News Archives

  • UMKC Alumnus Is Helping First-Generation Students Achieve Their Dreams

    Kansas City’s very own civil rights hero shares his feelings about UMKC and giving back
    Alvin Brooks (B.A. ’59, M.A. ’73) is a name many in the Kansas City community know. He has served as a police officer, councilman and has participated in many acts of public service, urban progression and civil rights. Brooks also had a scholarship named after him for more than a decade and received an honorary doctorate from UMKC in 2012. He has continuously made donations and gifts to UMKC in support of student life, student programs, services and scholarships for 14 years. He is also involved long term with the university’s Institute for Urban Education as an advisory member to this day. I heard there is a movie coming out about you based off your memoir, and it is directed by Academy Award-winning director, Kevin Wilmott. How did that come about? Yes! The movie is coming out on Juneteenth, and it is based off my memoir, Binding Us Together. Kevin read it and reached out, saying that he was interested in turning it into a documentary. I wasn’t going to say no to that! I’m excited. Kevin is a great guy and a lot of the scenes from the book will be discussed and shown. How did you feel when you were named Alumnus of the Year in 2009 and then received an honorary doctorate in 2012? Oh, I felt great! I didn't expect it, but I was confident about it. It made me think that maybe some of the things that I have done mattered. I am representing UMKC and got to see it grow throughout the years. I was genuinely surprised with an honorary doctorate because I didn’t really do anything to earn one! I’m just happy UMKC valued what I did enough to give me one. How did you feel when you found out there was a scholarship named after you? Again, I was extremely honored, knowing that there were people who wanted to give back using my name. Though I am still trying to figure out who were the ones that started it! I think I have a good idea who did it, I will let you know. Alvin Brooks, on the right, smiling with Frank White and Jannette Berkley-Patton One of your scholarship preferences is for first-gen students, why do you think that is important? I’m extremely pleased that being a first-generation student is a requirement. I think it's very significant and needed. The students who have resources to begin with are going to make it anyway, as opposed to those who struggle, who are the first one in their class or family to go to college or even the first one to finish high school. I’ve spoken about this many times. It is an incentive for those students. It will encourage them to push forward in their studies and create something for themselves. That is why it is important. Why is giving back so valuable and important to you, and how does that tie with being a first-generation student? I was completely on my own when I was an undergraduate. I had no help, and it was very difficult. I think meeting people that came from such different walks of life really opened my eyes. That is why giving back is valuable to me. I want to help students not have as hard of a time as I did. I also hope funded programs at UMKC attract different students and help first-time students meet a variety of people. I know you are a humble man, Mr. Brooks, but are you aware of the impact you make toward our community? No. Well, let me say this. I hope that I have made some impact. Especially in the areas of race relations and interpersonal relations. I'm a believer. Regardless of what your race might be. I think we should all be free and treated kindly. Not just in America, but all six billion of us. That is what I pursue and believe in, and I try to pass that down to my family and those around me. When I get the opportunities to do things, it makes me feel good. To know that people think I can do that. I’m not Moses or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but I am an honest man with integrity. So all I can say is that I hope that I have done well representing UMKC, and I am proud to have done what I did. I hope that when people talk about what I’ve done, they can relate to my humble beginnings. I struggled, but accomplished the things that are most important. What role and impact do you think UMKC is making? UMKC has become more prominent since my time being here, and I think the university has realized its role of an urban university. UMKC has become more aware of the community around it and has developed over time. There were only a handful of Black students when I was here in 1956. Now, it’s almost like the United Nations in terms of student population. There are still some issues, but I think there has been a consciousness on the part of the university and its higher administrative members, which will be passed on to the students in the classroom. That’s what UMKC is all about. Learn More About UMKC Foundation May 17, 2024

  • UMKC is the First University to Partner with U.S. Cyber Command

    The agreement will provide new opportunities for research and collaboration
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the United States Cyber Command. This partnership is set to transform the landscape of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity through collaborative education and research. UMKC is the first university in the country to sign a cooperative research and development agreement with the United States Cyber Command. This partnership is also only the second to be signed by the command overall, positioning UMKC at the forefront of cybersecurity and AI research. “This partnership represents a key milestone in demonstrating the technical relevance of UMKC and the Missouri Institute for Defense and Energy’s (MIDE) faculty, staff and students,” said Travis Fields, Ph.D., interim director of MIDE. “We are excited to work on research and development cyber solutions for the Department of Defense.” UMKC has also entered into an Educational Partnership Agreement with the United States Cyber Command, which aims to enrich UMKC students' learning experiences by providing them with access to internships, guest lectures and state-of-the-art research facilities. UMKC is excited to play a key role in training future leaders of the AI and cybersecurity workforce. By combining the university’s academic and research excellence with the United States Cyber Command’s operational expertise to drive innovation in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, this partnership also serves as a collaborative framework for joint research projects. The collaborative efforts are expected to lead to the development of advanced solutions to tackle complex cybersecurity challenges, benefiting both national security interests and the broader field of technology. May 15, 2024

  • UMKC Child and Family Services Clinic Helps More Than 1,000 Children

    School of Law clinic provides valuable experience while helping community children
    Family legal issues are one of the largest unmet needs in the state of Missouri and in Jackson County. The UMKC School of Law has helped to fill that gap since the opening of its Child and Family Services Clinic in 2000. Since then, the clinic has helped more than 1,000 children be placed in permanent homes. Clinic director Wendy Ross, J.D., joined UMKC just one year ago but has already been impressed with the impact the clinic has made. “UMKC has a heart for providing for the community,” Ross said. “They want to reach out and help, all while providing valuable experience for our law students.” Under the guidance of professors, work in the clinic is done by students studying family law. Services can include representation in court, paperwork to establish guardianship and more. Students at the clinic provide an average of 2,000 hours of service a year, all free of charge to the families. “This important service to our community is why we chose to highlight the UMKC School of Law Child and Family Services Clinic in a video,” said Curt Crespino, vice chancellor of UMKC External Relations and Constituent Engagement. “The pro bono legal services changed the life of Brittney Hallman’s family and so many others in the Kansas City region.” Brittney's story and her experience with the clinic were featured in a story on KSHB 41. The most common service provided is establishing legal guardianship of children, often to the father or grandparents. Without legal guardianship, a caregiver does not have the authority to properly care for a child, including to enroll them in school or make medical decisions. The clinic serves parents and families who qualify at or under the national poverty guidelines. Services are provided pro bono, allowing people who may not be able to afford a lawyer help navigating the legal system. Clients can be referred to the clinic through family court, nonprofit agencies and other organizations, as well as through direct application. For more information and to have a case considered, call the clinic at 816-235-6336 and complete an intake form over the phone. May 14, 2024

  • UMKC Awards 2,600 Degrees at May 2024 Commencement

    Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Leigh Anne Taylor Knight of the DeBruce Foundation were the keynote speakers
    More than 2,600 degrees were conferred on Sunday, May 12 during the University of Missouri-Kansas City Spring Commencement ceremonies. "Some of you came to UMKC knowing exactly where you were headed," said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. "Some of you might have had no idea what you wanted to do. But all of you have chosen your own individual path and arrived here your way. You have overcome challenges and celebrated triumphs that have shaped you into the person you are today." There were two Commencement ceremonies. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas was the keynote speaker for the first ceremony, telling graduates to be confident and strive to do their best. "Each and everyone of us should strive in some way to be famously excellent in whatever it is that we have to do ahead," Lucas said. "As you leave this arena today, know that we support you, that we believe in you." Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, an alumna of the UMKC School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences and UMKC Trustee, is executive director and chief operating officer of the DeBruce Foundation. She delivered the keynote address for the second ceremony. “Your achievements today not only represent your hardworking and dedication, but also the unwavering support of those surrounding you today.,” Taylor Knight said. “I encourage you to find your purpose through curiosity, courage and kindness.” Following the ceremonies, graduates flooded the T-Mobile Center to take photos and celebrate with their loved ones. Commencement took place on Mother's Day. A few graduates celebrated the occasion by walking across the stage to receive their diploma with their children, several of them carrying them in their arms. May 12, 2024

  • Eighteen Students Named Dean of Students Honor Recipients

    Graduating students are recognized for their outstanding academics, leadership and service
    Eighteen UMKC students have been named Dean of Students Honor Recipients in recognition of their accomplishments on campus and in the community. Every semester, exceptional graduating students are honored with this designation. These students maintain excellent academic standards while actively participating in university activities and community service outside of the classroom. The Spring 2024 honorees’ accomplishments include founding multiple medical interest groups, acting as president of the African Student Association, serving a national role in the American Student Dental Association, revitalizing the rooftop gardens at UMKC and more. These students have contributed numerous volunteer hours in the community with organizations such as Operation Breakthrough, Team Smile, Uzazi Village, Harvesters’, Morning Glory, Girls on the Run and Hope House. Michele D. Smith, Ph.D., vice provost for student affairs and dean of students, expressed her excitement about the students' achievements. “These students truly represent what it means to be a Roo through their commitment to academics, service and community. We are delighted to acknowledge their numerous achievements and are eager to see the great futures they have ahead of them.” Students shared reflections on their time at UMKC at a breakfast celebration in their honor. Some excerpts: Alyssa O’Brien: “I am a non-traditional student, and I never had the “college experience.” When I came to UMKC to pursue my graduate degree, I really wanted to find my sense of community. Getting involved on and off campus with different organizations has been incredibly impactful for my professional and personal development. My proudest accomplishment was taking a summer internship with the Federal Public Defenders Office of Western Missouri in the Capital Habeus Unit. Although challenging, this was some of the proudest work I have done in my life.” Chandler Hill: “More than just a place of learning, UMKC has been a catalyst for growth and transformation. From undergrad to dental school, there have been many dedicated faculty and like-minded peers who have played an important role in my experiences and accomplishments. UMKC has encouraged me to think critically, embrace diversity and strive for excellence in all endeavors. My proudest accomplishment at UMKC is not just the grades or accolades, but the relationships I've formed and the impact I've been able to make. My involvement in the UMKC Chapter of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) helped to develop my passion for advocating for others and leaving a lasting positive impact on both the campus community and beyond.” Elaine Nikolov: “When I began the six-year B.A./M.D. program, I had no idea the plethora of opportunities that this school would offer me. My fourth year in the program, I began to work every Saturday morning in a clinic serving the homeless and under/uninsured of Kansas City. There, I formed life-long bonds with my fellow students and future colleagues as we worked to provide adequate care to a patient population that has historically been marginalized in medicine. More importantly, the patients I have met and been graced to care for have taught me skills and techniques that no textbook could ever teach. I was taught what true understanding, compassion and patience meant and how I could better provide not only medical care but also humanity to those in need.” Congratulations to the Spring 2024 Dean of Students Honor Recipients! Kennison Adams, School of Medicine Chynna Burton, School of Medicine Victoria Cegielski, School of Medicine Allison Eppenauer, School of Pharmacy Tiana Ford, School of Science and Engineering Mary Gipson, School of Science and Engineering Dylan Hailey, School of Medicine Ashley Hanners, School of Nursing and Health Studies Chandler Hill, School of Dentistry Hannah Leyva, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Davis McCallister, School of Dentistry Elaine Nikolov, School of Medicine Alyssa O’Brien, School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences Dumebi Okocha, School of Medicine Maryam Oyebamiji, School of Science and Engineering Rhiannen Schneider, School of Law Andrew Thompkins, School of Dentistry Harry Vasquez, School of Science and Engineering May 10, 2024

  • UMKC Accounting Student Gets Senior Year Paid, Courtesy of Amazon

    Cody Truitt has just one regret; not knowing about the program sooner
    Imagine not paying a dime for your senior year of college.  That’s the case for Cody Truitt, a senior in accounting who took advantage of the Amazon Career Choice Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which offers tuition assistance to Amazon employees.  Truitt had started his undergraduate degree a couple of times through the years, but each time, life had gotten in the way. During COVID, he resolved to finish it and enrolled at UMKC because of its convenience, value and ease of transferring.  “It just fit perfectly,” Truitt said.   He knew he would do whatever it took to complete his degree, whether it meant working overnights or overtime to pay for school. He got a job at Amazon to earn extra money, where he soon learned about the career choice program.   “Amazon rocks because they paid for the entirety of my senior year,” Truitt said. “I only wish I had discovered this as a freshman.”  At first, Truitt admitted he was skeptical it may be too good to be true, but to his surprise, the process was simple. “I figured there were going to be some hoops to jump through, that it wouldn't really work, there'd be some fine print somewhere,” Truitt said. “The moment that I noticed that it worked out, when I checked my UMKC account for what I owed for the semester and I saw $0, I was extremely elated.”  Thanks to Amazon paying his senior year, Truitt was able to take advantage of several opportunities that he may not otherwise have had time for. He did internships at Creative Planning and Bergan KDV.   The extra time didn’t just help Truitt, he was also able to give back through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, where accounting students provide income tax assistance to the community.   “It was really great experience because there’s just all sorts of different people from the community,” Truitt said. “We are dealing with people who are disabled, people that are just really, really nervous about their taxes and they come in so shaken up about it and they're able to leave with a smile and, sometimes, a couple dollars coming to them.”  For Truitt, being able to take advantage of these opportunities and persevere was especially meaningful.  “You know, I just I had a lot of times when I was really struggling in school and I really was barely making it some semesters and just putting in the effort and doing my best and getting through it,” Truitt said. “I realized a lot of the time, I'd end up with better grades than I thought… and every time that happened, I realized I was more capable than I had thought I was before.”  He has some advice for students who may be experiencing challenges in school or in life.   “Take a step back and deep breath and realize that as long as you don't give up, you will get there,” he said.  Truitt is starting a new job soon. The May 2024 graduate has a job lined up as a staff accountant with Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, a certified public accounting firm in Overland Park, KS.   “I'm looking forward to walking across the stage,” Truitt said. “I've worked really hard to get to where I'm at. I know I've improved a lot over the last few years, just as a person, as a student and a professional, so I'm excited to see what the future holds.”  After graduation, Truitt plans to take a few more courses to sit for the CPA exam, then return to school to get a Master of Business Administration degree.    Learn more about Amazon Career Choice Program May 08, 2024

  • Guatemala Geohazards: Exploring Risks, Defining Solutions

    21st-century discovery to mitigate destruction
    It was 3:03 a.m., February 4, 1976. While Guatemala’s citizens slept, the country’s massive Motagua Fault ruptured. In 39 seconds, the resulting 7.5 magnitude earthquake had devastated this Central American nation. Nearly five decades later, a research team from University of Missouri-Kansas City, in collaboration with U.S. and Guatemalan partners, is investigating the country’s extensive geohazards, including the Motagua Fault. An International Investigation The Guatemala GeoHazards International Research Experiences for Students was launched in early January 2023. A long-term vision of director Tina Niemi, this three-year program gained funding in late 2022 from the National Science Foundation. “Understanding the seismic potential of Guatemala’s active fault systems and volcanic history are key goals of the program,” said Niemi, Ph.D., professor of geology and a Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor. “This year, we investigated the earthquake history of the Motagua Fault.” The 2023 Guatemala Geohazards field team included 10 U.S. and Guatemalan students, three faculty mentors from UMKC and the University of Missouri, two Guatemalan faculty and one industry mentor. During this inaugural International Research Experiences for Students program, the group conducted research across several disciplines of geoscience, including volcanology, paleoseismology, surficial processes and geospatial data science. Together, the cohort completed three and a half weeks of field research in Guatemala, followed by a break for preliminary analysis and sample processing. In May, the group reconvened for two weeks of lab work and data analyses at at UMKC and virtually. “Through this program, students receive an authentic research experience that includes mentorship by faculty from the U.S. and our partner universities in Guatemala,” Niemi said. “They not only increase their scientific inquiry and research skills but practice international collaboration.” The International Research Experiences for Students faculty are all specialists in geology fields, including the study of Guatemala’s geohazards. With guidance from their mentors, the students collaborate in the scientific process. They develop questions, collect, analyze and interpret data and then present that data. They also navigate the challenges of international field research. “These are not controlled experiences,” Niemi said. “There are many uncertainties, such as access permission, weather conditions and malfunctioning equipment, to name a few. Field research requires flexibility and adaptation to the conditions — all valuable life skills.” Aleigha Dollens (B.S. Earth and Environmental Sciences ’24) participated in the inaugural geohazards program to gain field experience that augments her classwork. “I worked closely with mentors and learned hands-on how to do research,” said Dollens, whose own research focuses on geophysical imaging of the subsurface of the Motagua Fault. “I was in a small research group where I asked questions and received feedback from the program’s professors. I’m now more confident in my ability to practice research and in myself as a person.” Guatemala’s Geohazard Vulnerability Ranked fourth globally for geohazard disaster risk, Guatemala is continuously exposed to multiple hazards, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, floods and storms. These geohazards threaten countless lives, environmental stability and economic infrastructure. The 1976 Motagua earthquake, one of innumerable Guatemalan natural disasters, resulted in 23,000 deaths and 74,000 injuries. One million people were displaced — nearly one-fifth of Guatemala’s population at the time. Thousands of aftershocks exacerbated the destruction and resulted in economic damages estimated at 17.9 % of the country’s gross domestic product. These geohazards do not always occur independently, and interactions between hazards often trigger multiple secondary hazards. In recent years, new geohazards have emerged in Guatemala, while existing hazards have intensified. Omar Beltetón, Ph.D., a professor and researcher at the Higher Studies Center for Energy and Mines and an engineering faculty member at the University of San Carlos, believes information and insight from the UMKC collaboration and investigation will contribute to Guatemala’s development of strategic geohazard resilience. “Subsidence and sinkholes have formed in streets or highways and caused the collapse of storm drainage pipes,” said Beltetón, an International Research Experiences for Students faculty member from Guatemala. “These are consequences of climate change and urban flooding because of inadequate infrastructure design. Road collapse and landslides in mountainous areas are the result of deforestation and the consequent erosion. “This research is significant because of our country’s geographic and tectonic setting. The Guatemalan people haven’t been able to escape the suffering from geohazards, including loss of life, infrastructure damage and economic loss. We must try to understand the phenomena to avoid these losses.” Exploring With 21st-Century Technology The Guatemala GeoHazards program uniquely utilizes both traditional geologic field mapping and cutting-edge technology, such as LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) drone imaging. Small but mighty, LiDAR drones are valuable research partners. “The basic approaches for investigating geohazards have been established for some time, but a significant limitation has been observational capability,” said Francisco Gomez, Ph.D., geological sciences professor at the University of Missouri and the UMKC program’s surficial processes research team mentor. “New technologies provide us with unprecedented views of the earth to push our investigation further.” “As recently as 25–30 years years ago, earthquake investigations and landslide mapping primarily involved traditional terrestrial surveying. Though accurate, these methods are time-consuming and expensive. Today, unmanned aerial systems provide higher resolution information at a much lower cost. Also, drone images allow us to see subtle tectonic features not otherwise easily visible. It’s a game-changer we could only dream about previously.” These advancements yield significant, beneficial data about geohazards. “Some of the most exciting results come from interpretation of the LiDAR data we acquired across the 1976 earthquake rupture trace,” said Niemi, who is a Quaternary geologist specializing in geoarchaeology, sedimentology and active tectonics. “We identified features revealing accumulative offset that can be used to determine the fault’s slip rate. Slip rate is a critical parameter in seismic hazard assessment.” Mitigation Insights and Strategies The potential for this research is far-reaching — and sharing the results with other scientists and organizations in Guatemala is a vital component of the work. “While our number one goal is to educate the next generation in geohazard research, the data we collect have profound significance in defining the occurrence or repeat time of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions,” Niemi said. “Key parameters for seismic and volcanic hazards collected through the program are essential to government preparedness plans and mitigation strategies. “For example, our volcanology research team began mapping pyroclastic flow deposits from the Chocoyos volcano that occurred 75,000 years ago. This research is the first step to help better constrain future volcanic hazards.” In Guatemala, the program’s research is in collaboration with the University of San Carlos de Guatemala’s Center for Higher Studies of Energy and Mines and the Centro Universitario del Norte’s Department of Geology. Information from the program can be incorporated in the National Seismic Design Code, which specifies structural safety standards and guidelines for reinforcing existing works. Results will also be shared with the Guatemalan Association of Structural and Seismic Engineering, the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction and the Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology — the primary governmental institution that monitors geological hazards. “Our collaboration with UMKC helps us to understand geohazard phenomena in a way that action can be taken to help minimize their impact and help ensure that losses and damage are minimal,” Beltetón said. “The investigation establishes possible danger zones for geohazard threats and the feasibility of building on specific sites. The research also guides the preparation of hazard maps and is a tool for territorial ordering, a mode of land-use planning with an emphasis on conservation.” Looking to the Future At the conclusion of the International Research Experiences for Students Program, student participants wrote a scientific abstract and presented their findings at the UMKC’s Guatemala GeoHazards poster symposium. Some will also present their research at this year’s annual meetings of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG) and the Geological Society of America. Dollens is one of the students who will present at the AEG conference. “This program has inspired me to get my master's degree at UMKC and kickstarted my research skills and career as a professional. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to work on this project and for the relationships I built with the team,” said Dollens, recipient of a 2023 Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity award. She was also awarded the prestigious 2023 Richard Hay Award from the Geological Society of America for her research on evidence of earthquakes at the Quirigua archaeological site in Guatemala. A full circle moment, Niemi was the first recipient of this award 34 years earlier. These collaborative connections made today and for the future are integral to Niemi’s vision for the program. “Research is the exploration of the unknown,” Niemi said. “The shared experience of students and mentors exploring geology in the field provides a unique setting that emphasizes inquiry and builds confidence. In this rich learning environment, students observe mentors from different countries discussing geology and modeling the fundamental first step in research — asking questions. “We’re dedicated to educating the next generation of scientists, diversifying the workforce and promoting societally relevant research that can be translated into solutions.” May 07, 2024

  • Play Ball! This UMKC Jackie Robinson Scholar is Hitting Home Runs in the Medical World

    The six-year B.A./M.D. student is jumpstarting her career through the Royals and MLB
    Emmanuella Alawode, Dallas native and fourth-year student in the B.A./M.D program is a Jackie Robinson Scholar. Through this program, Alawode not only gets to participate in career-readiness opportunities, but also receives support from the Kansas City Royals Foundation. The Royals are a UMKC partner. An extra special perk of the program? She got to throw out the first pitch at UMKC Night at The K last month.  Why did you choose UMKC?   I knew I wanted to become a doctor, so I talked to a lot of my mentors and people who also went through the accelerated B.A./M.D. program that saves two years off of the traditional undergraduate and medical-school path. That just reassured me that UMKC was an excellent choice. I really liked the six-year program knowing that I can get a jumpstart with my career. And it is not too far from home.  Why did you choose your field of study?   Growing up, I just really enjoyed science, anatomy dissections, experiments and research. My experience at UT Southwestern in a high school camp was pivotal for me and exposed me to clinical research. I shadowed a breast surgeon and became interested in women’s health. Something else that has shaped my interest in health disparities has been volunteering with my church and helping in their health clinic.   What are the challenges and benefits of the program?   There are a lot of learning curves along the way. Because you are going straight into med school after high school and are also juggling it with doing your undergraduate degrees. A key challenge was learning how I like to study now, and finding the best way to retain the volume of information.   The benefits are that we get early clinical exposure. You get to learn how to interview patients or just medical terminology in your first year. After your second year, you get white coated and get assigned a docent, and that is your docent for your remaining four years. You also get a senior partner, and they are there to guide you along the way. They can help answer questions and help you hone some of your clinical skills.   How has your college program inspired you?   It has gotten me interested in health-care policy advocacy. I’m also interested in how we can better shape medical education and make sure we are honing on helping students to master what they need to know for clinical practice, but also making sure that their mental and physical health does not deteriorate.   Are you a first-generation college student?  Yes. It means that I can hopefully inspire younger people who may not have had medical exposure or don't know what the journey and rigor of medical school. I didn’t know the demands of medical school before. But now, it means I can be a mentor for others and someone that others can look up to, and I love that.   Who do you admire most at UMKC ?   My docent, Dr. Gary Salzman, is my favorite person at UMKC. I like the way that he interacts with patients. Every time we come into the room, the patients are like “‘there’s my favorite doctor!”’ He is always looking out for the best interests of the patients.   Do you have other scholarships in addition to the Jackie Robinson Scholarhip?    Another one that I have received is the UNCF STEM scholarship. Both the Jackie Robinson scholarship and the UNCF STEM scholarship hope to encourage students who are African American or another minority to pursue higher education. I am incredibly grateful for both of those scholarships.   Do you have any standout moments of the Jackie Robinson Scholarship experience?   I would say the love and the foundation have been the standout parts of my experience. When I was applying, I knew they have mentorship and support, but I did not expect the level of support I have since received. One alumni (of the Jackie Robinson scholarship program) purchased MacBooks for most of us, which is nice. Another memorable experience is the first pitch (at the Royals game) that I threw!   What other extracurricular activities are you involved in at UMKC?    Last year, I was the social chair for the student National Medical Association. I am the communications and social media manager for the Association of Women Surgeons. I have been an ambassador with the admissions office and am a member of the Surgical Interest Group. I am also a part of the American Medical Women’s Association and Her Campus as a writer.  What do you hope to take from your experiences at UMKC into your professional career?   I’ve been stretched in many ways that I never thought I could be stretched. The key is learning that you must always think outside of the box. Especially, as a future surgeon, I may not be able to approach a particular procedure the same way I do for another person. Also being flexible. Learning how to manage time wisely. The spirit of perseverance.     Emmanuella was also featured in local news coverage here. May 02, 2024

  • UMKC Students Help Kansas City Families Stay Driven

    Students participating in Enactus partnered with Operation Breakthrough to keep Kansas City families on the road
    Reliable transportation can be a domino that holds a family’s opportunities together. It can be the difference between someone getting to work, holding a job and being able to access much-needed resources. With their latest project, Stay Driven, UMKC Enactus sought to help families in need, while making Kansas City their classroom. During summer 2023, students had the opportunity to visit Operation Breakthrough, a nationally accredited not-for-profit in Kansas City that offers childcare, education and wrap-around services for families in need. While there, staff explained the need for families to have reliable transportation and the difference having it can make on their lives. “Using public transportation to get to a job can take upwards of 90 minutes each way for working parents,” said Mary Esselman, president and CEO at Operation Breakthrough. “Having reliable transportation allows people to get to those jobs that also have things like benefits and paid time off.” Ga Ji Wang, a Bloch student with seven years of automotive experience in the Kansas City area, recognized the need to solve this problem. Wang came up with the idea to offer families a car-care clinic. “Having the working background and skillset that I do, I knew we could find a way to make a difference,” said Wang, a senior studying business administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. “Doing something as simple as an oil change can make a big difference in keeping a car on the road.” The team began work on their Stay Driven project at the start of the spring semester. Together, they worked to recruit volunteer mechanics, manage inventory, plan for the event and coordinate with the staff at Operation Breakthrough. The team also needed to secure funding for their project, which inspired them to turn to UMKC Giving Day. "Enactus always bootstraps projects through spring fundraising campaigns and the timing was perfect for us to tailor our Giving Day campaign to Stay Driven,” said Imani Lemon, president of UMKC Enactus. “Our theme centered around people donating just $5, which would help cover the cost of oil, a windshield wiper or a light bulb.” By taking part in Giving Day, the Enactus team was able to raise nearly $1,300, which covered the cost of supplies for Stay Driven. The team was also able to secure donated parts and supplies, as well as help from volunteer mechanics. On April 5, UMKC Enactus held the Stay Driven event at Operation Breakthrough, helping families receive minor repairs like oil changes, headlight replacement, battery replacement, securing bumpers with zip ties and fluids top offs. In total, they helped 29 families, saving them $3,000 in repair costs. Sixteen Enactus volunteers participated in the event including Wang, who once again found himself working under the hood. By doing so, he was able to see the difference the team was making first-hand. “Many of the cars were low on oil and you could already see the damage being caused,” Wang said. “We helped keep multiple cars on the road by simply performing that routine oil change.” For UMKC Enactus, Stay Driven is anything but a one hit wonder. The team hopes to bring the event back, potentially with help of other Kansas City students taking part in Operation Breakthrough’s Ignition Lab. “Allowing them to participate in performing minor repairs gives them invaluable experience as they work toward their future,”Esselman said. “Our team and the families who participated in Stay Driven were blown away and we’re excited to continue to support this event and UMKC Enactus.”  May 02, 2024

  • Internationally Trained Dentists Pursue American Dreams

    New UMKC program provides path to dental degree in the United States
    Nine dentists from as far away as Cuba and India will begin their dream of practicing in the United States at the UMKC School of Dentistry thanks to a new program at the school. The advanced standing dental education program, launched at the school in January, will enable these practitioners and all those who follow them in the program to work as dentists in the United States. Without programs like this, dentists from other countries face limited options to practice oral health care in the U.S. “It’s going to be a life-changing opportunity for these students,” said Gustavo Leal, interim director of the advanced standing program. “These students are fighters who have been working hard to achieve this dream.” The advanced standing students will finish their dental degree in 2 1/2 years, compared to students in the traditional degree program, who attend school for four years. The shorter timeline condenses two years of coursework into six months, and includes labs, lectures, pre-clinic skills training and exposure to different disciplines. According to Leal, students in the program proved in their skill tests and board exams that they had the knowledge base and skills to handle the accelerated timeline. The students will join the existing third-year students in the fall of 2024, following the same timeline the next two years. The first cohort of nine students began the program in January and are slated to graduate in May 2027. According to Dean Steven Haas, around 2010, dental schools started to open avenues for internationally trained dentists, enabling them to avoid the burden of going back to school for an additional four years. With 93 such programs in the United States, UMKC is one of many universities offering a similar path to practicing in the United States. The demand for the program speaks for itself. UMKC received 380 applications for the nine spots available in its first class. For Haas, these practitioners represent a critical influx of oral health care providers who can address the shortage of oral health care providers in Missouri, where 111 counties are considered underserved, according to the Rural Health Information Hub. Haas said that Dekalb County in northwest Missouri has only one dentist for 10,480 people. “We know that we need dentists in these rural areas,” Haas said. “By opening up our classes to internationally trained dentists, we’re able to get more oral health care providers out there.” All third- and fourth-year students complete rotations in a variety of settings, including rural dental clinics.Haas said that it’s important that the program diversify the oral health care workforce as well. “Our population is changing,” Haas said. By 2050 or 2060, our population will look a lot different. I think dentistry should mirror that demographic shift.” Haas said that current students will benefit from the infusion of this geographically diverse group of students. For advanced student Flavia Santos Bada, the program will enable her to practice in the U.S. and help support her family, especially her father, who needs specialized medical care. Originally from Cuba, Bada immigrated to the United States in 2018 after graduating from dental school there. She joined her parents and sister, who had moved to the U.S. for better medical care for Bada’s father, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Family is important to her, and UMKC is a good fit. “The school’s focus on putting patients first captured my attention,” Bada said. “I want to treat people, not just as my patients, as if they were my family.” For Hadrik Patel, UMKC’s Midwestern location was critical in his decision to apply to the advanced standing program. Originally from India, he was practicing as a dental assistant in Nebraska. He said he was already comfortable in the Midwest, so when UMKC’s program opened up, he immediately applied. His first few months in the program have confirmed his excitement for the school. “What has stood out is how many of the faculty are UMKC alumni,” Patel said. “I think that says a lot about the school. They wanted to come back to UMKC to ensure students achieve the same success they have.” According to Leal, the program introduces more diversity into the student body, providing them with a much different perspective at a personal level as well as professional level. The advanced practice students have worked in the field and provide expertise to current students. “I am excited to see their progression and how they incorporate themselves with the other dental students,” Leal said. “It’s a great opportunity for our students to grow while providing an opportunity for these practitioners to achieve their dreams.” May 01, 2024

  • Student Bridges Generational Divide With Music

    Piano student broadens horizons and creates lasting friendships while living in senior facility
    When most college students walk into their residence hall, they are surrounded by other students their age. Beth Christensen is the youngest person in her residence – by about 50 years.  “I’ve always believed that the most important things about people are not the facts about them,” Christensen said. “The people here may be 50 or 60 years older than me, but that’s not essential to who they are as people. I’ve come to appreciate that even more with the relationships that I’ve created here.” Christensen, a graduate student studying collaborative piano performance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, lives in Claridge Court senior living facility in Prairie Village,  15 minutes away from campus. In exchange for residency, she performs concerts and provides regular live music for the residents. Christensen moved into Claridge Court in July 2023 to spend a year there as the student-in-residence. In doing so, she allowed Claridge Court to deepen their commitment to intergenerational programming, making them the only retirement community in the area to have such a partnership. “It’s really fun to have a relationship with your audience as a performer,” Christensen said. “In the beginning, I wouldn’t do anything too out of the ordinary – I would bring a vocalist sometimes, or I would play classical music. As I got more comfortable, I would try new things and play more recent music. Sometimes people wouldn’t like it, and they let me know. Others love to see where the future of music is going. It’s fun to be able to ask what kind of music people want to hear and work it into my repertoire.” As part of her living arrangement, Christensen is encouraged to immerse herself in the community. From yoga and chair volleyball to eating dinner and visiting with neighbors generations older than her, she’s become a full-fledged resident of Claridge Court. “I’m just part of the community, and it’s awesome,” Christensen said. “There’s a lot of special connections I’ve made. My friend Pat was an educator, and I’m a piano teacher. She has great ideas about how to help kids who are struggling, and I can always ask her advice. We do puzzles together, take walks and go to dinner. I tell her about shows I’m watching. She’s been a great friend, and she’s just one example. I feel so nurtured by these friendships.” Christensen’s presence at Claridge Court is the result of a partnership between the senior living facility and UMKC Conservatory. This is one of the many partnerships in the community that Claridge Court has fostered, as part of their commitment to intergenerational programming and giving back in the community. “Part of what distinguishes the UMKC Conservatory from other nationally recognized institutions is our deeply rooted connection to the Kansas City community,” said Courtney Crappell, dean of the UMKC Conservatory. “This collaboration demonstrates our ability to offer community-centered learning opportunities to our students as we leverage the power of the arts to positively impact lives.” The partnership is supported by Claridge Court residents Charlie and Mary Kay Horner, who have been deeply involved with the Conservatory. The Horners were part of the process to bring this partnership to life, including choosing Christensen as the student-in-residence. “We are absolutely thrilled that Beth has become such an integral part of our community,” Mary Kay Horner said. “Witnessing the connections she’s made with the residents is incredibly gratifying.”   As a performer, most of the audiences Christensen plays for are filled with strangers. When she performs at Claridge Court, her audience is full of familiar faces. The unique experience of playing to a room of friends is something she cherishes. “Knowing my audience so personally is something I’ve never experienced before,” Christensen said. “It makes the music more special; it’s been a really cool experience to play for an audience that feel likes family. They really care about me as a person and a musician.” Rob Salierno, executive director of Claridge Court, says that the benefits of Christensen’s presence extend far beyond her musical talents. “This unique partnership enriches the lives of both our residents and Beth, fostering invaluable relationships,” Salierno said. “Her musical gifts, meaningful presence and interactions significantly enhance the quality of life for everyone involved.” Andrew Granade, associate dean of the Conservatory, has helmed the partnership for the Conservatory.  He believes the experience can be uniquely rich for the student-in-residence. “As a UMKC student, you’re surrounded by a lot of people your age with similar goals and aspirations,” Granade said. “It’s such a rich learning experience to be out of that comfort zone and learn from people with life lessons to share and lived experiences that can expand your horizons in ways unimaginable.” Christensen hopes her fellow residents at Claridge Court have valued the experience as much as she has. “Music is such a connecting force. It bridges the divisions that exist between people,” she said. “Having the opportunity to make connections with a community that’s several generations older than me has been so special. These connections don’t make our differences go away, but it helps us really appreciate each other. It’s been such a beautiful experience.” Apr 29, 2024

  • Introducing the Chiefs Kingdom Spirit Scholarship and Its First Class of Winners

