Catalyst Project Leadership Team

The leadership team for our Catalyst Project (2019-2022) consisted of diverse faculty and administrators with a strong commitment to inclusive engagement, and with a solid expertise in science and institutional leadership.

  • Dr. Frank Einhellig, Faculty Emeritus, Provost's Office
  • Dr. Tamera Jahnke, Dean, College of Natural and Applied Sciences
  • Dr. Melanie Carden-Jessen, Senior Instructor, School of Earth, Environment and Sustainability
  • Dr. Theresa Odun-Ayo, Director, Cooperative Engineering Program
  • Dr. Jorge Rebaza-Vasquez, Associate Dean, College of Natural and Applied Sciences
  • Dr. Abby Templer-Rodrigues, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
  • Dr. Nicole West, Associate Professor, School of Special Education, Leadership and Professional Studies

Institutional Background

Missouri State University (MSU) is the second largest university in Missouri and was founded in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School, and it is a comprehensive institution offering nearly 100 undergraduate and 50 graduate programs, including 7 professional doctorates. Our main campus in Springfield has over 24,000 students, making it the institution with more students from Missouri than any other university in the state. The MSU system has three additional smaller campuses - West Plains and Mountain Grove in Missouri and Dalian, in China. MSU has six colleges, and the majority of students in NSF-Approved STEM Fields are in the College of Natural and Applied Sciences (CNAS). Our CNAS departments are Biology, Chemistry, School of Earth, Environment and Sustainability, Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy and Material Science, and a Cooperative Engineering Program in conjunction with Missouri University of Science and Technology, which includes Electrical, Civil and Mechanical Engineering. Except for the engineering program, all CNAS departments offer a master’s degree. In total, there are 1,823 undergraduate and 187 graduate CNAS majors. Psychology, with 997 undergraduate and 88 graduate majors, is in the College of Health and Human Services, and other science departments, including Sociology, Anthropology and Gerontology, History, Political Science and Philosophy and Finance, Economics and Risk Management, with a total of 673 undergraduate and 113 graduate majors, are in the Reynolds College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities or the College of Business.