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Sybil Prost finds life’s work after graduate school at Mizzou

Oct. 19, 2022

By Kate Lickert

Sybil Prost, MSW ’92, was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, and grew up in Columbia. From the beginning, Mizzou had a strong influence on her life.

“Some of our family traditions revolved around the University of Missouri-Columbia campus long before I knew what college I wanted to attend,” Prost said. “Our family had season tickets to Mizzou football, toured the house decorations during homecoming, and enjoyed listening to Marching Mizzou on Saturday mornings from our backyard.”

Although Prost received her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice Administration and Corrections from Central Missouri State University, she decided to come back to Columbia to earn her Master’s in Social Work from Mizzou. Before Mizzou, she worked as a probation and parole officer.

“That job gave me life experiences that led me to begin looking for additional education to help make a difference in the lives of those that needed an advocate, problem solver and activist,” Prost said.

After her time as a probation and parole officer, Prost transitioned to hospice care.

“I was first introduced to hospice during a graduate class at Mizzou,” Prost recalls.

Prost had a class assignment to write and present on a role related to social work. She was assigned hospice care, which focuses on the care, comfort and quality of life for a person with a serious illness who is approaching the end of life.

“I dove into my project by talking to my parents, interviewing hospice professionals, and attending a hospice conference. I enjoyed every minute of the project,” Prost said.  “After graduating I interviewed for a lot of jobs and one that crossed my path was in hospice. I took the job thinking, ‘I have to start somewhere.’ That somewhere led my career to clinical practice, supervisory roles, program development, speaking at local, state, and national conferences and working on legislative issues at the Missouri state capitol.”

Prost worked in hospice care for more than 30 years and wouldn’t be where she is now without her time at Mizzou.

“I greatly value the education I received at Mizzou,” Prost said. “My social work career continues to teach me new things and I appreciate all the paths it has led me to. My career has taught me that it is important to invest in the next generation of social workers.”

She is thankful for the education and support she received.  

“I benefited from a scholarship during my first year of graduate school. That scholarship gave me some ‘wiggle room’ financially and allowed me more time to enjoy my graduate school experience,” Prost said. “I hope my gift will help give the next generation some of the same wonderful experiences I have had in my career.”

The School of Health Professions would like to thank Prost for her generosity in establishing an estate gift to the School of Social Work. This gift will help further the mission and impact of the School of Social Work at the university.