The University of Missouri’s online programs ranked among the best in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Online Programs. With more than 127 options, Mizzou offers the second most online programs in both the SEC and among AAU public institutions.

U.S. News bases rankings on institution-supplied data evaluating student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and peer reputation among other categories.

Best online graduate education programs

Best online graduate education programs

For the third consecutive year, Mizzou’s online graduate education programs have been named the best in Missouri and ranked 60th nationally. With 23 online master’s and eight online graduate certificate programs, the College of Education offers the most online options of all of Mizzou’s schools and colleges.

“The University of Missouri is top notch,” said Shannin Preshinger of Helena, Montana, a recent graduate of the online master’s in English education program. “I feel like I got the highest quality education from a very prestigious university without having to leave my own town, state or my own house.”

In addition to the overall “Best Online Graduate Education” ranking, Mizzou Education earned specialty rankings for their excellence in the areas of special education and educational administration and supervision.

Best online bachelor's programs

Best online bachelor’s programs

Mizzou’s online bachelor’s programs’ ranking climbed 15 positions from last year to 99th out of 345 ranked schools. With the addition of five new programs in 2019 — information technology, communication, English, psychology and sociology — the University of Missouri offers 16 online bachelor’s options, all 100% online.

Recent graduate Sarah Swoboda describes the experience of earning her bachelor’s in business administration online with Mizzou as “profound.” She credits the online option as one of the reasons why she was able to graduate and further her career.

“Most people do not get out of their parents’ income bracket. I was in and out of foster care and my mom and dad rarely had jobs. … Now, I have surpassed their income bracket.”  

Best online bachelor's programs for veterans

Best for veterans 

Mizzou’s online graduate education programs and online bachelor’s programs also earned the distinction of “Best for Veterans” due to a high overall ranking and a focus on veteran support. Among other services, MU offers a 10% tuition award toward online degree and certificate programs for veterans, active duty, National Guard, reserves and spouses and dependents.

Best online graduate education programs for veterans

MU graduate Joseph Osmack, a former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, found the university’s veteran services to be one of the deciding factors in his decision to earn his MPA online with Mizzou.

“Deciding on the degree was always more important to me than picking a degree,” said Osmack. “Mizzou's reputation, online program, national ranking, accreditation, tuition rate and military-friendliness were all deciding factors. The University of Missouri was the best fit for me.”

Mizzou celebrates Fall 2019 graduates this weekend, December 13 – 15. Among them are more than 300 earning their degrees online. Members of Mizzou’s graduating online class live in 36 states and two countries — some as far away as China. Ranging in age from 21 to 64, the graduates are earning degrees from the bachelor’s to the PhD level.

Lu Ann Cahn-Houser

Do something every day that dares you

Lu Ann Cahn-Houser of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, is earning a master’s in journalism with an emphasis in media management, a degree that “has been 10 years in the making!” And it all started with a dare.

In 2009, Lu Ann was feeling “stuck.” Although she had a career as an Emmy-winning investigative reporter at a news station in Philadelphia and had just fought and defeated cancer twice, she felt miserable. Knowing she needed a change, Lu Ann’s daughter dared her to do something new every day for a year and blog about it. That blog turned into a book and the year-long journey changed Lu Ann’s life.

One of these dares was to earn her master’s degree. However, she found that a traditional in-seat program wouldn’t work with her busy career, family life and other obligations. She discovered Mizzou’s online program, and it was a perfect fit.

While learning online was a new experience for Lu Ann, she was up for the challenge, and she found immense value in the program. She was able to meet peers around the world. The course work was applicable to both her previous role as a television reporter and her new role as the Klein College of Media and Communication Director of Career Services at Temple University — a switch she made halfway through the master’s program.

“Even though you’re getting your degree online, you’re getting Mizzou’s brand of this very highly respected journalism program,” she said. “I was impressed with my professors all along the way. I was learning in a new way. I was really being challenged.”

Staying true to her bold mentality, Lu Ann decided to road trip with her friends to commencement this weekend. She simply couldn’t pass up the dare.

