Carnahan Awardees

2024 Recipients

Student Scholarship in Public Service- Lukas Parrish

Lukas currently attends the University of Missouri – Columbia where he is in his final semester of its accelerated Master of Public Affairs program. Outside of school, he serves as a Management Intern with the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) in Kansas City. As part of his work with MARC, Lukas plans and facilitates workshops, presents overviews to regional partners, produces monthly newsletters, and plans networking events. Prior to his time with MARC, he served as a legislative intern with the State of Missouri and a Graduate Research Assistant with the Institute of Public Police. He recently graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Following graduation from his master’s program, Lukas hopes to continue working in local government and aspires to become a city manager.

Lauren Palmer, Lukas’ boss at MARC, told us:

“Lukas is among the most impressive interns I have supervised during my career. He has great instincts, asks thoughtful questions, and produces high quality work. He also lent his vocal talent to sing excerpts of opera and show tunes for a trivia challenge as part of a team-building event. It’s not surprising that Lukas’ team won.”

Student Scholarship in Law – Walter Jackson

Walter Jackson graduated from Wake Forest University in 2020 and currently attends the University of Missouri School of Law. For the past year and a half, Walter has interned with the Cole County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Jefferson City. While interning, Walter conducted legal research and represented the state in preliminary hearings. Walter is involved in many extracurricular activities at the University of Missouri School of Law. He acted as the Treasurer of the Black Law Students Association in 2022, has been a Class Representative for the Board of Governors since 2021, and acted as the Communications Director for the Federalist Society in 2022. Outside of law school, Walter enjoys live music, horseback riding, and going on runs. Upon graduation, Walter plans to join the Army JAG corp.

Dean Paul Litton from Mizzou Law School noted:

“Mizzou Law has been so fortunate to have Walter as part of our community. He is thoughtful in all senses: he thinks deeply about ideas and is so kind and considerate to others. Fellow students gravitate to him because of his thoughtfulness. With his passion for developing his advocacy skills and for serving others and our country, I know Walter will be a successful leader.”

Education – Professor Kathy Kiely

Professor Kathy Kiely has been a tireless advocate for freedom of the press in troubled areas around the world. Professor Kiely holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, a master’s degree from American University, and was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University. She joined the University of Missouri in July 2018 as the Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies. Prior to her work at the University of Missouri, Professor Kiely covered Congress and national politics for USA TODAY, headed Washington bureaus for several newspapers, was a White House correspondent for the New York Daily News, and was an inaugural Press Freedom Fellow for the National Press Club’s nonprofit Journalism Institute. As part of her duties as Lee Hills Chair, Professor Kiely maintains a public presence in international, national, and local media to raise and cultivate awareness of threats to press freedom everywhere. In 2022, Professor Keely was funded by a State Department grant to lead a small team of Missouri School of Journalism professors to Niger to train journalists who labor under restrictions of a sometimes suspicious government and the possibility of kidnapping by terrorists.

As one nominator stated:

“At any given moment, Kathy is working to support journalists in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Mexico, the Philippines, Pakistan, and a handful of other countries. What always stands out is her ability to work persistently on multiple levels for engagement with different audiences. With students especially, she successfully draws them into the global stakes of the issues and people she is introducing them to, while also drilling down on the importance of journalism fundamentals.”

Public Service – Dean Bob Bailey

Dean Bob Bailey earned his juris doctor degree from the University of Missouri in 1979 and joined the University of Missouri Law School’s staff immediately after. While working at the law school part-time, Mr. Bailey served as a Municipal Judge for the City of Columbia from 1983-87. Mr. Bailey continued to work as Associate Municipal Judge until 2005. In 1987 he returned full-time to the University of Missouri Law School where he currently serves as Assistant Dean Emeritus and Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution Senior Fellow. Mr. Bailey has done work as an arbitrator throughout his career and is a member of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service’s Arbitration Panel, American Arbitration Association Panel, and is a NASD Board of Arbitrators member. In 2021, Mr. Bailey served as Co-Chair of the Missouri Bar’s Special Committee on Lawyers of Color. Mr. Bailey was honored with the Legal Champion award by Missouri Lawyers Media in 2022 for his work on the Missouri Bar’s Special Committee. In March of 2023, he was welcomed to the Missouri Military Academy’s Board of Trustees. He’s served in the U.S. Army, helped start Mizzou’s Veteran’s Clinic, chaired the Regional AIDS interfaith Network and served as a commissioner with the National Conference of Uniform State Law on the Veterans Court Drafting Committee.

