2022 Winners

Zayd Al Rawi profile picture

Zayd Al Rawi

Zayd Al Rawi is a senior Biological Sciences major with a minor in psychology, from Columbia, Missouri.  He has worked in the lab of Dr. Chris Lorson since his freshman year in the fall of 2018 researching a neuromuscular disease known as SMARD1 that affects infants. Through participating in the NIH funded MARC/IMSD program, Zayd has worked on projects utilizing gene therapy as a potential treatment, in addition to exploring neuronal degeneration as a cause for the respiratory distress observed. He has presented his work on numerous occasions, recently winning an Outstanding Poster Presentation award at the 2021 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. He has been published as an author with Dr. Lorson three times. Through participating in summer research, he has also completed a research internship this past summer at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, winning an outstanding presentation award on his research in exploring genes that contribute to congenital diaphragmatic hernias. Additionally, Zayd has been involved in fostering an inclusive space for minority students on campus. He has served as a peer mentor for the MARC/IMSD program for the last two years, assisting underrepresented students exploring research. He has also mentored and tutored students through the PAWS pre-medical program at Mizzou over the last couple of years. Zayd has also been involved in the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students as the Vice President, treasurer, and community service chair. He also works as a nursing assistant in the surgical specialties, trauma, and burn center at the University Hospital. As a part of the Muslim Student Organization, he has most recently served as the President and Vice President. Zayd is honored to be a recipient of the Mizzou ‘39 award. This July, Zayd will begin his medical school journey.

Zoe Korte profile picture

Zoe Korte

Zoe Korte is a junior from Kirksville, Missouri, majoring in English, Spanish, and Ancient Greek. She became involved in the MU creative writing community when she became an intern for The Missouri Review. In her time at MU, she has received four Kerr Poetry Awards and a Literature Emitting Diodes Award. Her work has also been published in The Disruptive Quarterly and is forthcoming in Glass Mountain. She is the secretary of the MU chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, an honor society dedicated to the study of classics. She recently placed second in the MU Libraries Undergraduate Research Contest. She currently works as a study plan consultant, helping fellow students succeed academically. In summer 2022 she will study abroad in Cusco and Lima, Peru, with the help of a Gilman Scholarship. In fall 2022 she will work with local 4-H programs to encourage children to pursue higher education. She hopes her studies as an undergraduate will prepare her for a future career as a children’s librarian and literary magazine editor.

Tessi Muskrat Rickabaugh profile picture

Tessi Muskrat Rickabaugh

Tessi Muskrat Rickabaugh is a member of the Cherokee Nation and a senior majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies and Religious Studies, minoring in Psychology. Passionate about sexual and mental health, Tessi began researching sexual trauma at the intersection of gender and religion during her first semester, writing a paper on the impact of sexual shame and disgust. As a Cherng Summer Scholar, Tessi created a survey for persons who experienced purity culture (a Christian sexual ethic that uses sexual disgust and fear to encourage abstinence until heterosexual marriage) and developed an interview protocol. Tessi received over 1300 survey responses and has completed 53 interviews.

A McNair Scholar under Dr. Cisco Sánchez, Tessi led Counseling Psych graduate students in a qualitative analysis of interviews with queer women and presented research at the A&S Undergraduate Research Forum, McNair conference, and American Psychological Association (APA)’s conference. In the A&S Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program, Tessi led grad students from Mizzou and Ohio in performing statistical analysis of the survey data which she presented at the National Multicultural Conference and Summit. Tessi has also presented papers on her research at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion’s Annual Meeting in Oregon, and the Religion and Sexual Abuse conference in California. Deeply committed to academic collaboration, Tessi co-founded an international collective of purity culture researchers who collaborate regularly.

Tessi has done research for Religious Studies Department (funded by Missouri Humanities), presented at the Confluences conference. She joined the Deaton Scholars program, leads Religious Studies Club, participates in Four Directions Indigenous students’ organization, and is earning both Honors and Multicultural Certificates. She studied abroad at the Social Justice program in Costa Rica and will continue her education this fall as Counseling Psychology doctoral student at Mizzou. Tessi next presents her research at the APA conference in Minnesota.