Shannin Preshinger

Embrace the gift of knowledge

On the other side of the country, Shannin Preshinger of Helena, Montana, had a similar need as Lu Ann. As a full-time teacher and mother of two, Shannin needed a flexible program. Beyond that, she couldn’t find a nearby master’s program that offered an English education emphasis. Enter Mizzou’s online master’s in English education.

As a high school English teacher, Shannin was looking for a program where she could hone her skills and improve the learning experience for her students. She embraces the “always be learning” mentality and hopes her students and children — who are currently college students themselves — will take her experience as an example.

“The University of Missouri is top notch,” Shannin said. “I feel like I got the highest quality education from a very prestigious university without having to leave my own town, state or my own house. … All of the course work I could apply immediately to my classroom. It challenged me to think deeper, to be more reflective in my practice.”

This weekend, Shannin will be celebrating her degree from home in Montana, but she still feels strongly connected to Mizzou. “I made a few very strong connections that bridged the Internet.”

What’s next for Shannin in her career? The sky is the limit. “This program opens a lot of doors for me,” said Shannin. “I have opportunities now that I wouldn’t have had without the University of Missouri.”

Vanessa Whittle

Take a risk

While Vanessa Whittle of Waynesville, Missouri, lives a bit closer to campus than Lu Ann or Shannin, like them she also has little time to spare in her schedule.

As a middle school social studies teacher, Vanessa is also a go-to learning technology resource for her school. She found that the educational specialist in learning technologies and design was the right blend of course work she needed to impact her career.

In the program, Vanessa found a network of educators worldwide and felt that their perspectives were an important element of her experience. “I’ve been in classes with people who live in Italy and on the West Coast. I have a network of people across the country who aren’t just from right here in Missouri.”

Like Shannin, Vanessa is hoping to inspire her students and children. “I think that learning should take place at all ages,” she said. “Part of a reason I’m walking at commencement is to set a good example for my students and for my own kids. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can go back, earn your degree and change the course of your career. … All of us tend to doubt ourselves, and trying something new is a risk.”

Vanessa took that risk and impacted her life and career along the way.

Join us in celebrating the graduating class on their online commencement ceremony website. Drop a congratulatory note in the guest book. Listen to inspiring words from Sinclair School of Nursing Dean Sarah Thompson, PhD.

Earning your online degree this weekend? Share your experience with us on social media using #OnlineStripes:

Ready to earn your own #OnlineStripes? Join more than 340,000 Mizzou alumni making a difference across the globe. Learn more about Mizzou’s 125+ online degrees and certificates.

UPCEA, a leading national organization for online education, recognized two University of Missouri faculty members with awards at their SUPER Regional (Central and West) Conference Oct. 24 in Denver, Colorado.

Heather Hunt

Emerging Professional Continuing Educator Award

Heather Hunt, an associate professor in the College of Engineering, took home the Adelle F. Robertson Emerging Professional Continuing Educator Award. Dr. Hunt was on site to accept the award.

Dr. Hunt has become an advocate for online teaching not just within her department, but across the university and the University of Missouri System, in part because her own online courses embody the standards of excellence and quality that her faculty and students expect to experience in engineering course work.

Although initially reluctant to teach online courses, Dr. Hunt has fully embraced the format — and her enthusiasm shows in her course design. She worked with instructional designers to create engaging and innovative bioengineering courses that have impressed both students and her department. Dr. Hunt recently led the development of the master of science in biological engineering program, for which she now serves as the program coordinator.

Amy Simons

Excellence in Teaching Award

Amy Simons, an associate professor in the School of Journalism, received the Excellence in Teaching Award. During the awards ceremony, she was en route to Beijing to teach at Communication University of China for two weeks.

“Ten years ago this week, I was sitting in my fourth floor cubicle in the Chicago Tribune newsroom working as digital news editor … I make my home now in education, teaching college students about journalism and how we do the work we do,” said Simons in her online acceptance speech.

Simons’ real-world experience in the journalism field is made apparent with her teaching style. She has brought the “Missouri Method” (learning by doing) to life for her students through experiential assignments that transform students’ use of discussions. The blend of student-to-student and instructor-to-student interactions in her online courses has earned glowing reviews. Simons teaches multi-modal platform reporting and editing in the online interactive media master’s and graduate certificate programs.


