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May 28, 2016
The Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing at Northwest Missouri State University on Saturday handed diplomas to 67 students who comprised the program’s 15th 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. Each class to enter and graduate from the Missouri Academy is tagged with a name, and this year’s class was known as the Innovators.
Of the Missouri Academy’s 67 graduates, 58 will pursue bachelor’s degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) disciplines next fall, and the remaining nine plan to pursue bachelor’s degrees in the areas of business, international studies, journalism, pre-law and psychology.
The graduates are advancing to colleges and universities throughout the United States, including Brown University, Purdue University, The Ohio State University and the University of California-Los Angeles. Many Missouri Academy graduates will remain in the Missouri and attend universities such as Missouri University of Science and Technology, Truman State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The average grade-point average of the graduating class was 3.56. Thirty-one students graduated with a cumulative GPA between 3.50 and 3.89 on a 4.0 scale, and 11 graduated with a GPA greater than 3.90.
Dr. Michael A. Troxel, a research associate at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester and 2004 graduate of the Missouri Academy, delivered the day’s commencement address. Troxel leads efforts in the Dark Energy Survey to use measurements of cosmic shear to learn about the nature of dark energy, the distribution of matter, and the formation and evolution of large-scale structure.
He reflected fondly on his years at the Missouri Academy, sharing wisdom with the graduates from the perspective of an alumnus and, he said, as someone who has had more than a decade to put what he learned at the Missouri Academy to practice, as a leader in his field. While Troxel was a member of the Missouri Academy’s third graduating class, the institution had not yet graduated its first class when he enrolled.
“This was a grand experiment by Northwest Missouri State University and a handful of excellent intellectuals who wanted to bring together a place where we could produce leaders of the world, and I think that we’ve done that,” he said. “Those two years at the Academy are still some of the very best years of my life.”
Referencing the Missouri Academy’s values of integrity and quality, or “IQ,” Troxel challenged the graduates to be honest with themselves and others, to build or seek out a community driven by shared values, and to practice vocations they love.
Troxel said he hopes the graduates will follow in his footsteps to study “the deep fundamental mysteries of the universe” but that he won’t hold it against them if they choose to enter a field other than astrophysics.
“There are plenty of problems in the world that need good people to solve,” he told the graduates. “There are plenty of problems that don’t involve science at all – some of them more important than dark energy, and the Missouri Academy has produced leaders and thinkers in every field imaginable. The thing we all have in common is IQ, a common set of principles that take the brightest students in Missouri and turns them into men and women of intellect and character, fit to solve any problems.”
The Missouri Academy was founded at Northwest in 2000 and 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.
“We have something special in the northwest corner of the state of Missouri,” Missouri Academy Dean Dr. Cleo Samudzi said. “The Missouri Academy, even after 16 years, is still a rare program. Its success and appeal are precisely due to its location at Northwest Missouri State University.”
Missouri Academy staff, students and their families also gathered for a banquet Friday night to recognize the success of its students and student groups at regional, state and national competitions, in addition to awarding several individual honors.
Xinyue Chen 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.
Jinwoo Choi, Natalie Holl, Jacqueline Matos and Jamie Wise 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.
Brianna Haberyan, Heather Lange, Emerald Newton and Justin Turner 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.
Katherine Burrows, Juyeong Ihm, Heather Lange and Eleanor Schuey 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.
For more information about the Missouri Academy, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/masmc.
Founded in 1905, Northwest is a four-year university that offers a broad range of profession-based undergraduate and graduate programs on its Maryville campus as well as locations in Kansas City and St. Joseph.
With an enrollment of 6,600 students, Northwest recently was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the top moderately selective regional university in Missouri for the second consecutive year, and it is one of only four four-year institutions in Missouri to meet all measures of the state’s performance-based funding initiative during its first three years.
Northwest boasts a graduation rate that is in the 85th percentile of the University’s national peer group. In addition, 97 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468