Power of Women Luncheon to Empower Professional Women, Female Students


The eighth annual Power of Women luncheon and expo will be held Wednesday, April 10, in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University.

Sponsored in a collaborative effort by the Southeast Missouri University Foundation, Southeast’s Department of Athletics, Southeast Student Government and SoutheastHEALTH, the Power of Women luncheon connects female students with opportunities, women mentors and resources in the community.

“This event brings together extraordinary women to share their experiences and support one another,” said Amanda Lincoln, Power of Women committee member and director of development for the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. “This is great opportunity for the community to celebrate and empower one another, and enhance the future of their next generation of colleagues. Since its inception, 44 students have been awarded the Power of Women Scholarship and more than 2,500 have attended and been empowered by our speakers.”

An expo, featuring local businesses, community groups and various campus organizations, will be held at 10:30 a.m. followed by a luncheon at 11:45 a.m. Community members and Southeast faculty, staff and students are invited to attend.

Kimberlee (Joos) Shaneyfelt, a 1991 Southeast graduate and retired U.S. Air Force colonel, will serve as the keynote speaker with an empowering message entitled “Colors of Strength.”

Shaneyfelt graduated from Southeast with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. In 2002, she earned a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and earned diplomas from the Air Force University in 2006 and National Defense University in 2011.

Kimberlee (Joos) Shaneyfelt

She received her officer commission in 1991 through the Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC) at Southeast and entered active duty service in 1992. She served as an intelligence officer from 1992 to 2015, retiring at the rank of colonel. During her 23 years of military service, she was selected to command on three separate occasions and served in numerous overseas locations, including Korea, Japan, Germany and Saudi Arabia. Shaneyfelt was recently appointed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to a six-year term on the Texas Veterans Commission, which serves as the state-appointed advocate of Texas veterans as they attempt to secure the benefits rightfully earned in exchange for their service in the nation’s armed forces.

Shaneyfelt will share how to find the mental, emotional and physical strength to lead a fulfilled life. These strengths can come from personal goals and will power; from pursuing an education; from the relationships we forge; and from serving others. Throughout her military career, community involvement, family relationships and day-to-day life, Shaneyfelt has fostered her personal strengths and successes and encouraged others to do the same. The power, confidence and strength we build ourselves can lead to amazing achievements and can make a positive difference in our own lives and the lives of others.

During the luncheon, Abbie Crites-Leoni, president of the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association, will present Power of Women Scholarship awards to Southeast students Lauren Cooper of O’Fallon, Illinois; Alexis Dilg of Yorkville, Illinois; Ellen Gieselman of St. Louis, Missouri; Grace Grzywa of Fenton, Missouri; McKayla Hunt of Bell City, Missouri; Johanna Oster of Fenton, Missouri; Naima Peuly of Dhaka, Bangladesh; Emily Prince of Caruthersville, Missouri; Emilia Schempp of Normal, Illinois; and Logan Wascher of Gibson City, Illinois.

The Power of Women Scholarship is awarded each year to women attending Southeast who are full-time students and demonstrate a passion for a life of service.

The Power of Women program for Southeast students began in 2012 and is designed to encourage women – Southeast alumni, businesswomen and community members throughout the region – to support Southeast Missouri State University through service and philanthropy. Through this program, the University Foundation hopes to connect female students at Southeast with financial resources to fund their education as well as opportunities to learn through mentorships, internships and service projects in the region. The Power of Women Scholarship was first awarded in the fall of 2013 and endowed in the spring of 2014.

Tickets for the luncheon are $35 per person or $200 for a table of six (table includes sponsoring two student hosts to attend the luncheon). The luncheon is free for Southeast students who may pick up a ticket in the Campus Life and Event Services Office in the University Center Room 414. Proceeds will benefit scholarships for female students at Southeast.

This year’s event is also sponsored by community businesses including Bold Marketing, Southern Bank, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Fox 23 My 49, River Radio, Chartwells and many others.

Reservations must be made by Thursday, April 4, by calling (573) 651-2259 or registering online at http://www.semo.edu/powerofwomen.