Former student and current managing partner at Husch Blackwell, Jeff Simon, stated:

“Some say that in addition to passing the Bar Exam, to become a Missouri lawyer you have to know Bob Bailey. He has taught thousands of law students since 1979 and regularly follows up with Mizzou Law graduates to continue his mentoring. He would tell you, however, his most important commitment has been to his wife, Sharon, their two children and four grandchildren.”

Law – Gabe Gore, St. Louis Prosecutor

Mr. Gabriel Gore is an experienced prosecutor and trial attorney. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1994. Mr. Gore was a law clerk to the Honorable John R. Gibson of the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis, served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, and served as Assistant Special Counsel in the Office of Special Counsel for John C. Danforth. Mr. Gore was a partner with the Dowd Bennett law firm, a partner at Bryan Cave LLP, and an associate at Williams & Connolly LLP. After the unrest in St. Louis following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, he served on the Ferguson Commission where he was appointed by Governor Jay Nixon. Mr. Gore served on the Board of Governors at his alma mater, Missouri State University, for nearly 8 years. In May 2023, Governor Mike Parson appointed Mr. Gore as Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis. Within the first few months of being Circuit Attorney, he grew the trial staff by more than 60%, cleared more than half of the pending backlog, and tapped a flood of prosecutors from other jurisdictions who helped get the office back on track.

Edward Dowd, Jr., nominated Gore for this award and stated:

“Gabe’s appointment as St. Louis Circuit Attorney has paid instant dividends. There is a sense of restorative justice in the community. There is hope that St. Louis can once again be a safe place to live, work and recreate. Much of this is because of the public service that Gabe is performing.”

2023 Recipients

Scholarship Winner – Mary Katheryn Davis.

Mary Kathryn Davis is this year’s Carnahan Scholarship recipient. She is a second year Master of Public Affairs student, and a graduate of Mizzou’s Political Science program.

Mary Kathryn is from Kennett, Missouri, in the Bootheel, where she graduated as valedictorian in 2018.

As an undergraduate student, she demonstrated her passion for public service through working on homelessness and poverty on Mizzou Alternative Breaks, including working with Habitat for Humanity in Florida following a hurricane.

Ms. Davis has continued her commitment to service through her time in the Truman School by researching the impact of voting legislation while interning with Representative Emily Weber, who said:

During her internship in 2022, Mary Kathryn was a huge boon for both District 24 and the Missouri House of Representatives as a whole. She’s hard working, self-motivated, and an incredibly bright individual, and we look forward to seeing what she accomplishes in her career”

Supreme Court Judge Patricia Breckenridge – Law

Judge Patricia Breckenridge was born and raised in Nevada, Missouri. At the age of 28, she became the first woman to serve as a judge in Vernon County, was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1990 and has served on the Missouri State Supreme Court since 2007.

Judge Ortrie Smith, also from Nevada, told this story of when she was filing to run for her first judgeship –

On the morning when filings opened Patty arrived at the courthouse before 7:00 to file. When she got there, there were four lawyers sitting on the courthouse steps. Her heart stopped. She thought she would have 4 opponents for her position. Her discomfort was palpable. Then we told her it was just our running club and we stopped by to wish her good luck.

Judge Breckenridge was named Woman of the Year by Missouri Lawyers Weekly, served as Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court from 2015 to 2017, and co-chaired of the Missouri Gender Fairness Committee. During the protests in Ferguson, Chief Justice Breckenridge accepted responsibility for an unfair municipal court system and led the charge for reform.

As one recommender stated:

“Both Governor Carnahan and Judge Breckenridge share deep roots and passions. Both dedicated their entire professional careers in service to the public. Both embraced a life-long commitment to equal justice for all and worked tirelessly to foster this equality. Both have made significant contributions to the advancement of justice for all Missourians.”

Congressman Tom Coleman – Public Service

Congressman Coleman has committed himself to public service throughout his entire career.

Congressman Coleman began his career in public service with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office in 1969. He has represented the people of Missouri both at the Missouri House of Representatives, where he was elected as the first Republican to ever represent Clay County in 1972, and later at the U.S. House of Representatives, where he represented Missouri’s 6th District from 1976 until 1993.

