2018 Award Winners

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Amanda Blythe

Amanda is a junior studying Biochemistry. She began conducting research in Dr. Paula McSteen’s laboratory during her freshman year as a part of the Freshman Research in Plant Sciences (FRIPS) Program, and has since continued her research studying maize development. Apart from her research at Mizzou, she interned at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Chesterfield, MO summer 2018, and will further her research experience this summer by participating in the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy in Nashville, TN. Amanda has most recently been chosen for an Honorable Mention for the National Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Outside of the lab, Amanda is an Undergraduate Research Ambassador, Biochemistry Peer Learning Assistant, and Girl Scout.

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Emily Coonrod

Emily is a senior biology major from St. Louis, Missouri. She performs research in the Sarafianos laboratory, working with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV and has presented research at Mizzou and in Jefferson City. She is an Undergraduate Research Ambassador and a mentor for the Peer Undergraduate Mentoring Program. After graduating in May, Emily will pursue a PhD in Human and Statistical Genetics and Washington University.

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Christopher Dade

Christopher is a senior Chemistry major from Rogersville, Mo. He conducts protein crystallography research with Dr. Jack Tanner to better understand the structure and function of enzymes critical in natural product synthesis and bacteria life. Christopher also spent the summer of 2016 at the Leibniz Institute for Plant Biochemistry in Halle, Germany on a DAAD RISE scholarship researching secondary metabolites in medicinal plants. Outside of class and the lab, Christopher spends his time playing trumpet in Marching Mizzou, giving tours to prospective students on Tour Team, and registering students to vote and advocating for higher education in state government as the campus president of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri. Christopher is passionate about making science accessible to the general public and politicians to bolster support for scientific research and develop more informed public policies, and he worked to organize the March for Science: Mid-Missouri in 2017. Christopher is a 2019 Mitchell Scholar, Mizzou’s first, and will pursue a Master’s in Science Communication at Dublin City University after graduation.

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Baylee Francka

Baylee is a senior studying psychology with a minor in biology. She has spent the last four years actively involved in research in the Family Relationships and Adolescent Development Lab through the Discovery Fellows Program, the Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program, and the Cherng Scholars Program. Her own projects have focused on adolescent body esteem and have been presented at various conferences and forums. In addition to conducting research, she has spent her time serving as a Homecoming TriDirector, is a member of the Alumni Association Student Board, the Panhellenic community, and the Catholic Student Association, and has studied abroad. She plans to attend Washington University to obtain a Master of Social Work. She hopes to pursue a career as a therapist for individuals and families, particularly those affected by eating disorders.

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Jane Kielhofner

Springfield, MO native Jane Kielhofner is a junior pursuing a major in Public Health and a minor in Psychology. She is passionate about studying the effects of health disparities on infant and maternal mortality, and other determinants of women’s health in the United States. On campus, she is a founding executive member of PERIOD @ Mizzou, a peer educator and president of MU Student Wellness Advocates, and vice president of Mizzou Public Health Club. She recently led a Mizzou Alternative Breaks trip to Austin, Texas, working with organizations that advocate for underserved teen women. She also enjoys serving locally at Harry S. Truman VA Hospital. Jane spent the summer of 2017 interning on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as a Kinder Scholar, and was recently named a 2018 Kinder Fellow. This Spring she was inducted into Mortar Board, one of Mizzou’s six secret societies. Following graduation in May 2019, she plans to attend medical school

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Amanda Krewson

Amanda is a senior majoring in Communication with minors in French, Political Science, and Leadership and Public Service. To pursue her interest in religious studies, Amanda has worked at the Refugee and Immigration Services Office through Mizzou’s Civic Leaders Internship Program. Additionally, Amanda has worked to combine her interest in politics and serving under represented groups by interning with the Missouri House of Representatives as well as Coyote Hill, an organization dedicated to helping abused and neglected children.

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Madeline Niemann

Madeline is a senior in political science and international studies whose passion is promoting justice in healthcare systems. She currently serves as the president of Mizzou Energy Action Coalition, a campus organization that advocates for fossil fuel divestment, and as the coordinator of Tigers for a Cause, a weekly community engagement initiative within the Office of Service Programs. During her time as a Tiger, Madeline has interned for Senator Claire McCaskill’s Columbia office, the Division of Energy in Jefferson City, and with public health NGOs in both Cusco, Peru and Kigali, Rwanda. In addition, she works as a writing tutor in the Student Success Center and as a patient care technician at Boone Hospital. After graduation, Madeline plans to serve with Americorps and then return to professional school for further education.

