Service, Stamps, and Spring at Mizzou!

It’s so hard to believe that spring semester is halfway over, and that it has been almost five months since my first Stamps blog! I have learned so much about leadership, service, and research since I started college, and I’ve also made some amazing friends. One of my favorite parts of this semester has been getting to better know my fellow Stamps Scholars. Today we decided it was about time we got a decent picture together, so we met at the Columns for what we thought would be a quick photo op. Over an hour later we were still there, attempting ridiculous poses and laughing at our horrible photo fails. Even though we’re all stressed about midterms, it was fun to laugh and hang out with each other before spring break.

The Stamps Scholars spelling “MIZ-ZOU” on the Columns
The Stamps Scholars spelling “MIZ-ZOU” on the Columns

Speaking of spring break, I’ll be heading to Raleigh, North Carolina with Mizzou Alternative Breaks in just six days! My team and I will be serving at Gigi’s Playhouse, A Down Syndrome Achievement Center with locations all across the country. Service has been on my mind a lot lately, especially after Stamps Day of Service, which you can read about here!

Serving my community, as well as learning about effective service in the Chancellor’s Leadership Class (CLC), has helped me develop a passion for serving others effectively. Recently, I was accepted into the Deaton Scholars Program, which helps students create and implement plans for fighting global poverty and food insecurity. I’ve also been working in CLC to design a community service project focused on serving high school students from low-income families in the Columbia area. Learning about the need for service both locally and abroad has helped me understand myself and my passions more clearly, and I hope to use some of my Stamps enrichment fund to take a trip focused on serving others.

Although there are a lot of new things in my life this semester, I am lucky to get to continue my microbiology research from last semester. I have shifted my focus to a more intense project creating a genetically mutated strain of the bacteria Agrobacterium tumefaciens that could shed light on a largely unknown area of our research. I’ve been so lucky to have amazing mentors like Dr. Pam Brown, my lab mentor and PhD candidate Gustavo Santiago-Collazo, and a very special consultant to our lab, Nobel Laureate George Smith. One of the PhD students in our lab just graduated, and two more will be graduating in just a few months, and it’s been really helpful to learn about the process of obtaining a PhD! I still hope to follow in their footsteps one day.

Although I would much prefer to be writing blog posts all night, I have to get back to studying for midterms. I hope you enjoy some of the shots from our Stamps photoshoot!

Mizzou Stamps Scholars gathered at the steps of Jesse Hall for a group photo.
Mizzou Stamps Scholars gathered at the steps of Jesse Hall for a group photo. Missing is Toyin Jackson, who is currently studying abroad in Spain!

– Delanie Vinzant, Stamps Scholar Class of 2022