The first person to suggest that Claudia Krueger major in engineering was her mother, Lois.

The first person to suggest that Claudia Krueger major in engineering was her mother, Lois.

But the senior at the University of Missouri said she did not listen to her.

“What teenage girl listens to her mother,” she said with a smile. “I think I always had a passion for engineering, though. I always loved solving problems and doing projects. One of my earliest memories is sitting at this table, just doing projects.”

Krueger along with Samantha Hall, a senior from Independence, were among those named to a prestigious group at MU, Mizzou ’39. In addition, Emily Boehm and Meagan Halphin, both of Lee’s Summit, were recognized on the list.

“I was a bit shocked when I first heard,” said Hall, who is a 2008 graduate of Blue Springs High School. “The list was something I was aware of since I was a freshman, so to be named to it is an incredible honor. I was one of only 39 recognized out of more than 5,000 graduates. I am very blessed and very humbled that the university felt I had done something to be proud of.”

Created by the Missouri Alumni Association and the Alumni Association Student Board and so named because the university was founded in 1839, it recognizes the top 39 outstanding seniors throughout the university. After an application that includes two short essays, students are brought in for a series of interviews.

Students selected represent the top of their graduating class and are selected for their academic achievement, leadership and service to MU and the community.

Although the senior in mechanical engineering originally started off as a business major, Krueger quickly realized that business was not for her. She said the main idea of Mizzou ’39 is “leaving Mizzou better than you found it.”

“I was floored. I was sitting in class when I got the email, and I couldn’t believe it,” said the 2008 graduate of Blue Springs High School. “I am so honored and excited to have this incredible opportunity and to be part of this group of people. To take part in such a great tradition is wonderful.”

Hall, a senior in political science and international studies, is involved in a variety of organizations at Mizzou, including serving as president of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and of Phi Alpha Delta, a pre-law fraternity. She is also co-president of the Golden Key International Honour Society and is a tutor with the Learning Center.

“I think that in order to have a good experience in college, you have to be willing to invest in it,” said Hall, who is also minoring in journalism and leadership and public service. “That is why I have worked adamantly to help students in any way I could. I also think that when you are involved, you learn so much more about yourself and about life.”

Krueger is president of the Society of Women Engineers at MU and is a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She also volunteers her time with Engineering Ambassadors to encourage high school girls to major in one of the STEM areas – science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

“I think I didn’t want to major in engineering at first because I was intimidated, but this is where my passion truly is,” she said. “Once I got here and all of the misconceptions I had were cleared up, I made it my personal, mission to find other people out there that were like me.”

Krueger said she has enjoyed going to middle schools in the rural area surrounding Columbia, talking to students and educating them about the engineering field. She said when they first walk into the classroom, students think an engineer is someone who drives trains. By the end of the visit, the students understand much more about what an engineer really does.

“We talk to them and do some hands-on projects to get them started thinking about what they want to do early,” she said. “I simply love mentoring other students and talking to people about the importance of getting more women into the engineering field.”

Hall plans to enter law school this fall. She said she has known since she was a freshman in high school that becoming a lawyer was something she wanted to do.

“For a really long time, I have been interested in working through the legal system to right wrongs,” she said. “It is just something I believe I fell into naturally. I just don’t know where I am going to go (to law school) yet.”

Hall said all of her experiences at MU have been wonderful, but she has enjoyed working with the students who also have aspirations of becoming lawyers.

“I really teaching other students who might be underserved in the legal field, helping them to get the knowledge they need to apply. That has been very gratifying,” she said. “I have not gotten here for what I have done, but what others have given me. It is amazing what you can do when you work together.”

After interning for the last two summers with Procter and Gamble in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Krueger has accepted a full-time position with the manufacturer. She will begin this summer after graduating from MU. In addition, she plans on remaining involved with the Society of Women Engineers as a College Leadership Coach as well as with her sorority.

“I loved the opportunity working with people and trying to solve problems when I was with Procter and Gamble (as an intern), so I am excited to be able to go back,” she said. “I relate to women because of my story, which is why I am devoted to my passion of encouraging more women out there to enter the engineering field. I am excited that I get to continue doing that.”