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Rachel Patteson

Affected by hurricanes growing up in Louisiana, Rachel wanted to understand more about the environment in high school, which led her to the University of Missouri to major in Soil, Atmospheric, and Environmental Science with minors in Geology and Korean. On campus, she worked as a USDA soil microbiological technician and atmospheric research assistant. In 2015, she was a Gilman and Critical Language Scholar to Korea University and in 2016 she did her internship in Yakutsk, Russia to understand climate change impacts on permafrost. In 2017, she was awarded an NSF REU grant to research increased storm events on Arctic Ocean mixing and sea ice melt in Alaska and presented her research at several conferences. Although her key research is focused on the physical components of climate change, she became motivated to understand minority struggles, especially in the face of environmental issues. Rachel became service chair of the Asian American Association and a workshop leader to advocate on understanding the Asian American community and climate change. She was also a leader in the Asian Ambassador’s Program, taught Navajo children Earth Science with Mizzou Alternative Breaks, and founded WearthWhile -a permanent photo-story campaign that brings environmental issues to the spotlight. Presently, she has been awarded the Mark Twain Fellowship and NSF Graduate Research Grant to pursue a Geosciences Master’s degree at University College London and research climate change in the Oligocene period. Her goals for the future are to continue researching climate change globally, understand how to bridge politics and science, partner with NASA and vulnerable communities to make climate change research applicable, and eventually become a professor. She hopes her continued international experiences, research, and awareness will strengthen global scientific and political understanding to help vulnerable communities mitigate and adapt to climate change.

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Lauren Pike

Lauren is a junior who hails from Nashville, Tennessee. She is a proud English major with a minor in journalism. She has a passion for stories of all varieties, but poetry and short fiction are her primary interests. Her research concerns the presence of 19th Century poetry in the present day and seeks to understand the ways that these poems have been adapted to fit the demands of contemporary life. She hopes to bring this research to communities of readers in order to demonstrate the cultural significance of 19th Century poems in the modern world. Outside of this research, Lauren spends her hours reading, writing, and editing fiction. She is an intern with Wigleaf–a flash fiction journal that publishes a wide range of stories, all 1,000 words or less. When she reads story submissions, Lauren acts as a proxy for readers and looks for engaging stories with immediacy and traction. She makes sure that these stories speak directly to readers and pull them head-first into unique human experiences. In the coming months Lauren will begin an exciting new internship with the State Historical Society to build a database for the Missouri Encyclopedia project. She spends her remaining hours practicing yoga, exploring Columbia’s hiking trails, and reading as much as humanly possible.

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Madeline Simon

Madeline will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and a minor in Music. Over the course of her four years at Mizzou, she has conducted research involving gene therapies used to treat spinal muscular atrophy, the material and strength properties of interference screws used in orthopedic surgeries, and polymer ligation clips used occlude blood vessels in laparoscopic procedures. In addition, Madeline spent one summer At Pennsylvania State University studying the effect of electric fields on microtubule polymerization to understand the mechanism behind a therapy used to slow the progression of glioblastoma. In addition to her research, Madeline volunteers in her community – she mentors high school students at her local church, volunteers at My Life Clinic, and serves as an ambassador for the College of Engineering and the Office of Undergraduate Research. Moreover, she has served in Panama as part of a Global Medical Brigade and several times in Jamaica, building houses and visiting the mentally and physically ill in the infirmary. Madeline will spend the next year working as a scribe at Missouri Orthopedic Institute and applying to medical school. She spends her free time with friends and family, reading, and training for half marathons.

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Mario Wilson

Originally from St. Louis, MO Mario is a senior pursuing a major in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. On campus, Mario has worked as a research assistant and coordinator in the Family Assessment Lab, and as a research assistant in the MU Psychological Services Clinic. He also serves on MU’s executive board for the Association of Black Psychologists and as a mentor for the Missouri Delinquency Project. Through the McNair Scholars Program Mario recently pursued his psychology honors capstone and completed his honors thesis on the socio-ecological characteristics of juvenile sexual offenders from diverse backgrounds. Over the course of his undergraduate career, he has presented research at 2017 Thompson Center Autism Conference, the ABCT Conference, the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference, and Undergraduate Research Day at the capitol. Mario plans to graduate in May 2018 and pursue at PhD in Clinical Psychology.