The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. For more than 100 years, UPCEA has served most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. Founded in 1915, the association serves its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA also builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues.

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Mizzou Homecoming 2019

Mizzou’s Homecoming began November 25, 1911. It was then that a tradition began unlike any other of its time. Since then, Mizzou claims one of the largest, longest and best national Homecoming celebrations.

The same year that the Homecoming tradition started, Mizzou also began offering distance education courses. From the early days of correspondence courses for rural Missourians to more than 125 online degree and certificate programs for learners everywhere, our goal has always been about bringing Mizzou to the homes of our students.

In honor of Homecoming 2019, we’re inviting Mizzou’s online alumni to “come home” and tell us what they’ve been up to since they graduated. Throughout the week, we’ll share some of these stories on our social media channels and give graduates an opportunity to learn more about their fellow Tigers.

Did you earn your #OnlineStripes? If so, how has earning your degree impacted your life and career? Capture a video of yourself telling your story. Share this video on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Tag us and use the hashtag #OnlineStripes to enter a giveaway to win one of three $50 gift cards to the Mizzou Store. (And yes, you can shop online!)

Post your entry by Sunday, October 13 at 11:59 p.m. CT — and make sure your post is public so we can see it! We will randomly select three winners on Monday, October 14 at 9 a.m. CT. For more information on rules and how to enter, see below.

Go Tigers!

How to enter:
  1. Take a 1-minute video (maximum) of yourself explaining how earning your degree online with Mizzou has impacted your life and career.
  2. Post the video to your personal account on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Ensure that your account is not private (Twitter, Instagram) or the post is public (Facebook) in order to be viewed by the Mizzou Online team.
  3. Tag @MizzouOnline on Facebook/Twitter or @Mizzou.Online on Instagram and use the hashtag #OnlineStripes in your post.
Rules and giveaway details:
  1. Period: The giveaway will start at 9:00 a.m. CT on Monday, October 7 and end at 11:59 p.m. CT on Sunday, October 13.
  2. Eligibility: All entrants must be in good standing as alumni of the University of Missouri and have completed their degree through an online program at Mizzou to be eligible.
  3. Entries: Entrants may post multiple times but will get one entry in the giveaway.
  4. Winners: The winners will be chosen at random at 9:00 a.m. CT on Monday, October 14. Winners will be notified via the social media platform in which they entered the giveaway.
  5. Prize: All eligible entries received during the giveaway will be entered to win one (1) of three (3) $50 gift cards to the Mizzou Store. The prizes will be mailed to the winners. All federal, state and local taxes associated with the receipt or use of the prize are solely the responsibility of the winner.
  6. Sponsor: Mizzou Online, 136 Clark Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
  7. Release: By entering this giveaway, you agree to allow Mizzou Online to use any part of your name, program of study, video or story in advertisements, including but not limited to print, web, or social media. 

Sarah Swoboda | Bachelor of Science in Business Administration `19

Sarah Swoboda | Bachelor of Science in Business Administration `19

Enrollment in Mizzou’s online programs increased nearly 10% over last year, with more than 3,000 students taking online classes.

422 undergraduates and 2,666 graduate students are taking online classes this year through Mizzou Online, which offers 125 online degree and certificate options and more than 1,000 online courses. Mizzou offers the second-most distance degree and certificate programs in the SEC and among the public institutions in the Association of American Universities.

“There are several paths for student success at Mizzou,” said Kim Humphrey, vice provost for Enrollment Management at MU. “Through partnerships with community colleges and online learning, Mizzou is committed to ensuring that all Missourians have access to high-quality and affordable education.”

On Monday, MU announced that 5,459 freshmen began classes, an increase of 16% compared to last year. Overall enrollment at Mizzou increased approximately 1%, with a total of 29,677 students on campus.

Read the full story on the MU News Bureau website.

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More than 53% of MU students took at least one online course in academic year 2018 (Mizzou Online Annual Report, AY18). As this number climbs year over year, online instructors at Mizzou continue to set the pace for distance education nationwide.

