Attending college was always a no-brainer for Missouri Southern senior and Sarcoxie native, Kylee Bond. Bond, like many others graduating in the Class of COVID-19, worried about losing the celebration she had always dreamed of.
After a year of make-shift graduations to accommodate CDC guidelines for COVID-19, Southern’s Spring Commencement for the Class of 2021 will be held in person. As Bond prepared for her senior photos, she picked up her Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority stole, draping it around her neck, and couldn’t help but reflect on her time at Southern while anticipating her future.
Bond was inspired by many different paths growing up. Originally aspiring to be a teacher, Bond changed her mind to becoming a preacher for a while before ultimately feeling unsure for a little bit after the death of her sister.
“I was kind of lost for a little bit. My sister died and I went through a whirlwind. I didn’t know what to do. Then I thought, why don’t I just start at the bottom and kind of figure out what I’m doing? That’s when I found the IPA department. What better way to figure out who you are than to go into theology and philosophy and find out who you are at your core by learning about it?” said Bond.
With a newfound sense of identity and a surge of inspiration to use her personable nature for good, Bond began developing her next steps in obtaining her degree at Southern.
“Kylee began as a communication major, political science minor. As she shifted her focus and decided that the International and Political Affairs program was a better fit, she sought to connect her journalism work with her political science work,” said Dr. Nicole Shoaf, associate professor of political science.
Bond’s degree is in International Political Affairs, but she also has minors in Mass Communications and Public Relations. “I will also have a political communications certificate by the time I graduate, but I still don’t know what I want to do,” said Bond.
“I think I want to try and stay in TV for a little bit, but I can honestly see myself in the public sector at some point working for a local government or state government,” said Bond. “Wherever I go, I do want to do communications in some way. I can see myself either doing PR for a government entity or staying in the TV field, something like that.”
Getting her foot in the door, Bond has been working at a local television network, KSN, for a few years.
“Whenever I was in my sophomore year, I was looking for a job and I found KSN and I fell in love with it,” said Bond. “At the time, I was only a web producer, but I ended up becoming a digital reporter and now I’m on production, so I kind of got to embrace all aspects of it.”
Master Instructor of Communications, Brian Mehrens, had a part in Bond getting her job as a digital reporter.
Bond took Mehrens’ Professional Interviewing course in 2019. For an assignment, Bond was required to find a real and current job listing she would be interested in, then she was told to create a mock resume and cover letter for the position. At the time, Bond was working as a web producer at KSN, and decided to model her assignment after a digital reporting position that opened up at the news station.
“Kylee had the printed copies of her resume and cover letter with her at work ready to turn in to me, but by accident, a copy ended up on the desk of her boss. She explained to her boss what had happed, and she thought that was the end of it. However, a few weeks later that accident ended up getting her an interview and eventually the job. I loved hearing Kylee share this and it is definitely one of those stand out moments of my time with her,” said Mehrens.
Shoaf remembers Bond’s time as a reporter as being a benefit for her classmates in better understanding local politics.
“As she was working as a local reporter, she brought her classmates updates about local political issues and she helped her political science peers better understand how modern local journalism functions. Her interdisciplinary experience fits incredibly well with the IPA program and adds to the richness of the IPA student community,” said Shoaf.
Mehrens fondly remembers Bond as a student who embodied kindness and professionalism.
“Kylee is such a warm and kind student. She was always so good at communicating any questions or concerns to me to make sure that she was fulfilling the assignment or project requirements and expectations. Her professionalism and kindness in all her communication has made having her as a student such a joy,” said Mehrens.
Shoaf admires Bond’s resilience and perseverance.
“Kylee is persistent. Her university career has not always been smooth sailing, but she is willing to acknowledge when she’s hit a rough spot, ask for help, and recommit herself to her goals. This ability to persevere is not only a valuable trait as a student but will serve her well in whatever her career path she elects to follow,” said Shoaf.
As Bond concentrated on her studies, racking up degrees and certificates, she also managed to find time to join a Southern sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha.
“Alpha Sig has helped me develop into a poised and professional woman and I am forever grateful to the organization for bringing me opportunities to connect with my sisters, campus, and community,” said Bond.
Bond was also a member of student senate. “It was great being able to represent the student body and to see how we could make our campus a better place. At the time I was there, our student senate didn’t have any social media platforms aside from Facebook, but by the time I left we had a podcast and Instagram, which is doing really well now. Even though I don’t feel like I did a whole lot, it was nice feeling like I left my mark.”
Bond is interested in going to graduate school for community and regional planning.
As she looks forward to her future, Bond plans to utilize the things she has learned and skills she has acquired from Southern to do her part to benefit rural communities.
“I’d like to stay in big cities and kind of get a feel for it. They do have programs where you can focus on rural development and coming from a small town, I think that would be great for me to see how we grow small towns and make them more equitable and make them better places to live,” said Bond.