TSPA MPA Student Anna Detloff Gains Leadership Experience With Mizzou Alternative Breaks

TSPA MPA student Anna Detloff on the beautiful Mizzou campus (container gardens in front of Jesse Hall)

By Daniel Woodhams

Anna Detloff plays a pivotal role in managing the largest university alternative breaks program in the country. Mizzou Alternative Breaks (MAB) is a student-led organization that provides opportunities for meaningful service trips across America. From vacation time to extended weekends, students have led trips involved in LGBTQ+ advocacy, environmental conservation, and other work. As part of her Graduate Assistantship Anna fulfills a variety of functions, which she quickly rattles off as, “advisor, travel agent, event planner, and a little bit of mom.”

Mizzou Alternative Breaks is run by and for students and Anna’s job is to make sure that all the pieces are moving. Because it is a self-funded program, Anna finds that her non-profit management skills often come into play. Working with undergraduate students is highly dynamic. “From getting texts late at night to massive amounts of e-mails, I’m always propelled forward by the amazing student leaders that are so active on campus.”

Her assistantship has transformed her leadership style. “I used to be a traditional manager, focused on roles and tasks, but I had to learn how to blend personal relationships into the mix, and this has created such a pleasant environment. It’s completely changed the way I lead but it’s shown me how pieces fit together to get things working.”

Such versatile work has changed the way Anna thinks about her career prospects. “I’ve worked mostly in horticulture and has opened my mind up to so many organizations and so many different lines of work,” Anna says. “There’s so many places I could go and there are so many different directions that could take me.”

If a student is interested in MAB they can visit breaks.missouri.edu or email breaks@missorui.edu. Any student is welcome to stop by the MAB office Monday through Friday in the Center for Student Involvement.