Biology student Alexander Entwistle receives Remington R. Williams Award from University of Missouri Board of Curators

by | Nov 15, 2023

The biology major was recognized for his work as president of the Pierre Laclede Honors College Student Association, among other activities.
Alexander Entwistle

Alexander Entwistle is the first UMSL student to receive the Remington R. Williams Award from the University of Missouri Board of Curators, which recognizes outstanding student leaders across the University of Missouri System. (Photo by Derik Holtmann)

Alexander Entwistle was shocked when he opened the email from Chancellor Kristin Sobolik informing him that he’d been named one of the inaugural recipients of the Remington R. Williams Award.

The awards, named for student Remington Williams, whose life was tragically taken by a drunk driver, recognize outstanding student leaders across the University of Missouri System. They are the highest nonacademic awards bestowed on students by the Board of Curators.

Entwistle, a senior studying biology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, was recognized for his work as president of the Pierre Laclede Honors College Student Association, as an Honors peer mentor and as a member of UMSL’s pre-medical society and Alpha Lambda Delta. In his nomination of Entwistle, Honors College Dean Edward Munn Sanchez highlighted his “intellectual vigor, willingness to engage in the community, humor, irreverence and energy.”

“It’s really cool, especially since it’s a new thing,” Entwistle said. “I take a little bit of pride in the fact that I’m the first one to ever get it from UMSL. I think that’s pretty neat. I’ve been working hard for years, but when I was told that the Honors College was going to nominate me for that, I felt really honored. I definitely don’t want to do all this leadership and service stuff for the recognition, but it does feel nice to be recognized and on such a large scale, too.”

Entwistle has served as president of the Honors College Student Association since his sophomore year, after being elected as a freshman rep during his first year on campus.

“I’ve worked with an exec board with a bunch of really good people and those change every year but it’s nice because I get to see the students in the Honors College and get them connected with each other and with the professors,” he said.

Entwistle, who grew up in rural Mason City, Illinois, wound up at UMSL after a recommendation from his dentist. The very next week, he toured campus and instantly knew UMSL was the right path – he didn’t end up touring or applying to any other schools. Over the years, he’s enjoyed taking courses covering a wide array of topics in the Honors College, including an African American poetry course with Assistant Teaching Professor Jason Vasser-Elong and a food philosophy course with Munn Sanchez. With his sights set on medical school after graduation, he’s also enjoyed his science courses, including an organic chemistry lab and an immunology course with Teaching Professor Marc Spingola that he’s taking this semester.

Entwistle has been interested in science from a young age, and his mother, who worked as a nurse, had often suggested that medicine could be a rewarding career path for him and his brother. Although he didn’t go into school knowing that he wanted to be a doctor, getting exposure in the field through different jobs such as a medical scribe and patient transporter helped crystallize things for him. Down the line, he’d love to work in family medicine in a rural community, either in Missouri or back home in Illinois.

Working as a patient transporter at Mercy Hospital for about 15 months proved to be a particularly formative experience. In that role, he helped move patients around the hospital to the emergency room, the intensive care unit and imaging rooms.

“I pushed them either in a wheelchair or a stretcher or in a big hospital bed all the way around the hospital taking them from place to place – kind of like Uber but for a hospital,” he said. “I got to meet a lot of really neat people. I got put in a lot of interesting situations and a lot of challenging situations – a lot of my moves were from the ICUs around the hospital, and those are the sickest of the sick people – but it was really rewarding work. It was nice to get to talk to people on your way to and from. Everybody’s got their own different stories, and it’s nice hearing about all that.”

Entwistle has held many jobs over the years, including working in cornfields during high school, as a lifeguard, as a tour guide on the UMSL campus and in his current position working the front desk in the Office of Admissions. He said his work in the hospital was unlike anything he’d ever done before.

“It’s new, it’s exciting and it feels really important, which I think is important for me to know that I’m doing something that’s directly helping people,” he said. “I think I’ve progressively figured out that this is absolutely where I need to be.”

Heather Riske

Heather Riske