Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life

2011 Shear Fellows

 

Ivana Aleksic
University of Missouri-St. Louis

Ivana Aleksic is a senior public policy and administration major with a comparative politics of Europe emphasis at UMSL. Ivana has been on the Dean’s List for four years and has participated in both Midwest Model UN and Midwest Model EU. During winter semester 2010, Ivana returned to her birthplace, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she studied public administration and interned at the Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office. She currently works part-time as a law clerk at Akano Law Offices where she assists international family and business clientele with their immigration needs. Ivana is a recent graduate of the UMSL Women LEAD program and is a board member of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri. With her multi-ethnic and bilingual background, she intends to pursue a career in immigration policy reform. In her free time, Ivana enjoys traveling, reading books written in Serbo-Croatian, and thrift-store shopping.

Lexi Alexander
University of Central Missouri

Lexi Alexander is a junior, political science major at the University of Central Missouri. After graduation, she plans on traveling and working in the area of international relations. She is active in Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity, where she currently holds the offices of Vice President of Standards/Risk Management and House Manager. She was formally Vice President of Communications, Reporter of To Oragma, and an IMPACT facilitator for UCM. Lexi enjoys being an intern this semester in Jefferson City for Senator Will Kraus. Lexi has been involved with Missouri Girls State since 2007 and is presently City Counselor. Some of her community activities include a performer at her local Caldwell County Arts Theater, serving dinners at the Warrensburg Missouri Veterans Home, and giving Red Cross swimming lessons during the summer at her local swimming pool.

Fanci Bennett
Lincoln University

Fanci Bennett is a junior at Lincoln University majoring in psychology with a minor in philosophy. Prior to attending Lincoln she was a transfer student from Columbia College in Jefferson City, where she resides. She is a member of the Philosophy Club and takes an active interest in politics and advancement of civil rights. She also has over 12 years’ experience in the medical field, which includes geriatrics, as well as EMS. She takes an interest in helping those with drug addictions, abuse, and others in unfortunate circumstances. She feels compassion for all, no matter what their situations are. Fanci enjoys helping out with her daughter’s softball team and spending time with her any chance she gets. Fanci is well supported by her husband, John, and her daughter, Jestine.

Mary Grace Bruntrager
Truman State University

Mary Grace Bruntrager is a sophomore at Truman State University, majoring in history with minors in political science and art history. She has been selected to serve on Truman’s Student Activity board for the past two years, organizing, budgeting, promoting, and running campus-wide entertainment events. She is the assistant academics chair of the Delta Zeta sorority. Mary Grace is interested in community development; she recently volunteered with other Truman students in Enid, Oklahoma, building houses for the Habitat for Humanity project. She plans to pursue her interests in international politics, history, and global community development as she travels to Rome in 2011 through Truman’s study abroad program at the American University in Rome. After graduation, Mary Grace plans to join the Peace Corps and then attend law school.

Joy Bulen
Truman State University

A senior at Truman State University, Joy Bulen is pursuing a double major in psychology and sociology and a minor in history with an emphasis on Latin American studies. Her involvement on campus has led to leadership roles in some of the following organizations: GlobeMed, Pyschology Club, Women’s Club Soccer, and Psi Chi honor fraternity. Her love of travel encouraged her to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and in El Cope, Panama. She completed research on ethnomedicine during her time in Panama. She is greatly concerned with the improvement of public and global health, as well as issues of immigrant rights. She envisions herself helping others on an international scale by continuing her education in law school.

Teniesha Clay
University of Missouri-St. Louis

Teniesha Clay is a senior at the University of Missouri-St. Louis pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public policy administration. In the fall of 2010, she studied comparative social and economic policies in Ghana, West Africa, and served as a volunteer teacher for an NGO in central Accra. Teniesha spends a lot of time volunteering in her St. Louis urban community, motivating young girls to pursue their highest level of education attainable. In addition to being a role model to young girls, she also sets a fine example as one of the first of her relatives to graduate from college.

Curstan Dye
Southeast Missouri State University

Curstan Dye is attending SEMO and pursuing a degree in agriculture and agribusiness. Curstan has always been very inquisitive. She loves to read and learn about the most extraordinary things. She has an obsession with Guinness World Record Books and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. She loves to cook and travel. She plans to receive her master’s degree in agriculture and give back to her community by promoting agriculture wherever she goes.

