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Student Profiles

Sam McNair

Sam McNair is a Biological Sciences and Religious Studies double major. He was pre-accepted into the MU School of Medicine through the Bryant Scholars Pre-Admission Program and will start medical school in the fall of 2018. As a Peer Advisor for the Division of Biological Sciences, he has “racked up a lot of advice” that he likes to share with freshmen who are also considering a career in medicine.

Graduating Class: May 2018
Hometown: Eureka, MO
Career Goal: Medical Doctor

Read more about Sam and watch a video where he shares the advice he offers to other pre-med students.


Braden ZinkBraden Zink

A Biological Sciences major, Zink is using various -omic approaches to investigate the variation in amino acid composition of seeds in the lab of Dr. Ruthie Angelovici. Zink received funding from the Cherng Summer Scholar Program in support of his research. He is the recipient of both the Outstanding Junior and Outstanding Sophomore awards from the Division of Biological Sciences. Zink will be attending the MU School of Medicine in fall of 2018.

Minor: Psychology
Certificates: Multicultural Studies and Honors
Graduating Class:
May 2018
Hometown: O’Fallon, MO
Career Goal: M.D., specializing in interventional cardiology

Read more about Braden’s undergraduate research experiences.


Stephanie RuckStephanie Ruck

Stephanie Ruck has always loved being outdoors, so she jumped at the chance to participate in a research project that would involve going out and catching lizards. As part of a summer-long research project with Dr. Manuel Leal, Ruck investigated whether lizards have the ability to solve novel problems, an ability biologists call behavioral flexibility. She was invited to present the findings from her research at the 30th Annual Meeting of the Missouri Herpetological Association.

Graduating class: December 2018
Hometown: St. Louis
Career Goal: Research Scientist

Read more about Stephanie’s research and watch a video that shows how she tested a lizard’s cognition.


Rebecca CraiggRebecca Craigg

As a first-generation college student with an interest in science, Rebecca Craigg was unsure what undergraduate research entailed. She says “uncertainty and curiosity” led her to the lab of Dr. D Cornelison, who immediately put her to work on a project aimed at investigating a special class of cellular signals that govern the interactions between “fast” and “slow” muscle fibers and the neurons that stimulate them. In the lab, Craigg found she had both a passion and talent for research. She has received funding to support her research through the Arts and Science Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program and the Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Craigg is also the recipient the Outstanding Sophomore Award from the Division of Biological Sciences, the Outstanding Student Award from Mizzou Alumni Association, and an Excellence Award.

Graduating Class: May 2019
Hometown: Taos, MO
Career Goal: Rebecca plans to earn an M.D., Ph.D. and then work in both a surgical and research setting. She also hopes to work with Doctors Without Borders.

Read more about Rebecca’s undergraduate research experience.


Alex McClellandAlex McClelland

Alex McClelland says that his love for plant biology stems from a fun fact: that bananas share 50% of human DNA. He says knowing that “plants are just as complex as animals and do a lot of the same stuff we do” motivated him to join a plant science lab his freshman year. Since then, Alex has been investigating the genes and proteins that regulate a plant’s response to stress in the lab of Dr. Walter Gassmann. The summer before his senior year, McClelland had the opportunity to expand his research portfolio by spending a summer doing research on small RNAs at the Donald Danforth Plant Sciences Center in St. Louis. He has received support for his research experiences from MU’s Freshman Research in Plant Sciences (FRIPS) Program and the Life Science Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.

Graduating Class: May 2018
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Career Goal:  Alex has been accepted into the Ph.D. program in Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics at the University of California, Riverside. His long-term goal is to become a professor.

Read more about Alex’s undergraduate research experience.