At the 2019 Celebration of Teaching event, the MU community had the opportunity to gather and engage with colleagues from all disciplines. Among these faculty members were four instructors honored for their efforts in facilitating and designing high-quality online courses.

After recently celebrating the commencement of more than 660 Mizzou students who earned their degrees online, we recognize the faculty who make it all possible.

Excellence in Online Class Facilitation Award

This award honors faculty members who excel in facilitating an online learning experience.

Amy Simons

Amy Simons, an associate professor in the School of Journalism, was awarded for her excellent facilitation of The News Media: Journalism and Advertising in a Democratic Society, an undergraduate online course.

Simons brings the long-recognized Missouri Method (learning by doing) to life. Students in Simons’ online course have noted a newfound appreciation for the field of journalism due to engaging group projects and thought-provoking assignments. In fact, one student noted that the course “changed their perspective on journalism.”

Lauren Arend

Lauren Arend, an assistant professor of early childhood education in the College of Education, was awarded for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, a graduate online course for practicing teachers.

The course engages students in content that can be uncomfortable. Facilitating online dialogue around issues of equity, race, privilege and identity poses a challenge, but Arend creates a safe environment for students to discuss. Students call the course “life-changing” and recommend that “every teacher should take this class in order to better understand our society.”

Outstanding Online Course Design Award

This award honors an outstanding online course supported by Mizzou Online that was delivered in the previous academic year with the instruction mode of online or e-learning.

Tom Warhover

Tom Warhover, an associate professor in the School of Journalism, was awarded for Language, Thought and Journalism, an undergraduate online course.

Warhover sought to create an intentional class that both motivates and interests students, and he’s accomplished that by engaging students in the course content. Beyond technical components of the course, Warhover’s passion for fostering relationships with other students has been instrumental to student success. Students call Tom the “epitome of an educator” and have noted that he is easy to connect with online.

Kerri McBee-Black

Kerri McBee-Black, an instructor in the Department of Textile and Apparel Management in the College of Humane Environmental Sciences, was nominated for her contributions to the redesign of Basic Concepts of Fashion Design.

Throughout the course redesign project, McBee-Black demonstrated a dedication to ensure students’ learning experiences were noteworthy, exciting and engaging. The new course content mirrors the reality of teamwork present in the fashion industry, and prepares students for real-world application. In the words of her nominator, McBee-Black’s work on this course “raises the bar for other course designers in the future.”

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Students and alumni of the University of Missouri College of Education already know the quality of their online master's programs. Now, higher education rankings sites, such as, are recognizing Mizzou Ed's programs as well. So far in 2019, the website has ranked 10 College of Education programs among the nation's best, including:

  • TESOL M Ed: No. 1 among "Best English Language Learning Programs." Also recognized as "Best for Administrative Careers" on the list.
  • Gifted education M Ed: No. 2 among "Best Gifted and Talented Education Programs." Also recognized as “Best in Career Development” on the list.
  • Early childhood education M Ed: No. 2 among "Best Early Childhood Education Programs." Also recognized as "Best Program Structure" on the list.
  • Positive coaching M Ed: No. 3 among "Best Coaching Programs." Also lauded for "Best Program Structure" among the institutions on the list.

Six additional education programs were recognized this year by Literacy education M Ed, online education MS, social studies M Ed, art education M Ed, learning technologies and design MS, and early childhood special education M Ed.

The online master’s programs honored by the ranking site are taught by the same practiced faculty and instructors who teach on campus.

Earn your #OnlineStripes from one of the best education programs in the nation.

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This weekend, May 17 – 19, the University of Missouri celebrates a new class of graduates during commencement ceremonies and events. Among them are 661 graduates who earned their degrees online. Members of Mizzou’s online class of `19 live in 46 states and 5 countries — some as far away as Thailand. Ranging in age from 22 to 68, the graduates are earning degrees from the bachelor’s to PhD level.

A suitcase and a dream

Kweku Osei and his family

When Kweku Osei emigrated from the Republic of Ghana in 1999, education was on the top of his list of priorities. “I came with $300 in my pocket. I only had one suitcase and just a dream … and now, here I am. A graduate.”

