Foundation, Financial Aid Office Award Tornado Scholarships

October 11, 2011

CONTACT: Mike Fontana

JOPLIN, MO (SNS) - Four Missouri Southern students have been awarded scholarships related to the May 22 Joplin tornado.

The Missouri Southern Foundation announced that it has awarded scholarships of $1,000 each to Justin Baird, junior Mass Communications major from Kansas City, Mo., and Kylie Schiermeier, senior Nursing major from Joplin.  

The MSSU Office of Financial Aid has awarded two additional tornado-related scholarships of $1,000 each to Miranda Christensen, sophomore Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement major from Joplin and Tiana Clemons, freshman Psychology/Public Relations major from Joplin.

Recipients were selected based on demonstrated financial need prior to the tornado, losses due to the tornado, and community service after the tornado.

Baird’s residence was damaged by the tornado. He helped dig people out of the 26 Street area apartments and houses the whole week after the tornado.

Schiermeier was trapped inside the Wal-Mart store on 15th Street in Joplin during the tornado. She distributed sandwiches and quilts to victims in the weeks afterward.

Christensen’s home was considered a total loss and the address is now an empty lot.

For several weeks after the tornado, she assisted her elderly neighbors in cleaning up their property and salvaging their belongings.

Clemons experienced damage to her home, loss of vehicle and loss of job. She assisted tornado victims over the summer by distributing supplies through various sites.

A committee of representatives from the Missouri Southern Foundation and the MSSU Financial Aid, Student Affairs and Human Resources Departments made the award decisions for both sets of scholarships. 

A grant from The 11-10-02 Foundation made the Foundation awards possible. 

The Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel made the Financial Aid awards possible.

In addition to these scholarships, both the Missouri Southern Foundation and the MSSU Financial Aid office have previously distributed tornado-related funds. 

The Foundation created the Tornado Emergency Relief Fund which, to-date, has been responsible for over $40,000 in grants to faculty, staff and students impacted by the tornado. Donations to the Fund came from donors from Joplin to Japan. 

Financial Aid has distributed additional grants totaling approximately $15,000 to students similarly impacted. The latter funds were donated by USA Funds.

For more information, contact Mike Fontana, Missouri Southern Foundation, at 417.659.4436 or email