul , part of Missouri State University's Black History Month, will start at 7 tonight (2/17) at the Plaster Student Union. The event will feature music, entertainment and art from the 1990s. All eight Harry Potter movies will be shown this weekend at the Gillioz Theatre during Potterfest. Movies can be seen tonight through Sunday (2/17-2/19). The 20 th annual Great Backyard Bird Count is today (2/17) through February 20. The Springfield Conservation Nature Center's Nature and the Arts Series will feature "Songs of the Ozarks" with Michael Fraser and

The Value of MSU's International Students, Impact of Executive Order on Immigration

"International exchange is a core value and strength of American higher education," says Missouri State University President Clif Smart. He's referring to a letter sent by the American Council on Education, which the school has endorsed. It was delivered on Jan. 31 to the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary in the wake of President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily banning travelers from seven majority Muslim countries and all refugees. On Feb. 9, a federal appeals court declined to overturn a lower court's order suspending the president's ban. Of MSU's 1,700 international students, nine are from the seven countries listed in the order. However, all were in Springfield at the time it was issued. Smart says the school worked quickly to speak with each student face-to-face to account for them, and to make sure they understood the order's ramifications. "Some are graduating soon and frankly were extremely disappointed that family members won't be able to travel here and see that

The Value of MSU's International Students, Impact of Executive Order on Immigration

Why Missouri Lawmakers' Trips to Turkey Are Being Questioned

Missouri lawmakers took trips to Turkey that were subsidized by a group tied to the Turkish Muslim scholar and thinker, Fethullah Gulen, who is now a controversial opposition leader. Such trips are common—and legal, under Missouri ethics laws—but they've drawn the ire of the Turkish government. When Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Representative TJ Berry were approached with an offer to tour Turkey back in 2012, both saw the trip as an opportunity to seek trade and cultural relations, they say. "The state of Missouri has several offices throughout the world. We have an office in Taipei. We have an office in China. So this is an extension of doing the work of the people," Chapelle-Nadal said. "We have an organization located out of Kansas City that was set up by President Eisenhower called People to People. And I sort of viewed it as the same thing: creating cultural ties between different countries," Berry said. Berry said he even made a contact in Istanbul who ended up buying a

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