Honoring Top Students

Four CAFNR Students Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists

Four CAFNR students received National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarships, a program that identifies top high school students in the United States.

Leyton Rebori, Joseph Koo, Theresa Scheier and Ella Wright were honored with this award.

Since its founding in 1955, NMSC has recognized more than 3.3 million students and provided over $1.7 billion in scholarships to students. High school students can enter the competition by taking the Preliminary SAT or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, usually as a junior. Of the 1.6 million participants in the competition, the 50,000 with the highest test scores qualify for recognition.

Leyton Rebori

Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, Leyton Rebori never had a shortage of pets. Aside from two dogs named Toby and Amber, Leyton has also had a gecko, Arugula; a fish named Daphne; and Bear, a gerbil.

Now, a freshman at Mizzou, it’s no surprise that Leyton is studying animal sciences. It was the “research opportunities in animal sciences and the amazing vet school” that drew Leyton to MU.

After attending veterinary school at MU, Leyton hopes to be an exotic animal veterinarian.

“I’ve always been interested in wild animals and their behaviors,” Leyton said. “I always try to get to the zoo as much as possible.”

The process of applying for an NMSC scholarship has given Leyton some insight into goals.

“I’ve really learned to focus on your goals and work hard at everything,” he said. “If you work hard, the fruits of your hard work will come into your life.”

Joseph Koo

After moving to Columbia, Missouri, seven years ago from East Lansing, Michigan, Joseph Koo chose to stay in Columbia to study biochemistry at MU because “it was the best choice.”

“Biochemistry has a super good structure for pre-med students, so it was a natural choice,” Joseph said.

Joseph, a freshman, said he naturally gravitated toward medicine and took EMT lessons this past spring, which gave him experience interacting with patients.

“The lessons fueled my drive to go to medical school,” Joseph said. One day, he hopes to practice emergency or family medicine.

Being an NMSC finalist has opened doors for Joseph.

“Lots of things have a cost barrier to it, so this scholarship helps a lot,” he said.

After hearing about the scholarship from a friend, Joseph encourages other students to take the practice SAT because of the vast opportunities around the country for those who take the test and do well on it.

Theresa Scheier

Theresa Scheier is a freshman from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, studying biochemistry and aspires to work as a doctor in underserved countries.

In a high school AP Spanish course, Theresa learned about how many Spanish-speaking countries are underserved, which sparked her interest to one day work as a doctor in underserved countries. Theresa is minoring in Spanish to help her achieve this goal.

“I think it would be really cool to give back since I’ve been blessed with so many things,” Theresa said.

Theresa was drawn to study biochemistry at MU because of the opportunities and organizations she could get involved with.

“CAFNR had a different feel when I came and visited,” Theresa said. “The people here were friendly and ready to help you.”

Ella Wright

For Ella Wright, Mizzou has always felt like home. Ella’s mother graduated from MU, so naturally, Ella said she “grew up around Mizzou.”

Ella, a freshman from Owensville, Missouri, is studying biochemistry and hopes to one day be a physician. Growing up, Ella didn’t give too much thought to her future career, but because her mother is a nurse practitioner, she was exposed to the medical field. Ella was drawn to her future career because of the opportunity to help people and give back to the world.

“I knew that I was interested in a mathematics or science field,” Ella said. “When I was looking at all of MU’s different departments, I noticed that biochemistry was in CAFNR. I’ve heard a lot of good things about CAFNR, so I chose biochemistry for that reason.”

To learn more about Mizzou’s National Merit Scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid website.