Congressman Coleman has continued his commitment to public service as an adjunct professor and Senior Advisor to the Dean at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at NYU, and at American University. He is also the past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the U.S. Capital Historical Society and is Trustee Emeritus of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. He has also served on the University Council Committee at Yale University, as well as a consultant for the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Task Force on Gender Equity.

Congressman Coleman has also published several opinion pieces critical of the Trump administration and their GOP allies, including a piece that famously called for Trumps impeachment.

Today, much of former Congressman Coleman’s work is in support of organizations aimed at protecting U.S. elections, including serving as an Advisory Board Member for States United Democracy Center.

Mr. Dale Wright – Education

Mr. Dale Wright has dedicated his career to helping promote and support education across Missouri and beyond. Mr. Wright’s work with institutions of higher education and the American Legion Boys State of Missouri has impacted the lives of thousands of Missouri youth and communities.

His nominator noted that

Before his professional achievements and the lasting impact Mr. Wright has made on education in Missouri, when he was just a poor undergraduate college student perusing his degree at Mizzou, “Dale was once a male model for the SEARS Portrait Studio at Columbia Mall. One step above Glamour Shots. That career was not successful.”

After he recovered from that devastating blow, Mr. Wright went on to earn a Master of Public Administration from the Truman School. Over the course of two plus decades supporting institutions of higher education, Mr. Wright has supervised campaigns that have raised over $100 million.

Mr. Wright also volunteers his time with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, a global non-profit with the goal of championing education to transform lives and society. He has also supported Missouri Boys State for more than 25 years, including as a member of the Board of Directors since 2003, and a decade-long tenure as Dean of Counsellors. Mr. Wright first became involved with Boys State in 1993, when Governor Mel Carnahan delivered the keynote address. Today, Mr. Wright embodies the commitment and passion for education that Governor Carnahan shared with that room of young Missourians thirty years ago.

2022 Recipients

Shakealia Finley – Scholarship

Shakealia Finley is this this year’s winner of the Carnahan Scholarship at the Truman School of Public Service. She is an economics educator with a myriad of professional experiences, including serving as a graduate research assistant at the Truman School. Her scholarly interests include economics teaching and learning in urban high highs, economics teacher preparation and education, race and economics, and economic history. Her professional career has landed her at Georgia Perimeter College, Jackson State University, Georgia State University, and Columbia University. While pursuing her doctorate, she has also found time to serve as a volunteer program coordinator for the Red Cross.

Jean Peters Baker – Law

Jean Peters Baker, the elected Jackson County Prosecutor, is the inner of the Gov. Carnahan Public Service Award in the area of law. Jean grew up on a small farm in Osage County. She has degrees from Columbia College, a master’s degree in public administration from Mizzou, and a law degree from UMKC. “Fearless public servant” may be the best phrase to describe Jean. She served as a state representative when she was appointed to be the prosecutor. Jean prosecuted a bishop for failing to report child abuse by a priest. She was named by the Missouri Supreme Court to investigate a high-profile sexual assault in NW MO. Her nominator wrote “Jean is courageously candid about the effect of race in the criminal justice system. Jean share data which unequivocally shows unequal and inequitable outcomes and tries to do something about it.” Most recently, she did something about it standing up and fighting for an innocent man, Kevin Strickland, to be released from jail after 26 years. Echoing Martin Luther King Jr, Jean the press that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Les Wagner – Public Service

Les Wagner has dedicated his entire professional career to caring for people with disabilities. After studying at Mizzou, serving in the Missouri Army National Guard during Vietnam, and then getting his degree at Lincoln University, Les took a job riding minibikes. His first job was a youth program for teenagers using minibikes. He went on to be the director of Boone County Group Homes, Executive Director of the Jefferson County Commission for the Handicapped, Executive Director of Boone County Family Resources, and finally the Executive Director of the Missouri Association of County Developmental Disability Services. He led the charge on locally based case management that is now used by 105 of Missouri’s 114 counties. Les was the first president and executive director of the Missouri Association of County Developmental Disability Services, which collectively has $91 million dollars in tax levy funding. His nominator wrote “the growth and stability of MACDDS is largely attributed to Les Wagner’s guiding hand.” To paraphrase one of the letters in support, “it is my great honor to present Les Wagner the Carnahan Award for devotion of a lifetime of service to some of the most vulnerable Missouri citizens.”

