MSA|Oh, the feels…

“Surround yourself with the dreamers and doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it in yourself.” -Edmund Lee
Attending the 2017 Missouri Scholars Academy was an experience of a lifetime. I met so many people who served as inspirations – lifelong learners, unapologetic nerds, chic geeks. I am so humbled to have been among the best and brightest students in the state. I have outlined how I am feeling now that the academy is over:

1. Grateful: There is no emotion I feel more than this. I am so grateful for the people who helped me get accepted, from my teachers and counselors to my friends and family; I am grateful for the free education I am able to receive in the public school system; I am grateful for obstacles, as overcoming them is what challenges and pushes one to become a better scholar; finally, I am grateful for the wonderful opportunities I was presented with to learn, grow, and fail as a person. Due to the fact that no grades were recorded, I felt safe trying new things and making myself vulnerable to others. It was a beautiful experience, and I hope I continue to venture out and try new things without the fear of failure burdening me. I am grateful for this magnificent life I live…I am so lucky.

2. Inspired: I have never been so inspired in my entire life. I could read about scientific discoveries all day, but nothing would ever compare to seeing and participating in them first-hand. Where else in the entire world would a sixteen year old high school student be trusted enough to conduct IVF on sea urchins, rectally palpate cows, or participate in somatic cell nuclear transfer? I’ll answer that question for you: nowhere!! I have met so many successful, world-renowned scientists who genuinely believe that the next generation of scholars can change the world. These scientists, along with the faculty members of the academy, really stressed how important it is to follow your dreams. For the first time in my life, I don’t feel that my dream of becoming a doctor is too lofty – and that is a wonderful feeling. I am so inspired by the intelligence of my peers, and I am ready to take on the world!

3. Eager: I feel so eager…eager to learn, to branch out, to lead. I am eager to share the things I learned at MSA with my teachers and peers. I am eager to hold myself to the standards that I set while I was at Mizzou. Just thinking about my time at the academy makes me want to get up and change the world!

4. Apprehensive: I feel apprehensive about the future of the academy. The state has defunded the academy for various financial reasons. Legislators have said that because we are gifted students, we will be just fine in life. While it is true that we will be just fine, just fine is not good enough; that would be a great injustice to society. We have the power to move mountains – why settle for anything less? I personally feel that MSA isn’t as widely known about as it should be. Prior to being nominated, I had never even heard of it! If we can somehow spread awareness for this AMAZING program, maybe someone somewhere will be willing to ensure the academy is able to continue on with the financial support required, as it truly is an academically enriching academy that deserves to be experienced by the best students Missouri has to offer.

I have realized over the course of my life that I am horrible at saying goodbye. There is nothing that pains my heart more than knowing something/someone of value – be it a person, experience, or friendship – is coming to an end. Saying goodbye to MSA was extremely difficult, but I feel so lucky to know I will always have a community of scholars who share with me the same fond memories and aspirations in life.

To conclude, I am beyond grateful for the chance to be a part of the 2017 Missouri Scholars Academy, and I will forever hold the colors of Milk Chocolate Brown and Tiffany Blue close to my heart.

Boomba! xo

MSA|Week 3

Wow! Week 3 is over! I am immensely grateful for all that I have been able to do at MSA, and I am more than excited to carry the spirit of MSA in my heart for the rest of my academic career! I will miss everyone I met through this experience; however, with the technology available in our society, I cannot imagine it will be hard to stay in touch!

Day 14: Saturday, June 25
Today I woke up at 7:30 A.M. because minor started at 9:30! Woo hoo!! I woke up, ate breakfast, then headed to three hours of math — something most would cringe at the thought of, yet I thoroughly enjoyed! We discussed various types of triangles, diagrams, hexaflexagons – seriously, you need to look this up, and ways of solving certain standardized test questions. After minor, we had lunch and big group. For afternoon activity, my friends and I watched a documentary about male gender norms and how detrimental it is to tell boys not to cry at a young age. I personally enjoyed this one better than the femininity version. After afternoon activity, my friends and I had a mini photoshoot. Then we ate dinner and got ready for street dance #2! This time it was the alumni dance — Total mood killer!!! There were 40 year old greasy-haired men with ponytails dancing to “Staying Alive” while the current scholars did everything to avoid them. It wasn’t nearly as fun as the last dance, but it was still enjoyable to some extent. After the dance, we had snack and house meeting where we got our schedule for day 15!