    New UMKC partner scholarship focused on community
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City has many great partnerships and resources to help its students succeed throughout their college experience and well after graduation. As part of its five-year partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, UMKC offers undergraduate students the Chiefs Kingdom Spirit Scholarship. The criteria include having a 2.75 high school GPA or a 2.0 transfer GPA. Applicants must write an essay on how they would give back to the Kansas City area community. This year’s 10 recipients, who will be featured at a Chiefs game in the 2024-25 season, are: Arlin Carreon, business administration Qasim Chohdry, six-year B.A./M.D. program Kelly Fuentes, philosophy Sumaya Geelle, business administration Riley Harris, mechanical engineering Alexia Jaime, biology Nazish Khan, criminal justice and criminology Lorenzo Pecina, civil engineering Adeline-Corina Salomon, pre-nursing track for health sciences Peter Stern, mechanical engineering This scholarship means a lot to the students who receive it, including Salomon and Stern who were among this year's scholarship winners. “This scholarship has made it easier for me to focus on school. I work two jobs to pay for school and at times it has been hard to have my full attention on school but with this scholarship, some of my financial stress has been lifted.” - Adeline-Corina Salomon Stern is a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering. The scholarship offers an array of benefits, and for him, this scholarship helps him financially. “I remember the night when I saw that the Chiefs scholarship had been credited to my financial aid account,” Stern said. “I was still in some disbelief that I had been selected for the award but was excited to know that my bill this semester had just been reduced by a significant amount. The Chiefs scholarship gave me the peace of mind that allowed me to focus on my studies.” Winning this scholarship can encourage recipients to give back to the Kansas City community in ways they might not have been able to prior the scholarship. While grateful for his upbringing, being homeschooled did not bring Stern the academic references, scholarships or honor awards that he might have otherwise received in a public or private school district. “Having the opportunity to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at UMKC has been absolutely incredible, empowering me to dream bigger and brighter than I ever imagined,” Stern said. With the Chiefs’ victories and back-to-back Super Bowl wins, receiving the scholarship has made me feel more connected to the sport and even my city.” Another recipient of the Chiefs Kingdom Spirit Scholarship is Salomon, a sophomore who is in the pre-nursing track for a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree. “This scholarship has made it easier for me to focus on school,” she said. “I work two jobs to pay for school and at times it has been hard to have my full attention on school but with this scholarship, some of my financial stress has been lifted.” Salomon has goals to help her hometown community after graduation, and this scholarship has made her dream of becoming a nurse much more possible. “Having the opportunity to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at UMKC has been absolutely incredible, empowering me to dream bigger and brighter than I ever imagined. With the Chiefs’ victories and back-to-back Super Bowl wins, receiving the scholarship has made me feel more connected to the sport and even my city.” - Peter Stern “I’m proud to be from Kansas City and attend UMKC,” Salomon said. With the Chiefs’ victories, it has made this scholarship that much more special to her and she holds lots of pride for the community and is very grateful for the scholarship and how UMKC and the Chiefs are giving back to the community. More information on how to apply for the Chiefs Kingdom Spirit Scholarship, can be found on the UMKC Financial Aid and Scholarships website. Apr 22, 2024

  • UMKC Law Trial Teams Compete in National Trial Competition

    Team named a Top 4 team in the nation, student named best overall advocate
    Two UMKC School of Law Trial Teams competed in the 2024 National Trial Competition. The team of Corbin Healy, Maddi Ilseman and Jacob Eisenhauer made it to the semifinals and ended as one of the top four teams in the country. Corbin Healy was named the George A. Spiegelberg Best Overall Advocate of the competition. “Being named Best Overall Advocate is an absolute honor,” Healy said. “I am beyond excited to end my Mock Trial career in such an incredible way alongside the best teammates in the country.” More than 1,000 students from 140 law schools competed in this year’s competition, sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Texas Young Lawyers Association. After both UMKC teams scored a perfect 5-0 in the regionals round, UMKC became one of only three law schools in the country to advance two teams to the national rounds in Houston, Tex. Left to right: Martina Florido, Olivia Bess-Rhodes and Mattie Seley Healy, Ilseman and Eisenhauer were joined at the national round by their peers on the other UMKC team, Olivia Bess-Rhodes, Martina Florido and Mattie Seley. School of Law professor L. Michaelle Tobin, J.D., coached both teams. “I am so proud of the exceptional performance of our trial teams at this year’s competition, Tobin said. “Both teams demonstrated remarkable skill and preparation, earning them a well-deserved place among the top 30 teams from across the nation. These accomplishments reflect the high caliber of legal education at UMKC Law and our commitment to nurturing future leaders in the legal field.” Apr 19, 2024

  • UMKC Announces New Bachelor of Architecture Program

    First public university in Missouri to offer a Bachelor of Architecture degree
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will launch a Bachelor of Architecture program this fall. The UMKC Bachelor of Architecture program will be a five-year undergraduate degree program housed in the School of Science and Engineering. It will include courses, studio work and internships with various architectural firms in Kansas City. As part of their coursework, students will also have access to industry-grade equipment at the UMKC Innovation Studio for rapid prototyping their designs, alongside many Kansas City architectural firms that also use the facility. This new bachelor’s degree offering joins a current joint architecture program, in which students start coursework at UMKC and transfer to Kansas State University to complete a Master of Architecture. Among the benefits of the new program is that UMKC students will get to complete their full degree in Kansas City, a metropolitan area rich in career opportunities. “We are excited to provide students the ability to pursue architecture and design in a city that’s known for its local and global architectural projects, allowing our students to have real-world experiences in their educational program,” said Kevin Truman, dean of the UMKC School of Science and Engineering. The program is the first of its kind in the state of Missouri and has strong industry support. Kansas City architectural firms Focal Design Studio, SLATTERY Design + Architecture (formerly Odimo Architects), Populous, Multistudio, Burns & McDonnell and DRAW Architecture + Urban Design signed letters in support of the program. These prominent firms have worked on major Kansas City developments, such as the Kansas City International Airport, Children’s Mercy Park and Rock Island Bridge. There’s also an international profile from these Kansas City architecture firms, such as Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games venues. “It is an honor to have the support of local architectural firms as we launch this program at UMKC,” Truman said. Dawn Taylor, executive director of the American Institute of Architects in Kansas City, said the benefits of the offering an architecture program in Kansas City are far reaching. “Expanding the opportunities at UMKC for students to achieve an architecture degree is exciting and positive, as it offers students an affordable and accessible option to earn their degree,” Taylor said. “Our chapter wants to see more students, especially from our region, choose careers in architecture and design to increase the talent pipeline for all of our firms.” Faculty from the architecture, urban planning and design program are also excited about the new degree offering.  “As a former student of the UMKC architectural studies curriculum, I am happy, proud and honored to be a part of the new UMKC Bachelor of Architecture program,” said Dominic Musso, a UMKC architecture instructor who will teach in the new program. “Kansas City is an international hub of world-class architectural firms, and having a degree program to provide new graduates to that market is a natural fit. Kansas City’s rich historic character and urban environment provides the ideal backdrop for students to become the next generation of our city’s architects.” Apr 16, 2024

  • UMKC Awarded $5 Million from Mellon Foundation

    Grant will fund local internships in the humanities to prepare students in their chosen field
    The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded UMKC $5 million to fund humanities internships that will support the UMKC School of Humanities and Social Sciences, students and the local community. Funding from the Mellon Foundation’s Higher Learning Program will formalize and standardize an internship program that places more than 180 students in paid internships for the length of the grant. While internship stipends will be reserved for nonprofit organizations and research teams, small businesses and corporations will be able to participate as hosts by providing 50% or more of the of the student stipend. The co-principal investigators on the grant are Diane Mutti-Burke, Professor of History and Jeff Rydberg-Cox, of English and Classics. They are both co-directors of the Center for Digital and Public Humanities at UMKC. Tamara Falicov, Ph.D., dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, is also a principal investigator. Connecting students to internship opportunities is a high-impact practice correlated with increased student persistence, degree completion and post-graduation career success. Research shows students who participate in internships gain personal and professional development, including building interpersonal skills such as teamwork and communication. “The UMKC School of Humanities and Social Sciences is thrilled to be the recipient of a Mellon Foundation grant to support Internships for undergraduate students in the humanities,” said Falicov. “This grant is coming at a critical time for students who cannot afford to enroll in unpaid internships. Thanks to the Mellon Foundation, students can apply their humanistic training within a community setting while earning a stipend. They will gain valuable skills, explore new career paths and simultaneously contribute to the success of a research project, small business or nonprofit organization in Kansas City and beyond." The $5 million from the Mellon Foundation includes $4 million in expendable funds over five years and $1 million for endowment to support the program beyond the initial grant period. Interested humanities majors and internship providers may inquire for more information by emailing Jenni Frangos, Ph.D., Mellon internship director at frangosj@umkc.edu, Sandra Enríquez, Ph.D., Mellon internship associate director at enriquezs@umkc.edu or Anabeth Laaker, Mellon internship coordinator at aclaaker@umkc.edu. Apr 16, 2024

  • Undergraduate Student Research Highlighted at Missouri State Capitol

    UMKC students presented their research on hearing loss, ACL injuries, music complexities and more
    Each year, undergraduate students from all four UM System schools go to Jefferson City, Missouri and present their research in front of elected officials at Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. University of Missouri-Kansas City students who presented are from the Conservatory, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Science and Engineering and the School of Nursing and Health Studies Research: The Urban Heat Island Effect: Creating an Interactive Model. Sophia Baugher is a junior from Independence majoring in earth and environmental science.   Baugher's investigation of how natural and manmade surfaces impact the Urban Heat Island Effect has led her to develop an interactive model for educational purposes. The Urban Heat Island Effect is a phenomenon that affects metropolitan centers across the entire world. With the recent trend of rising temperature thanks to climate change comes an increased risk in heat borne illnesses, and even an increased risk of heat-related death. Baugher’s Urban Heat Island model involved a model city being crafted from 3-D-printed materials, real roofing and asphalt samples and plants and trees that also show the affects that can mitigate this phenomenon. The project also utilizes a FLIR C5 thermal camera that will be used to demonstrate the temperature effects in real-time, as directed by the user. Research: Foxg1a is required for hair cell development and regeneration in the zebrafish lateral line Emily Bledsoe is a junior from Overland Park majoring in biology.   In the human inner ear, hearing and balance are mediated by specialized sensory cells, called hair cells. When damaged, these hair cells cannot regrow, resulting in deafness and balance disorders. In the state of Missouri, one in ten Missourians experience hearing loss or deafness, meaning there is a large population who could benefit from research into hair cell biology. Aquatic animals, including zebrafish, have specialized hair cells used in their lateral line systems to sense water current. These hair cells are very similar to the inner ear hair cells in humans, but unlike human hair cells, these lateral line hair cells can regrow throughout the lifespan of the fish. Bledsoe is investigating the foxg1a gene, which is important for inner ear development, and determining if it also plays a role in hair cell development and regeneration in the zebrafish. Research: Circadian Regulation of Spt Ada Gcn5 Acetyltransferase (SAGA) in Drosophila Melanogaster Chris Ekengren is a senior from Raytown majoring in biology. Austin Evans is a freshman from Neosho majoring in biology.   Together, Ekengren and Evans are tracing enzymes in the brain to learn how they affect the dynamics of circadian regulation and its related neurodegenerative diseases. Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is a disease which leads to the degeneration of the retina and cerebellum, causing neurodegeneration, blindness and loss of motor skills. Following the ATXN7 gene, to the Ataxin7 protein, to the transcriptional cofactor called SAGA which is critical for gene expression, Atxn7 polyQ may disrupt the balance bound and free non-stop causing dysregulation. Ekengren and Evans aim to investigate the dynamics of circadian regulation of SAGA and non-stop in the brain and how their dysfunction may lead to disease. Research: Unveiling Urban Trauma: The Impact of Design on Community Well-Being Maryam Oyebamiji is a senior from Kansas City majoring in urban planning and design. Through her research on community development design, Oyebamiji has discovered how trauma-informed design can promote well-being in diverse populations. Design is a powerful force that shapes the physical and social fabric of our communities. When wielded responsibly, it has the potential to uplift and enrich the lives of individuals, fostering a sense of belonging and well-being. Design negligence, a term gaining prominence in contemporary discourse, encapsulates the unintended consequences of ill-informed or negligent design decisions. In the context of community development, design negligence not only fails to address the unique needs and aspirations of diverse populations but can also actively enforce trauma, perpetuating cycles of inequality and marginalization. Research: Exploring the Molecular Links Between Circadian Rhythm and Neurodegeneration Sydney Rogers is a sophomore from Blue Springs majoring in health sciences. Anna Shaw is a sophomore from Independence majoring in biology. Together, Rogers and Shaw are studying sleep patterns in fruit flies and investigating how loss of sleep affects proteins in the brain. Researching these effects can help us understand the health problems related to sleep deprivation. Sleep quality is important for every dimension of mental and physical health, and numerous analyses show a correlation with sleep loss and disease. The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal biological clock that bodily proteins rely on to determine their level of activity throughout the day. Disruption of this internal cycle causes circadian dysfunction which can be correlated with the onset of a wide spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Rogers and Shaw’s research identifies sleep patterns using behavioral to investigate how loss of sleep disrupts ubiquitination patterns. SAGA is a protein complex that harbors the deubiquitinating enzyme Non-stop. Non-stop is shown to participate in the regulation of the circadian rhythm and could be a key factor in understanding the effects of sleep disruption. Research: Physical Activity, Sleep, and Demographic Patterns in Urban Missouri Youth: A Quasi-Experimental Study  Olivia Sours is a senior from Independence majoring in nursing. With data collected from accelerometers worn by adolescent youth, Sours is looking for correlations between physical activity levels and sleep patterns. In her research, Sours utilizes Garmin VivoFit4 health tracking wrist-worn devices to monitor sleep time and daily step counts in her primary focus group of adolescents in Kansas City Public School systems. Connections between sleep and physical activity are vital components of growth and development, especially in adolescence. Lack of adequate sleep and sleep quality has been known to affect mood, school performance, as well as health in general. Middle school students in urban areas also face complexities that may cause increased complications in sleep and physical activity, calling for a comprehensive intervention approach that allows students to engage in physical activity safely and learn about how to take care of themselves with productive strategies. Research: The Humorous Disability Rhetoric of Jess Thom Emily Stauffer is a senior from Kansas City majoring in English. Stauffer's rhetorical analysis of comedian Jess Thom aims to show how humor can educate and promote understanding of disabilities. Thom was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome in her early 20s, and now in her 40s, is working to break down barriers for people with disabilities. Tourette’s Syndrome is a neurological condition that causes tics, which are sudden movements or sounds a person makes and cannot control. Tourette’s is extremely common, yet still a highly stigmatized condition. Stauffer’s work focuses on Thom’s use of humor to educate her audiences on her disability and promote understanding. Research: Characterizing Lava Flow Behavior Using Digital Models of Small Tubes from Flows at Askja, Iceland Mya Thomas is a junior from Columbia majoring in earth and environmental science. The low-cost photogrammetry technique that Mya Thomas developed to create digital models of small lava tubes from flows at Askja Volcano in Iceland has wide applications, from modeling caves in Missouri to modeling geographic features on the moon. Caves are a large part of Missouri’s natural heritage and the state’s tourism. Creating digital models of geologic features using this photogrammetry technique increases accessibility and enables detailed study of their characteristics. Research: A Perfect Tuning System? Brady Wolff is a senior from Lake Winnebago majoring in music composition and music theory. Wolff has developed a new visual aid to represent the complexities of musical pieces composed with a "just intonation" tuning system. This tool not only provides theoretical insight into modern compositions, but also has implications for music education. Research on just intonation explores the practical applications of pure harmonic ratios in composed music, fostering innovative harmonic possibilities. Current research delves into the tuning systems utilized by specific composers but lacks a comprehensive overview for individual compositions. To address this gap, Wolff developed a visual aid capable of displaying the tuning center, harmonic reach, and harmonic complexity of numerous compositions composed with just intonation. Inspired by the lattice structures employed by Ben Johnston, Wolff’s visual aid provides insight to other notable composers, including Catherine Lamb and Sean Archibald (Sevish). Research: The Growth Plate and Its Role in Youth ACL Injuries Isaac Woodward is a junior from Riverside majoring in mechanical engineering. The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is a ligament in the knee joint that is commonly injured during athletic activities. ACL injuries often have long recovery times and can cause lifelong knee problems.  Using computer modeling, Isaac Woodward's research seeks to understand the role that the adolescent growth plate plays in ACL injuries. Recent research has shown that, from the ages of 14-18 in particular, female athletes are much more likely to suffer an ACL injury than male athletes. One possible cause of this trend is the adolescent growth plate: a soft, cartilage-like segment in an adolescent’s leg bones that allows the adolescent leg to grow until it reaches maturity, at which point the growth plate hardens into bone. Due to the softer, springier properties of the growth plate, some have hypothesized that the growth plate may act as a shock absorber for the knee. Because the female growth plate hardens into bone several years earlier than in males, such a shock absorbing effect of the growth plate may explain this strange spike in teenage female ACL injuries. To investigate the role of the growth plate in ACL injury, Woodward used computer modeling software to create two software models of the same knee joint: one with a growth plate and one without. Tests were then run on these two models to investigate the impact of the growth plate on ACL stress. The test results indicate that the growth plate does have a shock absorbing effect on the ACL in certain modes of knee loading, thus offering a potential explanation for this strange trend in adolescent ACL injuries.   Apr 15, 2024

  • A Tale of Muscle Disease and Drosophila

    Investigating fruit flies to learn about the progression of myotonic dystrophy
    Talk about significant research. UMKC Assistant Professor Maria Spletter’s biology lab is investigating the breakdown of proteins in the body that lead to chronic conditions such as cancer and heart disease. She has lasered in on myotonic dystrophy — or loss of muscle function. Myotonic dystrophy is among the most common rare diseases, estimated to affect 1 in 2,100 births. The muscle disease also causes accelerated aging as the regulation of ribonucleic acid — present in all living cells and also called “RNA” — changes and alters muscle control, growth and contraction. Spletter selected a model that is insignificant in size but significant in efficiency: the fruit fly Drosophila. Why Drosophila? “Drosophila are a very powerful genetic model,” Spletter said. “This means that there are a lot of tools available in the fly that enable us to do experiments that are not possible in mice or rats or humans. Plus, Drosophila grow quickly from an egg to adult fly in 10 days, so you can follow each step during development in a matter of weeks instead of years.” Another benefit of using Drosophila is the muscles it has are highly conserved, meaning the proteins that build muscles, how muscles contract and the structure and organization of muscles are the same in flies as they are in humans. In fact, models of human disease in flies reveal the same mechanism and same muscle type. These flies, therefore, provide a useful model to understand the basic mechanisms and defects in the muscle that result from a disease-causing mutation, so that further studies in human cells can be targeted. This means the team can look at the developmental mechanisms that lead to loss or damage to muscle fibers during a time point that is impossible to study in detail with mammals. By tracking the initial stages of muscle fiber during development, they can tell exactly which steps in the assembly process are defective. Studies in mice or rats typically do not have this level of resolution and have not focused in detail on how the structure of the muscle is disrupted. Testing With High-Powered Tools “We test muscle function to measure how well flies can fly, jump, climb, flip themselves over after falling on their back and how quickly they are able to clean themselves after being dusted with a fluorescent powder,” Spletter said. “All of these give us insight into live flies on their behavior when it comes to how well their muscles work.” To investigate the function of these RNA-binding proteins on the cellular level, the lab labels the tip of the muscle with a fluorescent marker and watches the muscle move using a microscope. They then quantify the movement by measuring how often the muscles contract, how much they move when they contract and the dynamics of the contraction. This is where contraction is usually impaired and irregular in mutant flies. The researchers then use a high-powered microscope that utilizes lasers to image samples to look at muscles that are stained and label different components. Unlike a traditional microscope, the laser allows us to image single planes that are 1 micron or less thick (a fruit fly is about 1 millimeter thick, and there are 1,000 microns in 1 millimeter). An indirect flight muscle cell is around 100 microns thick, so at least 100 pictures of different planes in the muscle can be taken to see all the structures inside it. With the lab’s microscope having four different lasers, four different components of the cell can be viewed at the same time to see where they are located relative to each other. With the mutants in particular, the team can observe how their localization has changed. This allows comparison between mutant and control flies to see how the structure is different in the mutants on a cellular structural level. The team then takes tissue samples from control and mutant flies to molecular and biochemical testing to find out what genetically changed in the mutant muscles, subsequently linking molecular defects to changes in cellular structure as well as muscle function. This is usually when mRNA-Seq, a combination of a biochemistry and bioinformatics approach, takes place. The mRNA (coding blueprints that are turned into proteins in the cell) from the fruit fly is isolated and the lab sequences every single gene and gene variant expressed in the muscle cell. Typically, there are around 6,000 to 8,000 genes expressed at any time, and if you look across development, around 10,000 genes change expression. The data is usually viewed for individual genes, individual splice events within one gene, or globally at all the changes in gene expression and splicing. The various levels of data obtained allow the lab to understand on a systems level what has changed in the mutant muscle cell in comparison to the control, and on an individual gene level to identify targets that might explain specific pieces of the phenotype we see. Spletter’s lab also conducts mass spectrometry, an analytical tool useful for measuring the mass-to-charge ratio of one or more molecules present in a sample, to isolate the proteins from muscle cells and determine the identity of most of the proteins present in the muscle. Around 4,000 proteins are typically detected, but more sensitive machines can see up to 6,000 proteins. This analytical method provides information on which proteins change in our mutant muscles and allows the comparison of the protein changes in the RNA from the mRNA-Seq data and to find out exactly how changes in RNA regulation lead to defects in muscle fibers and structure. The Discoveries Recent research findings from Spletter’s lab, which were published on bioRxiv, revealed how the characteristics in mutant muscle are a domino effect. The small things that go wrong at each step in the muscle development lead and further heighten the effect on the muscle. This leads to greater disruption on the muscle, compared to when Bruno1 mutant is added to the later part of muscle development. From the same research findings, Spletter’s lab discovered the potential possibility of testing gene therapy strategies in the flies that are currently in development for possible use in human patients. Although gene replacement therapy can “normalize” patterns of splicing, patients only have a partial improvement of symptoms. This means that gene therapy usually improves quality of life, and will likely extend life expectancy, but is not a cure. Spletter’s lab was able to gain insight into why exactly this is the case. “Because the structure of the muscle has defects in the core mechanical structure that allows it to move, just fixing the splicing pattern is not sufficient to fix those defects,” Spletter said. “This suggests that we need better detection methods to find patients before they seek medical help, as the earlier a gene therapy can be administered, the better chance these patients are going to have of maintaining muscle function.” Apr 11, 2024

  • UMKC Students Earn College Credit Preparing Taxes for Community Members

    Bloch students serve the Kansas City Community at Voluntary Income Tax Assistance clinic
    For more than five years, the University of Missouri-Kansas City has served the community through the federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program which helps individuals with low-to-moderate income, people with disabilities, the elderly and those who speak limited English file their taxes. The VITA program was founded in 1971, and currently has 10 sites around the Kansas City area, including the UMKC location, and more than 3,200 sites around the United States. This tax season for the first time, Henry W. Bloch School of Management students have been able to earn college credit for helping people at the UMKC VITA site. “This ensures all volunteers meet an advanced level of proficiency and ensures that there are a consistent number of volunteers at the site for the duration of tax season,” said Kimberly Luken, assistant teaching professor of accounting at Bloch. The VITA Tax Program offers hands-on experience, something Bloch accounting student Bryce Hort has used to his benefit. Hort has had the opportunity to serve as the VITA site coordinator in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Kansas City over the past few years. He calls the experience fulfilling. “There's something so gratifying about being able to see the fruits of your labor nearly instantaneously in the form of the tax refund numbers that appear when preparing a return,” Hort said. “You truly feel like you're making a difference in that moment, which motivates you to continue.” Hort has also been able to get real-world experience while participating in this program and walk away with skills that will help him after graduation. “I've had the opportunity to be involved in the processing of hundreds of tax returns, all before I even graduate with an accounting degree,” Hort said. “Not only is this an excellent resume builder, it's also an excellent confidence builder. Once I enter the workforce with my degree, I will already have a distinct advantage in terms of confidence and familiarity with tax law and the tax preparation process.” There are 18 students taking the course for credit this year as well as 20 community volunteers. Luken said the program offers many benefits to students including peer-to-peer mentorship. “As a professor, what I find most impressive is the welcoming environment the students create, their professionalism, their commitment to make sure they do it right, their willingness to learn and above all, the respect they show our taxpayers,” Luken said. “These students work directly with the taxpayers. This requires an incredible amount of patience, compassion and effective communications skills.” Last year, the UMKC site prepared about 180 federal returns. The goal for them this year was to double that number, something they easily achieved, completing over 400 federal returns totaling more than $427,000. The team has also completed nearly 500 state returns, totaling more than $138,000. Luken’s goals for the UMKC VITA program include growing the number of students taking the course, maintaining a ratio of 50/50 student volunteers and community members. “I want our clients to know they can count on UMKC to be here for them.” Luken said. If you are interested in volunteering either at UMKC or another site, you can email Luken at kimberly.luken@umkc.edu. Apr 09, 2024

  • Three UMKC Graduate School Programs Ranked Among Nation’s Top 40

    Programs are Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Pharmacy and legal writing
    Three UMKC graduate school programs were ranked among the top 40 in the nation in the rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report, with 10 programs ranked in the top 100. The Doctor of Nursing Practice program in the School of Nursing and Health Studies was ranked 19th in the nation, out of a total of 156 ranked schools. The program ranked 49th in the nation last year.Rankings for other Doctor of Nursing Practice programs in the region included University of Missouri (34th), University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (45th) and Saint Louis University (97th ).“Our Doctor of Nursing Practice program has been well-respected nationally and highly ranked for decades due to the work of our faculty, staff and especially our students,” said School of Nursing Dean Joy Roberts J.D., M.S.N., APRN-BC. “We take pride in our programs, and our graduates offer high-quality care and education to the people of Kansas City and across Missouri, as well as people across the United States.” The Doctor of Pharmacy program in the UMKC School of Pharmacy ranked 31st in the country.“We very much appreciate this great recognition for all the hard work and successes that our students, staff and faculty produce and achieve every year,” said Dean Russell Melchert, Ph.D., R.P.h. “This is an opportunity for all in the nation, and particularly future students here in Missouri and the greater Kansas City area, to see what great opportunities lie ahead for those who would like to join our Roo pharmacy family.”The UMKC Schools of Pharmacy and Nursing and Health Studies are located in the UMKC Health Sciences District, a walkable campus where all UMKC health profession schools are located alongside a dozen health-care institutions. The location allows for interdisciplinary work among health professions and nearby clinical and research opportunities. Each year, UMKC students gain real-world experience and provide crucial services to the Kansas City community through community programs like Our Healthy Jackson County and community health clinics. The UMKC School of Law ranked in the nation's top 50 in two sub-specialty categories: legal writing (16th) and trial advocacy (48th).“We’re thrilled that these rankings show what we know to be true, that UMKC School of Law is an excellent place to get a legal education,” Dean Lumen Mulligan, J.D., M.A., said. “Strong legal writing is the foundation of a career in law, and we focus on it from day one. Students use these skills to excel in their chosen specialties. One of the best examples is the success of our trial advocacy program. Our student trial advocacy teams are some of the best in the country due to their exceptional lawyering skills.”In addition to coursework, the UMKC School of Law is uniquely situated to provide robust practical experiences to its students. Students have access to experiences in Missouri and Kansas, with two state courts of appeal, two federal district courts, eight county courts and seven municipal courts nearby, in addition to multiple community clinics and internship opportunities where students can assist real clients under the supervision of licensed attorneys. Apr 09, 2024

  • UMKC Recognizes Outstanding Faculty Achievements

    Annual Faculty Awards honor excellence in teaching, leadership, research and more
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City recognized more than 20 faculty members across the university in the 2024 Faculty Awards celebration. Awards were given for research and scholarship, teaching and mentorship, diversity, engagement, service and leadership. The ceremony began with remarks from Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jennifer Lundgren who shared her appreciation for the faculty at UMKC. “Your contributions and success reach beyond the classroom, lab or stage,” said Lundgren. “As involved as you are here on campus, you contribute to the community in a way that reflects our philosophy that we are ‘Kansas City’s top university.’” Chancellor Mauli Agrawal thanked faculty for choosing UMKC. “This is one of my favorite events because we have the opportunity to celebrate you – our outstanding faculty,” said Agrawal. “UMKC and Kansas City are fortunate that you choose to work and research here.” The event concluded with recognizing faculty members a part of UMKC Faculty Senate and the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence, followed by a reception in the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center lobby.  Congratulations to the 2024 awardees: Research Awards N.T. Veatch Award for Distinguished Research and Creativity Timothy Cox, School of Dentistry Trustees’ Faculty Scholar Award Shizhen Wang, School of Science and Engineering Mohammad Rafiee, School of Science and Engineering Teaching Awards Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Awards John Ball, School of Dentistry Christopher Garmon, Henry W. Bloch School of Management Steve Leben, School of Law Angela Myers, School of Medicine Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching: early career faculty Brandi Bowers, School of Pharmacy Patrick Brayer, School of Law Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching: mid-career/senior faculty Paul Barron, School of Science and Engineering Gayle Levy, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring Karen Savage, Conservatory Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers, Scholars and Artists Debra Leiter, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Joey Lightner, School of Nursing and Health Studies Mohammad Rafiee, School of Science and Engineering Diversity, Engagement and Leadership Award Chancellor’s Award for Embracing Diversity Theresa Torres, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Community Engagement Alberto Villamandos, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Fengpeng Sun, School of Science and Engineering  Leadership and Career Contributions Awards Chancellor’s Award for Exceptional Leadership Leigh Salzsieder, Henry W. Bloch School of Management Chancellor’s Award for Career Contributions to the University Yi Chen, Conservatory  New Curators’ Distinguished Professors Curators’ Distinguished Professor Simon Friedman, School of Pharmacy Clancy Martin, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Yong Wang, School of Dentistry Apr 04, 2024

  • Five UMKC State of the University 2024 Highlights

    Chancellor announces research achievements, student-success milestones and major building initiatives
    UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal delivered the annual State of the University address on April 3, highlighting the significant achievements Kansas City’s university has accomplished in the past year. “Today, we bear witness to how we at UMKC are breaking the norm to create a transformative university that can change lives and push the boundaries of excellence,” Agrawal said. “In the next few years, we are poised to achieve the most elite level of research excellence, accelerate our students’ success, and we are literally changing the face of our campus with signature building projects that support our highest strategic goals. “If excellence in everything we do, big or small, is our goal, then in the pursuit of excellence we can never be satisfied with status quo.” 1. Research With recent, rapid growth in its research enterprise, UMKC anticipates achieving a Carnegie R1 designation in the next two to four years. To put that in perspective, only 146 universities out of 2,800 four-year institutions currently have R1 research status, putting UMKC into a prestigious group. The R1 designation will make it easier to attract even more world-class faculty and students, and to receive more research funding and partnerships with other R1 institutions.  “It will accelerate the creation of new knowledge to serve society and to enrich our students’ classroom experiences, and exposing students to high-quality research is a proven way to enhance their career outcomes,” Agrawal said. “Our students, graduate and undergraduate, deserve the very best. And the same could be said for our community.”  UMKC is Kansas City’s only public research university and has played a crucial role in various Missouri research projects including major roles in two tech hub designations from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which hold the potential to unlock hundreds of millions in research funding for UMKC, the University of Missouri System, Missouri and Kansas. 2. Student Success UMKC achieved several milestones in student success during the 2023-24 academic year including: The largest class of first-time college students in UMKC history in 2023, success it hopes to continue in Fall 2024 Significant increases in transfer student applications for Fall 2024 Increases in domestic graduate student enrollment Highest student retention and graduation rates in a decade, thanks to innovative new programs like First Gen Roos, which gained national recognition when the Center for First-Generation Student Success named UMKC a First Scholars program, the center’s second-highest designation UMKC is also rolling out new degree programs in the next year, creating degrees of high relevance to students that also capitalize on key community strengths and workforce needs. Upcoming programs going through final approvals and preparation include: A bachelor’s degree in architecture in the School of Science and Engineering, starting in 2025. A Master of Legal Studies program through the School of Law. Eight new Ph.D. programs in electrical engineering, computer engineering, civil engineering, computer science, economics, education, humanities and natural sciences starting in Fall 2025. 3. Major Building Initiatives and Updates UMKC plans major changes to its physical facilities to meet key strategic goals. Here are some of them: Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building UMKC will begin construction in June on the $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building, the largest capital in its history, when it begins clearing out a parking lot at 25th and Charlotte. A celebration is planned for this September. This building -- home to combined space for dental and medical programs as well as research space for health equity, biomedical engineering and data analytics center -- is scheduled to open in 2026. Foodiverse After the spring semester ends, food service in the Student Union, with the exception of Starbucks, will close to make way for the Foodiverse. Opening in January 2025, this food venue will have more options, from a grill and salad bar to pasta and an allergen-free zone. Chick Fil A will reopen in January 2025, too. Student Success Space Work on new student success space will begin this summer on fourth floor of the Miller Nichols Library. Programs including Supplemental Instruction and Academic Support and Mentoring, will move to that new space. Pedestrian Plaza 51st Street between Cherry Street and Rockhill Road will open as a pedestrian plaza this fall, providing campus and community gathering and green spaces. Streetcar Stop The Kansas City Streetcar will pull up to the UMKC front door in mid-2025. UMKC is working on plans for retail and a possible arena space near this public transportation hub. UMKC School of Medicine-St. Joseph Campus A grand opening for a medical education building on the UMKC School of Medicine-St. Joseph campus is slated for next year, expanding the university’s work in preparing the next generation of doctors for Missouri’s rural areas. UMKC Conservatory Expansion A sneak peek of a UMKC Conservatory expansion showed off future plans for enhancing the university’s performing arts programs. 4. Partnerships The Chancellor celebrated UMKC’s move to think outside the norm when it comes to partnerships that benefit students. As one example: UMKC is a proud higher education partner with all four  professional, major-league sports teams: the Kansas City Chiefs, the Kansas City Current, the Kansas City Royals and Sporting KC. These partnerships provide students with unique learning opportunities such as job shadowing, mentorship, internships and leadership development. 5. Strategic Engagement and Fundraising   This past fiscal year, UMKC broke its all-time record in annual philanthropic production with $94 million. As for this fiscal year, UMKC already surpassed its annual goal of $45 million and that doesn’t count Giving Day, which broke a record for single-day giving by raising in excess of $430,000, more than triple last year’s total. “As you know, our community’s support is so much more than dollars,” Agrawal said. “We have an incredibly dedicated cadre of top leaders from throughout Kansas City who freely share their time and energy to help make UMKC top-class." Apr 03, 2024

  • Business of Hip-Hop Brings New Conversation to Bloch School

    Harvard fellow, sports and media professionals collaborate to discuss influence and impact of hip-hop with students
    No longer business as usual, the University of Missouri-Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Management continues to find new ways to educate and inspire students. Their latest move, the business of hip-hop. The music genre celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2023. What started with two turntables in a house party in the Bronx, is now a trillion-dollar industry. The business of hip-hop is a collaborative effort among the Bloch School, UMKC Athletics and the UMKC Men of Color Academy (MoCa). More than 100 campuses worldwide teach courses on hip-hop culture and rap music; many of which speak to lucrative opportunities the genre brings across sports, fashion, food/beverage and the culture at large.  “The goal was really for students to see the different avenues that they could go into when it comes to sports and music and how our culture intertwines into our careers,” said Elizabeth Montelongo (BA ’21), program coordinator of student services and recruitment at the Bloch school. Montelongo led the charge coordinating this new event, bringing in C. Keith Harrison, Ed.D., business professor at the University of Central Florida, and Nasir Jones, Hiphop Fellow at Harvard University, as keynote speaker. “Hip-hop has dramatically evolved over the last 50 plus years,” Harrison said. “We’re teaching students about the success and risk-taking of hip-hop culture.” Harrison speaks extensively on the intersection of hip-hop and business, and how many are using it to their advantage. Over its 50-year history, hip-hop has been used to solve business, health and educational challenges that lead to important change and awareness in communities. This event also included panelists with a wide variety of backgrounds and experience. UMKC Alumna Shae Perry (B.A. ’19) who currently serves as morning host on Hot 103 Jamz in Kansas City, Felicia Martin senior vice president of inclusion education and community engagement at the NCAA, Jeff Porter, Ph.D., vice president of corporate partnerships at the Kansas City Current and Bryan Boots, Ph.D., managing director at the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Together, this panel helped students navigate questions surrounding business opportunities in sports and music and how to inspire young people who interact with students through the Bloch Mentorship Program. The latter is something Harrison believes is achieved through good professional role models in these fields, not just artists and athletes. “Seeing images of the successful humans in hip-hop and sports, in addition to and beyond rappers and athletes is key, especially black Americans and other folks of color,” Harrison said. And while not everyone who dreams of life as a professional athlete or artist will make it, it’s important not to put out the spark in young people who aspire for more. “Even though we can think a dream is unrealistic, it’s important not to clip anyone's wings and allow them to fly and be a support system to them,” Montelongo said. The Business of Hip-Hop will return in the 2024-25 academic year, with hopes of bringing high school students to the conversation. Apr 01, 2024

