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Research Projects

2011 Joplin Tornado Digital Archive

The MSSU History faculty along with community partners are beginning a research project that will culminate in an interactive online archive and digital museum of material related to the 2011 Joplin tornado and its aftermath. Bringing together textual, audio, and visual material, as well as retrospective accounts and oral histories, this project aims to be a resource for researchers in history, sociology, and government policy, as well as for those who simply want to know more about one of Joplin’s defining events. Thanks to the generous collaboration of Jane Cage, this project will be ongoing for multiple years and will provide opportunities for student research and internships. Students who are interested in working on this project should contact Dr. Bill Fischer, Associate Professor of History, at


Jiwere-Baxoje Language Project

The Jiwere-Baxoje Language Project is an ongoing research study dedicated to documenting the heritage language of the Otoe-Missouria and Ioway Tribes. The language is part of the larger Siouan language family, which includes tribes quite near to our campus, such as the Quapaw and the Osage, but also the Lakota, Crow, and many more. The current project is the continuation of an earlier effort begun in the late 1980s, at the University of Missouri-Columbia, under the direction of Professor N. Louanna Furbee (now professor emeritus). Through the two National Science Foundation grants awarded to Furbee and her team of graduate students (including Jill), they were able to conduct fieldwork with some of the last L1 speakers of these two dialects of Jiwere over the course of seven years.

While those elders are no longer here, those recordings are their gift to their children and grandchildren, and the generations to come, as well as the science of linguistics and anthropology. Those voices give us a small but priceless window on their unique language, culture, and verbal art.

The work to fully transcribe and gloss these recordings is ongoing. Professor Jill Greer has been working with a new generation of tribal members regularly in support of their language revitalization efforts in their communities since 2010. MSSU students could apply for an internship with her related to language documentation and other relevant topics. For more information, contact Dr. Greer at or (417) 625-9795.


MSSU Alumni Oral History Project

Students within the Social Sciences department have been conducting interviews with alumni of our programs. As part of Introduction to Public History (HIST 202) or a Research Internship (HIST 492), students gain experience reaching out to alumni, crafting interview questions, scheduling and conducting the interviews, and transcribing the interviews so they can be filed. This project has received support from Virginia Laas, Professor Emerita of History. Students who are interested in working on this project should contact Dr. Megan Bever, Associate Professor of History, at


Mapping Liquor in the Civil War Era

This project is an outgrowth of Dr. Megan Bever’s study of liquor during the Civil War. Student researchers collaborate with Dr. Bever, going through military supply records, newspapers, government documents, diaries, and letters, tracking references to liquor in order to understand how the supply and use of liquor ebbed and flowered during the Civil War. Student researchers gain experience building datasets in Microsoft Excel. Interested students may also use this project to hone their ArcGIS skills that they have worked to develop in BIO/EH/GEOG 304 and 404. Students who are interested in working on this project should contact Dr. Megan Bever, Associate Professor of History, at


MSSU-KCU Research Consortium – Social Work Partnership

The purpose of the project is to bridge KCU Student Doctors and MSSU Social Work Students in a research study measuring cortisol levels of MSSU female athletes. Each Student Doctor is paired with a Social Work Student to assess participants throughout the 8 week research study. Participants of the study are split into two cohorts and undergo clinical yoga in 4 week rotations.

The KCU Team provides biological assessments of female athletes/participants and salivates to directly measure cortisol levels. Our MSSU Social Work Team provides the Biopsychosocial assessments to evaluate the female athletes/participants biological, psychological, and social wellness and overall mental health through a series of assessments (including the PHQ9 and the GAD7) that is evaluated by Social Work Students, scored and analyzed to assist in better understanding the female athletes/participants overall mental health.

This provides our students an opportunity to work as research assistants collecting data from participants/clients in real time. Ultimately, findings will contribute to our work as Licensed Mental Health Professionals, as we gather new information regarding cortisol (stress hormone) levels and are able to view possible biochemical correlations between Clinical Assessments/Biopsychosocials and actual Cortisol levels.

With regard to clinical yoga, participant findings will likely shed new light on whether clinical yoga reduces stress in clients/participants and will assist us in better understanding the ways that clients respond to stress.

Heather Eckhart, Clinical Instructor, serves as Clinical Consultant and MSSU contact of this project. For more information, contact her at