Southeast Students Honored with Power of Women Scholarships


Ten Southeast Missouri State University students were honored with scholarships today during the annual Power of Women luncheon.

The recipients of the Power of Women Scholarship are Taylor Alexander of St. Louis, Missouri; Renee Bailey of Perryville, Missouri; Sydney Driscoll of Jonesboro, Arkansas; Rachel Fox of Nashville, Tennessee; Shannon Kobal of St. Charles, Missouri; Mahala Landeros of Sullivan, Missouri; Sarah Monteiro of Jackson, Missouri; Michelle Otte of Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Sadie Roy of Trenton, Missouri; and Heather Smallwood of St. Louis.

The Power of Women Scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate a passion for a life of service, are attending Southeast full time and have completed at least 30 credit hours with a minimum 2.75 grade point average. Each recipient submitted an application demonstrating significant academic achievement, involvement at the University and commitment to volunteerism and community service. The Power of Women Scholarship Committee selected the recipients based on these factors as well as their future aspirations for success in their career and personal life.

The Honorable Abbie Crites-Leoni, U.S. magistrate judge and president of the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association, and Shauna Hoffman, vice president of marketing and business development at SoutheastHEALTH, presented the scholarships. In its seventh year, the annual Power of Women luncheon connects female students at Southeast with opportunities, women mentors and resources in the community. The luncheon highlights philanthropists, entrepreneurs and extraordinary women of Southeast. Tricia Reinhart, a 1981 Southeast graduate and retired sales management executive, served as the keynote speaker.

Reinhart encouraged Southeast students, alumni and attendees to plant seeds of intention by using their unique gifts and abilities to help others’ dreams come true and become the people they are meant to be.

“Figure out what you can do and do it often,” Reinhart said. “I want us to be really supportive of one another and opt in to doing whatever you can do and opt out of what you can’t. Use your gifts to help others achieve their goals. There is a great power when we all come together to generate a harvest.”

Taylor Alexander

Alexander graduated from Southeast in fall 2107 with a Bachelor of Science in biomedical sciences. She was a member of Southeast’s Student Medical Society, the Iota Sigma Chapter of Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society, Missouri Delta Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta Health Professional Honor Society, Zonta Golden Z Club, the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Student Alumni Association. Alexander, who plans to pursue her master’s degree, hopes to become a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon and start a nonprofit charitable foundation to raise awareness and funding for congenital heart defects in children. Alexander is the daughter of Tarron and Stephanie Alexander of St. Louis, Missouri, and is a 2013 graduate of Metro High School.

Renee Bailey

Bailey is a senior majoring in social work. She is a member of Southeast’s Student Social Work Organization and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s Center for Public Trust Ethics Organization. She is a volunteer for Project Homeless, Backstoppers, Inc. and the American Red Cross. Bailey, who graduates this May, plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work. She hopes to one day work with children and families. She is married to Robert Bailey Jr., and is the daughter of William and Pamela Cissell of Perryville, Missouri. She is a 1995 graduate of St. Vincent High School.

Sydney Driscoll

Driscoll is a senior majoring in dance. She is community service chair of Southeast’s University Dancers United and has organized performance visits to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and nursing homes in the Cape Girardeau area. She is a member of National Dance Educators Organization, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Driscoll, who graduates this May, has accepted a full-time position as the ballet and curriculum director at the Art of Motion dance studio in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She is the daughter of Scott Driscoll of Crofton, Maryland, and Heather Driscoll of Jonesboro, Arkansas. She is a 2014 graduate of Jonesboro High School.

Rachel Fox

Fox is a junior pursuing majors in political science and global studies. She is president of Southeast’s Presidential Ambassadors; vice president of Redhawks Rising; Resident Assistant in Towers North residence hall; and student employee in the Office of the President at Southeast Missouri State. She is a member of Southeast’s Student Organization of Latinos; the Campus Outreach Ministry; and the worship team and bible study of City Church of Cape Girardeau. She is a recipient of the Ann Draughon Matthews Philosophy Award and was a student representative at the 2017 Missouri Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. Fox, who expects to graduate in May 2019, hopes to become a U.S. foreign service officer or work with a sex-trafficking eradication organization. She is the daughter of Coleen Fox of Nashville, Tennessee, and is a 2015 graduate of Romeoville High School.