Danielle Farr
Missouri State University

Danielle Farr is a senior at Missouri State University where she is majoring in political science with an emphasis in pre-law. She has worked as a resident assistant for the past two years supporting residents in the residence halls. Danielle served as a peer leader this past fall working with first year students at Missouri State. She has held leadership positions within Gamma Phi Beta sorority and served on the United Council of Resident Assistants executive board. Upon graduating this May, Danielle will be attending Mississippi College School of Law in the fall pursuing her J.D. focusing on constitutional law and litigation.

JoEllen Flanagan
Truman State University

Originally from Raymore, Missouri, JoEllen Flanagan is a senior at Truman State University, majoring in political science with a minor in justice systems. JoEllen has held many leadership positions on campus such as President Pro Tem and Founder of the Service Board, Student Body President, and President of Dobson Hall senate. She has remained greatly involved in Alpha Sigma Gamma, performing at least 25 hours of community service a semester. She is also an active member of College Democrats and Student Government. She is currently participating in the Missouri Government Internship Program as an intern for House Minority Whip, Representative Mike Colona. JoEllen has always had a fervent passion for helping others and is interested in nonprofit work and political activism. After graduation in May, she plans to continue her education by attending law school and/or obtain a master’s degree in public administration.

Lauren Gepford
University of Missouri-Kansas City

Lauren Gepford is a junior majoring in political science with minors in communications and economics. She is currently working as an intern with the League of Women Voters of Missouri on their Public Advocacy for Voter Protection Project and has been active in local politics for the past two years. While in community college, she was active in the Phi Theta Kappa honors society, participating in community service projects around the area. Since coming to UMKC, Lauren has been Associate Director of Campaign Coordination for the College Democrats. She also interned and then worked as Deputy Regional Legislative Director for the Missouri Democratic Party during the 2010 election cycle. She is currently exploring graduate programs in public policy and political communications.

Kanwal Haq
University of Missouri-Columbia

Kanwal Haq is from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and currently a junior majoring in biological sciences. She is also pursuing minors in chemistry, human development and family studies (HDFS), leadership and public service, and psychology. Since her first year at Mizzou, she has involved herself in many research opportunities in biochemistry and HDFS labs. Kanwal also volunteers as a site assistant for Adventure Club, as a Diversity Peer Educator on campus, and for Mustard Seed Fair Trade. As the Vice President of the Society of Undergraduate Researchers in Life Sciences (SURLS), an alumni and mentor for the Chancellor’s Leadership Class, Kanwal aspires to pursue medical school in hopes of eventually joining Doctors without Borders and providing individuals with quality health care across the globe.

Alana Henderson
University of Missouri-Kansas City

Alana Henderson is a senior theatre performance and family studies student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is very involved on campus as an active member of Delta Zeta Sorority and other campus organizations. Alana has been involved with many productions while in college, most memorably she was involved in a groundbreaking production of The Vagina Monologues while studying abroad at Waikato University in New Zealand. Most recently, Alana was cast as one of the lead women in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In summer of 2011, she will travel to Maine to work at Camp Arcadia as the head of drama and a cabin counselor for teenage girls. Alana anticipates graduating in December of 2011 and then to continue her studies of the theatre by obtaining her MFA in acting starting in fall 2012.

Rebecca M. Holmes
Missouri S & T

Rebecca Holmes is a sophomore at the Missouri University of Science and Technology studying psychology and political science. While working on campus as a student assistant for both the Intensive English Program and the International Affairs Department, she has had the opportunity to develop her leadership skills with organizing the International Idol Talent Competition for the 2010 Celebration of Nations event and organizing the Global Bridges Club. While her international activities keep her busy, Rebecca is also an active member in the Christian Campus Fellowship. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys ballroom and Latin dancing, and trains horses. After graduation, Rebecca intends on earning her master’s degree in international political science where her ultimate career goal is to become an ambassador to a foreign nation.

