News & Notes

March, named for Mars by the Romans who highly valued their military might, breathes life back into the world. It’s the month when we observe the vernal equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere and when we begin to see the leaves start to bud. Also, it’s sort of like a renewed quest for culture here in the heart of America where we’ve learned that MAM’s CultureQuest® team (2020) placed 13th and well within the top 20 of all other teams. Congratulations!

Ad Astra Mensa via Zoom

Ad Astra Mensa (Topeka, Lawrence, and environs) met virtually via Zoom on February 8th. Topics discussed included Covid-19, availability of vaccines, effectiveness of vaccines, prevention and curing, Super Bowl, halftime show, history and evolution of computers, cookies, toolmaking function of humans and animals, education, tendency of different people to see things differently, language, weather, QAnon, cults and conspiracies, politics, ghost hunting, and other matters, some controversial, some not.

If you are interested in discussing these or other topics, please join Ad Astra Mensa when we meet again virtually via Zoom on Monday, March 8 at 7:00 pm.

Mensa Foundation Scholarship Judges Needed for Region 7

Regional Judges are needed for the 2020–2021 Mensa Education and Research Foundation Scholarship Essay Contest in Region 7. Judging involves reading essays submitted by scholarship applicants and scoring them for points to determine the winners. Regional judging will be conducted online over email and will take place between February 23, 2021 and March 30, 2021.

We are looking for people who have not been judges for any of the local groups in Region 7 for the 2020–2021 competition. Judges may judge at either the local or regional level but may not do both in the same region.

Spring Salon

We’re experimenting with another new twist on an old favorite. The old favorite is a Salon where everyone gets together to share their thoughts and ideas on a particular subject. The first new twist was to add a time-keeper to keep the conversation flowing and on its toes. The next generation twist is to take it virtual instead of in person.

MAMs have never been known to be boring and this is the place to show it. Send along your ideas and time and date preferences. We’ll see how many people we can accommodate.

News & Notes

If you’re looking for love in February, then you’re in the right place. Mid-America Mensa (MAM) members love having good food, health, and interesting conversations with other MAM members as well as other people in general. Among all of the new and interesting things happening around Mid-America Mensa in February are a review of (and look ahead to) the Ad Astra Mensa meeting via Zoom; plus, Ethnic Eats and more about this year’s Mensa Foundation scholarship essay contest are featured.

On January 11th, Ad Astra Mensa (Topeka, Lawrence, and environs) met virtually via Zoom. Topics of discussion included the assault on the U.S. Capitol, the news media, the meaning of truth, the importance of seeing other people’s points of view, whether there is an objective reality, walking a mile in the other person’s moccasins, the Covid-19 pandemic and how people are coping with it, use of face masks and face shields, the manipulation and reliability of data, family, and the holidays. Long-time Topeka Mensan Dr. Irving Cohen announced forthcoming publication of his latest book, Fighting Covid-19: The Unequal Opportunity Killer. Advance orders of the book are being handled through a GoFundMe campaign with a copy mailed as soon as available (3-4 weeks) for a $20 donation. That URL is: Ad Astra Mensa will meet again virtually via Zoom on Monday, February 8th at 7:00 pm.

Also, in January, MAM members zoomed in to celebrate the New Year and winter season with a span of soups circling the globe; for example: a Thai basil soup from Whole Foods, Vietnam Cafe’s Pho Do Bien, a gumbo from Southern Kitchen, and a farm-style tomato soup partnered with grilled cheese sandwiches cut in more or less mathematically accurate triangles. Because February and Valentine’s Day go together, we’ll think of Valentine-style dishes from the various ethnic cultures we enjoy. Ethnic Eats will meet again next via Zoom on Saturday, February 13th at 1:00 pm. MAM members: Look for the details for this event in the February Mension.

Finally, in February, our scholarship judges will be busily scoring every applicant’s 550-word goal statement. Judging involves reading essays submitted by scholarship applicants and scoring them with points to determine the winners. For those who may be participating in this Mensa activity, remember: “It’s not just about rhetoric, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The judges look for evidence of capability, determination, and that all-important grit that scholars will need in tough times.” (RVC7 Rich Olcott) Judges may judge at either the local or regional level but may not do both in the same region. Good luck to all!

