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University of Missouri

Triple Threat

Jessica Anania combines her three Mizzou degrees in serving others.

Anania portrait

Jessica Anania earned three bachelor’s degrees from Mizzou in 2015. Now, funded by MU’s Mark Twain Fellowship, she is studying conflict resolution in Ireland. Photo by Josh Murray.

Jessica Anania isn’t one to sit still. She graduated from Mizzou in 2015 with three bachelor’s degrees, one each in journalism, political science and psychology. In her free time, she worked as a research assistant, social justice advocate, diversity peer educator and world-traveling global journalist. For fun, she led service trips for Mizzou Alternative Breaks and worked as a press liaison for two years for the True/False Film Fest.

After all that, graduate school should be a breeze.

Anania received Mizzou’s prestigious Mark Twain Fellowship, a full-ride scholarship for new MU alumni pursuing graduate degrees abroad. She is studying conflict resolution in Belfast, Ireland, through Trinity College Dublin.

“Investigating and documenting conflict is critical both to validate the experiences of people on the ground and to create systemic change,” says Anania, who wants to pursue social-justice documentary filmmaking as a career. “It makes it much harder for these conflicts to be ignored by the rest of the world.”

She also wants to pursue research opportunities that will help her to learn more about how economic development can affect conflict in South and Southeast Asian communities.

It’s an area she knows, having traveled to Yangon, Myanmar, to cover the Free Press Conference for MU’s Global Journalist program. She wrote about guest speakers and spent her free time reporting on a nonprofit called Socio-Lite, which specializes in giving impoverished Burmese women microloans so they can start businesses.

Anania is driven. One has to be to amass such a résumé by age 22. “I really want to make an impact,” she says. “You can talk about something as much as you want, but unless you put time, money and resources into that issue, you don’t get as much done.”