The College is administered by a professional staff who are engaged in both academic and management affairs. Their years of experience in their roles vary widely, but collectively they present a carefully constructed team of professionals who are dedicated to the success of our students.
Dr. J.D. Bowers has thirteen years of experience in Honors teaching and administration, and nearly three decades of professional experience in higher and secondary education. He is passionate about making sure that honors students at MU succeed in their academic and co-curricular pursuits.
He holds a Ph.D. and MA in history from Indiana University and a BA in government from The College of William & Mary in Virginia, is a 2005 recipient of a Fulbright Teaching Award, the recipient of two awards for outstanding international teaching, the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (NIU), and the 2017 Ann Covington Award for Mentoring, from MU’s Fellowships Office.
In addition to his role as director of MU’s Honors College, Dr. Bowers is a faculty affiliate in the Black Studies Department and also in the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy (KICD).
He maintains an active scholarly career, leading study abroad programs, teaching courses, and conducting research. Over the past six years he has led a program of study, in partnership with The Hague University of Applied Sciences (Den Haag, Nederland), in examining the dimensions of post-genocide justice and conflict resolution, has taught numerous Honors Tutorials, and teaches an undergraduate survey course on genocide.
He is currently working on a book manuscript exploring the last fifty years of the unresolved Cyprus conflict, including the religious, social, economic, political, cultural, and health and wellness facets of the failed reconciliation processes. He is also writing several articles on the intersectional dimensions of genocide, as well as co-authoring a piece on the student development and global awareness aspects of study abroad.
He remains globally active on the political and social dimensions of genocide, including as an invited expert and member of the ICC Scholars Forum, with additional training in peace and conflict resolution by the International Center for Transitional Justice (New York City) and the International Catalan Institute for Peace (Barcelona, España).
When he has a chance, he also teaches and does research on the social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of food and drink, most notably BBQ and bourbon, and has routinely co-taught one of the most popular courses in the Honors College, BBQ: Cuts, Consumption, and Culture, out of which he is currently working on several projects, including a manuscript and several articles.
He is the founder and director of the Genocide and Human Rights Institute, an on-going scholarly collaboration of academics, teachers, researchers, and activists in the field. And he was a co-principle investigator on a number of Teaching American History Grants, totaling over $4.3 million in research funds, between 2005 and 2015.
He lives in and is actively involved throughout the Mizzou and Columbia communities, along with his wife, Dr. Kristy Wilson Bowers, a professor of History at MU, and two daughters.
A winner of the William T. Kemper Award, a Purple Chalk Award, and a WI Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching, Dr. Rachel Harper is the Associate Director of the Honors College and the Coordinator of the Honors Humanities Series. She has taught at MU since 1996 and in the Humanities Sequence since 1998.
Originally from Champaign, Illinois, Dr. Harper holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Missouri and a B.A. in English and Spanish from Illinois Wesleyan University. Before becoming the Associate Director of the Honors College, she was the Director of MU’s Writing Center for ten years. Currently, she is working on a critical edition of Jean Kenyon Mackenzie’s 1928 novella The Trader’s Wife and various articles related to tutoring writing and teaching, including ones on applying acting theory to tutoring with Dr. Greg Foster and on the ending of Don Quixote that was inspired by her teaching in the Humanities Series.
When she’s not doing all of the above or serving on a million committees, she’s chasing her three small children, going to MU football games with her husband Jeff, and drinking coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
Megan Boyer originally from Jefferson City, Missouri received her Bachelor of Arts from Saint Mary College in Leavenworth, Kansas and majored in English. She has been with the Honors College since 2005, first as an Advisor and now as Assistant Director. Passionate about working with students, Megan earned her Master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Central Missouri State University. After leaving CMSU, Megan worked as a Residence Hall Coordinator at Mizzou for two years. Megan’s two major hobbies are film photography and performing as a blues vocalist with the Megan Boyer Band. Megan advises students with last names A-L.
