Published on March 13, 2019
Updated on Sep. 27, 2021
When Freshman Bailey McCann found out that she had been chosen for the Brazeal Honors College Endowed Diversity, Scholarship, she was at a total loss for words. She was an incoming freshman from Houston and beyond thrilled to be accepted into this prestigious group of students.
“Being selected as a Brazeal Scholar was the best feeling ever,” McCann said. “There isn’t a word to describe how excited I was. I felt really proud of myself.”
As the Brazeal Scholar for MU Class of 2022, McCann receives a scholarship for her full cost of tuition, opportunities for research and study abroad programs, and guidance from previous Brazeal Scholars. This honor is given to one student from each class at MU and is sponsored by Jim and Cathy Brazeal.
For McCann, being named a Brazeal Scholars is an achievement she never anticipated. In fact, she hadn’t even planned on applying for the program until Dr. J.D. Bowers, Honors College Director, encouraged her to do so. She thought it was a long-shot, but she applied. Soon enough, she was chosen, and her path at MU was changed forever. She officially enrolled and started her academic career at MU in the fall of 2018 at a biochemistry major.
McCann has already begun her research and is currently working with Dr. Xiao Heng to study the replication of HIV and HPV viruses. While she says there are many benefits to her scholarship, the opportunities in research have been McCann’s favorite part.
“It’s been really interesting getting first-hand experience at research,” McCann said. “Working in the research lab with Dr. Heng and her graduate students has been my favorite perk of the scholarship so far.”
Like most freshman, McCann had to get acclimated to college life. However, between her friends in Mark Twain, previous Brazeal Scholars and Honors College faculty, she feels supported at MU.
“Getting adjusted to college life hasn’t always been easy, but I have been able to seek resources, like tutors, previous scholars and the writing center,” McCann said. “I don’t feel alone in this process of getting adjusted.”
As the end of her freshman year approaches, McCann reflected on the growth she has experienced since coming to MU. Though she faced challenges, she said she overcame these difficulties by keeping a positive attitude and staying motivated by her goals.
“No matter what you choose to do, it will be difficult at times,” McCann said. “However, you will feel so great when you accomplish your goals. That’s how I felt when I received the Brazeal Scholarship. I thought, ‘Wow. I did this for myself.’ It’s an amazing feeling to accomplish something for yourself.”