Graduating with more than honors
by Kylie Groh
These three students, united by their humble but “go-get-em” attitudes, have etched their names into the list of spring Trulaske graduates. We are proud of their accomplishments and unique stories.
Up against the grades and the waves
After the University of Missouri moved to online classes in the spring of 2020, in the wake of the pandemic, Mitch Burnette relocated to the Sunshine State. In Cape Coral, Florida, he started his own business, TB & Son Charters and Excursions, specializing in jet ski rentals, charter boat rentals and guided snorkeling tours. Guided by Michelle Kemp, director of undergraduate student services for online initiatives, Burnette laid out a plan to graduate with a degree in business administration through Trulaske’s Online BS BA Program. He found that learning about business-to-business relationships and Microsoft Excel in his classes was imperative to running his business.
In late September of 2022, Hurricane Ian struck. The Category 5 hurricane was recognized as the costliest hurricane in Florida’s history, responsible for over $112 billion in damage. Burnette was out on the water the next day, not as a tour guide, but as a hero. He worked with the Coast Guard to rescue residents of the Florida mainland and its surrounding islands. Burnette assisted with hurricane relief for three weeks, taking countless amounts of supplies from island to island until their connecting bridges were repaired.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Ian also threw Burnette’s business for a loop. Transporting wood, generators and countless people asked a lot of Burnette’s boat and he decided to put the business on hold. He currently works as a warranty administrator for Nissan Motor Corporation to fulfill the college’s upper-level BA4500 internship course requirement.
Kemp praises Burnette for his commitment to his education while pursuing professional ambitions.
“Mitch worked smart by utilizing the flexibility of the online program to meet his needs so he could balance his responsibilities and passions, never losing sight of his goals on either front,” she says.
Shayna Crosby stepped into freshman year itching to get involved but overwhelmed by the plethora of opportunities. After attending Clubbin’ Night, the Trulaske College of Business’ activities fair, she took an interest in Global Professionals. She became a member, and by sophomore year, held the marketer role on the executive team. Crosby served as president of Global Professionals for two years after.
Global Professionals introduced Crosby to Jackie Rasmussen, assistant teaching professor of management and director of the MU International Trade Center (ITC). Crosby was inspired by Rasmussen’s career path and recognizes her as a key mentor and profound influence on her college experience.
In fall of 2022, Crosby accepted an internship with ITC. Crosby worked closely with Rasmussen during her ITC internship, and Rasmussen commends her student’s work ethic. “I’m warmed by her smile, inspired by her subtle drive and quest to learn, and excited by what the future holds in store for her,” Rasmussen says.
Crosby graduates this spring with a dual degree in international business and business administration with an emphasis in management and a minor in French. She hopes to work as an international trade consultant after graduation.
“I’m so glad I allowed myself to dive into the different experiences that the Trulaske College of Business hosted because it made the last four years the best years of my life!” she says.
She does it all
Sydney Oberdiek’s education at the University of Missouri is decorated with research projects; certificates across the Trulaske College of Business, the College of Engineering and the School of Medicine; a bachelor's degree and two master's degrees. If her list of academic accomplishments was not jaw-dropping enough, she is also a student-athlete. Oberdiek is an 11-season member of the Mizzou Track & Field Team. She is Mizzou’s No. 3 All-Time in the weight throw (20.92m) and No. 5 All-Time in the hammer throw (62.99m).
This spring, Oberdiek graduates from the Trulaske College of Business with a master of science in business. She is not the first Oberdiek to pass through the university. She followed in the footsteps of her father, Gary Oberdiek, BS Ag ’80. Her uncle, Randy D. Oberdiek, BS Acc’ 84, received the Mizzou Alumni Association’s Faculty-Alumni Award in 2017. Her aunt, Pam Oberdiek, is also a wonderful asset to the Trulaske College of Business through her service on the Crosby MBA Advisory Board. She also serves the university at large in countless ways, including her position as president of the Mizzou Alumni Association from 2011-2012. Pam Oberdiek says she loves to watch her niece compete in a Mizzou uniform.
Oberdiek’s support system runs deep. Her parents, aunt and uncle are avid fans of Mizzou athletics and attend as many of her track and field meets as they can. She also leans on support from faculty. Oberdiek says that the empathy she received from her graduate school professors helped her as a student-athlete. The master of science in business program allowed Oberdiek to stack core business courses with two certificates offered exclusively by or jointly with the Trulaske College of Business. She chose certificates in dispute resolution and life science innovation and entrepreneurship, which align perfectly with her zeal for science and conflict management.
After graduation, Oberdiek will work for Keyence Corporation as a technical sales engineer, selling fluorescent microscopes to hospitals, universities and research facilities in the Midwest region.
“I am excited to utilize skills learned in the business school with my passion for science,” Oberdiek says.
For encouragement and guidance on her journey, Oberdiek says she thanks God and the family, friends, mentors and teammates that He has blessed her with.