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Brazeal Scholar blasts off

Physics major from Kansas City sees Mizzou as launch pad for his future.

family of three men and two women

From left: Jayden Francois, Marvin Francois (father), Brandon Francois (brother), Cheyenne Francois (sister) and Diamond Francois (sister) pose for a family photo during Christmas 2019.

Oct. 6, 2020

At first glance, freshman Jayden Francois’ dorm might be mistaken for a computer lab. Packed wall-to-wall with monitors, his humble abode in Mark Twain Hall has just enough room for one genius.

But Francois’ core interests extend far beyond computers.

Francois is a Brazeal Scholar — a group of academically talented undergraduate students from ethnic groups that are typically underrepresented in higher education. A physics major with an emphasis in astronomy, his ambitions are truly out of this world. For Francois, dreaming big is second nature and something he was encouraged to do from a young age.

“My dad got me interested in finding what I love to do,” Francois says. “I really love learning about the stars and space and all things relating to how the universe works.”

Francois’ father played an integral role in his and his siblings’ upbringing in Kansas City, so naturally, he expected him to witness this transition into the next phase of life.

Unfortunately, this past May, Francois’ father was a victim in a robbery that cost him his life.

As Francois looks toward the future, he uses his feeling of gratitude as a daily motivation to embrace his new life.

“Honestly, I think about my goals, I think about my family, I think about my dad, and I think about everything and everyone who has ever helped me to try to get me to where I am right now,” Francois says. “I think about how they have invested so much into me because they know I can do this. I know that if all of them think that I can do it, I can do it.”

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