One student from Lawrence County is among Missouri’s brightest high school students who attended the Missouri Scholars Academy (MSA) in June at the University of Missouri.   

Betime Begzati of Aurora High School was among the students attending this year's iteration of the prestigious program.

MSA began in 1985 and each summer provides 330 rising high-school juniors the opportunity to expand their educational and social skills. This year, scholars spent their time at Mizzou in intensive classroom settings, selecting a major and minor course of study from among a range of subjects including mathematics, science, social studies and the humanities. Scholars were chosen based on a combination of their high school GPA, test scores, essays and letters of recommendation. 

“All of the activities at the academy are designed to be both broadening and enriching,” said Steven Keller, director of the program and an associate professor of chemistry. “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, and to be a force for positive change at their school and in their home communities.”  

Outside the classroom, students participated in a series of activities, workshops, and discussions led by guest speakers from around the state and country.  Highlighting this year’s program was motivational speaker, author, and artist Richard Hight, who created a piece of art about MSA as he talked to the students. Scholars attended a dress rehearsal of La Bohème performed by the Missouri Symphony Society, listened to Grammy-nominated storyteller Milbre Burch, discussed topics ranging from climate change to medical ethics, learned about the latest in cancer research, battled with Scrabble and chess masters, and participated in a variety of community service projects. 

 As the state’s largest and oldest public, land-grant university, Mizzou has more than 30,000 students, 13,000 full-time employees and 305,000 alumni.  Since 2015, the Missouri Scholars Academy has been administered by the MU Honors College.