Smith answers cash call

Rebecca Watts

One of U.S. Cellular’s many sponsored sweepstakes took Tyler Smith, freshman bioinformatics major, by $5,000 worth of surprise.

“I was shocked, nothing like that ever happens,” he said. “The odds are never good for anything like that. By sheer luck I actually won.”

Smith was one of 20 students across the country whose name was drawn in the wireless service provider’s “Star Service” Tuition Sweepstakes at the end of last year.

Smith said Cingular sold a tower in Anderson, Mo., last year, encompassing his family.

The family then switched to U.S. Cellular, and saw on the Web site anyone in its situation was eligible to fill out an application.

Michael Edwards, director of sales for U.S. Cellular, said there are many sweepstakes opportunities across the country.

“I was excited someone from Missouri won it,” Edwards said. “This one is unique because it gives something back to the general public.

I think this contribution on someone’s life is the whole idea.”

The $5,000 won’t only help one student’s tuition, but two. Smith’s younger brother, Brant, will be attending college within a year and a half, and Tyler said he’s happy to help.

“(Brant) hasn’t been saving up at all so I’m better off than him,” Smith said. “He doesn’t know the exact details yet, I haven’t really told him. It’ll be a surprise to him.”

The Smiths aren’t an unfamiliar name at Missouri Southern. Smith’s mother, Colleen, is the Title IV coordinator in the financial aid office.

“I’m awful proud of him,” she said.

Tyler finds his mother’s presence on campus a convenience.

“It makes it easy, I don’t have to drive here,” he said. “I enjoy having my mom here, I have lunch with her all the time.”

Tyler’s modesty in winning the money has kept him from sharing the news with his friends.

“None of my friends actually know. I haven’t told them,” he said. “I don’t want to make them jealous so this is going to be a shocker for them.”

Tyler is a member of the Computer Information Science Club (CIS), works in Spiva Library and is a member of the Student Senate.

“(The Student Senate) needs more participation, but they are making a difference,” he said.

For more information on U.S. Cellular visit its Web site at