  • UMKC Pharmacy Resident Brings Vaccines In Home Through Missouri Grant

    Elderly and low-income patients to receive health care in their homes
    Nicole Gorsuch recently received a grant that funds in-home immunizations for low-income, elderly and immobile patients, working to fill a health-care gap that exists in parts of rural Missouri. For Nicole (Nickie) Gorsuch, the final step after pharmacy school at the University of Tennessee toward being a full-fledged pharmacist was a one-year community residency. Gorsuch was matched in Charleston, Missouri, through a partnership between UMKC and L & S Pharmacy in the town. Charleston is an underserved town in rural southeast Missouri, and Gorsuch is exactly the kind of candidate UMKC hopes to send into these areas.  “Nickie came to our program ready to be molded, excited to learn and ready to practice her skills,” said Sara Opronovich, Pharm.D., the school’s residency program director and Gorsuch’s supervisor.  Gorsuch arrived in Charleston last summer and quickly witnessed the lack of accessible and robust health care. “We have, like, one doctor that comes to town once a week,” she said. The lack of health-care facilities, combined with limited transportation and insecure housing, means that residents are often at higher risk of developing a condition that goes untreated, potentially turning serious without intervention. Gorsuch had her work cut out for her. Along with being the only pharmacy in Charleston, L & S Pharmacy is a community pharmacy that has clinic days to vaccinate residents. During these days, Gorsuch noticed several patients weren’t able to come into the pharmacy to receive their vaccines. “I was like, ‘well, why don’t we just go to them?’” Gorsuch said. The program started small. “One day, we had a few patients, so we just lined them up on our calendar to just go to them to give them their vaccines because, again, they don’t have a car,” she said. “We don’t have Ubers or taxis or anything. They have to walk, and a lot of our elderly population just don’t have the resources to get the things they need.” As the demand for in-home vaccinations grew, Gorsuch began to think bigger about what more this program could do for residents. “That’s why we applied for this grant through Missouri Pharmacy Association,” Gorsuch said. “In rural and underserved locations like southeast Missouri, these problems are amplified,” Opronovich said. “The seemingly simple intervention of giving a shot is also more difficult with fewer providers and more challenges with social determinants of health. Nickie’s work points out the added challenge of providing this health resource and shines a light on the need to provide funding for such interventions.”   The funding from the $60,000 grant was received in late 2023 and has enabled L & S Pharmacy to conduct transportation screenings to assess which patients can travel to the pharmacy and which patients need in-home or delivery care. This gives Gorsuch and the team a more complete picture of their patients’ challenges. The funding also covers transportation fees for the pharmacy team as well as vaccines for some uninsured patients. Gorsuch’s in-home immunization program has shed even more light on the existing health-care challenges that rural communities face. “We had a patient who has been to the pharmacy a lot, and I never knew that he didn’t have transportation (until screening), but he walked to the pharmacy,” Gorsuch said. “I never knew because I never asked. The more that we ask, the more we know. “It’s not a really walkable area, but for some patients it has to be because they don’t have any other way.” Gorsuch’s work at L & S Pharmacy will continue through the end of her residency in summer 2024. The program has enough funding for at least the next five months. With the help of community partners like grocery stores in Charleston, Gorsuch hopes to reach more potential patients who are not already in the health-care system in places they already. Community partners like grocery stores and food pantries open up conversations about the benefits of vaccines and how their local pharmacy is there to help. “The more we can get out to the people, the better we are able to capture everyone,” Gorsuch said. Mar 25, 2024

  • UMKC Staff Honored at Annual Award Ceremony

    2024 Staff Awards celebrate service milestones and accomplishments
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City recognized staff across all academic units and various programs and departments at the 2024 Staff Awards ceremony in March. The ceremony recognized more than 200 employees who have shown an incredible commitment to their personal success, as well as the growth and success of UMKC. The ceremony began with remarks from Chancellor Mauli Agrawal who shared his admiration for the hardworking staff at UMKC. “I am always overwhelmed by the dedication of our staff and all of your accomplishments,” Agrawal said. “Whether you were recognized today or not, you are essential to the success of our students and to the success of our university.” During the ceremony, Bill Marse, director of biomedical communications at the School of Dentistry, took to the podium to introduce awardees and share his remarkable service milestone of 50 years at UMKC. “I am fortunate to be in a position where coming to work is a choice,” Marse said. “It’s a very exciting, rewarding and enjoyable choice.” In typical UMKC style, the ceremony closed with a spirited and celebratory “Roo Up!” Congratulations to the 2024 awardees:  Staff Council Dedication Award Kim Kushner, IT Project Manager, Information Services Excellence in Student Success Staff Award Scott Ezzell, Bloch Manager of Admissions and Recruitment, Henry W. Bloch School of Management Excellence in Research and Creative Works Staff Award Brian Kanoy, Senior Program/Project Support Coordinator, School of Science and Engineering Excellence in Engagement and Outreach Staff Award Nate Addington, Director of Engagement and Outreach, External Relations and Constituent Engagement Inclusive Opportunity AND Excellence Staff Award Lorena Juanez, Senior Admissions Counselor, Student Success and Academic Assurance Excellence in Planning, Operations and Stewardship Staff Award Sarah Beth Schulz, Executive Assistant to the Dean, School of Science and Engineering Rising Star Award Caroline Kelly, Senior Academic Advisor, School of Medicine  Chancellor’s Staff Award for Extraordinary Contributions Chris Popoola, Faculty Affairs Specialist, Faculty Support and Academic Innovation Living the Values Award Roy Allen, Director of Research and Institutional Programs, Missouri Institute for Defense & Energy Petra Bricker, Career Advising Manager, School of Medicine Jordan Davis, Senior Manager of Admissions, UMKC Conservatory Keichanda Dees-Burnett, Assistant Dean of Student Support and Director of Multicultural Student Affairs, Student Affairs Onekia De Leon Franklin, Senior Office Support Assistant, School of Nursing and Health Sciences Barb Domke, Senior Academic Advisor, Henry W. Bloch School of Management Emma Fahrlander, Strategic Communication Specialist, Strategic Marketing and Communications Hannah Hohenstein-Flack, Senior Executive Assistant, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Brian Kanoy, Senior Program/Project Support Coordinator, School of Science and Engineering Susi Krulewich, Director of PAL Program, Curriculum and Assessment Chauncey Kuhl, Plumbing and Electrical Supervisor, Finance and Administration Megan Malcom, Degree Auditor, Student Success and Academic Assurance Susan Miller, Library Information Specialist, University Libraries Joey Medellin, Senior Program/Project Support Coordinator, UMKC Innovation Center Christi Posey, Head Coach, Intercollegiate Athletics Roy Potter, Senior Technology Resource Manager, School of Dentistry Janet Rogers, Executive Assistant, School of Law Laura Rupp, Director I Event Services, External Relations and Constituent Engagement Amanda Sanders, Business Support Specialist II, KCUR Crystal Simonis, Research Compliance IRB Manager, Office of Research Services Bailey Tennesen, Senior Educational Program Coordinator, School of Education, Social Work, and Psychological Sciences Rick Thomas, Manager IT, Information Services Molly Tugushi, Office Support Associate, School of Pharmacy Supervisory Development Series Graduates Melissa Allison Carol-Le Braden Kayla Channell Nicole L’Amour Gabriela Sa Teles Sarah Major Carla Marquina Panduro  Danielle Marx Lora Owens Katherine Sylvester Dr. Elson S. Floyd Administrative Leadership Development Program KC Atchinson Elizabeth Hoffman-Shrout Nathan Jacobs Angela Jenkins Andre Logan Melissa Newkirk Gabriela Sa Teles Bryan Scrivener Kaitlin Woody  Series on Leadership Essentials Program Avery Brotherton Andrea Cady Jamie Charles Sarah Dresslaer Tanna Engle Rebecca Ireland Kim Kushner Tara Lane Nathan Lonngren Carla Marquina Panduro Gregory McMullen Lora Owens Zachary Parker Organizational Perspectives and Leadership Program Tom Bachmann Carol-Le Braden Yolanda Branch Katey Collins Christina Davis Shay Duncan Susan Garrett Teresa Huff-Pomstra Laura King Noah Kramer Alia Krzyzanowski Alyssa Lally Jacob Lazzo Anthony Maly Amy McKune Mako Miller Megan Raney Olujimi Sode Emily Strayhall Rick Thomas Thomas Willoughby Staff who graduated with a UMKC degree in Spring 2023, Summer 2023 or Fall 2023 Katie Anton Shaun Bernardon Jessica Hill Nicole L’Amour Jameilla Robinson James Surber Douglass Whitehead Theresa Wright 5 Years of Service Silas Arnold Deidre Ashley Katherine Atcheson KC Atchinson Tom Bachmann Kenneth Bledsoe Angela Bolen Keishea Boyd Carol-Le Braden Sharon Breshears Jennifer Brown Dylan Burd Krystal Burghoff Joseph Crow Allen Dale Timothy Dean Brett Dietrich Patrick Dixon Mary Donahue Nikhila Donti Reddy Mackenzie Doss Sarah Dresslaer Megan Elsen Brooke Fischer Chainy Folsom Garren Frasher Danny Freeman Georgia Freidhof Kathryn Grindstaff Teresa Huff-Pomstra Phillip Humphrey Curtis Jacey Ellis Johnson Chante Keller Laura King Anne Kipper Michael Knabel Kay Lee Richard Lentz Brandon Martin Hannah Martin Hope McMorrow Susan Miller Leslie Mohan Tram Nguyen Mark Pederson Mariah Peel John Pragman Prasanna Reniguntala Jessie Riggs Janey Stephens Nomin Ujiyediin Kimberly Vittorino Kelly Weaver Shelby Webb Abby Weiser Krisana West Robert Wren Tejkumar Yentrapragada Alexander Zier  10 Years of Service Patricia Baldwin Casey Bauer Amber Blair Karen Bronsman Kenneth Brooks Rosana Challacombe Joe Constantino Amannda DeBoef Clint Dominick Dustin Dye Aaron Fajen Ronald Jones Rebecca Markley Laura Michaelsen Tamara Morris Julie Myer Julie Smith John Sulzer Joyce Ward Kenneth Wesley Ryan West Thomas Willoughby Laura Ziegler 15 Years of Service Katie Anton Stephen Barnes Catherine Battles Steven Bowman Elizabeth Couzens Michael Cowan LaRae Elliott Vowiell Katherine Garey George Gotto IV  Ursula Gurney Roland Hemmings Jr David Hoskins Kingsley Kakie Michelle Kroner Brad Martens Terrence McKelvy Donald Parmalee Suyopa Pinto Amy Samaripa Sheila Thomas Jared Wight  20 Years of Service Eric Anderson David Babcock Matthew Bunch Carol Calhoun Keichanda Dees-Burnett Amber Heffernan Joey Medellin Sarah Morris Rosa Nataraj Helen Perry Stephen Pottebaum Christopher Prewitt Arzelyn Umali Almaz Wassie Rosie Weaver  25 Years of Service Rosie Booze Dennis Clark Dennis Elmore Nancy Hoover Steven McDonald Jane Poe Paul Schwartz Vicki Van Noy 30 Years of Service Della Damon Jody Jeffries Steven Jenks Frank Morris Nancy Wilkinson 35 Years of Service  Carmen Jaramillo 40 Years of Service Heidi Updike  50 Years of Service Bill Marse Mar 20, 2024

  • Monumental Match Day for UMKC Medical Students

    The Class of 2024 discovered where they would be continuing their medical journey
    Excited cheers poured out of the UMKC Student Union on Friday, where more than 100 medical students tore open envelopes to discover where they would spend the next few years doing their medical residency training. The students participated in the National Resident Matching Program, also known as Match Day, when medical students learn what residency program they matched with, as well as the specialty they will practice.  For medical student Divya Jain, it was a long time coming, but very much worth it. Although the Overland Park native is in the six-year B.A./M.D. program at the UMKC School of Medicine, she took a two-year break to get her master’s degree in public policy at Harvard University. “In the six-year med program, we start preparing for our residency at 18 years old,” Jain said. “It’s been eight years in the making, but matching feels like all the hard work was worth it because we get the privilege of taking care of people.” Jain matched in a residency program at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she will enter her preferred specialty of OB/GYN. Her rotations at University Health Truman Medical Center instilled in her a passion for improving women’s health. That passion motivated her to also dive deeper into patient advocacy at a systemic level. “Obviously doctors impact our patients on an individual level, but caring for our patients doesn’t have to stop at the 15-minute visit,” Jain said. “We have so much more potential to make profound changes for our patients’ health through advocacy on a larger level.” Match Day is a family affair for many students, and that was especially true for Josephine Nwankwo of Oklahoma City, who matched at the Baylor College of Medicine in physical medicine and rehabilitation. She’ll join her sister, Angela Nwankwo (B.A./M.D. ’22), who is also a resident in the same program. Their mother is a registered nurse, and over the years the family traveled to their mother’s native Nigeria, bringing medications from the United States that weren’t available there. It instilled in Nwankwo a desire to return to Nigeria to bring rehabilitation treatment to the country. “Visiting my family in Nigeria opened my eyes to the health-care inequities in the world,” Nwankwo said. “I feel like rehabilitation is a resource that’s not really offered in these developing countries. I would love to return to Nigeria because the service could really benefit the people there.”   New School of Medicine Dean Alexander Norbash congratulated the class, while adding some perspective on what was his fifth day leading the school. “It’s an interesting day, because you began it with a certain mindset, and you’re ending it envisioning yourself in Topeka or San Francisco as a psychiatrist or a cardiac surgeon,” Norbash said. “It’s one of those watershed days you can’t ever forget.” According to Norbash, more than 50 percent of the students matched into primary care. The class matched in a wide range of specialties, including anesthesiology, emergency medicine, psychiatry, dermatology and several surgical specialties. A third of the students matched in Missouri, with 30 percent of students staying in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Lauren and Brevin Miller are two of those students who will stay in Kansas City. The married couple, who met in Spanish class their freshman year, were anxiously awaiting their match to see if they would practice in the same city. Both grew up in Missouri. Lauren is from St. Louis and Brevin is from St. Joseph, so the couple had high hopes of staying close to Kansas City. Gathered in front of nervous family and friends, the couple ripped open their envelopes together and screamed with joy when they read their exciting news. Lauren matched at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City specializing in pediatrics, and Brevin matched at the University of Kansas Health System, specializing in surgical otolaryngology. “Matching together is everything,” Brevin said. “All our hard work paid off. And our basset hounds get to stay in Kansas City!” UMKC Match Day 2024 Results Mar 15, 2024

  • Women’s Council Helps Generations of Women Fulfill Their Dreams at UMKC

    More than $98,000 awarded to 69 recipients to support post-graduate work
    The UMKC Women’s Council held its annual reception to celebrate this year’s Graduate Assistance Fund awardees. Nearly 70 women received funds to support their graduate studies at UMKC. The Women’s Council celebrated 53 years of supporting women in different fields, adding four new awards. Alumna Jacqueline Thompson (D.M.A. ’84), who was a GAF recipient in 1981, gave remarks at this year’s reception. “I thought I was going to have to drop out because I was running out of money,” she said. “The GAF fund saved me. It helped me complete my degree and contributed to who I am today.” The life-changing award inspired Thompson to commit to give back to the Graduate Assistance Fund every year. Years later, when she revisited UMKC, students who received her help recognized her. Meeting these students made her realize how much the impact of her gift, regardless of size, made to them. “I told myself that I didn’t have to make a lot of waves, but I could be a ripple. If I made enough little ripples, I could make a difference,” Thompson added.To continue making a difference, Thompson also signed an intent form to leave a planned gift to the Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund. Esther Han, conservatory student, giving her remarks Esther Han is a Conservatory student who is working toward her Master of Music degree in piano performance and pedagogy. She is one of the few GAF recipients who received an additional merit award. “There are not that many fund opportunities for musicians, so being selected is a huge deal,” Han said. “It is very special because I am going to Germany to perform with my husband. I wouldn’t be able to go without GAF because of the graduate tuition cost.” Amen Teshome is a second year Ph.D. student studying cell biology and biophysics. She is working on identifying the impact of certain proteins related to glaucoma. Teshome is a first-time GAF recipient and was also a recipient of an additional merit award. Amen Teshome, second year Ph.D. student, on the right “It is super meaningful and rewarding, knowing that my research is making a difference and being validated,” Teshome said. “I feel super motivated to be here, and it’s really helping me push through during research. Because of the GAF, I get to attend the annual meeting for the Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in Seattle. I would not be able to afford it on my own." This year, the Women’s Council debuted four new named awards for the Graduate Assistance Fund. They were donated by UMKC Provost Jenny Lundgren, Ph.D.; UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. and his wife, Sue Agrawal, who is on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Council; UMKC Foundation President Amanda Davis and former students and associates of Bibie Chronwall, M.Ed., Ph.D. The fund awards were named after people the donors held close to heart and will help fulfill future generations of women to reach their educational goals and establish careers that will benefit others. “I’ve been on the selection committee for four years now and have seen the hard work of our students, along with how the GAF impacts them,” Sue Agrawal said. “The best part is the principle of the fund won’t be spent, so it will keep growing over time and help more students in the future.” The Graduate Assistance Fund has distributed more than $2.4 million since it started. Mar 15, 2024

  • UMKC Alumna of the Year is a National ABC World News Now Co-Host

    The Kansas City native was also a recent UMKC Commencement speaker
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The university and the association are honoring Rhiannon Ally (B.A. ’05) with the Class of 2024 Alumna of the Year Award. As the co-anchor of the national ABC News program, “World News Now” and “America This Morning” and a frequent correspondent on "Good Morning America" and “Nightline”, Ally’s questions have taken her far, but her path had not been clear until she came to UMKC. Ally took a journalism class taught by Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Bob Unger as an elective, which changed the course of her life. “I remember him telling us that journalists question everything around them. Even if your own mother tells you something, do some digging and get another source,” said Ally. “That class got me thinking maybe I should be a journalist.” That’s exactly what she did. Ally’s nearly 20-year career has taken her to Miami, New Orleans, Las Angeles, London and Las Vegas. She has interviewed renowned celebrities including Madonna, Denzel Washington, Caroline Kennedy and Gloria Steinem. Ally has had a front row seat to history, documenting events including the Boston Marathon bombing, the war in Ukraine, Hurricane Katrina and the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. But the local stories have had the greatest impact on Ally. She recalled a time she interviewed a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Both were Holocaust survivors and Ally still keeps in touch with their adult children. “When people tell you their story, it becomes a part of you. And the community does as well. I have been fortunate to be part of some incredible communities in my career. None as special as telling stories in my hometown of Kansas City,” said Ally. The Raytown native co-anchored the 5 p.m. and Emmy-Award-winning 10 p.m. news for Kansas City’s NBC affiliate KSHB-TV alongside her husband, Mike Marza (B.A. ‘04), whom she met at UMKC. In Kansas City, Ally anchored breaking news coverage of a massive fire that destroyed several city blocks, severe weather outbreaks and the Royals World Series Championship parade and rally. “Most of my family and many of my close friends are still in Kansas City,” said Ally. “People don’t realize how much KC has to offer, but the thing that stands out the most is always the people. The people here are always so supportive and friendly and really have followed me through my entire career.” While her career as a journalist is impressive, Ally said her proudest professional accomplishment has been publishing her children’s book, “Mommy, Please Don’t Go to Work!”, which was inspired by her experience as a mom, often hearing her three kids utter the phrase. “Writing a book was a lifelong dream. The day I saw my book published was one of the best days of my career,” said Ally. Mar 15, 2024

  • UMKC Law Student Scores with Sporting Kansas City Internship

    UMKC connections were a perfect match for Annmarie Orlando to pursue sports law
    Annmarie Orlando knows two things: she wants a career in sports law, and she wants it in her hometown of Kansas City. “I chose UMKC because I’m from Kansas City and I knew that I wanted to stay here,” Orlando, student at UMKC School of Law, said. “I’ve grown up here and I know it’s a great city to live in, and there’s lots of opportunities for work.” One came with longtime UMKC partner Sporting Kansas City. The university and soccer club have been partners for a decade; part of that partnership includes first opportunity for internships for UMKC students.  For Orlando, it’s been the chance to start the career she’s been working toward for years. Orlando was an athlete growing up, and she wanted a career related to sports. After obtaining her undergraduate degree in sports management, a family member suggested law school as a next path. She started law school elsewhere and decided to transfer to return to Kansas City. The experience she’s had here has been unmatched. Orlando's mentor, Kylie DeWees, a staff attorney at Sporting KC, spoke at the UMKC Sports Law Club in Fall 2023. “Other than Sporting KC, I’ve had a few more opportunities to get experience while in law school,” Orlando said. “I worked with the athletics department at UMKC and got to work with the athletic director on NCAA rules and compliance. I’ve also gotten to work with NAIA and their lawyers as well.” In addition to working in sports law, Orlando volunteered with the public defender’s office. Although she found the work rewarding, the experience confirmed that her calling was sports law. She credits the law school and real-world opportunities with helping her define her career path. “Getting that real-life understanding of how it actually is working in the legal field while still in school helps figure out if you actually like that area of law,” Orlando said. “The law school’s career center is very helpful. They really care about helping students get experience where they want to be.” For Orlando, that experience at Sporting KC involved legal research, contract review and learning the unique rules of Major League Soccer, among other things. Her mentor and Sporting KC staff attorney Kylie DeWees says that getting to study sports law in the soccer capital of America is invaluable, especially with the 2026 World Up on the horizon. “Our student interns can drive 15 minutes from class to come here and get practical experience on a big stage,” DeWees said. “You can’t beat that.” With Kansas City’s rising profile in the sports world, Orlando knows that she’s in the right place to begin her career. “Kansas City is a great place to study sports law,” Orlando said. “With the growth the city has seen and all the new teams we’re getting, there are lots of opportunities here.” Mar 13, 2024

  • UMKC Bloch School Executive MBA Shifts to Saturday-Only Classes, Plus Residencies

    New schedule will offer greater work-week flexibility
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Management will implement a new schedule for its Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) program to improve the frequency and depth of students’ engagement with the course content and focus more in-person class time to interactive activities, while simultaneously eliminating the monthly Friday class and moving regular classes to two or three Saturdays per month.  Unlike the traditional MBA, the EMBA focuses intensively on enhancing and refining leadership skills. EMBA students already possess extensive work experience and often enter the program while simultaneously working full time.   “These changes will improve student experience by allowing more flexibility in learning and reducing conflicts with students’ work schedules,” said Arif Ahmed, Ph.D., associate dean of the Bloch School.  Program management made the decision after seeking and receiving input from students, community stakeholders, faculty, and staff. Factors including paid-time-off changes, childcare needs and even doctors’ surgery schedules were considered.   “We had a couple of doctors who said you know, I'd really like to do your program, but Friday is my day in surgery and it's never going to happen as long as you have this particular class schedule,” said Eugene Pegler, executive director of student affairs at Bloch.  The changes also include moving a small portion of some courses to asynchronous online engagements distributed over the semester, which allows for focusing more on activities and discussions during the live in-person sessions.  In addition to regular classes, EMBA students complete four signature residency experiences. Two of these intensive courses are in Kansas City, one is in Washington D.C. and the final intensive course is a study-abroad experience, currently in Belgium.  These residency experiences offer a comprehensive exploration of leadership, strategy, public policy and global business. Over the 21-month program, EMBA students also receive dedicated support from their own Bloch executive coach, helping them gain deeper insight into their professional strengths and practice how to leverage them to become a more authentic leader.  The Henry W. Bloch School of Management is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2024 EMBA cohort. Explore the new schedule and program details.  Mar 07, 2024

  • Lunar Dust Research Is Out of This World

    When humans return to the moon, UMKC research will help them avoid problematic interactions with lunar dust while mining that same dust for valuabl...
    Ahmed Hassan, Ph.D., associate professor of computing and engineering, is working with partners at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the Space Science Institute to gain a more thorough understanding of the composition and properties of lunar dust. Hassan is crafting three-dimensional models of the shapes of individual, microscopic dust particles. Why? Lunar dust is literally unearthly. It has unique geotechnical properties due to the absence of geological processes on the moon, such as chemical weathering, humidity and atmospheric wind. And the moon’s magnetospheric interactions and constant collisions with comets and asteroids also create discrepancies. As a result, the shape of microscopic particles in the moon’s regolith, or lunar dust, differs from the shape of particles in earthly materials that resemble it at the macro level; for example, they have sharper, jagged edges. And those different shapes have to be accounted for. During the Apollo missions, lunar particles caused significant problems such as abrasion of vehicles, spacecraft and scientific equipment as well as obscuring the solar panels that generated electricity. During a lunar landing, the rocket engine sends dust particles flying “like tiny bullets,” Hassan said. Lunar dust adhering to spacesuits even caused allergy-like symptoms for the astronauts when it penetrated the atmosphere inside the spacecraft when they returned from moonwalks. “Depending on the application, lunar regolith (dust) particles can cause serious problems or be used as a valuable resource in future lunar expeditions,” Hassan said. “The research results can help guide a wide range of lunar applications, from electrostatic dust removal from solar panels to using it to fabricate structures on the moon.” Yes, to build structures. Among the applications of Hassan’s research is the feasibility of using lunar dust to make concrete on the moon, a critically important factor for building permanent settlements. In his initial study, Hassan and his team were able to model 25 distinct particle shapes from a tiny sample of lunar dust brought back from the moon missions of the 1970s. For his current study, he has access to approximately 10,000 particles. To prepare for future missions, space scientists created various reproductions of lunar dust, called simulants, crafted from materials on the earth. Recent advances in 3D X-Ray capabilities, however, revealed a problem. “Some of the simulants matched the physical properties of lunar regolith; some matched the chemical properties. But no one had tried to match particle shapes,” Hassan said. X-ray nanocomputed tomography (XCT) allowed scientists to examine the shape of particles as small as 400 nanometers (billionths of a meter) in length. That revealed the sharp, jagged edges and other unique properties that the next generation of simulants will have to match. Future astronauts will be better prepared to deal with the moon’s unique environment, thanks to Hassan’s efforts. Mar 07, 2024

  • UMKC Alumni Award Winner Turns Love of the Arts into Philanthropic Life

    Suzanne Shank's support for UMKC and the Kansas City arts community goes above and beyond
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes outstanding alumni achievements with an awards celebration. Suzanne Shank (J.D., M.P.A ‘82) is the Class of 2024 Bill French Alumni Service Award recipient. From a young age, Shank’s love of the arts shined bright as she committed herself to dance lessons, even performing with the Kansas City Ballet when it was part of the UMKC Conservatory. Despite not pursuing the arts in her professional life, Shank’s support for the place she once performed has been extensive.  “I’ve always appreciated the arts and what they bring to the community,” Shank said. “I also recognize how necessary arts education is to a community.” Shank has served on the Friends of the Conservatory Board and as a chair for Crescendo, the annual gala supporting student scholarships. In that role, she was instrumental in raising more than $1 million for student scholarships. In 2005, Suzanne and her late husband established the Suzanne Shank and Marty Smoler Scholarship, which supports a student studying in the Conservatory.  “UMKC is so important to Kansas City, and I wanted to be philanthropic where my money would have the most impact,” Shank said. “UMKC has done such an amazing job supporting the needs of the surrounding community and that should be rewarded.” Shank currently serves on the UMKC Board of Trustees as a vice chair and serves on the executive committee. In addition to serving on the Trustees’ Scholars Committee for many years, where she has been a thought leader and Trustees' Scholar mentor, she also serves on the Next Generation Trustees’ Scholars Working Group. She recently established the Suzanne Shank Trustees’ Scholars Scholarship. Her impact on the Kansas City community goes well beyond her support of UMKC. She has actively participated in numerous nonprofit associations, showcasing her commitment to philanthropy and community development. Her leadership roles in local organizations such as the KC Ballet, the Symphony League and the Lyric Opera, have contributed significantly to the cultural and artistic fabric of Kansas City. Mar 04, 2024

  • Major League Match: UMKC and Kansas City Royals Announce Partnership

    Includes hands-on learning opportunities for students; alumni and campus engagement
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced a three-year partnership with the Kansas City Royals, beginning in March 2024, built around student-success programs and additional opportunities for alumni, campus and community engagement. With this partnership, UMKC is now a proud higher education partner of all four major professional sports teams in Kansas City: the Royals, Kansas City Current, Sporting KC and the Kansas City Chiefs. “This Royals partnership is a grand slam, another great partnership to offer our students unparalleled opportunities for unique real-life learning experiences, mentorship and ways to connect to build their career network,” said Anne Hartung Spenner, vice chancellor for UMKC Strategic Marketing and Communications. “We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with the Royals for years, and we’re thrilled to make it official. Partnering with all four of our city’s major professional sports teams is a benefit to all at Kansas City’s top university and our community.” The UMKC and Royals partnership celebrates the unique, authentic connection that already exists between the organizations, from hosting commencement ceremonies to UMKC Night at The K to the Sherman Scholars program at the Institute of Urban Education at the UMKC School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences. “UMKC is an immense part of Kansas City’s history, and the Royals are honored that this partnership will allow for two pillars in the community to work together to better our future generations,” said Alex Schulte, vice president of corporate partnerships. A few components of the new UMKC and Royals partnership: “Bring Out the Bots” is a STEM initiative for high school students to create a robot to throw the first pitch at a Royals game. Students from the UMKC School of Science and Engineering will collaborate with the KC STEM Alliance and local middle school students to conceptualize and build a robot. When the robot is ready, the students will attend a game and witness the robot throwing the first pitch. Media/film and communications students from the UMKC School of Humanities and Social Sciences will get a chance to collaborate with the Royals’ in-house creative agency, Pine Tar Collective, to make a 30-second ad for UMKC. The ad will premiere on CrownVision on April 19 for UMKC Night at The K. The video will then run during every homestand. UMKC and the Royals will donate 50 tickets to a youth organization for a gameday experience at a Royals game. The Kansas City Royals are adding a new segment to the Royals Radio Network to highlight players in the farm system. The “Future Royals” feature will air twice a month during games and include a shoutout to UMKC at the beginning and end of each feature. UMKC and the Royals share a history centered around campus support and celebration. UMKC commencement ceremonies in May 2021 and 2022 took place in Kauffman Stadium. The first UMKC Night at The K took place in 2023, with co-branded jerseys for fans and entertainment featuring the UMKC pep band and KC Roos Dance Team. The second one will be April 19 and will feature co-branded crewnecks for fans who buy theme tickets as well as UMKC entertainment and more. The Sherman Family Foundation, founded by Royals CEO John Sherman and his wife, Marny, supports the Sherman Scholars program at the UMKC Institute for Urban Education. The program provides annual scholarships to graduate and undergraduate students in teacher prep programs; Sherman Scholars attend a Royals game together every year. UMKC partners with the Kansas City Royals Foundation’s MLB Urban Youth Academy for the KC Roos Softball home field. Royals owner, John Sherman received an honorary doctorate in 2013 from UMKC, and is a member of the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management Executive Hall. UMKC alumna Karen Daniel (M.S. ’81 accounting) was inducted in 2023 into the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame at UMKC. She is the first African American woman to be a Major League Baseball owner since her addition to the Kansas City Royals ownership group in 2020. Feb 28, 2024

  • One Family, 100 Years of Roos

    UMKC Alumni Association honors the Tedrow/Selders/Hogerty Family with the 2024 Legacy Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes outstanding alumni achievements. UMKC is honoring the Tedrow/Selders/Hogerty family with its Class of 2024 Legacy Award. The family legacy dates back more than 100 years, when Joseph Herbert Tedrow graduated from the Kansas City School of Law (now UMKC School of Law) in 1922. The next family members to attend UMKC, then known as the University of Kansas City, were brothers Loyd Selders (B.A. ’39) and David V. Selders, who attended but did not finish due to World War II. The story extends several more generations. Alumni include Joseph’s granddaughter, Martha Hogerty (B.A. ’75, J.D. ’79), and grandson, Eugene (Pat) Selders, Jr. (B.A. ’72). Martha’s daughter, Mary (Hogerty) Needham (B.A. ’88) and her cousin Joan (Tedrow) Gilson (M.A. ’83, Ph.D. ’94), David’s daughter Dianne Selders Hogerty (B.A. ’78) and her son David Michael Hogerty (B.A. ’89) are also esteemed alumni. “I don’t remember a time when the campus was not a part of the essential fabric of my life,” Needham said. “It was thrilling to think that I was writing the next chapter in a very long legacy.” Members of the family have contributed greatly to the Kansas City community and beyond, both in their careers and volunteerism. Their philanthropic endeavors cross the city and region, including the Junior League of Kansas City, League of Women Voters, St. Mary’s Medical Center, South Plaza Neighborhood Association, Jackson County Historical Society, UMKC Neighborhood Advisory Council and more. Joseph Herbert Tedrow was a member of the Kansas City, Missouri Chamber of Commerce from 1915 until his death in 1951. Most of those years were spent as transportation commissioner; he testified before the Interstate Commerce commission in Washington, D.C. on numerous occasions and authored a book of transportation regulation. Martha Hogerty served as Missouri public counsel for 12 years, where she advocated for Missouri residents and small businesses in matters of utility services. She served as the consumer advocate representative on the Federal Communications Commission’s Joint Board, which made recommendations to preserve and advance universal telephone service, and as a president of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates. Now retired, but a lifelong learner, Martha returned to UMKC to audit classes. In 1974, David V. Selders founded Family Features Editorial Syndicate to deliver branded food content directly to consumers; the company provided high-quality content and photography to local magazines and newspapers free of charge. Selders and Family Features pioneered the use of formatted content and the commitment to tracking content placements. Fifty years later, Family Features is still headquartered in Mission, Kansas, and works with top brands to deliver food, lifestyle, and home and garden content. Dianne Selders Hogerty and David Michael Hogerty joined the family business during their careers. Dianne co-founded a chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International in Kansas City, a philanthropic organization of women leaders in the food, beverage and hospitality industry. She served as president of the international organization in 2004-05. “I married after my freshman year of college and stopped my education to begin our family,” Dianne said. “At the ripe old age of 29, I returned to school and finished my degree at UMKC. If UMKC hadn’t been here so I could continue my education, I wouldn’t have become the ‘me’ I am today. I will be forever grateful.” Feb 26, 2024

  • UMKC Marketing and Communications Wins 10 CASE Awards

    Awarded projects range from advertising to writing
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Strategic Marketing and Communications division received 10 awards for excellence in advancement, alumni relations, marketing and communications initiatives and materials from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, also known as CASE. The division received 2023 Best of District VI Awards in categories that include advertising, design, magazines, videos and writing.  “At UMKC, we are blessed with an immensely talented marketing and communications team who do great work, day in and day out, sharing our university’s unique story to the world,” said Anne Hartung Spenner, vice chancellor for Strategic Marketing and Communications. “This year we broke our team record for CASE awards. What a great honor to see our team’s excellent work recognized by our higher education peers.” Here are the following projects that received awards: Special Events: In-Person (Single-Day): School of Medicine 50th anniversary event In 2022, the UMKC School of Medicine celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the school and its innovative six-year program that accepts students right out of high school. The UMKC Strategic Marketing and Communications team designed a full suite of materials such as a 50th anniversary logo and videos shown during the gala. Videos: Commercials: RoosDo TV spots The RoosDo TV spots aim to showcase UMKC Roos who are creating change across Kansas City and the rest of the world by spotlighting Roos who are bringing health-care solutions to those most in need, inventing new technologies that change lives, dedicating themselves to service and running businesses that employ thousands of people. Publications: Student Recruitment (Series or Package): First Gen Roo First Gen Roo is a program that supports first-generation college students at UMKC and helps them navigate the college experience. Strategic Marketing and Communications partnered with the First Gen Roo program staff to create branding and a series of recruitment materials to attract future students to the program. Videos: Promotional (Short): Community Engagement Video – Clio This video tells the story of Clio, a website and mobile app used across the country to record and preserve history in digital format. It also shares how its creator, David Trowbridge, Ph.D. , William T. Kemper associate research professor in digital and public humanities at the UMKC, uses Clio to help artistic, cultural and historical organizations in Kansas City, and across the country, tell their stories. Videos: Promotional (Long): Bloch 100th video We celebrated prominent Kansas City leader and founder of H&R Block Henry W. Bloch’s 100th birthday with a special celebration to pay tribute to his legacy and a video to honor Bloch and all he has meant to Kansas City, UMKC and the community. The event, on his birthday July 30, was open to the community, alumni, faculty, staff and students, as well as close Bloch family and friends. Videos: Fundraising (Flash Campaign/Giving Day): Giving Day 2022 UMKC students shared their stories about the positive impact scholarships have made on their lives and education as part of a video for UMKC Giving Day. The video also featured UMKC alumni and donors. Magazines: Alumni/General Interest (Printed Once a Year): Vanguard Volume 6 Vanguard Magazine is an annual research-centered publication that features the latest faculty news and research at UMKC. This specific issue highlighted stories that included sustainable urban agriculture, removing chemicals from drinking water, technology enhancements for work zone safety and limiting glaucoma damage. Design: Invitations: Crescendo invitation UMKC Crescendo is a signature university event that showcases student talent at its renowned Conservatory. The invitation for the event is a representation of the creativity, the passion and the deep artistic connections of the event. Marketing: Marketing Initiatives (More Than 25 Staff): Quick to Market 60-Day enrollment push The marketing team, partnering with enrollment management, gained approval for a plan to market to new geographic areas, market specific degree programs and employ more commercial marketing techniques. Three months after launch, there was a 10%increase in applications and admits and more than 5,900 qualified leads from new areas alone for the following semester. Writing: News/Feature (Less Than 1,000 Words): Professors Study the Impact of Sound on Operating Room Safety The story highlights how a faculty donation leads to collaboration between professors in the School of Medicine and UMKC Conservatory to yield safer surgeries. Feb 26, 2024

