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July 29, 2009
Educators from South Korea and Panama were on the Northwest campus this week along with 16 teenage international students who will attend the University's Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing in the fall.
The two-year residential academy, which is beginning its tenth year of operation, serves gifted, highly motivated students during what would be their junior and senior years in high school.
After completing the highly rigorous program, Academy graduates receive both a high school diploma and a two-year associate's degree. Many go on to complete undergraduate and graduate programs at some of the nation's most prestigious colleges and universities.
Three students from Panama and 13 from South Korea make up this year's international contingent at the Missouri Academy. The Panamanian students were accompanied by Dr. Etilvia Arjona, director of the U.S. State Department's EducationUSA Advising Center in Panama City.
All three Panamanian students have returned to Northwest after participating in a two-month College Horizons Outreach initiative earlier this year. The cultural immersion program identified gifted students from low-income families in order to provide them with English instruction and college admissions counseling.
The Korean students are coming to the Academy via the HoraceMann Corporation, an educational concern that has partnered with Northwest in order to facilitate teacher preparation/exchange programs, language study and faculty and student research opportunities.
During their week-long visit to Northwest, corporation representatives Vince Yoon and Jack Jung spent several days observing first-through-sixth-level classes at the University's Horace Mann Laboratory School on the first floor of Brown Education Hall.
HoraceMann Corporation Program Director Jennifer Hunter said the pair made several classroom videos and held discussions with lab school teachers and Department of Curriculum and Instruction faculty. Hunter said the corporation hopes to found kindergarten and English language programs in Korea based largely on the University lab school's curriculum.
"We find that it's very useful when we recruit students from overseas for the Missouri Academy to have partners because it's more than simply recruiting students," said Dr. Cleo Samudzi, Missouri Academy's dean. "We have to build trust with the communities in different countries, and you have to bear in mind that we are selecting 15- and 16-year-olds to come to the USA to be away from their families. That's why we need people from those countries to help us."
The Missouri Academy's first group of international students, all from South Korea, began attending classes on the Northwest campus in 2007 and graduated this spring. Of the nine who completed the Academy program, eight continued their academic careers with majors relating to science, technology, engineering or mathematics -- the so-called STEM fields. The ninth international Academy graduate elected to study business.
Approximately 170 students, most of them Missouri residents, will attend the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing this fall. For admissions information, go to http://www.nwmissouri.edu/MASMC/ .
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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