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Missouri Scholars Academy Begins 24th Annual Summer Program at MU

June 4, 2008

Story Contact:  Bryan E. Jones, (573)882-9144,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – This summer at the Missouri Scholars Academy (MSA), more than 330 high school students across Missouri will have the opportunity of a lifetime, and perhaps more importantly, a chance to be themselves.
“The academy allows bright and talented students to realize there are others out there like them,” said Ted Tarkow, associate dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri. “Sometimes, they feel like outcasts. They feel like it’s a liability to be bright and talented. The MSA validates that it’s OK to be bright and talented.”
Established in 1985, MSA provides Missouri’s gifted youth with opportunities for learning and personal development, while MU faculty teach students about their roles and responsibilities as academically gifted members of society. Students participating in the June 8 through June 28 residential program at MU are among the top 0.5 percent of Missouri students academically. Each public high school is allowed to nominate one sophomore for the academy; larger schools can nominate more.
Participating students are 15 and 16 years old and will start their junior year of high school in the fall. During the program, they choose an academic major and minor from humanities, social studies, math or sciences and live at Mark Twain residential hall on the MU campus. Students participate in two classes, one from their major and one from their minor.
On Monday, June 23, MSA will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day, sponsored by the Office of the President of the University of Missouri System. Since 1990, MSA has celebrated the excellence of K-12 educators by inviting scholars to nominate a teacher, coach, librarian or counselor who has “made a difference.”
This year’s Teacher Appreciation Day keynote speaker is Mark Scharenbroich who has been a part of MSA since its inception in 1985. Scharenbroich is a native Minnesotan who has presented to more than 3,500 audiences, earned an Emmy Award, and been inducted into the National Speakers Association’s prestigious Hall of Fame. The Teacher Appreciation Day keynote address will take place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 23 in Jesse Hall Auditorium on the MU campus. This event is free and open to the public.

During the academy, students also participate in several extra-curricular activities and interact with a variety of speakers and guests. This year, scheduled guests include Walter Bargen, the Missouri Poet Laureate; Jeff Smith, a Missouri senator; and Bob Becker, an award-winning chemistry teacher. There will be dances, concerts and talent shows during the three-week program, and students also will get the opportunity to compete against world-renowned Scrabble champion Joel Wapnick.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will conduct the program with the help of 60 faculty and staff from around the state. Many faculty members have been selected as Milliken National Educator Awardees, Fulbright Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, Truman Scholars and Presidential Teachers.
MSA alumnus Aneesh Tosh will give the opening address June 8. Tosh participated in MSA in 1991 and has returned to MSA as a resident assistant and has served on the medical staff. He earned his medical degree in 2001 at MU. He completed a residency in pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic and a fellowship in adolescent medicine at Indiana University before joining the child health faculty at the MU School of Medicine.
Individuals who attend MSA leave with the understanding that they have a responsibility to share their talents with others and use them to improve their local Missouri communities, Tarkow said. Many alumni participate in programs such as Teach for America, Peace Corps or other not-for-profit organizations. MSA alumni continue to succeed academically. Of those who are old enough, 98 percent of academy alumni have graduated high school, 90 percent have graduated from college and nearly 2,000 alumni have earned graduate or professional degrees.

For a list of students participating in MSA and their hometowns, please e-mail Bryan Jones at