UM President Mun Choi names Todd Swanstrom, Beth Huebner, Patricia Parker Presidential Engagement Fellows

by | Apr 16, 2018

The fellows will represent the UM System at speaking events throughout the state, discussing their research and sharing how that knowledge can help Missouri citizens.
UM System Presidential Fellows

From left, Todd Swanstrom, Beth Huebner and Patricia Parker are part of the initial class of University of Missouri System Presidential Fellows. (Photos by August Jennewein)

University of Missouri–St. Louis Professors Beth Huebner, Patricia Parker and Todd Swanstrom are among 15 faculty members across the University of Missouri System chosen as Presidential Engagement Fellows.

UM System President Mun Choi announced the new initiative last Friday and introduced the first class at a meeting of the Board of Curators.

The initiative, led by Marshall Stewart, vice chancellor of extension and engagement at MU, is designed to fulfill the university’s land-grant mission by sharing research discoveries with Missouri citizens in every county.

“The University of Missouri is dedicated to the people of this state, and we are proud of the excellent teaching, breakthrough research and creative achievement, and meaningful engagement by our faculty,” Choi said. “We are here to serve the state by providing Missouri citizens with information about the life-changing discoveries that we uncover in our laboratories. This new program will encourage all of our faculty members to engage directly with Missouri citizens and help them improve communities across the state.”

As part of this program, selected faculty members will represent the UM System at a number of speaking events throughout the state, where they will discuss their research and share how that knowledge can help Missouri citizens.

“We have fantastic faculty on every campus who want to help improve the lives of Missouri citizens, whether that is through better agriculture practices, new treatments in health care, technological discoveries or providing world-class artistic performances,” Choi said. “This new program will help us fulfill our mission as a land-grant university. We are Missouri’s university, and we owe it to every Missouri citizen to share with them what we have discovered that can improve their lives.”

Huebner is a professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice whose research focuses on prisoner reentry and criminal justice decision making. She is currently the lead researcher on a $2.25 million grant the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded St. Louis County and UMSL for work to try to reduce over-incarceration and help jurisdictions create fairer, more effective local justice systems.

Parker is the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Zoological Studies in the Department of Biology and a senior scientist at the Saint Louis Zoo. She is also the interim director of the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at UMSLHer research focuses on diseases of the endemic and introduced avifauna of the Galapagos Islands, in collaboration with the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation.

Swanstrom is the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Community Collaboration and Public Policy in the Department of Political Science. He specializes in urban politics and public policy and uses the resources of his endowed professorship to support the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, which is working to improve neighborhoods throughout the St. Louis region.

To be selected, faculty members were nominated by each campus based on their demonstrated excellence and their ability to communicate their research to the public. To request a fellow for a speaking engagement or presentation, please visit:

There is no cost for an organization or individual to host a speaker. For more information, please visit:

Here is the full list of 2018-19 Presidential Engagement Fellows from across the UM System:

  • Diana Ahmad, history and political science, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Joel Burken, civil, architectural and environmental engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Jimi Cook, Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, University of Missouri–Columbia
  • Simon Friedman, School of Pharmacy, University of Missouri–Kansas City
  • Andrew Granade, Conservatory of Music and Dance, University of Missouri–Kansas City
  • Jane Greer, English and women’s and gender studies, University of Missouri–Kansas City
  • Beth Huebner, criminology and criminal justice, University of Missouri–St. Louis
  • Catherine Johnson, mining and nuclear engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Rebecca Johnson, Research Center for Human-Animal Intervention, University of Missouri–Columbia
  • Rose Marra, School for Information Science and Learning Technologies, University of Missouri–Columbia
  • Melissa Mitchum, plant sciences, University of Missouri–Columbia
  • Patricia Parker, biology, University of Missouri–St. Louis
  • Chris Pires, biological sciences, University of Missouri–Columbia
  • Angela Speck, physics and astronomy, University of Missouri–Columbia
  • Todd Swanstrom, political science, University of Missouri–St. Louis
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