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Scouts to learn invention skills at first-ever Invention Jamboree

by Dean Minderman

Scouts from all over the USA will get a chance to exercise their creativity with a variety of tools and technologies at the first-ever Invention Jamboree, presented by the Great Rivers Council from Friday, September 13 through Sunday, September 15 at the Lake of the Ozarks Scout Reservation in Gravois Mills, MO.

Taking advantage of the Reservation’s unique features. Scouts attending the event will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience with everything from 3-D printers and aerial drones to welding and woodworking equipment at the Jamboree’s participatory Invention Stations. Attendees also will get to meet working inventors; see invention-related exhibits; and take part in an optional invention competition.

The main activity of the Jamboree will be the Invention Stations, which will be grouped into three “paths” named after famous Missouri inventors George Washington Carver, Edwin Hubble, and James Fergason.

Each path has its own theme and will include four stations, letting Scouts participate in activities including robotics, welding, blacksmithing, woodworking, graphic design, shooting, climbing, flying radio-controlled drones, conducting search-and-rescue operations using geospatial mapping, and more.

All groups also will spend time in the reservation’s Sinquefield Invention Lab, which serves as the center of the council’s Invention Campus and Invention Scout program and offers access to equipment including 3-D printers, computer-controlled C&C machines, laser engravers, and more.

The optional Invention Competition will provide an opportunity for Scouts and adult leaders to showcase their own inventions, with separate divisions for each, and prizes and plaques for the top three places.

Participants will have the opportunity to explain, demonstrate and get feedback on their work from a panel of judges including professional inventor Steve Goldstein and Dr. Rob Duncan, former vice chancellor of research at the University of Missouri and currently professor and distinguished chair in physics at Texas Tech.

Located on the Osage Arm of Lake of the Ozarks near Laurie, Missouri, the Lake of the Ozarks Scout Reservation includes 450 acres and a mile and one-half of shoreline. The premier Scout camp in the Midwest, the reservation encompasses 13 scenic campsites for year-round use; a state-of-the-art swimming pool; facilities for climbing, shooting sports, and more; and the Sinquefield Invention Lab, the only facility of its kind at any Scout camp in the nation.

With headquarters in Columbia, MO, the Great Rivers Council of Scouts BSA serves youth and adults in 33 counties in central and northeast Missouri. The Council’s Invention Scouts program is made possible by generous support from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

The Invention Jamboree is presented by the Great Rivers Council and is co-sponsored by the Missouri Innovation Center and the Buttonwood Business Center. The Jamboree is open to members of Scouts BSA, Venture Scouts and Explorers from all Councils. For more information or to register, please visit http://www.bsa-grc.org/.

May 2019
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University of Missouri launches competitive chess team

by Dean Minderman

Officials of the University of Missouri have announced the launch of a competitive chess team with help from a grant of nearly $800,000 from the Saint Louis Chess Club.

Christian Chirila (pictured), a 28-year-old grandmaster from Romania who has won chess titles and tournaments all over the world, will coach the team. He already has begun recruiting undergraduate and graduate players from around the world to compete in intercollegiate chess competitions for Mizzou starting this fall. These players will get university scholarships, live and practice together in dedicated space in Respect Hall, and travel to competitions throughout the year.

“Mizzou is home to top athletic teams, and I am planning for the MU Chess Team to continue that tradition of excellence and be a top competitor from year one,” said Chirila, who attended the University of Texas at Dallas on a chess scholarship and had been coaching chess in the Bay Area of California.

According to a news release, as the program is developed, Mizzou will collaborate with the Saint Louis Chess Club to become a chess resource for the state of Missouri. There are plans to develop chess summer camps, state and national high school chess tournaments, distance-learning courses on chess, and chess teacher certifications. The university also is interested in hosting new collegiate events in cooperation with the U.S. Chess Federation to create more opportunities for collegiate players to compete.

“The MU Chess Team is a welcome addition to the Mizzou family,” said Patricia Okker, dean of the College of Arts and Science, which will be the team’s academic home. “Chess teaches important skills, such as logic and focus, that everyone needs. Learning more about this sport will benefit the entire university and community.”

Opened in 2008, the Saint Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center and the World Chess Hall of Fame provide extensive educational and competitive opportunities that have made chess synonymous with Missouri, and have led some to call St. Louis “the chess capital of the world.”

“The Saint Louis Chess Club is thrilled to partner with the University of Missouri and is looking forward to working with the team as we continue to grow and advance chess,” said Rex Sinquefield, who co-founded the club with his wife, Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, and serves as its president.

March 2019
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Sinquefield Charitable Foundation gives
$2.5 million to Mizzou New Music Initiative

by Dean Minderman

The Sinquefield Charitable Foundation is continuing its support for the Mizzou New Music Initiative with a new gift of $2.5 million to fund MNMI’s operations for the next three years.

Announced by University of Missouri officials in a news conference on Thursday, February 21, the gift will support all of MNMI’s activities, including the costs of faculty and staff, graduate student assistantships, and two full-tuition scholarships per year for undergraduate composition majors; presenting the Mizzou International Composers Festival; bringing guest composers and performers to campus; funding the Sinquefield Composition Prize; and more. The University will match the $300,000 portion designated for undergraduate student scholarships, increasing the amount to a grand total of $600,000.

Speakers at the gift announcement event included Mizzou chancellor Alexander Cartwright; Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation; Pat Okker, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences; and Julia Gaines, director of the School of Music. The presentation also included video testimonials from Mizzou composition alumni Grant Fonda, Stephanie Berg and Trey Makler, talking about the opportunities they’ve gained from being part of MNMI.

A brief slide show of photos from the past ten years featured some numbers quantifying what MNMI has done during that time, noting that 70 students have received full scholarships and assistantships; 505 pieces of new music have been performed or created by Mizzou composers; and 164 guest composers and performers of new music have visited campus, including three Pulitzer Prize winners and four Grammy Award winners.

Attendees also enjoyed a performance of sophomore composition major Jack Snelling’s “Stream of Consciousness” (pictured), conducted by the composer and performed by flutist Jane Wang, clarinetist Tricia Carver-Horner, and pianist Danny Singh.

The event was reported in a feature story in the Columbia Missourian, and also got coverage from KOMU, the Columbia Daily Tribune, and various other media outlets around the state. You can see the entire gift announcement event in the embedded video player below.

February 2019
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$2.5 million to Mizzou New Music Initiative