Celebrating 25 years of Vasey Academy

The program from the Trulaske College of Business is aimed at enriching the lives of students from underrepresented groups.

April 11, 2023
The Vasey Academy at the University of Missouri Trulaske College of Business recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, marking a quarter-century of enriching the lives of students from underrepresented groups. Established in 1997, the Vasey Academy provides corporate mentorship and exposure to executives, career coaching and scholarship opportunities.

Vasey Academy Scholars have access to a variety of resources to assist them with their academic goals and career readiness, including a seminar course to build networking strategies, financial literacy, exposure to corporate executives and public speaking skills through experiential learning. Since its inception, the Vasey Academy has enriched over 900 students with opportunities to develop their careers and achieve their academic goals. Hear from a few academy alumni.

Alexis Butler

Senior Program Manager, Corporation for Supportive Housing
Kansas City, Missouri

How did you discover the Vasey Academy, and what attracted you to the program?

My first touch point with the Vasey Academy was during my time as an undergraduate looking to change my major. I came to Trulaske and quickly connected with students studying all types of business, which gave me insight into what I could get from the business school, and that solidified my joining the Vasey Academy and studying marketing.

I had immediate access to people who deeply cared about my success and, in some regards, really walked hand-in-hand with me as it related to not only my business school education, but getting the most out of my time at the University of Missouri. I am deeply grateful for the Vasey Academy and the network it has given me throughout my career at Mizzou and beyond.

Daryl Smith

Associate Teaching Professor, Trulaske College of Business
Columbia, Missouri

What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing education at Trulaske and/or with the Vasey Academy?

I tell students to be well-rounded, and I advocate for being a generalist. Try different things, because studies show that the generalist often succeeds. Choose a variety of courses, do a lot of different things, and get involved with student organizations.

Specific to the Vasey Academy, whether it is the coursework or the experiential elements of the program, we try to give students different experiences. All of them contribute to student success and professional development, and it gets them ready for their careers.

Mike Weiss

Managing Director, EY
Chesterfield, Missouri

How has the one-on-one mentoring aspect of the Vasey Academy, which involves business executives from companies like EY, positively impacted participating students?

The Vasey Academy is focused on supporting students who may feel a little out of place, retain them at the university, help them thrive within the Trulaske College of Business and enable their success. These students come from underrepresented groups, meaning there are not a whole lot of people that they can look to at the University and say, “Oh, you're just like me.” Because of this, they may be more hesitant to ask for help; they may have unique challenges; they may hesitate to be honest about the challenges that they're facing.

The Vasey Academy breaks down these barriers, enabling the students’ success. They can speak freely because others in the room are in the same situation. So, it's a lot of technical and professional skills development, but also a lot of focus on breaking down those barriers and understanding the obstacles to their success, then helping them overcome them.

Read more from the Trulaske College of Business

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