Professor wants students to gain skills


Pablo Ortiz

Show-Me Gold students present the colors during the 9/11 Remembrance at Freedom Plaza in 2015.

Planning for the future and doing something worthwhile is a goal most people strive to achieve. And one professor at Missouri Southern is helping his students do that—in a unique way.

Capt. Chase Phillips, professor of military science at Southern, leads the University’s Show-Me Gold program, which is designed for students who are interested in a military career.  

The Show-Me Gold program’s goals are to help students achieve their four-year degree. The program also prepares them to attend Officer Candidate School and commission as an officer in the Missouri National Guard.

Phillips’ own history makes him a believer in the program. He had completed two years of college when he joined the Missouri National Guard. He participated in the ROTC program at Missouri State to help pay the last two years of his education. 

He also had some good role-models.

“I had some great-grandfathers that served pre-Vietnam and in the World War II era,” Phillips said.

Phillips has been in the Missouri National Guard for nine years. In that time, he has been deployed to Afghanistan, as well as participating in state emergency duties ranging from the Joplin tornado to ice/snow emergencies in the state.

“I led the team that did security for the president’s visit to Missouri Southern,” Phillips added.

Phillips said the deployment to Afghanistan helped him learn about himself and what he is capable of. He said the deployment also helps “draw out the type of person you are.”

He believes the Show-Me Gold program will help students find out their own strengths. The two main components of the program are physical fitness and academics.

Currently, there are 35 active students on campus.  An additional 30 students are scheduled to attend training this summer and join Show-Me Gold in the fall or spring.

The program is not only available to new students, but students who have prior military service can join the program as well.

“Prior-service and current students, it [the program] is open to them,” Phillips said. “We do have a few prior-service candidates in the program; most of our initial recruiting class was prior-service.”

The program will graduate its first officer, Lt. Josh Turner, in May, Phillips said.

“From there, he will go to flight school,” Phillips said. “He was the first student to commission through our program in September 2015.”

Phillips said Show-Me Gold currently has a graduate student and students completing the co-op program with Ozark Christian. In fall 2016, the program will expand to Crowder College in Neosho. 

Participants will be able to do their first two years at Crowder while participating in the Show-Me Gold program.

“Ultimately, the goal is to retain as many as we can, commission them as officers and turn them out as better employees after graduation,” Phillips said.