Geri Hughes
University of Missouri-Kansas City

Geri Hughes is a junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business. She will use this degree to own and operate a non-profit consignment shop. Geri will also maintain a Community Clothes Closet for families, men and women in shelters. She spends her volunteer time at Calvary Community Wellness Center where she helps to educate the community on the benefits of exercise and healthy eating. While working for the federal government, Geri was the Union President, Vice President and Chief Steward during her 18 year career.

Julie Jaddoo
Lincoln University

Julie Jaddoo is a senior pursuing a bachelor's degree in computer information systems at Lincoln University. She will complete her degree in May 2011. She will write the final paper for the completion of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants qualification in June. Afterward, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in science. Julie strongly believes in recycling, conservation, and helping others through volunteering, which she does at the Salvation Army. She loves the internet as she can get updated with current events, research topics of interest, solve everyday problems, and keep in touch with family and friends. In her free time, she enjoys watching television, especially comedy programs, and movies.

Rebecca L. Masur
Southeast Missouri State University

Rebecca Masur is a junior at Southeast Missouri State University pursuing a double major in political science and pre-law and a minor in communications for legal professionals. She is a drum major for the Golden Eagles Marching Band, a member of Sigma Alpha Iota (International Women’s Music Fraternity), and a member of Dance Marathon, an organization that raises money for Children’s Miracle Network. Rebecca expects to graduate in May of 2012 and then attend law school. Her career aspirations include the United States Air Force JAG Corps. In her spare time, she enjoys playing her bassoon, being outside, and reading.

Corinne Matti
Missouri State University

Corinne is a senior finishing up her degree in Art and Design with a minor in International Relations. She is active in shaping public policy in the Ozarks by volunteering with Organizing for America, Pro Vote Coalition, and interning with the Missouri Democratic Party. She has participated in the Students in Florence summer study abroad program that transformed her view of the world and led toward her interest in public policy. She hopes to live and work abroad before returning to the United States to pursue teaching in a community college. She wishes to organize students and young professionals to become more involved in public policy. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, trying exotic foods, painting, and watching animated films.

Rebecca McCoy
Missouri S & T

Rebecca McCoy is a freshman at Missouri University of Science and Technology studying engineering management. She is the Conference Chair for her section of the Society of Women Engineers and a member of Phi Sigma Rho. She hopes to one day become the president of her Collegiate SWE section and become a consultant to help companies in different countries.

Kayla Meine
University of Central Missouri

Kayla Meine is a sophomore political science major with a minor in psychology at the University of Central Missouri. While at UCM, Kayla has been active in a variety of activities that include: Mock Trial Team, Pre-Law Students' Association, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, National Society of Leadership and Success, Students for Political Action, American Democracy Project, Student Ambassadors, Orientation Leader, and Rho Lambda. Kayla has taken leadership roles as President of Alpha Sigma Alpha social sorority and Vice President of the House of Representatives for the Student Government's Association. Kayla has participated in many philanthropic events for numerous organizations ranging from Special Olympics and the Community Blood Center to Breast Cancer Awareness. After graduating college, she plans to attend law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She would like to start her own firm and eventually run for public office.

Arwa Mohammad
University of Missouri-Columbia

Arwa Mohammad was born and raised in Columbia, Missouri. She has worked to give back to her community through local programs at the Islamic Center and volunteering at the Central Missouri Food Bank, Access Arts, and Camp Quality (a camp for children with cancer). As a junior majoring in biological sciences, her research on microglial cells has been featured at multiple conferences, including the Society for Neuroscience’s annual international meeting. Arwa is also president of the Muslim Student Organization and speaker for the Muslim Speakers Bureau of Columbia; she has been recognized as a leader contributing to multicultural and diversity awareness on campus by the MU Multicultural Office. She has also worked with the Student Health Advisory Council to promote health awareness and health literacy on campus. Arwa aims to attend medical school and complete a master’s degree in public health.

Alexis Morris
Truman State University

With support from her parents, Alexis believes she is developing into a determined, academically focused student and some have said, “emerging leader.” Alexis is a chemistry major who is involved in many organizations on campus (Teaching Assistant, Association of Black Collegians). Her most meaningful activity is being a student ambassador. Alexis’ goal is to attain a PhD in Chemistry; she loves all the sciences, but this degree will allow her to give back and to help others reach their educational goals.

