2021 Winners


Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee is a Physics and Chemical Engineering double major and Mathematics minor from Kearney, Missouri. At Mizzou, he does computational materials research relevant to nuclear fusion under Dr. Karl Hammond in the Biomedical, Biological, and Chemical Engineering Department. He has also pursued a related project in the Theory Department at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory as a Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program participant. Brandon has presented his research twice at Mizzou and once at the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics annual meeting, earning at Outstanding Poster Award at the latter. He is second author on one publication and first author on a manuscript that is under review. For his academic efforts, he has been awarded both the Goldwater Scholarship and the Tau Beta Pi Scholarship. Brandon has also served as the president of Mizzou Engineers Without Borders and the Tau Beta Pi Missouri Alpha chapter. He intends to earn a Ph.D. in Plasma Physics.


Benjamin Jones

Ben Jones is a senior Biological Sciences major, with minors in Chemistry and Black Studies, from Hebron, Kentucky. As a member of the MARC/IMSD program for four years, Ben has been in the lab of Dr. Erika Boerman, in the department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology, since the fall of 2018 researching the effects of Inflammatory Bowel Disease on blood flow in the intestines of mice. Ben’s project looks at two metalloproteases and their role in the overall pathway of impaired vasodilation. He has presented his work on numerous occasions, including winning an Outstanding Poster Presentation award at the 2019 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Anaheim, California. He has been published as an author with Dr. Boerman twice. Ben has also been a peer mentor for the IMSD program for the last two years, helping science majors find opportunities in research. Last semester, Ben was a teaching assistant for the Honors Experience FIG class, taught by Dr. JD Bowers. Ben has also been involved in Minority Association of Pre-Health Students, as the Treasurer and Vice President, Pre-Med Society, and has been a volunteer at the University Hospital. He and his twin brother, Andrew, were honored to be recipients of the Mizzou ‘39 award together. Ben is extremely proud to be the youngest in an entire family of Mizzou Tigers. This July, Ben will begin his medical school journey at the University of Kansas.


Andrew Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell is a junior from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Psychology. Through the Stamps Scholars program, he has conducted research under the mentorship of Dr. Silvia Jurisson for three years. Andrew has investigated novel compounds for use in both imaging and therapy of multi-drug-resistant tumors. He participated in the Arts and Science Undergraduate Research Mentorship program during which his first publication was accepted to Dalton Transactions. His work was recognized by the American Chemical Society with the Charles D. Coryell Award in Nuclear Chemistry. Andrew’s research continues to focus on the next generation of theranostic cancer agents, utilizing established structures as a basis for innovation by adding additional specificity and versatility to create safer, more adaptable cancer-fighting therapies. Beyond research, Andrew is a member of the executive board for the MU Residence Halls Association, authoring legislation to address current campus issues, as well as the Alpha Chi Sigma Professional Chemistry Fraternity, mentoring underclassmen pursuing a career in applied sciences.


Alice Yu

Alice A. Yu is a senior from Columbia, Missouri, double majoring in Journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication and psychology. She also has minors in Music, Business, Political Science, and Leadership & Public service. Yu has been involved in identity-based organizations since her freshman year, first serving as the freshman representative for the Asian American Association and later on as the president during her sophomore year. She is currently the executive chair of the Midwest Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Students Union (MAASU), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that aims to connect Asian Pacific Islander Desi American student organizations from across the Midwest.

Beyond her involvement in student organizations, Yu has held four ambassadorial positions in various MU departments (Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Missouri School of Journalism, Missouri Student Unions, and Campus Involvement) and served as a Summer Welcome Leader in 2019. Yu credits her study abroad experiences for instilling in her an interest in public policy and international relations; her first time studying abroad was in Gwangju, South Korea and the second time in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has held internships with Refugee and Immigration Services as well as the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, and was a 2020 scholar with the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership. After graduation, Yu will complete an MPhil in International Relations at the University of Oxford.

Abigail Ruhman Headshot

Abigail Ruhman

Abigail Ruhman is a junior from Raytown, Missouri majoring in Journalism (Convergence-Radio Reporting), Sociology, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Abigail is also pursuing minors in history, peace studies, leadership and public service, as well as completing a Multicultural Certificate. She is also a member of the inaugural class of the KC Scholars program.

Abigail is an intern for the Center for Academic Success & Excellence marketing team where she writes student features and co-hosts “BookCASE and Chill,” a monthly book club style podcast that features literature about topics related to inclusivity, diversity, and equity. She is also a Student Ambassador for the Student Success Center, and an education committee intern for The Center Project, Mid-Missouri’s first and only LGBTQIA+ community resource center. At The Center Project, Abigail developed educational materials on topics related to the queer and gender non-conforming community and assisted with the launch of their BRITE program, which offers education on how to create a safe space for LGBTQIA+ individuals to organizations, business, and other groups within the Mid-Missouri area and beyond.

In the past, Abigail was an executive member of the student radio station’s news team, where she helped write, produce, and host “The Pulse” and “Basic Liabilities.” She was also a writer for the Odyssey, a member of MU’s ASL club, and an opinions columnist for The Maneater, MU’s student paper. At The Maneater, Abigail won first place for the Missouri College Media Association award for newspaper division 1 column writing. During her sophomore year, Abigail also worked on an independent study that analyzed how the AP stylebook, and other sources of perceptive language for journalists, exclude the voices of marginalized communities under the guise of “journalistic objectivity.”