Mensa Foundation Scholarship Essay Contest 2023

Mensa Foundation Scholarship Essay Contest 2023

Mid-America Mensa is proud to be participating again this year in the Mensa Education and Research Foundation Scholarship Essay Contest. Entry forms are now available at: The application form is online; applicants will submit their essays at the Mensa website.

As in the past, applicants submit a 550-word essay describing their goals and aspirations. The essays selected by local judges will go on to be judged at the Regional and National levels for the awarding of scholarships. Any person who will be enrolled in an accredited US institution for the 2023-2024 academic year is eligible to participate. It is not necessary to be a member of Mensa. There is a separate competition for Mensans and their dependents, with details available at the same website. The deadline to participate is January 15th, 2023.

Many of the scholarships are unrestricted, meaning that all entrants will compete for them. There is also a number of restricted awards whose recipients must meet certain criteria. The following is a brief synopsis of those:

  • 4 Paws and a Tail ($1,000) – Restricted to graduate level studies or continuing education of an established Veterinarian
  • Bob and Mary Ann Cox Scholarship ($1,000) – For a student who has been out of formal education for a period of six or more years.
  • Carol Martinez Scholarship ($2,500) – Restricted to the field of information technology.
  • David Mann Scholarship ($2,000) – Study of aeronautical engineering or an aerospace field.
  • Don and Virginia Prince Scholarship ($600) – Must be a military veteran or spouse of a veteran.
  • Dr. Peter M. Kendall Science Scholarship ($600) – Restricted to the Natural Sciences including but not limited to Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Geology, Environmental Science, Forestry, Pre-Med, or Pre-Dentistry.
  • Thiel Memorial Scholarship ($600) – Study of natural sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology, environmental science, forestry, pre-med, pre-dentistry).
  • Greg Timmers Arts Education Scholarship ($600) – Fine Arts that can include applied arts such as architecture, photography, ceramics, and textiles.
  • Harper Fowley – Isolated M Award ($600) – Study for an undergraduate liberal arts degree (B.A. or A.A.).
  • Helen Kupper Scholarship ($600) – For a student pursuing a degree in the Fine Arts.
  • Margie Mandelblatt Award ($1,000) – Study in journalism.
  • Margot Seitelman Memorial Scholarship ($1,000) – Graduate student who plans a career in professional writing or teaching English grammar and/or writing.
  • Rita Levine Memorial Scholarship ($600) – For a female returning to school after any absence of seven or more years – may be re-enrolled at time of application.
  • Rosemary Greathouse Scholarship ($600) – For a student pursuing a degree in the Arts, including creative writing and journalism.
  • The Skinner HELL’s M’s Memorial Scholarship ($500) – Interpersonal communications, mediation, or related study.
  • STEM Scholarship ($2,000) – For natural and applied science, technology, and math majors (includes medical and health sciences majors).
  • The Sylvia Scholarship ($1,000) – For a woman pursuing a degree in the Natural Sciences or Mathematics.
  • Walt and Mary McGrew Scholarship for Veterans ($1,000) – For a veteran.
  • STEM Scholarship for Women ($7,000) – (Seven scholarships) – Restricted to the study of STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics for a female or transgender female.
  • CGM Health Careers Scholarship ($600) – Restricted to Medicine, Pharmacy, Veterinary Science, Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, Physical Therapy, or other Allied Health Fields
  • First Timers’ Grant ($1,000) – Affirm and declare that applicant is the first person in family to have earned more than twelve college credits.
  • Celebrating Racial Diversity ($1,000) – For a person of color.
  • Mark J Glancey & John G Gray LGBT Scholarship ($1,000) – For a student who openly identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
  • Ruth Ann Parvin Memorial Scholarship ($1,000) – (Six scholarships) – Education (pre-school through grade 12) including special education and gifted education.
  • Progress Pride Scholarship ($10,000) – Self-identify as both BIPOC and LGBTQ+. Demonstrated record of positive service to the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.

Please pass this information on to anyone you know who might be interested. Questions should be addressed to Rhonda Johnston at (913)671-8736 or by email at [email protected].

Election Soon of MAM’s 2023-2024 Board Members

Mid-America Mensa (MAM) will be electing a new Board of Directors soon. MAM’s Nominating Committee has chosen the following Board member nominees for their slate of board officers:

LocSec — Curt Krambeck
1st Vice President — Rob Swenson
2nd Vice President — Cynthia Heller
Secretary — Jean Matzeder Plumb
Treasurer — Diana Dyer
1st Member at Large — Anita Ford
2nd Member at Large — Kitty Solbrig

MAM’s Nominating Committee will meet from 6:30 to 7:00 pm via Zoom on January 11th, one day prior to the MAM Board meeting scheduled for January 12th, 2023, to present the slate to the Election Committee.

