Westminster Student Testifies Before House Appropriations Subcommittee

Westminster student Olivia Wilson ’19 ΚΑΘ has made a name for herself by testifying at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. As President of the Keep Me in College Coalition, the Kansas City, MO, native testified Jan. 23 before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education to increase funding for the Access Missouri Grant. Read more about her testimony here.

Through the Keep Me in College Coalition, Wilson keeps an eagle eye on funding for Missouri scholarships and grants. And doing so isn’t just a hobby or resume-building exercise for Wilson. Without Access Missouri, Wilson says a Westminster education would not be affordable for her.

“Access Missouri is the only need-based scholarship the state of Missouri offers, whereas a lot of states offer multiple need-based scholarships,” Wilson explains. “It’s kind of scary for students like me when you realize it’s always on the chopping block.”

So far, Wilson’s efforts are paying off.  Her testimony last year helped bring down a bill that sought to require Access Missouri and Bright Flight Scholarship recipients to remain in the state of Missouri after graduation. HB 2408 proposed students pay back funds received if they moved out of state. Read more about Wilson’s testimony against HB 2408 here

Overall, Wilson, who is double majoring in Political Science and Transnational Studies, says she feels her testimonies are serving their intended purpose. “Legislators are really responsive — not a lot of students testify, and Keep Me in College really forms a bridge between legislators and students,” she says.

Wilson officially became a registered lobbyist three weeks ago and says she plans to pursue a career in that field after graduation this spring. “I would really like to keep doing this,” she says.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.