Congratulations to the 2014 MU Award for Academic Distinction Winners!

Published on Feb. 25, 2014

Students were selected for the Academic Distinction Award based on the following three criteria:

  1. showing evidence of extraordinary intellectual curiosity;
  2. actively seeking knowledge beyond the classroom and striving to share that knowledge with public audiences for a broader impact;
  3. significantly contributing to the academic atmosphere at the University of Missouri.

For more information, CLICK HERE to visit the MU Honors College news page.

2014 MU Award for Academic Distinction Winners

Natalie Cheng, a senior Journalism and Business major, has worked for The Maneater, KOMU, Newsy, Vox Magazine, KBIA, and Missouri Business Alert. A Journalism Ambassador, Convergence Journalism TA, Writing Center tutor, and Craft Studio instructor, she also co-founded Quirks Consignment and helped create an Safe Trek, a mobile app to help keep students safe.

Shakked Halperin is a senior studying Biological Engineering. Working with, among others, Dr. Steven Keller and Dr. Sheila Grant, Shakked has published multiple papers in peer-reviewed journals on topics such as biological microfluidics and the preparation of gold nanorods used in medicine. In addition, he has participated in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of California-Berkeley and an NSF International Research Experience in Beijing.

Pari Jafari, a senior, studies Biological Sciences, Classical Studies, French. She has done research with Dr. Karen Bennett and is the Vice President of Tri-Beta, the Biology Honors Society. Pari has also coauthored a paper published in Romance Notes and contributed to a translation of Diderot’s Encyclopédie. She volunteers for the Missouri State Historical Society.

Azeem Khan is a senior Biological Sciences major. He is the only Writing Center tutor who is a Biology major, and he founded MU’s Poetry Club.

Grace Lyden, a senior Journalism and Music major, has done research with Dr. Stephanie Craft that resulted in the publication of a paper on media literacy. She has worked for the Columbia Missourian and Vox Magazine, and she teaches piano in the Community Music Program.

Emily Nelson, a junior, studies Theater Performance and Mathematics. In addition to tutoring math, she is a member of the Interactive Theater Troupe and the Troubling Violence Performance Project.

Charissa Nowak, a junior Chemical Engineering major, has performed research on biosensing with Dr. Heather Hunt. Charissa is also part of the Society of Women Engineers and Mizzou Women Mentoring Women.

Joshua Russell is a junior studying Physics. He is an Undergraduate Research Ambassador and has been an IMSD EXPRESS (Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity Exposure to Research for Science Students) Research Fellow and an Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology Summer Research Fellow. Joshua presented research at an American Geophysical Union meeting on earthquake seismology.

Megan Schroeder is a senior Biological Engineering major. She is an Engineering Ambassador, the President of Alpha Epsilon Honors Society, and a mentor in Mizzou Women Mentoring Women. Megan participated in an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates at Syracuse Biomaterials Institute and presented a paper for publication in Biomacromolecules at 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting.

Claire Spradling is a senior Biological Engineering major who has interned at the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and the Bioengineering and National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network. In addition, she presented research for Eternogen Medical Biotech at the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Conference and the Institute of Biological Engineers Conference.

Kristen Sterns, a senior, studies Biochemistry and has done research for the Department of Chemistry, the University of Missouri Research Reactor Radiopharmaceuticals Research Group, and the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. An officer of Alpha Chi Sigma and a member of the Global Medical Brigades, Kristen also cofounded a weekly discussion group with Dr. Dennis Miller for students interested in reading about and discussing psychopharmacology.

Audrey Wagner, a sophomore Biological Sciences major, has done research with Dr. Weijie Liu on the role glial cells in neuronal function and behavior. Audrey also volunteers with the MedZou free clinic.

Ida Sophie Winter is a sophomore studying Journalism, French, and International Studies. On top of her studies, which include an Arabic language immersion summer program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ida volunteers for Mid Missouri PeaceWorks and the MU Language Partners Program. She tutors German and French and is a peer advisor at the Multicultural Certificate Center while maintaining a position as the assistant to a case manager at Refugee and Immigration Services.

Connor Zuraski is a senior studying Chemistry, Spanish, and Linguistics. He tutors students in foreign languages and biology, is a LEAD Collegiate Ambassador, and participates in the Conversation Partners program. He has taught science to primary school students in South Korea and English to children in the Dominican Republic.