SM East Graduate Takes Full Advantage of Scholarship Shawnee Mission

Anna Gunderman SME
Shawnee Mission School District

Anna Gunderman, SM East 2020 graduate, will be attending Missouri State University in the fall on a scholarship through the Scholarship Shawnee Mission program sponsored by the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation.

“Missouri State was not a school that I had ever considered,” Anna said.

However, when she and her parents visited the campus after receiving the scholarship offer, “they knocked it out of the park,” Anna’s mother, Cari Gunderman noted.

“The campus and the visit really separated Missouri State from the rest of their college visits,” Cari Gunderman shared. “It was evident from all aspects that they have the students’ best interests at the forefront.”

Anna will study Biology with a minor in business with a goal to attend dental school after completing her undergraduate degree. She chose this career path after she had her wisdom teeth removed last year. She expressed that she enjoys helping people and to help improve wellbeing or make them smile is very fulfilling.

Cari Gunderman encourages all Shawnee Mission families to “opt in” to the Scholarship Shawnee Mission program when they enroll.

“There is not a downside to opting in,” Cari Gunderman noted. “We were able to save an incredible amount of money. Scholarship Shawnee Mission (SSM) really opened our eyes to look at other college options.

Anna is an outstanding student who had an extremely difficult schedule, according to her counselor. She was on the swim team, cross country and served as a mentor to freshmen students. Anna received offers from KU, Arizona State, Hawaii Pacific, Arkansas, and several others.

“I'm excited to attend MSU this fall because it will be a completely different environment than what I've ever seen before,” Anna Gunderman added. “I don't know many people going so I can't wait to make new friends. Another plus is the amazing faculty. I'm majoring in biology so when I visited, I took a tour of the bio department. All of the staff and students there were so welcoming, and I was amazed to see what many students had accomplished through that program.”

Anna is a great example of how this program works, noted Ed Márquez, Program Officer for SSM.  

“Through her hard work and commitment, she placed herself in a situation where she had options beyond what she may have thought entering her senior year,” Márquez said.  “She examined her options, prioritized her interests and made the call that gave her maximum benefits academically and financially.”

Scholarship Shawnee Mission secured more than $737 million dollars in scholarship offers for the class of 2020. There are 46 colleges and universities participating in this program. You may find more information about Scholarship Shawnee Mission here. Shawnee Mission students in grades 7-12 may “opt in” to the program through enrollment. If you have questions, you may email Ed Márquez at