Student Stories

Students of diverse backgrounds and disciplines have come through our doors. They dedicate months of time and effort into preparing for and applying to internationally and nationally competitive fellowships. Some have received awards. Some have not but learned about themselves through the process. They used the skills, knowledge and drive gained through this experience to get accepted into graduate school, Peace Corps, and other opportunities that have enriched their lives. Here are a few of their stories.

Jarron Tilghman

Jarron Tilghman

Name: Jarron Tilghman Undergraduate university and year of graduation: University of Missouri-Columbia, 2003 Major: Biology Medical school and year of graduation: University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, 2009   What led to your interest in medicine? During junior…

Jacqueline Louderman

Jacqueline Louderman

Name: Jacqueline Louderman Undergraduate university and year of graduation: University of Missouri-Columbia, 2018 Major: Health Sciences Medical school and expected year of graduation: New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, 2024   What led to your interest in…

Abigail Beckerdite

Abigail Beckerdite

Name: Abigail Beckerdite Undergraduate university and year of graduation: University of Missouri-Columbia, 2020 Major: Biological Engineering Dental school and expected year of graduation: Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine, 2024   What led to your interest in dentistry? I’ve…

Thomas Cassimatis

Thomas Cassimatis

Name: Thomas Cassimatis Undergraduate university and year of graduation: University of Missouri-Columbia, 2018 Major: Biological Sciences Medical school and expected year of graduation: The Ohio State College of Medicine, 2024   What led to your interest in medicine? I have…

Samantha Phillips

Samantha Phillips

Name: Samantha Phillips Undergraduate university and year of graduation: University of Missouri-Columbia, 2020 Major: Biological Sciences and Psychology Medical school and expected year of graduation: California Health Sciences University, 2024   What led to your interest in medicine? My interest…

Ali Farhadi

Ali Farhadi

Name: Ali Farhadi Undergraduate university and year of graduation: University of Missouri-Columbia, 2019 Major: Biological Sciences Dental school and expected year of graduation: University of Michigan School of Dentistry, 2023   What Led to your interest in dentistry? When I was…

Carly Garrow in Heidelberg, Germany

Carly Garrow

You do not have to spend much time with Carly Garrow to know that she is a “challenge-driven person” as she describes in her LinkedIn bio.  From seeking competitive research opportunities as an underclassman at the University of Missouri to…

Zach Parolin

Zach Parolin

Zach Parolin dedicated much of his undergraduate focus on social justice issues, even spending spring break of his sophomore year sleeping on the streets of Amarillo—five days and nights of intentional homelessness, both to raise awareness of the problem of homeless youth and to honor his mother, who had been displaced from her biological family as a teenager. Also while at Mizzou, Zach, with a few friends, founded Project Sol, a campus organization that collaborated with Rainbow House, a local shelter for runaway and at-risk youth. In its first two years, Project Sol offered mentoring to nearly 200 homeless children and teenagers, and the program is still active in Columbia. In addition, Zach coached a Special Olympics basketball team, served as a campus tour guide, led the Alumni Association Student Board (AASB), was tapped into QEBH—Mizzou’s oldest secret honors society—and was elected Homecoming King as a senior.

Jessica Anania

Jessica Anania

Jessica arrived in Columbia as a Walter Williams Scholar in the Missouri School of Journalism, with a notion of becoming a war correspondent, so she studied International Journalism, along with Psychology and Political Science to provide a strong foundation of the people, places, and politics that would undergird her writing about current affairs around the world. She interned in Brussels through a Journalism School program, and was later “selected to travel to Yangon, Myanmar to report on the state of Myanmar’s free press (or lack thereof) as the country emerged from decades of oppressive military rule.” After those two high-impact weeks in Myanmar, Jessica yearned to “gain a theoretical understanding of conflict, as well as practical knowledge of conflict mediation skills.”

Helen Bass

Helen Bass

Helen Bass grew up in Kansas City, the daughter of a self-described “blue-collar working stiff” who saw that a college education would open doors that were never open to him. When Helen came to Mizzou, she discovered a need to go beyond textbooks, to “bridge the gap between theory and the real world,” setting for herself a goal of retaining a connection to her working-class background while expanding her knowledge and understanding of the broader world. So as an undergraduate Helen spent a semester in Buenos Aires, handled constituent relations in Senator Claire McCaskill’s office for a summer, worked as a teaching assistant for a Microeconomics class, received merit awards from the Economics Department and from the College of Arts & Science, served as president of Tigers Advocating for Political Participation, conducted research in Anthropology as well as in Economics, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.