Day 15: Sunday, June 25
Today I woke up at 7:30 A.M. because it was FAMILY DAY! Yay!! I was so ecstatic to see my family! They arrived at Mark Twain around 9 A.M. and greeted me with an abundance of hugs. We went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast – my favorite!! Then we went shopping for vacation clothes! I’m leaving for The Dizzle (Disney World) the day I get back from MSA, so I needed to replenish my summer wardrobe prior to the trip! After shopping for hours, we went to a little diner for a late lunch. We drove all around Mizzou’s campus looking for cute photo opportunities, but we were shocked to find a small number that were easily accessible. Oh well! After a very fun day doing my favorite activity with my favorite people, I went back to my dorm and said goodbye to my sweet family. I unloaded all of my new items and headed to the talent show. It was your typical talent show…some good, some bad – you get the drill. I was blown away by my good friend, Bryan, who played “Radioactive” on the piano. He’s literally a piano legend! I’m not very familiar with pianos, but when I say he killed that performance, I truly mean it! Snaps for Bryan!! After the talent show, we had house meeting where we got our schedules for day 16!

Day 16: Monday, June 26
Today I woke up at 7:10 A.M., got ready, ate breakfast, then headed to major. When we arrived at Tucker, our building, we loaded into vans and drove to the dairy farm. We drove into a gravel road and passed a bunch of cows. The smell immediately hit me and made me want to throw up. (I’m not dramatic at all lol) We got out of the vans and went into the barn. Inside, a veterinary student was showing us how to do an ultrasound on a cow by means of rectal palpation. She even let us try if we wanted to do so! I almost chickened out, but I composed myself and decided to go for it! I had to put on pink gloves and lubricant before inserting my hand into the cow’s cavity. It was the strangest feeling ever — so warm and weird. My cow started to deficit on me while I was inside of it, so I was super grossed out. I was gagging from the horrendous smell, but at least I did it! I had to rush home and shower and get ready for minor and PSD. I felt like I smelled like a cow all day, but apparently I was fine. In minor, we worked on new challenging problems and went over our worksheet from the previous class. In PSD, we did an activity about our dreams in life. It was very refreshing to think about our futures. After minor and major, we ate dinner and then went to Teacher Appreciation dessert and program. Unfortunately, I did not have a teacher that could come. That’s okay, though, because most people did not. The program was beautiful. A woman who teaches at George Washington gave a speech about Ferguson and the importance of teachers sharing their wisdom with students. It was very entertaining and engaging. Following the program, we had a dessert bar. There was a delicious key lime pie cheesecake. It was so, so, so good!! After the dessert, we went back to Twain for house meeting and got our schedules for day 17.

Day 17: Tuesday, June 27
Today I woke up at 7:20 A.M., got ready, ate breakfast, then headed to my major. Today in major we got to visit the swine research center and got to hold baby piglets! They were so cute, and I was told I had a ‘motherly’ instinct with the pigs. This was quite hilarious to me, as I am not a nurturing person for the most part. Following major, I came back to Twain for lunch and big group. After big group, we had minor and PSD. I got a perfect score on my most recent worksheet! Woo hoo!! We continued to go over our worksheets and had a small competition among our classmates. My group won! Today was a good day in math!!!! After minor, we had PSD where we focused on compliments and saying thank you. I enjoyed it. After minor, I ate dinner and got ready for evening activity. Today we had three options, and I chose to go to a jazz performance. The man was very talented, but the performance was very theological which I didn’t fully understand. After evening activity, we came back to Twain and ate delicious cupcakes for snack. Then we had house meeting where we got our schedules for day 18!

Day 18: Wednesday, June 28
This morning I woke up at 7:15 A.M., rushed to get ready, and went to Taiso. After Taiso, I went to my major class where we took notes, got coffee, and practiced our skit for the ”meet the classes” performance tomorrow night. After major, I ate lunch (which featured chips and salsa! LOVED it!) and had a conversation with my boy, Ake! Then we went to big group. After big group, I had minor and PSD. In minor, we focused on the algorithm in which credit cards function, and in PSD, we discussed the ways in which we can take what we learned at MSA home with us. After minor, I went on a tour of the honors college and met the directors. Regardless of which college I choose to attend, I am certain that I want to be in the honors program. The class sizes are smaller, you get to know your professors better, and you have superiority among your peers – all things that I love! Following the college tour, I ate dinner and went to the poetry slam with my friends. The poets were very heartfelt, but some were quite intense. Props to those who performed, though! I couldn’t get up there and do that! (If it was a dance show, that would be a different story!) After the poetry slam, we headed to evening program, which was a speech by a previous MSA faculty member. He touched on many topics that are unique to just MSA scholars, but it was kind of a jumbled mess, so I didn’t really enjoy it. The absolute best part of my day was the impromptu dance party that was held back at the dorms! Everyone was eating ice cream and dancing the night away. I am going to miss this academy so much. Actual tears have been and will be shed. Following the dance party, we had house meeting where we got our schedules for day 19. We are getting close. I’m not ready to say goodbye.