  • Meet the UMKC Alumnus and Fitness Trainer Taylor Swift Knows All Too Well

    Hugh Jackman, Justin Bieber and Jasmine Tookes are just a few of the other clients on Kirk Myers’ DogPound roster
    Are you ready for it? Meet the mastermind behind Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour workout routine. Kirk Myers (B.L.A.) is a UMKC alumnus who is a rock star in his field. As a Kansas City area native, he says that our city laid the foundation of who he is now. He was a UMKC student when he ultimately found his end game and moved to New York City to build his empire. Myers is a household name in the fitness industry, with clients ranging from models like Adriana Lima to singers like Swift, Justin Bieber and many more. Myers moved to New York City in 2011, and enchanted the personal training and fitness world in 2015 with DogPound, and his empire has only grown since then.  What made you decide to start your fitness business? I had my own battles with obesity at a very young age to the point where I almost died. I was determined to get myself healthy and fit and was able to lose weight. I set out to help others and from then on that’s been my mission and I love it. What made you decide to attend UMKC and what did you study? My brother went to University of Missouri, but my sister went to UMKC for law school, and I had always heard good things. My initial major was elementary education, but I ultimately decided to go with liberal arts and pursue my passion in fitness. I ended up losing 100 pounds during my time at UMKC! Where did the name DogPound come from? I was introduced to Hugh Jackman around the time I was starting to create my own brand and since he always brought his dog around, the inspiration for the name DogPound really came to fruition. What makes DogPound stand out in the fitness world? I’d probably also have to say the community we have, our staff, trainers and clients. It’s like a family, and we look forward to seeing each other every day! The community is strong, and clients really feel that because it’s authentic. We also have some super unique training methods that keep people coming back for more. Pairing clients with a team of trainers allows for constant variety while keeping some consistency. Do you think your experience as UMKC impacted your future? How so? Absolutely! It taught me that anything is possible and to never give up on your dreams. I took those lessons and put it into my work ethic. How do you think Kansas City impacted you as a person? Do you think it gave you the opportunity to grow into who you are? I love Kansas City! I think it’s amazing and I call it a hidden treasure. There are so many good people, cool art and history. It laid the foundation for who I am. My family and childhood best friends still live there. My first time really living in a city was when I went to UMKC, so it exposed me to a more urban lifestyle. How has an education at UMKC helped you? I think what I appreciated and learned the most is how to balance a busy schedule and how to do research. Those are two things I currently use every day as founder and trainer at DogPound. What would you say to students who aspire to be successful like you? Stay humble and keep at it! You can achieve anything you put your mind to but it’s important to give back and always remember where you came from. Is there anything outside of DogPound that you are proud of accomplishing? When I began as a trainer, I wanted to help people. As the company grew, we developed the five pillars of our brand — teamwork, passion, authenticity, positivity and to give back — all of which we believe has really led the vision to grow and helps define our purpose. Through these pillars, we’ve partnered with organizations that support children like Community of Unity for many years as well as volunteering at The Bowery Mission in New York City. I am proud of the way our team extends their community to those who need it. What advice would you give to prospective UMKC students, or current UMKC students? Be OK with not knowing what you want to do in life as you enter your college years. Your 20s will be a rollercoaster decade. Have fun, but also be smart and try to plan ahead when possible. Feb 26, 2024

  • Emmy-Winning Alumna, Educator to be Honored at the 2024 Alumni Awards

    UMKC Alumni Association recognizes Carmaletta Williams, Ph.D., with Spotlight Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The Spotlight Award recognizes the excellence of a member of our UMKC community whose accomplishments, leadership and public service have caused regional and national attention to be focused on the university and the metropolitan area. This year, the Alumni Association is honoring Carmaletta Williams (B.A. ’84, M.A. ’87), Ph.D., with its Class of 2024 Alumni Spotlight Award.   Williams earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from UMKC. She boasts a 28-year-long career teaching English and African American Studies at Johnson County Community College, where she also served as the founding Executive Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In addition, she received an Emmy for her portrayal of Zora Neale Hurston in “Zora Neale Hurston: Queen of the Harlem Renaissance.” She currently serves as the executive director of the Black Archives of Mid-America. “Dr. Williams is engaged in extremely important work in this community,” said Diane Mutti Burke, Ph.D., director of the UMKC Center for Midwestern Studies and co-director of the UMKC Center for Digital and Public Humanities. “The Black Archives of Mid-America, with Dr. Williams at its helm, is one of the most significant institutions engaged in the preservation and dissemination of the history of Black Kansas Citians, a community of great national historic significance.” It was clear speaking to Williams that her work is not slowing down any time soon. What inspired your interest in English literature and a career in teaching? My goal as a child was to become a writer. My mother told me that was well and good, but I needed to be sure that I had a regular income to support myself. She suggested that I be a teacher who writes. I always considered myself a writer who taught. In what ways do writers and poets of color uniquely contribute to the English literature genre and to our shared global community? Writers have an obligation to pull their readers into the work and have them share the experiences that they are sharing. Because the largest oeuvre of American literature is of the white European writers, Black writers and writers of other ethnic backgrounds have a unique perspective of life and lived experiences that they have to make accessible for people who share their heritage and for others wanting to learn more. You received an Emmy for your portrayal of Zora Neale Hurston on PBS. Is acting a new pursuit for you, and do you plan to continue? Acting is not new. I have been performing as Zora Neale Hurston for over two decades now. I performed in church as a small child and in high school plays. Teaching is certainly performance. Today’s students, especially, were raised on television, so they need to be “entertained” as they are taught. Developing pneumonic devices so students can remember the information presented in the classroom takes a bit of the same artistry and creativity that I use in performances – I try something, gauge student reactions, and if positive I repeat it, if not, I try something else. The goals is to help them to understand the information. If students understand, they will remember. What drew you to teaching internationally and bringing English literature to students around the world? There is a big world out there filled with people who surely want to know more about the American experience. I gladly share this with them. And as I teach . . . I learn. What advice do you have for students who would like to follow in your footsteps? Although I would be deeply flattered if any of my students told me they would like to follow in my footsteps, I would advise any one of them to chart their own paths. Their talents and goals are different from mine, and probably superior, so they need to develop their own means of achieving their goals. How did UMKC prepare you for/contribute to your success? My mother and grandmother repeatedly told me that the purpose of an education was to teach me how to learn. UMKC reinforced that. I learned that no matter what I decided to do with my life, or how I was to earn my living, that the basics were given to me. I just had to instill them and adapt them to my life’s choices. Feb 21, 2024

  • Celebrating the 2024 TAASU Freedom Breakfast

    President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) Bob Kendrick shares the history of NLBM and the role it’s played in society
    The African American Student Union (TAASU) Freedom Breakfast was created to commemorate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., promote unity and harmony within the UMKC community and celebrate people of all backgrounds and experiences. This year marked the 33rd anniversary of the breakfast and included student performances. Bob Kendrick, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, was the keynote speaker this year. He spoke about the history of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, from its humble beginnings to the $25 million new museum campus that is expected to be completed by 2028.“Baseball is what started the ball of social progress rolling in our country,” Kendrick said. “The Negro Leagues gave women the opportunity, before the country gave women the opportunity to do things. It indeed was a pioneering league,” he said “They did not care what color you were, and they did not care what gender you were. It is wonderful to have a place where our children can enter and truly gain a better understanding and appreciation as to why diversity, equity and inclusion are valid pillars towards building respect in our society.” “In this country, if you dare to dream, you believe in yourself, you can do or become anything you want to be. These baseball players dreamed about playing baseball, they did not know they were making history and did not care about making history. They just wanted to play ball. The pride, the passion and the determination that they displayed in the face of adversity, their story is not about the adversity, but rather what they did to overcome that adversity. This is a story that transcends race, it transcends age and it transcends gender.” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas also spoke at the event.“Don’t be afraid to be proudly and exceptionally Black,” Lucas said. “We are changemakers on a university campus in Kansas City, where we are making a difference for our future.”“We need your voices making a difference. We need you all to make sure you are building the society of the future, that just doesn’t talk about equal opportunity, but lifts up our young people and lets them know about the pride and greatness they have within themselves.”   Feb 20, 2024

  • UMKC Student Takes the Driver’s Seat With Her Involvement On Campus

    Mya Thomas’s passion for interdisciplinary learning fueled her interest in STEM organizations such as Women in Science (WiSci) and Baja Buggy
    Conducting research in Iceland and working with Baja Buggies. That’s the typical college experience for Mya Thomas, who loves a hands-on approach in the STEM field. We sat down with the Science and Engineering student to learn exactly what gets her gears going. What inspired you to pursue your major? My major is a Bachelor of Science in Earth and Environmental Science with a geology emphasis. I am pursuing minors in astronomy and physics as well as a certificate in Geographic Information Systems. I love exploring the natural world and learning about geologic processes I can observe with my own eyes in the field. I decided to add on minors in astronomy and physics because I want to specialize in planetary geology. It has always been a dream of mine to work for NASA and help plan missions to extraterrestrial lands. How and why did you get involved with WiSci? During my freshman year, I first discovered Women in Science through an alumna that now works with NASA. She said that WiSci was a wonderful and supportive environment for her to be a part of while she was at UMKC. I started off as a general member, but then was elected vice president the next semester and here I am as president about a year later. Since being involved with WiSci, I have gained a passion for making STEM more accessible and success in it more achievable. How and why did you get involved with Baja Buggy? I joined the Baja Racing Team my freshman year because I thought it was cool! My dad has always been a fan of NASCAR and I grew up riding go-karts with him, so I developed an interest in cars and racing. As the current president, I approach this role with a mission to, again, make STEM more accessible and approachable to non-majors. The executive team is composed of all non-engineering students, and we have leads from each engineering discipline at UMKC. I quickly learned how important it is to foster a supportive atmosphere, put trust in your team, and just ask the question when you have it. What do you plan to pursue post-grad? Why? Once I graduate from UMKC, I am going off to grad school to study planetary geology and continue building an interdisciplinary background in STEM. My dream career is to be on a mission planning team at NASA. I am most interested in being a part of a team that develops scientific data collection and analysis plans for a mission to planets or asteroids in our solar system. Mission planning teams at NASA are as interdisciplinary as you can get. Why is the representation of women in science important? What does it mean to you? Learning about science in school, I only recall hearing about Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Galileo. It wasn’t until late high school that I learned about famous female scientists like Marie Curie, Katherine Johnson and Mary Anning. Growing up with this narrative of science being a man’s field made it feel deviant to be interested in pursuing a career in STEM. I don’t want young girls to feel intimidated to pursue a career in STEM. I want young girls to grow up and maintain their curiosities in science and carry that into their career paths. Building a more encouraging atmosphere around STEM would open the industry to so many more diverse perspectives. Do you have any advice for women thinking of pursuing a STEM field? My biggest piece of advice would be to branch out and try new things, more so if you are intimidated. Not only will you grow as a student when you step outside of your comfort zone, but also as a human being. Do you have any current mentors who have inspired you? Hands down,the MELT team at UMKC. The MELT team is a volcanology research team led by Alison Graettinger, Ph.D. in the Natural and Build Environment Division in the School of Science and Engineering at UMKC. Graettinger has been an incredible mentor to me regarding both my undergraduate research pursuits and my general career path. She is passionate about facilitating her students’ success. The path I am on feels so much more fun with Graettinger and the MELT team by my side. Feb 19, 2024

  • Don't Go Breaking My Heart: Guide to Physical and Emotional Heart Health

    This American Heart Month, two UMKC faculty members discuss all things heart, both physical and emotional
    For American Heart Month, we talked to cardiologist Tracy Stevens (M.D. '90), and licensed professional counselor Shantai McCray, M.A., L.P.C., about keeping our hearts feeling good, healing a broken (or damaged) heart and more. Whether you plan to spend the holiday with your special someone or by taking part in some self-care, our two heart experts and UMKC faculty members can help make every day an opportunity to celebrate your heart, not just Valentine’s Day.   Stevens Stevens is a professor of medicine at UMKC, a cardiologist and medical director of the Muriel I. Kauffman Women’s Heart Center. She found passion for all things heart when she was working as a physical therapist at Saint Luke’s Hospital’s cardiology rehab center, and decided to attend the UMKC School of Medicine’s four-year medical program. “I still remain so grateful for the education and experience in my four years at UMKC,” she said. She has been a champion of women’s heart health throughout her career, and is passionate about educating people about ways to keep their hearts healthy. McCray McCray originally planned to attend law school, and first became a family court case manager, where she found she had a gift for compassion and understanding. Her plans for law school were still in sight, but as she started her family she continued her work in the field of mental health, substance abuse and family services. “At some point I had figured out that this is what I was supposed to be doing,” McCray said. After earning a master’s degree in counseling, she started a private practice and eventually became an adjunct teacher in the psychology department at UMKC in 2022. What does the average person need to know when it comes to taking care of our heart?  Stevens: It boils down to one word and it’s “discipline.” We can prevent traditional heart attack and stroke by 95% by engaging in lifestyle strategies. It’s what we know to do, we just aren’t doing it. Eat healthy. Think of a plate, not a platter. Half the plate is vegetables, a quarter fruit, a quarter protein. Just keep it simple. Stay active. You don’t have to be a maniac about exercise, but move. Do what you like to do and make yourself do it. Maintain ideal body weight, don’t smoke, limit alcohol and avoid prolonged sitting. Sitting is the new smoking and it’s killing us. If we do those ideal lifestyle strategies, it reduces our risk by 95%. If you just pick two, you reduce your risk by 92%. McCray: One of the things that I think is important both personally and in my position as a helper, is first, acknowledgment. Sometimes I feel like that is the biggest part of the battle, because we live in a society where productivity is key, and we continue to move and to go and to get involved and to be engaged, and there’s not enough focus. There hasn’t been enough focus on making sure that you’re okay so you can be at your best when you’re doing all these things. Just be in acknowledgment that there’s something going on, that you’re feeling something. It’s okay to feel it. Because we’re in this rat race, we don’t always stop. I give the example of putting my feet on the floor in the morning and asking myself, ’Where am I?’ And not physically, but, where am I? What am I feeling? What do I need to do in order to get myself to a better place? If we acknowledge it, then we can be prepared to work through it. If we push it to the side, that’s when it starts to build up and that’s when you start to have some of the larger issues. What signs might indicate our heart isn’t in the best shape? Stevens: If you’re stepping on the gas and now you can’t get the gas, you should think, “could this be my heart?” Anything exertional that limits you from the waist up. We think of a heart attack as the Hollywood holding-the-chest-clenched-fist visual. We don’t do a good job of asking about chest pain. It could not be chest pain but chest pressure. It could be indigestion, shortness of breath, pain between the shoulder blades, a toothache, elbow pain, dizziness. A symptom I worry about is new overwhelming fatigue. Anything from the waist up, including fatigue, that you can’t explain, you should ask, “could this be my heart?” McCray: You know what it feels like to feel normal. When you notice you’re feeling abnormal or something’s off, you have to pay attention to that. If you’re in practice of checking in on yourself mentally or physically, then you have a better idea of what’s going on. If you aren’t accustomed to tapping into your emotions, you might be feeling something, but not able to recognize it. So start with the mindset that, “Yep, I have feelings. They’re normal, and I need to be able to identify those. If I can do that, then I can do something about it before getting to a point where it's out of control.” Let’s talk broken hearts. How can someone get back to feeling good? Stevens: It’s never too late! We want to be on these healthy habits that reduce inflammation in our body. The anti-inflammatory lifestyle is of utmost importance, and it’s never too late to adopt healthy strategies. McCray: Healing is not linear. You have to show yourself self-compassion and be really intentional about allowing yourself to feel. It is a process of grief when you’ve lost someone and it can be really impactful. Allow it to come when it does and don’t get into your head and judge yourself. That just adds to it. The other thing I’ll say is still being intentional about connecting with people. As tough as it is, when your heart has been broken and trust has been compromised, connection still heals. Vulnerability begins connection. So even at your most vulnerable, you need that connection. Maybe it’s with a parent or a good friend. You can also connect with nature or a pet. How can we help the people around us take care of their hearts too? Stevens: It’s very sensitive, especially if you’re in a culture where people prepare food a certain way (with excess sodium or unhealthy eating habits). It’s hard to change, and disagreements break out when you try to change culture. It’s empowering people to understand that these lifestyle strategies make a difference. Even if you do just two. The best way to treat a heart attack is to prevent it. Being preventative is far easier up front than being reactive to crisis and chronic disease that could have been prevented. McCray: When you’re talking about community, it’s just about being present. We live in a productivity-driven society, and we go and go and go. So, when we’re asking those questions and checking in with one another, if we are making eye contact and being sincere, then it allows people to feel safe to open up. If we allow ourselves to stop and really be present and intentional about connecting with one another, then we can start to reduce the stigma around emotions. Feb 14, 2024

  • UMKC Professor Takes Cheering on the Chiefs to New Heights

    The School Of Science and Engineering Professor is a Certified Flight Instructor
    Ahead of the Super Bowl LVIII, School of Science and Engineering Professor Mujahid Abdulrahim, Ph.D. decided to take his love for the Kansas City Chiefs to new heights with skywriting. The certified flight instructor drew out designs such as the Kansas City Chiefs logo and a heart with Travis Kelce's 87 in the middle to celebrate the tight end's relationship with Taylor Swift in the sky. His work was featured in the Kansas City Star, FOX4 KC and KMBC 9. Feb 12, 2024

  • Online Nursing Program Recognized for Continued Excellence

    U.S. News ranks online master’s program 36th in the nation
    The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies ranked No. 36 among the nation’s best online graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report. According to Dean Joy Roberts, the school takes pride in the recognition for its online Master of Science (M.S.N.) program.“Our M.S.N. program has been well respected nationally, and highly ranked for decades due to the work of our faculty, staff and especially our students,” said Roberts. “Our graduates offer high-quality care and education to the people of Kansas City and across Missouri, as well as across the United States.”An early innovator in online graduate programs, this marks 12 consecutive years the program placed in the top 50. The ranking improved from No. 46 in 2023. The school’s many online offerings enable working registered nurses to continue to provide care in their communities, while preparing for the evolving and dynamic challenges of health care.Students in these programs participate in online discussions just as if they were present in the classroom. Technology offers two-way communication in real time via multiple modes. Students also receive on-site learning through summer institutes, where they attend clinical training or dissertation work sessions as well as deliver presentations to classmates and faculty. UMKC offers a variety of online graduate nursing tracks, including Master of Science in Nursing and other options:Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A.G.N.P.)Family Nurse Practitioner (F.N.P.)Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (N.N.P.)Nurse Educator (N.E.)Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (P.N.P.) Primary Care and Acute-Care (A.C. P.N.P.)Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (P.M.H.N.P.)Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (W.H.N.P.)Ph.D.Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) Feb 07, 2024

  • UMKC Students Do ‘More in 4’ with New Accelerated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Program

    Students earn both degrees in four years, saving time and money while they get a jump on their careers
    The Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City unveiled its newest program, More in 4, targeting a select, high-achieving group of students to receive generous scholarship dollars while accelerating their path to an MBA. Accelerated MBA programs at other universities offer a five-year path to a master's degree. With More in 4, UMKC will provide a unique opportunity for students to earn two degrees - their bachelor’s and master’s in business - in just four years, saving students time and money. “As Kansas City's business school, we're thrilled to offer students this opportunity to accelerate their education and jumpstart their careers,” said Brian Klaas, dean of the UMKC Bloch School. The new program also aligns with UMKC’s track record as an institution committed to accelerating students’ degree pursuits, launching them more quickly into their desired careers. UMKC offerings include the nationally ranked six-year B.A. / M.D. Program at the UMKC School of Medicine and the 3 + 3 Program at the UMKC School of Law, among others. "UMKC has a long, successful history with accelerated, combined degree programs," said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. "Our commitment to providing new, first-class opportunities to our students is what makes us Kansas City's top university." By earning their MBA, students open a world of career possibilities and a chance to sharpen critical thinking and communications skills while they gain business and leadership skills to advance their career more quickly. More in 4 also taps the vast business leadership network of Kansas City and the Midwest, offering up the real-world learning students are looking for today in a college experience, according to a recent article in Insider HigherEd. Students who complete the More In 4 program will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting or Bachelor of Business Administration as well as a Master of Business Administration. Bloch alumni Nathaniel Hagedorn, founder and CEO of Northpoint Development, offered inspiration for the More in 4 program and sees it as an opportunity to build talent for the region.  “We are very grateful to Nathaniel Hagedorn for his very generous financial support of the scholarship program and also for his willingness to engage with and mentor program participants,” Dean Klaas said.    Feb 06, 2024

  • Two Super Bowl Rings Before UMKC Graduation

    History student gets opportunity to work with the Arrowhead Art Collection
    Meghan Jaben (M.A. ’16), Interdisciplinary Ph.D. student in history, has a unique internship accomplishment. “The Chiefs have won two Super Bowls since I’ve been here, and we get a Super Bowl ring as part of the organization,” Jaben said. “It’s awesome that we’re able to have this memory of such great seasons.” GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium is not just a Kansas City icon. This season, the Chiefs announced an official partnership with UMKC that provides some truly unique opportunities to students just like Jaben.She got to work with the Arrowhead Art Collection, which houses multiple pieces of art throughout GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium . It began as part of the 2010 renovation. Every piece was made by an artist with a connection to Chiefs Kingdom. Photo courtesy of Meghan Jaben “I got the opportunity to come work with the collection through an internship with the UMKC history department,” Jaben said. “It’s a funded internship where they match you with an opportunity in the community.”In Jaben’s case, that opportunity was at the Kansas City icon, GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium . This would be a touchdown for any student’s career, but as a former college athlete, Jaben was particularly excited.“I watched sports growing up. I also played sports, so sports have been a really big part of my life,” Jaben said. “To be able to blend sports and art was the dream, so it’s been really fun.”Such an opportunity isn’t available to every college student. Jaben credits the proximity to the city. “There’s huge value in being a student in the city where there are so many opportunities,” Jaben said. “There are alumni. There are community members to connect you. There are existing relationships with organizations that help a student who might not have those connections be able to branch out. Kansas City is full opportunities waiting for them.” Feb 06, 2024

  • Pharmacy Faculty Member Provides Oncology Expertise in Africa

    Diana Tamer worked with the African Access Initiative, which is targeting the cancer crisis in Africa
    For Diana Tamer, Pharm.D., oncology is a calling. What fuels her passion for treating cancer comes from diverse places – from her first oncology patient to the health-care workers she trained in the Ivory Coast. Her expertise in oncology pharmacy presented her with a unique opportunity last summer to train health-care workers in Africa through BIO Ventures for Global Health’s (BVGH) African Access Initiative. The initiative targets the growing cancer crisis in Africa by connecting international experts to health-care providers in Africa. By expanding access to provider expertise, the goal is to empower African health-care professionals to provide high-quality oncology care across the patient population.Tamer initially signed on to deliver an online lecture on oncology to health-care providers across Africa. As an expert in the field, creating an oncology lecture is old hat for her, but this particular training was a bit more complicated — it needed to be in French, the official language of several countries in Africa. Thankfully, Tamer grew up speaking French in her native country of Lebanon, but she hadn’t spoken the language regularly for many years. It would normally take her 20 hours to put together a new lecture. This ended up taking about 60.Although preparing the training would take a lot of work, Tamer had the full support of her colleagues in the Division of Pharmacy Practice and Administration. When she approached the chair of the department, Cameron Lindsey, Pharm.D., with the opportunity, Lindsey thought it was meant for Tamer.“The opportunity was perfectly matched for someone with Tamer’s expertise and her ability to communicate, coupled with her longstanding passion as an educator and pharmacist,” Lindsey said. “Her local and national impact on cancer prevention, screening and treatment is well known, and it enabled the training of so many people across the globe while elevating the health of patients in the region.”Nearly 150 health-care providers, including nurses, oncologists, physicians and pharmacists from 27 African countries attended the online lecture. Tamer’s lecture lasted an hour and 15 minutes, but she stayed on the call for another 90 minutes answering questions. “They were really thirsty for knowledge, and they really wanted to make a difference,” Tamer said. “When you see that as a professor, it makes you want to give even more.”In preparing for the lecture, Tamer began to see an alarming trend in these African countries that spoke to what she is passionate about in health care.“Cervical cancer rates are high in Africa,” Tamer said. “It’s killing a lot of women. Young women with kids and families —and it breaks my heart.”From that point forward, Tamer was all in. There was an in-person training already scheduled in the Ivory Coast in July 2023, and she wanted to help out. To make that happen, she cut short a vacation to Lebanon. “I am in academia because I feel that I can impact more cancer patients by passing on my knowledge to my students,” Tamer said. “I’ve always dreamt of helping places that lack access to high quality health care, so this was an opportunity of a lifetime. I was going to do everything to make it happen.”For the in-person training, Tamer worked for weeks in tandem with BVGH and a fellow oncology pharmacist in Canada, Charles Collin. The three worked together for weeks developing the specialized training. They went separately to the Ivory Coast, with Collin traveling to Africa first, and Tamer and the BVGH team arriving two weeks later. They communicated frequently during Collin’s time in the Ivory Coast, and soon realized their training would need to be drastically reworked.“As soon as Charles got on the ground, we realized what the situation was there,” Tamer said. “They wanted us to advance clinical pharmacy services, but basic pharmacy services needed to be developed first.”Over the next two weeks, she reworked the entire training to outline many of the best practices that are the norm in oncology pharmacy and infusion centers in the United States. From doctor-pharmacist communication to safety measures handling oncology medications, Tamer went over everything that health-care professionals expect in a modern clinical oncology pharmacy setting.Once she arrived in the Ivory Coast, she presented training to 20 health-care workers eight hours a day for three straight days.“I’ve never talked this long in my life,” Tamer said. “Typically, on the days I teach for a few hours at UMKC, I am wiped out for the rest of the day.”But Tamer was not done after the day-long training. Once she finished lecturing, she spent her evenings tweaking her teachings with things she learned that day. She toured facilities, including hospitals, cancer center and pharmacy. As time went on, the health-care providers started opening up to Tamer, providing her with a more complete picture of where their health-care system stands. On her last day, the doctors on site invited her to present her findings and outline how they could work at the government and hospital level to fill in the gaps they have compared to modern clinical pharmacy practice in countries like the United States. Tamer continues to work with the BVGH team to develop and complete a post-visit report exploring opportunities for improved oncology pharmacy services there as well as improved cancer patient treatments and outcomes. Tamer’s hard work is much appreciated by the health care workers who took her training, like Dr. Eunice Adouko, a pharmacist at the Alassane Ouattara National Radiotherapy Center in the Ivory Coast“BIO Ventures for Global Health’s oncology pharmacy training has been a high-quality initiative to improve the knowledge and skills of pharmacists, practitioners, technicians, and nurses in cancer centers,” Adouko said. “Thanks to Dr. Diana Tamer and Charles Collin, we now have excellent resources in terms of cancer treatment.”When Tamer began her oncology career at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission Cancer Center in 2017, her passion for the field took root with her first two patients. On her first day at the center, Tamer had two patients begin treatment for cervical cancer. The two women were in their early 30s, and Tamer developed a close bond with both. One of the women would go on to survive, but the second patient did not. Tamer treated the latter for four years, trying non-traditional clinical treatments and pushing to get her patient in sought-after clinical trials. This was at the height of the COVID pandemic when many health-care workers were under incredible stress.“Before she died, she told me, ‘Promise me you will never quit what you are doing, and you will continue to make a difference in people’s lives,’” Tamer said. “I did promise her that, and I told her that people like her make me want to continue doing what I’m doing despite all of the challenges. “And that’s what drove me to go to help in Africa as well.” Feb 05, 2024

