Everywhere You Choose to Fly

Posted in: News

Congratulations to the MIE 2023 Scholars!

Carol Cortonezi laughs with Dr. Laura Zangori at the MIE poster showcase

The Mizzou International Experience (MIE) program culminates with an annual poster showcase in Townsend Hall. The showcase brings in faculty and staff from across the university who spend the morning learning with Mizzou Academy visiting high school scholars. Each student presents on what the MIE program has meant to them and what lessons they will each take home.

This year, many members of the MIE class of 2023 incorporated the expressive arts in their presentations. For example, Heitor Stalhschmidt wrote a poem based on Greek mythology that moved at least one faculty member to tears. Gustavo Rodrigues shared a striking self-portrait in blue. In black and white sketches, Kelsey Rollins reflected on his key takeaways from several academic departments. During the showcase, Carol Lindenberg met with members of the College of Education to talk about the importance of world language learners.

MIE students spent just over two weeks living and exploring careers as part of our Mizzou International Experience program. According to the program website, “Mizzou International Experience (MIE) is an educational program designed for high school students and educators around the world.” This year’s program included students and faculty from Brazil, Spain, Ghana, Thailand, and the United States. During the program, students participated in hands-on learning sessions at the University Law School, Journalism School, Medical School and University Health, Trulaske Business School, School of Engineering, and the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources. 

The MIE Class of 2023 Proudly Displays their Program Certificates
The MIE Class of 2023 Proudly Displays their Program Certificates

About the Mizzou International Experience program

Colegio Magno was one of the Mizzou Academy partner schools from Brazil that sent a student group to MIE this summer. On their social media, they shared that the MIE program was “an experience to remember! …Our youth became explorers in a career exploration program that enabled them to integrate with Mizzou professors and professionals from various fields, in addition to visits to companies, cultural spaces, public institutions, and non-profits. It was 15 days of exploration, connections with young people from other countries, and personal growth.” 

Their post also listed key program activities, including participating in a simulation at the White House Decision Center; learning with NASA astronaut and University of Missouri professor, Dr. Linda Godwin; conducting field experiments; visiting the State Capitol and Supreme Court of Missouri; and serving at the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.

Mizzou Academy executive director, Dr. Kathryn Fishman-Weaver, said, “MIE scholars take away many powerful lessons from the Mizzou International Experience program, including seeing how the world is small and connected, experiencing the delight of making a new group of friends, and learning that there are many ways to use your skills to make a difference. It is hard to think of more important lessons to spend your summer learning.”

Sharing their Gifts and Talents

This year the MIE scholars added a second culminating event to their final program day—a talent show. The talent show was orchestrated by Matteo Totime, and MIE student ambassador. The show included seven compelling performances that covered a wide range of talents, including singing, dancing, poetry, painting, and a rhythmic gymnastics routine.

MIE Scholar Leticia da Costa performs a rhythmic gymnastics routine
MIE Scholar Leticia da Costa performs a rhythmic gymnastics routine

Throughout the talent show, students and faculty were on their feet applauding and cheering for the performers. Our faculty delighted in seeing the group learn and perform just beyond their comfort zones.

Brian Stuhlman, the MIE Coordinator, shared, “We saw some students [such as those in the talent show] set goals for themselves in the program. For each of those explorers who made specific goals and made concerted efforts to address them over the two weeks, there was pronounced growth in confidence.”

Key Takeaways

In her closing remarks, Fishman-Weaver remixed several poems that students had authored with her in a writing workshop earlier in the week. In these remarks she referred to the students as borboletas, the Portuguese word for butterfly.

She said that following this program the students were set to fly to new adventures: Home is a place to which we return / but it is also a place we never leave. / So tonight, yes, everything is different. / Home is both now close and distant. / And now this place is known. / And now we are known and loved. / You, borboletas, are known, / you belong here and everywhere you choose to fly.

MIE students
The MIE Class of 2023 smiles for a final group selfie

Following the closing ceremony, the scholars spent their last evening together taking a sunset walk on campus, snapping photos, and holding fast to each other. The next morning, students started their journies home. They promised they would stay in touch. They committed to continue learning in the spirit of MIE.

Stuhlman hopes “that MIE explorers continue to hone their skills in exploration, in being curious and asking questions, and in making connections between their dreams and hopes and the realities that will exist in tomorrow’s job landscape.”

He also has hopes for future MIE programs. In fact, the team is already planning for MIE 2024. “My hope for next year,” says Stuhlman, “is that MIE thrives with intention and purpose, growing and enhancing those areas that are core to its goals.”