Senior Spotlight: Angela and Maggie McNay

Angela and Maggie McNay will graduate with degrees in parks, recreation and sport

Sports played a massive role in the lives of twin sisters Angela and Maggie McNay growing up. The twin sisters loved to compete, and they were both big fans of University of Missouri athletics. Having Norm Stewart and Mike Anderson as family friends didn’t hurt, either.

Already enamored with sports, friendships with Stewart and Anderson ignited that passion further.

“We went to Norm’s house at times during the summer months,” Maggie said. “Our grandma and his wife would work on various projects together. We call Mike, ‘uncle Mike’ and would watch movies at his house. He would always run out to Coldstone and buy us ice cream as well. It was just a lot of fun growing up having them both as family friends.”

Attending Mizzou was never a question for the sisters, but finding the right major was a bit more of a challenge.

“When we came to Mizzou, we really didn’t know what we wanted to do,” Maggie said. “We just knew that we wanted to be here. We had known Dr. (Bryan) Garton for about five years prior to beginning at MU, and he always encouraged us to take a look at CAFNR. We did our summer welcome sessions with CAFNR, and it made a huge impression on us.”

The sisters’ aunt, Susan McNay, helped steer them toward the parks, recreation and sport degree program. McNay is an assistant athletic director at MU and previously worked at the White House during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

“She showed us that we could follow our passion for sports and actually work in that industry,” Angela said. “We had no idea how many jobs were within the sports world, and the parks, recreation and sport program opened our eyes to those possibilities.”

Angela and Maggie chose sport management as their emphasis area within the degree.

“This degree program has been really fulfilling,” Angela said. “We weren’t panicking when we first got here, but we really didn’t know what we were going to do. We loved sports, but we didn’t know about the actual careers in the field.”

“There are so many behind-the-scenes jobs that we just didn’t think about,” Maggie added. “As we began in the parks, recreation and sport major, it sounded like so much fun. I mean, we got to take PE for one of our classes.”

Angela and Maggie grew up in Jamestown, Mo., between Jefferson City and Boonville. They played basketball and ran track at the small high school in the town. They also traveled to Columbia to play soccer.

Coming from a smaller area made CAFNR the easy choice, too.

“I love the small-class atmosphere,” Angela said. “Our graduating class in high school was 18 people, so it was obviously small. I had heard CAFNR had that small, family feel as well, especially parks, recreation and sport. That’s been so true throughout our entire time. The faculty really care about us and that means so much.”

Along with their classroom work, Angela and Maggie have been able to participate in several real-world learning opportunities. Both worked in the ticket office for Mizzou athletics since the first day of their freshman year. They have completed internships with Mizzou athletics, too.

“We served as student supervisors, where we supervised students during most sporting events,” Angela said. “Both opportunities gave us great experiences, as well as a chance to connect with others and build important networks in the industry.”

“It’s really given us the opportunity to get volunteer experience,” Maggie added. “The opportunities really helped us build a resume. We have been able to apply what we’ve learned in the classroom to real-world situations, which is vital before we make the jump into future jobs.”

Along with being part of the same degree program and participating in the same internships, Angela and Maggie have shared additional experiences throughout their four years at MU.

“It’s been amazing, being here with my sister,” Angela said. “I don’t think it would have been as fun without her. Maggie made the atmosphere so much more comforting.”

“We’ve been doing everything together our entire lives, so it’s been awesome to share this experience as well,” Maggie added. “We share so many of the same memories, which is pretty awesome.”

After graduation, Angela and Maggie will both attend graduate school at the University of Missouri, in the College of Education. They will be working on their master’s of education in the Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology, with an emphasis in Positive Coaching and Athletic Leadership.

“We’re slowly branching out and heading in different directions,” Maggie said. “It will be nice to be Maggie or Angela instead of just the McNay twins.”

As Angela and Maggie head to graduate school, they both said their time in CAFNR helped prepare them for the future.

“CAFNR pushed me out of my comfort zone,” Angela said. “I’ve done things I really never saw myself doing. Those activities have expanded my horizons and really challenged me. I honestly wish I could just go back and do it all over again.”

“CAFNR pushed me out of my comfort zone as well,” Maggie added. “I’m a big introvert, and CAFNR helped push me to meet new people and take on new responsibilities. I’m also thankful for the scholarships I received. Without those, I wouldn’t have been able to have the same college experience that I had. There are so many opportunities, and CAFNR helps you find the ones that best fit you. They provided that small-town home atmosphere on a large college campus.”