Marla Klopfer Taylor ’05

Treatment Family Care and Transitional Living Scattered Sites Supervisor for MBCH Children & Family Ministries in Springfield, MO

Bachelor of Science in Human Services

Please describe your position and what you enjoy most about it.

I work for a faith-based non-profit in Missouri focused on making a difference in child-welfare. I supervise a team of people who provide specialized support services, individual treatment/educational planning for foster families caring for elevated needs kids and specialists supporting youth moving to independence while still in foster care.

I love supporting an innovative and connected team of believers focused on ministries that make a difference for families. My job makes a huge impact in the lives of at-risk kids and their families. One of my favorite aspects of my position is opportunities to encourage growth and a sense of hope in others.

What aspects of your HLGU experience helped you prepare for your career?

My time at HLGU was split between the Christian Education and Human services departments. The ability to be part of both challenged me to move towards serving others in an avenue of ministry outside the church. HLGU was part of recognizing where a love for missions and outreach connected to the fields of psychology and sociology. All parts together making a huge difference in the lives of at-risk youth and families.

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

Since graduating from HLGU I worked between ministry positions and social services. I loved the different “seasons” of my career: social services, youth ministry and camp ministry. Several of these positions have challenged me to continually grow, stretch and learn. I enjoy supporting youth and families however God brings my way. I love aspects of teaching, program development, and clinical work as much as I love discipleship, camp planning, and adventures. I love a challenge and so many things in my career have presented challenges and purposes that continue to bring momentum and energy into my work.

Have you or are you currently continuing your education? If so, please list the institution(s) and degree(s) you earned or are working toward.

I plan to finish a Masters in Social Work at Missouri State University in 2024. I plan to become licensed and continue on in a clinical license sometime in the future.

How did HLGU shape you as a person?

Knowledge for service defines my experience at HLGU when it comes to my career. When looking at my personal life, I want to say HLGU provided opportunity to see the value and importance of Christian community. Life long friendships have bloomed out of my time there. HLGU staff and faculty provided strong examples of leadership, mentoring, hope, and encouragement for me. I can mark times in my life that were specifically marked by conversations with dorm parents or life lessons from professors. Overall there was a picture of community in action.

What HLGU professors played a part in your success? How did your relationship with faculty help you succeed?

Dr Al Sarno, Dean Schoonover, Dr Richardson all made an impact on me that has carried over into my career. The connection between the field and understanding where God can shape the lives of people was fueled from the three of them. I was personally pushed and challenged by all three to take hard steps and grow; that did not end in college. All of them made personal investments and encouraged me through advice and prayer.

Dr. Martha Bergen gave me a strong example of leadership in ministry. I will never forget her stopping in and checking on me after having leg surgery in college. I can even remember a day when she stopped and prayed with me over something in Walmart. Ministry didn’t just stay in the classroom. I have learned a lot from her grace, excellence, and care for others. My husband was impacted by Dr. Robert Bergen in a very similar way. Their wisdom helped us get started and has stuck with us since.

Mrs. Burt made an impact on both my husband and I, she helped us meet challenges we were facing as students in creative ways. She took the extra time to show she was interested in our lives and who we were. She challenged us, but at the same time rooted us on, encouraged us, and showed great compassion. I often strive to follow that example from her.

Dr. Pelliteer and Dr. Hufty provided me with life impacting phrases that will never go away even when they weren’t the original author: “Bad attitude equals bad results”, “everything rises and falls on leadership” , “leadership is influence”, ” Talk about the red dragon…” are just a few. The energy both poured into teaching has carried over in how I talk with groups now.

Dawn and Jason Hargraves were the best honors dorm parents. The two of them took time to listen, advise, pray and invest in me during years at HLGU. They were welcoming and open. I noted their example of warmth and care and followed it as we served youth and college students in ministry. Welcoming people in and living life right along side them, came from their example.

Please list any scholarships, honors, or awards you received as an undergraduate or graduate.

I received athletic scholarships, christian ministry scholarship, and academic scholarships at HLGU. I graduated with honors from HLGU and I am currently part of an honor society at Missouri State University.

Do you have any tips to share with students interested in this field?

Embrace that you are a life long learner and always seek to grow.
Walk humbly and take bold steps; you will stand out in the world.
Invest in others and seek to help them grow.
When you face challenges in your career follow Jesus’ example of love and rely on His spirit to carry you.
Prayer does change things!
Invest in your christian community: you won’t make it serving people through hardship if your don’t have friendship.
Don’t let the opinions or actions of others push you out of where you feel called.
Christians need to continue to shine light in the darkness, even if the world has a very different philosophy in your same field.

What are some of your favorite HLGU memories?

There are so many great memories. Friendship has to be the most notable. I thank God, all the time for the friends He put in my life at HLGU, that have so far shaped the rest of my days. Even if I no longer see them or only catch social media glimpses, the people are best parts of those memories.

What on-campus activities were you involved in at HLGU?

Cross Country
Circle K
Jerusalem Project Missions
We played a lot of frisbee golf before there was a course
Also tried to be involved in student activities as much as I could
I was also an RA and worked for campus security

HLGU’s motto is “knowledge for service.” What roles have these values played in your life?

Knowledge in and of itself means nothing if it is not connected to serving others in some way. In my classes I felt that the emphasis was not just in learning, but in applying that learning to serving others where we could.

What is one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you started in the field?

You aren’t a super hero. God gives you what you need when you say Yes to what He calls you to, but you have limits. Steward your energy well or you will burn out.