Each year, the Mizzou Alumni Association Student Board selects 39 outstanding seniors and 18 outstanding graduate students for its annual Mizzou ‘39 and Mizzou 18 Awards. Mizzou ‘39 recipients are chosen for their academic achievement, leadership and service to Mizzou and the community. Mizzou 18 recipients are chosen for their world-class research, collaboration with faculty and staff, and their demonstrated leadership with undergraduate students.
In the spirit of service that was the cornerstone of the 1839 founding of the University of Missouri, these awards are presented each spring.
This year, the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources had four students receive the Mizzou ‘39 Award (Holly Enowski, Jacqueline Janorschke, Devesh Kumar and Michaela Thomson) and one student receive the Mizzou 18 Award (Jason Entsminger).
Holly Enowski – Science & Agricultural Journalism
As a student at Eldon High School (Eldon, Mo.), Enowski spent plenty of time on the University of Missouri campus – through jazz ensemble, state championship basketball games and FFA. When it came time to pick a college, she tried her hardest to come up with an excuse to not attend Mizzou. At the end of the day, the positives outweighed the negatives by a large margin.
“Ultimately, my desire to pursue a global education with a focus on both agriculture and communications made Mizzou the best choice for me,” Enowski said. “I wanted to study science and agricultural journalism because of the fusion of agriculture and food, a subject close to my heart, and a world-renowned journalism education. The major was the best of both worlds for me and highlighted both of my biggest interests and strengths coming into college. I knew I’d find my home in CAFNR.”
Enowski made sure to get involved at MU right away. It was a decision that paid off quickly.
“One of the things I am so very thankful that I grasped onto early in my college career is that age is just a number, and class standing has no bearing on what you can accomplish,” she said. “My freshman year, I worked alongside a senior, and fellow Mizzou ’39 recipient Maria Kalaitzandonakes, and others to create the Deaton Scholars Program. Without her constant encouragement and challenging me to do more, I don’t know where I would be today. You only have four years to make a difference here and to set yourself up for success.”
Enowski said she has numerous favorite memories during her time at MU, including serving as the president of the Mizzou chapter of Collegiate Farm Bureau and placing in the top 16 at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s National Discussion Meet competition. She also had great experiences during her three international trips. In addition, she was named the Outstanding Freshman Student during the 2017 CAFNR Celebration of Excellence ceremony.
Enowski added that her science and agricultural journalism advisor, Sharon Wood-Turley, played a huge role during her collegiate career, helping her through course changes and major decisions.
“CAFNR fully prepares students for their future careers and empowers students to make choices that best fit their professional and personal goals,” Enowski said. “I feel so fortunate to have found a home in both CAFNR and the School of Journalism, but it’s truly because of, and within CAFNR, that my passions for food insecurity were taken seriously and were fostered. I have three on-campus jobs through CAFNR – one with FAPRI, one with the Food Equation Institute and one overseeing the Deaton Scholars Program and the Missouri Youth Institute. Those are simply not experiences that you can have as an undergraduate in other colleges on this campus or elsewhere. By senior year, I was working in jobs I loved as much as I was in class and studying – and that’s exactly how CAFNR prepares students for future careers. I’m a multi-faceted soon-to-be college graduate with real-world experience, and I owe so much of that to CAFNR.”
According to Enowski, ending her collegiate career with the Mizzou ‘39 Award was a huge honor.
“It was incredibly humbling to be selected for Mizzou ’39,” she said. “As a freshman, I looked up to the recipients of this award and saw the things that they were doing on campus and for the communities that they were a part of, and aspired to make that type of impact by the time I graduated. I never thought I’d get there, but it’s because of the many mentors I’ve had both within CAFNR and elsewhere that encouraged me to truly do something while I was here. To be recognized as one of the highest caliber students here at MU – it’s an honor I’ll hold onto as an alum.”