  • UMKC Releases 2023 Fall Dean’s List

    More than 1,500 students recognized
    Here at UMKC, we understand that excellence takes time and energy. It requires commitment and tenacity to push through the harder times. During the Fall 2023 semester, 1,516 of our undergraduate and professional students made the dean’s list. This is an incredible academic accomplishment. Students must complete a minimum full-time program of 12 graded hours and meet their individual unit’s GPA threshold to qualify for the dean’s list. These students showed what it meant to take pride in their academic success. If you know someone who made the Fall 2023 list, make sure you congratulate their achievement! Below are the dean’s lists for the Fall 2023 semester. Conservatory Ciel BackusBrett BoyerIsabella BrownRiley BuckWilliam ClippardAurora ConroyNathan CoveyElsa DickersonFrancesca FarinaCameron GurssJackson HarrisonHadley JarvisGalen KroegerGrace LaughtonSantino LicameliAbby MauldinSarah McguyerZoe MeinsKendal MeyerMichelle NelsonChin NukulvutthiopasAshley NunezDavid OosseDillon PottsRozlynn RichertMicah Ruiz EsparzaHenry ScamurraEmily SchutzelWhitney SchweigerCrew ShaferMia SparksElla StottsThomas WelnickZach WestMaddie WilliamsBrady WolffManyi WuJohn Zhu Henry W. Bloch School of Management Sarah AbdelgaderSasha AhmadKaitlyn AllcornParker AllenKeilyn Alvarado-OrtegaSophia AmesBrenna ArmstrongJoshua AsfawLeena AssafCamden BakerRobin BaltersJack BeardDarren BemissIsrael BerhanuLessly BerriosAndrew BetzEzra BottsJulianne BromagenAubrey BrownJack ButtsMael CaissonMak CaldwellCarlos CamachoStefano CamerlengoAutumn CampbellJoel CamposJacobi CapletonJose CardosoChandler CarterBrianna CarterQuinn CavinHenry CharlesYan ChenXuyuzhi ChengOlga CherniavskaChris ChiSatori ClosserWen CloughMadi CochranBrevyn ColeMatthew CollingsBraeden ConnellyZach CoonCassidy CooperCaroline CooperBrie CoxZaylee CoxAllie CrawfordMackenzie CroleyAbby CrooksToby DaleyDaniel DavalosPaola DavisNicole DavisTarrin DeayonSarah DeckerSeth DenbowAshton DevinPardeep DhillonAdriana Diaz LeguilluKannon DillaboughKelvin DinhArnela DzilicGreta EbersoleAbbi EllermanClayton ErhardKendall ErnzenLuke FacinelliMesa FalleurMiguel Fernandez NovasSebastian FloresSydnee FlowersCaroline FoellerLuke FosterJesse FrazierFrancis Reynald GatdulaAki GebreFathi GeelleCelina GentaKiera GodseyBryson GoschJohn GosseBlane GrayDaniel GutgesellSaid HajiLily HayChris HayterMorgan HeimsothGriffin HerSophie HernandezDeya HernandezKenya Hernandez-LopezClaire HicksJosh HinkleLucero HinojosSophia HoKatie HollarJoshua HoodBryce HortLibby HortonXiaoyan HuKiki HuangCaleb HubertDavante HudsonJessica HuynhSeungwoo ImEmily ImesOlga IvanovaParker JohnsonLiam JoyceTyler KalmRirika KamimuraCiara KaneSarah KannenbergNavi KaurSukhmun KaurGrace KertzJackson KingEmma KratzSamuel KrauseAnna KruegerTaylor KvaleBrooklyn LammersShfeo LarJordan LaubLily LefferdKatie LemonIsaac LetschSophia LimongiWeijia LiuYijun LiuCyrus LoarHope LockeEmily LongEric LopezAdriana Lopez-JuradoBojia LuCassandra LudwigAvery MarsdenZoey MarshallMia Matthews-BeavenMorgan McginnisCharles McGrawLeah McIntyreMyles MeadJason MearsIvonee MejiaMcKenna MestasHunter MiesnerKai MillerAmber MillsHayden MitchellTiara MoraDonovan MurnieksShayla MurphyJami NaranjoMarissa NeuerAnthony NguyenKim NguyenVivian NguyenAnh NguyenJustin NguyenQuan NguyenRyan NguyenZach NicholsDylan O'BrienTengis OchirbatAndrew O'DellCameron OesterleNoelia OlivaresFernando OlivaresJavier Olivares BurgosJoshua OliverAlice OropezaMcKenna ParsonsDeesha PatelSahil PatelKrina PatelElyse PayneSydney PedersonSavannah PeisertMarlon Perez-MoralesMya PhamHuynh PhanTara PopeEthan PotterSarah PottsDunia QakeiCassandra QueralJose QuintanaKeenan RandolphChase RedingtonRuben ReyesRiley RhoadsMicaela RichardsGabby RiegelVanessa RomeroJessica RomeroJazmin RomoDevon RoweAndy Sanchez-ColatoAlex SantoroKevin SarmientoMaggie SchoemehlDaniel SchwallerAvari SchwenkRyan ScottRiLeigh ScottLiddy ScuratoJesse SerranoMizki ShireMaggie SilvyMags SimmonsGabrielle SimmsEve SkilesKaity SmithLexy SmithPhilip St. JohnEmily SteinbeckMiriya StilesEvan StonerKristen SwartsRaivion TaylorWhitney TaylorGavin TewErin ThessenSivkan ThindDrew ThompsonKaelyn ThompsonKyler TickleAnastassiya TimofeyevaMandy TranMae TuschmanBrooke TwaddleAlex UnsethStacia UtleySteven VuYue WangPaige WerremeyerTristin WhittonMarissa WilliamsLance WillyardBen WilsonEmma WoodTianzhao XuIvy YangGrace YuYing ZhuLauren Zoller School of Dentistry Ahmad AlhoutiAli AliMichael AllisonFares AlsafarNeil BoesCamden ChastainMegan DartDrake DuganGiovanni FerraroJason FirthShelbi FlahautIsabella FriemelThomas GareCasey GeddesMichael GimottyJackson GlynnSeth HofheinsNaima IbrahimChristopher JohnsonCole JohnsonTia KahwajiElizabeth KiefnerAnastasia KruegerPeyton KusgenKaylee KytasaariRobbie MauGabby MertzEthan NettlerAnh NguyenKylie NicholsMichelle PalmerK-Leigh PappasRiley PerelesQuinten ReasonerMatthew RodriguesKatie RoeAdam SattlerHailey SchlupAmy SchmiemeierHadley SchreinerMackenzie SimpsonLauren SlavensDiana StepanovaJustin SurberJaiden TaggartSaxon TeubnerJuliana TomitaJacob TrammellMatthew WahleClaire WaughEdward Wun School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences Bahsan AbdiShams AlarthyElla AlexanderRayan Al-HamdiReena AlshalabiRosa Alvarado-RodriguezGenesis Amaro VenturaConnor AthearnMadison AtkinsIsabella BamnolkerAlyssa BarbeeAdelin BaynumCharlie BellAmna BilalElaina BlodgettJo BoosmanJaylie BuiJenna BulgerErica BurnettAlex BurneyLucy Cardenas VargasMargaret CarsonEileen ChangAngie ChavezMariah ChavezAva ChinnockEmily CollierRobin ConradKelsee CorbinPaige CorderoJaret CourterMartha DelatorreYico DengLaura DickinsonZach DomvilleMaleah DowntonEverett DufurKennedy DuncanAlex DunhamJennifer EnyeribeKatelyn ErceKimberly EscobedoOlivia FesslerCamille FryGio GiangrossoAlison GilbertSadie GilesGrace Gomez-PalacioNaomi GontermanAbby GuzmanEllie HackerMae'Kenya HallMyles HardyLydia HarterMayerli HerreraRaeli HowertonKatie HudsonJordan JacksonAmanda JamesAndria JersettNicholas JohnstonMattea JonesMya JonesSunita KalikoteCaroline KeithleyLyba KhawarMikaylah KingAbby LogsdonAlyssa LopezErin MagelJess MajhorGracie MalicoatNathan ManningKatherine MasonLaura McClaflinJamie McCleadHeather McCoyCheyenne McGaryBrianne McGovernMichael McGroskyKate McKownMaya MillerBrenna MorganConfi MuhozaAlex NelsonJessica NguyenAndra OkoyeSamantha PanznerLauren ParkerNatalie PeaceLily PriceRonnie QuickCurtis RadakovichRakiah RichardsonJacqueline RiveraAlanie RiveraValencia RodriguezAdeline RogersTara RossIsabella SalinasPaige SanfordCandy SarresAlyssa SchulzAmina ShahNeeti SiddiqueNoah SimsAdriana SpanglerAbigail SwansonAndrew TraceyAnnie TranLandrea Van MolMeaghan VandeheyGabi VandenburgEllery VaughnRah'ki WalkerLydia WeaverAdelaine WeidlerDallas WelchNoah WerremeyerSean WesselIsaia WilcoxenRenika WilliamsKy WilliamsGrace WilsonHenry Witt School of Humanities and Social Sciences Natalie AdermannAshley AllemannElizabeth AllenDanielle AltschulEsli Alvarado-IslasTaylor AndersonAlbania AndradeAshley AppleberryDaniela Arzabala LopezKaylee BaggerlyIsabella BakerAmelia BaldwinAndi BasaloKaya BeitzLogan BeltKashauna BerryKaitlyn BerryHeather BerryKayla BiggsEmily BlackMaisy BlantonMatt BollinTracey BradfordElyse BredfeldtMaddy BremerBridger BrockmanChanah BrownVictoria BrownSydney BrownKate BrummundGrace CarrYessica CasaresAugustine CaytonOlivia ChristensenJocelyn ClarkChristina CloughGrace CoganMorgan ColeMichael CollingsDestanie CollinsAbby ConnorSalome ConteronOlivia CottonJami CoxLuke CozadJay CravensDaze Creamer-EllecampPidge CrozierLilah Crum BarnhillAdelina CurielAaliyah DanielsLilith DavisAshley DavisStephanie DonovanPaul DurlandRachel EricksonAlexandrea ErismanViolet EsquivelLilly EstradaNoah FanslerMikayla FarageSam FaulhaberRae FellDaisy FergusonMachaela FordNicole ForysKelly FuentesLiliana GonzalezZachary GraggRebekah GrantDoris GravesOscar GrisNatalya GruzdAndy GuzmanYasmeen HanonHaylee HarrellIsabel HarrymanMichael HaynesGrace HeathLogan HendersonYency Hernandez-SanchezSarah HerndonMelissa HerreraKatarina HillBen HillearyLauren HirningSamuel HitchcockPhillip HoDavid HolmesPeyton HowardAmy HurleyEmily JacobsJustin JangFaduma JarikEmily JohnsonChance JohnsonSidney JohnsonParker JonesCerylean JonesDaniel JonesHugo Juarez AvalosLetty KaiserKat KalfayanTeayom KarimpourianKatelyn KaysCaiden KeenErynn KellGrant KendallSarah KirkMackenzie KlausJoshua KoopsMaddie KovarikSydney KramerLauren KreiselSara KronawitterJack KrzykowskiEliott LabethAdam LansdownJulien Le BourdoulousSam LendoHallie LewisBenjamin LewisRayvon LewisHannah LeyvaNoah LibowitzDayton LittleHennessey LopezEvie LozanoMaggie MaennerLauren MageeMayzie MangosLilah ManningScott ManuelGabby Marin CastanedaAlexandra MattssonCatie McArthurKiara McCreaFelicia McDonaldAli McKeeAubrionna MeadJuan MedranoNick MehnGeorge MendezItzel MendezEbele MgbemenaKale Marie MichaelGrace MillerWren MillerYasmina MokhtarCatherine MonaghanJose MontoyaKenney Monzon BrunoJay MooreMaddie MurphySamuel NagyAreeba NaseerJosie NewmanJessie NguyenJackson OgdenKanyon OlberdingMichelle Oliva-EspinosaAsh OnstottSarah ParkReece ParkerJordan PaxtonCaitlin PickertMegan PilegeElizabeth PorrittArthur QualmanTheo RaitzerJack ReavesAdam ReedCheyenne ReeseJacob ReevesManuel RiveraNovalee RiveraRogelio RodriguezJoslyn RossOlivia RubioBrooke RuppThessa RyanJoy RyanJouhel SalinasAbby SanduskyEmma SauerNeal SawyersEmma SaylerIsabelle SchroederAdriana SegovianoVictor SewankamboDelaney ShieldsKowthar ShireJoe SimmonsZa'Carriah SimmonsMolly SloanHarry Soper PlazaHenry SowellVincent SpriggsBenjamin SpringerReagan StarkAydan StiglerEvan StolbergPeyton StremmelJazlyn SummersTristan SupernawTennessee TaffnerHannah TawneyDa'Mya ThomasJulia ThompsonKimberly Torres-VelaSophia TrudeHannie TruongAllBright TunMichaela Vanden HullJacob VanzantCamille VerhoevenCatie WalkerAmber WaltersKeegan WatkinsAbigail WeilerDylan WelchElla WhitfieldSeneca WhortonAlexander WildtAbram WilliamsVictor WilliamsLainey WillisBrynn WinklerThistle WolfLeigh WoodyGrace WorkmanIsabella Yennie School of Law Kit AdderholtLoulya AlabedAllee ArmitageShep AronKelsy AustwickSidney Bach-NormanBailey BakerOlivia BanesJuliana BartoliAshley BartonMary BellRaef BellBekah BerardiCameron BerryOlivia Bess-RhodesOtto BoschReema BounajemBrent BoydJulia BreukelmanNaomi BuieEthan BureshKarima BurnsJason CantrellJosie CareyRachel CarrJohn CastelloAshley CerrentanoBrian ChristianAndrew ClarkPayton ClousePhilip ColeMakenna CopelandAshley CornishBobbie CrewTaylor CullenMegan CurrieSamantha CusumanoMegan DeanAlexus DeanTrinity DelaneyAlex DeLucaAlexis DennyEmily DesbienKendall DillonEmma Kate DillonSofia DominguezAnna DonaldsonJosie DostalJacques DoughertyChristopher DouglasMaria DunnYara DuranAlec EbersoleMatthew EblenErica EdmistenJacob EisenhauerJackson ElderWilson EllisLukas FieldsCarson FinkSamantha FisherMartina FloridoNatelee ForbesBrian FordLexie FoxJustice FrankeKit FrazenTaylor FreundKersten FrostDanny GamezJulie GastErika GreerMatthew GrimaldiLillian HallJakob HalphinSpencer HashagenCorbin HealyGrant HeimanCatherine HenneEmma HeroldLiam HeuselTorri HicksBen HobstetterHans HodesCliff HollyWyatt HoughGrant HouskeJulia HowellLukas HudsonAlison HuffMatthew HyattOlivia JabaleyKaylee JacobsonElizabeth JanneyTara JanowskiLogan JeffersNoah JohnsonNathan JohnsonJared JohnstoneIan JonesMargaret KellstromEmma KingCole KingsleyAlec KirwanKaren KutninkSalenna LaffoonShelbie LangfordNick LangsdaleJustin LarsonLauren LawsonJacob LeamonJilliane LewisSara LewisLauren LipariLilly LucasErin LynchMadeline MannBrad MatteuzziLauren McFailBruce Mena-SierraAlexandra MiddlecampKaleb MillerBailey MoffettAnna MooreBrett MordecaiMaureen MurphyHannah MurphyJacob NiemeyerKendal NilgesThomas NocitaSam NultonAustin OhnmeisAnnMarie OrlandoReid ParkerShivani PatelSamuel PetersonEmma PiazzaKirsten PintoAustin PolinaKaylee PopejoyLeslye QuintanillaAriel Nicole RecaldeJohn RellihanErin RichardsChance RiddleJessica RigbyAddison RockersChristopher RogersEmma RomanoMichael RoseTaylor RumseyDana SamaniegoClaire SchallenbergRhiannen SchneiderKloe SchnellRobert SchwindAshley SegniboMadelyn SeleyMadison SelfMargaret SelfJoel SenJarrett SextonAdina ShabazzOlga ShupyatskayaHaley SirokmanJoseph SkojacHelene SlinkerLiudmila SloanKyle SmithSage SmithCait SpackmanWill SpeidelAndrew StaffordJoseph SteinbacherNichole StewartKaylee StillieLaura StinglEllen StingleyColby StoneBenton StrongAnna Syptak-WelchMaxson TechauGabrielle ThurnMegan TiedeReece TreasureNika TsiklauriGiorgi TsivtsivadzeAnna VanBuskirkWilliam VanceElias VaoifiJohn ViewAlex VillalobosRobert WaldMatthew WalkerSeth WalkerStephanie WaxmanSamantha WhiteKyle WhiteBrennan WhittKevin WiseIan WisemanCalli WisemanThomas WolffBryce WolffRegan WoodKristin WoolumsConnor WorksWilliam Youngs School of Medicine Youssef AbouelelaMaanvi AggarwalLaila AlhajeriShayaan AnisTharika ArunkumarMeha AsirAnam AzimRiya BhatMira BhatiaAlex BoydEthan ChaShreya ChalapalliQasim ChohdryTochi EzeanolueMallory GardKeshav GhanekarEllie GiraDevan GirishMaddie GrimesShekhar GugnaniMason HawleyRayney HeldMarc HermanEvan HuangSarah IllimoottilMira IyerFahad JamalAJ JenkinsJulia JoseJeshna KaparthiAmanuel KifleSindhuja KudapaNeha KumarAnnalise LawlorLeo LiuKushi MadduruPriyanka MahadevGyan MalaniKenna MarlingGovind MenonAnthony MishrikyDaniel MoftakharYeanna MoonPhoebe MurphyCarla NemerEthan NguyenAratrika PalAarti PalaniappanRiya ParikhVani PatelRonit PatelMeirah PaulUma PillaiPrecious PlaisimeLeya PogueArushi RaiNeeti ReddyMuzzammil SalauJoel SetyaAnanya SharmaAhad SheikhNikitha ShethKoda ShivelyLiana StowellSid SuvarnaNatalie SwampillaiDiana TranEthan VillasenorCece WattsMarley WoodfordJames WorthamJustin WuGauri Yadav School of Nursing and Health Studies Yaretzy Aguirre CamachoFaduma AhmedHiba AlterjalliTheresa AlvarezKeeley AtkinTami AyegboBreegan BarnettJudy BattsElauni BennettAvery BradyCaroline BrandtAmelia BreuerMattea BrooksAnnMarie BucksbeeSkyler BurkeAlivia CalvertAlex CarreonKayla CoatesEmily CrainLydia CripeKoy CrockettMackenzie DaltonKayla DansbyKelsey DavisBrylee DierkingBree DowdyNouran ElhiweejLyric EwingNaomi EyanaghoNonso EzeTia FieldsFatima FierrosToni FraizerEllyssa GallingerKatelyn GendronCarly GillenRayna GivhanKatelyn GoochSophia GranthamLeah GreenwaldJuli GutierrezAshley HannersZahra HassanZowie HayesChloe HazzardHalle HeerenKatie HegerBritney HernandezVanessa Hernandez ValdezNatasha HillardCecelia HinesGlenne HinkleJohana Infante MaganaJonn JacksonEmily JacksonAnna JenningsLily JohnsonAislinn JorgeJalen JuanKayla JumpKali KahlerGabby KatzMeik KernsCamryn KorteAmber KwonMayson LaneTiri LaneyBridget LindKatelynne LittleAspen LivengoodDanielle MakaraMichael MaloneyJane MasseyKudzai MazhouRafia MehmoodAshley MillerCierra MitchellBrooke MuehlingBrianna MyersJoy NevarezNatalie NguyenKristina NguyenAshley NguyenChristine NguyenKatie NobleCrystal OdugweBritney OdugweAilin OrtizKimberly OstmannTaylor OswaldMadison PageBrittany ParkerDaevion ParkerKelly Perea InestrozaKassandra PerezEvonna PhelpsLexi PribylSydney RhodesJeffrey RodriguezSydney RogersShannon RoseEmina SarajlicOlivia SoursQuinn SpearAdreanna StarnesRiley StehlikKarsyn StehlikElizabeth SteppBrooke TannerSarah ThalkenJenny TranBethany VandenburgKadin VireCaden VoGrace WaldeierMaleah WestBailee WestonKamara Winda School of Pharmacy Brooke AtchisonSharon BaskaranKayla BondBryce BortkaMaddie EppleMarian FrizzellJoshua HendersonHaley HernandezVincent IrwinElla KemmMaya KivistoJaeni LeeBryce LucasPayton NeubauerTam NguyenHailey OeschJoseph SalazarSavannah SchludeRachel SkoskyJohn StriblingTraeten ThorellTommy TranWill WhiteLauren YoungbloodJefferson Zhong School of Science and Engineering Aymen AbboodSalma AbdelrahmanHashim AbdullaMohsen AbdulrahmanAnar AgayevAryan AhirHafsa AhmedRashid Al GhailaniSadia AlamSaleh AlameeriSuleyman AlasgarliAhmed AlbarwaniAmmar AlbeloushiLulu AldarweeshKalkidan AlemayehuHanna AlemuFahad AlfarhanSulaiman AlhammadiAbdulrahman AlhammadiMohammed AlharbiEkram AliHamad AlkhameesMouada AllanAbdulwahab AlmatouqCarlos Alonzo CordonYousef AlqallafNadeen AlsalmanAli AlsulaimanMeshari AlsuwaidanKhaled AlthunayanBrandon Alvarez De La CruzDivenderjit Amarjit SinghErica AmelunkeEmma AngleAbrahim AnsariNicolas AponteHalena Aquino-DunkinSami ArcherJeremiah ArthurKatrina AsistidoJamileh AssafIbrahim AssafKali AughinbaughBenny AulnerKeeli AustinJeremiah BaezaErin BakerJosh BalinoDylan BallLaith BanyalmarjehDrew BarcelonaKailynn BarntJadyn BauerLucy BeckenbachLuke BeckerAaron BeckmanYeabsira BelaynehTrevor BellClay BelzAmgad BenkhadraSarah BensahriSalma BensahriLogan BeshearsEthan BessetteMeghana BhumireddyAlex BiglerMikenna BirdEmma BjornstadRobert BlackburnTessa BlytheMaggie BoleyElizabeth BondKate BoosmanAiman BoullaouzRyann BowmanWyatt BoydGrace BrandnerMary BreauDylan BrollSharli BrownJasmine BrownJennifer BrownBela BrowningBraunson BrownsbergerChamberlain BrownsbergerRiley BruceJulia BrunoJaden BruscatoZaina BsataLindsey BuehlerJessica BurkhartJack BurnosAnna BurnsKayla BushartKaitie ButlerMarcus ButlerKyle ButlerSamuel BuxtonCooper BuzbeeYuqing CaiLilyan CalandrinoJuan CalderonLupe Campos-SotoOlivia CarlsonAustin CassDonovan CastanedaKristine Isha CastilloJosh CastroNoah ChapmanJessica ChaseXingyu ChenYumiko ChenBetelhem CherieMichael ChiPaul ChmelirBrandon ChongIteara ChristianCatherine ChrobakGrace ChurchCameron CiancioloCody ClarkEmily ClarkBrayden ClarkConnor ClarkMichael ClaussLexi CliftMarissa ColmarRiley ConnorsBridgit ConwayCitlalinzi Cortes TorresKarina CoxSarah CrawfordJarod CriderPrincess CullomAndrew CustisJacob CutlerMuzan DaffaallahMohammed DaghmoushMichael D'AgostinoEthan DangLily DangGrace DangAbdulaziz DarweeshAustin DavidCaitlyn DavisNicholas de RaadRJ DedertTim DeGraffenreidSheyda DehghaniKopelyn DeLongNoah DevlinAissatou DialloGaby Diaz LeguilluJohnny DiepSeth DinslageHaindavi DirisalaLydie DjibaKhoa DoLan DoAnh DoanBrock DobbieAleigha DollensPorter DombrowskiMika DonelsonAbigail DotyDakota DouglasLogan DudleyKaia DunfordBrian DuongMichael DurandSilas DuvallMason EarlyReed EasonRayaan EkilahMohamed ElgasimNaomi EmersonJoe EppersonEuropa EstabrookMichael FamurewaLauren FergusonChristina ForbesDavid ForsonKylan FosterSymone FranksMichael FrazierDylan FrazierKevin FrazierConner FreeoufAlejandra Frias FraireNolan FroeseHenry FrommerPeyton FryNicholas GaitanPavan GantaWilliam GarayChad GardnerSai Charan GarrepallyLauren GarrettJay GaskellRediet GebreJosh GehrMatthew GerstnerAlex GhasemiGianna GiarraputoSirat GillAmber GillaniJeffrey GillumCesar GinerMary GipsonDiego GiraldoKyle GoodmanBrandon GouvionLance GrabmillerJackson GrantSophie GreenSam GriffinSeth GrishamAutumn GuptaPhan HaTrey HallAmanda HammStephen HangeJosh HarraldBethany HartNathaniel HartmanAlina HasanRuweyda HassanDominic HeaterMackenzie HebererRoe HendricksJohnny HeosSam HermanSelena HerreraCassie HerringBrooke HigginsMason HilgenkampCassidy HillBenjamin HillRegina HoKevin HoNgocTien HoangTrenton HoeflickerIzzy HogelinTanner HoilandKona HudsonTimothy HuffAndy HumphreyCollin HunterThomas HusmannDaniel HuynhChristine HwangGavin HystenAisha IbitoyeAbram InmanAhpelonia IoanisMaisha IslamHiba IssawiLillie JacobsDania JacubMorgan JamesGuntas JammuHanan JanJocelyn Jarquin GarciaMohammad JarradTerrence JayJudah JerlsGrayson JohnstonKevin JonesJuliana JosephJessica JosephDaniel JumpTyler KaiserGouri KallanagowdarTyler KaminskiLillian KamlerEkjoatroop KaurAidan KaysDavid KeltnerSydney KennedyCharles KeysJack KeysWaleed KhaleelRahhaf KhalilShree KhambekarAamna KhanSean KhanWei Shen KhooSydney KingGabe KingdonAubry KleinsorgeMary KleneCarolyn KnappMadison KoesterAnton KoleciKevna KonduruSai Lakshmi KotaBrylie KovarGabriel KribbsMatthew KunkleMaddie KunzJack KurtzThao LamMichaell (Michelle) LarkinAnthony LeThien Phu LeAlicia LeKim LeAusten LeckbeeDavid LeeMick LeinbachSomark LenkaTroy LeonardCat LewinBrett LewisJohn-Charles Lile-HenleyDevin LinMatt LindboeJordan LindererOlivia LittleBishop LohmanMakayla LongEstrella LopezNatalia LopezDaniel LoveAlex LyAliyah LyonsLisa MachLuke MalcomAtlas MallamsSavanah ManionEvan MarleyGrace MarquardtCorey MarrsSidney MartinYasamin MashayekhiZavier MattsonAleena MazharJosh McAnerneyAmaya McBrideTrinity McCannIsabelle McCarthyMichael McCormackEvan McDanielMike McDonoughClayton McGinnisNicholas MckenzieKayla McKnightGrace McKownSamantha MedleyFinn MeggittHamza MehidiVanessa MenzAva MetcalfBethlehem MezemirBryce MillerEthan MillerBrooks MillerMadyson MinkerSalman MirzaMadison MitchellNina MitchellJaxen MitchellDevin ModdeGenova MongaloKaylee Monroy RiverosMaddie MooreLuke MooreKatelyn MooreElizabeth MooreTrenton MooseMariana MoralesBerenice Moreno-PerezPeter MorganRaine MorriganAidan MorrisKegan MorrowDenny MosbyXander MosleyNina MruckovskiFardowsa MuhumedBree MurphySeven MurrayJames MyersTrevon MyersKyle NaluanShriya NandakumarEmily NatanovaBen NelsonBroden NestlerTaylor NevezMinh NgoAmy NgoQuynh NguyenDanny NguyenCadao NguyenTri NguyenEthan NguyenHailey NguyenDuy NguyenDuc NguyenDylan NguyenScott NguyenKira NixonBrendon NixonAslonjon NosirovShelby O'BanionBridget O'BrienJake OBryanAbby O'DonnellJonathon OdumDiamond OgunsijiMumiye Olatunde-SalawuSemire Olatunde-SalawuCaden OllarIan O'NealWilliam OpsahlDylan OrpinIsa Ortiz-AcostaZachary OsmanovicGunner PaceSara PaceNick PadillaNicholas PageSaniya PanditaSui ParJazmin ParraCahaya PasekAna PastoraYagna PatelAarohi PatelElena PayneGarrett PazderaSara PetropoulosHallee PhamJason PhanJahnavi PingaliOliver PowellAdam PowersEden PradoGeorge ProkopWylie PutnamDiana RamirezAbril RayoAlexis ReedThomas ReillyAlondra ReyesJessica RiceKaitlyn RichmondLexi RickerParker RobinsonElle RobinsonGray RobisonLanden RobyJacob RodriguezLuis RodriguezChris RodriguezViger RomoIan RowseAly RubleKenna RyalsPetrea RyanAhmed SalousJeremy SanchezLuis SanchezDori SandritterPreston SantoSofia SarrisRoman SchellhaseGalen SchickRowan SchmidliEvan SchoorAvri SchultzCarson SchultzJaylee SchulzCarter ScobeySam ScottCatherine SegoviaMahnoor ShahidQuinten ShanksLee ShaverAnna ShawAustin ShiltJacob ShipmanCalvin ShuckWilliam SikorskiJaylen SinclairNiketa SinghAtlas SizemoreClayton SlonikerSebastian SmithLarry SmithHayden SmithBrady SmithElliott SmithKatie SmithNate SmithAlessandra SmithAdam SolimaniNithin SongalaRichard SorianoKatie SpaldingJames SparksLily StedmanTom SteinmanRylan SteppPeter SternMatthew StubblefieldDenis SumarokovChristian SuttonMadison SweeneyAatif SyedEd SzczukaHannah TaiAlex TangEmelin TapiaJordan TarantoA Chao ThaoMarcus ThimeschSirisha Reddy ThimmareddyMya ThomasSam ThompsonDiyana TialNatalie TillTuana TinaztepeEmra TmusicLindsy ToddMichelle TranMichelle TranAnh Thu TranJayden TranEmma TroutTaylor TrudellYen TruongPhi TruongAmy TsaiNoah TurnerEmma TurnerMadison TwiteLauren UkenaAaron UptonHannah UrquillaNathan VanzeylIris VazquezLarry VeulemanMichael ViermannChris ViermannIsadora VillanuevaPhuc VoKevin VoBrian VoHalley VogtsHay WahAdam WaldrenMarshall WalkerGriffin WalshStephen WangNicholas WardChris WardGabi WatkinsNoah WatkinsAshton WeeksCaden WehnerJayden WehrJacob WeidleApollos WeissenfluhJailyn WendtKimora WhetstoneKatherine WhiteMeghan WhiteKai WhiteBailey WhithausDylan WicklundIsaac WilliamsCole WilsonBraden WittLondon WittharReese WoodJulia WoodsIsaac WoodwardGabriel WorcesterJacob XayaphetAlexander YarsulikAlice ZhaoPresley Ziegenbein University College Monica AguilarDaisy AmparanAdelle BakerSonja BleierMaggie BuchananGrace ClarkPayton Crump-McHughElla Davis-StilesKiran DeolMathew DrinkhouseAnthony EppelheimerChris FullerAilyn GonzalezKenia HerreraCelina HoKian Hunt-EspinoAnevay MartzCrystal NguyenMichelle OgazAlejandro PizanoTori PolandOmar RadoncicCarson RocheKarla Romero-ArellanoAshley RosalesAnthony RuizSophy SaykallyIsaac ScottJade SotoTwyla ThomasFinley WaldrenChristopher WalkerKamari WatkinsBrant Wilson If a student’s name does not appear on the list, please direct questions to the appropriate school or college. Feb 05, 2024

  • This Child Psychologist is Breaking Through Adversity Walls

    Erin Hambrick is changing the way we understand childhood trauma
    Did you know people can experience growth after traumatic events? Erin Hambrick, Ph.D., is looking into how people have the ability go through trauma at a young age and all come out with different responses.  Last year, Hambrick’s work was chosen among hundreds of articles, and she was selected to be an inaugural speaker at Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Aware to discuss her paper. The ACEs Aware initiative is a first-in-the nation effort to screen patients for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to help improve and save lives. What is your area of expertise? I’m a clinical child psychologist. I specialize in children’s exposure to adversity; specifically, how the timing, nature and severity of the negative experience can affect their development throughout the lifespan. I also study how positive experiences can be used to intervene and help children resume a more positive developmental trajectory. What is the focus of your research? My lab really zeroes in on how we can use what we know about what happened to a kid to inform how we might intervene. Some of what we do is longitudinal studies, where we’ll look and see what happened to kids and how it affects their long-term experience. We also work with therapeutic preschools and community-based agencies, to assess life experiences that kids have had. We help them understand what to expect in terms of how long treatments take, particularly what social supports and protective factors we really need to shore up for the child before we might expect the interventions to begin working. What led you to this field of study? Early in my study, I was really interested in the way people had the ability to experience hardship and get through it. Why is it that some people can go through really extreme circumstances and either come out okay, or even exhibit some growth? We obviously know that adversity and trauma can lead to many negative outcomes that we want to prevent, but it doesn’t always do that. So, I’ve been very interested in why is it that we have this differential response, and how we can learn more about it so that we can help more people get through traumas and adversities. What is your research paper about? An open question for some time has been the relative impact of when adversity happens during a child’s development. I think for a long time we really haven’t appreciated that severe, chronic and unrelenting stress even during the first few months of life is not only impactful but might be more impactful than stressors or experiences later. So, this paper was perhaps the first to show that chronic and unrelenting exposure to adversity during the first two months of life have a more pervasive and negative impact on children’s developmental trajectories than adverse experiences later in life. What do you wish more people know about your research? To me the number one message is how powerful, positive early life relationships can set children up for success. The most exciting part is that we are talking about stuff everyone can do. We’re talking about feeding a baby when its hungry, regulating a baby’s temperature and smiling at a baby when it wakes up. However, we probably will need some systems changed, to make those basic realities available to all children. I wish people knew just how important those early moments are but also just how capable we are as a society in doing what it takes to give kids a positive start. Why is your research important to understand? The reason why early exposure to extreme stress and relational poverty is so impactful is how fast our brains are developing in response to our environment in those early days. Our very first experiences set our neural “templates” for the way the world works. If we are bathed in stress in our early days, then our stress responses strengthen and grow while the parts of our brain that help us grow and develop are kind of put on hold. Therefore, with early life adversity and relational poverty, we often see global deficits in sensory processing, cogitation, self-regulation, other relational skills and more. Feb 01, 2024

  • Academy Award Winner Gives Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture

    Kevin Willmott shares earlier history of ‘Becoming Martin’
    Academy Award winner Kevin Willmott was the guest speaker for this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture. Willmott, the writer of critically acclaimed films such as “CSA: The Confederate States of America,” “Chi-Raq” and “BlacKKKlansman,” spoke about how a young sociology student would become the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Tamara Falicov, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, was excited to welcome back her long-time colleague for the 15th instance of this annual campus event. “Kevin is an inspired filmmaker, with a collaborative spirit and dedication to this region,” Falicov said. Based on the research conducted for his play “Becoming Martin,” Willmott shared the little-told history of King as a college student and the people around him, especially the minister Benjamin Mays and King’s own father, who inspired him to create a legacy that has inspired so many others. “Anybody who achieves anything, it’s always about the people who helped you along the way,” Willmott said. Students across UMKC came out to hear Willmott speak. “I had heard of him as a filmmaker,” said Elliott Smith, an urban planning and economics student. “It’s great how he extrapolated the history to reflect the culture of the time and made it relatable.” “I was impacted, as a younger listener, how he compared the tragedies of the 60s to modern tragedies we have experienced in our time,” said Taylor Trudell, a student in environmental science“The examples really put it all in perspective for how to get stuff done.” The full lecture is available to watch online. Jan 29, 2024

  • Chiefs Partnership Gives UMKC Students a Backstage Pass to Champion Team’s Front Office

    Stadium tours, job shadowing and leadership lunches are among the unique opportunities
    Trying on Super Bowl rings and standing on the sidelines of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. This is a day in the life of a UMKC student with the university’s new partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs.  The partnership is focused on opportunities for students to learn from the Chiefs front office staff. During the first five months of the five-year partnership, students have attended several leadership lunches and a shadowing day at the Chiefs training facility. Also as part of the partnership, scholarships, internships and fellowships will be available exclusively to UMKC students. Students attending the leadership lunches and shadowing day have learned from a number of Chiefs staff members, including the chief financial officer, vice president of accounting, project director of manufacturing, engineering, plumbing and construction, vice president of player services and assessment, director of player engagement and more. “We’re giving an opportunity for students to understand all the different lines of work we do here and skillsets that our employees have,” said Kim Hobbs, Chiefs Vice President of Partnership Strategy and Development. Student groups First Gen Roo, Professional Career Escalators and Men of Color Academy attended leadership lunches both on the UMKC campus and the Chiefs practice facility. Men of Color Academy is a cohort-based program that encourages academic achievement, leadership and personal growth. Program director JaVon Hill says that this partnership is a game-changer for students.“This dynamic partnership between UMKC and the Chiefs unlocks a world of possibilities for our students,” Hill said. “They are fortunate to be part of this unique relationship that will open doors to unparalleled access and networks, serve as a direct launchpad for empowerment, spark inspiration and fuel innovation all at the same time.”Students in the Professional Career Escalators program have benefited from these open doors, literally, with a shadowing day spent at the Chiefs practice facility and GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Students in this program – which emphasizes professional experiences in the health-care, education, business, engineering, law and justice fields – had unparalleled access to top-level staff members. Much of their time was spent in small groups with staff members to learn about their jobs and career fields and make valuable connections.Juan Owens attended the shadowing day just before graduating from UMKC with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He spent the day with Shaun Tyrance, Ph.D., vice president of player services and assessment. In his role, Tyrance focuses on all aspects of behavioral health, wellness and performance psychology for all club employees, including players, coaches and staff. Owens said that the opportunity to talk with Tyrance was invaluable to his own career aspirations. Graduate school may be in Owens’ future, and he credits the shadowing day with helping define what that may look like.“I got to learn what exactly it is to be a sports psychologist,” Owens said. “I understand more what it takes to be that person and what I can do in my own community. Where I come from, there’s not a lot of resources, so this opportunity means a lot.”Beyond spending time with Chiefs’ front-office staff, the students enjoyed a behind-the-scenes stadium tour and learned about the history of the organization and the Hunt family. The opportunity to spend time at a world-championship organization is a lesson in success.“This opportunity to really engage with front-office leadership, learn about their career trajectories and connect with our students is powerful,” said Mako Miller, director of the Professional Career Escalators program. “Having such a recognized organization interact with our students in various ways shows a commitment to their career and leadership development. The Chiefs are providing this “behind-the-scenes” look at how an entity like a professional sports team operates and all that it takes to have a successful team.” Jan 25, 2024

  • UMKC Alumni Award Winner Turns Class Project into Community Organization

    Henry Wash shares the impact his mentors had on him, and how he started High Aspirations
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes outstanding alumni achievements with an awards celebration. Henry Wash (B.A., M.P.A) is the Class of 2024 Defying the Odds Award recipient. Wash is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of High Aspirations (HA) and served as a mentor and board member of HA from 2003 to 2013. He has over 26 years of expertise in designing, implementing and evaluating programming for at-risk populations. Wash’s educational accomplishments include an associate degree in applied science, associate degree in arts, bachelor’s in sociology, minor in Black studies and Master of Public Administration in urban affairs. He overcame his circumstances in large part due to the mentoring he received from two prominent Kansas Citians, Henry W. Bloch and Thurman N. Mitchell, KCTV5. These two mentors have helped Wash identify his purpose in life. This led Wash to pursue his vision of making an impact on the Kansas City community, especially for young men. Wash is a current board member of Caring for Kids, Children’s Campus KCK, KC Common Good and Hawthorn Foundation. What was the inspiration for High Aspirations? HA was one of my research projects while attending the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management in 2003. It was founded on evidence-based peer reviewed and empirical research from various backgrounds such as public administration, anthropology, sociology, higher education, psychology, Black studies and business. I walked away from a profession in the freight world to pursue my true calling in 2013 and have not looked back since. Today, we have the first mentoring campus for African American men in Kansas City. Our vision is to help make the world a better place. How did UMKC prepare you for or contribute to your success? I would not be where I am today without UMKC. My education gave me the foundation to gain experience and become the Henry Wash I am today. What advice do you have for students who would like to follow in your footsteps? Take your time. It has taken me 20 years. The sooner you pursue the purpose in your life, the better you’ll be. Jan 25, 2024

  • What Your Zodiac Sign Says About the Best Place to Hang Out on Campus

    It’s written in the stars… and across the UMKC campus
    Ever wondered where you are destined to spend time on campus? Look no further. Here’s a list of the zodiac signs as UMKC spots. Aries: Swinney Recreation Center | March 21-April 19 Energetic and competitive, Aries are bound to feel fired-up after a workout at Swinney Recreation Center. The fire sign will also feel right at home with the sauna and steam room facilities. Taurus: UMKC Dining Hall | April 20-May 20 Tauruses are known for enjoying the finer things in life, including food, environments and people. The UMKC Dining Hall encompasses all the above with its vast dining space and various food options. Gemini: University Playhouse | May 21-June 20 The University Playhouse is home to lots of on-campus events, where Geminis will be able to express their sociable nature. Plus, the faces on each side of the building represent a Gemini’s intrinsic duality nature. Cancer: Haag Hall | June 21-July 22 Cancers are known for being sentimental. A lover of history, they’ll especially appreciate the history behind the Don Quixote mural located in Haag Hall. Leo: Student Union | July 23-Aug. 22 Always craving attention, a Leo is bound to run into someone they know at one of the busiest spots on campus. Ruled by the sun, Leos will also be pleased at the opportunity to bask in the sunlight at the Student Union rooftop. Virgo: Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center | Aug 23.-Sept. 22 Ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication, it is only fitting for Virgos to be assigned the Miller Nichols Library. With four floors of varying noise levels, at least one floor is bound to meet their high standards. Libra: The Quad (Blue and Gold Chairs) | Sept 23.- Oct. 22 The balanced nature of libra loves the quad, especially due to its convenient location to most classrooms and lecture halls. The blue and gold chairs also provide the sign known for being great conversationalists the perfect spot to chat with friends in between classes. Scorpio: Diastole Scholars’ Center | Oct 23.-Nov. 21 Tucked away in the corner of the UMKC Hospital Hill Campus, the Diastole Scholars’ Center is as secretive as a Scorpio. Their mysterious aura pairs perfectly with the Diastole Scholars’ Center’s  academia-inspired setting. Sagittarius: Innovation Studio | Nov. 22-Dec. 21 The sign known for loving adventures will be able to escape reality at the Innovation Studio. From the AR/VR lab to the flight simulator, they will be able to indulge their free-spirited nature. Capricorn: Atterbury Student Success Center | Dec. 22-Jan. 19 Known for being one of the most hardworking signs, Capricorns will be able to sharpen their academic skills at the Atterbury Student Success Center. Also known for being practical, they’ll be pleased at the various food and drink options available here, perfect for snacking in between study breaks. Aquarius: James C. Olson Performing Arts Center | Jan. 20-Feb. 18 The James C. Olson Performing Arts Center offers various performances throughout the year, and at least one of them is bound meet an Aquarius’ eclectic and abstract taste. Pisces: Warko Observatory | Feb 19.-March 20 Pisces will be able to Indulge their escapist nature with stargazing at the Warko Observatory. The sign known for being more on the introverted sign will be pleased at the opportunity to recharge their social battery at this quaint spot. Jan 17, 2024

  • UMKC School of Law Recognized for Value, Programs

    PreLaw magazine recognizes five programs for excellence
    The UMKC School of Law was named a Best Value Law School by PreLaw magazine. Additionally, PreLaw recognized the law school as having five top programs: family law, trial advocacy, technology law, business law and tax law. Schools recognized for being a Best Value Law School have favorable employment rates, bar passage rates and overall cost of attendance. “Our goal isn’t to get our students to graduation, it’s to prepare them for everything that comes after that,” Lumen Mulligan, dean of UMKC School of Law said. “Providing value to our students means giving them the tools to pass the bar exam and have a successful career in law while trying to remove as many financial barriers as possible. Programs such as our new, all-inclusive bar prep program support success for all students, regardless of financial circumstances.” This recognition isn’t just a point of pride. Breana Boger, director of admissions for the UMKC School of Law, says that these rankings are important to future law students when making the decision where to attend school. “These rankings help communicate the caliber of our programs and success of our students,” Boger said. “It helps prospective students paint the picture for their own future success.” The university’s location in the heart of Kansas City provides UMKC law students with numerous opportunities to get practical experience before graduation, including clerkships with judges, opportunities with federal and state government agencies, and internships with private law practices and organizations. Additionally, the law school operates several clinics, which give students experience and provide low-cost services to the community. Clinics include the Child and Family Law Clinic, Taxpayer Assistance Clinic, Expungement Clinic and Taxpayers Assistance Clinic. That practical experience is just one of the reasons the UMKC School of Law was recognized as a top school for many of its programs. Students interested in family law, trial advocacy, technology law, business law or tax law will find valuable opportunities to learn both in and out of the classroom. “We have outstanding faculty who are leaders in their fields and many alumni who come back to share their knowledge with students,” Mulligan said. “No matter what area of law a student wants to practice, they’ll find opportunities to learn and a community who wants to support them.” Jan 16, 2024

