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Food, rock shows, and great people - What life is like for young professionals living in Central Missouri

Published on May 18, 2020

COLUMBIA, MO (May 15, 2020) - The idea of moving to another city or state can be frightening for some students. Two University of Missouri graduate students gave their perspective as to what it is like to live in Central Missouri. 

Frank Johnson II, a Kansas City native earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Fl. While in Florida he interned with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He moved back to Missouri to be with family and to continue his education at the University of Missouri in Columbia. For the past six years in COMO he has received a master’s in natural resources emphasising in soil science and is “all but dissertation” in his doctoral program focusing on soil sciences with a minor in statistics. His research involves studying denitrification. 

Sarah Sabatke is a graduate student who graduated this month with a master’s degree in documentary journalism. She moved to Columbia from Wisconsin in 2014 to attend Mizzou and study at the “renowned Missouri School of Journalism,” she said. She chose to attend Mizzou as an undergraduate because of the journalism school's reputation. She said she chose to continue her education at Mizzou for graduate school because of the incredible people she has met, both classmates and faculty mentors, and because of her interest in academic research.

What do you like about Central Missouri?

Frank: Columbia has a variety of food places though I do miss the Kansas City Bar-B-Q. (Note: Kansas City and St. Louis are about a 2 hour drive from Columbia and Jefferson City)

"I have fallen in love with the small towns and Missouri back roads surrounding Columbia."

Sarah: I have been surprised by the diversity of the people I have met and of the ideas I have encountered. I was initially against going to Missouri because I wanted to get out of the Midwest for college. Instead, I ended up directly in the heart of the region. Yet, I have made friends at Mizzou from all over the world and different walks of life, I studied abroad in London for a semester and I have fallen in love with the small towns and Missouri back roads surrounding Columbia. 

How have you adapted to moving to another location?
Frank: I lived in Florida to earn a bachelor's degree before moving back home to Missouri. I was familiar with Columbia because I have family here. I suggest keeping an open mind since there are so many things to do in Missouri and to discover since Missouri has a rich history and nature. There is so much to do in COMO with the True False festival, rock band performances and a lot of parks to visit.
Note: We suggest getting a pet when you move here since they add a lot to your mental health. The new fellows will find something they enjoy and love. They will discover Missouri has things to offer. 

Sarah: In the beginning, it was very difficult to be 400 miles from home. I didn’t know anyone when I moved to Missouri. I quickly got involved on campus and found my home in Columbia. I ended up loving it so much that I decided to continue my education at Mizzou. I have now been in Missouri for six years and I’ve finished my master's degree.

How has Mizzou prepared you in the future? 

Frank: My degrees and research of soil science will hopefully lead to my dream job of working as a government researcher and getting (environment) information to the farmers and the public. 

Sarah: My degrees have set me up for a successful career in virtually any area of journalism. My convergence journalism background means I worked in every outlet and medium associated with the Missouri School of Journalism and my skills are versatile to whatever job I choose. My graduate degree also prepares me for filmmaking endeavors and, many years down the road, I hope to teach at the collegiate level. 

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