2019 GREEF Awards

The Robert J. Greef Award is given annually to outstanding seniors from colleges and universities in Missouri. The criteria for the award include academic excellence in the field of English education, leadership, character, and participation in department activities. The award was established in honor of a former MATE/MCTE President, Robert Greef, who was an outstanding teacher at the University of Central Missouri. The Greef Award provides an opportunity to celebrate the successes of English education programs across Missouri.


Rachel Belt

Culver-Stockton College


Rachel is an English Education major at Culver-Stockton College. She grew up in Elizabethtown, Illinois, a very small town in Southern Illinois. After Rachel graduated high school, she moved to Palmyra, Missouri, with her family. She decided to attend Culver-Stockton College and pursue her goal of teaching English. Rachel has always loved to read, specifically novels and poetry. She can think of no better way of spending her future than sharing her enthusiasm for reading and love of literature with others. Rachel plans to teach locally at the high school level, and she can’t wait to begin her career.

Therasia Brautigam

Westminster College


Therasia is a true leader at Westminster, both in the classroom and at the college. She is a student member of the faculty Digital Blue committee, she is president of the Education Association, and is an exceptional student. Therasia has been the recipient of prestigious scholarships and her peers look up to her as a role model. But most importantly, Therasia has had that teacher-with-it ness from the moment she stepped into an education classroom. Even in a room of upper-class peers, Therasia separated herself as an innovative thinker and a believer in hands-on, interactive learning. She is truly one of the most classroom-ready students I have ever taught. I am confident she will not only excel in the classroom but will be recognized as an award-winning teacher. Therasia is truly one of the most gifted preservice teachers I have ever taught. It’s been a joy to be part of her journey.

Stephaney Ferguson

Missouri Western State University


Stephaney Ferguson is a native of Saint Joseph, Missouri. The daughter of Steven and Veronica Ferguson, she graduated high school from Saint Joseph Christian School, then graduated cum laude from Missouri Western State University this past December. She was a volunteer at the Prairie Lands Writing Project’s annual High School Writing Day where she assisted high school students attending writing workshops on campus. She was also an enthusiastic supporter of young writers in the MWSU’s English Education program’s partnership with Bode Middle School. She is currently teaching high school English at Bishop LeBlond High School in Saint Joseph, where she continues her commitment to teaching lessons and units which include themes of empathy and listening to silenced voices. This summer she plans to teach English in Japan and in the future hopes to purse graduate studies in linguistics and Asian languages.

Abigail Clark

Missouri Southern State University


Abigail Clark graduated from Denver High School in Denver, Iowa. After a camp team chose her to receive Ozark Christian College’s Harvester’s Scholarship, she decided to move south to Joplin where she has been enrolled in a co-op program, attending both Ozark Christian College and Missouri Southern State University for the past five years.


Throughout her years in Joplin, Abigail has chosen to continually work with students of all ages. She has spent time volunteering in churches, watching kids during foster-parent life groups, and traveling to church camps for two summers helping students discover their passions and to inform their post-secondary career. Abigail will graduate Cum Laude and receive a bachelor’s degree from each institution: a Bi-Vocational Christian Ministry degree from Ozark Christian College and a BSE in High School English and Language Arts at Missouri Southern State University.


Abigail is currently student teaching at Carl Junction High School and loving every day she is able to learn from all the crazy kids and crazy moments. She looks forward to beginning the next phase of her education, hoping to teach English in an inner-city school, (finally) sitting behind the “big desk.”

Sarah Fuller

Drury University


Sarah Fuller graduated summa cum laude from Central High School. Although she entered college with a focus on history education, she quickly fell in love with English after her first semester at Drury. Sarah has always wanted to work with kids in low socioeconomic areas, as she and her siblings were low SES kids growing up, so for the last year she's been working at an in-need elementary school in Springfield. Sarah has been on the Dean's list every semester at Drury, and she is also a proud member of Drury's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta.

Sarah Gordon

University of Missouri St. Louis


Sarah is an undergraduate from the University of Missouri St Louis currently completing her practicum at Fort Zumwalt West High School.

Virginia “Ginny: Niewoehner

University of Missouri


Hailing from the south Chicago suburbs, I immediately fell in love with Mizzou when I came to visit the university on a chilly February day in early 2015. As I began my freshman year, I was anxious and excited, looking forward to all the experiences I was about to encounter but still very unsure of where I saw myself past my collegiate years. I declared my major as English, propelled by my incredible experience in my AP Literature and Composition class that I took my senior year at Plainfield South High School. Mr. Jarot, my teacher, had a knack for infusing our literary discussions with multimedia texts, allowing us to go beyond the words on the page and leading us through fruitful conversations about the books and about life. I truly fell in love with reading in his class, and so I decided to devote my life to studying literature. I was adamant during my first year and a half that I was not going to pursue teaching—Why come all the way from Illinois to pursue such a career? And with such low salaries?! The more I progressed through my degree, though, the more I began to entertain the possibility of transferring to the College of Education. I knew I could not see myself in a traditional office environment, and my passion for interacting with others was strong. For some, high school can be quite the traumatic experience, and I longed to be a confidant and support system for those struggling through their teen years. What if I could get students to feel as passionate about reading as I was? What if I could give them a chance to find themselves within a novel, a poem, a play? My passion for leading others combined with my love of literature pushed me to finally take the leap, and I transferred to the College of Ed during my sophomore year. Thanks to that decision, I have found my closest friends, and I have discovered a passion for teaching that had been waiting to be tapped into. In my final semester of college, I am completing my student teaching, and my experiences are coming full circle—I will begin teaching my unit in AP Literature next week. I am looking forward to where life takes me, perhaps back to Chicago or to Kansas City, and I am eager to travel overseas and learn from other cultures. Now more than ever, I am confident in my decision to pursue English Education.

Audrey Jean Masters

Southwest Baptist University


Audrey Russell Masters is a graduate of West Plains High School. As a student at Southwest Baptist University (SBU), she has sung in the SBU Chorale, been a tutor in the University Writing Center, and been active in Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society (president), Alpha Chi Honor Society, and Phi Beta Lambda (social media chair). She has also received several awards in the University Writing Contest. In July of 2018, she married Austin Masters, also a student at SBU. Audrey is currently student teaching in her final semester at SBU. She will be graduating in May and hopes to begin her secondary teaching career in English this fall.

Cory Smith

University of Central Missouri


Cory Smith, an English education major at the University of Central Missouri (UCM), graduated summa cum laude from Odessa High School in 2014. Throughout his high school years, he earned various awards and honors, including the rank of Eagle Scout in 2013. He originally began college at the University of Missouri - Columbia and intended to become a writer as a sports journalism major. During his time in Columbia, he worked at the Columbia Missourian newspaper and as a community advisor for the university’s Residential Life program. After three semesters, however, he realized that journalism was not the right field for him. He transferred to the University of Central Missouri and decided to become an English teacher to continue following his passion for English, and he hopes to instill a similar passion within his future students. He holds the historian position in UCM’s Sigma Tau Delta English honor society and has been awarded Dean’s List honors for every semester of his college career. Currently, he is on track to graduate UCM with summa cum laude honors in spring 2019. After graduation, he hopes to return to the Odessa R-VII School District or a nearby school district to begin his teaching career, and he intends to continue his own education in pursuit of a master’s degree in English.