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Northwest Missouri State University

Student Spotlight

April 14, 2011

Student finds academic, leadership growth opportunities at Missouri Academy, Northwest

By Nichole Beckman, media relations assistant

Sarah Emerick

Sarah Emerick

MARYVILLE, Mo. - With her decision to attend the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing at Northwest Missouri State University, Sarah Emerick not only found an institution that met her academic desires, but a place that helped her realize her leadership capabilities.

"Not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for living at the Academy," said Emerick, a student from Lee's Summit, who will graduate in May with her high school diploma and associate's degree in science. "I've learned so much about myself and I'm proud to be a Northwest Bearcat."

Emerick started thinking about attending the Missouri Academy after attending the Academy's Preview Day in 2008. Emerick heard about the accelerated college program from a friend, and the opportunities for academic excellence and involvement caught her attention. Emerick said the friendliness of the people and the community also were characteristics that enticed her to attend.

"Back in my high school, I would never have had the opportunities I have now," Emerick said. "I would have just been another smart kid, utilizing minimal amounts of my potential." 

Emerick is involved on Northwest's campus as a member of the Student Senate and has served as the Missouri Academy representative and public relations co-chair.

"I value my Student Senate position very much because I am convinced that Missouri Academy students are equally capable and welcome to learn what is happening on campus and then get involved," she said.

In late January, Emerick learned more about leadership and interacted with other student leaders at the 24th Annual Governor's Student Leadership Forum in Jefferson City. At the forum, Emerick initially was concerned more traditional college students wouldn't take her seriously because she was younger. Instead, she discovered the older attendees not only respected her but considered her a friend.

Emerick said the most valuable lesson she learned at the forum dealt with positions of leadership in the community and the importance of servant leadership.

"The fact that the community and leadership are so intrinsically related has motivated me to invest in meaningful relationships within my community," Emerick said. "Community and strong leadership go hand in hand, and without one you cannot have the other."

Emerick's motivation to be a community leader emerged when she and a few other Academy students created the campus ministry Ignite. After seeing that neither high school youth groups or college ministries specifically targeted the Missouri Academy's "accelerated" climate, Emerick and her classmates created Ignite exclusively for Academy students. Emerick took on several leadership positions within the new ministry, as a council member, small group leader and prayer meeting coordinator.

"Opportunities to hold leadership positions are so important because taking on those positions develops and tests character," Emerick said. "Personally, I have gained so much confidence, along with patience and cooperation in my leadership positions."

After her graduation from the Missouri Academy, Emerick plans to attend the University of Missouri-Columbia and major in respiratory therapy. She hopes to stay involved in leadership roles and interact with people. 

"I've learned that all people can be leaders and lead in their own unique ways," Emerick said. "In general though, I believe a leader needs to be humble and teachable, patient, relatable and cooperative, and never settle for anything but their best."

The Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing is an early-entrance-to-college, two-year residential program, located on the campus of Northwest Missouri State University. Students attend the Missouri Academy for two years, replacing the junior and senior years of traditional high school. While at the Missouri Academy, students are enrolled in a curriculum consisting of college coursework taught by Northwest professors. Upon successful completion, students earn an associate of science degree and a high school diploma. The Missouri Academy gives high-performing and exceptional students an opportunity to live, socialize and study in a learning community of peers.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468