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University of Missouri

Once a Tiger, Always a Tiger

Students remain Tigers in graduate school with help from NSF fellowship.

Desirè Buckley

Desirè Buckley researches neural development in the Bond Life Sciences Center. She is one of four MU students who received 2012 graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation and who elected to stay at Mizzou for their studies. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Ever since Desirè Buckley was 4, she wanted to be a doctor. She told her friends, family, and college advisers. So when she participated in the EXPRESS program (Exposure to Research for Science Students), she felt a constant internal battle when she discovered she loved research. “Being a doctor was something I had set in stone without knowing my options,” Buckley says. “As I gained more experience, I learned I enjoy collecting data and working with the mouse model organism.” She switched gears and applied for graduate school to study neural development in the Division of Biological Sciences at MU. Eventually, she wants to help secure funding for undergraduate research programs such as EXPRESS that got her where she is today. Buckley, BS ’10, of Columbia, is one of four MU students who received 2012 graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation and who elected to stay at Mizzou for their studies. Roughly 12,000 students apply for the 2,067 fellowship awards that provide three years of funding to students pursuing research-based studies in the sciences, social sciences, mathematics, engineering and STEM education. Other recipients: Korey Brownstein, BA ’11, of Jefferson City, Mo.;  Sarah Smith, BS BE ’12, of Ballwin, Mo.; and Brittany Morago, of Pace, Fla., who graduated from the University of Florida before coming to Mizzou.