Missouri Scholars Academy continues work with Ameren Missouri

This marks the third donation from the company.

On April 5, Ameren Missouri presented a $10,000 check to help fund the Missouri Scholars Academy. Generally, MSA has come to mean Missouri Student Association. Unbeknownst to many MU students, there’s another MSA on campus, but it caters to a different set of students.

The Missouri Scholars Academy is a three-week academic summer program for rising juniors from Missouri high schools. The program receives partial funding from Missouri businesses such as Ameren Missouri. This is Ameren’s third year donating money to help fund MSA. Each check has been worth $10,000.

Arts and Science marketing specialist Laura Lindsey said the presentation ceremony was very small.

“It was really just Holly Wipfler, the customer services representative from Ameren presenting the check to Dean (Ted) Tarkow,” Lindsey said.

According to their website, Ameren is an energy company searching for “safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible energy” and servicing customers in Missouri and Illinois. They own and operate more than 7,400 circuit miles of high-voltage transmission lines and more than 78,000 miles of distribution line. In the past 12 years, Ameren has devoted more than $468 million to improve transmission systems.

“For the past couple years, MSA had needed outside funding,” Lindsey said. “Ameren wants to help support students now, both to give back and to get their name out there early. They really give back to the community. The money they donate acts as a scholarship to help fund transportation, meals and other expenses. It allows parents to be able to send their kids to the program.”

Tarkow, associate dean of the College of Arts and Science, directs MSA.

“Ameren is very inclined to support educational initiatives,” Tarkow said. “It turns out that the parent of a participant is a vice president of Ameren. It worked out well for both sides.”

The program is very competitive, using aptitude test scores and student essays among its selection criteria.

“Students who are in the top .51 percent of their class when they apply as sophomores are considered,” Tarkow said. “They are selected by their schools and a statewide committee that reviews all of the applications.”

The top 330 students are invited to MU during the summer to participate in the academy. Each student takes five hours of class per day and also participates in academic, social and residential life activities. Classes are both varied and specific.

One of the classes is titled “Canoes, Cabs, and the French Railroad,” and discusses the relationship between transportation and mathematics. The students study different geometric questions from their emergence all the way to the most up-to-date applications. During the course, students “trample doughnuts, tie (themselves) in knots, and draw lots of pictures,” with a focus on spatial reasoning and logic, according to the MSA website.

Other classes include documentary studies, Japanese culture, Shakespeare and science fiction.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to spend on a college campus and with each other,” Tarkow said. “It’s a total immersion program.”

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