From Virginia to Texas to the open farmland of mid-Missouri, Dr. Jeannette Porter, Mitchell Davis and Holly Enowski all came to MU with high ambition, but none ever expected to be recognized in this way. The three were among a handful of individuals from Strategic Communication to be tapped into one of MU’s secret societies at the annual Tap Day ceremony that took place on Friday, April 19 at Jesse Auditorium. Joining Porter in being tapped into QEBH was Taylar Warren, while Davis and Enowski were joined by Megan Brenneke and Maddie Dunkman in being selected to be members of ODK.
Each year since 1927, a select group of MU students and faculty have been “tapped into” one of MU’s six secret societies. New members are nominated by their peers and colleagues, out of recognition for their accomplishments in academics, service and leadership on campus. Each member has brought a different skillset to the MU community, and the strength of the societies lies in their diversity. These three each boast a different set of accomplishments that led to such recognition.
Porter, originally from New York City, has utilized her skills as a journalist and communicator in a number of ways over the course of her career. She worked as a rural reporter for seven years and worked on community relations for the Boys Choir of Harlem before deciding to study health communication. After almost enrolling in the Ph.D. program at MU, she chose to attend the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for her doctorate in order to be closer to her family, but kept in close contact with MU. In spring of 2018, a position opened on the School of Journalism faculty in Strategic Communication, and Porter was ecstatic.
“I immediately accepted and I was just like ‘this is the perfect place for me’”, she said. Porter is greatly honored to be chosen for one of MU’s secret societies, and believes the way she stood out amongst a great faculty and staff is the personal attention she gives to her students.
“I try to be very warm and very human in the classroom. I do this because I think back to my days as a student, when I wanted to know that my professor cared about me as more than a name in the gradebook. I try to communicate to my students that I am always here for them and that I want them to succeed not just in my class, but in life,” she said.
Since arriving on campus from the suburbs of Dallas, Mitchell Davis has immersed himself in the MU campus community in a number of ways. He is currently involved in a laundry list of extracurriculars, ranging from Zeta Beta Tau fraternity to Marching Mizzou, Alumni Association Student Board, and Mizzou Alternative Breaks. One way that Davis feels he stood out among his peers is his ambition and drive to succeed.
“I think that the biggest thing that the School of Journalism has taught me that I try to show in all my activities is to never settle. You always need to keep moving and pushing yourself to accomplish more,” he said. Still, he is greatly humbled that he was chosen for such an honor. “I’m humbled to be inducted into a secret society, but also confused as to what I did to deserve this,” he chuckled.
Enowski brings an entirely different perspective to this year’s group of initiates. A first- generation college student who was raised on a farm near Eldon, Missouri, she has had a humble work ethic instilled in her since day one. She has made a name for herself on campus by diving headfirst into a number of organizations. Enowksi’s passion is combating food insecurity around the globe, and she has already taken strides as a student to try to address the problem. Most notably, she worked with Drs. Brady and Anne Deaton (former MU Chancellor) to create the Deaton Scholars Program, which equips students with tools to enact positive change in global poverty. She also is on the executive board of Tiger Pantry, and coordinates a program where students can transfer leftover meal swipes to Tiger Pantry to be distributed to students in need.
When prompted on what got her to this point, Enowski was quick to credit the Missouri School of Journalism. “I’m indebted to the journalism school for pushing me to be better. I went from someone who was a 4.0, straight A student in high school into classes that were challenging, less forgiving and rarely awarded “A” grades. I learned to care less about the grade and more about the experience, and that has allowed me to truly learn and grasp the Missouri Method provided by the Journalism School,” she said.