Meet Student Affairs: five questions with Kenna Cornelius

The coordinator for student involvement in the Office of Student Engagement and Campus Activities shares advice on finding belonging on campus.

From the desk of Bill Stackman, vice chancellor for student affairs

Kenna Cornelius serves as the coordinator for student involvement and works with the Involvement Ambassadors, Welcome Week, Chancellor’s Leadership Class and student organizations. She’s a powerful advocate for getting involved to connect to community and make campus feel like home.

Picutre of Kenna Cornelius standing in front of Jesse Hall

Let’s get to know Kenna!

Bill Stackman: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Kenna Cornelius: I was born and raised in west Texas. When I decided to attend McMurry University for my undergraduate education, I told myself that I would dedicate all my time to studying and would not get involved. Spoiler: I did get involved.

Through my collegiate activities, I found a passion for student affairs and pursued a master’s degree in higher education/student personnel at the University of Mississippi.

After graduating from Ole Miss, I followed my partner “up North” to Missouri and eventually became the coordinator for student organizations and, later, coordinator for student involvement here at Mizzou. I am also a part-time law student at Mizzou.

BS: Why is involvement important?

KC: Getting involved results in so many wonderful benefits! Through involvement, students can begin to understand their leadership style and develop transferable skills. Whether you are developing new skills or progressing skills you already possess, getting involved provides unique opportunities to apply talents that will impress future employers and/or graduate institutions.

However, I believe the best part of involvement is finding community. It is a special thing to find a community of people who value you for who you are as a person.

BS: What should a student do if they are unsure of how to get involved or meet new people at Mizzou?

KC: Schedule a one-on-one involvement consultation with an Involvement Ambassador. This is a short, 30-minute meeting. During a typical consultation, an ambassador will get to know you, your personal and professional goals, and what you enjoy doing.

After a bit of conversation, the ambassador will get to work making personalized recommendations and teaching you how to connect with various opportunities across campus. They also share how those opportunities relate to your personal and professional goals. It’s a great way to learn about different opportunities and resources at Mizzou!

BS: What are your favorite things to do on-and-off campus?

KC: When I am not working or studying, you can usually find me at Zeta Tau Alpha. I currently serve as the chapter’s financial advisor and help the leadership team navigate finances, leadership development, and organizational dynamics.

Off-campus, you can find me geocaching with my partner, spending quality time with friends, and exploring the trails with my dog, Scout.

BS: What is your best advice for Mizzou students to be successful?

KC: Reflect! So much life happens in such a short time while you are in college. Take the time to intentionally reflect on your lived experiences. Consider what these experiences have taught you about yourself, how they have helped you grow, and how they connect to your long-term goals.

Students often find that they have overlooked valuable transferable skills throughout their collegiate career because they have not taken the time to reflect or write them down. Involvement consultations are a great opportunity for intentional reflection.