A profile in how to live a joyful life: Genevieve Howard

When described by students and coworkers Genevieve Howard, a member of the CAFNR Office of Communications, almost sounds too good to be true: a positive and outgoing Christian woman who simply wants the best for her students. Howard has been through many phases of life that have led her to where she is at now. The 2014 fall semester is Howard’s last semester teaching a section of the CAFNR web design class at Mizzou, but students will not soon forget her spirited personality.

Senior science and agricultural journalism major Ashley Craft was a teaching aid for her 8 a.m. web design class this past year. According to Craft, Howard’s personality made the early morning class a bit more enjoyable, and the story of Howard’s journey is something everyone should hear.

“She’s so humble and selfless,” Craft said. “She’s one of the most positive people you can ever be around, and she encourages others to do their best at all times. She genuinely cares about everyone she meets, and she takes the time to get to know you personally.”

CAFNR colleagues also have nothing but positive experiences with Howard commenting on her professionalism and unique qualities.

“Genevieve is an ultimate professional: calm, confident, collaborative and fun to work with,” said science and agricultural journalism professor Bill Allen. “She¹s excellent at what she does and has a great sense of humor. Her positive outlook is infectious.”

Gen-HorseBorn in the state of California, Howard has always been a free spirit, finding joy in nature and learning. Although she moved to the Midwest at age 8, she later returned to California to pursue a degree in language studies with an emphasis in French at the University of California-Santa Cruz. After graduating in 1992, getting married and having a son, Howard began dreaming of the Midwest again. She wanted to raise her son in a rural area with land for horses.

“We came to Missouri knowing no one, with no job. We just sold everything and got on a plane,” Howard said. “We brought our cat and dog with us.”

After purchasing a large property in 2000, Howard finally adopted her horse Miko in 2003. The family adopted a pony named Pixie eight years later.

Howard joined the MU family in 2004, after being a stay-at-home mom for four years. In 2006, she joined the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) to oversee the college’s website and social media. She earned her master’s degree in 2008 from MU in education, with a focus on educational technology: learning systems design and development. She has also taught a web design class through CAFNR for nearly five years.

“I know Mizzou from the perspective of a student, an alum, a teacher and a staff member,” Howard said. “I recognize how good this university has been to me. Mizzou has made me what I am, and I work every day to return the investment.

However, Howard’s life hasn’t always been successful and full of accomplishments. Howard taught herself to knit in 2010 in honor of her mother who passed away from lung cancer. She noted in her blog, Light to Grow In, that she believed learning the skill that brought her mother “joy, calmness and human interaction” was the perfect way to honor her.

“The quality doesn’t matter. It’s the process. There is purpose in trying and in doing,” said Howard on her blog. “There is value in remembering those we love and trying to be like them.”

In addition to knitting, maintaining a blog and keeping up with CAFNR’s many different media platforms, Howard has picked up a new hobby with her husband called the National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization dedicated completely to writing. November’s goal was to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Over NaNoWriMo’s 14-year history, many authors have become published along the way. Howard enjoys the challenge, saying there is something amazing about having the freedom to be whoever you want and write about whatever you want.

Though there have been ups and downs in Howard’s life, everything that has happened has made her the kind-hearted person she is today. She encourages everyone to be guided by something, as she has been guided by her faith. Howard believes that there will be difficulties along the way for everyone, but everything will work out for the best.

To learn more about Genevieve Howard, visit her website, http://genevievehoward.com/, or her book-to-project website, http://creativewomensdevotional.com/, which will be made into a book in fall 2015.

~ photo by Genevieve Howard