  • UMKC Nursing Student Has a Passion to Serve the Underserved

    Tatyana Charles sought a second degree after finding her calling
    In her clinical rotations at University Health, nursing student Tatyana Charles (B.H.S. '21) gets to practice exactly what she set out to do when she decided to pursue a nursing career. “I feel grateful that I'm able to take care of my patients in their most vulnerable state to make them smile and take care of their immediate needs,” Charles said. As a Kansas City native, Charles always knew she wanted to help her hometown neighbors. When she first came to the University of Missouri-Kansas City, that looked a little different. Charles pursued a bachelor’s degree in health sciences with plans to pursue a career in health administration. She later learned that her passion lied elsewhere.“I soon realized that I loved patient interaction and patient engagement, so I then chose to pursue nursing,” Charles said. She chose to remain at UMKC for her second degree because of the nursing program graduates’ high passage rate on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCLEX-RN) exam. More than 98% of UMKC nursing students passed the board exam in 2022. Charles also felt confident that she would be supported because of the positive experience she had in the health sciences program. Now Charles is working on post-surgical care rotation at University Health, an academic medical center dedicated to providing health care to the Kansas City community, both for those with insurance and without. She plans to pursue a career as an emergency room nurse after graduation, and feels certain of her skills. “I feel well prepared,” she said. “Our faculty teaches us what to expect and what abnormally can happen and what to do next.” Working at a mission-driven hospital like University Health is the perfect fit for Charles, who not only wants to care for patients, but also wants to be an advocate for them and help them find ongoing resources to help them. “I tell people all the time that I have a passion to serve the underserved,” Charles said. “I want to be able to give knowledge to the local resources here in Kansas City to help the lower economic population.” Jan 09, 2024

  • UMKC Pharmacy Students Win National Competition

    Three UMKC Pharmacy students beat out more than 100 teams to win top title.
    Fourth-year School of Pharmacy students Hannah Kempker, Claire Vogl and Rylee Pitts have been hard at work since September preparing and competing in the American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s 2023 ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge. The competition spanned several months with multiple rounds and culminated in UMKC going head-to-head with the University of Arkansas in the championship round in Dallas, Texas. After a tight race, UMKC won on the final question and took home $1,500 in prize money and a commemorative trophy. Known for its “quiz-bowl” style, the challenge included rounds featuring general pharmacy trivia, a clinical case study and final jeopardy. Teams began their journey with virtual rounds, and only the top eight travelled to Dallas to compete during the annual ACCP Conference in November. Once there, the competition heated up. Teams were expected to answer questions quickly, using a buzzer and going head to head. “Online versus in-person rounds are a different game,” Kempker said. “Online rounds you have more time to think critically and reason through a question. In person, you have to rely on all knowledge from didactic coursework and rotations to quickly come up with an answer and stick with it.” No stone was left unturned by the team during preparation for the competition, and it was an all-hands-on-deck effort. “Generally, we looked through the ACCP pocket guide, the APhA review book and our old pharmacotherapy notes,” Vogl said. “We also tried to look at specific jeopardy categories as the rounds progressed, focusing on categories we hadn’t seen yet to prepare for the next round.” Kempker added, “I think the biggest thing we did to prepare was to talk aloud our strategy.” The three students keyed in on their blind spots and worked to fill in any gaps in expertise to be as prepared as possible. “Because we are all close, we also know each other’s tendencies and hesitations, so that helped when we moved into the live buzzer rounds,” Vogl said. “One person might buzz for the other because we knew they might be more hesitant.” Elizabeth Englin Pharm.D., served as the faculty mentor and traveled with the team to the Dallas competition rounds. “It was so fun to watch them, and they were so strategic in their play,” Englin said. “You could tell that they were friends, and they work so well as a team…They’re just wonderful students all around.” After the competition, Englin reflected on the high level of sportsmanship the team possessed. “They did really well with the other teams,” she said. “They were congratulating, wishing luck and really got to connect with the other schools.” The competition is just a feather in the cap of the students, who in their final year of pharmacy school are preparing for what’s next. “I felt pharmacy gave me the best opportunity to combine my desire to impact others with a career that aligned with my personal interests and curiosity,” Pitts said. Dec 20, 2023

  • Fifteen Students Named Dean of Students Honor Recipients

    Graduating students are recognized for their outstanding academics, leadership and service
    Fifteen UMKC students have been named Dean of Students Honor Recipients in recognition of their accomplishments on campus and in the community. Every semester, exceptional graduating students are honored with this designation. These students maintain excellent academic standards while actively participating in university activities and community service outside of the classroom. The Fall 2023 honorees’ accomplishments include helping international students settle into the university life, volunteering with the families of homicide victims, organizing a conference celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, working on the Lucerna research journal, volunteering with Operation Breakthrough and more. “These students embody what it means to be a Roo with their dedication to academics, service and community," said Michele D. Smith, Ph.D., vice provost for student affairs and dean of students. “I am thrilled to recognize them for their many accomplishments and look forward to the bright futures ahead of them.” Students shared reflections on their time at UMKC at a special breakfast celebration in their honor. Some excerpts: Emma Sauer: “As a transfer student, I’ve only spent two years at UMKC, but my experience has shaped who I am. My time here has exposed me to all kinds of people, ideas and perspectives I would never have found anywhere else and really inspired me to take a more active role in my local community.” Matthew Grimaldi: “My time at UMKC has been truly memorable, and as a Kansas City native, the best part has been experiencing the school’s connection with the surrounding community. During my time here, I’ve been able to intern with a federal judge, work with underserved clients and meet with prospective students. UMKC is more than just a place of higher education, it is a community institution.” Paige Lyell: “UMKC has given me the gift of a lifetime – not only has the university provided me with an amazing education, but it also gave me some of the best years of my life. I feel honored to forever be a part of such an inclusive and compassionate group of people. I leave here with a stronger sense of community, respect and integrity.” Congratulations to the Fall 2023 Dean of Students Honor Recipients! Scott Cameron, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Paige Eickhoff, School of Medicine Alejandra Frias-Fraire, School of Science and Engineering Matthew Grimaldi, School of Law Natasha Hillard, School of Nursing and Health Studies Mufrad Islam, School of Science and Engineering Mustavi Islam, School of Science and Engineering Marco Loaiza, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Paige Lyell, School of Medicine Marisa McKay, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Elliot Mejia, Bloch School of Management Jonah Petitjean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Emma Sauer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Olga Shupyatskaya , School of Law Ben Wilson, Bloch School of Management Dec 19, 2023

  • Donation Process During UMKC Campus Closure

    Here's how to give during winter break
    While the UMKC campus is closed during Winter Break, Monday, Dec. 25 through Monday, Jan. 1, it's still easy to make a year-end gift by observing the following guidelines. Gift timing is essential to ensure receipt of tax credit for the 2023 calendar year for your donation; please reference the guidelines for specific gift types below. If you need assistance with your donation, please get in touch with Jenny Akhtar at 816-780-9151. Give now by credit card Donation by Checks Envelope MUST be postmarked prior to Dec. 31, 2023. If the envelope received is postmarked after Dec. 31, it will be counted as a 2024 gift. Donors should send their checks to the address below: UMKC Foundation Office of Gift Processing202 Administrative Center5115 Oak StreetKansas City, MO 64112 Checks dated prior to Dec. 31, along with postmarked envelopes, should be received by UMKC Foundation Gift Processing staff on or before Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. Gifts received after that point will not automatically be included in processing for the annual tax receipt. Donations by Stock or Mutual Funds Please get in touch with Tram Nguyen at nguyentram@umkc.edu for the transfer form and DTC instructions. Stock gifts must be received into the account on or before Dec. 29 to be reflected in the 2023 tax period, per the IRS. Stock gifts will require the donor's name, number of shares, security, expected date of transfer, and gift intention area. Donors must send information via email to Tram Nguyen at nguyentram@umkc.edu. Liquidation of the Stock gifts cannot be completed until confirmation of this information is received. Mutual funds take an additional 3-5+ business days before posting to our account. Donors, please advise brokers to initiate mutual fund transfers before Dec. 21. Regular equity stock takes 24 hours to post to our account. Donations by Credit Cards Ways to donate using a credit card: Our website, UMKC Foundation, where donations will be processed through midnight, Dec 31. All donor gifts processed through our website will be reflected in the donor's 2023 giving year totals. Contact our staff in Gift Processing at 816-780-9151 during regular business hours through the end of the year, including the winter break. Mail: Credit Cards by mail MUST be received no later than noon Dec 29, for processing. ** We cannot guarantee mail delivery will meet the required deadline; for more reliable processing, we ask all donors to either call the number listed for Gift Processing Staff or to use our website. Contacts and Staff Availability The Gift Processing Staff will be available by phone at 816-780-9151 to accept credit card gifts and to answer all inquiries about year-end gifts during regular business hours through the end of the year, including during the winter break. The UMKC Foundation Office will be closed during the winter break. Should you have any inquiries during that time, please call 816-235-5778, and someone will return your call. For help with stock gifts or wire transfers, contact Tram Nguyen at nguyentram@umkc.edu Dec 19, 2023

  • Top 10 Photos of 2023

    Visuals that capture the year
    UMKC photographers Brandon Parigo and Patrick Oliverio captured many moments on and off campus this year. They selected a few of their favorite images that show what it looks like to be part of Kansas City's university. Union Station was illuminated Roo blue and gold for UMKC Engagement Month in October. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC Conservatory Professor JoDee Davis stands in the middle of her students at the UMKC Trombone Studio. | Photo by Patrick Oliverio, UMKC Dancers perform at Crescendo, the UMKC Conservatory signature event held annually at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It raises funds for student scholarships. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC The Roo statue in silhouette on the UMKC Volker Campus. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC UMKC cheering at a soccer game. Roo up! | Photo by Patrick Oliverio, UMKC Making a splash at the Swinney Center pool. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC Durwood Stadium at dusk during a soccer game at Welcome Week. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC I (heart) UMKC always. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC Streamers and confetti help celebrate graduates at Spring Commencement at the T-Mobile Center. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC   Dec 19, 2023

  • Triple Threat: Three Sets of Twins Competing as UMKC Student-Athletes

    Seeing double on the court and track
    Last year, 3,664,292 people were born. It’s estimated just 3 percent of those born were twins. So it’s safe to say giving birth to twins is rare. What’s even more rare is three sets of twins ending up on the same college campus as student-athletes. Right now at UMKC, there are roughly 220 student-athletes competing on various teams. Among them are six twins who make up just 2 percent of that total. For Precious and Promise Idiaru, Elauni and Emani Bennett, and Jack and Bret Beard, UMKC always felt like the right place to be. “Being so close to home is one of the main reasons we chose UMKC,” said freshman Emani Bennett. “Our high school teammates, high school coaches and AAU coaches still get to come and see us play.” Elauni and Emani BennettFreshmen | UMKC Women’s Basketball If you’re in need of a quick way to tell these two apart, just look at their jump shot. “I’m a lefty and Emani’s a righty,” said Elauni Bennett. The two freshmen guards didn’t have to travel far to join the UMKC women’s basketball team. Just seven months removed from their high school graduation at Lee’s Summit North, these young student-athletes are already adjusted to college life. It’s something they attribute to having each other. “Coming into college is an adjustment for all freshmen, but we have each other so it makes it a lot easier,” Elauni said Off the court, the Bennetts bring impressive high school resumes with them to UMKC and despite being identical twins, the two sisters have different interests when it comes to their education. “We’re different in a lot of ways, and that’s something our coach was big on is celebrating our individuality,” said Emani. Emani is majoring in psychology, while Elauni plans to pursue a future in health sciences. Precious and Promise IdiaruSophomores | UMKC Men’s Basketball Unlike the Bennett twins, Precious and Promise traveled a long way to land on the UMKC men’s basketball team: 4,743 miles, to be exact. The brothers call Speyer, Germany, home just an hour south of Frankfurt, but being in the U.S. is nothing new to them. The Idiaru brothers came to the U.S. as high schoolers, competing in Los Angeles,. "Precious and Promise were available late in the recruiting process, which ended up being a huge plus for Kansas City Basketball,” said head coach Marvin Menzies. “The twins are very high in character and in talent.” Now in their second season with the Roos, both Precious and Promise say there have been challenges being twins on a new team. “The coaches had trouble telling us apart,” said Promise. “To make it easier on them we decided that Precious would start wearing a headband.” Even with their headband idea, it wasn’t an instant fix. “There was an incident last year at LSU where the coaches had difficulties telling us apart even with the headband and accidentally kept yelling out the wrong names to each twin.” While telling them apart on the court may be difficult for new eyes, things might be easier for their UMKC professors. Like the Bennett sisters, Precious and Promise have chosen different paths for their education. Precious intends to study nutrition, while Promise has his sights set on a career in business and marketing. Jack and Bret BeardSophomores | UMKC Track and Field Blink and you might miss this set of twins. Jack and Bret Beard are coming off a successful freshmen season at UMKC, one in which they both made strong showings at the Summit League Championships. Being a college athlete also runs in the family. Their father was an All-American kicker at Friends University. Their older brother Braedan played Division I soccer at both Creighton and Drake Universities. Like the Bennett sisters, Jack and Bret are competing for UMKC with a hometown crowd nearby. The Olathe Northwest graduates say their decision to come to UMKC can be attributed to the coaching staff, led by head coach Benaud Shirley, and being close to family. "I love that my parents are able to come and support us and watch us compete," said Jack. "It gives us added motivation when they are at our meets." When it comes to identifying them on the track, Bret says there is still the occasional confusion among their coaches. Whether they get mixed up or not, Bret admits it's special being able to compete alongside his brother. "We don’t always compete in the same event but when we do I love being able to compete alongside my brother because we are creating life long memories together." Both Beards are studying business administration at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Dec 18, 2023

  • Top 10 Stories of 2023

    A groundbreaking year filled with excitement and many firsts for the university
    The year 2023 saw rapid growth for Kansas City and its university. UMKC continues to reach new heights as an institution of higher education. With our students, faculty and staff at the forefront of our accomplishments in deep partnership with the community, it has never been a more exciting time to be a Roo. Here are the Top 10 stories of 2023 at UMKC. Roos in Flight: UMKC Community Involved in Creation of New Airport Terminal In February, the new KCI Airport terminal opened to travelers and UMKC students, alumni and faculty helped make it happen. Together, Roos from communication, design, engineering, consulting and art backgrounds were involved throughout the largest infrastructure project in the history of the city. UMKC Student Opportunities with the Kansas City Chiefs UMKC announced that it is an official higher education partner of the Kansas City Chiefs, the 2022 World Champions. The five-year partnership between UMKC and the Kansas City Chiefs focuses on student success and recruitment efforts. Opportunities for UMKC students include scholarships as well as leadership, mentorship and career-shadowing within the Chiefs organization. Events for prospective students include stadium tours and other programs. Revealing the Future of the UMKC Health Sciences District  The university revealed the design of its largest capital investment to date: the $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building. With key funding from the state of Missouri and visionary Kansas City donors, the building will enable the university to provide state-of-the-art education, find newer and better ways to serve patients in need, strengthen collaborations with surrounding neighborhoods and facilitate greater interdisciplinary partnerships to fuel innovation and research. UMKC Announces $10 Million Transportation Grant During Pete Buttigieg Visit U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited UMKC to discuss a new $10 million federal grant awarded to the School of Science and Engineering to develop innovative approaches to improve the sustainability and equity of transportation infrastructure. UMKC was among 20 selected from 169 universities to lead Tier 1 University Transportation Centers for underserved and disadvantaged populations. Greater Kansas City and Missouri Named Tech Hubs  The U.S. Economic Development Administration has named the KC region and Missouri “Tech Hubs” as part of a historic investment to strengthen the U.S. economy and national security - and UMKC played a significant role in this recognition. "The new Tech Hubs designation provides great scope for innovation in Kansas City – and I can envision all the groundbreaking advancements to come as our UMKC students, faculty and staff work in collaboration with the many fantastic organizations in the greater Kansas City area," said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. "We at UMKC could not be more excited." UMKC is Now a First Scholars Institution! This new designation from the NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success recognizes our efforts in supporting students with programs such as First Gen Roo Scholars. About half our students are first-generation students, and those who participate in the program have higher GPAs and are more likely to complete their degree than those who don't take part.  New UMKC School of Medicine Building Will Transform Health-Care Access in Missouri UMKC broke ground on a new $14.5 million medical building for the School of Medicine campus in St. Joseph. With nearly half of rural counties in Missouri lacking adequate health-care access, this 22,000-square-foot building will transform access by training future health care providers who are committed to rural medicine, supporting research and providing care to people in St. Joseph and the surrounding area. UMKC Divine Nine Garden Deepens Community Connections UMKC paid tribute to the contributions and presence of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities with a ceremonial unveiling in the heart of campus. Hundreds of people from across the Kansas City region representing the Divine Nine Black Greek organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council gathered to celebrate. What Do UMKC and the Kansas City Zoo Have in Common? Kangaroos UMKC and the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium announced a five-year partnership centered around their shared love of kangaroos. The relationship between the two Kansas City institutions dates back almost 90 years. Next time you find yourself at the zoo, venture into the Australia section to learn how the Roo came to be the mascot of UMKC.   Taylor Swift Eras Tour is Part of This UMKC Dance Alum's Resume It's definitely been the year of T Swift, and Conservatory alumnus Kameron Saunders has enjoyed the excitement. He had the chance to "make the whole place shimmer" in Kansas City as a backup dancer on the Eras tour with Taylor Swift. Although originally from St. Louis, Saunders considers Kansas City a second home. Dec 16, 2023

  • UMKC Celebrates 2023 Mid-Year Graduates

    Kansas City’s university held its annual Mid-Year Commencement at the T-Mobile Center in downtown Kansas City
    UMKC graduates and their loved ones filled the T-Mobile Center as more than 1,000 degrees were conferred. “I know you are a remarkable group of people,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “I am proud to be here today to celebrate this momentous occasion with you.” UMKC alumna Esther George (MBA ’00) was the keynote speaker. George was the first woman president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Keep learning and remember this, the degree UMKC is about to confer upon you today does not represent what you know, but what you are capable of learning,” George said. “Let curiosity lead you to places of knowledge that you might not have considered.” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas also addressed the graduates, encouraging them to push through challenges many face in their careers and in life. “I know as you’ve gone through your journey many things have changed, but you have persevered,” Lucas said. “Be ambitious, courageous and bold…You should continuously strive to be famously excellent in all you do.”Following the addresses, the graduates were recognized and the Class of 2023 moved their tassels from the right to the left side of their caps, symbolizing their status as graduates. The celebration concluded with confetti, streamers and sparklers.   Dec 15, 2023

  • Kansas City Current Announces Groundbreaking Higher Education Partnership with University of Missouri-Kansas City

    Kansas City’s university will provide undergraduate and graduate opportunities to Current players
    The Kansas City Current announces a multi-year partnership with the University of Missouri-Kansas City as the Official Higher Education Partner, beginning in the 2024 NWSL preseason. UMKC will provide first-of-its-kind undergraduate and graduate opportunities to players actively on the Current roster. The Current will provide player and coach mentorship as well as access to Current facilities for preseason training and a match. “We are so thrilled to announce this new partnership with UMKC,” said Current co-owner Angie Long. “We want to provide every opportunity to our players to continue their higher education. We think this relationship will present groundbreaking opportunities and educational access for our athletes as well as the Roos scholar-athletes. We are proud to partner with UMKC and eager to provide a unique education opportunity that can complement the demanding schedules of our professional athletes as they build the skills they need to succeed off the pitch.” This partnership focuses on elevating education on multiple levels. UMKC will provide educational opportunities for KC Current athletes through its robust academic programs. The Current will use its platform to elevate UMKC and its women’s soccer program, allowing scholar-athletes to connect with KC Current players for leadership and mentorship. The Roos will host one pre-season and one regular season match at the Sports Complex in Riverside, Missouri on the Championship Field in 2024. UMKC will also be able to share the excitement of KC Current soccer on campus, when it brings its Teal Mobile takeovers to students, with team spirit and merch opportunities. “Kansas City’s groundbreaking team is partnering with Kansas City’s groundbreaking university,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. “Both of our institutions are breaking barriers and we intend to keep breaking them.” The Kansas City Current announced plans for the first stadium purpose-built for a professional women’s soccer team with expected completion in 2024. | Photo courtesy of the Current.   UMKC has a host of unique programs to elevate students across various professions. UMKC’s top-ranked School of Medicine innovated a combined six-year B.A./M.D. program, different from the traditional eight-year program. UMKC founded Supplemental Instruction, a peer-tutoring system now used at hundreds of colleges around the world because it boosts letter grades and retains students through reinforced learning. Just this month, the NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success designated UMKC a First Scholars Institution, recognizing the university’s unique methods of helping first-generation students succeed in college, earning higher GPAs and retention rates when compared with their peers. The UMKC Division I Athletics program is also exceptional, with students exceling on and off the field. Players on the women’s soccer team have a cumulative 3.63 GPA. This year, the Summit League recognized Roos Women’s Soccer Coach Jess Smith as its Coach of the Year. Smith also is a coach for the KC Current Summer Camp. “We are fortunate and grateful to partner with the KC Current organization,” said Brandon Martin, Ph.D., UMKC vice chancellor and director of Athletics. “Our mission, goals and priorities are aligned, and we look forward to immediate championship-level synergy. This partnership not only elevates our women’s soccer program but propels our effort to advance Kansas City.”  Roos Women's Soccer Coach Jess Smith won the Summit League Coach of the Year. | Photo courtesy of UMKC Athletics.   These two groundbreaking Kansas City institutions share other deep connections. UMKC alumni serve as top KC Current leaders: Monica Ngo as Vice President of Human Resources for the Current and Maggie Walters as General Counsel. UMKC faculty Meg Gibson, M.D., is a physician for the Current. Current founders and co-owners Angie Long and Chris Long were named Kansas City Entrepreneurs of the Year by UMKC for their leadership roles at Palmer Square Capital Management and their work with the Current, two powerful platforms that are leading the way in making positive change on a global basis. It’s that worldwide emphasis that also makes this partnership groundbreaking in nature. UMKC attracts students from more than 75 countries and the Current’s fanbase spans the globe. The Current roster features international players from France, Canada, Sweden, Brazil and Denmark. Kansas City’s university and the Current align in their missions to be the best in the world while also being pillars of the Kansas City community. Crowds line up for the KC Current's Teal Mobile for team spirit and merch. | Photo courtesy of KC Current   About the Kansas City Current Founded in December 2020, the Kansas City Current is led by the ownership group of Angie Long, Chris Long, Brittany Mahomes and Patrick Mahomes. The team competes in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The Kansas City Current announced plans for the first stadium purpose-built for a professional women’s soccer team with expected completion in 2024. To receive periodic updates on the new Kansas City Current Stadium at Berkley Riverfront Park, visit here to sign up for more information or to stay connected. About the University of Missouri-Kansas City The University of Missouri-Kansas City is a public research university with more than 15,300 students and more than 125 academic programs. Its two main campuses are in the heart of Kansas City, providing students with unparalleled access to jobs and internships. UMKC is dedicated to providing a quality education to everyone with one of the largest percentages of Pell-Grant-eligible students in the nation and in-state tuition scholarships to students in all 50 states. Dec 13, 2023

  • Starlight Internship Starts UMKC Conservatory Student Off on a High Note

    Kansas City’s outdoor/indoor performing arts venue was the opening number for a career in arts marketing
    Roslinde Rivera has been going to Starlight since she was a child, but now her view of the stage is a little different. Rivera, who is pursuing her MBA and graduate certificates in performance and performing arts management, was a marketing intern for Starlight. Rivera was interested in arts administration and knew the UMKC performance arts management certificate would be a perfect fit for her career goals. When she met with faculty member Lisa Anderson Bongers, they narrowed down Rivera’s focus to find an internship to jumpstart her career path.“I’m interested in marketing and development, so we had a conversation about what places would be best for me to start in marketing,” Rivera said. “When Starlight came up on that list, I was very interested.”“Having that connection to Starlight and able to come back to a place I love, that was really important to me,” Rivera said. Working at Starlight gave Rivera the opportunity to hone her marketing skills in a supportive environment. She put together press kits, wrote blog posts, managed social media and worked with outside partners. “One thing that I always look for in a workplace is great community,” Rivera said. “Being at Starlight has really shown me what a good community looks like in how people treated each other.”Starlight is a natural fit for Rivera, a singer and performer. Rivera knew her hometown had endless opportunities, both as a student and beyond.“Being able to go to a local university that has so many connections is incredible,” Rivera said. “Kansas City has so many opportunities, and I don’t think a lot of people realize the connections, especially if you’re wanting to go and perform.” “There are people in all different paths of life and they’re all working toward something,” Rivera said. “If you’re starting out and you’re terrified and you don’t know what to do, you have people that you can look up to. And I think that’s just really invaluable.” Dec 05, 2023

  • Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Honor Visionary Leaders who Transform Businesses in KC and Around the Globe  

    Sports are a common thread and include KC Current and Chicken N Pickle
    Five game-changing entrepreneurs were awarded during the Henry W. Bloch School of Management Regnier Institute’s 37th annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Started in 1985, the event celebrates the contributions of entrepreneurs in Kansas City and beyond by recognizing the work of students as well as local, national and global-industry entrepreneurs and leaders.  This year’s event was held at the H&R Block headquarters - the industry-shaping business entrepreneurs Henry Bloch and his brother, Richard Bloch, founded. Prior to the awards ceremony, attendees learned about business ventures by students from Bloch and the Kansas City Art Institute at the Student Venture Showcase. “Their dedication and passion is truly inspiring,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Celebrating risk takers and innovators is one of the reasons I look forward to this event.” The 2023 awardees: Henry W. Bloch International Entrepreneur of the Year and Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Inductee Marcelo Claure, Founder and CEO of Claure Group and Founder of Brightstar Claure is a global entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Claure Group, a multi-billion-dollar global investment firm. He is a well-known entrepreneur and operator after building Brightstar from a small local distributor to the world’s largest global wireless distribution and services company.  As an investor, Claure was also the CEO of SoftBank Group International where he launched SoftBank’s $8 billion Latin America Funds and had direct oversight for SoftBank's operating companies like ARM, SB Energy, WeWork and others. Claure also helped orchestrate Sprint's $195 billion merger with T-Mobile, creating what is now one of the most valuable telecommunications companies in the world. "The journey of an entrepreneur is never a straight line," said Claure, who delievered remarks via video. "My goal is to continue innovating, lead with integrity and inspire future entrepreneurs." Claure owns Club Bolívar, Bolivia's largest professional soccer team, and is a co-owner of Spain's Girona FC, in partnership with City Football Group. Claure was inducted into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Located on the main level of the UMKC Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the hall of fame gives students and the community a peek inside the journeys of Kansas City’s entrepreneurial stars. The dedicated gallery space was the vision of Joe and Judy Roetheli, creators of Greenies dog treats. Their goal is to honor entrepreneurs and inspire students. Exhibits of the hall include an interactive touchscreen featuring inductee biographies, artifacts from their lives and words of inspiration from the entrepreneurs themselves. Kansas City Entrepreneurs of the Year Chris Long, Founder of Palmer Square Capital Management Angie Long, Chief Investment Officer of Palmer Square Capital Management Chris Long founded Palmer Square Capital Management, an approximately $27 billion asset manager focused on corporate and structured credit with offices in Kansas City and London, in June 2009. Currently, he serves as chairman, CEO and portfolio manager. He serves on the Board of Directors of the KC Sports Commission and Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and in many roles related to Princeton University.  Angie Long is chief investment officer and one of two principal owners for Palmer Square Capital Management. Her career includes experience at JPMorgan Chase & Co. where she was named a managing director at age 29 and held many senior roles. She serves on the Board of Directors of Union Station as well as the KC 2026 World Cup Board. She is a member of the 100 Women in Finance and is a CFA charter holder. Along with co-owner Brittany Mahomes, the Longs brought a National Women’s Soccer League franchise back to Kansas City. The Kansas City Current has built the only training facility in the world with a women’s professional team as the sole tenant. They are also building the world’s first stadium devoted to a women’s professional soccer team. "We get to lead two amazing organizations - both of which have powerful platforms to be a positive force on a global basis," the Longs said at the event. "It is a privilege we do not take lightly. We are fortunate to work with some of the most talented, passionate people in both the investment world and the sports business. Together, and as a result of the hard work, innovation and leadership of these organizations, it is exciting to look at the impact." Marion and John Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship David Johnson, Founder of Chicken N Pickle and CEO of Maxus Realty Trust Johnson had already founded and developed a successful real estate management company when he created Chicken N Pickle in 2017. The concept burst onto the scene, and now has eight venues open, with seven more announced across several states. Community engagement is at the core of the Chicken N Pickle culture, with programs that provide strong support for 2,029 charitable organizations in the surrounding areas where each of the Chicken N Pickle locations are based. Extra money is raised for charities through their cup sales, and more than $100,000 was donated just through those extra dollars to support the community. "My team embraces the community everywhere they go, and they deserve all the credit," Johnson said. "We've found that by doing good, good things happen to us." Johnson is currently on the board of Verimore Bank, KC Crime Commission, MU Dean’s Board and Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Student Entrepreneur of the Year Lesly Romo Romo is a business administration student and bilingual real estate professional. Over the past year, she has achieved more than $2 million in sales and possesses a comprehensive understanding of the real estate industry. Currently, Romo holds the role of vice president of projects for UMKC Enactus, where she takes the helm of multiple innovative initiatives that leverage social entrepreneurship to drive meaningful change.    Romo is working to establish a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting financial literacy in the Hispanic community. She is also looking to construct a multifaceted soccer facility. The aim is to create an inclusive space for soccer enthusiasts of all backgrounds.  "This serves as a commitment to turn my wildest dreams into action," Romo said."We will unite people through their love of soccer as they come to Kansas City for the World Cup (in 2026)."  All proceeds from the event directly benefit the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s student and community programs. The Regnier Institute at the Bloch School focuses on connecting students and community members with a comprehensive combination of world-class research, renowned faculty, cutting-edge curriculum and experimental programs driven to deliver results and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. Dec 01, 2023

  • Top 5 Things You Should Know About Changes to the FAFSA

    The new process will make the form simpler, more streamlined
    The U.S. Department of Education is making changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which students should fill out each year. The changes are the result of the FAFSA Simplification Act. Here are the top five things you need to know about the change. 1. The FAFSA will be available later than usual. The FAFSA forms are typically available Oct. 1 of each year. This year, they will be available later than that. The Department of Education has announced the application is expected to be open by Dec. 31.Every student should fill out the FAFSA every year. UMKC students should file by the April 1 priority deadline to increase their chances of receiving grants and scholarships. 2. Your parent or spouse will need their own StudentAid.gov login. Spouses and parents who provide information in the FAFSA will be called contributors. They’ll also be required to create their own logins. If your parent or spouse will be a contributor, encourage them to create an ID now to ensure they’re able to fill out their portion of your FAFSA quickly. 3. The application will have fewer questions. The updated FAFSA is much shorter and can pull information directly from your income tax return. To pull from your income tax return, you’ll need to consent via your FSA ID. If you do not have an FSA ID, you can create one now so you’re ready when the FAFSA is available. Other helpful information to gather includes: Legal Name Date of birth Social security number (if applicable) Mailing address Email address Note the UMKC FAFSA code: 002518 4. The new form uses different terminology. The 2024-25 form has new terminology that may replace older terms you’re familiar with. Notably, the Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the term “Expected Family Contribution” (EFC). This term refers to a student’s approximate financial resources available to contribute to their education. 5. The change will expand access to federal Pell Grants. More students will be eligible for Pell Grants. Eligibility will be linked to family size and the federal poverty level. Nov 21, 2023

  • UMKC School of Medicine Recognized for Excellence in Diversity for Second Year in a Row

    The school received the award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine has received the 2023 Health Professionals Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.  In a letter to 2023 winners, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine said the school’s efforts "significantly advance" the core values of diversity, equity and inclusion as evidenced through mentoring, teaching, research, hiring and promotion, recruitment, retention and many other campus priorities deserving of this national recognition. "As an institution we continue to strive to create a learning and clinical environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive to all graduate and medical students, residents, fellows, staff and faculty members,” said Tyler Smith, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “These core values guide the School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. While managing the evolving landscape of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, UMKC SOM continues to uphold the vision, mission, goals and values in place since the institution’s founding.”  The school has introduced the next generation of providers to DEI values through strategic initiatives and leadership that champions the success of all students, including its anti-racism and cultural bias program that prepares medical students for a career where these principles are incorporated. Students complete this program before going through clinical rotations, helping to ensure that all students are giving the highest level of care from day one. Other School of Medicine initiatives — such as specialized care for students at academic risk, the Multicultural Advisory Committee of Students and the Summer Success Seminar Series — provide opportunities for future medical providers.  “I am so proud of our incredible faculty, staff and students who work tirelessly to expand the DEI work that our medical school takes such great pride in," said Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. "A lot of that work includes recruiting and retaining students from different backgrounds who share different beliefs, attitudes and experiences. This is especially important, because as our students graduate and join the health-care team, we know a more diverse workforce promotes better care for diverse populations. It improves access, quality of care and health outcomes.” This is not the first time that UMKC has been recognized for its DEI efforts. INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine also recognized the School of Medicine with the award in 2022 and 2018.  Nov 15, 2023

  • This UMKC Alumna Was the First Woman to Lead the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

    Esther George’s (MBA ’00) journey is one marked by leadership, accomplishment and breaking glass ceilings.
    In 2011, she became the first woman president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. For more than 10 years, George led a workforce of 2,100 Federal Reserve employees serving seven states from the bank’s headquarters in Kansas City. She had a major influence on our nation’s banking system, and was actively involved in the Federal Reserve’s work to ensure the smooth and efficient functioning of the nation’s payment system, including leading the effort to establish instant retail payments known as the FedNow Service. “Great cities have great universities, and I see Kansas City as poised to build on its momentum with UMKC at its center.” — Esther George (MBA ’00), retired president and CEO of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank But before all of that, she was a student at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management, a choice she credits with preparing her for the role.“Education is such an important investment, and I consider UMKC and the Bloch School as playing a key role in my leadership development that ultimately led to my appointment as president and CEO of the Kansas City Fed,” George said. George enrolled at the Bloch school as a full-time employee and mother to two young children. Being able to go to a renowned institution that fit into her life was a key part of her decision of where to receive her master’s degree.“The proximity of the master’s program at the Bloch School and the quality of the curriculum made it a perfect choice,” George said. George said she made faculty connections at UMKC that have lasted throughout her career, and that she even keeps in touch with some today. “Their enthusiasm for the subjects they taught was infectious and effective,” George said.George said the impact of connecting has been impactful for her career, and advised future female leaders to look for people who can help them grow. “As women invest in their education and pursue a given career path, it can be helpful to rely on mentors,” George said. “I benefited from looking to people with more experience, with different experiences to help me think about my personal effectiveness.” A Kansas City leader, George serves on the boards of the Hallmark Corporation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Kansas City 2026 World Cup. Nov 15, 2023

  • UMKC Awarded $4 Million in Federal, Kauffman Foundation Grants to Grow Digital Health