Osei and his family live in Parkville, Missouri, where he is a full-time nurse. Osei is earning his doctor of nursing practice with an emphasis in family nurse practitioner (DNP) this week. He is married with three active children, so he needed a flexible program with supportive faculty.

“I cannot thank the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing enough because they have really given me an opportunity,” said Osei. “In doing so, they have also prepared me very well for the real world.”

Despite the format allowing him to work and take care of other responsibilities, Osei wants prospective students to know that going to school online isn’t easy. “It’s a lot of work. Right from the beginning, you are challenged. You have to be persistent and research-minded.”

And, now, all of Osei’s hard work has paid off. He gets to further his nursing career and also have more control over his schedule. In fact, his son hopes that his dad’s newly freed up schedule allows for some more family downtime. “I’m looking forward to coaching his soccer team,” he said.

A new perspective

Leigh Spence

Both family and career played a role in Leigh Spence’s decision to pursue her educational specialist (EdSp) degree online.

Spence was part of the team of six that launched Battle High School in Columbia, Missouri, in 2013. While putting in extra hours at work, she started on the journey to earn her EdSp. “The university was flexible with me, which allowed me to meet expectations all the way around — both workload and family life.”

Throughout the EdSp program, she found that the knowledge she was learning in her courses could be applied to her job as the director of counseling at the school. Spence appreciated the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and gain a new perspective on her daily work.

“I’m interested in knowing how people do things differently because I think we can always grow and evolve. The program afforded me the opportunity to do that.”

Battle High School is going through a time of change with a new principal on the horizon. With her EdSp under her belt, Spence feels confident in representing the counseling department, and the mental health needs of students, as leaders discuss the school’s vision for the future.

A step ahead

Bailey Ganz

For Bailey Ganz, securing a job as a junior didn’t mean she needed to stop pursuing her bachelor of health science (BHS) degree. When her internship in Columbia offered her a full-time position, Ganz turned to her adviser. They suggested moving from the on-campus program to 100% online version.

Ganz had prior experience with online studies before making the switch. Specifically, she recalls taking an online medical terminology course during her internship that gave her skills to help her stand out. “I have no idea what I would’ve done if I didn’t have that class.”

In her senior year, Ganz continued to find the course work to be valuable for her job in physician support. With assignments that have helped her learn real-world skills, she is prepared for the next steps in her career. Not to mention, she has been able to hone-in on her leadership skills. “Not all programs teach that.”

A second chance

Gabby Bucaro

Another campus student turned online graduate, Gabby Bucaro, is earning her bachelor’s in hospitality management.

After moving back home to Chicago, getting a job at a local country club and pursuing her studies at a private university, she felt something was missing. She considered moving back to Mizzou to finish her degree.

But when Bucaro reached out to a previous contact at the university, she learned her on-campus program was available online — an option that would allow her to stay home and continue working in a job where she found her true passion. “It was destiny,” she said. “The universe was telling me to keep going and finish.”

“At one point, I felt that I wasn’t meant to get a degree. And that’s not the case. I am smart. I can do it. I just needed a little extra help and that’s what the online program gave me.”

Bucaro shares words of inspiration for prospective students that might be in the same situation: “It’s never too late to finish your degree. You can get your degree at 60. You can get your degree at 22. It makes no difference.”

Join us in celebrating the online class of 2019 on their online commencement ceremony website. Drop a congratulatory note in the guest book. Listen to inspiring words from Dean of College of Engineering Elizabeth Loboa. You’ll also hear from graduate speaker Tom Rose, an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Health Professions, who earned his online master of public health in 2017.

Earning your online degree this weekend? Share your experience with us on social media using #OnlineStripes:

Ready to earn your own #OnlineStripes? Join more than 317,000 Mizzou alumni making a difference across the globe. Learn more about Mizzou’s 125 online degrees and certificates.

Providing flexible options for finishing college is part of Mizzou’s mission as the state’s flagship public institution. Five more bachelor’s degrees are now available online, giving those who seek a Mizzou education a convenient option.

