Fellowship Office changes leadership

The office is in place to help students apply for scholarships and fellowships.

With former state representative Vicky Wilson stepping down as Fellowship Office Director, Tim Parshall took over the office Thursday.

The Fellowship Office has been serving MU since 2005, assisting students in applying for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships. Truman Scholar Kam Phillips credits the office for helping her become a part of the fellowship.

“They were very hands-on with my application process and were able to transform my application into a winning one,” she said. “They really are the best-kept secret on campus that shouldn’t be a secret.”

Parshall, who was previously the associate director of the Assessment Resource Center, said he saw the opening as an opportunity to get back to doing what he loves.

“The job offered me a chance to work with students again, something I haven’t been able to do for about five years since I stopped teaching,” he said.

Parshall said he assured there wouldn’t be many dramatic changes to the Fellowship Office in the foreseeable future.

“I don’t see the need for too many changes," he said. "Vicky had great direction when she started this, and I don’t see the need to stray away from that. The biggest difference between me being director from when Vicky was here is that I’ll be working full-time.”

Even though Parshall said he doesn’t want change, he does want to see some serious expansion. The office is on the second level of Lowry Hall and it only has three staff members.

“I do want to try to grow the program out so that we can help more students, possibly adding more people to the staff and get a larger office,” Parshall said.

Since earning his master’s degree in English literature from MU in 1976, he has been an integral part of the university staff. He was the coordinator for Educational Assessment from 1987 to 1992, assistant director for Research and Education Service from 1992 to 2007 and served the last five years as associate director of the Assessment Resource Center.

His family is also deeply rooted in the university, with his wife Lynn earning her master’s degree from the Sinclair School of Nursing and his daughter attending as a graduate student.

Joining Parshall on staff will be Shanetha Thomas as the graduate assistant and Student Assistant Sarah Ekart, a four-year veteran with the Fellowship Office.

During the brief break between Wilson’s retirement and Parshall’s induction, Ekart played the role of director.

“We need to be there to help the applicants at all times,” Ekart said. “We can’t just stop, no matter what the reason.”

Ekart said she was sad to see Wilson go, but she understood why.

“The woman has done everything in life, and she felt that it was time to move on and go be amazing at something else,” Ekart said.

Nonetheless, Ekart said she is very excited about Parshall taking over.

“I feel that he has a lot to bring to this office,” Ekert said. “Right now, we’re just trying to get our name known.”

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