News & Notes

As the last hours and minutes of 2020 arrive and leave us for the new year of 2021, hopefully we are all looking ahead to a new year full of marked improvements. In a 2020 hindsight, it seems as if any change in the current state of affairs will be an improvement for most of us across Mid-America Mensa (MAM) as well as for our friends around the globe. Will the promise and hope of a vaccine for resisting the novel coronavirus and fighting symptoms of COVID-19 sustain us through early 2021 and beyond? Many of us think so, I imagine. What else is there that could possibly happen in and around MAM and the world to make our human lives better and not worse?


In January, let’s have a bit of an adventure; the theme will be soup and the challenge will be for each of us to choose one variety from whichever world region that inspires us. It doesn’t have to be homemade. It can be takeout from a local restaurant or procured by any other (legal) means. MAM members, check out your copy of the January 2021 Mension for all of the related, ‘sip and slurp’ Zoom meeting details.


If you or one of yours is looking forward to starting a course of post-secondary education, January is the deadline for Mensa scholarship applications <> and the start of the essay judging process. Because of the efforts of the Scholarship Chairs and all the Local Group and Regional judges who carefully score all those 550-word essays, and also for the contributions of our generous donors, American Mensa will once again ease education funding for more than 150 deserving winners.

In addition, MAM’s Local Group scholarship judging for the coming year will be conducted solely online. Luckily, last year we got some experience with the new and improved Mensa scholarship online judging process. Our whiz-bang scholarship national officers and staff took in all of our suggestions for improvement, and we’re looking forward to a smoother, more enjoyable process this year.


At this time, Mid-America Mensa has suspended in-person testing by our MAM volunteers, so we’re happy to see a new option available to those who are interested. The Private Testing program is a supplement to the Local Group testing program. We hope to resume our Local Group testing sometime in 2021, but until then, prospective new Mensa members should check out the Private Testing option.

Mensa Scholarships

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, and applicants will submit their essays at the Mensa website.

As in past years interested applicants will submit a 550-word essay describing their goals and aspirations. The essays selected by our 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 2021–2022 academic year is eligible to participate. It is not necessary to be a member of Mensa. There is a separate competition for Mensa members and their dependents, with details available at the same website. The deadline to participate is January 15, 2021.

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 summary 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 ($500) – 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, 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.
  • Lester London Award ($600) – Graduate study in history.
  • 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 ($600) – For a woman pursuing a degree in the Natural Sciences or Mathematics.
  • Walt and Mary McGrew Scholarship for Veterans ($1,000) – For a veteran.

The following are restricted scholarships which are new this year!

  • Stem Scholarship for Women ($7,000) – (Four 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 in excess of twelve college credits.
  • Celebrating Racial Diversity ($1,000) – For a person of color.

Election Soon of MAM’s 2021-2022 Board Members

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

LocSec — Kim Jackowski
1st Vice President — Cynthia Heller
2nd Vice President — Brad Lucht
Secretary — Curt Krambeck
Treasurer — Shawn Dyer
1st Member at Large — Larry Cork
2nd Member at Large — Anita Ford

MAM’s Nominating Committee will meet at 6:30 pm just prior to the MAM Board meeting scheduled for January 14th, 2021, to present their slate as is.

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 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.

Joining a MAM Zoom Meeting

Joining a MAM instant meeting via email is simple!

First, you need to download the Zoom client app:

  • Directly from <> or, on the other hand, you may be invited; so,
  • Download the desktop client app by link.

What else is required?

You will need a Meeting Identifier. This is a 9, 10, or 11 -digit number. Other numbers may be required as needed.

Then, can you open your Zoom client?

If so, then you can: ‘Join a Meeting’.

In addition, you may have to enter the Meeting ID, your display name, & a passcode number.

Select other features as desired.

Then, click ‘Join’.

In conclusion, there are going to be many ways to join an online Zoom meeting (or party), but don’t feel at all frustrated by it when you get invited. There are many options you will never use.

Remember: Keep your background un-distracting, your mic muted sometimes, and be sure to use gallery view mostly.

Source info for this MAM article was from as follows (accessed on November 27, 2020) —