Quinn Cunningham profile picture

Quinn Cunningham

A senior from Columbia, Missouri, Quinn will earn degrees in Physics and Linguistics and a minor in Mathematics. In addition to taking coursework in multiple disciplines, Quinn has been an active member of the Mizzou soccer practice squad, Climate Leaders at Mizzou, Linguistics Club, and Society of Physics Students. Quinn has participated in three undergraduate research groups at Mizzou. From Fall 2019 to Spring 2021, Quinn conducted research in the solid-state physics lab of Deepak Singh and has co-authored a Physics journal publication. Since early 2021, Quinn has worked with Professor Konstantin Makarov in the mathematics department on problems related to statistical physics models based on number theoretic functions. Since summer 2018, Quinn has been a part of the ASH Scholars: Documenting Luhya Together research group. In Summer 2021, Quinn carried out research in Kaimosi, Kenya. Since fall 2021, Quinn has been learning app development and building a multi-featured language learning iOS app he plans to publish soon. In his spare time, Quinn practices scientific programming and data visualization and analysis using Python and aids other undergraduate and graduate students with data related projects.

Makenna Tourville profile picture

Makenna Tourville

Makenna Tourville is a Junior from Ozark, Missouri, majoring in Textile and Apparel Management and minoring in Business. She transferred to the University of Missouri in Spring 2021 and has been involved in the Textile and Apparel Management Department since then. As a junior, Makenna conducted research under Dr. Zhao and Dr. McBee-Black for the Cotton Inc. Project, where she analyzed social media trends relating to sustainable cotton in the fashion industry. This undergraduate research led to Makenna taking on the role of Peer Mentor for the TAM Department, providing TAM students with academic, career, and community guidance. Makenna was able to attend New York Fashion Week in the Fall. Through this experience, Makenna’s passion for the fashion industry grew, leading her to study abroad in one of the fashion capitals, Paris, France. During this time, Makenna had the opportunity to intern for the French luxury brand, VICTORIA/TOMAS where they had a physical show during Paris Fashion Week. Since her time at Mizzou, Makenna has been an active member of Little Sisters of the Gold Rose, a service sorority. After graduation, Makenna intends to pursue a career within the fashion industry.

Maggie Courtney profile picture

Maggie Courtney

Maggie Courtney is a sophomore from Springfield, Missouri, double majoring in sociology and journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication. As a Founders’ Memorial Scholar, she has participated in research as a journalism major by writing articles, creating videos, and maintaining aspects of the Honors College social media presence since the beginning of her freshman year. Outside of this role, Courtney is involved on campus in multiple organizations, including the Alumni Association Student Board, Honors Ambassadors, University Treble Choir, and Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity, where she currently serves as a New Member Director. She is a Walter Williams Scholar and 2021 Hesburgh Award recipient. Courtney was also selected as a 2021 Omicron Delta Kappa Top 14 Distinguished Freshman for excellence in scholarship, leadership, and community service and engaged in biweekly meetings with other award recipients to workshop leadership skills and network with rising leaders on campus. Recently, Courtney greatly enjoyed working for the 2022 True/False Film Festival as a Hospitality and Guest Relations Coordinator. She will intern with Raindance Film Festival in London, England in Summer 2022 through Mizzou Journalism School’s internship study abroad program.