Previous Carnahan Public Service Award Recipients

Willis Jackson Magruder was born on August 7, 1935, in his grandparents’ house in Lentner, MO, population 105.In pursuit of education the family moved to Kirksville, MO, where he attended third grade through high school. He graduated from Northeast Missouri State Teachers College (now Truman State University) 1957.His dedication to teaching started in 1956, when he taught junior high math part time in Hurdland, MO; he knew then that he wanted to serve as a teacher in the public sector for the rest of his life; he succeeded brilliantly. After graduate school, he returned to Northeast (Truman) in 1964 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry, where he taught for 22 years before becoming Dean of the Science Division in 1986. From there he was elevated to Vice President for Academic Affairs from 1989-1994 and to President of Truman State University in 1994, retiring in 2003. Meanwhile, Jack served on countless local, state, and national committees, including chairing the Missouri State Fair Commission. While serving on the A.T. Still University Board of Trustees from 2003-2008, Dr. Magruder was invited to become President of A.T. Still University, retiring a second time in 2012. After a few years of retirement Jack felt the pull of the classroom once again and taught Chemistry part-time at Moberly Area Community College in Kirksville for two years, receiving an Outstanding Teacher Award, thus coming full circle in his career in service to public education. Jack and his wife of 66 years, Sue, live on the family acreage in the home they built in 1966.They are the parents of three children, all graduates of Truman State University, grandparents to 7, with one great-grandchild. Dr. Magruder echoes Governor Mel Carnahan in his final interview who said, “I have had a very wonderful life. I’ve enjoyed both my private life…. And my life as a civic citizen.”

Larry McMullen has had a long career in law representing clients in health care and in product liability cases. He also has taught at the University of Missouri, Columbia School of Law. His contributions to public service through numerous civic and professional associations is remarkable. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Saint Luke’s Home Healthcare and Hospice. He is a member of the Jefferson Club, the University of Missouri Law School Foundation, and he served as co-chair for the “For All We Call Mizzou” campaign. He also has served on many other civic and professional organizations such as the Mizzou Botanical Society Board, the Truman Library Institute, Powell Gardens, and the State Historical Society of Missouri. He has been a lifelong supporter of S. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City and was instrumental in envisioning and building St. Luke’s Hospice House.

Hope Whitehead earned her juris doctor degree from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis in 1990. She began her legal career as a prosecutor at the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. She left the Circuit Attorney’s Office to become Associate General Counsel for the St. Louis Housing Authority, enforcing housing regulations in the City of St. Louis. In 1997, Governor Mel Carnahan appointed her State Supervisor for the Division of Liquor Control. Whitehead has the unique distinction of being appointed by four governors to positions in their administrations. As Judicial Administrator for the St. Louis County Circuit Court since 2019, Whitehead supervises more than 600 employees and an annual budget of approximately $19 million. She is the first African American woman to hold the position in the history of the 21st Circuit, the largest circuit in the state of Missouri. To ensure uninterrupted public access to justice during the coronavirus pandemic, she oversaw the development of numerous court innovations. These include an E-Court, providing litigants with computer access to live courtroom proceedings; the development of a full-time satellite court facility in North St. Louis County; a live-remote information desk; virtual town hall meetings to update members of the legal community on changes in court operations; and outdoor and Zoom weddings.

Roberta Broeker was the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Chief Financial Officer for 12 years and served as Interim Director between May and December of 2015 during a national search for a permanent director. A native of Washington, MO, she joined MoDOT in 1998 after nearly 18 years of service at the Missouri State Auditor’s Office. As the highest-ranking female in MoDOT’s more than 100-year history, Broeker was recognized as a leader with the skills and experience to help guide the department. As Chief Financial Officer and a CPA, she focused on accountability and the wise use of resources, working to ensure the best value for every tax dollar spent. She was an advocate for employees and shared with them her commitment to the value of public service and the importance of personal responsibility. She has also served for several years on the Southeast Missouri State University Foundation Board of Directors, as a member of the audit and finance committee. Broeker retired from her 38-year state service career in 2018.

Angela K. Drake is the Director and Supervising Attorney of The Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law. She also teaches Trial Practice and Pretrial Litigation. She received her undergraduate degree from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1982 and her law degree from the University of Minnesota School of Law in 1985. After practicing complex and class action litigation, as well as insurance coverage and defense for more than 25 years, Angela followed her passion for public service by serving as The Veterans Clinic’s first Supervising Attorney. As an Army Brat herself, Angela takes special joy in working with students to serve veterans and their family members seeking benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, and in her individual capacity as Director of the Clinic, Angela enjoys participating in amicus curiae briefing in cases that impact veterans. The Clinic also hosts an annual symposium on Veterans Day, addressing timely issues such as Post Traumatic Stress, Military Sexual Trauma and Traumatic Brain Injury. Prior to her clinical work at the law school, Angela practiced law as a a shareholder in the firm of Niewald, Waldeck and Brown in Kansas City and as a member of Lowther Johnson, LLC in Springfield, Missouri.