Jacqueline Janorschke – Science & Agricultural Journalism
Janorschke’s senior class at DeKalb High School (DeKalb, Mo.) was made up of only 23 students, so her decision to attend the University of Missouri was a surprise to many of her classmates. For Janorschke, the decision was an easy one.
“Endless opportunities and people with varying backgrounds spurred my desire to attend Mizzou,” she said. “I wanted to go to a large university for the contrast it would provide to my small high school. Many people were happy with my decision, but people also asked me why I wanted to attend such a large school. They told me I would just be another number at MU, and that I would get lost in the crowd.
“To me, the Mizzou ’39 Award is exciting because it shows that it doesn’t matter where you come from, people from small towns and large ones can make an impact. I hope younger students from small towns see this recognition and are inspired to make their impact on campus, too.”
As a senior at DeKalb, Janorschke made it a goal to become a state FFA officer. She succeeded, serving as the Missouri FFA State Secretary. State officers are required to attend an in-state college. MU was an easy decision for Janorschke, as was choosing to get a degree in CAFNR.
“I knew that CAFNR was among the best in the nation,” she said. “When I came to Mizzou, I knew I wanted to do something that involved agriculture, but I was unsure of what that would be. I randomly decided to enroll in a science and agricultural journalism class during my first semester of MU. I’m so lucky I did because I found the perfect program for me at MU.
“In high school, I started beekeeping for my supervised agricultural experience program. Oftentimes, people would ask me about my beekeeping operation and agriculture in general. I started to realize that consumers want to be engaged with conversations about agriculture and how food is grown. I became passionate about sharing information about bees and the important role they have within agriculture to people in my community. At the time, I didn’t realize that agriculture communications was a career, but I was definitely passionate about it in high school. When I found the science and agriculture journalism program, it felt like a natural fit because of my past experiences.”
Janorschke said she had many cherished memories during her time at Mizzou, including serving on the Homecoming Steering Committee in 2019.
“That experience gave me a newfound appreciation for MU that I didn’t think I could love any deeper,” she said. “It gave me friendships that will last a lifetime. From an outsider’s perspective, you might only look at our group and see one common tie between us: our love for Mizzou. Diving deeper than the surface, though, we each found ways to share our strengths. I saw firsthand how different talents were used to serve the various needs of the different committees. I learned how to make events inclusive for all of MU’s students and alumni and the Columbia community.”
As Janorschke gets ready to enter the workforce, she said she is incredibly thankful for how CAFNR helped prepare her.
“As a senior, I feel confident heading into my career because of CAFNR,” Janorschke said. “I’ve participated in organizations and professional development programs that have given me the skills I need to be successful as an alumni. CAFNR provides vast experiences to fit any student’s needs. As a student paying for my own education, the scholarship opportunities within CAFNR have allowed me to attend my dream school, while also enjoying the opportunities it provides without being stressed financially. The impact of these scholarships has allowed me to attend a school that has given me an education that will set my career up for success. I’m so thankful for a school that invests in its students and I hope I’ll be able to invest in future students one day, too.”
Devesh Kumar – Biochemistry
As a Columbia native, Kumar knew all that the University of Missouri had to offer. While he did take his time before choosing MU, it was an obvious choice at the end of the day.
“I was always aware of the education that students receive here at Mizzou,” Kumar said. “When I was deciding between schools to determine where I wanted to receive my higher education, Mizzou always stood out to me – and I was amazed at the optimistic attitude present on campus. I consider choosing MU to be one of the best decisions of my life.”
Kumar picked biochemistry as his major after enjoying a high school course related to biochemical techniques. He found a passion for the program as he got more involved.
“I really liked that course and learned a lot,” Kumar said. “Biochemistry aligned most with what I wanted to do, and I gave it a shot. After my freshman year, I fell in love with the program and decided to continue with it.”
Throughout Kumar’s time at Mizzou, he earned numerous valuable experiences, including building multiple friendships. Kumar is part of Soka: Buddhists for Peace, an organization that is geared toward achieving world peace by tapping into the inherent highest potential in each individual. He said his involvement in this organization made a significant impact on his life by cultivating a sense of compassion and courage.
