Vargas Presents 10 Southeast Shout-Out Awards


Sharon Dees and President Carlos Vargas

Southeast President Carlos Vargas recently presented 10 Southeast Shout-Out Awards.

Congratulations to Dr. Sharon Dees, assistant professor of early childhood education, coordinator of Southeast’s early childhood education undergraduate program and coordinator of the Tomorrow’s Teachers Freshman Learning Communities; Heath Hase, EDvolution Center coordinator; Dr. Peggy Hill, professor of physics; Vicki Howell, senior administrative assistant in the Department of Biology; Susan Kendrick, chair of the Department of English and interim director of the University Studies program; Dan Koeppel, PC applications specialist with the Department of

Heath Hase and President Carlos Vargas

Information Technology; Dr. Jim McGill, professor of chemistry and interim director of the Jane Stephens Honors Program; Dr. Lori Mueller, instructor of accounting and coordinator of the Harrison College of Business Learning Community; John Stepp, police officer with the Department of Public Safety; and Carrie Taylor, assistant director of International Student and Scholar Services.

Dees was nominated by Karie Stroder, academic advisor with the College of Education, for her dedication in and out of the classroom to her students and commitment to the academic and personal needs of the students living in Tomorrow’s Teachers Freshman Learning Community. “She is caring and patient,” Stroder wrote. “She cares more for others than she does herself.”

Peggy Hill and President Carlos Vargas

Hase was nominated by a student for being instrumental in the development of the EDvolution Center as a state-of-the-art educational technology center and expanding the center’s resources and tools available to students and educators across the region. He was also nominated for fostering a supportive and encouraging environment for the center’s student employees. The student said Hase keeps his “finger on the pulse of educational technology development enough to continually develop The EDvolution Center” while effectively making use of the team of student employees he has expertly helped to benefit as a result of their work.

Vicki Howell and President Carlos Vargas

Hill was nominated by Laurie Overmann, instructor of mathematics, for her dedication to her students, the University and local community during the Great American Eclipse, including serving on the University’s eclipse planning committee, providing lectures and hands-on science- related activities about the eclipse for University and local community groups, conducting media interviews about the science behind the celestial event, and leading a group of undergraduate students in the Citizen CATE project. “Peggy Hill is a champion of bringing sound science to all,” Overmann wrote. “The excitement she engendered in her audiences of all ages was apparent; her presentations inspired young and old alike. Southeast Missouri State University is fortunate to have such a dedicated female science faculty member, and I, like many of my fellow faculty members, are honored and grateful to have her as a colleague.”

Susan Kendrick and President Carlos Vargas

Howell was nominated by Dr. James Champine, chair of the Department of Biology, for her exceptional efforts on behalf of the University and her indispensable role as administrative assistant to the Department of Biology. She was also nominated for her dedication to Southeast students and for her commitment to helping faculty and staff across the campus. She is an expert on advising, University academic policies and class scheduling; and has been instrumental in working with teaching and research assistants, and in developing the new Bachelor of Science in Health and changes to the core curriculum. “She always takes time to ascertain what is in the best interests of the student,” Champine wrote. He added that he and his biology colleagues deeply admire and appreciate all that Howell does. “She is the face of the department,” Champine said.

Dan Koeppel and President Carlos Vargas

Kendrick was nominated by a student for her commitment to her students’ success and providing personal support and encouragement in and out of her classroom. “She teaches in such a way that students can relate and enjoy literature from hundreds of years ago. Dr. Kendrick does a fantastic job of making long work digestible and understandable,” the student wrote. Kendrick’s dedication allowed this student to find a new minor and internship position to meet her scholarship requirements and continue to attend Southeast.

Jim McGill and President Carlos Vargas

Koeppel was nominated by Laurie Taylor, manager of Kent Textbook Rental, and Cindy Balsmann and Jane Kurre, textbook associates with Textbook Rental, for creating the textbook rental software program and his dedication during and outside of regular business hours to ensure the system runs correctly. He was also nominated for his support of students when rental or return issues arise. “I just have a peace of mind knowing that I can always count on Dan to do his best to help us out whenever we have problems,” Kurre wrote.

McGill was nominated by a student for his commitment to his students’ academic and personal success, and for his constant encouragement throughout her time at Southeast. “What makes him stand out is how much he wants all of his students to succeed and be happy,” the student wrote. “I’ve never had a professor care so much about my well-being. He has the kindest heart.”

Lori Mueller and President Carlos Vargas

Mueller was nominated by Allie Wisker, area coordinator for Residence Life, for her commitment to the success of the Harrison College of Business Learning Community by enhancing the students’ academic and personal experiences through a variety of enriching programs. She was also nominated for her diligent outreach efforts during and outside the academic year to recruit students for the community. “Dr. Mueller is a true joy to work with,” Wisker wrote. “She truly cares about students and put 110 percent into everything she does. I am lucky to work with her and our students are lucky to have her as a teacher.”

John Stepp and President Carlos Vargas

Stepp was nominated by Kenneth Gullett, captain of police operations and assistant director of public safety, for going above and beyond his call of duty to support a student’s effort in cleaning and clearing an area of campus of trash and debris. “Community service action is what I ask of all Department of Public Safety officers, and Officer Stepp has embraced this concept and understanding of his role as a member of the University Police,” Gullett wrote.


Carrie Taylor and President Carlos Vargas

Taylor was nominated by Kevin Timlin, executive director of International Education and Services, for overseeing the implementation of the international student services management software program and creating a communication plan for Southeast’s international students’ personal and enrollment information is accurate and up-to-date. “Thanks to Carrie’s diligence and hard work, she has protected the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) status of numerous students this semester, and in turn has made a huge contribution to the retention of international students here at Southeast,” Timlin wrote.