Warren K. Erdman is executive vice president administration and corporate affairs for Kansas City Southern (KCS). Prior to joining KCS in 1997, Erdman served as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Christopher S. Bond of Missouri. He served former Missouri Governor John Ashcroft in the Governor’s office in 1985 and former Missouri Governor Bond in the Governor’s office between 1981 and 1984. Erdman is involved in numerous civic organizations in Kansas City, and public affairs in Missouri and at the federal level. He is a former chairman of The University of Missouri Board of Curators and served as a member of that board from 2005 until 2012. He is a member of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees and served as its real estate committee chairman, and the UMKC Foundation and chairs its Compensation Committee. He is also a member of the Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri Board of Trustees, its executive committee and is a graduate of the College. Erdman serves on the executive committee and board of directors of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and the Kansas City, Missouri Downtown Council.

Sara Parker Pauley serves as the ninth Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation since its formation in 1937. The Missouri Conservation Commission announced Pauley’s selection effective November 1, 2016. A native of Columbia, Pauley received both her law degree and bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia and did post-graduate studies in Australia as a Rotary Fellow. She previously served as Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources since 2010. Her resume also includes her roles as a project manager for D.J. Case & Associates, a natural resources communications firm; as deputy director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources; and as Chief of Staff for the Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives Chief of Staff for the Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives. Pauley also served as an instructor at the University of Missouri’s School of Natural Resources, teaching a course in natural resource policy and administration. She began her professional career with the Missouri Department of Conservation from 1993-1996. And, over the years, though her career path varied, it has never strayed far from her personal desire to be engaged in public service and the stewardship of Missouri’s natural resources.

As chief of staff, Joni Wickham leads the Mayor’s office and provides counsel to the Mayor on a wide range of topics. She started her career in public service campaigning in the tobacco fields of North Carolina. Joni graduated from Meredith College in North Carolina, before earning her Master’s in Political Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has close to two decades of experience in national, state and local politics and an extensive background in strategic communications, public policy and organizational leadership. Her work experience includes serving on the staff of Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, advocating for working families at the Missouri’s Federation of Teachers, and moving the mission of the Missouri Department of Transportation forward by building effective public policy coalitions and community partnerships. She’s an advocate for good government, empowering women in leadership and her husband’s band. Whether it’s advancing the mayor’s agenda, raising a 4-year-old daughter, or keeping tabs on a new pup she brought home from the city’s animal shelter – Joni’s plate is always full.

Joe Bednar’s service for over six years as Chief Legal Counsel for the late Governor Mel Carnahan and Governor Roger Wilson, and as Special Counsel to Governor Bob Holden provides the distinctive foundational core of his Governmental Relations practice. For businesses subjected to government regulations, Bednar has demonstrated remarkable proficiency at guiding business leaders through the regulatory maze to help them establish more effective communications and relationships with government leaders. The keen analysis of the impact of federal, state, and local laws and regulations as viewed through Bednar’s triumvirate of perspectives has resulted in a sound, comprehensive governmental relations strategy that can be effectively and successfully applied to each client’s goals.

Bednar’s atypical experience and exceptional abilities as a litigator, legal counsel to three Governors, and a business and sales leader offer a unique, compelling profile for an attorney in the Governmental Relations practice. Previous to his career in government and law, Bednar established a successful record in the private sector with his leadership positions at the Coca-Cola Company in sales and sales management, national sales training, and college and MBA graduate recruitment.

