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Dr. Kristina Grispino Alexander ’93, ’96, ’99 Associate professor of professional education; returned to Northwest in 2003 I teach because I have always wanted to be a teacher, and I enjoy helping and guiding others so they can accomplish their goals in life. There is nothing in a person’s profession that surpasses a job that is fulfilling, challenging and stimulating each work day, and being a professor at Northwest provides those benefits. Knowing that many of my current and former students are now in decision-making positions across the country and that they can pass on their expertise to help others is evidence to me that my role may have played some part in their success. I came back to Northwest because, as an educator and because I prepare educators, I cannot think of a better place to be than Northwest. With more than 100 years of educating graduates for public and private schools, Northwest has established a reputation of excellence of which I want to be a part. Dr. Ben Blackford ’99, ’01 Assistant professor of management; returned to Northwest in 2009 I teach because of the students. I hope to help them be successful and have the best opportunities they can. I also enjoy seeing students progress through their program and watching them learn to overcome challenges through critical thinking. At every commencement, I am proud of each student whose name I hear that I have had in class. Every time an advisee tells me “thank you” for the help along the way to graduation or a student who asked for a reference gets a job, I am reminded of why I became a professor. It’s one of the best jobs around. I came back to Northwest because I viewed it as a way to give back and thank Northwest for the opportunities and support I had been provided during my time as a student. Rod Barr ’87, ’95, ’09 Instructor of agricultural sciences, returned in 1999 “I am able to give back to an institution that provided me the educational opportunities to be successful. Northwest was the perfect fit for me as an undergraduate student, the perfect fit for me as a graduate student and now it is the perfect fit for me as a faculty member.” Dr. Virgil Freeman ’73, ’91 Associate professor of professional education; returned in 2003 “Northwest is family. The family attitude makes working here not seem like work, but instead I consider it investing in the future of our graduates. The saying ‘Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat’ has stayed with me all of these years, and I still see it today in our graduates. I tell our students to have fun and enjoy life, and being a faculty member at Northwest allows me to do that.” Dr. Christine Corrigan Benson ’89 Professor of mathematics and statistics; returned in 1993 “I have known since second grade that I would be a teacher. I love seeing the look in a student’s eyes when they finally understand something with which they have struggled. I started teaching future and current teachers because I wanted to pass on lessons I have learned about how to reach kids and learn from other teachers so that I could become a better teacher myself.”

Northwest Missouri State University Alumni Magazine, spring 2014

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