Graduate Student Spotlight

Meet one of our graduate students in HDFS at MIZZOU!

Andrea Roach

Andrea is a fifth year doctoral student and will join the faculty at California State University, Fresno as an assistant professor this August.

We interviewed Andrea about her research and teaching experiences at Mizzou, as well as her overall life in Columbia. Let’s take a closer look what her doctoral life looks like.

What I liked best about the department was the support to participate in research projects with different faculty members both within and outside of the department. I believe my experiences with different faculty members helped me learn more about how research is conducted and disseminated. What I liked best about Columbia was the community feel that exists, especially in the summer. There are a lot of local events and businesses that make Columbia special. What I liked best about being a grad student was the mentoring that I received from faculty and other grad students. I feel that my relationships at Mizzou have helped prep me to be a faculty member at a university.

The mentoring that I received from my advisor, other faculty members, and other graduate students has been extremely helpful. I was an education major for my undergraduate degree but I think I’ve learned more about teaching in the higher ed setting from my colleagues at Mizzou. I have certainly learned much more about research, thanks to the projects I have been a part of during my 5 year stay at Mizzou.

My advisor and other faculty members have helped me learn what it means to be a faculty member in a university setting. When you start in the program, they say "we treat you like junior faculty here." I believe that is an accurate statement. I was able to make decisions about how to teach my courses and do my research with the guidance of faculty members. They did not make all the decisions for me. So I am starting my new job with the knowledge of how to design and implement quality plans for teaching and research.

The relationship between faculty and graduate students is good. As with any relationship, there are days when everyone gets along well and there are days when there is a little bit of conflict. However, I see my relationships with faculty members as professional and friendly. At the end of the day, we work out our issues and continue to do work together.

There are a lot of opportunities. You can reach out to faculty members who have interests similar to yours and ask to start a research project or join one that is already in progress. Most of the time, they’ll welcome you with open arms.

The last five years have been a journey. There have been moments of joy and sorrow but I have grown as a person, a teacher, and a researcher as a result. I have made life-long friends and colleagues. And I have many memories that will guide me as I navigate my future. If you are considering becoming a student at Mizzou, you’ll likely have a similar experience.

Congratulations, Andrea! We are so proud of you!