Shannon Kobal

Kobal is a junior pursuing a major in corporate communications and a minor in hospitality management. She is vice president of new member education for Southeast’s Beta Xi chapter of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority; and student ambassador and orientation leader for Southeast’s New Student Programs. She is an Emerging Leaders graduate and facilitator, served as a Camp Redhawk nest leader and completed Southeast’s President’s Leadership Academy. She is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, National Society of Leadership and Success, and Catholic Campus Ministry. She is a recipient of the St. Louis Alumnae Panhellenic Association Scholarship, and was named Southeast’s Order of Omega Sophomore of the Year Award and Beta Xi chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma’s Sister of the Year Award. Kobal, who expects to graduate in May 2019, plans to pursue a master’s degree in higher education administration at Southeast and hopes to work in an admissions office at a university in Missouri. She is the daughter of Steven Kobal of Wentzville, Missouri, and Karen Kobal of St. Charles, Missouri. Kobal is a 2015 graduate of Duchesne High School.

Mahala Landeros

Landeros is a senior pursuing a major in biology, wildlife conservation, and a minor in childhood development, childhood trauma and outcomes. She is president and co-founding member of Redhawks Rising, a Resident Assistant and a student employee in Campus Life and Event Services, and in New Student Programs. She is an Emerging Leaders graduate and facilitator, completed Southeast’s President’s Leadership Academy and is a volunteer for Royal Family KIDS camp. She has served as a Student Government Association senator and executive co-chair of Student Activities Council. She is a member of Southeast’s Jane Stephens Honors Program and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. She is a recipient of Southeast’s Student Life Achievement Award. Landeros, who graduates this May, plans to become a naturalist for a state or national park, and work with abused and neglected foster children as a camp director. Landeros is the daughter of Tony Landeros of Sullivan, Missouri, and Lydia Lewis of Sullivan, Missouri. She is a 2014 graduate of Sullivan High School.

Sarah Monteiro

Monteiro is a senior pursuing a degree in international business and a minor in business law. She is president of International Business Club, a Student Government senator for the College of Business and a member on the Student Advisory Council. She is a member of the Jane Stephens Honors Program and was a participant in Southeast’s 2017 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) program. Monteiro, who graduates this May, plans to pursue a Master of Business Administration and a juris doctorate in international law. She hopes to become a lawyer or business consultant for a multi-national company. Monteiro is married to Stephon Gant, and is the daughter of Neucila Cavalcante Da Rocha and Francisco Augusto Carlos Monteiro. She is a 2006 graduate of Renascença School in Caçapava, Brazil.

Michelle Otte

Otte is pursuing a Master of Science in nutrition and exercise science. She is a graduate teaching assistant with the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, and a volunteer for Kids Against Hunger of Southeast Missouri and the American Heart Association. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society and Southeast’s Health and Wellness Association. She is the recipient of the Burchell Grant Allied Endowed Scholarship and the Cape West Rotary Working Student Scholarship. Otte, who expects to graduate in May 2019, hopes to become an adjunct professor at a university and continue to work as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Otte is the daughter of Joseph Otte of Jackson, Missouri, and Mona Chamness of Millersville, Missouri. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Southeast in 2004 with a double major in German and anthropology and a minor in French, and Summa Cum Laude from Southeast in 2017 with a major in health management, exercise science option. She is a 2000 graduate of Jackson High School.

Sadie Roy

Roy is a junior pursuing a major in agriculture education. She is a member of Southeast’s Collegiate FFA, Agriculture Club and Livestock Show Team. She is a member of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Green Hill, Missouri, chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Wesley United Methodist Church in Trenton, Missouri. She is a volunteer for Relay for Life and Disabled Athletes with Grundy Support Dawgs. She has earned a Missouri State FFA degree and an American FFA degree, and has been named to Southeast’s Fall 2016 and Fall 2017 Dean’s Lists. Roy, who expects to graduate in May 2019, plans on being an agriculture teacher and advisor. She hopes to one day start up an agriculture and FFA program in an inner-city school. Roy is the daughter of Scott and Cindy Roy of Trenton, Missouri, and is a 2016 graduate of Trenton High School.

Smallwood is junior from St. Louis, Missouri, pursuing a major in international business with a minor in integrated marketing communication.

The seventh annual Power of Women event was sponsored in a collaborative effort by the Southeast Missouri University Foundation, Southeast’s Department of Athletics, Southeast Student Government and SoutheastHEALTH.

This year’s event is also sponsored by community businesses including Southern Bank, Edward Jones–Cheryl Mothes, Bold Marketing, Fox 23 My 49, River Radio, Chartwells and many others.

For more information about the Power of Women Scholarship and luncheon, visit

** Photo unavailable for Heather Smallwood

Top Photo Caption: From left are Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University; Southeast students Michelle Otte, Sarah Monteiro, Renee Bailey, Rachel Fox, Shannon Kobal, Mahala Landeros and Sydney Driscoll; and Tricia Reinhart, 1981 Southeast graduate, retired sales management executive and 2018 Power of Women luncheon keynote speaker.