Missouri State University has recently partnered with the Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education in order to better serve nontraditional students, and they are holding Nontraditional Student Week this week, Nov. 5-9.

Throughout the week, the organization will be awarding certificates of appreciation to offices, staff and faculty members who have helped to welcome nontraditional students to MSU. These certificates will commemorate said individuals for making MSU a welcoming and open place to incoming nontraditional students.

ANTSHE is an organization dedicated to helping nontraditional students, such as those who took a year off between high school and college, or older students. It provides scholarship opportunities, academic resources and motivational support for nontraditional students. The benefits can include financial resources and information on what would be the best major or minor for certain fields.

Three MSU students benefiting from the recent partnership are Patricia Hilton, Josh Rodriguez and Todd Hussong. Hilton, a senior design and illustration major, needed a double lung transplant, which rendered her unable to come straight from high school. She instead attended a community college to work and get her associate degree. She managed to get a transplant in January 2017. That August, she was able to start attending classes.

“It's been crazy going from a life of taking care of myself and laying in a hospital bed, to having a part-time job, starting school again and being able to be 'normal' for once,” Hilton said.

Rodriguez, a junior sociology major, grew up in a struggling home but managed to overcome his situation. Growing up in Virginia, Rodriguez admired his mother and her spirit. When Rodriguez moved from Virginia to Missouri, he knew he wanted to start attending MSU.

He said that he was inspired by the 2015-2016 common reader, “The Other Wes Moore.” The biography is about the author, Wes Moore, and his interaction with another man also named Wes Moore. The author benefits from his childhood home, pursuing education and even joining the military. But the other Moore’s upbringing leads him down a darker path. The story is about making something of oneself, no matter where they came from.

"It was after reading ‘The Other Wes Moore’ and hearing him speak on campus that the reality check that the other 'Josh Rodriguez' isn't living in this opportune space that I was given," Rodriguez said.

Hussong, started to attend college in the late 1980s but instead took off to work for an airline. Afterword, he became a technical writer. He said this was a strange spot, as he loved writing but wanted more options. To pursue his goal, he took all of his classes online.

"I eased back into college life by taking only a few credit hours at first, getting used to the nontraditional way, then going full steam,” Hussong said.

Hussong plans on finishing college this way.

These three and many other nontraditional students have been helped out due to ANTSHE. Hilton and Rodriguez have been assisted with financial issues, while Hussong has been given more resources for his path.

There will be two tables set up at the Plaster Student Union on Thursday, Nov. 8, from 9-11 a.m. providing information on ANTSHE.

To contact the association’s president for general questions, email president@antsheboardofdirectors.org or call (301) 991-2222. The club can also be found on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter @MYANTSHE.