An Outstanding Honor

Four biochemistry students earned Mizzou '39 honors in March.




a group of 4 female students pose with Dr. Shari Freyermuth (center)

In March, the Mizzou Alumni Association and Alumni Association Student Board named the 2022 Mizzou 18 Award and Mizzou ’39 Award recipients. In the spirit of service that was the cornerstone of the 1839 founding of the University of Missouri, the Mizzou Alumni Association Student Board presents the Mizzou ’39 Award to 39 outstanding seniors each year. Recipients are chosen for their academic achievement, leadership, and service to Mizzou and the community. Six CAFNR students earned the honor, including four biochemistry students.

Maya Derhake

How exciting was it to be named a Mizzou ’39 recipient?
I was so excited to be named a Mizzou 39 recipient! This accomplishment means the world to me. Being a part of such a distinguished and high-achieving group of people is such an honor; it is definitely at the top of my list of favorite moments at MU.

Maya Derhake
Maya Derhake

What was your favorite part of being an undergraduate student in the biochemistry degree program?
My favorite part of being an undergraduate in the biochemistry degree program was forming relationships with my professors. I have such a high level of respect for each person I have been able to learn from, and I feel that each class I took added so much to my experience as an undergrad.

How did the biochemistry degree program help prepare you for the future?
The biochemistry degree program has prepared me for the future by pushing me to expand my critical thinking skills. This program has helped me to become a well-rounded student; I learned to balance my extracurricular activities with my studies, all while enjoying what Mizzou has to offer.

What do you plan to do after graduation in December?
After graduation I will be applying to genetic counseling schools all across the country!

Angelina Hein

How exciting was it to be named a Mizzou ’39 recipient?
Honestly, it was incredibly exciting. I spent the past four years constantly looking up to others as they achieved such big things at Mizzou, like being named as one of the 39. I was not incredibly optimistic because I wasn’t even going to apply. I put myself into this bubble, thinking that I wasn’t good enough and didn’t want to face the disappointment. My friends convinced me otherwise and I gave it my best effort. I was shocked to find out that I was selected! The whole process gave me time to reflect on my Mizzou experience and communicate how I have impacted not only the students, but the University.

Angelina Hein
Angelina Hein

What was your favorite part of being an undergraduate student in the biochemistry degree program?
I loved the atmosphere the Department of Biochemistry creates on this campus. With being a relatively small major, you get to know majority of the faculty and grow together as a class. My class ended senior year being rather close to each other and I’m sad that we’re all going our separate ways, but I can’t wait to see what everyone accomplishes!

How did the biochemistry degree program help prepare you for the future?
Biochemistry, as I have been selling it to other students, is a vastly versatile and comprehensive degree. It prepares you for just about any field of science or health sciences you could think of. It can even translate into other sections of the world, business, law, marketing, just to name a few. The professors in the Department of Biochemistry prepare you for the big world by teaching you how to think critically. I had never thought much about it until Dr. (Brenda) Peculis’ class freshman year. The world isn’t black and white, and most of the problems you face aren’t going to have a clear answer. This is why memorization and regurgitation is not the optimal way for students to actually learn. You have to ask the hard questions and learn to critically think through an answer. The Department of Biochemistry has given me these skills that will translate wonderfully into our jobs in the big world.

What are your future plans/what are you currently doing after graduation?
I’ll be working as an entry-level scientist in the Biochemistry Department here at Eurofins in Columbia. I’ll also be applying to medical school this cycle, and will hopefully matriculate in the fall of 2023. I’m excited to get to work a year to take a break from the classroom and actually get a chance to apply what I’ve learned!

Molly Shumard

How exciting was it to be named a Mizzou ’39 recipient?
I was absolutely shocked and ecstatic to be named as a Mizzou ’39 recipient! My experiences at Mizzou have shaped me into the person I am today, and I am honored to have received this award.

Molly Shumard
Molly Shumard

What was your favorite part of being an undergraduate student in the biochemistry degree program?
My favorite part of being a biochemistry student was the relationships that I was able to build with my classmates. My friends in the program shared my drive to learn and prepare for the future, even though we all had different goals and interests.

How did the biochemistry degree program help prepare you for the future?
The courses in the biochemistry curriculum have given me a strong science background that I will use in my continuing education. In addition, I believe the program also has equipped me with skills in problem solving, effectively studying and asking for help when needed. I am confident these skills will impact my life in dental school and in my career.

What are your future plans/what are you currently doing after graduation?
In August, I will begin dental school at University of Missouri-Kansas City. I am thrilled to continue pursuing my dream of becoming a dentist!

Anna Sullentrup

How exciting was it to be named a Mizzou ’39 recipient?
I was incredibly excited and honored to be chosen as one of this year’s Mizzou ’39. Meeting the other recipients was so much fun, and I loved hearing the ways that they’ve left each left their marks at Mizzou.

Anna Sullentrup
Anna Sullentrup

What was your favorite part of being an undergraduate student in the biochemistry degree program?
My favorite part of my Mizzou biochemistry experience was the friendships that I built with many of my classmates. I have been surrounded by the best people for the past four years and will miss them as we all move on to our next steps!

How did the biochemistry degree program help prepare you for the future?
The Mizzou Department of Biochemistry has been instrumental in preparing me for the future by strengthening my ability to think critically and problem-solve. Additionally, the curriculum provided a great scientific foundation that helped prepare me for the MCAT and beyond. Most importantly, the support that I’ve received from professors has been outstanding – it has truly made a huge difference in both my experience at Mizzou and my future goals.

What are your future plans/what are you currently doing after graduation?
I’m currently pursuing a master’s degree in biomedical sciences while applying to medical school.

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