Lillian Williams profile picture

Lillian Williams

Lillian Williams is a junior honors student from Wichita, Kansas, majoring in Public History and Constitutional Democracy and minoring in Political Science. She started as an undergraduate research assistant for the The Haskell Monroe Collection Project in fall of 2021. She orally presented her research findings titled “Prejudice and Power: The United States’ Federal Civil War Pension System’s Discriminatory Bureaucratic Processes” at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum. This research will be published in an article for the undergraduate Journal on Constitutional Democracy and in an online exhibit for The Haskell Monroe Collection Project. Williams was selected as a 2021-2022 Kinder Undergraduate fellow and a summer 2022 Kinder Scholar. She has completed internships with the Missouri State Historical Society and the Missouri Supreme Court. At Mizzou, she serves as the President of the Undergraduate Historical Society and previously served as the vice president and secretary. For her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, she served as the archivist and Vice President Administration on the Executive Board, both positions dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of her chapter. Each year she volunteers her time to judge for National History Day in Missouri. She also volunteers weekly at Tiger Pantry. As a freshman, she was selected as one of Omicron Delta Kappa’s top fourteen freshmen. This summer, Williams plans to intern with the National Endowment for the Humanities in the Congressional Affairs office.

Lauryn Williams profile picture

Lauryn Williams

Lauryn Williams is a senior double major in Physics and Mathematics. She has a love for astrophysics and wants to pursue a career in research and outreach. As a freshman, she joined MU’s Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) which helped her get started studying galaxy morphology and evolution under Dr. Yicheng Guo. She has had the opportunity to conduct research at the University of Colorado – Boulder and the American Museum of Natural History, thus getting the opportunity to present results at various national conferences as well as co-authorship on two publications during her undergraduate career. Lauryn has been involved in various service and academic orgs on campus such as STRIPES and the MARC/IMSD research program. She has been a Peer Mentor within the MARC/IMSD program for almost two years, mentoring 8 undergraduate students to help them get started with their research careers. She is passionate in her role as a Peer Mentor and is looking forward to engaging in outreach focusing on underrepresented minorities in graduate school. In 2022, Lauryn was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF-GRFP) and will attend the University of Washington to pursue her Ph.D. in Astronomy studying massive stars.

Kismet Okyere profile picture

Kismet Okyere

Kismet Okyere is a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology, Criminal and Juvenile Justice, and Social Justice. She will also earn certificates in Addiction Behaviors and Multicultural Studies. She started her research journey in Dr. Cristina McCrae’s MizZzou Sleep Lab. Here, Kismet helped with patient intake, applying polysomnographic equipment, and assisting with MRIs. As a current McNair Scholar and a member of the Psychology Department’s Honors/Independent Capstone Program, she is working in Dr. Nicole Campione-Barr’s Family Relationship and Adolescent Development. Her current research examines the association between parent-child disclosure and adolescent risky behaviors. This research was submitted for the Midwestern Psychology Association conference and received the Regional Research Award from Psi Chi. She plans on using her research on parent-child relationships and her passion for criminology to determine how parent-child relationships affect adolescents, especially the population of juvenile offenders with parents who have been touched by the justice system. Beyond research, Kismet at-risk teen girls students through Desire to Aspire, teaching girls about healthy living, academic success, independence, and other topics that will help build up our next generation of women. Currently, Kismet serves as the President of Desire to Aspire. After graduation, Kismet will be attending Michigan State University to earn her Master’s in Criminology.

Jashayla Pettigrew profile picture

Jashayla Pettigrew

Jashayla Pettigrew is a senior from St. Louis, Missouri double majoring in journalism and Women’s and Gender Studies. She’s been co-coordinator of an on-campus program called Diversity Peer Educators since May 2020, after initially joining as a general body member in the spring of 2019. Through her role in planning and leading facilitations alongside other DPEs, she has helped educate hundreds of people on how to make MU a more equitable place for students, staff and faculty. In her time as a journalism student, she has studied in London, England. There, she was an editorial intern for Black Beauty & Hair magazine. In this role, she wrote for the print and digital magazine. She also worked alongside the editor-in-chief to write cover blurbs, prepare questions for interviewees, find visuals for the articles and more. Since adding Women’s and Gender Studies as a second major during her junior year, she has conducted research on issues affecting people with “non-normative” bodies. Her most recent research project focuses on the surveillance tactics of different social media websites, and what those tactics mean depending on one’s gender and sexuality. Jashayla is also a culture editor for Vox Magazine and a Brooks scholar. She plans to use her degrees to continue advocating for Black women, and writing for a publication that focuses on her passions for music, fashion, art and TV.