Loretta Murray
Lincoln University

Loretta is currently a Lincoln University sophomore. Her career goals are to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lincoln and then to complete graduate school to earn a PhD in Psychology. Loretta completed two studies and was accepted to present the results at the 2010 and 2011 annual meetings of the Missouri Academy of Sciences; both years she was awarded second place for best oral presentation. Also, in 2010 and 2011, she was recognized with an award for academic excellence at the Lincoln University Honors Convocation. Loretta successfully competed for a position in the LU Women’s Leadership Academy, where she was partnered with a mentor; together they worked on a project which she presented to LU faculty, staff, and students in February, 2011. After earning high grades in several psychology courses, she was asked to serve as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for general psychology courses.

Amanda Neff
Missouri State University

Amanda Neff is a freshman undecided in a major, but interested in minoring in Spanish and English. A member of the Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society and Christian Campus House, Amanda is also a player on Missouri State’s Softball Team. Throughout the summer, she operates her own individual business conducting swim lessons for young kids and assists her town’s Rotary Clubs for grade school and high school events. Amanda plans on studying abroad in Costa Rica in the fall semester in order to further her education in Spanish and language proficiency while exploring options for her future major. After graduation, she will work toward a Master’s degree and is considering joining the Peace Corps. In her free time, Amanda enjoys reading, writing, sports, traveling, and working with kids.

Hannah Perkins
University of Missouri-St. Louis

Hannah Perkins is a first year graduate student at UMSL working towards a degree in public policy administration. She concentrated on environmental policy as an undergraduate, but also focused on various social policy areas including drug, gender, and education politics. Hannah has participated in the UMSL Amnesty International student group since 2006 and has served as Vice President of UMSL’s delegation to the Midwest Model UN in 2010. She is involved in the 24:1 Initiative, a grant-funded community engagement project targeted at 24 economically depressed cities that share a single school district. Hannah works for the Public Policy Research Center at UMSL; one of her projects analyzes non-profit support in the local region for women and children in abuse and dependency situations. She plans to complete her quantitative concentration, and then pursue an internship with an environmental policy center.

Samantha Placek
Southeast Missouri State University

Samantha has continually returned to the subject of political science throughout her years of education. She developed an interest in foreign policy and hopes to work for the federal government. She has also acquired a love of studio arts which she pursued in community college. She currently attends Southeast Missouri State University where she continues to learn about government systems and shapes her plans for the future.

Stacey Pugh
Truman State University

A junior at Truman State University, Stacey Pugh is pursuing a degree in criminal justice and a minor in psychology. While at Truman, Stacey has participated in the Unique Ensemble Gospel Choir, Psychology Club, and Purple Pride. She currently holds leadership positions in The Associations of Black Collegians as Historian and the Women’s Resource Center as Public Relations committee member. In the summer of 2011, Stacey will hold an internship with the St. Louis County Justice System Department. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, she plans to attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis to study in the criminology program. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Stacey is committed to staying in her city to help establish programs geared toward children and underprivileged communities in an attempt to reduce the crime rate.

Derecka Purnell
University of Missouri-Kansas City

Derecka Purnell is a junior majoring in political science, sociology, and African American studies. She currently interns for the legal department at SPX Cooling Technologies and acts as an investigations intern in the Civil Rights Division for the City of Kansas City. While at UMKC, she has served as President and community service coordinator of the Black Law Students Association: Collegiate Student Division, community service chair of the Trustee Scholars group, and on a variety of panels discussing education advocacy. Off campus, she is involved with the Kansas City Freedom School Initiative, the Urban Summit, and as a fellow for the National Black Law Students Association. This summer, she will be studying at the University of California-Berkeley as a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) law fellow. After graduating, Derecka hopes to work for Teach for America prior to attending law school and pursuing a graduate degree in public policy.

Stephanie Sale
Lincoln University

Stephanie Sale is a senior at Lincoln University majoring in environmental science and graduating in May. While attending Lincoln she was a member of Women in Nuclear, Women's Leader ship Academy, on the Dean's list every semester, and was an intern for Representative Sheila Solon of the 55th district. After graduation she will start work on her graduate degree at Lincoln University in environmental science. She will work with Dr. Nkongolo on a project pertaining to green house gases. After she finishes her master’s she will continue on to work on her PhD with an emphasis on water quality. After her graduation her goal is to work with a desalination plant and work on creating a sustainable clean drinking water source.

