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MSU Level UP students plan entrepreneurship event through Level UP Program 

Morehead State University's Level UP Program continues to focus on ensuring students graduate with hands-on experiences. Last November, students from the Service Learning Level UP course taught by Dr. Janet Ratliff (Class of 1991, 1992), Elmer and Donna Smith Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Associate Professor of Management/Entrepreneurship, hosted an Entrepreneurship Panel in the Adron Doran University Center (ADUC) Ballroom.  

This course included a service learning project. Planning the event enabled students to focus on building teamwork, an in-demand career skill. Kenneth Shaffner, a junior from Louisville, led classmates Jacob Ferry (junior, Aurora, Illinois), Josh McClurg (senior, Lexington), Madelyn Mozeleski (junior, Springfield, Ohio), and Sydney Palla (junior, Morehead) in coordinating the event.  

Over 100 students, faculty, and staff attended to learn about what it takes to be a small business owner in Eastern Kentucky. Guests were encouraged to participate by various professors in the Elmer R. Smith College of Business and Technology. The audience listened to the moderated panel of business professionals and could ask questions at the end of the event. Members of the panel included:   

  • Kasia Bartley from Meadowview Weddings and Events  
  • Derek Caskey from Sawstone Brewing Co.  
  • Dr. Joe Curd Jr. from Curd Surveying & Land Consulting, Inc.  

"I am here to support our students and faculty as they work to incorporate classroom-based concepts into the community," said Andrew Sexton (Class of 2020, 2022), coordinator of service learning. "These types of mutually beneficial relationships allow students to have networking opportunities, and the community benefits from having informed, motivated consumers."   

Ratliff wrote and received a $5,000 grant titled "Building for the Exchange" through the Appalachian Regional Commission as part of the 2022 Appalachian Teaching Project. After receiving the grant, Ratliff partnered with Downtown Morehead Inc. in a four-prong approach to entrepreneurship in the area, including:  

  • "Why Shop Local" educational campaign for Morehead students. 
  • A series of guest speakers invited to classes in the School of Business Administration. 
  • An entrepreneurship panel with local business owners. 
  • A presentation of research in Washington, D.C., These four projects were completed as part of the Level UP: Experience Your Future initiative.  

"I feel strongly that opportunities like those offered through Level UP are key to producing competitively successful students. Students who have real experiences connecting theory to the realities of practice gain knowledge and confidence that can be communicated, as well as exhibited in all that they do," Ratliff said. "I am so proud of my entire class of students for their dedication to their work and the quality of the work they completed."  

To learn more about the Level UP Program at MSU, email or visit  

For more information about business programs at MSU, email or call 606-783-2090

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