Apr 7, 2006    #068
Contact: Michelle Hopkins

Luis Panameno of KCK named Trustees' Scholar at UMKC, earning full, four-year scholarship

Luis Panameno , a senior at J. C. Harmon High School in Kansas City, Kan., will receive more than $60,000 in scholarship/corporate sponsorships over four years as Trustees’ Scholar at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, beginning in the fall 2006 semester.

Each year, UMKC names ten academically gifted and accomplished entering freshmen as Trustees’ Scholars. The UMKC Board of Trustees created the scholarship program to support the University in attracting the best and the brightest students to the campus.

Each Trustees’ Scholar receives an aid package valued at more than $60,000 over four years. For the first two years, the package covers educational fees, room & board and books. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees, $2,000 for room & board, and books, as well as an internship opportunity with a corporate sponsor. This opportunity has an estimated value of another $6,800 per year.

To qualify for the Trustees’ Scholars Program, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: a minimum ACT Composite score of 30; rank in the top 5 percent of the graduating class; or a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll fulltime, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years.

Panameno, who emigrated from El Salvador in 2002, was lauded by Toni Zaner, enrollment services coordinator at UMKC, for “accomplishing more in his three years in America than some students accomplish in their entire educational career.”

In the brief time since arriving in the U.S., Panameno has managed to learn English, earn membership in the National Honor Society through academic excellence, hold a non-paying internship in the KCK office of U.S Congressman Dennis Moore and a paid internship at Dos Mundos bilingual newspaper serving Kansas City’s Hispanic community.

In another particularly notable accomplishment, Panameno won first place in the 2nd annual BizFest 2005, an intensive entrepreneurial training program/competition held at Aquila in Kansas City last March and sponsored by Aquila, General Motors, Sprint, UMKC, Kansas City Kansas Community College, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and others.

Panameno went on to compete at the national level in the BizFest 2005 event sponsored by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – the only high school student in the U.S. to do so – and won third place in competition with numerous college-level national and international participants. His business plan for a new Hispanic community business, along with his enthusiasm and positive attitude, were extolled.

Immediately following BizFest 2005, Panameno became a member of Latinos of Tomorrow (LOT), a Kansas City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce organization that provides networking, internship, mentoring, job shadowing and related opportunities to Hispanic youth ages 14 to 20. Panameno’s work with LOT has been steadfast and exemplary to the extent that he was selected to become a member of the LOT Leadership Council his senior year.

When Panameno enters UMKC in the fall of 2006, he will have his eye on a degree in international business. “I aspire to be an international businessman so I can travel around the world and experience all the different cultures,” Panameno said. “I have business running through my veins. I plan to create my own business, to help people and make a difference in the world.”

Luis is the son of Luis Rene Panameno Ayala and Sofia Esperanza Cubias de Panameno and the nephew of Ana Panameno (his aunt who, he says, has been like a mother to him).

The 2006-2007 Trustees Scholars and their parents are invited to a reception in Kansas City April 28 to honor new and graduating UMKC Trustees' Scholars.

For more information about the UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program for the 2007-2008 academic year or an application, please contact Richie Bigham, assistant director of admissions, (816) 235-6138.


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