Governor’s Scholars Program provides unique and valuable learning experience

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Most of the year, the campus of Morehead State University is populated with thousands of Eagle students pursuing their dream of a college education. However, for a few weeks over the summer, the faces seen on campus are a bit younger but no less ambitious.

This year, MSU once again served as a host university for the Governor’s Scholars Program. It brings some of best and brightest rising high school seniors from across the Bluegrass State to campus for a truly unique learning experience.

A Different Kind of Classroom
This year, of the roughly 1,000 total scholars chosen to participate in the Governor’s Scholars Program (GSP) across three campuses, 372 students from 99 Kentucky counties came to MSU. Each of these students was nominated as juniors by their respective high school guidance counselors and underwent an extensive application and interview process. As participants in this part of this free program, they are experiencing something far from the normal class curriculum.

“We look at the program as an intellectual experience more so than an academic one,” said Charlie Myers, MSU’s campus director for GSP.

During the five-week residential program, which runs from June 15 through July 19, there are no tests, no grades and no final evaluations. Instead, students are treated to somewhat unconventional classes and teaching methods, whether they are learning math through the Japanese art of origami, building telescopes in astronomy class or spending a class learning importance of failure and the lessons that can be learned from it.

Throughout the program, the scholars are visited by speakers from many areas of expertise. One week, it could be a concert pianist. Another week, it could be a journalist or a government official. With each class and event, Myers hopes the GSP provides something different.

“It’s an opportunity to learn for the pure joy of learning as much as anything else,” Myers said.

Learning to Serve
As interesting and enjoyable the classroom component is in GSP, it is only part of what makes the program so valuable to these young students.
Scholars spend an almost equal amount of time outside of the classroom doing service projects for organizations in the Eastern Kentucky region. Some have volunteered at the veteran’s expo in Ashland. Others helped organize blood drives or visited nursing homes. Throughout their time in GSP, they learn the true value of community service.

“We feel that it’s an important part of being a leader,” Myers said.

A Lasting Connection
Another important component to the GSP experience is the social aspect. Many of the students come in as strangers and leave with life-long friendships. Plus, it gives these gifted high schoolers five weeks getting to know what it feels like to live like an MSU Eagle.

“This is a college experience,” said Melisa Patrick, community service and marketing coordinator for the Center for Regional Engagement. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to show these top-notch students our university and what we have to offer.”

The students who are fortunate enough to be a part of the GSP not only leave with a life-changing experience, but they leave with newly realized vision and capabilities to go out and pursue their dreams and make a positive impact on their community.

“The whole point of the Governor’s Scholars Program is to show students the possibilities and potential for their successful lives here,” Patrick said. “It empowers them with what their abilities are but also shows them what they need to do to contribute.”

For more information on the Governor’s Scholars Program, go to