Megan Elizabeth Schmidt
Southeast Missouri State University

Megan is studying psychology at Southeast Missouri State University; she views it as a venue that will provide her with a broad, well-rounded foundation and can realistically be applied to a variety of desirable options, whether it is a direct career path or continuation of higher education after obtaining her bachelor’s degree. The logistics of her future remain open-ended at this point.

Megan Schoor
University of Missouri-Columbia

Megan Schoor grew up in the small town of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Since high school, she has been committed to public service and learning beyond the classroom. After attaining a Bachelor’s degree in English from Truman State University, she worked for their Upward Bound program. Working in such an organization, Megan wanted to further research and explore entities like Upward Bound, as well as agencies that specialize in supporting and/or providing women’s health services to underrepresented populations. Currently pursuing a master’s degree in public affairs specializing in nonprofit management, Megan has acquired a vast amount of knowledge regarding nonprofit organizations, as well as a background in organizational and community change. She has recently been accepted in the PhD program and hopes to continue similar research on the influence of structure – including gender makeup, workplace hierarchy, and perceived mission – in nonprofit organizations’ effectiveness.

Hallie Thompson
University of Missouri-Columbia

Hallie Thompson grew up in High Point, Missouri, on a small cattle farm. She volunteers every summer at Camp Aurora, a church camp where middle school children have a week in the wilderness, away from society. Hallie is now majoring in biochemistry at Mizzou; she expects to graduate in December 2011. Mizzou Dashboard and Sustain Mizzou are two core organizations in which she is involved as sustainability is one of her main interests. Hallie also has experience as a teaching assistant for both biochemistry and for the Honors College Colloquium on Science and Public Policy. Recently, she studied in Thailand, her first trip out of the country and likely not the last.

Andrea Villasuso
University of Central Missouri

Andrea Villasuso is a sophomore at the University of Central Missouri majoring in international studies and political science. She was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and moved to the U.S. when she was 15. While in college, Andrea has been involved in Model United Nations and Students for Political Action. She serves as the Fundraising Chair for Hall Council and is in charge of Risk Management for her sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha. She also works part time at both the Department of Political Science and the Department of Modern Languages. After college graduation, Andrea would like to be able to work for non-profit organizations, like UNICEF or Amnesty International.

Amanda Wells
Missouri S & T

Amanda Wells is a freshman majoring in English with a pre-law focus at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. She has enjoyed leadership opportunities such as being the secretary of her class, head representative for South Africa in the Model United Nations program, speech and debate team president, and current editor of the Missouri Miner Newspaper. Amanda’s experiences have led her to her current goals of journalism in women studies, including the documenting of struggles of women in lower end communities in the U.S. She has decided to major in English and research women’s development in society.

Michelle Wertz
University of Central Missouri

Michelle Wertz is a junior at UCM, majoring in political science with a minor in public relations. She is very involved in student organizations. She is currently serving as the Floor Leader of the senate in the Student Government Association, as well as serving as the Chair of UCM's College Republicans chapter. Michelle serves as an alumni ambassador for the university, where she works various alumni events including the 50 year reunion. Upon graduation from UCM, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue her master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in not-for-profit management. Her ultimate goal is to become director of a nonprofit organization.

Kimberly Wilken
Missouri S & T

Kimberly Wilken is a freshman at Missouri S&T, where she is an architectural/civil engineering dual major. While there, she has been involved in a number of campus activities, including Vice-President of the Lutheran Student Fellowship and historian of Kappa Delta Sorority. She is involved in the Missouri S&T Panhellenic Council and is a member of the Kappa Delta Relay for Life team. After graduating, she plans to pursue a challenging and rewarding career in her major that allows her to be creative and design innovative structures. In her free time, Kimberly enjoys music, photography, reading, and being outdoors.

Emma Wilson
Missouri State University

Emma is a junior Geography major, with a History minor. She has strong interests in public policy, planning, and sustainable development. She works for the local NPR affiliate and will start a job with the Dept of the Interior this summer.