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Meet the Mizzou ’39 Award recipients who called the Trulaske College of Business home during their time at Mizzou.

By Kelsey Allen

Every year, the Mizzou Alumni Association Student Board presents the Mizzou ’39 Award to 39 seniors who are chosen for their academic achievement, leadership and service to Mizzou and the community. This year, six of those students are graduating from the Trulaske College of Business. Meet the business-minded seniors who called Cornell Hall home during their time at Mizzou.

Emma Austin

Emma Austin

Business Administration, Marketing and Communications, Organizational

Webster Groves, Missouri

Mentor: Mary Beth Marrs

First thing I thought when I found out I was a Mizzou ’39 recipient: Wow, how did we get to this point so quickly? To me, earning the Mizzou ’39 Award felt like an incredible culmination of hard work, amazing peers and mentors, and many opportunities I was fortunate to have. It’s hard to believe that my time has come to an end at Mizzou, and this award truly summarizes my experience.

Favorite class in the College of Business and why: Management 3200HW: Ethics in Business and Society. It was taught by Sherry Mariea, who is one of the most passionate and down-to-earth professors I’ve ever had. She taught me that every decision can have great impacts and great leaders take those factors into consideration when making choices. I truly left this class feeling empowered to be a stronger leader and always put others before myself.

Why service is important to me: I believe that frequent and diversified service is one of the many fundamental eye-opening experiences that everyone needs to have in order to truly appreciate what they have and learn how they can make the world a better place. Everyone shares unique struggles and privileges, and directly serving others teaches us more about ourselves and others than we could try to comprehend otherwise.

Most people don’t know: I’ve been striving to implement principles of minimalism in my life.

Words of wisdom for next year’s business school freshmen: If you’re hesitant about getting involved in something, give it a try. College is a place to learn about yourself and your passions, and exploring is an important part of that process!

Joe Davis

Joseph Davis


Stockton, Missouri

Mentor: Angela Drake

Advice I’d give my pre-lockdown self: Dance at Piano like it’s your last time there.

Favorite class in the College of Business and why: The AACE Venture Fund, hands down. Students invest real money into startups across the Midwest, in Missouri and at Mizzou. You can take it for three credit hours a few times, but I still participate despite being way past that cap. It’s run like a classic venture fund or angel investing club. The students find deals, perform due diligence and make the ultimate investment decision — all by themselves. It allows us the opportunity to intimately interact with company founders and CEOs through pitches and negotiation (think Shark Tank). This hands-on course has helped me apply concepts like financial modeling and just think about what makes a great business. It’s so rewarding and fun to close investments with my fellow classmates. We could not do it without the support of our faculty advisors W.D Allen, Gary McKinney and Kateryna Holland.

Biggest lesson learned from my mentor: My mom has taught me countless lessons in college without ever being my professor. She has taught me that whenever you have professional success, bring others up with you. If you go into the Veterans Clinic office at the law school, you will see an accolade on a table in the entryway given to my mom by a national law consortium. She put a sticky note over her name that lists the students involved that semester! That’s just the kind of woman she is.

Words of wisdom for next year’s business school freshmen: Get practical work experience as soon as you can, as often as you can. A lot of students wait until their penultimate summer before looking for an internship by following the expectation of BA 4500 (a mandatory course that requires you to land an internship in exchange for three credit hours), which students normally take heading into their senior year. However, every student that I know who got the job they wanted out of college earned it by developing professionally years before that. Me personally: I called 300+ people in my industry, got coffee with 100+ of those people (this requires traveling to your city of preference) and worked part time, for free, during the semester. I know the latter two options are costly, but I have no regrets using my savings from summer jobs to float my own professional development. Picking up the phone and calling people also costs nothing, but no one thinks to do it. Keep close contact with multiple mentors that do exactly what you want to be doing. They can tell you how they got their job and what they look for in incoming candidates. They can also make a referral for you, which is how all positions are filled in the field I’m going into.

Where I’m headed after graduation: I’ll be an investment banker at JPMorgan in New York City.

Parker Owens

Parker Owens

Business Administration, Marketing and Journalism, Strategic Communications

Noel, Missouri

Mentor: Daniel Nicewarner

Why service is important to me: It took a lot of people’s effort to get me to Mizzou and where I am today. Without the help of others, I wouldn’t be in my position or about to graduate. The least I can do is help others to get them where they want to be in life.

