2016 MU Sue Shear Leadership Academy Fellows

Alison Bonner

Alison Bonner is a junior at the University of Missouri where she is studying Political Science and minoring in Leadership and Public Service. This past spring semester, Alison had the pleasure of building a foundation of public policy and professional skills while working for her second year at the Missouri State Capitol. The communication skills that she has built upon at the Capitol has prepared her for a career as a human rights lawyer and perhaps one day running for office. Furthermore, she has interned at the United States Capitol for Congresswoman Hartzler, allowing her to acquire a female mentor that has a strong presence in legislating public policies. It is important to Alison to give back to the community and devote time to a community that has become her new home. Alison is a military dependent who has moved across the country several times and also abroad but felt at home when she came to the University of Missouri. Alison wants to become a leader in community by continuing to learn about public policy issues and to educate other individuals about the opportunities in the community.

Taylor Cofield

Taylor Cofield is a University of Missouri sophomore from Kansas City, MO, majoring in Political Science and International Studies and minoring in both Middle Eastern Studies and Religious Studies. Taylor’s academic area of interest is in the Middle East – North Africa region, shown by her emphasis in the Middle East, the religion of Islam, and her study of Modern Standard Arabic. Her dedicated effort in studying the Arabic language has made her the recipient of the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship for the summer of 2016, where she will study Arabic and participate in cultural immersion in Madaba, Jordan. Aside from her ambitious academic course load, Taylor is currently a Track and Field student-athlete with the University of Missouri, a member of the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, and she serves as a Missouri Student Association Senator, where she is a member on the Social Justice Committee. She also stands on the Chancellor’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee and is a part of the Tiger Leadership Institute. In addition, her passion for politics, public service and diplomacy was solidified during her time as a voter communications intern for the Kansas City Council in 2015. She was recently hired by the Kansas City Council at the conclusion of her summer internship and now works as a legislative aide to Kansas City 6th District Councilman, Scott Taylor. Taylor hopes to continue on her journey into public service after obtaining both a Master’s and Juris Doctor and then entering into a career in politics to give a voice to marginalized communities. Taylor also hopes to join the United States Foreign Service and then become the first African-American woman to be appointed as a United States Ambassador to a country in the Middle East.

Jennifer McNamara

Jenny McNamara is a junior Biological Sciences major, pursuing minors in Political Science and Leadership and Public Service at the University of Missouri. As a freshman, Jenny was selected to be a member of the Mizzou Outreach Student Recruitment Team, which works to recruit prospective students and facilitate their visit to Mizzou. Since then, Jenny has held a number of positions working with prospective students including her current jobs as a Tour Guide and Biological Sciences Peer Advisor. Within the Biological Sciences Office she assists freshmen with academic planning and involvement opportunities. Jenny has also spent three years volunteering at Centro Latino, an after school tutoring program for minority children. In addition to her work there, Jenny has also spent time volunteering at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital as an administrative assistant. In her remaining time here at the University of Missouri, Jenny hopes to focus her efforts on creating an on-campus organization for women in the STEM fields. Following graduation, Jenny will pursue a Master’s degree in Public Health and Policy. She hopes to someday work for a non-profit organization focused on women’s healthcare advocacy.

Tori M. Schafer

Tori Schafer is a sophomore from Sylvania, OH who is studying Political Science and Journalism at the University of Missouri. Schafer is actively involved with the Missouri Students Association and currently serves as the student body Vice-President. She also leads Mizzou’s anti-sexual assault campaign – It’s On Us. Previously, Tori served on the Residence Halls Association as the Programming Coordinator and a Community Advisor for Residential Life. Currently, she works for the Department of Student Life and the Mizzou Recreational Center. She interns for the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, lobbying in Jefferson City to support the student interest and is a proud member of her sorority. Her passion for serving students arose at a young age after seeing her mom advocate for students as a special education teacher. Advocating for a voice for the voiceless is what motivates her to empower her fellow peers.