    Partners include BioNexus KC, KC Digital Drive and Pipeline Entrepreneurs
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City was awarded a $2 million Build to Scale grant along with partners BioNexus KC, KC Digital Drive and Pipeline Entrepreneurs to advance Digital Health KC from the Economic Development Administration. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation will match the award, totaling $4 million, to build upon existing digital health strengths in the KC region. Digital Health KC will create ideal conditions for a vibrant ecosystem, catalyze collaboration and connect critical elements such as ideas, talent, companies, capital and customers. This funding will fuel Digital Health KC to support health-care technology entrepreneurs, foster innovation, build and strengthen the region’s talent pool and inspire economic growth.  “Our ecosystem is rich in talent and ideas but requires additional financial and industry-specific support," said Dick Flanigan, CEO of Digital Health KC. "Solving health care’s most significant challenges involves people, processes and technology, all aligned to provide solutions. Digital health offerings are among the most promising solutions seeking to improve access and quality while addressing the ever-increasing cost of care. This grant will increase our resources for funding, mentorship, connectivity and guidance to attract and grow companies in the KC region.”  Over the next three years, Digital Health KC and partners will advance early-stage digital health companies with programming to increase understanding of the unique aspects of building health-care solutions, executing a go-to-market plan and identifying and providing industry-specific mentors and business acumen support.  This investment will result in more than 20 new startups for a regional total of 120+ companies, 15 completed beta customer projects, $45 million in debt and equity investment and 500 new jobs for the KC region.   “Ecosystem building is a team sport, and it starts with community organizations uniting for a common purpose – to build a thriving digital health network with intentionality,” said Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center. “We are pleased to partner and grateful to the Kauffman Foundation for providing needed matching funds to bring this federal investment to the region. Our collective commitment to digital health will catapult the KC region and profoundly impact our community.”  Initially funded by the Patterson Family Foundation, Digital Health KC was launched in March 2023 by BioNexus KC, a life-sciences nonprofit creating opportunities at the nexus of human and animal health. UMKC is a BioNexus KC stakeholder. The community heavily supported the EDA Build to Scale proposal, including industry, health-care providers and payers, investors, economic development organizations, workforce, government and nonprofit organizations in the KC region.  Nov 14, 2023

  • UMKC Alumnus Named Dean of School of Medicine

    Alexander Norbash has a background in research and health-care collaboration
    Alumnus Alexander Norbash, M.D., M.S., FACR, has been named the new dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. He will begin March 11. Norbash will be coming from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) where he serves as chair and professor of radiology at the School of Medicine. His personal and professional experiences uniquely position him to lead the School of Medicine during this time of rapid advancement in the health-care enterprise at UMKC. “I am thrilled to be returning to my hometown of Kansas City and my alma mater where I received an innovative and exceptional medical education at the UMKC School of Medicine,” Norbash said. “It is an exciting time for the school and the UMKC Health Sciences District, and I hope to enhance and contribute to UMKC’s upward trajectory. We commit to educating our future health-care leaders, fostering and implementing advances in clinical care, facilitating research and discovery, with the goal of creating great outcomes in our service to the community.” Prior to UCSD, Norbash held multiple academic and leadership appointments, including at Stanford University School of Medicine, Harvard University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Medicine. Norbash grew up in Platte City, the son of a rural doctor. He discovered the innovative UMKC School of Medicine and graduated in 1986 from the combined six-year B.A./M.D. program. From there he went on to further training in radiology and embarked on a career rich in clinical work, research and innovation. Along the way, he received a master’s degree in health-care management from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2004 and combined his clinical and research acumen to drive excellence, innovation and collaboration at top universities and hospitals across the country. “Dr. Norbash has the ideal set of work and life experiences to help UMKC achieve its vision of continued excellence for our School of Medicine and growing our UMKC Health Sciences district into a preeminent academic medical center,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. “He represents two passions that have been the hallmarks of our healthcare tradition at UMKC – pursuing equitable health care for all and harnessing innovation and technology to improve medical care. Those traits in him will be important assets in his new role.” The School of Medicine is expanding in profound ways, both in medical education and the research enterprise and also in its physical footprint with a $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building set to break ground in 2024 and a new $14.5 million medical education building underway on its St. Joseph campus. “While interviewing Dr. Norbash, it became clear that he will bring an abundance of new ideas and experiences to propel the work being done at the School of Medicine,” said UMKC Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jenny Lundgren, Ph.D. He will succeed Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., another proud UMKC School of Medicine alum, who just this past month won national honors with the Association of American Medical Colleges Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement. Jackson will continue as a faculty member and as a special advisor to the Chancellor on health affairs. The UMKC School of Medicine, the top public medical school in Missouri for primary care, opened in 1971 to meet the heath-care needs of the state and the nation. Using an innovative approach, the school accepts students directly out of high school for the combined B.A./M.D. program that allows students to graduate in six years – vs. eight – with their medical degrees. The school also offers a traditional four-year program as well as four master’s degree programs in anesthesia, physician assistant, bioinformatics, and health professions education. UMKC is one of only 20 universities in the U.S. to offer medical education along with dentistry, nursing and pharmacy on one campus. Combined with Children’s Mercy, University Health and city, county and state health organizations, it offers a unique UMKC Health Sciences District. Nov 13, 2023

  • UMKC Recognizes Outstanding Alumni

    14 alumni and one family were honored April 5
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Class of 2024 Alumni Achievement Award recipients include a national ABC News anchor, a nonprofit founder and Kansas City trailblazers. Each year, UMKC recognizes a select group of alumni for their inspirational accomplishments. The event offers a chance to celebrate the achievements and successes of graduates UMKC sends out into the world each year at Commencement, and raises funds to support their fellow Roos. The Class of 2024 awardees were honored at a celebration on April 5 at the White Recital Hall in the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. University-Wide Alumni Awardees Alumna of the Year Rhiannon Ally (B.A. ’05) is a national anchor for ABC News’ “World News Now” and “America This Morning” and is a correspondent on “Good Morning America.” She also made her author debut with the children’s book, “Mommy, Please Don’t Go to Work!” The Raytown native co-anchored the Emmy-Award-winning 10 p.m. newscast for Kansas City’s NBC affiliate KSHB-TV alongside her husband, Mike Marusarz (B.A. ‘04), whom she met at UMKC. Ally’s nearly 20-year career has taken her to Miami, New York, Los Angeles, London and Las Vegas. She has interviewed renowned celebrities including Madonna, Denzel Washington, Caroline Kennedy and Gloria Steinem. Ally also has had a front row seat to history, documenting events including the Boston Marathon bombing, the war in Ukraine, Hurricane Katrina and the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. Spotlight Award Carmaletta Williams (B.A. ’84, M.A. ’87, Ph.D.) is the Chief Executive Officer of the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City. In this role, she plays a part in preserving and celebrating the role that Black Kansas Citians played in shaping, growing and enriching the Kansas City area. She also worked on a booklet titled ‘Kansas City Black History: The African American Story of History and Culture in our Community,’ which acknowledges, memorializes and documents the impact of exceptional leaders, artists, businesspeople and athletes from Kansas City’s Black communities. The Bill French Alumni Service Award As a member of the UMKC Board of Trustees and Trustees’ Scholars Committee, Suzanne Shank (J.D., MPA ’82) demonstrates an unwavering dedication to the university’s advancement.  She has also actively participated in numerous nonprofit associations, showcasing her commitment to philanthropy and community development. Her leadership roles in local organizations such as the KC Ballet, the UMKC Friends of the Conservatory, the Symphony League and the Lyric Opera, have contributed significantly to the cultural and artistic fabric of Kansas City. Defying the Odds Award Henry W. Wash (B.A., MPA) is the founder of High Aspirations, a proactive mentoring program for Black males ages 8 to 18 that emphasizes social, emotional, academic and spiritual growth. Over the last decade, this nonprofit has impacted thousands of young Black men’s lives. It is a nurturing program for Black males that increases social capacity and leads to a better quality of life for all. Wash faced adversity early in his life. Abandoned by his mother at 3 months, he grew up in the foster-care system. He credits the mentorship he received from two prominent Kansas Citians, Henry W. Bloch and Thurman N. Mitchell, in helping him overcome his circumstances. Wash proceeded to get his undergraduate and MPA degrees from UMKC. Legacy Award The Tedrow/Selders/Hogerty Family's legacy at UMKC dates back generations. Joseph Herbert Tedrow graduated from the Kansas City School of Law in 1922. His granddaughter, Martha Hogerty, earned her B.A. from UMKC in 1975 and her J.D. in 1979. She then served as Missouri Public Counsel for 12 years, where she advocated for Missouri residents and small businesses and represented Missourians in utility regulation cases. Her daughter, Mary Needham, earned her B.A. from UMKC in 1988. Needham works at the UMKC Foundation as the director of development for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. School Alumni Achievement Awardees Conservatory: Dina Thomas (MFA ’11) Actor School of Dentistry: Laila Hishaw (D.D.S. ’00) Founding Partner, Tucson Smiles Pediatric Dentistry School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences: Donna Bushur (B.A. ’86, MSW ’06) Health Forward Foundation, Impact Strategist Henry W. Bloch School of Management: Julia Terenjuk (MBA ’00) Founder and CEO, Creative Capsule School of Humanities and Social Sciences: Daniel Silva (B.A. ’00) President and CEO, Kansas City, Kansas Chamber of Commerce School of Law: Allison Murdock (J.D. ’88) Managing Partner, Stinson LLP School of Medicine: Michael Monaco (B.A. ’84, M.D. ’87) Internal Medicine Physician, Empower Preventive Care PA School of Nursing and Health Studies: Lori Erickson (BSN ’06, MSN ’09, Ph.D. ’20) Director, Remote Health Solutions, Children’s Mercy School of Pharmacy: Crystal Riggs (Pharm.D. ’03) Senior Vice President, Pharmacy Services, Curative School of Science and Engineering: Amy Manning-Bog (Ph.D. ’99) Chief Innovation Officer, MRI Global If you were unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, you can make a contribution online on the UMKC Alumni Association website. The Alumni Awards ceremony is one of the university's largest events to support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards event has garnered more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for UMKC students. Nov 09, 2023

  • The Rise of Jhy Coulter’s Devoured Pizza

    UMKC alum's senior project kicked off the pop-up pizzeria concept
    When Jhy Coutler (B.A. '17) turned in her design senior project in 2017, there was no way of knowing the concept would be brought to life just four years later. What initially started as slinging pizzas in her backyard has turned into a pop-up pizzeria that can be spotted at various Kansas City businesses, including the recent Roos Mobb event at MADE MOBB. We talked to Coutler about Devoured’s journey, from winning a Hulu cooking show competition to her future brick-and-mortar concept that plans to open in 2024. What did you study at UMKC and how has that helped you with creating Devoured Pizza? I studied studio art with an emphasis in graphic design . For our senior project, we were asked to create our own magazine. I decided to create a foodie magazine concept and named it Devoured. Once I graduated, I decided to start an Instagram account with the concept, Devoured Magazine, to bring the concept to life. I cooked different foods and shared it on the account to highlight what I was making. In 2019, I won a pizza oven and that helped me to decide to dive into the pop-up the business with Devoured Pizza. It also helped that I had the experience, as I used to work at a local pizzeria in town during my time at UMKC. It is funny how my senior project helped kickstart the whole concept of Devoured. It was like a blessing in disguise. My experiences at UMKC also helped me feel confident enough to continue my journey in design. Right now, I still do all the marketing and design for Devoured. You were recently on Hulu’s “Best in Dough” pizza making competition show (Episode 5: “Pop Goes the Pizza”). What was that experience like? It was incredible. Honestly, I am still in shock that it happened and that I actually won both rounds. It was my first time being on TV like that, so it was slightly nerve wracking. I grew up watching Food Network and Chopped as a kid, but the experience made me realize how intense it was. For the first round, we only had 20 minutes to make a pizza! But, I had so much fun, and I would love to be on another show. It was just a thrilling experience overall. A brick-and-mortar called Orange By: Devoured is in the works. Tell us more about it. I like to think of Devoured as a concept umbrella and Orange By: Devoured as a micro-concept under it. It will be a small shop that feels like a community hub. I chose Orange as it’s a vibrant and positive color and I want people to feel that way when they visit. I also like that it is not a typical pizza shop name, as we plan to serve tapas and other small plates. Orange By: Devoured is important to me because I want to be able to create smaller concepts and play around with Devoured as a whole. I’m excited for people to come in and try new things. Orange By: Devoured will be located at Martini Corner with an expected opening of Spring 2024. Nov 07, 2023

  • Next Stop: Career Success, Thanks to KC Streetcar

    UMKC location paved the way for students to make a professional difference in the community.
    Iain Blair (B.S.Ci.E. '23) got to give back to the city he calls home by applying science to the real world to make a positive difference. “I chose to study at UMKC because I live in Kansas City and Kansas City's my home,” Blair said. Blair chose to focus on two distinct fields, majoring in civil engineering and minoring in environmental sustainability. The pairing provided him the opportunity to learn the interesting crossroads of designing systems to account for the climate crisis. “Engineers are the ones that create the systems that our society is built on," he said. "By adding environmental sustainability, it adds this extra nuance of how we design our systems intelligently to accommodate for a growing population.” Blair is now a transportation planner at HDR, which he describes as a dual role where he’s part engineer and part transportation and community planner. “Going to school in a university inside of the city, there's just so much more opportunity and employment available than a college town,” Blair said. Bill Yord, who is an adjunct professor at the School of Science and Engineering and a senior project manager at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, said that as the utility manager for the KC Streetcar south line extension, he was able to loop UMKC students into being part of the project. “The students provided a voice for UMKC with the streetcar extension,” Yord said. The ability for students to be involved in a significant city project such as the streetcar extension had its benefits, especially when it comes to preparing students for real-world experiences. “Engineering is a team sport," Yord said. "It’s designing the project but it’s also who you are designing the project for and the larger community and so the students got a real-world experience of what engineering really is.”  There’s also benefits to studying engineering specifically in Kansas City.“We have a lot of engineering power in Kansas City, and students have the benefit for that community for jobs, guidance and opportunities,” Yord said. As a result of these experiences, students are able to learn important skills crucial to their careers outside the classroom. “With our senior design project, we worked with KCATA, and the great thing about it was that we got to work with our client and interact with them directly, which provided a lot of really great real-world experience as opposed to just theoretical classroom experience,” Blair said.  “I really am proud to be a Roo," Blair said. "I'm proud to graduate from Kansas City and I'm really proud to know that I'm making a difference in the city that I live in and love so much.” Nov 07, 2023

  • Full Circle Moment: UMKC Student, Mentor Win Same Research Award 34 Years Apart

    Undergraduate research funding provided opportunity to conduct archival research on Mayan archeological site
    Earth and environmental science student Aleigha Dollens recently won the 2023 Richard Hay Award from the Geoarchaeology Division of the Geological Society of America (GSA) for her research on evidence of earthquakes at the Mayan archaeological site of Quirigua in Guatemala. The award supports travel to the GSA annual meeting and recognizes meritorious student research. This was especially good news to Dollens’ mentor, Tina Niemi, Ph.D., as the Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor was the first recipient of this award 34 years ago. Niemi has taught geology at UMKC since 1995 and has personally mentored more than 60 undergraduate research projects with student funding from SEARCH, SUROP and NSF-funded research experience grants.  “For my MS research, I reconstructed the paleoenvironmental history of a submerged classical archaeological site along the central coast of Greece,” Niemi said. “It was the presentation of that research at the annual meeting of the GSA in 1989 that won me the first-granted Richard Hay award. I am very proud of Aleigha and her achievements and thrilled that she has followed in my footsteps with this well-deserved award. The dedication of UMKC and its leaders to support undergraduate research is phenomenal.” Dollens and Niemi visited the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University this past summer to search museum archives for excavation documents and artifacts that can help constrain the date of the earthquake that occurred during the final occupation of the Quirigua site. “Winning the Richard Hay Award from the Geoarchaeology Division of the Geological Society of America is an honor like no other, especially since Dr. Tina Niemi was the first-ever recipient,” Dollens said. “She is one of my greatest supporters and pushes me to be a better geoscientist and a better person. It is an honor to get to work with such a strong woman in the geosciences field and I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for her ongoing support.” The research was funded by the UMKC Undergraduate Research Program through SUROP and SEARCH awards and by the Earth and Environmental Science Newcomb Research Grant. Nov 01, 2023

  • A Rare Look Inside UMKC Epperson House

    The historic building is said to have a haunted past
    For decades, UMKC faculty, students, staff, even police officers, have shared history and folklore of the mysterious Epperson House. In November 2023, the university issued a request for proposal for a potential public-private partnership to restore and repurpose the home. While its haunted past is a topic for debate, one thing is for sure, it’s a storied tribute to Kansas City’s history, but few have had a look inside its walls. Below are details of the home’s origin and owners, campus legend and a rare look inside one of the most captivating buildings on campus.   Built in 1920, Epperson House was the home of Kansas City insurance tycoon Uriah Epperson and his wife, Mary. The 54-room mansion cost $500,000 and was a blend of a castle and Tudor-style home.  The Eppersons were patrons of music and the arts. Among the charities they supported was the Kansas City Conservatory, now-known as the UMKC Conservatory. Their grand home included a Great Hall, where they would host friends and included a stage, where they would arrange for performances. Above the Great Hall, sits a custom organ loft. Though childless, the Eppersons befriended Harriet Barse, an organ instructor from the Conservatory whom they regarded as their adopted daughter. Barse even moved into Epperson home. She commissioned the organ and intended to entertain guests, but she fell ill and died before the organ was installed. While she never played the organ during her lifetime, it is the topic of strange encounters reported in the home, with reports of organ music coming from the basement. Following the death of Uriah and Mary Epperson, the home was donated to the university. Its first use was as a dormitory for Navy air cadets during WWII. The cadets reported seeing a ghostly woman in a white gown walking the halls of the home. Throughout the decades following the war, the home was used as a residence hall and in the 70s, a practice space for the UMKC Conservatory. It was during this time that stories of strange phenomena inside Epperson House increased. Students reported hearing footsteps in empty parts of the home. And the light at the top of the home’s tower would turn on by itself even though the tower had been sealed off decades before. A custodian had a close call when a chandelier came loose in the living room, narrowly missing the staffer. And a police officer reported being at Epperson House when his patrol car was hit. He got out to find skid marks, but not another car in sight. These days, there is no access to Epperson House and the building is in need of repair. However, the university is hopeful about potential for Epperson House’s reuse.  Oct 31, 2023

  • Alumna Connects Past, Present and Future at Historic Kansas City Cemetery

    Tina Lasater discovered UMKC history at Forest Hill Calvary Cemetery
    While starting work at Forest Hill Calvary Cemetery one morning a few years ago, Tina Lasater (B.L.A. ’03) made a discovery. Behind a desk, she spied a thick sheaf of parchment papers stuffed into a leather binder. Her find turned out to be a collection of designs and plans created by the cemetery’s architect more than 125 years earlier. “I was so intrigued,” said Lasater, a client counselor at the cemetery. “When I showed it to my manager, she took me to an area where even more documents were stored.” Since finding this treasure, Lasater has delved into the cemetery history and the UMKC stories associated with it. Just three miles from the Volker Campus, Forest Hill Calvary Cemetery at 69th Street and Troost Avenue, shares more than a geographical proximity with the university. Many founders and benefactors who established the university and forged its future have their final resting place at the cemetery, established in 1888. Its 160 acres of rolling hills include unique monuments, grave markers and tributes to those buried and interred there. In addition to being a resting place for those who contributed so much to UMKC and beyond, the cemetery is also a tribute to the present. More than a hundred species of trees from around the world line its winding roads and beautify its graceful landscape. George Kessler, who served as the landscape architect when the cemetery was created, is recognized for designing the city’s renowned boulevards and parks. Sid Hare, who served as the first superintendent of the cemetery, oversaw the original plantings. Hare challenged the idea of how burial grounds should look and saw the potential for them to be not just a resting place for those who have passed, but a botanical garden for the living. “When I first saw Forest Hill about 15 years ago, I thought it was so beautiful," Lasater said. "As a UMKC graduate, I love the history of our school and alumni here." Following are some of those who have made extraordinary contributions to the past, present and future of UMKC. L.P. Cookingham From 1940-1959, Cookingham was city manager of Kansas City, Missouri. In 1979, UMKC conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters and later named the L.P. Cookingham Institute of Urban Affairs at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management after him. Oliver Hayes “O. H.” Dean A lawyer and judge, Dean was also a founder of the Kansas City School of Law in 1895. He served as the school’s vice president from 1895-1902 and president for the next 25 years. He added the post-graduate program and oversaw construction of the law school in 1926, to which he donated his personal law library. Tatiana Dokoudovska A world-renowned ballerina, Dokoudovska joined the Conservatory of Music in 1954 as head of the ballet department, a position she held until her retirement in 1989. She initiated UMKC’s bachelor’s degree in dance at a time when few such programs were available in the United States. A choreographer and artistic director, she founded the Kansas City Civic Ballet, which later became the Kansas City Ballet. An outgrowth of the Conservatory of Music’s recital program, she developed the Ballet from its humble beginnings to a nationally recognized company. Uriah Spray “U.S.” Epperson Banker, industrialist and philanthropist, Epperson hired eccentric French architect Horace LaPierre to design a monumental mansion at 52nd and Cherry streets for himself and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Weaver Epperson. Construction on the house began in 1919 and was completed in 1923 at a cost of nearly $500,000. The four-story Tudor-Gothic structure contained 54 rooms, including six bathrooms, elevators, a swimming pool, billiard room, barbershop and a custom organ. After the death of Mary Epperson, the home was donated to what is now UMKC. Since that time, the house has been rumored to be haunted by Harriet Barse, an organ instructor at the Conservatory who lived with the Eppersons. Reports of the haunting include the appearance of Barse’s ghost and organ music coming from the mansion’s basement. Lena Haag Born in 1864, Haag left home in 1879 to attend the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies in Pennsylvania. An exceptional pianist, her interest in art and music developed at the school. After graduation, she returned to Kansas City and continued her studies in art. In 1936, she made an anonymous donation of $225,000 to the university. This donation, kept anonymous until her death in 1951, provided funding for the construction of Haag Hall, endowment and student loan funds and the fine arts program. Herbert F. and Linda Hall  Herbert and Linda Hall lived in a 1913 mansion at 51st and Cherry streets. Upon her death in 1938, Linda Hall established an endowment for a free, specialized library. Her husband left additional millions of dollars for the library, which he instructed be named for his wife. In 1946, the Linda Hall Library opened in the couple’s mansion. In 1964, the library relocated to a new structure next to the Hall’s home. Independently funded and operated, Linda Hall Library provides resources to researchers around the world. Charles Francis Horner In response to area demand for musical education, Horner founded the Horner Institute of Fine Arts in 1914, which he headed until 1934, eight years after it became the Kansas City Conservatory of Music. Ernest Newcomb Founder of the University of Kansas City, Newcomb wrote the school's charter, hired faculty, outlined the courses and opened the university. While establishing the school, Newcomb collaborated with businessman and philanthropist, William Volker, who donated the land for the campus. Newcomb left the school in 1938 but was publicly acknowledged as the father of the university in 1977. Elmer F. Pierson Founder of Vendo, a vending machine manufacturer, Pierson donated $250,000 for Pierson Auditorium and established the John B. Gage Lecture and Fellowship Fund. Kenneth Aldred and Helen E. Foresman Spencer Kenneth Spencer was a third-generation coal mine owner and one of the original founders of MRIGlobal. Generous philanthropists, he and his wife, Helen Spencer, provided the financial gift for the Spencer Theatre, the original home of the Missouri Repertory Theatre. Edward F. Swinney A Kansas City School Board member and president of the American Bankers Association and the First National Bank of Kansas City, Swinney established the Edward F. Swinney Trust, and the Swinney Recreation Center bears his name. William Volker Businessman and philanthropist, Volker’s generosity left an enduring impact across UMKC and the Kansas City community. He donated 40 acres and a house to launch the University of Kansas City (now UMKC) and contributed more than $2.5 million for its campus and structures. The Volker Campus is named after him. Known as “Mr. Anonymous of Bell Street,” Volker also quietly provided assistance for those in need across the city, along with millions of dollars in gifts to philanthropic organizations and projects. Hazel Browne Williams The first African American full-time professor at UMKC, Williams became an associate professor at the School of Education in 1958 and was a full professor in secondary education in 1960. She retired in 1976, after serving on the faculty for 18 years, and was granted emeritus status — the first Back person to receive this honor from UMKC. Oct 31, 2023

  • UMKC School of Medicine Receives National Award for Community Engagement

    Association of American Medical Colleges recognizes service to Kansas City area
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine has received the prestigious Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement from the Association of American Medical Colleges. The award highlights the university’s longstanding commitment to supporting the Kansas City area and its underserved populations. According to the AAMC, UMKC has displayed unwavering dedication to reaching community members through nontraditional avenues of health care with low- and no-cost clinics, community events, education opportunities and more. The School of Medicine is the only recipient of this award in 2023, further cementing its reputation of inclusion and community success. To School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., this award is a checkpoint, rather than a finish line. “We are honored to receive this award, not only for the recognition of our hardworking students, staff and faculty, but for the visibility this brings to schools of medicine, like ours, that seek to better the community,” Jackson said. “Being a medical professional and working with wonderful collaborators at the School of Medicine and our affiliates is choosing every day to deliver the highest level of care to all people, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Connecting with the community through our many outreach efforts is teaching our students that optimizing care for all can occur in real time, and I can’t wait to see what more we can accomplish together.” More than 60 key community partnerships help make university outreach successful. Strong bonds among UMKC and businesses, faith groups, neighborhood organizations, youth groups and local leaders have all played a key role in identifying areas of need and how UMKC can best serve. One of the champions of community engagement, Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., director of the UMKC Health Equity Institute, has been spearheading these efforts throughout her career at the university. “We’ve received this honor because of our stellar community partners, staff and students who are committed to improving the health of Kansas Citians,” Berkley-Patton said. “We are being recognized on a national level because of their desire to make the world a better place, and I am honored to have a part in this community engagement journey. Thank you to everyone involved who has made this work possible.” Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. has played a key role in Our Healthy Jackson County’s success. “This award is a special opportunity for our community to recognize all the hard work that UMKC and their community partners, staff and students do to bring health care to Jackson County," White said. "Seeing the community become healthier together is proof that the Our Healthy Jackson County program needs and deserves the county’s investment now and in the future. With the support of UMKC, we are truly making a difference in our residents’ lives and it’s rewarding to know that our work is being recognized on a national level for others to follow." In an online award presentation Oct. 25, the AAMC noted that the impact of the university is “Evident in its outcomes,” citing the success of Our Health Jackcon County and the university’s partnership with KC Faith Community Action Board. Jackson and Berkley-Patton will accept the award Nov. 5 at an AAMC conference in Seattle. AAMC presenters said: “Community engagement at UMKC has a profound impact on learners, helping them to become more compassionate practitioners. When sharing his experience with the Community Health Research Group and the Health Equity Institute, led by Dr. Jannette Berkley-Patton, fourth-year medical student Alex Geyer notes, ‘engaging with the community face-to-face, outside of the clinical setting, will help me be a physician worthy of my patients’ trust and serve as a role model for future budding physicians.” Oct 30, 2023

  • Passion for Art History Led William Ritter, M.D., (M.A. ’18), to Become an Award-Winning Teacher

    UMKC faculty member and alumnus helps medical students connect art and medicine
    William Ritter, M.D., (M.A. ’18), looks at a painting or a sculpture of the human body by Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci and sees more than a famous work of art. He sees a history of medicine. Every year, he shares his insights with students at the UMKC School of Medicine, describing the intersection of art and medicine and how one has spurred the other throughout the centuries. “There’s a lot of commonality between art and medicine,” Ritter said. “Just go to Michelangelo and Leonardo -- they were the first anatomists. You go back and look at a lot of their paintings, it’s all anatomy. They were the first ones to dissect the human body, so the Renaissance is really the birth of anatomy, the birth of everything: art, the liberal arts. Art history is really the crux of early medical studies, medical thinking, dissections, and it keeps going on and on.”  This Fall, Ritter, who also holds a master’s degree in art history from UMKC, begins his sixth year in the School of Medicine’s Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics as course director of an elective in medicine and the visual arts. He also teaches the class in the Spring, and serves as a docent for first- and second-year medical students. “We try to make it interesting,” Ritter said. “We give them a little medicine and how it ties to art history. I give them a lot of art history, actually, because I like doing it, and it’s a nice variation. It’s a way to do both art and medicine and get away from just medicine.” School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., said Ritter’s work is an ideal example of what Marjorie and Bill Sirridge, two of the school’s founding docents, envisioned when they endowed the office in 1992 to expand humanities course offerings for both premedical students and students in UMKC’s six-year B.A./M.D. program. “I am so grateful for Dr. Bill Ritter, whose work at our School of Medicine embodies the vision of the Drs. Sirridge,” Jackson said. “Early clinical experience in medicine is foundational to our school, and as a Year 1 and 2 docent, Dr. Ritter teaches our students the fundamentals of medicine, but also allows them to experience the human side of medicine through the arts.” Ritter realized his interest in art and art history while he was in school. But studying to become a doctor took precedence, and college electives in art history gave way to courses leading to a degree in chemistry, followed by medical school. Ritter graduated from Philadelphia’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University in 1971. He trained in internal medicine at Emory University, followed by a cardiology fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern. “There wasn’t much art when I was in medical school for sure,” Ritter said. But his passion for art never waned, even after he became entrenched in a career as a cardiologist. One night before dinner with friends, a member of the group, who also happened to be a guide at Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, took everyone on a tour of the museum. Ritter was immediately intrigued. “My eyes really lit up,” he said. “I said, ‘I’d like to show off Monet, stand there with a Monet and tell everybody about it and what I know about it.’ I thought that was really cool. So I ended up joining the Nelson as a museum guide (in 2008).” For nearly 10 years, Ritter walked the hallways of the Nelson-Atkins and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art on weekends and evenings as a guide and docent, sharing his love and knowledge of the fine arts with the museums’ visitors. Several years ago, Ritter and his practice partner sold their cardiology practice after 30 years. With some free time, he decided to dive deeper into his art interest. Ritter went to the UMKC Fine Arts building, where he met art history professor Burton Dunbar, who would become a close friend and mentor. Over the next 2 1/2 years, Ritter studied art history, earning his master’s degree in 2018. He began at the School of Medicine five years ago developing the arts and medicine course and serving as a docent, a role that allows him to introduce medical students to their earliest patient encounters. “I’d never done much teaching before — a little bit clinically — but nothing formal,” Ritter said. “It turned out, I think maybe it was my calling. Maybe I should have been doing this sooner.” His passion for teaching, just like his love for art history, blossomed, and two years ago medical students honored Ritter with the Outstanding Years 1 and 2 Docent Award, given annually by students to one instructor for his or her pursuit of teaching excellence in medicine. “I think I have a natural interest in teaching students,” Ritter said. “That’s what helps in getting along with students and being successful. You’ve got to be one of them.” Oct 23, 2023

  • Greater Kansas City and Missouri Named Tech Hubs

    UMKC played significant role in U.S. Economic Development Administration designation
    The U.S. Economic Development Administration has named the KC region and Missouri “Tech Hubs” as part of a historic investment to strengthen the U.S. economy and national security - and the University of Missouri-Kansas City played a significant role in this recognition. UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, along with national and other local leaders, spoke at an announcement event Monday at the Greater Kansas City of Commerce boardroom at Union Station. "The new Tech Hubs designation provides great scope for innovation in Kansas City – and I can envision all the groundbreaking advancements to come as our UMKC students, faculty and staff work in collaboration with the many fantastic organizations in the greater Kansas City area," Agrawal said. "We at UMKC could not be more excited." Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center, speaks with UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and Anthony Caruso, associate vice chancellor for research at UMKC. The regional proposal, Kansas City Inclusive Biologics and Biomanufacturing Tech Hub (KC BioHub), led by BioNexus KC, of which the university is a member, UMKC and more than 60 partner organizations, will ramp up life-saving vaccine production and other preventative technologies to leverage regional assets and the existing ecosystem to become a global leader in biomanufacturing and life sciences. KC BioHub can now apply for phase 2 funding of up to $75 million. "The Tech Hubs designation is not just a title; it's a reflection of the dedication and hard work of the entire Kansas City community," said Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center. "It highlights our shared commitment to innovation and our ability to harness our collective potential. The UMKC Innovation Center is excited to play a pivotal role in this journey, and we can't wait to witness the advancements that will emerge from this exciting collaboration."  Agrawal said the Tech Hubs designation and the opportunity that comes with it, is a natural next step for the community, and one UMKC has been preparing for. Last year, UMKC received a $12.97 million grant from the Kauffman Foundation to increase entrepreneurship programming and technology commercialization. This grant expanded existing programs and allowed for the creation of new ones, with the goal of reducing barriers to entrepreneurship and technology innovation and commercialization. And just last week, UMKC unveiled the next steps in its planned expansion of the UMKC Health Sciences District with the Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building, a physical space designed to fuel innovation. That $120 million building will house key assets for research, technology and engineering. One of these assets is the Data Science Analytics and Innovation Center, which is focused on creating new advances in data sciences to transform the way we personalize healthcare and contribute to new discoveries. UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal speaks about the Kansas City region - from Manhattan, Kansas to Columbia, Missouri - being designated a Tech Hub at an announcement event. Across Missouri, UMKC also contributed to another Tech Hub. The Critical Minerals and Materials for Advanced Energy Tech Hub, led by the University of Missouri System, aims to position south-central Missouri as a global leader in critical minerals processing to provide the materials needed to support battery technology. This Tech Hub will build on the region’s mineral-rich geography, expertise in hydrometallurgical refining and existing assets to increase processing capacity to convert minerals into materials necessary for advanced energy and critical goods, including lithium-ion and primary-lead-acid batteries. In doing so, the Tech Hub seeks to meet the demand of U.S. advanced energy manufacturers and reduce dependence on foreign critical minerals while creating thousands of good-paying jobs. "The region possesses the natural resources, transportation infrastructure, workforce, workforce training, expertise and incumbent corporations necessary to build a thriving critical materials circular economy; the same is true of the foundational elements for biologics manufacturing," said Anthony Caruso, associate vice chancellor for research at UMKC. "In both cases, the impact is directed to the taxpayer and U.S. national and economic security." Tech Hubs was passed with the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 and has authorized $10 billion for the program over five years. The goal of the federal program is to give an economic push to communities like the KC region. It is expected to drive new technologies to provide the U.S. with a competitive edge against other countries, driving economic growth and training for tech workers. The KC region and Missouri were two of the 31 Tech Hubs chosen from more than 370 applications. Oct 23, 2023

  • Five Bits of Wisdom from Author Mónica Guzmán

    Roos Read selection writer visited campus to speak with UMKC community
    Mónica Guzmán, author of this semester’s Roos Read selection, "I Never Thought Of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times,” visited the UMKC Volker campus for an author talk this month. Guzmán’s book offers insights and tools to connect with people whose views differ, a little or widely, from yours. Guzmán’s book aims to shed light on blind spots and bring people back together. “Mónica is a journalist and storyteller who isn’t afraid to ask hard questions or to answer them,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Her life experiences, both personal and professional, drove her to explore why our communities feel so divided. What she found is that one of our most powerful tools in breaking down barriers is our own curiosity. When we ask questions and lean on our natural curiosity, we can understand each other and even learn from each other.” During the author talk, Guzmán answered questions from moderator Jessica Gantt-Shafer, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication at the UMKC School of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as questions from the attendees. Here are five bits of wisdom she shared over the course of the talk.   “I was someone who wanted to get it right all the time. I was careful and cautious, but I also found people fascinating. At my internship right out of school, I was so scared to pick up the phone. My shyness went up against my need to know these people, and it lost.”   “Belonging is the most important call there is. Being understood and giving people understanding creates community.”   “Feel like you aren’t connecting? One thing you can try is a pivot: ‘I see it differently. Can I tell you how I see it?’ People will hear more when they are heard.”   “Need to challenge your thoughts? Try to figure out who you’re talking about but never with. If your views feel condensed and simple, look for the complexity.”   “How do you disagree with someone who thinks you shouldn’t exist? ‘Am I allowed to exist in a world you think is good?’ That gives them a lot of power. Who are they to say who exists? Maybe the most powerful way to argue against people who think you shouldn’t exist is to keep on existing. Existence is power.” This is the inaugural year for Roos Read. The campuswide initiative was launched by the Office of the Chancellor and facilitated by the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. Its goal is to encourage UMKC students, staff, faculty and community members to read a recommended title that showcases a distinctive voice, perspective or theme and engage in discussions intended to generate action toward change. Oct 23, 2023