Dana Tippin Cutler is a partner in her family’s law firm, James W. Tippin & Associates. She graduated from UMKC School of Law in 1989 and from Spelman College with a B.A. in 1986. Dana is a member of the American Bar Association; Jackson County Bar Association; and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. She currently is President of The Missouri Bar Board of Governors (Sept 2016-Sept 2017) and is immediate-past President of The Missouri Bar Foundation. She has served as the Chair of the Diversity Committee (f/k/a Committee on Minority Issues) for The Missouri Bar and was instrumental in starting The Missouri Bar’s Leadership Academy. Dana is a three-time recipient of The Missouri Bar’s President Award for service. Dana serves on and is currently the vice president of and a past-president of the Board of Curators for Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, a gubernatorial appointment. Her community service includes serving on the Boards of Swope Parkway Health Center and Swope Community Enterprises. She is an active member of Concord Fortress of Hope and is the proud mother of three adult sons Keith, Jr., Dean and of three adult sons Keith, Jr., Dean and Austin Cutler and is the partner, in practice and in marriage, of Keith Cutler, Sr.

Jason Klumb was appointed Regional Administrator by President Barack Obama for GSA’s Heartland Region in 2010. As Heartland Regional Administrator, Mr. Klumb oversees all of GSA’s operations in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. He is also responsible for an inventory of 400 government-owned or leased buildings, 1,000 employees, and a budget of approximately $175 million. At the age of 24, he was sworn in as one of the youngest legislators in Missouri history, representing Bates, Cass, and Vernon counties in the state House of Representatives. He later served as Legal Counsel to the Lieutenant Governor and as an Assistant Attorney General. Mr. Klumb is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Air National Guard Judge Advocate General Corps and completed a year-long deployment to Kosovo as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009. In 2013, Mr. Klumb was recognized as the Public Administrator of the Year in the Federal category by the area American Society for Public Administration. Mr. Klumb received a Bachelor of Arts degree from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri; a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri School of Law; and a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics.

Beth Dessem serves as Executive Director of the Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (CASA). CASA volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children by speaking up for their best interests in court and the community. A graduate of Macalester College, Dessem became the executive director in 2002. Since that time, nine new programs have been opened across Missouri. The state office staffs of three provide training, technical assistance, and funding to 22 CASA programs in Missouri. Dessem co-chairs the Missouri’s Children’s Justice Act Task Force and is a member of the Juvenile Court Improvement Project, Children’s Division Program Improvement Plan, and the Child and Family Review Committee. She represented all state offices on the National CASA Association Board for 6 years and served as secretary of the board and chair of the public policy committee. As a CASA volunteer, program director, and now state director, she continues to struggle with the reality of the hardship’s children have to deal with every day in our country.

Major General Stephen L. Danner is a native of Macon County, Missouri. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Missouri–Kansas City in 1977 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law in 1980. Major General Danner enlisted in the Regular Army in 1972 and served as a combat engineer, with the 8th Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division. He joined the Missouri National Guard as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in 1981 serving in the 135th Field Artillery Brigade, 70th Troop Command and 35th Engineer Brigade and Joint Force Headquarters. Major General Danner deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from May 2005 to January 2007. Upon his return, he was assigned as the State Judge Advocate. He was appointed by Governor Nixon and confirmed by the Missouri State Senate as Adjutant General in January 2009. Throughout his career, Major General Danner has received several distinguished military awards. Major General Danner has four children and three grandchildren. He resides with his wife, Kathleen Steele Danner, in Jefferson City, Missouri.

John Beakley has dedicated nearly 18 years to public service – most recently as Director of Human Resources for Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. In this role John managed all aspects of Human Resources with particular emphasis on developing excellent customer service to a wide variety of constituents that depend on the office. Prior to that, John served as a political, legislative and policy advisor to U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan. While working in the U. S. Senate office, he developed and oversaw the recommendation process to the United States military academies. He also designed and supervised the scheduling of events and meetings for Senator Carnahan both in Missouri and Washington. John also served as the Appointments Secretary for Governor Mel Carnahan managing the appointments process for all Judgeships, County Offices, and Boards and Commissions. He effectively worked to increase the number of minority appointments and almost double the number of appointments of women. In all three positions, John managed student intern programs designed to attract new talent, and to encourage high caliber students to consider careers in public service. John is looking forward to continuing his career in public service in Jefferson City.

George Lombardi is responsible for the state’s correctional system, which includes 11,500 staff, 75,000 probationers and parolees, 30,000 inmates, and correctional facilities across the State of Missouri. Under his leadership, the Department has introduced innovative programs to reduce prison violence, improve community re-entry, and reduce recidivism. Lombardi created a program called Puppies for Parole that collaborates with animal shelters and animal advocacy groups in the state. The partnership works to reassign homeless dogs that would otherwise be euthanized and turn them into adoptable pets.

