May 2, 2017
The Division of Biological Sciences celebrated its best and brightest undergraduate students at its annual Honors Banquet. The banquet, which was held on April 29 in Memorial Union, recognized students who had earned Honors Distinction from the Division and/or received scholarships and awards from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Also celebrated were recipients of the Stanley Zimmering Prize in Biological Sciences and the Outstanding Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Award winners, which are made possible through endowed gifts to the Division. In addition to framed certificates, the students’ names will be added to plaques housed in Tucker Hall.
Professor Stanley Zimmering Prize in Biology
Nate Boyer received the Professor Stanley Zimmering Prize in Biology. Boyer has done research in the maize genetics lab of Dr. David Braun in the Division of Biological Sciences since his sophomore year. His work resulted in a Plant Physiology paper and presentations at the Maize Genetics Conference in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Boyer plans to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular plant sciences at Washington State, where he has been accepted into an NIH biotechnology training program.
Outstanding Senior Scholar Award Winners
Charles Baumann, from Hannibal, MO, received a John I. Hardy Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award. As a Bryant Scholar, Baumann was accepted into medical school as a sophomore. He has participated in medical-related mission trips organized by Helping Hands and Evangelistic International Ministries and is active in the local Knights of Columbus. He re-founded Sigma Tau Gamma at Mizzou and served as the fraternity’s first executive vice president. He presented his research to improve osteochondral allograft preservation storage protocols, which he carries out in the Thompson Laboratory for Regenerative Orthopaedics, at the Orthopaedic Research Society meetings in 2015 and 2016. His research also has been published in an edited book and in the Journal of Knee Surgery.
Blake Sarrazin received a John I. Hardy Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award. Sarrazin research on locomotor adaptation in anthropoids, which he carries out in the lab of Dr. Carol Ward in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, earned him a poster award at the 2016 Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego. He is an active member of MU’s Dinosaurs and Cavemen Science Expo and MU’s Student Organization Allocation Committee. In his hometown of Ozark, MO, Sarrazin organizes an annual doubles tournament to raise money for Care to Learn, a program that provides clothes and school supplies to disadvantaged youth.
Danielle Koerner received a Laura Nahm Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award. For the last three summers, Koerner has conducted research at Washington University Medical School in a cardiovascular biomechanics lab, where she has been involved in a project analyzing left ventricular contractility from MRIs of healthy and cardiomyopathy patients. At MU, she leads the Pre-Medical Scholars Program and the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society, and she cofounded the student organization Women in STEM. She mentors freshman students as a Peer Advisor for the Division of Biological Sciences and has had instructional roles in General Genetics and Learning Strategies courses.
Morgan Seibert received a Laura Nahm Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award. The Mortar Board and Phi Beta Kappa member has been doing research on skeletal muscle stem cells in the lab of Dr. D Cornelison in the Division of Biological Sciences since her freshman year. Last summer, she did a summer research internship at the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute in Portland, OR. Seibert was a member of two Global Brigades health care teams and also interned in the office of State Representative Jim Neely.
Elizabeth Okafor received a John I. Hardy Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award. The pre-med and EXPRESS student did research with Dr. Walter Gassman in the Division of Plant Sciences on the molecular basis of plant immune responses to pathogens as well as two summer internships at Indiana University on malaria pathogenesis. She has received both a best poster award and a travel award for her research. She mentored freshman students as a peer advisor for the Division’s BIOME FIG during her sophomore and junior years.
Muniz Monir received a John I. Hardy Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award. He conducted research with Dr. Salman Hyder in the Department of Biomedical Sciences on suppression of a cancer stem cell marker, the findings of which were published in the journal Breast Cancer: Targets and Therapy. Munir is also recipient of a Fulbright fellowship.
Outstanding Junior Scholar Award Winners
Madeline Quoss, from Ballwin, MO, received a Clarence Clinton Crouch Award. The pre-law student is doing research in the Thompson Laboratory for Regenerative Orthopedics on creation of an osteoarthritis model and the inflammatory responses responsible for the degradation of cartilage in osteoarthritis. She recently presented her research at the Orthopedic Research Society’s annual meeting. She is a leader in her sorority Pi Beta Phi and volunteers for the Special Olympics. This summer she will be traveling to Rawanda as part of MU “Be the Change”.