Day 19: Thursday, June 29
Today I woke up at 7:15 A.M., got ready, then headed to my major class. Today we got to do PAG ELISA assays on cow serum. That’s pretty much a fancy way of saying a pregnancy test. We had to put serum and solutions into test tubes and wash them out many times. Eventually, we put photoreceptive solution in the tubes, and the serum from the pregnant cow turned blue, and the non-pregnant cow’s serum did not turn blue. It was super cool! I also got to take my fetuses home with me! Yay! Mom is so excited! ūüėČ After major, I headed back to the dorm to eat lunch then to big group. In minor, we learned about the Gini Index, a way of measuring the economic status of a nation. In PSD, we wrote a time capsule letter to ourselves and wrote compliments to all of our classmates. It was so sad! I do not want to go home yet! For afternoon activity, my friends and I had an Oreo party in the student center. It was epic. Following our cookie party, we took naps and then headed to dinner then evening program. Tonight’s program was the class sampler, in which each major class presented a “sample” of their class. For mine, the females acted like and egg, and the boys acted like sperm fertilizing the egg. At the end, “Circle of Life” started playing and our professor held up a baby pig! It was quite the crowd pleaser, as you can imagine!! After evening program, we went back to our dorms and ate snack. Then we had house meeting where we ate cookies and got our schedules for day 20 and 21! ūüė¶ Following house meeting, my roomie and I watched “Dirty Dancing” and laughed the night away. I’m not ready to go home. It was an AWESOME run.

Day 20: Friday, June 30
Today I woke up at 7:15 A.M., got ready, then went to breakfast. Following breakfast, I went to major. We exchanged contact information, finished up our lecture notes, and drank coffee! Next, I went to lunch and big group. In minor, we finished up math notes, took pictures, and exchanged information. In PSD we filled out autograph papers for each other containing compliments and secret notes. We had to seal them in envelopes, and they will be mailed to us next summer. It was so hard to not read them, but it will make next summer even sweeter! After PSD, we had free time to hangout with our friends and sign posters. We had a fancy dinner consisting of chicken, steak, veggies, and baked potatoes! There was also a cheesecake bar! ūüėć After dinner, we had a candle lighting ceremony and all cried our eyes out. It was quite the eventful evening. I was extremely sad, but I got to say final goodbyes to everyone. My friends and I ran through the sprinklers when the ceremony was over to make some final memories before we have to leave. We headed back to our dorms where our evening snack was pizza, and then we headed upstairs to pack up our things.

Day 21: Saturday, July 1
Today I woke up at 6:30 A.M., cuddled with my roommate, finished packing, and met my parents. They generously helped me bring my things to the car, and then we headed to Jesse Hall for a photoshoot with my friends. Following this mini photoshoot, we headed to the closing ceremony. The choir sang the MSA anthem, the faculty members gave speeches, and I cried my eyes out – typical. I said my final goodbyes to all of my friends and departed from what seemed to be a dream. I had a phenomenal time at MSA, and as my roomie and I have been saying, “I’ve had the time of my life.” So one last time… Boomba!

I will be writing a post about my final thoughts within the next few days. Stay tuned!

 

MSA|Week 2

Week 2…Check!! I cannot believe it; MSA is flying by! This week was filled with scientific love, too many dance parties, and mathematical passion! It truly has been wonderful!! I’ve made life-long friends, and I have come to terms with the fact that I am a nerd, regardless of what I would like to believe. ūüôā

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What I looked like all week: joyous.

Day 7: Saturday, June 17
Today I woke up at 8 A.M because major didn’t start until 9:30! Woo hoo!! My roomie and I decided to skip breakfast and head straight to our majors. We only had class for a brief period of time before we headed to downtown CoMo for free time. We went to a coffee shop and super cute book store. I bought a pretty book to place on my coffee table in my future apartment. Lol. After majors, we only had big group, then we had free time. I spent THREE HOURS doing my laundry!! These people here are NOT aware that they need to watch their laundry and be there when time is up! Ugh! In case you couldn’t tell, I was very annoyed. After laundry, I ate dinner then went to the street dance, which was so fun. It was like homecoming, but it was outside! I was breaking it down, like always! I was sweating so much, but it was a good cardio workout! After the dance, we had house meeting and got our schedules for day 8!

