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UCS grad earns prestigious full ride scholarship to MSU, other top honors
UCS grad earns prestigious full ride scholarship to MSU, other top honors
Posted on 05/19/2020
Graduation photo of Leo BarriosThe academic hits just keep coming for Utica Community Schools senior Leo Barrios.

Barrios, of Eisenhower High School, has placed among a select number of U.S. and international students to earn a full Michigan State University scholarship based on outstanding academics. The full ride scholarship comes on top of a Professorial Assistantship offer from MSU and a National Merit MSU scholarship.

Barrios also received the Presidential Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, selection to this year’s Macomb County Academic Dream Team, the Eisenhower Senior French Department Award, the Eisenhower Senior Mathematics Department Award, and he is an AP Scholar with Distinction.

“These awards offer both the relief of not having to worry about student loans and the chance to experience a more elevated level of learning. The Professorial Assistantship provides a unique opportunity to connect with MSU faculty and attain a deeper understanding of the subject matter,” Barrios said. 

Barrios will be studying molecular genetics and genetic modification as one of MSU’s top 15 incoming students receiving the prestigious 2020 Alumni Distinguished Scholarship. MSU Alumni Distinguished Scholars initially qualify following an intensive general knowledge exam offered only to a select 1,300 future Spartans. A committee composed of faculty and administrators then select students based on the results of the exam, rigorous high school courses, academic achievements, and interviews with the finalists. The scholarship, valued at $120,000, covers tuition and room and board.
 
The Professorial Assistantship Program will provide an additional $6,400 in financial support to Barrios and is offered to only 200 incoming students. The assistantship will allow him to meet regularly members of the teaching faculty on tasks directly related either to scholarly research or to innovative teaching.
 
Barrios also received a $4,000 National Merit Scholarship provided by MSU. 
 
A school valedictorian, Barrios was also named among the 20 top Macomb County students on this year’s All Academic Dream Team. Students are recognized by the Macomb County Intermediate School District and the Macomb County Principal's Association through a formula that takes into account grade point average and standardized test scores.
 
At Eisenhower, Barrios co-captained the school’s Science Olympiad Team. He is a member of the French Club and the National French Honor Society. 
 
Barrios’s career interest developed after a genetics course in tenth grade. “UCS has definitely supported me on my journey to achieving these awards, and the most prominent way was the teachers of the district,” Barrios said. “I have had a myriad of amazing teachers that have all furthered my love of learning and have provided classes that supply a significant amount of rigor that can keep me invested while also challenging me intellectually.”