Katelyn Chostner, Editor-in-Chief
On Aug. 30, 2018 Former-Student Representative to the University of Missouri Board of Curators Courtney Lauer announced the end of her term and introduced the new Student Representative Avery Welker.
Welker is a Ph.D. student at the Missouri University of Science and Technology and is majoring in petroleum engineering. He has an extensive educational background that has led him to a position of this magnitude. He started at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville in the entrance program Missouri Academy of Science Mathematics and Computing in 2011 and graduated in 2013. Then he transferred to Missouri S&T for petroleum engineering and graduated with his bachelor’s in 2016. Now, he is in grad school at Missouri S&T and is expected to earn his master’s this semester and move on to his Ph.D. His experience is something that will help with his upcoming term at student representative.
“Through my vast array of experiences, I kind of pick up here and there what the students are saying and kind of what they want,” said Welker. “It’s definitely given me a very wide view of the different issues the students are facing.”
Sometime last November Welker received an email stating it was Missouri S&T’s turn to have a student representative on the Board of Curators. He decided to apply for the position. Welker came to the University of Missouri-St. Louis and interviewed with the Intercampus Student Council.
“After patiently waiting for quite some time I got a call from the governor’s office that said ‘Hey, you’ve been selected’ and I did a little dance in the parking lot and here I am,” said Welker.
Welker feels he is qualified for the student representative position because he has strong faith in the UM System. The system has helped many people in his life and it gives him drive to help students involved in the UM System. He plans on keeping steady with Lauer’s accomplishments like the social movement to create awareness and fight sexual assault “It’s On Us,” Student Representative Board reports and mental health awareness.
“I definitely plan on keeping up everything that [Lauer] had because she has done great work,” said Welker.
He is still feeling out what new plans he wants to implement because he is so new to this position.
“Since I just got appointed in late July, I’m actually going to my confirmation hearing next week, I haven’t been able to really find my footing just quite yet. Having not had my first official board meeting as the student representative I am looking to kind of flesh out what my paths going to be here.”
Welker does plan on making himself open to all universities in the UM System. Plans to visit the different campuses are in motion and he will let students know when he will be onsite. He references his email (firstname.lastname@example.org) as the easiest way to reach him if students from different areas have anything to share. One thing is made clear: He is going to be available to all students and wants to hear what they have to say.
“Anything a student needs help with, I’m definitely open to hearing about it. Even if you guys have gotten some great accomplishment you just want to share with me … I just love to hear about all of the successes,” said Welker.
He plans on visiting UMSL’s campus in November for a Board of Curators’ meeting and is hoping to have time to meet and visit with students. UMSL and other universities in the UM System will be visited by Welker during his term as student representative.