Day 8: Sunday, June 18
On Sundays, you get to sleep in. I woke up at 11:15 A.M. today, but I have to preface that with the fact that there was a HUGE thunderstorm that kept us up all night! After I finally got up, I headed to lunch with my friends. After lunch, we had big group where we discussed the afternoon activities. My friends and I went up to my dorm and just hung out until it was time for yoga! I had a blast at yoga, but apparently it was super obvious that I am a dancer because my hips would naturally fall turned out. Oh well! It was still fun! Following yoga, it was time for dinner! I was starving, so I ate pizza and had a salad. Then I went to an evening program about cyber security in which this creepy man was yelling at us to install all of these pricey softwares onto our computers. No thanks, buddy! He was also speaking on conspiracy theories as opposed to facts. I didn’t enjoy his presentation. We came back to our dorms and had delightful cupcakes for our evening snack then walked around the campus. We came back and had house meeting where we discussed our family dinner tomorrow night and got our schedules for day 9! No sleeping in for me!

Day 9: Monday, June 19
I woke up at 7:15 A.M., got ready, headed to breakfast, then walked to my major. We took notes the whole time, so I got bored, but we get to do IVF on sea urchins tomorrow!! Yay!!! After major I ate lunch then went to my minor. We made Golomb rulers — a special ruler in which you can measure with only 5 given numbers. I had fun in minor, and my teacher likes me because I’m obsessed with him. He’s a small, adorable Japanese man, but he is BRILLIANT. Then we had PSD where we presented things we believe in. My favorite one I said was, “I believe in buying the shoes, regardless of the price.” I learned that from my daddy. ūüėČ After PSD, I had afternoon activity. I went to a psychology discussion about social media. It was just okay because the professor wasn’t very knowledgeable about how social media works. Then, my house had family dinner. We had Shakespeare’s pizza and it was so good! For evening activity, I went to see a movie about jail across the USA. It made me really sleepy. I think the exhaustion is starting to hit me. After the movie, we came back to our dorms, ate snack, had house meeting, and got our schedules for day 10! Lots of stuff planned for tomorrow!

Day 10: Tuesday, June 20
I woke up today at 7:15, got ready, then went to my major. We did IVF on sea urchins, and I’ve never loved science more. I literally got to watch sperm cells swim and fertilize an egg that I collected from the urchin. The opportunities I am given here are outstanding. I am feeling SO passionate about science. I want to research stem cells every day for the rest of eternity!! After major, I ate lunch and headed to big group. Big group was the same as everyday – just discussing the afternoon activities. Then I went to my minor where I had a great discussion with my teacher about the variety of math classes offered throughout high schools and how it is okay to not be the smartest person in the room all the time. I love Ake!!! Following minor, I had PSD where we did an activity about the roles we fulfill in our lives. I didn’t go to an afternoon activity because I was exhausted from the excitement that came with the sea urchins. I took a nap and felt very refreshed afterwards. Following my nap, I ate dinner then went to evening program which was a speaker who experienced the Rwandan genocide. I have read books about this genocide, but to hear about it first hand is a completely different experience. I admire the strength that the refugees had while going through this. After evening program, we had a comedy show, and I thought it was so pointless. It took away our snack time, and I didn’t find it funny. Maybe I need to lighten up! ūüôā Then we had house meeting and got our schedules for day 11!

Day 11: Wednesday, June 21
Today I woke up at 6:30 A.M. to sign up for my evening activity before it was filled. Then I went back upstairs and got ready then headed to breakfast. After breakfast we had Taiso then major. I forgot my tennis shoes in my dorm so I had to run back to my room to get the shoes, and I was late to my class, but I had the front desk people call my teacher, and he laughed at me, so all is well. We were back at the animal sciences lab where we got to see the cell from the IVF moving around, and I cried. I couldn’t believe I had played a role in creating a life! We also got to see a pig cell get cloned (somatic cell nuclear transfer to be exact) and modified to not have the gene for cystic fibrosis. I had to so much fun and left feeling so inspired. After major, I ate lunch then went to big group where we discussed the afternoon activities. I went to minor where we worked on math worksheets and I chatted with the smartest boy in my class who taught me about the problems I didn’t know how to do. He’s in college Calc III, so he has a slight edge on the rest of us! In PSD we discussed the traits that make someone admirable and how we exude those traits in our lives. After PSD, my roommate and I went to a medical ethics discussion. The man was very kind, but he said whatever came to his mind so it wasn’t very organized. We went back to our dorms and took a nap. Then we ate dinner and went to evening program. The evening program was a staff smorgasbord where all the titles were cryptic and the you didn’t know who was teaching what. I ended up in a poetry slam, which isn’t my scene, but some people shared very well-written poems which I thoroughly enjoyed! We headed back to our dorms for snack – popsicles – then house meeting where we got our day 12 schedules!

