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SBU students create website for Lt. Governor Parson’s “Buy Missouri” initiative

BOLIVAR, Mo. — A team of graduating seniors from Southwest Baptist University recently worked with Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson’s office to develop a website to enhance his “Buy Missouri” initiative.

Each year the senior students in Southwest Baptist University’s Department of Computer and Information Science form teams to complete year-long projects for area businesses and organizations. These projects provide a capstone experience culminating their years of study.

SBU grads help develop a website for "Buy Missouri" initiative.The “Buy Missouri” website project team consists of Emily Munsell, senior computer information science major from Osceola, Ryan Reed, senior web systems and design major from Bolivar, and Joseph Sommerer, senior computer science and mathematics major from Jefferson City.

“Buy Missouri” is a statewide initiative to connect residents and businesses in Missouri, by educating consumers on the wide variety of products made in Missouri and connecting them to the local businesses.

According to Lieutenant Governor Parson, “Missouri has hundreds of products made within our borders, and our goal is to identify and compile these products so that all Missourians will know which ones to buy to help our state. This website will be a resource that can be used to help advocate for items made within the borders of Missouri and to promote to other states and the world the products Missouri has to offer.”

A key component of the website the students created is a searchable business directory. Missouri businesses will have the opportunity to register for the site and then approved businesses will appear in the directory. Once the website launches, users will be able to search the directory by business name, industry type, or county to connect to businesses participating in the “Buy Missouri” initiative.

“The team effort between the Office of Lieutenant Governor and Southwest Baptist University (SBU) was a win-win for all,” Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson said. “Dr. Tim DeClue and his students did a terrific job creating the ‘Buy Missouri’ website. The website they created was more than we envisioned, especially in the areas of eye-catching design and ease of navigation. The team at SBU was very open to our ideas concerning how the information in the website should be presented, and their suggestions on how to go a step further creatively with these ideas were always timely and welcome. We appreciate their expertise and efforts. It is always nice to have people from my hometown work with the Lieutenant Governor’s office.”

Working on this real-world project provided valuable experience for the SBU students as they put what they have learned into action. The team members all agreed that this project taught them important life lessons that will benefit them as they enter the workforce. Reed learned that “clear communication is vital” and Munsell said she “learned to be self-aware” and manage her time efficiently. As Sommerer said, “Projects can and will change, you just have to roll with it.”

Other senior projects in the computer and information science department this year included work for The Seed Company in Arlington, Texas; SuprTEK Defense Contractor in St. Louis, Duck Creek Technologies in Bolivar, and Windermere Baptist Conference Center in Roach.

For more information about SBU Computer and Information Science, contact DeClue at (417) 328-1704 or

Photo cutline: SBU seniors (pictured left to right) Joseph Sommerer, Emily Munsell, and Ryan Reed worked with the Lieutenant Governor’s office to create a website for the “Buy Missouri” initiative.

*Published: 5-21-18