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Drive and determination: Katie Pfefferkorn

Katie Pfefferkorn, BS ChE ’07, is set to compete in the Missouri 340, a canoe and kayak race that begins in Kansas City on July 15 and ends 340 miles later in St. Charles. Paddlers must make the grueling trip in 100 hours. In its third year, Pfefferkorn has competed each time. In 2006, she finished just under the deadline, but last year placed second in the women’s solo category with a time of 58:57.

“My number one goal every year is to enjoy myself and have a safe race,” said Pfefferkorn. “This year, I hope to win the female solo division and place in the top 25 overall. With the river up and water moving fast, it will be a great year to break personal records.” Only nine women out of 150 entries are competing as solo racers.

The U.S. Coast Guard issues permits and provides safety boats for the world’s longest non-stop river race. Contestants can stop for food and supplies along the way, but are not allowed to do so on the water. Paddlers are required to stop at the eight official checkpoints and sign-in, though they do not have to exit their crafts.

“I enjoy adventure,” said Pfefferkorn, adding that besides being a good way to stay fit and enjoy the mid-Missouri great outdoors, the race allows her to meet great people.

“My mom and her friend did an awesome job of being my ground crew last year, and they’ll be out there doing it again this year.” She is being sponsored by Lee’s Summit Subaru.

While at MU, Pfefferkorn served on the Engineering Student Council and St. Pat’s Board. She was a member of the Concrete Canoe Team, Society of Women Engineers, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and founded the Mizzou Chapter of Engineers Without Borders. She was the 2007 Engineer’s Week queen and a Benton Scholarship recipient. Katie works as an engineer for Cargill in Ottumwa, Iowa.