Day 12: Thursday, June 22
I woke up at 7 A.M. and got ready, then headed to breakfast. After breakfast, I walked to my major. We got to see our sea urchin cells, and they looked like little Darth Vaders! Then we did something even cooler than IVF… We dissected pregnant rats and swine reproductive tracts!!!! It was the best thing ever!!! I even get to take home three fetuses: 1 rat and 2 pigs! I named my rat B-rat. (pronounced Brad) I am such a nerd, but I am in LOVE with science. I feel so passionate about the subject, and I am very eager to learn more and more! After my AMAZING day at major, I ate lunch and headed to big group. Following an introduction to the afternoon activities, I headed to my minor where I volunteered to put problems on the chalkboard, and I got a lot of chocolate in exchange for my efforts. In PSD we had a discussion about responsibility and how in certain situations, everyone is equally responsible for a bad culminating event. After my minor, I went back to my dorm to get ready for the symphony — the evening activity. I showered and did my hair, then went to dinner. I walked my way to the symphony, and it was actually really enjoyable! They played music from Jurassic Park – my favorite!! (Yet again, nerd alert!) After the symphony, we went back to our dorms for snack and house meeting, where we got our schedules for day 13!

Day 13: Friday, June 23
Today I woke up at 7 A.M. and got ready for breakfast. I ate and then walked to my major. Today was a laid back day, filled with notes and videos; however, I am still on a science high and cannot seem to get enough! I was so pumped to learn about IVF that I didn’t even get sad when we did notes the whole three hours. After major, I ate lunch and went to big group. In big group, we discussed the afternoon activities – the usual! Then I went to my minor. Ake was so sweet today, and I got a great score on my worksheet! (Snaps for me!) I have rediscovered my passion for mathematics as well. Just FYI, MSA is most definitely a camp for the nerds. We learn 24/7, but it is SO fun!! In PSD, we did an activity where we had to compliment the person sitting in the center of the circle. The best compliment I received was, “It is very evident that you want to see everyone own who he/she is as much as you own who you are.” This one made me feel good because I really do wish to see every person in this world be unapologetically themselves, and to hear someone else realize that about me in only two weeks is awesome! After PSD, I watched a movie about the male gender norms in our society, which was very interesting. I feel as if we focus so much on feminism and female stereotypes, but there is, in fact, a lot of pressure on males as well. After the movie, I ate dinner then went to evening program. I intended on going to a discussion about tumors, but the doctor was running behind, so I went to a musical interpretation of The Odyssey, which was actual very calming. It was an acoustic version of the well-respected work of literature, and it really worked. I thoroughly enjoyed it – which I did not expect. Following this musical masterpiece, I headed back to my dorm and went to house meeting where we got our schedules for day 14!!

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MSA|Week 1

Wow! I cannot believe it’s only been six days since I arrived at MSA! The days are so jam-packed that it feels like it’s been a decade! I’ve met so many people and learned so many things! According to everyone here, I have a southern accent, and I look like a farmer’s wife/southern belle…I guess wearing pearls makes you southern? Oh well!

My roomie and our friend!


Day 1: Sunday, June 11

I left my house around 7 A.M. to make the journey to Columbia. After a two hour drive, we pulled into the parking lot of the Mark Twain dorms, and the MSA staff put all of my things into a cart and unloaded them in front of my door for me. (Thank the lord!) I had to check myself in, and then my parents met me in the lobby. After double checking all of my paperwork on file, my parents and I went to my room to unpack. Luckily I was the first one to my room, so I was able to pick which bed and closet I wanted. I chose the bed closest to the air conditioner because I get hot so easily! After unpacking, I went to lunch with my family then returned to the MSA campus for the opening ceremony. We all packed ourselves into Jesse Hall, where various faculty members gave speeches about their times at the academy and told us the rules and what not. After saying a heartfelt goodbye to my mom, dad, and brother, I walked back to my dorm… alone. I will admit, I cried. And if you know me, you know I only cry about my grades and GGs, so this was a big deal. I went upstairs to my room, but my roomie had beaten me to it! We hugged right away, and I knew we would be a perfect match! We are both high maintenance – in the best way, of course! We had to change into our MSA tshirts and take a group picture. Then we had a small group conversation with our RA. We played name games and get-to-know-you activities. After this, we returned to our rooms. I took a short nap then headed to dinner. I ate a boring salad, as we were tight on time. We headed to PlayFair which is basically a huge team building/icebreaker activity that lasted two hours. It was very nerdy, but what else should I have expected?? I met a ton of people which really helped calm the nerves. We came back to our dorm rooms and showered before going to room meetings. We discussed rules, policies, and Day 2. 