“More than 700,000 Missourians started but never finished college,” said University of Missouri Provost Latha Ramchand. “Because our portfolio of online degree programs is so broad, we have flexible options for you wherever you live and whatever career stage you are in.”

The five new 100% online bachelor’s options — communication, psychology, sociology, English and information technology — bring the tally of award-winning programs to 125. U.S. News & World Report recently placed Mizzou’s online undergraduate programs in the top third of all ranked schools.

Access to a high-quality education

For Camdenton, Missouri, resident Jessica Jensen, a bachelor’s degree from Mizzou holds merit. She is considering applying for the online bachelor’s in communication program to help further her career.

“Why Mizzou?” said Jensen. “I know it’s a great university to have on my résumé and future job applications.”

Communication is one of four new 120-credit-hour online bachelor of arts degrees from the College of Arts and Science, along with psychology, sociology and English. These programs provide a liberal arts education with a focus on both research opportunities and career readiness or advancement. Each department’s faculty comprises internationally recognized scientists, scholars and authors.

“Online students get the same access to our renowned faculty as those on campus,” said College of Arts and Science Dean Pat Okker. “And the online programs are developed by the same faculty who are dedicated to student success and excellence in research and creative endeavors.”

A comprehensive approach to career-readiness

The bachelor of science in information technology from the University of Missouri College of Engineering is already known for producing alumni who work in cyber security, software engineering, visual effects, app development and game design. Making this career-ready degree program available online opens doors for students who seek flexible options.

“Mizzou is incredibly special and, really, it is the most comprehensive university I’ve worked with,” said College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa. “We attract students from every possible discipline you can imagine.”

Loboa also considers another benefit of offering new undergraduate programs — preparing more qualified graduates for high-demand jobs. The College of Engineering’s new 126-credit-hour bachelor of science in information technology program aims to fill a growing need for more IT practitioners, software engineers and media technology specialists in a wide variety of industries.

"We have a hard time producing enough graduates,” said Loboa. “I have employers coming here constantly saying they need more of our IT graduates. These students are going to have a great opportunity for their future career.”

Ramchand echoes this sentiment. “By offering degrees that target unmet needs, we actually have the ability to serve [not only] the person who wants the degree but also to serve the state. It’s all about developing the workforce for the next generation of workers. I think it really benefits all of us.”

Fulfilling the needs of more students

For prospective students like Jensen, accessibility and career advancement aren’t the only factors in the decision to continue their education online. As a current online student at a community college, a full-time employee and a mother to a 3-year-old, she is no stranger to the flexibility that online courses provide.

Ramchand is excited for the opportunity to reach students like Jensen. “A college degree opens doors. All these different students in different stages in their lives have educational needs and it’s our pleasure to be able to help meet those needs.”

Earn your #OnlineStripes

The five new undergraduate programs are 100 percent online and are currently accepting applications for the fall semester. They join 11 other online majors in business, hospitality management, public health, education studies, health professions, nursing, general studies and interdisciplinary studies. To learn more, visit

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This story originally appeared on the SWE All Together blog.

Impostor phenomenon. Impostor syndrome. Impostor experience. No matter what you call it, you’ve most likely felt it. The feeling that, no matter how much you have accomplished, you aren’t worthy of the success you’ve earned.

You’re not alone. The phenomenon was originally introduced as a feeling that affects only high-achieving women. Some recent research shows that men struggle with this feeling in the workplace as much as women. According to recent research1, 70 percent of people experience impostor syndrome at some point in their lives.

Almost everyone experiences it. But how do we fight it? To find out, we asked five fearless women engineers at the University of Missouri.

Trust the expert

When asked about impostor syndrome, Dr. Heather Hunt, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical, Biological & Chemical Engineering at Mizzou, is quick to point out that this popular name for the feeling is actually not the original name. Dr. Pauline Rose Clance coined the name “impostor phenomenon” in a 1978 research article, and has since written various publications on the subject.

“When I give seminars about impostor phenomenon, I always go back to the book The Impostor Phenomenon: Overcoming the Fear that Haunts Your Success by Dr. Clance,” said Hunt. “She’s the leading authority on this subject. The book is evidence-based. It’s practiced. It’s practical.”

