Several Mid-Missouri students recently attended the Missouri Scholars Academy at the University of Missouri alongside some of the state's "brightest high school students," according to a news release.
Local students who attended the academy from June 11-July 1 in Columbia included Jefferson City High School juniors Hannah Keely, Michael Wang and William Mollenkamp and sophomore Elijah Hilty; Helias Catholic High School juniors James Donovan and Natalie Landwehr; and Eldon High School junior Autumn Clark.
The academy program provides 300 rising juniors the opportunity to expand their educational and social skills.
At MU this year, the student scholars spent time in intensive classroom settings. The students from "nearly every county in the state" selected a major and minor course of study out of a range of subjects including math, science, social studies and the humanities.
"We want to encourage these talented students to own their intelligence and inspire them to put it to good use. In particular, we hope to get students to engage in activities that are outside their comfort zones," Steven Keller said in the news release. Keller is the co-director of the academy and an associate professor in MU's chemistry department.
Students also participated in activities, workshops and discussions led by guest speakers:
Marcia Chatelain, an associate professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University, and "a public voice on the history of African American children, race in America (and) social movements," her profile on Georgetown's website said;
Angela Speck, professor of astrophysics and director of astronomy at MU. Speck discussed the approaching total solar eclipse;
David Wilson, co-founder of Columbia's annual True/False documentary film festival;
and Linda Godwin, a former astronaut and current professor of physics at MU. Godwin is a Missouri native, born in Cape Girardeau and with her hometown of Jackson. She logged over 38 days in space on four shuttle missions aboard Shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour, including 10 hours on two spacewalks, according to her online profile with NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, located in Houston, Texas.
The student scholars also had the opportunity to watch a dress rehearsal of the Missouri Symphony Society; listen to Grammy-nominated storyteller Milbre Burch; discuss topics including climate change, medical ethics, stems cells and the African refugee crisis and participate in community service activities.
The Missouri Scholars Academy is in its 31st year. Each public school district and private school in Missouri is eligible to nominate at least one sophomore student to participate.
Larger schools can nominate more than one student on a prorated basis according to enrollment, the program's website said.
Nominees must be Missouri residents, and are selected on the basis of scores from selected individual intelligence and aptitude tests; grade point average; two essays; "evidence of leadership, creativity, intellectual curiosity, problem-solving ability, initiative and the projected benefits to the student for participating" as described in two letters of recommendation; and a commitment to remain at the academy for the entire three-week experience.
This article was updated at 3 p.m. July 17, 2017, to note additional names of students who attended Missouri Scholars Academy.