Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

June 9, 2011 Volume 32, No. 31

Campus prepares for gathering of best and brightest high schoolers


More than 9,000 students have participated since 1985

More than 325 high school students from across Missouri will have the opportunity of a lifetime, and perhaps more importantly, a chance to be themselves at this summer’s Missouri Scholars Academy (MSA), hosted by the University of Missouri.

Ted Tarkow, director of the program and associate dean of the University of Missouri College of Arts and Science, said the  Missouri Scholars Academy, or MSA, offers a place for like-minded students to expand their educational and social skills.

“Sometimes high school students feel like it’s a liability to be bright and talented,” Tarkow said. “The MSA validates that it’s OK to be bright and talented.”

MSA began in 1985, and by the end of this summer more than 9,000 Missouri students will have participated in the annual program. This year, from June 12 through July 2, students will spend the bulk of each day in an intensive classroom setting, studying one of four individually selected subjects, including mathematics, science, social studies and humanities. Each Missouri high school is allowed to nominate one -to-be for the academy; larger schools may nominate more. Nearly every county in the state is represented.

“I look back on my summer spent with you with the fondest of memories,” said Erica Endicott, who attended MSA in 1997. “I think of it as one of the happiest times of my life.”

Outside the classroom, students can take part in activities, workshops and discussions by guest speakers. Students will learn from experts in the fields of Islam and Scottish culture, learn the science behind NASCAR and discuss issues such as the national debt. Participants also will get the chance to visit with David Clewell, Missouri’s Poet Laureate, and match wits against the Missouri state Scrabble champion.

“We want these students to go for it, to plunge right in to these great learning opportunities, to live and learn like they have never had a chance to before,” Tarkow said. “We want to help them network as well as drive home the idea that being smart is a good thing.”

MSA participants are among the top 0.5 percent of Missouri students academically. Tarko says individuals who attend the academy leave with the understanding that they have a responsibility to share their talents with others for the betterment of their local Missouri 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 nearly 2,500 alumni have earned graduate or professional degrees.

Funding for the MSA 2011 is provided by the University of Missouri and generous contributions from private groups and corporations including Ameren Missouri. This year, there is also a student activity fee assessed on all participants.