Admissions Counselors

meet your admissions counselor

Your admissions counselor is here to help you learn what SBU has to offer, navigate the admissions and financial aid processes, and answer any questions you might have. Use the map below to meet your SBU admissions counselor!


International Students

Transfer Students

Becky Van Stavern

Director of Undergraduate Admissions

Becky Van Stavern, Director of Undergraduate Admissions

Recruiting Territory: Freshman International Students
Call: (417) 328-1815
Twitter: @SBU_Becky

What SBU means to me: SBU is an amazing family of Christians serving each other with our own unique gifts and talents. Our students are such an important part of that family. Being in this Christ-centered family encourages me to remain focused on my relationship with Christ.

Tips for success in your first year at SBU: Use the resources provided for you at SBU! We all want our students to succeed and will do whatever we can to help them achieve success. Most importantly, remember Philippians 4:13.



Natalie O'Keefe

Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions

Natalie O'Keefe, Admissions Counselor

Call: (417) 328-1817

Tips for success in your first year at SBU: Get plugged in! The options for campus and community involvement are endless. Try new things and explore your options. Plug in to activities and groups on campus, but also be engaged in the Bolivar community. Finding a local church will powerfully enrich your college experience!

What sets SBU apart from other universities? Southwest Baptist University is unique in that the focus is preparing students to be successful in every area of their lives. Students receive an excellent education, while also being nurtured spiritually, emotionally and socially. I'm so thankful that God led me to a place that fostered growth in every facet of my life!

Chris Mitchell

Assistant director of undergraduate admissions

Chris Mitchell, Admissions CounselorRecruiting Territory: Transfer Students

Call: (417) 328-1816 | Text: (417) 327-5556

What does SBU mean to you? SBU is a place full of many amazing opportunities awaiting to be discovered. With the many areas of study offered, the possibilities are endless to discover your passions, desires, and goals. SBU is a Christ-centered and academically focused community that gives students the college experience they need to be successful in their future. Become a Bearcat where your life will be changed for the better!

Tips for success in your first year at SBU: 1) Try it out! You never know what God has planned for you, so don't be afraid to try something new. 2) Check into everything SBU has to offer you. There are a lot of options for you that you can pick and choose from that best fit your passions, desires, and goals for your life. 3) SBU has many different areas to help make your college experience one you will never regret. Get involved because your college experience is what you make of it.

Reece Tabor

Senior Admissions Counselor

Reece Tabor, Admissions Counselor

States: KS, MO
Missouri Counties: Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Caldwell, Carroll, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Jackson, Lafayette, Livingston, Mercer, Nodaway, Platte, Ray, Worth

Call: (417) 328-1829 | Text: (417) 328-9151

How has SBU been influential in your life?: SBU has immeasurably influenced my faith, direction, and relationships. I learned more about the incredible love of God during my time as a student than I had at any other point in my life. I was instructed on how to understand and appreciate His works in new and incredible ways. Additionally, SBU refashioned and reinforced the direction of my life through the speech and debate team, theatre program, and campus life. Many of my closest, lifelong friendships were formed while I was an SBU student. Ultimately, SBU continues to impact and shape my faith and future.

Tips for success in your first year at SBU: Since there are so many fun and exciting opportunities outside the classroom, like Bible studies, theatre, or intramural sports, the temptation to jump into everything all at once is very strong. Find a few things that excite and inspire you and run with them without becoming too overwhelmed.

Maggie Fink

Admissions Counselor

Maggie Fink, Admissions Counselor

States: IL, MO
Missouri Counties: Adair, Audrain, Chariton, Clark, Franklin, Jefferson, Knox, Lewis, Lincoln, Linn, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Pike, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, St. Charles, St. Louis, Sullivan, Warren, Washington

Call: (417) 328-1814 | Text: (417) 399-1508

What does SBU mean to you?: When I try and think about what SBU means to me, what comes to mind is a home away from home. Although my time here has been short thus far, the community is authentic, life-giving, comforting, and kind. As a recent newlywed who just moved from my hometown in Illinois, I worried about feeling lost and alone in a new town. However, the way that the SBU staff and faculty has come around my husband and me has blown us away. This school shows the kindness of God in their everyday and truly strives to make you feel at home.

