A 24/7 Advocate

UMKC junior confirmed as student representative to UM Board of Curators

In between attending classes, UMKC Trustee Scholar Amy Johnson stays busy. She serves on the National Youth Strategies Committee for the American Diabetes Association; contributes to "Lucerna," the UMKC Honors Program's undergraduate research journal; and serves on the Board of Governors & Constitution Committee for the UMKC Student Government Association.

On Feb. 1, the junior Pre-Medical Biology student added another responsibility to her plate: serving as the student representative on the University of Missouri System's Board of Curators. The Missouri Senate and Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Johnson to serve as student curator through Jan. 1, 2014.

Quick Five: Amy Johnson, junior Pre-Medical Biology student in the College of Arts and Sciences

1. What were your initial impressions of the Board of Curators' meetings?

I was impressed with the amount of respectful debate and conversation regarding just about every issue. Each Curator genuinely cares about exploring all options to make the most sound decision overall. They understand the significance of their votes to the students, faculty and everyone who utilizes the University of Missouri system.

2. What are your main responsibilities?

I consider myself a student advocate 24/7. I am always on-campus and connected to the University in some form, so I'm constantly gathering student opinions and input. My job is to represent the majority of the student voice from all four UM campuses and ensure that decisions considered by the Board of Curators reflect this perspective.

3. What are your goals as a student curator?

My goal is to increase the amount of information flowing from the Board of Curators back to the students. Students need to know what is going on even when our meetings are not held on their respective campus. Communication and collaboration works both ways and must be consistently open for the most accurate decisions to be made. Likewise, students must be aware of my position and thus able to communicate with me, as well.

Hopefully, I will utilize social media to connect with students from each campus and bring them updated information as I receive it. If I can channel input from the students of the UM system and harness the resources of each Student Government Association, the Associated Students of the University of Missouri and other relevant organizations, I will be empowered with the knowledge to make the most beneficial and reasonable arguments for issues brought up to the Board.

4. What advice would you give to a student who wants to serve on the Board of Curators?

Dip your feet into as many organizations, clubs and activities as you can on campus. Find your interests and surround yourself with the University. The more your life is enmeshed with the University and its affiliations, the more you know about each potential issue and how decisions may affect you. In this way, you can better represent your peers. You must be passionate about a cause -- the student voice -- to fight for its representation!

5. What are your future career goals?

In the near future, I will be taking the Medical College Admissions Test in hopes to eventually become a surgeon. I'm torn between neurology and cardiothoracic surgery at this point, but of course these will shuffle around several times before I end up in a residency program.

I plan to remain an advocate for the voice of students, higher education and health/wellness for the rest of my days. The importance of a solid education, as well as a healthful way of life, have been proven to me time and time again as a person with diabetes. Medicine, along with just about every other career path, requires lifelong learning. This process must begin early, and I believe my education from UMKC is setting me up for just that!

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"I was impressed with the amount of respectful debate and conversation regarding just about every issue. Each Curator genuinely cares about exploring all options to make the most sound decision overall."

Amy Johnson
Junior Pre-Medical Biology student