A place to belong

Student-athlete finds success on field, in classroom and in community

As UMKC continues its transformation into a residential campus, student-athletes like Alyssa D'Egidio are showing that students really can have it all -- a successful athletic career, stellar grades, meaningful community service opportunities and a busy social life.

The freshman College of Arts and Sciences Communication Studies major and forward/mid-fielder was the first player to join the new UMKC women's soccer team, which began its first season at UMKC's new $9 million Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium and Recreational Field (DSSRF) on Aug. 22. Led by Head Coach Anita Rodriguez, the 16-member team belongs to The Summit League -- an NCAA Division I athletics conference.

"We've had an extremely competitive and somewhat ambitious schedule for our first season with the caliber of teams we've been facing," Rodriguez said.

In addition to setting high athletic goals, UMKC Athletics maintains high academic and community service standards. The Student-Athlete Support Services Office (SASSO) contributes to the success of UMKC's student-athletes by advising, mentoring, tutoring and providing academic and life skill development workshops. SASSO has been designed to enhance the experience of the student-athlete in the university setting by fostering independence, accountability, educational and personal values and leadership skills.

For the 2008-2009 academic year, UMKC student-athletes earned a cumulative 3.09 GPA -- higher than the campus average of 2.77. At 83 percent, the Graduation Success Rate of UMKC student-athletes is above the institution's average and their Academic Progress Rate (measured by the NCAA) is the highest in the Summit League at 966 (on a scale of 1000).

"The Student-Athlete Support Services Office (SASSO) believes, in part, that our student-athletes are successful in the classroom because they are dedicated individuals who apply the lessons of the playing field to their education," said Ursula Gurney, Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Services at UMKC. "Involvement in athletics is a valued part of our student-athletes' undergraduate education -- learning skills such as time management, accountability, teamwork, commitment, goal-setting and communication."

As for community service, the women's soccer team has volunteered at an elementary after-school program, UMKC's Hispanic Youth Day, a youth soccer camp and a Kansas City Girl Scouts picnic.

That spirit of excellence and community also permeates UMKC's residence halls and apartments, where a total of about 1,330 students live. The residence halls and apartments encourage and organize community service and social events, and divide halls into community areas where students with similar interests and academic goals can get to know each other.

At Oak Street Hall, D'Egidio shares a room with one of her teammates and has found it easy to form several friendships.

"It's fun, and I believe living on campus helps a lot of students," D'Egidio said. "You don't have to set aside time to drive because everything's right there, and it's easy to meet people. I think UMKC has a lot to give to a student-athlete or just a student in general."

Posted: October 26, 2009

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"I think UMKC has a lot to give to a student-athlete or just a student in general."

Alyssa D'Egidio
Freshman soccer player


Alyssa D'Egidio in action against
South Dakota.