Be empathetic

Hunt is part of the estimated 30 percent of people who haven’t experienced impostor phenomenon. Despite that, she is able to use the book’s suggestions when teaching and mentoring her students.

“Even if you don’t experience it, it’s really valuable to understand what your peers might be experiencing, because I think it helps us to build empathy,” she said. “Empathy is important to have in a field like engineering where everything we do leads toward this idea of making the world a better place.”



Talk about it

In addition to soft skills like empathy, critical thinking, and creativity, an engineering education can help you find a global network. Tojan Rahhal, adjunct assistant professor, notes that the first step in overcoming impostor syndrome is reminding yourself of this network and realizing that you’re not alone – and then sharing your feelings with others.

“Numerous CEOs, professors, and executives will tell you they have gone through impostor syndrome at different stages in their careers,” said Rahhal. “Talk about it, form a peer network or group you can talk through your doubts with because everyone deals with it.”

Seek out diverse thought

As Assistant Dean for Inclusive Excellence, Rahhal works to help engineering students from underrepresented populations to overcome barriers in their college experience and beyond.

Christine Costello, assistant professor in the Department of Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering, is on the university’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) committee led by Rahhal. This committee helped establish the new Advocates and Allies (A&A) program at Mizzou. The program facilitates conversations among male faculty, staff, and students about unconscious gender bias in STEM fields. The ultimate goal is to increase the recruitment and retention of female students, faculty, and staff.

In addition to bringing A&A to campus, the committee hosts multiple events throughout the year to encourage a dialogue about shared experiences such as impostor syndrome.

Seeking diverse thought not only helps engineers learn more about the experiences of others — diversity can further the engineering industry as a whole. “The more we bring in different backgrounds into engineering, the better chance we’ll have of discovering something new,” said Hunt. “Diverse thought arises from diverse backgrounds.”



Be a lifelong learner

Costello embraces this idea of diverse thought to its fullest. She has degrees and experience in civil and environmental engineering and has held academic appointments in industrial engineering and biological engineering. But she didn’t always know she would be an engineer.

“I started my college career as a fashion design and merchandising major,” she said. “I loved the art form of high fashion. But I realized I didn’t have the artistic flair for it. Through a process of soul searching, I realized that I really liked the field of environmental sustainability.”

When students have feelings of self-doubt, Costello encourages them to continue learning and realize that their path won’t always be clear. “A lot of you don’t know what you want to do, and that’s okay! You can come here and figure it out with us. Or take an online class to explore a subject area on your schedule.”

Hunt, who leads a new online master’s program at Mizzou, agrees that learning new skills helps engineers with not only fighting impostor phenomenon, but with furthering their careers. “The reason we encourage people to continue their education five years into your career, is because you recognize that the industry has shifted or you might need a different set of skills to move up or move into the area that you want. A master’s degree can help set you apart from your peers.”

Become your own biggest fan

Kate Nolan, a materials and process engineer at Boeing, earned her undergraduate degree on campus at Mizzou. Despite having a successful career, Nolan experiences impostor syndrome. She fights it by reminding herself of her achievements.

“It’s so good to look back at everything you’ve accomplished,” she said. “I didn’t get all of this just by being lucky. You didn’t just get there by being lucky!”

Rahhal seconds this: “Own your accomplishments. If that means writing down a few accomplishments a month until you have an enormous list to look at when you are having a bad day, then do it.”



Find your people

Even though looking within is instrumental to overcoming this feeling, you can’t do it alone. Elizabeth Loboa, the first female dean in the College of Engineering at Mizzou, encourages engineers to seek advice and guidance from those that inspire them. She welcomes students to reach out to her in times of hesitation.

“You will be scared sometimes, you will question yourself sometimes,” said Loboa. “But the world will be your oyster when you're done. Stay with it and contact me if you get scared.”

Nolan seeks advice from her fellow SWE members. “I’ve been able to become friends with people my age to people that have retired from their engineering career. Finding that really supportive network has been so important to me. There aren’t that many things that have been a part of my life for 10 years, but SWE has.”