My outfit for day 1!

Outside of Jesse Hall

So proud that my clothes fit in the closet!


Day 2: Monday, June 12

I woke up at 7 A.M. then headed to breakfast with my roomie. Following breakfast, I headed to my major class with Dr. Lovercamp, a really cool guy. We spent some time playing get to know you games, then dove right into a full PowerPoint all about endocrinology feedback loops. After major, I had lunch. Then we had Big Group and an introduction to PSD – personal and social dynamics. We then went to the location of our minor classes and had our first PSD session. It was filled with name games and ice breakers, but I’m constantly surrounded by people with the same value of education, so all is well. I met my minor teacher after PSD named Ake. He’s a cute, old, smart man who seems like he knows everything. I was taken aback to hear how many of my classmates were already in Calc II, when I’m only going to be going into PreCalc! I went to afternoon activities after minor. I chose math puzzles, as I just cannot get enough math in one day! By this point, I was starving. Thinking and walking make me hungry, so I filled up on salad. After dinner, my roomie and some of our friends went to the student center to hang for a little bit before evening session. We got very lost, but eventually found our way. Our guest speaker was Kevin Wanzer. He was such a positive and inspiring man! (+ I got a kazoo, so snaps for me lol) Following evening session, we had a tornado and fire drill, which was so sweaty and smelly; however, in time on emergency, I will be aware of what to do. After these drills, we had house meeting and got our schedules for day 3!

My outfit for day 2!


Day 3: Tuesday, June 13

I woke up at 7:15A.M. after pushing snooze a couple of times, I’m not going to lie. I got ready, ate breakfast, then walked to my major class. I had a wonderful time because I found out I get to do IVF on a sea urchin and rectally palmate a cow! I know this sounds very strange to most people, but I feel so blessed to be given these opportunities! We continued learning off a PowerPoint about puberty in male and female animals and the hormones that play a vital role in the process. After major, I ate lunch then went to big group. We discussed evening activities and learned “boomba hey” – the MSA slogan. Then we went to our minor classes. I learned verdic theories and applied them to equations such as 12345*111=? We used these techniques to be able to solve the equations in a matter of seconds, which was super cool. Following minor, we had PSD where we discussed our ‘dream partner’. I thought it was dumb at first, but I got to hear a lot of interesting perspectives from my classmates. For afternoon activity, I went to a discussion about Dana Shutz recreation of the infamous Emmitt Till casket photograph. We discussed trauma and racial discrimination, as well as the moral aspects to recreating such a violent image. Then I ate dinner, then headed to big group once more, where the RAs performed a skit for us. Then I headed to evening activity which was a discussion about the moral aspects of consuming, enclosing, and profiting off of animals. It was a very interesting conversation, and I’m so glad I was able to take part in a discussion that I typically wouldn’t have. We returned to our dorms for house meeting and got our schedules for day 4! I’m feeling very tired, so I’m going to try to take a nap tomorrow.  

The artwork we discussed.

My outfit for day 3!


Day 4: Wednesday, June 14

I woke up at 7 A.M., got ready, ate breakfast, then went to Taiso – a Wednesday morning tradition at MSA. Following Taiso, I headed to my major where we learned about the anatomy of female reproductive systems, comparing those of swine to those of bovine. After learning off a PowerPoint, we were able to conduct a dissection on three reproductive tracts – two swine, one cow. It was super cool to see in real life, but it smelled absolutely horrible! After major, I went back to my dorm and ate lunch. Following lunch, I went to big group where we learned about the afternoon activities and departed to go to our minor classes. I got to my minor, only to find out I had gotten the highest score on the math worksheet, which was an accomplishment considering I thought I was the dumbest person in the class. We learned about base numbers and Vedic math again. Then we had PSD where we worked on actively listening to one another and respecting opinions of others in an Agree vs. Disagree activity. It was fine, but I think it will get better as we delve into deeper topics and discussions. Following PSD, I went to my afternoon activity which was a discussion about time and space being relative to the viewer, and it was a little too complicated for my tired mind to fathom at that time of the day. I went back to my dorm and took a quick nap before I went to dinner, and then I went to evening session which was the coolest thing I’ve done so far. I went to a stem cell lecture where I learned all about the most current advancements in stem cell science. Did you know that scientists have been able to successfully grow a human embryo inside of a pig? Or that a baby was born with two mothers and a father by having the embryos of the women fused together? How crazy is that?? Then I headed back to my dorm for snack and house meeting where I got my day 5 schedule. I’m very exhausted, but I’m learning a lot, and I’m so inspired by all of scientists I have been able to meet!