Most exciting MU experience: My most exciting MU experience was traveling to Chicago with the Walton Scholars in 2019. We were able to explore some local favorites and famous foods as well as tour various companies that I still am in contact with to this day. Being able to have such a unique experience with my friends is one of my favorite overall memories of Mizzou.

Most people don’t know: That I’ve changed my major four times. I came in as industrial engineering but switched to international business. I didn’t want to take a foreign language, so I switched to marketing. I thought journalism sounded cool, so I added on a second major in strategic communication (which I didn’t realize required a language at the time, but I kept it as I realized it was inevitable).

Where I’m headed after graduation: After graduation, I’ll be heading across the street from Cornell to Hulston Hall to attend law school here at Mizzou. I like Columbia (and being a Tiger) so much that I don't want to leave yet.

Favorite quote or saying: “That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.” — Abraham Lincoln

Jillian Rosenkranz

Jillian Rosenkranz


Millstadt, Illinois

Mentor: Shannon Ferguson

Advice I’d give my pre-lockdown self: Just because someone asked you to do something doesn’t always mean you have to do it. Learn to say no to responsibilities that you can’t add to your already busy plate.

Biggest lesson learned from my mentor: So hard to pick just one, but just from spending time with Shannon I have learned that people-first leadership is always worth it. Shannon has shown me over and over how selfless she is and how you will never regret spending time to help someone who needs it.

Most exciting MU experience: My sorority chapter won Greek Week my freshman year, which was such a fun experience and something I will never forget.

Where I’m headed after graduation: I am getting my master’s in accountancy, so I will be around CoMo for one more year, and then back to St. Louis to work in public accounting as an auditor.

Dream job: Want to start my own nonprofit advocating or providing resources for women's breast and ovarian health or children’s access to an equal education.

Ryan Sparks

Ryan Sparks


Bloomington, Illinois

Mentor: Donald Gilliam

Favorite class in the College of Business and why: My favorite class has to be a class I am currently taking, which is forensic accounting. This course is by far the most unique course I have come across as it is taught by two FBI agents as they teach us the ins and outs of forensics from an accounting perspective.

My leadership style: I believe that my leadership style is based on everyone being equal. I classify myself as a leader who wants the best for the team, and to do that, I must not put

myself above anyone. I must always listen to my peers and what their ideas may be. I like to bring a sense of encouragement and appreciation when leading and to always complete the ask given to me with the utmost effort.

Most exciting MU experience: My most exciting MU experience would have to be with the Cornell Leadership Program (CLP) as I had the opportunity to travel to New York City for a week. In NYC, I met with various Fortune 500 companies, and I had the opportunity to gain connections and network while traveling the city. This was my first time traveling to NYC. It was always been a dream of mine growing up. I am forever grateful to CLP for this opportunity.

Most people don’t know: Most people are unaware of how important my family and friends are to me. These individuals have seen me at my greatest and lowest moments and, regardless, accept me for who I am. My work ethic and accomplishments are all due to the people in my circle always cheering me on. I would not be where I am today without them.

Where I’m headed after graduation: Next year, I will be completing my master’s in accountancy degree from Mizzou.

Yasmeen Taranissi

Yasmeen Taranissi

Accountancy and Economics

Columbia, Missouri

Mentor: Shannon Breske

Advice I’d give my pre-lockdown self: Be present. It’s so easy to become numb to the complexity that surrounds us with the seemingly endless deadlines and obligations, but being present in what you’re doing and where you’re at is such a gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Favorite class in the College of Business and why: The collaboration between the MU Institute [for Innovation, Experiential Education and Entrepreneurship] and AT&T to build out use cases for 5G technology. The class was super hands-on for the faculty and the students, and we worked in teams, which made us even more involved in the class. We got to go to Dallas to get a better understanding of 5G technology and meet our AT&T mentors who supported our teams. I learned so much in this class that I’ll carry with me into my professional career, and the relationships I formed over the course of the semester I spent in that class are invaluable to me.

My leadership style: Transformational leadership. I recently learned about this in my accounting ethics course, and this style works best for me because I love connecting with people and working with them to align their strengths, interests and goals with their work.

Why service is important to me: Service is important to me because it is a reflection of the fact that the world is so deeply interconnected. We may feel like service is done to help others, but in supporting and uplifting others, we contribute to a better society, which affects us all. Service is a way to grow closer with other people and connect with the community in a unique and important way.

Where I’m headed after graduation: Financial services consulting with Ernst & Young in Chicago