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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Dr. Cleo Samudzi, dean of the Missouri Academy, congratulates graduates of the program during its commencement ceremony. Forty-four students comprised the 2014 class.  (Photos by Raylynn Myers/University Relations)

Dr. Cleo Samudzi, dean of the Missouri Academy, congratulates graduates of the program during its commencement ceremony Saturday. Forty-four students comprised the 2014 class. (Photos by Raylynn Myers/University Relations)

May 31, 2014

44 receive degrees during Missouri Academy commencement

Missouri Academy Claire Crossnoe delivers the "Trekker Reflection" during program's commencement ceremony.

Missouri Academy Claire Crossnoe delivers the "Trekker Reflection" during program's commencement ceremony.

Missouri Academy Class of 2014

Anna Elaine Bowden**

Yujin Cha*

E Jun Chang

Lvxiao Chen*

William Cody Chlanda

Jin Woo Choi**

Monica Danielle Cossich

Claire Elise Crossnoe

Rebecca Josephine Dolph**

Matthew James Fennell*

Asier Galvan Sotelo

Xinyao Huang**

HongSeok Jang

Ha Rim Sabrina Kim

Kyu Rae Kim

Kyu Seok Kim*

Lyndsey A. Kirkorian*

Jordan A. Kottwitz**

Jiayuan Li

Wanjia Li

Rose Elizabeth Marinaro**

Sarah Elizabeth Medina**

Sarah Ann Minkler*

Sean Kekoa Nemetz**

Jaewhan Park**

Joon Woo Sheldon Park

Matthew Jay Peek**

Tristin Alexander Schwartze**

Shipra Singh*

Tasha Marie Stackhouse

Kimberly Marie Sternberg

Tyler Steven Stodden*

Yimeng Sun

Dustin Ray Tanksley*

Cher-Xa Thao

Abigail Margaret Wampler*

Junyu Wang*

Matthew R. Wedewer*

Ruiling Wen*

Demetrius Marquez Williams

Monica Yang*

ByeongUk Yoo*

Chae Young Yun*

Han Yu (Alice) Zhang**

**Graduated with cumulative GPA greater than 3.90 on a 4.00 scale

*Graduated with cumulative GPA between 3.50 and 3.89 on a 4.00 scale

The Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing at Northwest Missouri State University on Saturday, May 31, handed diplomas to 44 students who comprised the program’s 13th graduating class.

Upon their graduation, students of the two-year residential, early-entrance-to-college program receive an Associate of Science degree along with their high school diplomas. This year’s class was known as the Trekkers.

The experience was worth it, the graduates said, as they reflected on their two years in the program, looked to their futures and thanked the people who have helped them succeed.

“We have a two-year head start over our peers and we can use those two years to do spectacular things,” said Missouri Academy graduate Claire Crossnoe in her remarks during Saturday’s ceremony. “We have faced many things at the Academy, all of which have prepared us to walk off this stage and join the world of high school graduates.”

Of the Missouri Academy’s 44 graduates, 40 will pursue bachelor’s degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) disciplines next fall, and the remaining four will pursue bachelor’s degrees in the areas of American sign language, business, business administration and psychology.

The graduates have been accepted to colleges and universities throughout the country, stretching from Rhode Island to California, as well as Canada and Korea.

The average grade-point average of the graduating class was 3.61. Of 19 graduates who earned a GPA of 3.8 or higher, 12 earned at least a 3.9 GPA or higher. Of those, three graduates earned a 4.0 GPA.

Northwest Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Richard Toomey presented the day's commencement address. Toomey, who joined the Northwest faculty in 1999, has taught chemistry courses for Missouri Academy students since the program’s inception during the fall of 2000. He also has been chair of the Missouri Academy faculty advisory committee, which advises the Missouri Academy staff on curriculum matters.

Toomey shared some of the wisdom he has gained during his academic career and offered some suggestions to help the graduates fulfill their futures. He charged the graduates to accomplish something difficult, take responsibility for mistakes, be invaluable to someone, maintain a reasonable and healthy perspective, and be grateful for their opportunities.

“You have already met and overcome the challenges of communal living,” Toomey said. “Other than the rigor of the courses and course loads that await you, you are seasoned professionals at this. You have something awaiting you this fall that many of us will never have the opportunity to experience again and that is a literal clean state.”

Toomey called on the graduates to employ the same persistence, patience and “elimination of procrastination” during their college years that they did at the Missouri Academy.

“The skill I wish for you to gain is to focus on the best of your time here as you deserve nothing less, and to not do so would be to dishonor the perseverance it took to bring yourselves to this point,” Toomey said.

Missouri Academy staff, students and their families also gathered for a banquet Friday night that recognized the success of individual students and student groups at regional, state and national competitions in addition to awarding several individual honors.

Anna Bowden, Rose Marinaro and Matthew Peek received the Dean’s Award. It is the highest honor awarded at the Missouri Academy to students who epitomize the values and ideals of the program. Consideration is given to students with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.90, undergraduate research in STEM subjects and aspirations in STEM fields as well as exemplary leadership and character.

Xinyao Huang, Sean Nemetz, Sarah Medina and Han Yu Zhang received the Academic Excellence Award, which is awarded to students who have excelled academically at the Missouri Academy. Consideration is given to students with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.90; high performance on the PSAT, ACT or SAT; the general education proficiency test and other academic successes. Eligible students must also show positive engagement in the Missouri Academy living and learning community.

William Cody Chlanda, Jaewhan Park, Lyndsey Kirkorian and Abigail Wampler earned the Student Development Award. It is awarded to students who demonstrate the principles of integrity and quality espoused by the Missouri Academy. Consideration also is given to community service and exemplary leadership skills.

Cher-Xa Thao, Demetrius Williams and Monica Yang received the Delta Award. It is awarded to students who demonstrate the greatest degree of development or improvement – academically or socially – from the time they arrive at the Missouri Academy to their graduation.

The Missouri Academy program replaces the junior and senior years of high school for its students. Missouri Academy students enroll in the same classes as Northwest's 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 www.nwmissouri.edu/masmc.

“We have something special here in the state of Missouri,” said Dr. Cleo Samudzi, dean of the Missouri Academy. “That something special is Northwest Missouri State University and its Missouri Academy. The Missouri Academy is an early-entrance college school that is rare and unique even after 14 years of operation.”


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

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