“One of the reasons that I have so much gratitude for Mizzou is that I have met amazing friends who care deeply and are willing to be there and help me out no matter what,” he said. “I consider these to be my life-long friends. Some of my favorite memories on campus are being united and hosting meetings for Soka. This organization made Mizzou a home for me and I am forever grateful.
“Additionally, I have had a great time in my biochemistry labs, where the environment is so inclusive as we dive deep into rigorous biochemistry coursework.”
Kumar said he is thankful for the skills he has been able to learn through his biochemistry courses and labs, skills that will be vital as he joins the workforce in the future. He found it was very important to reach out whenever he had questions or needed help as well.
“CAFNR has taught met the skills I need for the future,” Kumar said. “The courses and the labs in the biochemistry department have allowed me to think critically and analyze information without leaving a stone unturned. Additionally, CAFNR has allowed me to develop my interpersonal skills, which I am very happy about as well.
“Also, irrespective of your major, one of the biggest differences between college and high school is that in high school, you have teachers constantly holding your hand. In college, you are on your own and have the freedom to make your own decisions. It’s incredibly important to not fall behind – and reach out for help if you need it. There are amazing resources on campus, such as the counseling center, the student success center and the writing center that are all more than happy to assist you in any way they can.”
The Mizzou ’39 Award was a major highlight for Kumar as he finishes his bachelor’s degree. He said it was a great way for him to end his final semester.
“I am ecstatic to receive the Mizzou ’39 Award, as I had heard about this honor but didn’t know whether I would be qualified for it,” Kumar said. “I have been fortunate to come to Mizzou and be a part of CAFNR, and with all the support I have received from my peers and faculty, I was honored to be recognized. I consider this award not just a win for me, but a win for all CAFNR students, a win for all biochemistry majors and a win for all pre-med students.”
Michaela Thomson – Biochemistry
Mizzou was an attractive destination for Thomson as she making her decision on where to begin her secondary education. Thomson, who is from Jefferson City, Mo., was looking for a place where she could find multiple opportunities to grow. MU offered the perfect environment.
“I loved the idea of attending a large university where I would have plenty of involvement opportunities, research experiences, interactions with people different from myself and a chance to participate in all Mizzou has to offer,” Thomson said. “I wanted to study biochemistry because I want to go to medical school, and I felt like a degree in biochemistry would properly prepare me for the rigors of medical school and show that I am a competitive student. I’m so glad I chose biochemistry because it is a small major where I know everyone in my classes, and I feel supported by professors and the CAFNR staff and faculty.”
Thomson added that she would forever be grateful to those CAFNR faculty and staff, who helped prepare her as she transitions to a future career centered on medicine.
“I feel CAFNR has prepared me well for my future career in medicine,” she said. “There are so many support programs and staff that have been there to help me along the way. As a CAFNR student, I feel like the faculty and staff really care about my success and are always available to help.”
One of Thomson’s favorite activities during her time at MU was Summer Welcome, for which she served as a leader. Summer Welcome is a two-day orientation where newly admitted students gather essential information about the next step in their transition to college life.
Thomson also served as the Department of Student Activities Speakers Chair during her time at MU.
“One of my favorite memories/traditions at Mizzou was jumping in the fountain each night with my Summer Welcome groups,” Thomson said. “Being a mentor to each of my Summer Welcome students, as well as passing on knowledge and being an advocate was such an amazing experience. Jumping in the fountain with them was a way of welcoming them to Mizzou and all of the traditions and opportunities that make MU truly so unique.”
Working with the admitted students and freshmen was a passion for Thomson, who said her advice to new Mizzou students was to find their passions while in college.
“I always tell incoming students to cultivate their passions,” Thomson said. “Discovering what you are passionate about and pursing those passions is a long process, but worth it in the end. Whether your passion is service, research, leadership or any other opportunity on campus, there is something for everyone. Work on discovering yourself and cultivating what interests you and you’ll find its so rewarding to give back.”
