As each new initiate stepped forward to sign their name in the official record book, a list of their accomplishments was read aloud.

From campus and community involvement to academic scholarships and athletic records, the 41 students and four faculty and staff members welcomed into the Golden Crest Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa on Sunday, Nov. 15, represented an elite group at Missouri Southern.

“Your actions and accomplishments you have achieved so far have led you do this point,” said Darren Fullerton, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, during his remarks to the new initiates.

The Missouri Southern chapter of the national leadership honor society was established in 1986 with 20 students and three faculty members. In the years since, around 800 members have been inducted.

“Less than 1 percent of the student body is eligible to be selected for membership in this organization,” said Fullerton. “I think those numbers speak for themselves.”

The ceremony, which was held in Billingsly Student Center’s Connor Ballroom, was socially distanced and streamed live over Facebook so that friends and family members could watch. The 2020 ceremony featured a larger group of initiates than in past years, as membership was recently opened to sophomores in addition to juniors and seniors.

Membership in ODK is based on exemplary service, leadership, scholarship and character. It recognizes leadership in five areas: Scholarship; athletics; campus and community service, social and religious activities, and campus government; journalism, speech and mass media; and creative and performing arts.

Jordan Gibson, a senior biology/pre-physician’s assistant major, is the current president of the campus chapter, said her membership in ODK for the last year has been a “phenomenal” opportunity to work closely with other campus leaders.

“It’s amazing to be with these people who serve the community so well,” Gibson said. “To get to stand beside them and create opportunities for us to serve better and be leaders on campus is so exciting.”

ODK was founded Dec. 3, 1914, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., by 15 student and faculty leaders. There are currently more than 300 active circles at colleges and universities across the United States.


The new ODK initiates are:



Haylee Pyburn, psychology



Fort Scott

Rebekah Sweyko, biology (pre-med)

Kansas City

Christine Ibeagi, health promotion and wellness


Madison Nagel, biology (pre-med)




Sierra Wilson, accounting

Jackie Marshall, education (speech/theatre)

Carl Junction

Austin Rose, finance/management

Ashlyn Pope, early childhood elementary education


Tyler Bellairs, international and political affairs

Emily Lane, social work/ELL

Marady Anderson, international and political affairs


Jordan Banker, biology (pre-med)

Ojurere Shonekan, computer information science


Katelyn Anderson, biology/computer science

Kylie Atkinson, biology (pre-veterinary)

El Dorado Springs

Jenna Watkins, elementary and early childhood education


Kamryn Marie Graff, health sciences (dental hygiene)


Taylor Boyett, nursing

Emma Willerton, management, marketing and HR

Cooper Anderson, finance

Katherine Spear, biology (pre-med)

Rachael Gopalakrishnan, biology

Sarah Thompson, psychology

Ximena Figueroa, management

Shelby West, biology (pre-med)

Sara Manley, social work

Nicholas Staus, international and political affairs

Lake Saint Louis

Avery Aschenbrenner, biology (pre-med)


Cade Winfrey, biology (pre-med)


Brent Olson, economics/management

Oak Grove

Corinne Gould-Cleveland, criminal justice administration/French


Byron Stevens, international business/marketing


Cheyenne Boos, accounting


Myka Masters, biology (pre-med)


Abbey Calcote, health promotion and wellness

West Plains

Ashlynn Vanatter, biology (pre-med)




Chloe Maye, biology (pre-med)




Josephine Landwehr, biology (pre-med)


Syeda Insia Mustafa, biology (pre-med)

The faculty and staff initiates are:

Dr. William Delehanty, associate professor of political science

Becca Diskin, director of financial aid

Lorinda Hackett, interim dean of the College of Education

Dr. Elka Howe, chair of the Engineering Technology Department