Tips for success in your first year at SBU: Get plugged in! You’ll hear all the time of how you only get out what you’re willing to put in to any situation in life. Try your best to be authentically you! The people around you want to know who you are, your passions, what excites you, etc. Instead of trying to give them a version of yourself you think they may like better, push for a genuine representation of you. Last, but certainly not least, get connected with your faculty and staff. They want to know you and come alongside you during your time here at SBU.

Mollie Banks

Admissions Counselor

Mollie Banks, Admissions Counselor

Missouri Counties: Christian, Dade, Dallas, Greene, Hickory and Polk

Call: (417) 328-1812 | Text: (417) 327-5554

What SBU means to me:  SBU is a place for growth. It is a place that allows me to grow academically, personally, and most importantly spiritually. There are so many great things about SBU and I just love the different avenues they provide to help me constantly grow! SBU is a place that lets me be exactly who I am and encourages growth in my life!

Tips for success in your first year at SBU: Get involved! The best way to have a great first year is to get involved around campus. Whether than is through university events, getting to know the people you live with in the dorm, or getting involved in your department. There are so many different ways to get involved that help with success in your first year! Getting involved gets you plugged into the awesome community that SBU provides.

Katelyn Brantingham

Admissions Counselor

Katelyn Brantingham, Admissions Counselor

States: AR, IA, MO, NE, OK
Missouri Counties: Barry, Barton, Bates, Cedar, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton, St. Clair, Stone, Taney, Vernon

Call: (417) 328-1800 | Text: (417) 327-9429

What does SBU mean to you? SBU has influenced my life in a number of ways. After attending SBU for four years, I made life-long friendships, learned from passionate, Christ-minded professors, and gained a significant amount of confidence in my academics, as well as my walk with the Lord. SBU prepared me for so many important aspects of my future and I am confident that I was set up for success at SBU!

What sets SBU apart from other universities? SBU is unique in that it provides a number of opportunities to serve Christ globally and locally, as well as the chance to be involved in numerous organizations to advance your social, spiritual, and leadership skills.

Ian Martin

Admissions Counselor

Ian Martin, Admissions Counselor

States: AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IN, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
Missouri Counties: Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Oregon, Pemiscot, Perry, Reynolds, Ripley, Scott, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Wayne

Call: (417) 328-1912 | Text: (417) 298-3375

What does SBU mean to you? SBU is a place where anyone can come to be encouraged and not put down. It is a place that offers many opportunities for future endeavors. The Bearcat community is one of the best and is a place that the staff and faculty push you to be the best that you can be in every part of your life. SBU is a place that helps you grow in your walk with Christ. Finally, it is a place where once you get involved it is going to be hard to leave it.

Tips for success in your first year at SBU: Make yourself at home here. The first tip is to get involved and be outgoing. Do not just stay in your room all day and night. Make friends and then make some memories. Participate outside of the classroom and you will have the best time here. The second tip is to stay caught up with classes. No procrastination! Work hard and find a fun way to do it. Creating study groups, making games of it, and asking questions are a great way to do this. This is your college experience and it is whatever you make of it.

Abby Wilken

Admissions Counselor

Abby Wilken, Admissions Counselor

Missouri Counties: Benton, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dent, Douglas, Gasconade, Henry, Howard, Howell, Johnson, Laclede, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Montgomery, Morgan, Osage, Ozark, Pettis, Phelps, Pulaski, Saline, Shannon, Texas, Webster, Wright

Call: (417) 328-1824 | Text: (417) 327-5553

Tips for success in your first year at SBU: Get plugged in! Listen to your parents, and don’t sit in your dorm! With so much to do on campus, the best way to succeed in your first year at SBU is to go and get involved. Once you get involved, you will continue to make new friends that will stand by you and support you through the rest of your college career. 

What does SBU mean to you? With so many opportunities on campus, SBU gives students building blocks to their future. The ability to personalize class schedules, join clubs and organizations, be a part of a missions team and even create new groups on campus — SBU allows students to truly customize their college experience. By allowing students these opportunities, SBU has created a space that fosters emotional, relational, spiritual and academic growth amongst its student body every day.