For many college students, spring break is a week to take it easy. But 38 students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will instead spend an eye-opening week learning how others struggle and discovering ways they can help.
The students are involved in Missouri S&T’s Miner Challenge, a week-long alternative break program that gives them a chance to help individuals and communities affected by issues like poverty, homelessness, a lack of access to education and natural disasters, while developing their own leadership skills. This is the 11th year of the program.
This year students will spend their time doing service work at locations in Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The teams will travel either March 25-29 or March 24-31, during Missouri S&T’s spring break. Earlier this year, a group of students traveled to Managua, Nicaragua.
Individuals and businesses that are interested in helping sponsor the students are encouraged to visit the Miner Challenge website. Miner Challenge will also sponsor a trivia night to raise funds from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 21, in St. Pat’s Ballroom C of the Havener Center, located on the Missouri S&T campus. To register a team for the event visit minerchallenge.mst.edu.
“Participants of Miner Challenge strive to dream big, work hard and change lives,” says Jessica Haywood, program administrator for volunteerism and Greek life at Missouri S&T. “The students appreciate all of the donations they have received to date from local businesses and community members.”
A team of 10 will travel to Jackson, Tennessee, to view the damage that flooding and human impact cause on the environment, and work with the Nature Conservancy to restore wildlife areas. They are:
• Hannah Butler, trip leader, a junior in ceramic engineering from Rolla, Missouri
• Bethany Stafford, staff advisor, a manager in residential life at S&T
• Amanda Aiken, a freshman in undergraduate studies from St. Louis
• Casey Hines, a sophomore in engineering management from Festus, Missouri
• Noah Madrigal, a senior in economics from Rolla, Missouri
• Ericka Nash, a freshman in environmental engineering from St. Louis
• Lauren Powers, a senior in mechanical engineering from Independence, Missouri
• Zane Rice, a freshman in computer engineering from Springfield, Missouri
• Austin Vandegriffe, a senior in applied mathematics from Rolla, Missouri
• Anjana Yatawara, a graduate student in mathematics from Kandy, Sri Lanka.
A team of 10 will travel to Dallas to work with Mosaic Family Services to help families and individuals rebuild their lives by fostering positive relationships and childhood development. They are:
• Kaitlyn Loucks, trip leader, a senior in civil engineering from Portland, Missouri
• Anastasia Martinez, staff advisor, a student service coordinator in career opportunities and employer relations at S&T
• Jehad Al Khunaifer, a senior in mechanical engineering from Alhasa, Saudi Arabia
• Donald Badamo, a sophomore in nuclear engineering from Des Peres, Missouri
• Courtney Gann, a sophomore in undergraduate studies from Lee’s Summit, Missouri
• Nicholas Kutheis, a freshman in electrical engineering from Kirkwood, Missouri
• Stevie Sieren, a junior in chemical engineering from Liberty, Missouri
• Taylor Smith, a junior in biological sciences from Rockford, Illinois
• Rasaan Syed, a sophomore in engineering management from Lahore, Pakistan
• Alex Zheng, a junior in mechanical engineering from Ballwin, Missouri.
A team of 12 will travel to Simonton, Texas, to support U.S. military veterans recover from Hurricane Harvey by working with the Xena Project, an organization dedicated to the emotional and spiritual well-being of veterans. They are:
• Zach Hart, trip leader, a junior in mechanical engineering from Fulshear, Texas
• Sara Lindeman, staff advisor, a manager in student affairs at S&T
• Katerina Botonis, a freshman in engineering management from Washington, Missouri
• Jenna Graff, a freshman in biological sciences from Dittmer, Missouri
• David Fraser Head, a senior in engineering management from Katy, Texas
• Duc Le, a senior in chemical engineering from Springfield, Missouri
• Elizabeth Oberley, a senior in civil engineering from Virginia Beach, Virginia
• Gabriela Ramirez, a sophomore in geology and geophysics from Bourbon, Missouri
• Justin Rogers, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from Mascoutah, Illinois
• Bruno Sampaio, a freshman in undergraduate studies from Viseu, Portugal
• Andrew Scherer, a junior in aerospace engineering from Richmond, Kentucky
• Ashley Throop, a senior in environmental engineering from Ellis Grove, Illinois.
A team of 10 will travel to Lynchburg, Virginia, to work with Lynchburg Grows to harvest and distribution nutritious foods to “food deserts” in the area. They are:
• Alison Bader, trip leader, a senior in civil engineering from St. Charles, Missouri
• Alan Scher Zagier, staff advisor, a senior strategic communications consultant in marketing and communications at S&T
• Razan Alyamani, a senior in business and management systems from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
• Kostas Kakadiaris, a freshman in nuclear engineering from Washington, Missouri
• Mackenzie Loesch, a sophomore in undergraduate studies from Marthasville, Missouri
• Rebecca Reynolds, a freshman in environmental engineering from Imperial, Missouri
• Sarah Scherich, a sophomore in undergraduate studies from Blue Springs, Missouri
• Christopher Turner, a senior in environmental engineering from Rolla, Missouri
• Karlee Twillmann, a junior in biological sciences from Ballwin, Missouri
• Karley Winkelmann, a sophomore in civil engineering from St. Louis.