My outfit for day 4!


Day 5: Thursday, June 15

I woke up at 7:25 A.M. and fell out of my bed. (Lol) My roomie and I were running late, so we only had about ten minutes to eat breakfast. After breakfast, I headed to my major class where we took notes he whole time…ugh. Following major, I went to lunch and then big group. We discussed the afternoon activities, none of which interested me. After big group I went to my minor class which was hard, like always, but I think it’ll get easier. We had PSD where we shared stories about what made us who we are today. It was interesting to hear others’ life stories. As for afternoon activities, my friends and I opted out because we needed a break and none of the options piqued our interest. After a relaxed afternoon and dinner, we went to evening activity, Singlehandedly Shakespeare. One man acted out 10 characters and performed Romeo and Juliet as well as Macbeth. It was just okay. Props to the man who acted out the show, but I just wasn’t that into it. After the show, we headed back to our dorm to listen to live African music. I got a HUGE burst of energy and had a solo dance party – shocker, I know! Then my roomie and I jumped on our beds for awhile before we had house meeting. We got our schedules for day 6. It was a super fun day today!! 

My outfit for day 5!


Day 6: Friday, June 16

I woke up at 7:15 A.M. today, got ready, then headed to breakfast. Following breakfast I went to my major class where we learned about folilculargeneis and oogenesis. It was pretty boring except for the fact that we got to watch a laparoscopically filmed video of a rabbit ovulating. After major I ate lunch then went to minor and PSD. In my minor class, we worked some more challenging problems and went over our worksheet from last class. In PSD, we did a gift giving activity in which you had to write valuable items on a paper and “give” the items to someone in your class. It was fun, but I put clean linen air freshener down as one, so people probably thought I was crazy. Following PSD, I watched a feminism movie for afternoon activity. I don’t consider myself a full blown feminist, so i didn’t really enjoy the movie that much. I think females should be able to be beautiful AND intelligent – not one or the other. After the movie, I took a short nap and headed to dinner. After dinner we had square dancing. I was dreading it all day, but it was SO fun! I was having a blast!! After square dancing, we had house meeting where we got our schedules for day 7! 

My outfit for day 6!

MSA|Spring Informational Session

The Spring Informational Session for the 2017 Missouri Scholars Academy was held at Kirkwood Baptist Church on May 15, 2017. I attended this meeting with my mom, Nikki. We walked into the church and were greeted by numerous staff members, all of whom were very enthusiastic.  I was eager to learn everything I needed to know prior to my departure from home, in order to prevent self-induced anxiety Рsomething for which I am notorious!

I donned my normal, over-dressed attire, and I had my hair curled – like always.

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Hmm… I’m so glad I decided to take a mirror selfie in the bathroom. That toilet is classy!! Or should I say, “That ‘loo’ is classy.” ¬†ūüėČ

Various faculty members talked about the program and what to expect. ¬†I had already discovered most of the information they presented prior to the meeting, as I am a nerdy over-achiever and wanted to know¬†everything about everything! They did mention a few things that I hadn’t discovered or thought of yet, such as bringing a power strip for my room and quarters to do laundry —¬†because I am the QUEEN of laundry (That is a joke; I hate cleaning with my whole heart.)

The main takeaway from this meeting was YOU CANNOT HAVE YOUR PHONE OUTSIDE OF YOUR DORM. ¬†I hate when people type in all caps, but I felt that it was necessary because so many people asked the same question, “Are we allowed to have our phones outside of our rooms?” I mean, come on people! Listen!¬†I understand why people wanted to know if phones were allowed because, as a society, we are attached to our phones; however, I personally don’t think it is that big of a deal. ¬†We can be on our phones at night and in our free time, so I think we will all survive! Spending less time Instagram-ing and more time studying never hurt anyone! As¬†for my plans with my entries, I plan to post a weekly recap on Sundays; however, with limited internet access and a desire/need to focus on learning, I am not sure how that will all play-out. ¬†If I am unable to post on Sundays, I will post about each week individually when I return home!