Kristina Bradley is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and attended MU, with a double major in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies. As an undergraduate, Kristina was a student in the Honors College and actively involved on campus. After working in Undergraduate Admissions, she continued her education at MU, receiving a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology, with an emphasis in Career Psychology and Development. With a passion for student affairs, she has gained experience working in the MU Career Center, Residential Life, Graduate Student Services, and with high-achieving students in the MU Fellowships Office. Kristina is the newest member of the Honors College advising team, and advises general Honors students with last names M-Z.
MedOpp Program Manager and Chief Health Professions Advisor
Susan Geisert is originally from Kearney, Nebraska. She received her B.S. degree in Journalism—News Editorial and her M.S. degree in Mass Communications from Oklahoma State University. Susan worked as an Academic Advisor for the School of Journalism at OSU for 15 years before moving to Columbia. Susan now advises Pre-Health Professions students with last names M-Z.
Associate Health Professions Advisor
Darcy Holtgrave completed a B.A. in English from Eastern Illinois University, an M.F.A. in Poetry from George Mason University, and a PhD in Folklore from the University of Missouri. Her research interests include health belief systems, narrative theory, and online communities; a portion of her dissertation research, an exploration of YouTube vlogs about bipolar disorder, appears in the edited volume Diagnosing Folklore: Perspectives on Disability, Health, and Trauma. In her spare time, Darcy enjoys taking classes at the Craft Studio and punching trees in Minecraft. She advises Pre-Health Professions students with last names A-L.
Scholars & Fellows Coordinator
Born and raised in Columbia, Ava has been a lifelong Mizzou Tiger. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from MU and then went on to attend DePaul University in Chicago, graduating with a Master of Science degree in non-profit management. While in graduate school she held an internship at the Adler Planetarium in the Office of Advancement. From that role she gained experience in fundraising and was hired at the Illinois Institute of Technology on the stewardship and donor relations team. There she managed over 300 donor funded scholarships and helped to steward friends and alumni of IIT through events on campus.
In the summer of 2015, Ava returned home to Columbia. For the next two years she worked in the Office of Advancement at Mizzou on the talent management team, the group in charge of hiring and training the development staff at MU. In the summer of 2017, she came on board at the Honors College as the Scholars and Fellows Coordinator. In this role she is responsible for the leadership and development programming for undergraduate participants in thirteen research, artistry, and leadership programs through the Honors College.
Sarah is a born-and-raised Columbian who only betrays the Midwestern tradition of humility when bragging about her love of the Midwest. Sarah earned her BA in Linguistics from the University of Colorado at Boulder before serving for two years as an AmeriCorps member at a youth empowerment organization in the mountains of West Virginia. It was there that she experienced firsthand the power of community, education, and the infinite potential of young people. She recently moved back to her hometown where she is excited to engage more deeply with the town and community that raised her. In her role in the Honors College as Administrative Assistant, Sarah coordinates prospective student visits, processes applications, plans events, and works with Dr. Bowers on various tasks and projects. In her free time, she is most likely to be found quoting Braveheart, forcing baked goods onto friends and family, and wishing it was fall already.
Hannah Guerrero is a Moberly, Missouri native. She attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. She earned her B.A. in General Studies, with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. She moved back to the Columbia Area in 2015. She is the newest employee to join the Honors College. Her duties primarily serve the MedOpp Program and the Missouri Scholars Academy. In her free time, she dabbles in photography. Her hobbies include reading, writing, watching old movies, and spending time with her family. She married her High School Sweetheart and they are enjoying living in Columbia.
Coordinator - Cherng Global Leadership Academy
Cary is currently pursuing his MA in the Missouri School of Journalism, after having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (2010) from University of Memphis, and his J.D. in 2013 from the University of Tennessee.
With the Honors College, Cary is developing and leading the Cherng Global Leadership Academy – a ten day residential summer camp focused on civic engagement, leadership, and global service as a complement to the College’s ongoing commitment to secondary education for highly talented and accomplished students.
Hailey Hauldren is a junior at MU pursuing a Journalism major with an emphasis in Strategic Communication and a minor in Spanish. She is originally from Glenview, IL. Hailey is currently serving as the communications intern for the Honors College, a position she especially enjoys because she is also a member. When she’s not working on projects at the J-Library, Hailey is usually reading in her pajamas, hanging out with her friends, or facetiming her dog.