Good Apple: Grad on track to earn PhD 

A college graduate now on her way to completing a PhD says going to Pittsburg State University helped lay the foundation for the person she’s become. 

On March 7, Lynzee Flores was recognized for what she has achieved in the six short years since she graduated as a double major in communication studies with an emphasis in public relations, and in Spanish language and literature, quickly followed by a master’s degree in communication with an emphasis in strategic communication: She was chosen as one of two recipients of this year’s Good Apple Award. 

The award is given annually during the Apple Day ceremony to recent graduates who embody what it means to be a Gorilla. 

“I’m so surprised to receive it,” she said. “It’s very special, because going to Pitt State was definitely one of the greatest decisions I made, because it helped lay a foundation that I’ve been able to build on, helped me become the person I wanted to be.” 

She was drawn to Pittsburg State from Lamar, Missouri, because of marching band, having participated in the mass band production on the field for PSU Homecoming and “falling in love with the band and the campus.” 

“I wanted to come here just so I could be in the band,” she said. 

As a student, she found many opportunities in which to gain experience in leadership and service: she was a resident hall assistant and enjoyed helping to guide the young women who lived on her floor, and was active in campus organizations which gave her perspectives of students with different backgrounds. 

In 2016, she was chosen as the Outstanding Senior Woman and was the recipient of the Golden Gorilla Award, and earned dual degrees from the Department of English & Modern Languages and the Department of Communication. 

One of her nominators, Professor Grant Moss, said she had both a drive to succeed and a desire to build rapport among peers, academics, and community members — and even a host family during her study abroad trip to Spain. 

“Lynzee knows how to create lasting relationships through her outgoing manner, her intellectual curiosity, and her professional networking skill,” he said. “None of those efforts ended when she graduated. She has now become an excellent emerging scholar and still volunteers.” 

After graduating, she was encouraged by her advisor, Alicia Mason, to pursue a master’s degree and eventually, a doctoral degree.  

“For my PhD, I chose KU, because I found a department there that had just as strong a family connection as Pitt State had,” she said. 

Today, she’s an instructor in communication at KU, and at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, while she works on her dissertation to complete her degree in political communication. 

“I have been inspired by teachers and would like to continue teaching, myself,” she said. “My dream job would be to become a diplomat and work with the State Department.” 

She is well on her way: she has assisted with the Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute through the State Department at KU, which has brought together women from developing nations around the world. 

Flores also believes in giving back to each of the communities in which she has lived: she has volunteered as a mentor at Ascension Via Christi Hospital, where she coached staff in how to speak basic Spanish so they could better communicate with patients and their families, and at Mission Adelante in Kansas City, a multicultural ministry community with Bhutanese refugees and Latino immigrants, where she teaches Spanish speaking individuals English. 

She is active in faith-based campus organizations and directs a Bible study out of St. Lawrence Center at KU and one with City on a Hill in Kansas City. 

“It may sound cliché but I believe in giving of myself, to pay it forward for everyone who has helped me,” she said.