Thank you for reading!

MSA|Getting Accepted

Before I jump right in, I feel that I should give a brief description of MSA!

MSA, short for Missouri Scholars Academy, is a three-week long academy held at the University of Missouri – Columbia for Missouri’s 330 brightest and most gifted sophomores.


In what felt like ages, the entire process of being admitted into Missouri Scholars Academy took around six months. ¬†It all started back in October, when I took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) at school. ¬†I thought nothing of it and moved on with my day-to-day life. ¬†In late November/early December — I’m not totally sure — I received my results. ¬†It wasn’t until my friends and I started to compare our scores that I noticed that my score was higher than my peers. ¬†Again, I thought nothing of it, as I had typically scored higher than my peers on standardized tests, and continued¬†on with my life. ¬†Before winter break, a letter was mailed to my house that stated that I, along with four others, was being considered for the nomination, but in order to actually be nominated, you have to be administered an IQ test.

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Sorry for all of the wrinkles…I had to fish this out of the bottom of my school bag! Oh well, it’s finally SUMMER!!

Admittance into this prestigious academy is based upon GPA, IQ, essays, and school recommendations.

Upon my return from break, I was called down to the office and given the IQ test. ¬†I had to do all sorts of things – many of which I had to do to be placed in STRETCH, the gifted education program, in elementary school. ¬†I had to repeat sequences of letters and numbers, define terms, associate unrelated objects to each other, make patterns using blocks, and decode figure sequences. ¬†I’m not going to lie, it was very challenging. ¬†When I left the testing room, I felt very¬†apprehensive¬†as to what the future would hold; however, a few days later, I was notified that I was one of two students from my school¬†to move to the final round of the selection process: essays. For this portion of the selection process, I needed recommendation letters by teachers familiar with my intellectual capabilities and personal character, and I needed to write two essays. I was given two prompts: (These are not verbatim; they are the main points of the essays, though.)

  1. If you could pick a year aside from the present to live in, which year would you choose? What lessons could you learn from living in this year?
  2. What is a current social issue that a smart, conscientious person could fix? How?

I had to respond to the given prompts in 300 words or less, and let me tell you…that was quite the challenge! Eventually, I was able to finesse my essay to my liking and have it in the given word count range. ¬†I was extremely proud of these essays because man, oh man they were hard to write while following the given word restraints. ¬†I had never been assigned an essay that was required to be that short, so that is why I found this feat so challenging. ¬†I’m sure if I had been assigned something like this prior to the selection process, I would have been much more at ease. ¬†These essays and letters were graded based on rubrics. ¬†I only have access to the student-written essay rubric, which is posted below.

Click here to view –>¬†rubric essay scores

In early February, I had to submit my written essays and personal information to the academy.  After that, I just had to sit and wait.  I have no patience, so this was the worst part for me! I checked the MSA website daily, waiting to see that the acceptance letters had been mailed, and finally, on April 5, the website was updated, and all letters were to be mailed by April 7.  On April 8, I returned home from dance to find a letter in my mailbox from the Honors College at Mizzou! You can only imagine how nerve-racking that was!

I opened the letter, and I got accepted! Woo hoo!

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First acceptance letter ever! Yay!

I was so proud of myself! Only 330 people get selected to attend each summer, so being chosen is a pretty big deal! After receiving my acceptance letter, I had to fill out a survey with my personal information, permission forms, photo forms, etc. to officially accept my offer to attend the academy.

A few weeks later, the extensive list of majors and minors came out, and I had to narrow both my major and minor choices down to my top four.

If you are interested in the other options, you can view them below!

For majors click here –>¬†2017_MSA_Majors_Descriptions
For minors click here –>¬†2017_MSA_Minors_Descriptions

For my major, my top choice was: Sperm, Oocytes, and Embryos, Oh my! Рstudying the reproductive systems of mammals such as pigs and cows.  I am pretty sure I want to go into the medical field, so choosing this was a no-brainer, as it will (hopefully) confirm that I want to study medicine.

For my minor, my top choice was: Mathematical Mazes for the Mind – math puzzles and exploration designed to reflect ACT/SAT questions. This was also a no-brainer for me, as I LOVE math!

I got my top choices in both major and minor, so I am very interested to see what is in store for me!


My next entry will be about the Spring Informational Session!

Thank you for reading!