How has Webster shaped you?

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The Journal team posed the question to current and former students and faculty.

Kristina Richards 1999-Present

Kristina Richards graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. She had transferred to Webster from Truman State University after her freshman year, in search of a bigger community to involve herself in.

One of only two Anthropology majors from her graduating year, Richards has enjoyed working through history and art through her time at Webster and beyond. Richards has worked as an intern with the Missouri Historical Society, and performed archaeology work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Now back at her alma mater, Richards is gallery director of the Kooyumjian Gallery.

“You need to be a citizen of the world, you’re not the world’s citizen,” Richards said. “As an alumna of the Anthropology department, Webster shaped me into a critical thinker, encouraged me to explore world cultures and fostered my desire for greater understanding.”

By Emme Goelz

John Buck 2005-Present

Contributed photo from John Buck

John Buck serves as the associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students at Webster University. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor, instructing undergraduate and graduate students in leadership theory courses. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees in management and leadership from Webster in 2005 and 2009, respectively.

“Webster University has been very fulfilling and shaped me in key ways. First, having the opportunity to visit several international campuses has impacted my worldview,” Buck said. “Being part of a truly global institution means you need to see and think in a broader, more inclusive way… not when it’s convenient, but every day. I’ve also been shaped by the individual students I have had the pleasure of knowing and advising. Leadership education is a passion of mine, and I have loved watching student leaders grow and then enter the world where they make a difference every day. I’m humbled to have been part of that process for so many, helping them grow, promoting access and equity, and fostering a sense of purpose. Those experiences shaped me in ways that keep me motivated to work in higher education.”

By Rayna Friedman

Danielle MacCartney 2007-Present

Contributed photo from

For most of her life, interim dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Danielle MacCartney has been a citizen of the world. From spending time as a child in Iran to taking college classes in France, MacCartney is no stranger to being in a different country. However, MacCartney only thought to put her personal interests in international travel and her professional life together once she accepted a teaching position at Webster in 2007.

“You know, it’s interesting, the mission of the university is to transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. And I feel like the global citizenship part for me has been really transformative, actually, in terms of who I am, how I see the world, the research that I do – all of that.”

By Carrson McDaniel

Kate Wylie 2018-Present

Contributed photo from Kate Wylie

Kate Wylie began teaching in the English department this semester, but her story goes back to the ‘80s when her father taught in the Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts. Her mother eventually also started to teach in the Communications department, and her younger brother obtained a degree from Webster in Mathematics. When it came time for Wylie to attend college, she only applied to Webster. Wylie met her future husband in the English department. In fact, they married on campus in the Winifred Moore Auditorium. Carolyn Brown, then the assistant director of the Communications and Journalism department, officiated the wedding attended by faculty colleagues. Wylie graduated from Webster in 2018.

“Webster helped me find my passion for learning, and the English Department, (especially) the late David Clewell, helped me realize that learning could focus specifically on my passions rather than generic studies,” Wylie said. “I am very grateful for getting my job at Webster right after grad school, and I am extremely thankful for the connections I made in the English department during my undergraduate experience. Webster is everything to me, and Webster truly takes care of every alumnus.”

By Alyssa White

Adam Zanzie Class of 2014

Contributed photo from Adam Zanzie

By the time Adam Zanzie graduated from Webster in 2014, he had already written and directed at least two short films, one of which got him accepted into the David Lynch MFA program at Maharishi International University.

“Webster University has made a huge difference in my life,” Zanzie said. “Before I was accepted into Webster’s film program in 2011, I was an amateur filmmaker who didn’t know the first thing about professional filmmaking, nor did I know what it means to lead a large cast and crew. Webster’s film program provided me with the experience and the connections that I sought to gain from my education.”

By Alyssa White

Joshua Johnson Class of 2020

Photo by Vanessa Jones

When Joshua Johnson graduated in 2020, he left behind a basketball legacy to go down in Webster’s history. Johnson was named the SLIAC Player of the Year and First-Team All-SLIAC in 2020, leading the program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014. After his time as a Webster student, Johnson coached men’s basketball through the 2020-21 season.

“I’d say Webster has allowed me to grow into the man I am today,” Johnson said. “Coming into my freshman year as a quiet and reserved person, I was very nervous as to what to expect over the next four years at the university. I can proudly say that I left as a more mature and confident man. Throughout my time at Webster, I can truthfully say that the most fulfilling part was the relationships that I developed over the years, both with the faculty and my peers. I met some of the most wonderful people in my life at this university who truly inspired me and challenged me to become the best person I could. These bonds I’ve built have lasted well beyond my time at the university, as I am still very close to many of the people I met. Following my time at Webster, I was able to pursue a master’s degree, as well as play basketball overseas. This has allowed me to travel the world and experience things I could’ve never imagined doing. All of this stemmed from my time at Webster and I know that I would not have done any of these things if I didn’t attend the university and meet the people that I did. I’m very appreciative of my experience at Webster and would strongly recommend anyone who is interested in the university to give it a shot.”

By Kellen Furmaniak

Abdulaziz Komiljonov Class of 2024

Contributed photo from Abdulaziz Komiljonov

Senior Abdulaziz Komiljonov is an international student from Uzbekistan studying economics and international relations. He has attended three of Webster’s global campuses: Tashkent, Vienna and the main campus in Webster Groves. He is involved in Webster’s book club and ping-pong club, and is active in helping with other on-campus events. In the future, Komiljonov plans to pursue a career in fintech analytics.

“In my third year of school, I applied to a Study Abroad program and decided to go to Webster Vienna campus, as it was a way to learn about new cultures and new experiences,” Komiljonov said. “It was truly a new experience for me as I stayed in Vienna for five months. [It] was a life-changing experience as I have learned a lot about new cultures, made new friends and connections all over the world, and learned how to look at things from different perspectives. At that point, I understood how Webster’s promotion of global citizenship was making an impact on my life. I have changed my perspective on a lot of things and also saw a better and improved path for the development of both my personal and professional spheres.”

By Michael Friedman

 

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