MAM’s Nominating Committee is responsible for submitting a slate of officers at the Nominating Meeting to be held no later than January 15th. There is also an option for making nominations from the floor, but some stipulations apply, so it is important to review the requirements in the MAM Bylaws if you may be interested.

According to Mid-America Mensa Bylaws (Article IV — Election Procedures, Part 4):

“Additional nominations may be made from the floor at the nominating meeting by any member in good standing and must be seconded by another such member. Nominations may also be submitted in writing, and seconded in writing, by mail, prior to the nominating meeting. Such nominations shall be sent to the chair of the Nominating Committee at an address printed along with the notice of the nominating meeting in the local publication.”

“Any additional nominees shall confirm in writing their willingness to serve, no later than the time and date of the nominating meeting.”

If there is only one nominee for any position, the Election Committee will announce the nominee to be elected ‘by acclamation’. If there is more than one nominee for any position, the MAM Election Committee will be responsible for conducting an election in accordance with the group Bylaws.

Hunting for the Haunted

Editor’s Note: This article was previously published on this website on October 13th, 2018. Happy Halloween!

So, as to not cast any shadows on the whole concept and theory of occult studies, let me begin by introducing you to a psychic investigator and a former member of Mensa, Maurice Schwalm. Maurice Schwalm passed away on January 3, 2001 at the age of 72 years. Yet, he spent many years and much of his life as a member of the American Society of Psychical Research and the Mensa Education & Research Foundation (MERF). His Occult Studies Special Interest Group (SIG) was somehow connected with Mensa – but his bright fame was from the mark, or impression, he placed upon the public through radio, literature, and other news outlets. Something of a ghost was nearly always present in his work whether in pictures that he captured with his camera (with a “ghost hand” inside, he felt) or in the writings he left to us. Supernatural images could be found from premonitions of the Hyatt Regency skywalk collapse to Polaroid shots of people dancing where there was no one physically present.

During the ‘70s and ‘80s, the spirits must have been more active. A series of Mr. Schwalm’s occult studies were published as articles in the Mension (the official newsletter of Mid-America Mensa). Around Halloween every year, local news reporters would consult with our resident expert, Mr. Schwalm. Also, the Johnson County Library has multiple copies of Maurice Schwalm’s collected papers in the vertical files at the Central Resource Branch. Just look for the folder marked ‘Haunted Places – KC Area’. Or, check out his book ‘Mo-Kan Ghosts: The Casebook of a Kansas City Psychic Investigator’. Whether it’s fact or fiction depends upon your own system of belief and your best perception of things.

In the meantime, have some fun this Halloween with whatever you are wanting to do. Oh, and by the way, Mid-America Mensa is hosting a Halloween party as it does almost every year at this time. Gather up your friends, grab a costume and a few props (and maybe a good, reliable recording device!), and search for yourself for that which has never been seen or heard before. Whether the supernatural is a paranormal haunting or something else entirely is going to be strictly a matter of your interpretation and opinion.

Sources (which are no longer available):

LibAnswers –
Ghost Dance –
Haunted Kansas City –

Attention: MAM Wins Sapphire Award!

Mid-America Mensa (MAM) received some well-deserved recognition during the recent 2022 American Mensa Annual Gathering.  In Class II, MAM was awarded a SAPPHIRE for a variety of its activities and accomplishments — earned by the local group as a whole.  Basically, local groups can earn points for “membership-related activities and for active participation in all that Mensa has to offer to positively impact the experience of the Local Group members”.  This award is the culmination of points earned during the fiscal year just completed for April 2021 – March 2022.  For more about this, see:  Jewel Awards Criteria,

Awards like this one from American Mensa are like a precious gemstone because they show a certain degree of bright, active participation and glowing vitality that are so greatly needed by a living, breathing social organization.  We have achieved the SAPPHIRE level of recognition for several years now which perhaps indicates a stable core group of core members who continue to build the story of Mid-America Mensa and with a high level of service to MAM’s members from year to year.  In addition, MAM continues to foster the diversity and growth of our entire membership by hosting diverse local activities and events.  Cabin Fever, held early in the year, is one such event.  Truly, we must like each other well enough to stick around with each other in Mid-America Mensa.  Belonging to MAM continues to be time well spent by our members.  So, congratulations to Mid-America Mensa for winning this American Mensa Local Group Jewel award!

