Board of Directors
Sarah Jo Buchanan (formally Sarah Jo Young) was a founding mother of Gamma Alpha Lambda. During her fun time at Missouri State University she enjoyed the life changing experience of helping GAL get started. During her time in GAL she served her chapter in various ways including treasurer, service chair, social chair, big sister and others. Sarah is excited to have been asked to serve on the Board of Directors and help in any way possible to strengthen the ministry of Gamma Alpha Lambda.
Sarah is a December 2006 graduate of Missouri State University with a BS in education. She is a middle school science teacher in Springfield and enjoys her job very much. She also is currently working towards a master’s degree from Drury University in Educational Technology. Outside of work and school Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and dog. She is also actively involved in her church community by helping with supervising the babies and toddlers during church service, as well as, leading a small group for young married and engaged couples in her home.
Dr. Debra McDowell was the founding advisor for the Alpha Chapter of Gamma Alpha Lambda at Missouri State University in 2003. Accordingly, Dr. McDowell is recognized as being a Founding Mother of the Alpha Chapter. She was responsible for assisting the founding mothers in organizing the structure and statutes of both the local and national organizations. Presently, she is the Faith chair on the National Board of Directors of Gamma Alpha Lambda.
Dr. McDowell is currently an Executive Associate of McDowell Financial Group and a business consultant after retiring in 2006 as an emeritus professor of Fashion & Interior Design at Missouri State University (MSU). Professionally, she is also teaching at the Springfield campus of the University of Phoenix and is an educational consultant. Educational research papers have been presented at the International Textiles & Apparel Association (ITAA) and the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) international conferences. She has received a national grant from Campus Compact, been a reviewer of clothing and textiles curriculum and textbooks, and has been a national reviewer of grants in Washington, D.C. for the National Corporation for Service-Learning.
Jennifer Collier became a member of the Alpha Chapter of Gamma Alpha Lambda at Missouri State University during Fall 2004. She quickly got involved in leadership when she was voted in as Vice President of Rush the following spring. The next year she served as President of the Alpha Chapter. During this time, she also helped Brooke (McDowell) Bayer and Emily Brooker develop GAL as a national sisterhood. After her time as President, she stepped down from the chapter side of leadership and moved to the national side as the Officer of Training and Recruitment. She has served in the position since the summer of 2006 and has helped three new chapters get started across the state of Missouri. Moving once more into a different role, she is excited to now be serving as a GAL Board Member and oversee Sisterhood within the chapters.
After graduating from Missouri State University, Jennifer went on to get her Master’s from University of Missouri. She hopes to one day obtain her Doctorate and work as a college professor. Jennifer’s works as a school librarian in Lee’s Summit, MO. In her free time she enjoys shopping, swimming, cooking and sewing. She also owns and operates Jenny’s Lens which is a photography business for families and weddings. Jennifer’s favorite thing about GAL is the Christ centered sisterhood and the unique bond that comes from it.
Gayle Brooker received her M.A. in Speech Language Pathology, is certified by the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association and is licensed by the State of Missouri as a Speech Language Pathologist. She has held positions as Clinical Director of a Speech and Hearing Center and Director of the Visually Impaired Preschool, Speech Language Pathologist on an Evaluation Team for the State of Missouri, and Speech Language Pathologist and Early Intervention Specialist for Head Start. Most positions have involved writing policies and procedures, organizing and maintaining accreditation standards, presenting information to staff and the general public. She has been recognized by Outstanding Young Women of America.
Volunteer positions at her church have included Administrative Board, Counsel on Ministries Chairman, Finance Committee, initial Children’s Church planner and coordinator, Missions Committee, Youth Group Counselor and a Sunday School teacher for children and adults. She has been a Girl Scout Leader for nine years. She was involved in a social sorority for a year and was President of her pledge class. Her daughter Emily is a Founding Mother of GAL. Gayle instigated the Mother’s group of the Alpha chapter of GAL which has provided encouragement to GAL members through Christian messages and gifts and has also helped raise financial support for GAL.
Current personal growth of her Christian faith has included a Couples Bible Study, Finance/Mission Committee and support of a mission projects, and support of Alliance Defense Fund who supports individuals and groups in conflict over Christian issues.
Kathleen Sharp is an alumni of the Alpha Chapter at Missouri State University. Since joining GAL in the Fall of 2005, Kathleen has had a heart for the sisterhood and has served in various leadership positions including Chapter Treasurer, Philanthropy Chair, National Treasurer, Operations Manager, and most recently Board Chairwoman. Kathleen receiver her Bachelor’s of Education in Spanish in May of 2009, and currently, she stays home with her two children.
Kathleen met Steve Sharp at the Potter’s House, Alpha chapter’s philanthropy, in December of 2006 and two years later, Steve and Kathleen were married. Now, the Sharps have two beautiful children, Cooper and Abigail, and one sweet pug, Duke. In her free time, Kathleen enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, cooking and baking, playing outside with her kids, working out, and brushing up on her Spanish.
GAL has touched her life in many ways, but most importantly, it has helped her grow in her relationship with God. Kathleen is thankful for her GAL sisters and for the role GAL has played in her life and wants to try to give back a little of GAL has given to her.