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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

May 16, 2013

Dr. Mary K. Thomas to address Missouri Academy graduates June 1

By Elisa Lanter, media relations assistant

Dr. Mary K. Thomas

Dr. Mary K. Thomas

The Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics, and Computing at Northwest Missouri State University celebrates its 12th graduating class Saturday, June 1. Dr. Mary K. Thomas, an alumna of the Missouri Academy, will address 61 graduates and their families at the commencement ceremony.

The commencement ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. in the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts. People interested in attending the ceremony are to contact Sue Smith, administrative secretary at the Missouri Academy, at 660.562.1960 or  

Thomas lives in Seattle, where she works at the University of Washington Medical Center as a Research Scientist at the Integrated Brain Imaging Center. She is an accomplished professional with allotted experiences including undergraduate student teaching, mentoring, publishing in-peer reviewed journals, and conducting research in neuroscience.

Originally from Perrin, Thomas enrolled in the Missouri Academy in 2000 as a part of its first class, The Pathfinders, and graduated in 2002. She found the Missouri Academy as an opportunity to uniquely prepare for college, and this path led her to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she completed dual undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Bachelor of Science in molecular and cellular biology.

Thomas went on to graduate school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., where she completed her doctoral degree in psychology in the area of cognition and cognitive neuroscience in 2010.

“Dr. Mary Thomas is a good fit as our commencement speaker because she is a role model for what we want our students to do: take advantage of a strong foundational post-secondary education and complete undergraduate early, continue education in STEM fields and obtain a terminal degree,” Dr. Cleo Samudzi, dean of the Missouri Academy, said.

Additionally, the Missouri Academy Class of 2013 will attend a graduation banquet along with their families and Missouri Academy staff at 6 p.m. Friday, May 31, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom.

The Missouri Academy was established in 2000 as a two-year residential, early-entrance-to-college program on the Northwest campus. The program replaces the junior and senior year of high school. Academy students enroll in the same classes as traditional students and are held to the same academic expectations while living, socializing and studying in a learning community of peers. For more information about the Missouri Academy, visit

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