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May 29, 2015
As Ryan Collier graduates Saturday from Northwest Missouri State University’s Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing, he’s advancing from the rigor of one academic program to another. Collier’s next stop is the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point.
“I started thinking about it, mentioned it to my parents and started doing research on the process and how I could apply,” Collier said.
He became interested in service academies after Northwest Professor of Geography Dr. Mark Corson spoke to him and other Missouri Academy students. Corson taught at West Point from 1992 to 1994 as an army officer and reached the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve.
After attending a Summer Leads Experience (SLE) camp at West Point last summer, Collier became even more interested in attending the military academy to pursue his bachelor’s degree.
“I think Ryan will take the lessons of self-discipline and integrity that we emphasize at the Missouri Academy to West Point,” said Dr. Cleo Samudzi, dean of the Missouri Academy.
Collier is the son of Northwest faculty members Associate Professor of Economics Dr. Ben Collier, Assistant Professor of Marketing Dr. Deb Toomey and Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Richard Toomey.
Dr. Deb Toomey assisted her son by immersing herself in the application process, which involves receiving a nomination from the applicant’s congressman or senator. Collier sent nomination applications to Rep. Sam Graves, Sen. Roy Blunt, and Sen. Claire McCaskill, receiving nominations from all three in return. He received news of his appointment to West Point in January.
“From a mother’s perspective, I am very proud of Ryan,” Toomey said. “I think his interest in serving in the military is noble, especially with the other opportunities he has available. I know he has a fantastic opportunity at his fingertips, and it will match up well with his personality and strengths.”
After graduating from the Missouri Academy, Collier leaves for West Point to begin a six-week mandatory camp during late June and prepare for his first semester.
“Having Ryan so far away will be tough for us, but I know that this is something that he wants to do,” Toomey said. “He is interested in studying engineering so this program is ideal. I think this experience will be a seminal period in his life. He will be provided an unparalleled education, complete with leadership training, while also learning about the military.”
Collier says the Missouri Academy taught him about lifelong friendships, which is something he hopes to find at West Point, too.
“I feel really close with people at the Academy, and I know I will feel close with people at West Point,” Collier said. “They have similar goals. A lot of them want to be well-rounded leaders. I think that’s pretty cool.”
The Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing is an early-entrance-to-college, two-year residential program, located on the Northwest Missouri State University campus. 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.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468