The Mizzou ’39 Award wasn’t the only honor Thomson received during her senior year. She was part of the 2019 Homecoming royalty court, as one of the five queen candidates.
Thomson added that the Mizzou ’39 Award process was enjoyable, as she was able to reflect on the past four years and what they’ve meant to her.
“I was honored to be selected as a Mizzou ‘39 recipient,” she said. “I feel so fortunate to be recognized alongside 38 other incredible campus leaders. Mizzou ’39 was an incredible experience and it was so rewarding to be recognized for my work and dedication over the last four years. The process of applying and interviewing was very reflective, I was able to fully appreciate all the different organizations I had worked with and how I contributed to change in those organizations. I love that many students from all parts of campus are recognized for their accomplishments in different areas, and Mizzou ’39 is a great showcase of how students have changed MU for the better.”
Jason Entsminger – Agricultural & Applied Economics
Adjusting to life in the Midwest was a challenge for Entsminger, who grew up on the west coast, and lived in Europe and Washington, D.C. Adjusting to a smaller atmosphere was difficult, and the timing of Entsminger’s move was a challenge, too. He came to MU in 2015.
“Candidly, coming to Mizzou and Missouri was one of the most difficult transitions in my professional and personal life,” he said. “That period was difficult for the Mizzou community. The memories I have from my time at Mizzou will thus be bittersweet – being a part of movements for greater justice and equity on this campus; working with colleagues to rebuild, and hopefully improve, our university; and, personally, finding my place in a community where I felt very alien. Moments like these in life are always trying – sometimes they come with many frustrations and failures – but they also allow you to see the best in people as they work together to make things better, welcome those on the outside or offer new opportunities for growth. In the five years I have been at Mizzou, I have watched this University begin to make change and grow, and that is perhaps the most meaningful set of memories one can have.”
Entsminger chose the Division of Applied Social Sciences at MU because of its uniqueness.
“We are one of the few programs that has a strong presence of ‘heterodox’ economics – lines of thought in the field of economics that go beyond the Neoclassicism that was at the core of your Introduction to Microeconomics course as an undergraduate,” he said. “DASS and the AAE program – especially what is now our Managerial, Behavioral and Organizational Economics emphasis area – promotes pluralistic thought so that we can address real-world problems to improve the lives and livelihoods of Missourians, Americans and those around the globe. There are not too many places where you can access colleagues in a single program doing work in institutional and organizational economics, entrepreneurship, policy, sociology and community development, management sciences, and sustainability and the environment – let alone have them be unified by an interest in how we feed, clothe, shelter and heal the world.”
Entsminger encourages graduate students to come to MU prepared to make an impact. He added that the Mizzou 18 Award was a team effort, with help coming from his colleagues and friends.
“This college seeks to serve every element of the land-grant mission – teaching, research and Extension,” Entsminger said. “To thrive at doing this, it needs the best and brightest minds, and it needs people who are willing to pull up their sleeves, lead, and to make a difference through innovative ideas and new perspectives. CAFNR, with its centrality to Mizzou’s role in the state, is filled with potential for those who thrive as servant leaders.
“As far as the Award, when you are in the final semester of your PhD you don’t have much time to think about it! I received the email and went, ‘Oh, OK, that is a thing I need to add to my calendar,’ and it didn’t set in right away what it meant entirely. Plus, I also tend to be a personality where recognition like this feels much more about the communities and teams I have been serving and working with than just about me. The roles I have had that led me to this recognition would not have happened if it hadn’t been for outstanding colleagues being there alongside me – research team members; my supervisor/advisor; faculty members and other mentors; peers in the various organizations I’m a part of (especially the Forum on Graduate Rights, the Graduate and Professional Council, the Coalition of Graduate Workers, Rollins Society, and the DASS Graduate Student Association); and colleagues and friends from the community, across the country and around the world who I work with on various projects.”