Skip to main content

University of Missouri Board of Curators announces second class of Remington R. Williams Award recipients


Christian Basi

The seven recipients — representing all four UM System universities — are recognized for being outstanding leaders at their respective universities.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Seven students from across the ̳ have been named the 2024 recipients of the Remington R. Williams Award. This year’s recipients were recognized by the University of Missouri Board of Curators Thursday for their exceptional leadership and impact on their respective institutions. 

“These outstanding students are carrying on Remington’s legacy of leadership and public service,” said Robin Wenneker, chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators. “We can think of no greater way to honor his memory than to continue shining a light on exceptional student leaders who excel both inside the classroom and out in the community helping others succeed.”

The award was established to honor Remington R. Williams, who served as student representative to the board from 2020 until his death in June 2022. The winners reflect the extracurricular involvement and leadership qualities Williams embodied during his time as a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, where he earned his juris doctor, and later at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he was pursuing a master’s degree in business administration. 

To qualify for the award, each recipient was nominated by a student, faculty or staff member and was involved in at least two student organizations, including one in which the recipient held a major leadership position. Award winners — who must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or its equivalent in their current program — also are being recognized for making a positive impact on the institution, inspiring growth and development in both academics and extracurricular activities, and for exhibiting outstanding character and a collaborative spirit at all times. 

Winners will receive $1,000 along with a student-designed medal to wear at commencement. This year, the board chose four students from the University of Missouri-Columbia and one each from UMKC, UMSL and the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

This year’s recipients are:

Vishvi Aurora

  • Undergraduate student at MU College of Arts and Science pursuing a double major in biological sciences and physics and president of the Arts and Science Student Council.
  • Student ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Research, a student representative for the Chancellor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities and an undergraduate representative for the Chancellor’s Committee for Libraries.
  • “As a leader, Vishvi has seemingly endless stores of energy and an unwavering commitment to improve processes and recognition,” said Nicole Monnier, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the MU College of Arts and Science. “She also actively asks for critical feedback on how she is performing in her roles and how she can improve. And she wants this not for her own selfish ends, but to make the best and biggest impact she can for others and for campus writ large.”


Rithika Ginjupalli 

  • Doctoral candidate at UMKC School of Medicine and executive director of the UMKC Community Health Fair. 
  • President of Medicine Lost in Translation and congressional lead for the American Cancer Society.
  • “Rithika’s supervising attending physicians have all noted that she is eager to learn and detail-oriented,” said Trung Pham, an assistant professor of medicine at UMKC. “Rithika’s care for her patients is extremely evident as she is quickly able to build rapport and trust. She is also able to navigate difficult situations with poise and grace, maintaining and calm and composed demeanor.”

Ryan Highfill

  • Undergraduate student in the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering program at Missouri S&T and incoming executive director for the Associated Students of the University of Missouri.
  • Former president of the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity and representative at large for the Missouri S&T Student Council.
  • “Ryan worked tirelessly to ensure efforts of offices and organizations coordinating supporting events for the Opening Week program were fruitful and had maximum impact on students,” said John Gallagher, interim assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at Missouri S&T. “He brought a collaborative spirit dedicated to ensuring the best experience possible for students to his role.”

Damilola Oduolowu 

  • Doctoral candidate at the Missouri School of Journalism and Director of Public Relations & Communications for the Graduate Professional Council. 
  • President of the Mizzou chapter of Society of Professional Journalists.
  • “Damilola took a class with me last semester, and I had the opportunity to observe firsthand his commitment to academic excellence, his ingenious approach and resourcefulness, and his strong sense of integrity,” said Yong Volz, an associate professor in the Missouri School of Journalism. “Beyond that, his service-oriented character, collaborative spirit and leadership quality shone through.”

Okunsogie Jessica Osaze 

  • MU doctoral candidate in the School of Medicine and founder of Mizzou 2. 
  • Director of professional development for the Graduate Professional Council.
  • “Jessica continues to advocate for the needs of international students and spouses at Mizzou,” said Aida Bilali Ka, a graduate student at Mizzou. “She is creative in her ideas and leadership skills. Jessica is energetic and has powerful collaborative and fundraising skills that help bring her ideas to reality.”

Teja Teppala 

  • Graduate student at MU College of Arts and Science and Outreach Coordinator for the Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Association.
  • Co-lead for the Graduate Professional Council’s programming committee.
  • “In the years that I have known Teja, he has repeatedly demonstrated his dedication to serving the community by participating in numerous outreach activities as well as providing great guidance and support to his fellow international students at the University of Missouri,” said Dallar Babaian, president of Mizzou’s Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Association. “He has worked closely with department faculty, as well as various leaders in the community in organizing and leading science outreach events to make science education more accessible to those who otherwise would not have access to it.”

Angela Truesdale

  • Master's student at UMSL College of Business Administration and Head Supplemental Instructor
  • President of UMSL Accounting Club
  • “Angela is an outstanding academic student at the top of her class and has fantastic interpersonal communication skills with students and faculty,” said Marcia Countryman, an associate teaching professor at UMSL. “She has made a positive impact on the university, inspired growth and development of her peers, advocated for the college experience and always exhibited outstanding character and collaborative spirit.”

Reviewed 2024-06-28