Caitlyn Smith, from Chesterfield, MO, received a Clarence Clinton Crouch Award. She dreams of being an orthopedic surgeon and, appropriately, has filled her life with bones. She does research with Dr. Casey Holliday in the Anatomy & Pathology Department and recently presented her research at the American Anatomist Association National Conference in Chicago. She is works at the Missouri Orthopedic Institute, where she will participate in a BioJoint case study project at the Orthopedic Institute this summer. She is active in the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society, volunteers at the VA hospital, and at the annual Dinosaurs and Caveman Expo.
Olivia Styron, from Harrisonville, MO, received a Clarence Clinton Crouch Award. She is doing research in the lab of Dr. Rocio Rivera in the Division of Animal Sciences, where she has two projects: one focused on how superovulation affects oocyte DNA methylation and a second on the effects of microRNA misregulation on protein levels in the muscle of Large Offspring Syndrome bovine fetuses. Styron, who is a double major in Spanish, participated in a study abroad experience in Costa Rica and is a Spanish tutor at the Learning Center. She is active in Christian Campus House and in a Ballroom Dance and Swing Society.
Braden Zink received a Clarence Clinton Crouch Award. The pre-med student is conducting research in the lab of Dr. Ruthie Angelovici in the Division of Biological Sciences on a project using genomics and metabolomics to enhance the amount of essential amino acids in cereal crops. Braden is a inaugural recipient of the Cherng Summer Scholars program. He has participated in two Mizzou Alternative Break trips and will be leading a third his senior year.
Outstanding Sophomore Scholar Award Winners
Rachel Combs received a Jonas Viles, Jr. Memorial Scholarship. Combs is conducting research on a project aimed at improving soybean seed composition for healthier food and animal feeds. She has participated in two Mizzou Alternative Spring Breaks, serves as the Scholarship chair for the national honor fraternity Phi Sigma Pi, and is active in the Society of Undergraduate Researchers in Life Sciences.
Anmol Sethi received a Jonas Viles, Jr. Memorial Scholarship. The pre-dental student is conducting research in the lab of Dr. Casey Holliday on a project to make a 3D muscle architecture reconstruction of a jaw muscle in the gecko. She mentors freshman biological sciences majors as a Peer Advisor in the Division’s Undergraduate Advising Office and is active in Beta Beta Beta biological honor society.
Rebecca Craigg received a Clarence Clinton Crouch Award. The pre-med student works in the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction and is founder and president of MU’s Organization for Human and Animal Interaction. She also does research on muscle stem cells with Dr. D Cornelison in the Division of Biological Sciences and has participated in Mizzou Alternative Break and Global Brigades.
Alexis Kollasch received a Clarence Clinton Crouch Award. The pre-med student is doing research with Dr. Rex Cocroft in the Division of Biological Sciences on how plants respond to vibrations caused by caterpillars chewing. When she is not working in the lab or on her studies, she is giving back to the community by volunteering at the Food Bank for Central Missouri.
The Honors Distinction is awarded to graduating seniors who have completed a year-long research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor and have presented their research at a public forum or in the form of a scientific publication while also maintaining a high GPA. The following 35 students were awarded the Honors Distinction at the banquet. Each was presented with a certificate and an Honors cord to wear with their graduation regalia during the commencement ceremony.
- Badr Almadi
- Morgan Alwell
- Nathan Bauer
- Charles Baumann
- Ashlie Elver
- Osvaldo Enriquez
- Carley Eslick
- Paige Hargis
- Kaydee Harper
- Kaitlyn Hartnett
- Marissa Jones
- Adam Koenig
- Lacey Lopez
- Nargiza Mardanova
- Samuel Mitchell
- Moiz Munir
- Rasheeq Nizam
- Lauren Parmeley
- Justin Pierce
- Chandler Robertson
- Margaret Roderick
- Conner Rogan
- Blake Sarrazin
- Michael Savio
- Brianne Schmiegelow
- Morgan Seibert
- Hayden Siegfried
- Fabio Squicimari
- Sarah Striegel
- Chelsea Titus
- Rachel Walther
- Brooklyn White
- Nicholas Wiegers
- Myles Xanh
- Jacob Young
Awards, Undergraduate Studies