Alumna Racheal Kissee is an administrative assistant in the Military Science department. Kissee has her Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Truman State University. She currently serves as the public relations coordinator for the Missouri-Arkansas District of Kiwanis International, and she serves on the International Committee on Public Relations, Marketing, and Image for Kiwanis International. She is the Kiwanis Advisor to the Truman State University Chapter of Circle K International, vice president of the Kiwanis Club of Kirksville, the vice president of Kirksville Area Habitat for Humanity and a member of Kirksville Chapter #184 Order of the Eastern Star. During the summer, Kissee serves as a Park Liaison with the Food 4 Kids Program.
How was receiving one of the Kirksville 5 Under 40?
I was very surprised … It surprised me that I was nominated in the first place, and then when I actually received the award I was even more surprised. I really didn’t think that I had done anything to deserve an award.
How did you get involved with Kirksville organizations?
Community involvement kind of has a snowball effect. I got involved with the Kiwanis Club years ago when I met my fiance. I said to him, “I never get to see you,” and he said, “Well you could come to Kiwanis and have lunch with me.” A year later once I’d graduated and found a job, I then felt like I was prepared to join an organization. A couple months after that, they asked, “Do you want to be on the Board of Directors?” and a couple months after that, they asked, “Do you want to take over the Ways and Means Committee?” — and things just kept going from there.
What are your goals for the future?
What I always tell people when they ask where I see myself in five years or what I want to be — I always tell them it’s to be happy. Whatever ends up making me happy is what I’ll pursue. I think that’s true for most people. I also care about making a difference in the lives of others, so ideally I’d like to end up doing something that meets both of those criteria.
Was the transition from being a student to working at Truman an adjustment?
Yes and no. When I was a student, I really wasn’t involved in anything on campus. I worked to put myself through college so I didn’t always feel like I had time to enjoy the college experience, or that I was your typical college student. Once I graduated, I had a job in the community and was away from the campus. Coming back to the University gave me a completely different perspective. As a student you have a particular perspective as to how things are run, the people that are running them, and how things work/should work. It’s very different to see things from the other side.
Would you say you are a busy person?
Well, the short answer is yes. I think most people feel that they are “busy.” I frequently assess how I am using my time, and if I am making the most of the time that I have.
What is your favorite aspect of being involved?
I would say my favorite aspect of community involvement is being able to see the result of my efforts. When a kid comes up to you and tells you that you gave them their first — and only — book, or you are able to help build a home for someone that may not have had access to adequate or affordable housing — that’s pretty powerful. Getting to know that the time I took actually meant something is amazing.
Any events coming up soon in your organizations?
We have a Christmas Parade coming up for the Kiwanis Club. We would love to have Truman students involved in our parade, especially since it’s actually more of a service project. We collect warm hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, coats and then donate them to the elementary and primary schools. So, Dec. 3, down here on The Square, contact the Kiwanis Club if anybody would be interested.
Any advice for those wanting to get more involved?
You could always ask me! I would love to help you find opportunities to serve. You would be surprised how much you can find on Google, too. Additionally, you can always call an organization and ask how you can help. You lose nothing by calling. Coworkers, professors and the SERVE Center are good resources as well.
My generation, and the generation immediately after mine are highly sought after demographics for organizations. We’re not typically “joiners.” We’re very independent, and tend to overlook the benefits of joining organizations. I would definitely recommend that every Truman student, wherever they end up post-graduation, get involved in something they care about. Organizations will be overjoyed to have you, and you can gain valuable skills and professional contacts.
This appeared in the Nov. 17 issue of the Index.