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Meet more Truman Scholars

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Laura Merritt, left, and Jennifer Kimball are Mizzou's most recent Truman Scholars. Photos by Rob Hill

For only the third time, two Mizzou students — Jennifer Kimball and Laura Merritt — won the prestigious Truman Scholarship the same year. The scholarship supports college juniors who are exceptional leaders and want careers in government, non-profit organizations, advocacy, education or public service.

In 1981 and 1986, Mizzou also had pairs of Truman Scholars. Here’s a snapshot of where they are now:

Sonja Steptoe, BA ’82, BJ ’82

  • Living in: Los Angeles
  • Majors at Mizzou: economics, journalism
  • Current position: client development manager, O’Melveny & Myers
  • Highlights since Mizzou: Receiving a Faculty-Alumni Award from the Mizzou Alumni Association; serving as Grand Marshall of Homecoming, having the fourth floor of the new Respect Hall dormitory named for her.
  • Still left to do: Celebrate (soon!) a Missouri Tigers National College Football Championship.

Peggy Israel, BA ’82, BA ’82

  • Living in: Baltimore, Md.
  • Majors at Mizzou: economics, mathematics
  • Current position: Self-employed attorney representing retailers and developers regarding shopping center real estate.
  • Highlights since Mizzou: Law career including faculty position at Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business and 15 years as solo practictioner; four children.
  • Still left to do: Retrace Lewis & Clark's journey; write a book of poetry; learn French; make a quilt by hand; work for the State Department.

Kenneth Brashier, BA ’87, BJ ’87

  • Living in: Portland, Ore.
  • Majors at Mizzou: German, journalism
  • Current position: Associate professor of religion and humanities at Reed College
  • Highlights since Mizzou: Rhodes Scholar; Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s 2006 U.S. professor of the year; a dozen academic articles on early Chinese religions.
  • Still left to do: Finish a series of books on early Chinese ancestral cults. “Other than that, I still hope to get my two cats to respect me some day.”

Sarah Baker Maxwell, BA ’87, BA ’87, JD ’90

  • Living in: Mexico, Mo.
  • Majors at Mizzou: economics, interdisciplinary studies, law
  • Current positions: Executive director for the County Employees' Retirement Fund, owner of Homestead Hearth, voted one of America’s top 10 Quilt Stores in 2007 by American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.
  • Highlights since Mizzou: Oldest daughter, Megan, plans to attend Mizzou in fall 2009; Shannen is in seventh grade.
  • Still left to do: “Be a good parent.”