Previous Carnahan Public Service Student Scholarship Award Winners

Caitlin Ung is completing the Master of Public Affairs through the accelerated BA/MPA program with Political Science. She received her BA in Political Science in spring 2020 and will complete her MPA degree this academic year. Caitlin is from O’Fallon, Missouri and has gained considerable public service experience already, having interned with the U.S. State Department, with State Representative Deb Lavender and with U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. She also has been very active during her undergraduate years on campus, holding a leadership position in Alpha Phi Sorority and as a site leader for Mizzou Alternative Breaks.

Julia Goldman graduated in May 2018 from Truman State University with a BS in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. During 2018-2019, Julia served in the Americorps program focused on an elementary outdoor classroom and learning garden. Julia is interested in policies surrounding food, energy and forest resources. Julia’s goals are to work in the nonprofit sector related to environmental awareness, sustainability, food security, or climate change.

Steven Chaffin served as the Executive Director of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, 2016 through 2018 advocating for student-friendly public policy in the Missouri General Assembly. He also served as a commissioner on Columbia’s Substance Abuse Advisory Commission, making recommen­dations to reduce underage and binge drinking in downtown Columbia The Mizzou Alumni Association selected Steven to be a member of the prestigious Mizzou ‘18 Class of 2019. Steven has accepted a position as a Research Consultant for the University of Missouri System.

Kasey Schaumburg is the Executive Director at First Chance for Children, a nonprofit agency located in Columbia, MO serving eight local counties. First Chance works to improve kindergarten readiness and decrease the stressors of raising young children. In previous roles, Kasey was the Art Director at Wonderland Camp and Program Coordinator for the Truman School’s Grant Writing Program. When she isn’t working, Kasey volunteers with multiple local agencies and enjoys running on Columbia’s beautiful trails.

Erik Anthes serves in the U.S. Army and has achieved the rank of Captain. Erik served three combat deployments to Iraq, earning the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star Medal and was decorated by the French Republic for combat service. He was appointed Legislative Affairs Chair for the Missouri Student Veterans Association in December 2015, where in 2016 he led the successful effort to amend the Missouri Returning Heroes Act (SB 968), capping combat veteran tuition for undergraduate studies at $50/credit hour and providing in-state tuition for Reserve, National Guard and family of wounded and fallen service members.

Kelsey Kupferer is a public radio and documentary enthusiast who loves to play outside. She is the coordinator of Venture Out, the University of Missouri’s outdoor experiential education program. She also heads teen documentary journalism programs for the True/False Film Fest and Making Waves Youth Radio. Kelsey studied journalism, sociology, and nonprofit management at the University of Missouri. When she’s not working, you can find Kelsey hiking, rock climbing, listening to podcasts, and crafting elaborate practical jokes.

Brett Dinkins has previously worked in the Missouri House of Representatives, including the Speaker’s Office, served on the campaign and transition teams of Governor Greitens, and served as the Legislative Director for the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Brett recently transitioned back to the private sector to work for Victory Enterprises, a national political management/media consulting firm. Brett is actively involved with the American Legion Missouri Boys State program and serves on the executive committee of the Board of Directors for Missouri Community Betterment, the nation’s oldest rural community development nonprofit.

Megan Ogar is currently working as the community relations and events manager for Kendra Scott in activities throughout the state of Wisconsin and partners with local and national nonprofits on fundraising efforts. Megan is a founding member of Make-A-Wish Wisconsin’s young professionals board and volunteers for Kappa Delta Sorority on their national leadership team.

Kathleen Anderson Ratcliff is a Research Associate and Lead Technical Assistance Provider with the Indiana Prevention Resource Center, located within the Indiana University School of Public Health. The team provides support to state-grant-funded communities working to reduce and prevent substance abuse in their communities. In addition to her work at the IPRC, Mrs. Ratcliff also is the Executive Director and founder of Upstream Prevention, a nonprofit in Johnson County Indiana. Upstream Prevention seeks to support systems-level changes to improve the health and wellbeing of Johnson County citizens.

Roshani Mahadevan Schaefer is a founding partner at Global Aid Pro, an international development consulting company that works with governments, NGO’s and corporations around the world to create, evaluate, and manage aid and programming. Previously, Roshani worked as the Program Manager of Humanitarian Affairs at an international nonprofit where she designed, launched, and managed refugee programming in Lebanon and around the world. In addition, she also launched and managed children’s feeding initiatives, agriculture and women’s empowerment programs in Nepal.

Brittany Perrin