Mineral Area College has several long-time faculty and staff members who have decided to move on to the next chapter in life – a life outside the classroom and office.
Director of Perryville Higher Education Center Mary Bauwens, Dr. Rhonda Gamble, Professor Cathy Hawn, Workforce Development Director Beverly Hickam, Interim President Shirley Hofstetter, and Professor Nancy Petersen will all retire from the community college this summer.
Nancy Petersen, professor of biology, has worked for the college since August of 2000. Petersen has served as vice president and president of the faculty forum in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 respectively. Prior to coming to Mineral Area College, Petersen taught at Poplar Bluff High School from 1995-2000 where she was named teacher of the year in 2000.
Petersen has flown with the Blue Angels and was able to meet President Bill Clinton in the oval office. Petersen also taught at Arcadia Valley RII Schools from 1983-1995 and in 1988 was named Arkansas Power and Light Science Teacher of the Year. Petersen helped design the new science wing in the Technology Building and helped to coordinate the MAC Science Fair.
“What I will miss most about the college is my students and my colleagues,” said Petersen. Petersen’s retirement plans include a lot of traveling. She has an October trip to Albuquerque Ballon Festival and a December trip to New York City already planned. Petersen plans to spend time doing volunteer work and spend time with her family.
Mathematics Professor Cathy Hawn is also going into retirement this summer. Hawn is a resident of Farmington and has worked at the college since 2001. Before coming to the college, Hawn taught at Farmington R-7 Schools for nine years.
“The most fulfilling part of my job as an instructor is helping my students succeed in their classes so they can move on in their chosen fields,” said Hawn, “knowing I have had even a tiny part in making that happen is a wonderful thing!”
Hawn said perhaps her greatest joy has been the privilege to serve as the coordinator for the Elementary School Math Contest held every spring at MAC. “It’s a joy to see hundreds of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders who come to our campus to do math just because they love it,” said Hawn.
Hawn said that she will miss the people and her good friends at the college. Hawn plans to move to Kimberling City, near Table Rock Lake, with her husband, where they plan to spend a lot of time with their children and grandchildren.
Dr. Rhonda Gamble, professor of life sciences, will also mark the end of her career at MAC this summer. Gamble is a resident of De Soto and has been teaching at the college since August 1982. Along with coordinating the science fair, Gamble has served as the science department chair, president of the faculty forum, and curriculum committee co-chair.
Gamble has published several scholarly works including Mosby’s Anatomy and Physiology Coloring Book, contributions to The Human Body in Health and Disease (fifth and sixth editions by Mosby), and reviewed the Elsevier 2014 Anatomy and Physiology Study and Review Cards.
“I will miss sharing science with my colleagues and students,” said Gamble, “I have developed life-long friendships along the way and it has been an honor to be part of the education of future nurses and physicians.”
Shirley Hofstetter will also retire from the college this year. Hofstetter is the interim president and began working for the college in 2015 as the Chief Financial Officer. “The biggest highlight of my career was serving as interim president,” said Hofstetter.
Before coming to MAC, Hofstetter worked as a CPA in Salem, Missouri and also served as the CFO of Boys and Girls Town of Missouri in St. James. Hofstetter also served as the business manager for St. James R-1 School District and the Director of Financial Services for East Central College in Union.
Hofstetter and her husband plan to do a lot of traveling to visit family and admittedly, Hofstetter is a farm-girl and plans to return to some farming on a limited basis. “I’m excited to use the hay baler I got for Valentine’s Day,” said Hofstetter.
Director of the Perryville Higher Education Center Mary Bauwens is retiring from the college this year as well. Bauwens has worked for the college since 2012. Prior to her time at the college, Bauwens spent 33 years teaching elementary school at St. Mary’s School in Chester, Belleview R-3, and Perry County #32.
“It is always a thrill to see students at the first advising appointment confused and unsure if they can be successful in college gain the confidence to work toward their goals and graduate,” said Bauwens.
Having the Perryville Higher Education Center, according to Bauwens, has changed countless lives for students who wouldn’t have otherwise taken the first steps toward their education.
Bauwens plans to spend time with her family and friends, garden, hitting the waters in her boat, and traveling the United States in her new motor home.
Beverly Hickam is a Cape Girardeau resident and has worked for the college since 2000. Hickam has expanded workforce development programs and services that are offered to area employers and implemented short-term training programs that have advanced careers and strengthened the business workforce within the region.
Prior to coming to MAC, Hickam worked as the Adult Education Supervisor at the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center. Hickam is a member of the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, the Missouri Association of Customized Training, the Missouri Apprenticeship Team, the Missouri Association of Community Colleges, and also sits on the board of directors for the Workforce Development Board of Southeast Missouri.
“I will miss my co-workers and working on new workforce innovations for our region,” said Hickam. In retirement, Hickam plans to continue volunteer work to help build stronger communities and pave the way for future leaders in the business community.