2022 Jewel Sapphire Award

In Memoriam: Karen Larkin

It was with shock and dismay that we learned of Karen Larkin’s passing. Karen passed away on Saturday, June 11th, 2022. She was a good friend to many of us personally and to Mid-America Mensa (MAM). Her support for MAM goes back many years including serving as: Scholarship Chair, Day Trip SIG, Testing Coordinator, Member-at-Large, Young M Coordinator, 1st Vice President, LocSec, and KCPT Volunteer Coordinator. Karen was an avid reader, and she also organized the Book Lovers SIG for Mid-America Mensa. For a while, Karen was the head Proctor for MAM and as Mension editor Diana Dyer recently recalled:

“Karen was the first card-carrying Mensan I had ever met. The stars lined up just right in 1985 when I decided to see if I could join Mensa, when Karen was then a Proctor. I called, she answered. We had a great multi-faceted conversation about shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings, but she couldn’t find a date to test that was compatible with my work schedule. Karen offered to let me come to her home (which is no longer allowed) to test on a Sunday in July. Caring and always going the extra mile. That’s just how she was.” ~ Diana Dyer

Like Diana, when Tim Larkin decided in 1990 to “try out” for Mensa, Karen proctored his test. Fortunately for Tim, it seems Karen also thought it fortunate. When Tim did join six months later Karen most definitely remembered him. Tim hoped by joining Mensa he would find a like-minded person with whom he might develop a relationship and maybe build a life. Those dreams began to come true for him when he volunteered to help with the 1991 AG in Kansas City. Diana Dyer pointed him in Karen’s direction and, as Tim says, “Thank you to Diana with all my heart for doing that!!” Karen was the light of Tim’s life and a wonderful friend, partner, and lover for 31 fantastic years – 29 of which were after he conned her into marrying him.

Karen was born in KCK in 1946 and graduated from Wyandotte High School in 1963. She had graduated from Kansas State Teachers College – which is now Emporia State University – in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in Education. She later went on with continuing her formal learning and earned a master’s degree in Gifted Education. Karen was a teacher starting with History and Social Studies in the Shawnee Mission School District where she devoted 33 years of her life to her students. As a high school teacher, Karen was a natural fit to be Young M Coordinator too. She loved her job, she loved her students, and they loved her back, keeping in touch over the years.

Karen passed away after a brief bout with brain cancer – most likely metastasized breast cancer she survived from 22 years earlier. She is survived by her brother Richard Conklin and his wife Elaine, and her husband Tim. Rest in peace, my Sweet Karen! Karen’s life will be celebrated in late summer 2022.

Karen Larkin

Theodore Talk: Sam Levey

Theodore Talk: Sam Levey

On the Sunday afternoon of March 27th, 2022, at roughly 2:30 pm, Sam Levey, who is a PhD student of Economics & Public Administration at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and who, in addition, has several other fascinating interests like he once was a physics major, he is able to play saxophone, and he aspires to eventually become a university professor/lecturer, presented his Theodore Talk lecture titled National Debt: Why You’ve Got It All Backwards (An Introduction to Modern Monetary Theory) to about 40-45 Mensa members and friends via Zoom. This lecture was a very fascinating discussion about changing how we think with something as big as $30 trillion of national (US) debt. Here Sam Levey, who also is founder of Deficit Owls which is an online Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) advocacy group, tried to make a lot of quick sense on a difficult subject while driving down the middle of the road of our ability to understand it.

First, we need to understand that MMT is a heterodox branch of macroeconomics having many influences from other people and their own philosophical ways of thinking about money. A few early views about money are almost common-sensical. We know that debt relationships and units of accounting pre-date writing. During that time perhaps was the barter system which some think evolved into money as a medium of exchange. So, then, how did markets originate? Some think it was through gift giving and/or by council of elders. Other monetary theories have come along since then: Chartalism (‘taxes drive money’) and Functional Finance (FF) are among all of those where money seems to be a creature of the state. Money is just a recording device, or a record of our debt relationships.

However, we need to realize that treasury bonds are just a form of government debt. Money is now the debt relationship, or an intangible social relationship. Government is the central authority of money and taxation, and it has control of the system. In MMT, the government spends first, then borrows and taxes. Spending creates money, and bond sales and tax payments destroy money. Of course, there will be impacts such as inflation and unemployment. [Editor’s note: See discussion of Job Guarantee and the labor standard for more information on how currency is anchored to the value of labor.] But MMT policy analysis briefly states that: ‘anything that’s technically feasible is financially affordable’. So, surely, we still need to consider the availability of our technical resources such as workers, tools, raw materials, and know-how. Also, monetary sovereignty is what allows a government to create its own currency.

In conclusion, we will always be better off discussing the various policy frameworks rather than talking about assumptions which assume their own conclusions/outcomes. Economists have reached this belief because we do not have any good models to predict what monetary instruments like interest rates will do and how operations will behave. Sam Levey wrapped his talk up by answering a good number of interesting audience questions. Also, he provided a short list of ways to get further information about MMT. He suggested a few books authored by leading economists, including a textbook, videos, and academic articles.


     The Deficit Myth — Stephanie Kelton
     Modern Monetary Theory — L. Randall Wray
     The 7 Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy — Warren Mosler
     The Case for Job Guarantee — Pavlina Tcherneva
     Macroeconomics — Mitchell, Wray, and Watts
     See Deficit Owls on YouTube