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Missouri’s Brightest High School Students Will Broaden their Horizons at 2016 Missouri Scholars’ Academy

By RoseAnn Sorce

June 14th, 2016

Story Contact: Jeff Sossamon, 573-882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – This summer, the University of Missouri will host more than 300 of top Missouri high school students at the Missouri Scholars Academy (MSA). During the program, held June 12 – July 2, scholars will participate in a comprehensive educational experience that will encourage the gifted students to embrace their intellects and challenge themselves academically.

“All of the activities at the Academy are designed to be broadening and enriching,” said director Steven Keller, associate director of the MU Honors College. “In their hometown high schools and often from society at large, many of these students get the message that being smart isn’t cool. But, at the Missouri Scholars Academy, we want to encourage these talented students to own their intelligence and inspire them to put it to good use. In particular, we hope to get students to engage in activities that are outside their comfort zones and push themselves past arbitrary limits they might have subconsciously set for themselves.”

MSA began in 1985 and provides students unique opportunities to expand their educational and social skills. This year, students will spend their days in intensive classroom settings, studying one of four individually selected subjects—including mathematics, science, social studies and humanities. Each Missouri high school is allowed to nominate one junior-to-be for the academy; larger schools may nominate more. Students represent nearly every county in the state.

Outside the classroom, students participate in a series of activities, workshops and discussions led by guest speakers from around the country.  Author and illustrator Earl “E.B.” Lewis will headline the Academy’s Teacher Appreciation Day activities. Other guests include Missouri documentary filmmaker Mark Norwine, and Linda Godwin, former astronaut and current professor of physics at MU. Scholars will have the option to watch a dress rehearsal of the Missouri Symphony Society, listen to Grammy-nominated storyteller Milbre Burch, and participate in discussions on topics ranging from climate change to medical ethics, stem cells and the Syrian refugee crisis.

MSA participants are among the top 0.5% of Missouri students academically. One goal of the academy is to have attendees leave with the understanding that they have a responsibility to share their talents with others for the betterment of their local communities. Many MSA alumni participate in programs such as Teach for America, Peace Corps or other nonprofit organizations. MSA alumni also continue to succeed academically. Of those who are old enough, 98 percent of Academy alumni have graduated from high school, 90 percent have graduated from college and more than 2,500 alumni have earned graduate or professional degrees.