Meehan Scholarship awarded to 28 students in College of Arts and Sciences

Meehan Scholarship

From left, Danyel Poindexter, Max Gao, Omar Saffaf and Madisyn Weiss were among 28 students to receive the Eugene J. Meehan Scholarship for the 2017-18 academic year. (Photos by August Jennewein. Design by Joan Barnidge.)

Danyel Poindexter set the letter aside without opening it, assuming it was official notice of inclusion on the dean’s list – news she planned on coming back to later.

Danyel Poindexter

Danyel Poindexter is majoring in English with a minor in fine arts.

She’d nearly forgotten about it when she saw it again that evening. That’s when she tore open the envelope and discovered its contents were to inform her of something else entirely.

As she read, Poindexter had been chosen as one of 28 recipients of the Eugene J. Meehan Scholarship, given annually to junior and senior undergraduate students pursuing degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

“Oh, I got a new scholarship,” Poindexter said, remembering her surprise. “I was really happy.”

The Meehan Scholarship provides students $3,000 to apply toward tuition or other expenses.

It is one of the university’s largest privately funded scholarships, and as recipients learned, it was established in honor of Eugene J. Meehan, a Curators’ Professor who spent more than 20 years teaching in the Department of Political Science at UMSL and died in 2002.

Alice Meehan died in 2010, but their estate has continued funding it.

Max Gao

Max Gao is majoring in computer science.

This year’s recipients were recognized at a breakfast on Wednesday. They bring the total number of students who’ve benefited from the scholarship to more than 200, and that group has received more than $500,000 in financial aid.

“I didn’t know until afterward that it was one of the important scholarships,” senior Max Gao said. “I read about who he was, what his whole vision was. It was pretty interesting. Afterward, I felt really lucky, really grateful.”

To be eligible students must be juniors and seniors, have a major in the College of Arts and Sciences, be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher and have financial need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid.

Gao, a computer science major, said awards such as the Meehan Scholarship relieve a lot of financial stress from students’ shoulders.

Poindexter, a senior majoring in English with a minor in fine arts, said the scholarship has helped her acquire some art supplies, the cost of which accumulate quickly.

Omar Saffaf

Omar Saffaf is majoring in biochemistry and biotechnology with plans to attend medical school.

For junior Omar Saffaf, majoring in biochemistry and biotechnology with plans to attend to medical school, it is paying the cost for two courses not covered by other scholarships as well as offsetting the cost of commuting to campus.

Junior Madisyn Weiss, a double major in criminology and criminal justice and political science, said her scholarship will make it easier to study abroad this summer or begin setting money aside to finance plans for law school.

She too is grateful for the scholarship and others she’s had since enrolling at UMSL.

“I’m preaching UMSL all the time to people back home because I think a lot of people that aren’t from St. Louis don’t automatically see it as an option for school or don’t know about it as well as people that live in St. Louis,” said Weiss, a Farmington, Missouri, native. “But the opportunities I’ve been given here – I can’t imagine getting those anywhere else.”

Here’s a list of the 2017-18 recipients:

Madisyn Weiss

Madisyn Weiss is a double major in criminology and criminal justice and political science with plans to attend law school.

Gregory Anderson, public policy administration
Keeandra Archambault, biology
Ryan Coyle, philosophy
Nicole Culbertson, history
Lori Dresner, psychology
Jennifer Fowler, sociology
Max Gao, computer science
Nicholas Glenn, chemistry
Crystal Guthrie, political science
Alexandra Hamrick, biology
Abigail Head, psychology
Seth Huntington, modern language
Gabrielle Johnson, psychology
Lauren Kanyuck, studio art
Christina Kinnamon, sociology
Renee Kocsis, modern language
Mary McGill, history
Marcos Morales-Perez, modern language
Jennifer Mossgraber, political science
Denis Moyseyev, computer science
Lauren O’Donnell, history
Danyel Poindexter, English
Brenden Roques, computer science
Omar Saffaf, biochemistry and biotechnology
Ariel Schliesser, English
Matthew Spaeth, criminology and criminal justice
Madisyn Weiss, criminology and criminal justice/political science
Jared Weston, mathematics

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