  • Supporting a Healthy Community

    Our Healthy Jackson County is bringing health care to the people
    The Gregg/Klice Community Center in Kansas City was buzzing on a recent Saturday afternoon with a DJ, free food, balloon animals and a bounce house, thanks to community initiative Our Healthy Jackson County. Amid the family fun, residents also received cancer screenings, vaccinations and a variety of other free health services. Led by Jannette Berkley-Patton, M.A., Ph.D., director of the UMKC Health Equity Institute, the community initiative is dedicated to promoting equity and access to vaccinations and other health and community services. Formerly Our Healthy Kansas City Eastside, the program has expanded its services and community footprint to all of Jackson County, thanks in part to Jackson County, which awarded $5 million in funding for the next phase of the program. According to Berkley-Patton, it’s a great example of collaboration among UMKC, Jackson County, neighborhood leaders and the business sector. “First and foremost, it speaks to County Executive Frank White and the rest of the Jackson County Legislature recognizing that there are significant health disparities in Jackson County that need to be addressed,” Berkley-Patton said. “We have underserved populations that have told us how valuable these services are to them.” White attended the event Saturday and noted that the initiative has become a valuable resource for the community. “Dr. Berkley-Patton and the groups she works with have done a great job getting people to come out and take ownership of their health,” he said. “This is a legacy for us all that we can be proud of. When you see how many people have turned out here today, it tells you how many people lack access to health care.” The kickoff event for the expanded initiative offered a variety of free health services, including COVID-19, flu and HPV vaccinations; blood pressure and blood sugar checks; mental health, STI, cancer and dental screenings; and smoking cessation resources. Those taking advantage of these services received cash incentives for participating. One community member who showed up for his COVID-19 and flu shots Saturday was Kansas City civic leader and former City Council member, Alvin Brooks. “I’m 91 and I want to stay healthy,” Brooks said. “God has been good to me, and this is me trying to be good to myself. I’m glad to see so many people from the African American community here. I know so many of them. This is certainly a success. There was a line out the door.” Indeed, the success of the first phase has been clear. Our Healthy Kansas City Eastside provided 12,942 vaccinations and delivered 4,152 instances of health services in 2021 and 2022. At the most recent Our Healthy Jackson County event, nearly 170 community members attended and 141 received vaccines. But the proof of success also has been evident in the feedback Berkley-Patton received directly from community members. “I remember talking to one woman who was a new grandmother,” Berkley-Patton said. “She was so excited to get her COVID-19 vaccination because she knew that not only was she protecting herself, but also protecting her grandchild that she was so eager to see.” Kansas City home health-care worker Latonya Drew echoed that sentiment Saturday as she received her vaccine. She had her clients’ health and well-being in mind as she got her shot. She said she appreciated that the initiative is brought to the neighborhoods where people live. “This is good for people who don’t have transportation to get here,” Drew said. “Coming here, you get a lot of information, and you get to know your community.” UMKC health sciences students and faculty play an integral role keeping these essential services free for Jackson County residents. Students and faculty from the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies and Pharmacy were on hand providing screenings, vaccinations and answering health questions. “How often can you just walk up to a doctor and ask a question, no waiting for an appointment?” Berkley-Patton asked. “It can make a world of difference having this level of access to health-care providers in a setting that folks frequent and trust.” According to Berkley-Patton, the experience is pivotal for UMKC health sciences students, providing them with a better understanding of the importance of preventive care. Through providing screenings and health-care education, students see how a small intervention in someone’s life can have lasting effects for overall health. The event also provides students an opportunity to work in the community, where they hear first-hand the effects of social determinants of health, such as transportation issues, food insecurity or lack of insurance. Student Micah Anderson (Pharm.D. ’24) first encountered the program by chance at her local grocery store. She was shopping and happened across one the organization’s original events. She has lived all her life in Jackson County, and seeing people from UMKC giving back to her community was transformative. “It was really impactful,” Anderson said. “Seeing my classmates and faculty at UMKC helping the people I see at the grocery store and the pharmacy.” As soon as the opportunity to volunteer with the organization came up, Anderson jumped at the chance to help her community. “These are the people who have motivated me, encouraged me in my pursuit of pharmacy,” Anderson said. “This opportunity is really important to me, using the skills and clinical knowledge that I’ve developed at UMKC to give back to the people that have poured so much into me.” On Saturday, Anderson conducted blood sugar and blood pressure screenings for three straight hours. “We’ve been really busy,” she said. “We haven’t stopped the entire time.” Third-year pharmacy student Jessica Thomas spent the event giving vaccinations. “It makes me feel like pharmacists really have a role in our community,” Thomas said. “We are having an impact on the health of the community, and I love that.” The health-care providers involved with Our Healthy Jackson County are also helping to address the rising rates of diabetes in Kansas City as well as the area’s high infant mortality rates, an issue Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has identified statewide. Berkley-Patton is excited to launch the organization’s new maternal health program, which supports women of reproductive age with family planning counseling and an immediate appointment with an OB/GYN in the University Health Women’s Care Clinics. The organization uses a unique approach in building the structure of Our Healthy Jackson County, pairing community stakeholders with UMKC experts who are established in these communities. “I have been doing community-engaged research at UMKC now for almost two decades,” Berkley-Patton said. “I am born and raised in Kansas City, so to be able to do this work in my own backyard gives me goosebumps. Seeing thousands of people get the COVID-19 vaccination and much-needed health screenings, seeing the hundreds of volunteers coming together, that’s the stuff that gets me excited and increases my passion for the work we are all doing.” Oct 18, 2023

  • Requests for Proposals for Brookside Boulevard Development Paused

    A feasibility study will be conducted on land near the future streetcar terminus
    UMKC has paused the request for proposals (RFP) process to develop a five-acre parcel of land next to the south terminus of the Kansas City Streetcar at 51st Street and Brookside Boulevard. University leaders said the proposals came in higher than expected based on the specifications in the RFP and higher than anticipated project costs. Sean Reeder, vice chancellor of Finance and Administration, said the university isn’t tabling the project. It is simply hitting pause to revise the parameters for the proposed development that would bring a small arena to campus along with retail and other possible uses. The university envisions the project as creating a destination spot for the campus and surrounding community. UMKC will be conducting a feasibility study in the next few months to determine the right combination of size and programming for the proposed arena and will re-evaluate the opportunity for private development and non-university uses of the available land given current and anticipated market conditions.   Based on current specifications, an analysis of the proposals showed that the proposed private development included in the plans wouldn’t generate enough revenue to cover project costs, Reeder said. The current RFP will remain open while UMKC completes this analysis. Upon completion of the analysis, the university will re-engage the RFP process with the responding firms this coming spring. “We still believe the project can be feasible with revised parameters,” Reeder said. Oct 18, 2023

  • UMKC Law School Provides Bar Preparation Program to All J.D. Students

    Commercial program and in-person bar preparation course are now included in tuition and fees
    Beginning with December 2023 graduates, every juris doctorate student from the UMKC School of Law will receive access to Helix Bar Review, a premier online bar-prep program, as part of their tuition and fees. The in-person bar preparation course, currently taught by Wanda Temm, a nationally recognized expert on bar passage, is now also free for these graduates. UMKC School of Law is one of few in the country to provide both a commercial bar preparation program and a supplemental in-person course at no cost to students beyond tuition and fees. “This is a game-changer for our students,” UMKC School of Law Dean Lou Mulligan said. “Law school is probably the most challenging intellectual exercise they’ll engage in, and the bar exam is the top of that mountain. This initiative ensures that every student has access to these important resources and the best chance to be successful.” Reputable commercial bar preparation programs cost an average of $4,000, a high expense to ask students to pay before many of them have full-time jobs and one that cannot be paid for with a student loan. This leaves many students to make the difficult choice to take out a commercial loan to pay for a program or try to pass the bar exam without using a program to prepare. “The reality of bar prep is that some people have to make an economic-driven decision,” said Alexis Denny, a UMKC law student graduating in December. “So they choose the cheapest or free option, don’t enroll in the in-person class and try to go it alone. With this initiative, no student has to choose between paying for bills or a bar prep program.” Some large law firms pay for bar prep expenses, but students with ambitions in areas of law that don’t pay for bar prep, and likely don’t start at high salaries, are now able to pursue those ambitions with less concern regarding expense. UMKC School of Law prides itself on its ties and service to the Kansas City community, and this is one more way it provides value to that community, as well as its students. “This initiative is deeply in line with our mission,” Mulligan said. “First-generation and other students with fewer economic means now have access to that resource to succeed. We’re helping to create lawyers who seek a career outside of the private sector such as in public defense, district attorney offices and public service work.” “I think this is a really great way to help equalize the bar prep experience,” Denny said. “It’s so helpful for everyone, but especially for those who will be in the public or nonprofit sector where there is no support for bar prep costs.” Faculty and staff at the Law School anticipate that this initiative will increase passage rates for first-time bar takers and inspire confidence from employers that UMKC graduates are prepared to begin work. “Our students will have all of the resources they need,” Mulligan said. “We support our students from their first day at law school all the way through the bar exam. We’ve got them covered.” Oct 18, 2023

  • Revealing the Future of the UMKC Health Sciences District

    Renderings unveiled for $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City at a Tuesday event revealed the design of its largest capital investment to date: the $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building. UMKC expects to break ground next year on this new building, with key funding from the state of Missouri and visionary Kansas City donors coming together to support this cornerstone project that will launch a new era for the UMKC Health Sciences District and health-care access. The six-story 200,000-square-foot building will be constructed on what is now a parking lot at 25th and Charlotte streets. The project will enable the university to provide state-of-the-art education for the next generation of health-care providers, find newer and better ways to serve patients in need, strengthen collaborations with surrounding neighborhoods and facilitate greater interdisciplinary partnerships to fuel innovation and research. UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal speaks at the rendering reveal event. Photos by Brandon Parigo, UMKC “The new Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building will be one of a kind,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “We know of only one other combined medical and dental education building in the nation, and none other that will include what ours will with a unique combination of collaborative programs focused on elevating health care.” UMKC will house key assets in the building for the following programs: UMKC School of Dentistry. UMKC is a regional leader in dental education with the only public dental school in the states of Missouri and Kansas. The new building will provide leading-edge pre-doctoral dental clinics, enhancing our ability to graduate top-notch dentists. The new space also means students can serve more patients in need through advanced equipment, greater efficiency, expanded hours for acute dental care and the ability to implement teledentistry. Currently, the School of Dentistry provides $750,000 annually in uncompensated dental care for the community. The new facility will house UMKC’s acute dental care programs – such as oral surgery, endodontics and emergency procedures – plus program space for radiology, lab work and a high-tech dental design lab to produce crowns, bridges and implants. UMKC School of Medicine. UMKC has the highest-ranked public medical school in Missouri for primary care. The new facility will allow the School of Medicine to provide cutting-edge simulation labs, including dedicated space to practice essential medical procedures; a full-scale operating room and patient exam rooms to practice patient communication and care. The collaborative learning spaces for students encourage a culture of communication and better prepare them to work with colleagues in their professional lives. UMKC Health Equity Institute. The institute brings together researchers, government and community organizations to improves the lives of the underserved and bridge health-care gaps. The institute combines its research strengths with community groups’ grassroots involvement to identify, quantify and reduce those gaps. In the new building, researchers will collaborate to tackle health disparities and provide access to health care with initiatives including Our Healthy Jackson County that brings free vaccines, health screenings and other resources into neighborhoods and places of worship. The institute’s new space will include a kitchen lab to teach healthy meal preparation. UMKC biomedical engineering. In the new building, doctors, dentists and engineers will work side by side, creating faster, more effective collaboration between science, engineering and the medical world. Product development will accelerate in areas such as medical implants, imaging technology and surgery tools, and UMKC can expand access to the in-demand biomedical engineering degree program with potential global impact. On average, a single engineering position creates 1.5 staff jobs and brings 2.5 households to the Kansas City area, positively impacting Kansas City’s economy. Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center. In partnership with MU and other University of Missouri System universities, UMKC leads a center focused on creating new advances in data sciences and analytics. The new space in the building will provide the center opportunities to focus the power of data science on transforming the way we personalize health care. The data center within the new facility will provide high-performance computing for industry, government and nonprofit organizations within our region to solve data-intensive computing problems. University Health. Our clinical partner will occupy two floors of the new building for office space. The project is close to being fully funded: Included in the last two budgets from Governor Mike Parson and passed by the Missouri General Assembly, the state of Missouri has committed $60 million, The Sunderland Foundation has pledged $30 million, The Hall Family Foundation will contribute $15 million and $10 million will come from federal funding secured by former U.S. Senator Roy Blunt. Groundbreaking will occur in 2024 with project completion expected in 2026. Oct 17, 2023

  • ‘I Knew I Needed To Be Here.’ This UMKC Program Was a Big Draw For Transfer Student

    The Institute for Urban Education trains educators who are diverse and inclusive
    At UMKC students write their own stories, form their own definitions of success and chart innovative career paths. With Kansas City as their classroom, they turn dreams into reality every day. Isaia WilcoxenAnticipated graduation: 2024UMKC degree program: B.A. Elementary EducationHometown: Kansas City, Kansas  Isaia Wilcoxen thought he wanted to be a doctor, but his high school teacher’s high expectations and interest in his personal well-being made him change his path. “My choir director in high school sparked my desire to stay in school,” Wilcoxen said. “She took the time to know who I was and invest in my life. By attending extracurricular activities I participated in and getting to know my family, she truly made an effort to understand who I was as a person. Because of her, I decided for myself that I wanted to do the same for other students.” Wilcoxen’s mother is also a teacher, and she inspired his choice as well. “Growing up, she pushed me and my siblings to work hard and never quit, especially in our academics,” he said. “In addition to being a great mom, she was also a great teacher to me. Her warm demeaner and high expectations pushed me to keep trying and keep learning.” The influence of both women inspired Wilcoxen to aspire to spark that same focus in other students. He started college at a small school in a rural area that lacked diversity, and had few students who shared his experiences. “I noticed there was no discussion of race and equity,” Wilcoxen said. “Because of this, I quickly realized how necessary diversity is in education.” Then he learned about the Institute for Urban Education (IUE) at UMKC and decided to transfer. “The IUE’s mission is to create inclusive and responsive teachers. I knew that I needed to be here,” he said. “I understood what it’s like to not have teachers who look or think like me. In addition, IUE focuses on preparing teachers for urban schools, which is where I want to teach.” Being on campus at UMKC reaffirmed his decision. “The IUE’s mission is to create inclusive and responsive teachers. I knew that I needed to be here.” - Isaia Wilcoxen ”My first day on campus, I felt welcomed and accepted to be myself,” Wilcoxen said. “UMKC offers so many clubs, organizations and services for students of color, LGBTQIA students, religious students and so much more. Coming from a small, private school, I was amazed at how inclusive UMKC is. I immediately wanted to get involved and meet new people.” Currently, Wilcoxen is participating in a paid apprenticeship program teaching at the Academy for Integrated Arts (AFIA.) “IUE has a lot more practicum opportunities for education students,” he said. “The first semester of our senior year, we're required to go three days to practicum, where other education students usually do one. And we also have more opportunities in the community through volunteering. I've gotten to work at AFIA with their after-school program, which is a paid practicum. It has been a great experience.” He says people ask him why he chose to focus on urban education. “The main reason is because urban schools have statistically been underserved and have fewer resources than suburban school districts, or even rural school districts,” Wilcoxen said. “So, there's a lack of teachers, specifically in urban schools because a lot of teachers migrate toward the suburbs, because of better funding and resources. That’s what makes me want to teach in urban schools.” Oct 17, 2023

  • UMKC and MADE MOBB Celebrate Roos Mobb

    The collaboration includes exclusive Roo-inspired streetwear and UMKC alumni-owned businesses at a pop-up event
    The Kansas City community was invited to celebrate the inaugural Roos Mobb collaboration between UMKC and MADE MOBB on October 13 at MADE MOBB’s space in the Crossroads Arts District. The capsule collection included hats, shirts and sweatshirts with exclusive UMKC designs. Vu Radley, one of the founders of MADE MOBB, is a UMKC alum. He was joined by over a dozen alumni-owned businesses at the event. Similar to First Fridays events at their space, there were also performances by various UMKC alumni. Roos Mobb collection pieces are available for purchase in-store at MADE MOBB’s location until October 31. Oct 16, 2023

  • Hallmark Executive Don Hall Jr. Headlines Pride Breakfast

    Hall received the inaugural Stephen Metzler Pride Champion Award at the annual event
    The annual Pride Breakfast at UMKC is a fundraiser, but it’s also a place to celebrate community and allyship. That’s never been more clear than at this year’s breakfast where the inaugural C. Stephen Metzler Pride Champion Award was given to Hallmark’s Don Hall Jr. Metzler, a UMKC alumnus, was a noted philanthropist, HIV/AIDS activist, patron of the arts and business leader in the Kansas City community. He was involved in numerous Kansas City non-profits and organizations, including the Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City and AIDS Walk of Kansas City. A believer in the power of community and connections to create change, Metzler often said he was “saving the world one cocktail party at a time.” Don Hall Jr., executive chairman of the board of directors and former CEO at Hallmark, was awarded the Metzler Pride Champion Award for his support of the LGBTQIA+ community. During his tenure as CEO, Hall made Hallmark the founding corporate partner of the Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. He was the first CEO to walk in the AIDS Walk of Kansas City and was instrumental in bringing diverse voices to the table across the civic landscape. Leading a company that serves to foster and celebrate relationships made Hall even more conscious of the need to celebrate people from all walks of life. “This awareness underscores for me how much harder we have to work for all people to feel valued,” Hall said. “All people need to love and be loved, laugh, celebrate, reach out to others.” Hall credits Metzler with inspiring him from a young age. He knew Metzler as the older brother of a classmate when he was a child and said that Metzler was kind and affirming even back then. “I drew inspiration from Steve my whole life,” Hall said. “He was enthusiastic and determined to build understanding. I can’t think of a better example at creating inclusiveness, building humanity and encouraging empathy.” Since 2008, the Pride Breakfast has raised more than $600,000 to support LGBTQIA+ students at UMKC and serves as a way for the university to show support for, and commitment to, LGBTQIA+ students on campus. Funds from the UMKC Pride Breakfast are critical to support programs and scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students — including the Pride Empowerment Fund, which provides emergency assistance to students who experience financial difficulty due to the loss of family support. “This event serves as a meaningful reminder that you have champions,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal to students. “UMKC and our community see you, we care about you and we support you as you develop as students and valued individuals.” Oct 10, 2023

  • This Student-Success Program UMKC Invented 50 Years Ago is a Global Game Changer

    Supplemental Instruction helps universities around the world
    University of Missouri-Kansas City junior Grace Miller remembers taking Computer Science 101 last year and feeling apprehensive. She’d never coded before. But then Miller was introduced to Supplemental Instruction, called SI for short, a student-led learning approach UMKC invented 50 years ago. Not to be confused with peer tutoring that’s typically one on one and by assignment, SI is built upon collaborative learning. Research shows that students who study in groups retain 2.5 times more than students who study on their own. “SI focuses on reinforcement of knowledge,” says Miller, who is majoring in media, art and design. “SI also fosters connection with other students and takes away the loneliness from studying.” SI proved successful for Miller because not only was she advised she should be an SI leader, she received a 97% in the course. Indeed, a major bragging point of SI is that participating in sessions will boost your grade a half letter to a whole letter. Read more Inside Higher Ed: UMKC Has Offered Supplemental Instruction for Five DecadesThe Kansas City Star: This Learning Method Boosts Social Skills - and It Started at UMKC UMKC junior Grace Miller is an SI leader and participant.   History and global reach The International Center for Supplemental Instruction is based at UMKC and offers SI resources, training and accreditation to universities throughout the U.S. and around the world. “I believe that SI has made such an impact in higher education because of the community the collaborative learning environment creates,” says Jessica Pearson, executive director of the International Center for Supplemental Instruction and director of UMKC Academic Support and Mentoring. “Students do not just learn course content and study skills, but they also develop friendships and lasting connections with their classmates and campus.” In 1973 at UMKC, then-doctoral student, Deanna Martin, created SI out of a critical university need to retain students, keep academic standards high and help students reach their goal of graduating. Martin piloted the first SI program in a human anatomy class at the UMKC School of Dentistry. SI had elements that were attractive to faculty and students. With a budget increase, SI was placed in additional courses. Other universities started their own SI programs and by 1981, the U.S. Department of Education named SI an Exemplary Education Practice. UMKC has trained faculty and staff from more than 1,500 institutions, including other universities in Missouri and Kansas, from 34 countries around the world. “I take great pride in the fact that SI originated at UMKC and has now made a significant global impact,” says Kristi Holsinger, Ph.D., senior vice provost for student success at UMKC. “While data clearly demonstrates the positive effects of SI participation on students’ performance in specific courses, its far-reaching influence on nurturing enduring skills, such as effective learning strategies, critical thinking abilities and enhanced study habits, is truly immeasurable.“ Key components and results Programs around the world share fundamentals. SI: Targets historically difficult courses, those that have a high percentage of D, F and withdraw Does not identify struggling students; all students in each course are highly encouraged to attend SI sessions. Is voluntary, and students can choose when they want to attend. Employees are trained extensively, and the program supervises SI leaders throughout the semester. Among the accredited universities is Georgia College and State University, which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary of SI and nearly a third of the university’s students use it. In the spring of 2023, 50% of Georgia College students attended SI sessions for classes that are difficult to pass. Of the students who attended SI sessions, only 11% dropped, withdrew or failed the class compared to 27% of those who did not participate in SI.  Purdue University uses SI and says this about the approach: “SI is a low-stakes environment (you won’t be graded!), so don’t be embarrassed to make a mistake or be confused. The leader will use several tools to give you the opportunity to think more critically about course content and develop a deeper understanding of how different concepts connect to one another. This could include small group discussions, games and other hands-on activities to make content practice more fun. Although the leader might not directly answer a question you ask, they will help you to find the answer yourself, which in the long run will be more beneficial to your learning.” SI now at UMKC UMKC sophomore Shekhar Gugnani is an SI leader and participant. Sophomore Shekhar Gugnani, who is pursuing the six-year B.A./M.D. from the UMKC School of Medicine, says SI is his favorite part of the day at UMKC, both as an SI participant and leader. “It makes learning fun,” he says. “It provides limitless creative freedom to reinforce the content.” Gugnani credits SI for his success in the historically challenging Anatomy 219 course his freshman year. This semester, he’s both an SI leader for Anatomy 219 and an SI participant in Medical Biochemistry BMS 9265. During each SI study session – typically an hour twice a week – SI leaders like Gugnani and Miller provide strategies for notetaking, organization and test preparation. They lead discussions and activities over lecture material to review and prepare students for higher levels of success in the class. To prepare for sessions, SI leaders attend all class meetings, take notes, read and understand assigned materials and communicate with the respective professor and SI supervisor. SI is designed to be collaborative, involving all members of the session in hands-on, participatory learning. For example, Miller plans to lead an SI discussion in Computer Science 101 about CSV (comma-separated values) files with large datasets of Netflix programming and students will learn how to organize them by cross referring them with their favorite actors. Gugnani led a recent Anatomy 219 SI session by having teams draw bones in a race. “Students are excited, and they engage with SI,” Gugnani says. “Because of the non-remedial approach, there’s no stigma to it. It’s good for all students.” So why is SI still strong 50 years later? “SI has not stopped working all these years later because the challenges it was designed to address remain the same,” Pearson says. “Many students entering colleges and universities do not understand how to learn effectively in a college setting. We need a space for students to learn how to learn. SI offered that 50 years ago and it still offers it today.” Oct 10, 2023

  • Business Students’ Careers Take Off at Kansas City International Airport

    UMKC professor’s KC connection provides once-in-a-career opportunity to students
    Msgana Zegeye recalls the moment she was asked to assemble the dream team. “Validating, that's the word,” she recalled, describing when Bloch Consulting Lab adviser Marvin Carolina asked her to form a team in her image to work with Vantage Airport Group, the concession developer and manager for the new $1.5 billion Kansas City International Airport terminal. “I think Marvin really saw my passion for leading, managing and operations,” said Zegeye. She got to work and landed on a four-person team to help advise the company. At first they worked on staffing solutions for the new terminal, but they were so successful, the general manager, Lovell Holloway, kept the team on board and expanded their scope of work. Zegeye had never worked with any of the peers she selected, but she’d seen them in action in the mock consulting activities in the Consulting Lab. From that, she was able to recognize each of their strengths and envision how those strengths could be deployed to help Vantage Airport Group. “Nicolas, I felt like would be really good at marketing. He's very innovative.” “With Erik, he is super analytical, and finance is his avenue.” “Henry really likes like logistics. He likes making sure we do everything by the book and in order.” The team got to work, helping vendors at the airport navigate all their business licenses, airport-specific safety regulations and hiring and retainment strategies for their employees. As time went on, Holloway entrusted more responsibilities to the team, including conducting an economic impact study and developing an internship program for Vantage Airport Group to further its work with students. Despite the group’s youth, Holloway said he never doubted their capabilities.  “I'm very fortunate and humbled to be working with these students in the Bloch school," Holloway said. "They've been very great to work with, they've been willing to learn, they have educated us. They add value and have great energy. They're easy human beings to work with, and I'm fortunate as a leader to be able to be entrusted with their careers and their vision of where they want to go in life in the future.”“It was a really cool experience because we got to see how we're helping them firsthand, and that they were actually going to take our advice and learn from it,” Hartung said.  Everyone on the team agrees, the guidance, support and trust from Vantage Airport Group and Holloway, and being allowed to take risks and make mistakes on a real-world project taught them invaluable lessons. “The experience itself is something I would never have thought I would have been able to get at any university because this type of project doesn't really happen all that often,” said Klaas. “UMKC has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity,” Hartung agreed. “I think that's all Kansas City’s about, all the opportunity that it holds for students.” Oct 03, 2023

  • Hallmark’s Don Hall Jr. to Receive Award at 2023 Pride Breakfast

    Hall has supported the LGBTQIA+ community throughout his tenure as a Hallmark leader, including his time as president and CEO
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will honor Don Hall Jr., executive chairman of the board of directors at Hallmark, with the inaugural C. Stephen Metzler Pride Champion Award at the annual UMKC Pride Breakfast. This award recognizes an individual (LGBTQIA+ or ally) who embodies Steve Metzler’s legacy of making Kansas City a better place for the LGBTQIA+ community through volunteerism, philanthropy and leading by example. Don Hall, Jr. Hall was president and CEO of Hallmark, serving in that role from 2002 to 2019 when he became executive chairman. During his tenure as CEO, he made Hallmark the first founding corporate partner of the Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (now Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce) in Kansas City. He was instrumental in bringing diverse voices to the table across the civic landscape to champion support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Hallmark’s commitment to inclusion is part of its long-standing beliefs and values; it has consistently ranked as a top company to work for as acknowledged by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index – the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQIA+ workplace equality. “We’re thrilled to present Don Hall Jr. with the inaugural C. Stephen Metzler Pride Champion Award,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Don is truly an example of what it means to be inclusive, and his efforts have made Kansas City a better place for our students and all of us to live. We are proud to honor his legacy here.” The 2023 Pride Breakfast is 7:30 to 9 a.m. Oct. 10 in Swinney Center. Tickets can be purchased at umkc.edu/pride. Since 2008, the UMKC Pride Breakfast has raised more than $600,000 to support LGBTQIA+ students at UMKC and shows our university’s support of, and commitment to, LGBTQIA+ students on campus. Funds from the UMKC Pride Breakfast are critical to support programs and scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students — including the Pride Empowerment Fund, which provides emergency assistance to students who experience financial difficulty due to the loss of family support. Sep 25, 2023

  • How MADE MOBB’s Vu Radley Changed KC’s Streetwear Scene

    UMKC alum releases exclusive UMKC merch only available at inaugural Roos Mobb event
    Did you know that a group of kangaroos is called a mob? Well, UMKC alum Vu Radley (B.A.’12) had no idea when he started MADE MOBB with his friends 10 years ago. The streetwear brand is known for its collaborations with various Kansas City businesses, including the Chiefs (now a UMKC partner), KC Current and Café Ca Phé. Like kismet, the brand is now collaborating with UMKC for its very first Roos Mobb event. The vendor market event, featuring various alumni-owned businesses, took place on Fri., Oct. 13 at MADE MOBB’s space in the Crossroads Arts District. Now that Vu has come full-circle with UMKC merch and an exciting event partnership, we sat down with him to reflect on how he and MADE MOBB grew to where they are now. How did MADE MOBB start? MADE MOBB started in 2012, although we did not drop our first capsule collection until 2013. It was right after I finished my degree in Studio Art at UMKC. I was working at a corporate job when I met two guys (Mark Launiu and Jesse Phouangphet), and we all came up with the idea to start a business. The financial background and events experience from the two, combined with my experience of printing DIY shirts in high school, formed the foundation of MADE MOBB. We started working weekly on it as a passion project to simply celebrate our love for streetwear and design. It was what we did after we clocked in our 40 hours at the jobs we were in at the time. But now, it’s what we live off of as a full-time business. Did the streetwear initially start off as KC-based? Our x KC x design created in 2013 was one of our first KC products, and is now one of our signature designs. But, it wasn’t until 2015 after the Royals win when wholesalers began to pick up our products and focused specifically on our KC designs. That was also when the KC local-wear scene started to kick off, and we started incorporating more Kansas City elements into our pieces. How did your experience at UMKC impact the success of MADE MOBB? Although I grew up with the arts, I never really thought about the digital side of it, which was why I took classes like introduction to graphic design and typography at UMKC. These classes changed my view on graphic design and made me realize it was a space I could get into and build a career. UMKC was also where I was able to sharpen my design chops and learn important skills, such as how to put a design together that goes to print. The classes I took, from drawing classes to art history classes, made me realize that I might have found my career path. There is a lot of KC influence in your collaborations. Could you talk more about that and where you see it going in the future? MADE MOBB has always been about collaboration. There is a lot of talent in Kansas City, and it is fulfilling to be able to support the community and elevate Kansas City businesses, especially small businesses, whether that is with a capsule collaboration or having them pop up in our space. I want to continue doing this and also focus on collaborating with not just businesses, but also local Kansas City creatives. With the community, we want to continue hosting events. First Fridays was one of the first events we held, even back at our Grand Street location. It’s our favorite time of the month. We have food trucks outside and 15-20 local vendors that pop up in our shop and sell their own stuff. We have local artists performing their own sets too. We want all our people in our space to show us what they are working on, while also sharing what we are working on.  What were you most excited about with the Roos Mobb event? Graduating from UMKC and then being able to do a collaboration with them 10 years later is just a full-circle moment. A lot of things have happened in my career that have made sense, and this is definitely one of them. So, I was excited to see this event come to life. Also, having businesses that I did not know were UMKC-alum owned popping up at the event was exciting.There is a lot of talent from UMKC alumni who are still in the city, and it’s something not a lot of people are aware of unless an event like this happens. As part of 2024 KC Design Week, Vu and some of the UMKC staff invovled with Roos Mobb had a chance to speak on a panel to discuss how the collaboration came to life. Sep 19, 2023

  • Nursing and Engineering Programs Place Among Top 100 in Nation

    U.S. News and World Report releases annual undergraduate program rankings
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City had two undergraduate programs rank among the Top 100 programs in the country, according to the U.S. News and World Report 2024 Best Colleges rankings. The undergraduate nursing program from the School of Nursing and Health Studies and the undergraduate engineering program from the School of Science and Engineering each placed at No. 86 on the list in their respective categories. In total, more than 650 nursing programs and more than 270 engineering programs that offer only bachelor’s and master’s degrees were considered in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. The School of Nursing and Health Studies is proud of their ranking, said Joy Roberts, dean of the school. "The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies is proud that our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program has been recognized in the Top 100 undergraduate nursing programs in the U.S,” Roberts said. “Our hardworking, well-prepared BSN graduates are quickly hired by health-care institutions in the Kansas City metro as well as across the country. Our faculty, staff and administration are proud to support our students and we applaud their success!" School of Science and Engineering dean Kevin Truman is glad for the recognition of the university’s four engineering programs – biomedical, civil, mechanic, and electrical and computer. "We are thrilled to have received this ranking and continue to elevate and expand our offerings," said Truman. "With our biomedical engineering program that just started this fall and the $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building that is currently planned for the UMKC Health Sciences Campus, we are constantly thinking of new ways to enhance the learning experience at UMKC." Two more programs were recognized by the U.S. News and World Report as well. The undergraduate business degree from the Bloch School of Management was ranked No. 159 out of 520 programs. The School of Science and Engineering had their computer science and information technology program ranked No. 192 out of 550 programs. Sep 18, 2023

  • Nursing Students Learn about Blood Transfusions by Using Escape Rooms and Zombies

    Simulation lab trains future nurses to provide care under pressure
    For Christine Zimmerman, R.N., Ph.D., everything is a teachable moment for her nursing students, even escaping zombies. As director of clinical simulation at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, she designs and implements patient scenarios for the school’s simulation lab. In the latest scenario, Zimmerman combined an escape room experience with a zombie apocalypse. Students solve puzzles and follow clues while competing for the best time to get the medical equipment they need to provide a blood transfusion to their “patient.” To complete the training and escape the room, the students need to complete each task of the procedure, which prevents their patient from becoming a zombie.Over the years, Zimmerman and her team have created a wide variety of simulations for students, from helping a woman give birth to treating gunshot wounds. The simulations are designed to provide students the opportunity to practice their clinical skills and decision-making abilities in a managed environment that reduces some of the pressures involved in a traditional clinical setting. In the simulation lab, students can focus on the training at hand without the worry of keeping a patient alive or navigating interpersonal dynamics of coworkers.The lab, on the fourth floor of the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, mimics the layout of a hospital, with six patient rooms, a nurses’ station and a medication storage area. The school has nine manikins — models used for medical training that act as patients during the simulations. Zimmerman and her team operate the manikins from a nearby control room in the lab, speaking as the patient through a microphone during the simulation. They take their acting seriously, using different voices and incorporating sound effects.According to School of Nursing and Health Studies Dean Joy Roberts, simulation is a critical experience for nursing students as they progress through the program. “Typically, our undergraduate nursing students are given hands-on experience in hospitals and community health settings,” Roberts said. As an added layer to their training, the simulation lab “ensures that all of our students get experience with certain health issues, while ensuring the patient interaction is as close to real life as possible,” she added.Zimmerman keeps up with the latest advances in nursing simulation education. She said research shows that a competitive gaming environment helps students learn by adding fun while lowering stress. A few years ago, she noticed a growing trend using escape rooms in simulation labs, and decided to try it. Setting it up was a daunting process, she said. She spent almost two years getting it right, and launched it the spring semester of 2023.“We learned that getting the clues together was the hardest part,” Zimmerman said. “You have to think about how each clue builds to the next one, and how the students are going to progress through the steps to solve it.” As in all simulations, students in the escape room exercise are into divided into groups of four. The groups then compete for the shortest time in finishing the required steps. Competition means the groups need team names picked by the students. “Public Enema” and “N’Syncope” are just two of the many clever team name selections.For nursing student Joyce Young, who is in the final year of the program, the escape room required more teamwork than previous simulations in which she had participated. A former police officer, she was happy to bring her investigative abilities to the team.“With the escape room, I had to really rely on my other team members, and we worked really well together,” Young said. “Everyone brought their own personality and skill sets, because one person’s strength was another person’s weakness.”According to Zimmerman, she focused on blood transfusions because the procedure can be necessary in emergency situations, but also during routine care for a slow bleed or low hemoglobin. The steps never change, and they must be administered in a very specific order. If a student team competing for the best time during the exercise misses a step, a minute is added to their overall time. Zimmerman said students don’t often get experience with blood transfusions during clinical rotations. “With this simulation, they tell us they feel more confident with the procedure, and have at least received hands-on experience that makes them feel more prepared to address the issue when it comes up during their nursing career,” she said.When Zimmerman and her team started testing the zombie escape room simulation, they were surprised that they needed to create many rules about what the students can and can’t touch.“The students went absolutely insane,” Zimmerman said. “They were going through the sharps (needle disposal) container, digging in the trash and climbing up on sinks to lift up ceiling tiles.”Since the students are competing for the best time, Zimmerman wanted to limit distractions. She’s added a list of what’s in play for the escape room and what’s off limits. Although it helped to keep the students on task, mishaps still occur occasionally. For the blood transfusion, students are required to transfer fake blood from an IV bag through tubing connected to the patient. Clamps on the tubing help control the flow of blood. “One group who was running out of time, started opening all the clamps to speed things up,” Zimmerman said. “Blood was running everywhere in the room; it was absolute chaos.” After each simulation session, Zimmerman sits down with the students to debrief, evaluating what went right and what could be improved. For the escape room, she uses the time to focus in on the lessons in each clue and puzzle. In a recent debrief, she praised the group on how quickly they picked up that certain letters were underlined on the back of the IV bag. “I like to talk about their focus on the small details, because there are so many things in health care that you have to be attuned to,” Zimmerman said. “Your patient can say something that seems tiny, but could be part of the bigger picture.” The escape room simulation challenges the students to put a puzzle together to see the big picture. When it comes together, it’s one of Zimmerman’s favorite moments. “I love listening to them when they solve a clue and scream in the room,” Zimmerman said. "It absolutely makes me happy if they have a good time and are engaged.” Sep 15, 2023

  • Statistics Professor and Medical Student Undergraduate Research Project Published in National Journal

    Undergraduate Research Success Inspires Additional Projects
    UMKC offers a unique undergraduate experience for students looking to get involved in research projects across all academic units. Through several different programs and grants, Roos can take part in meaningful research that can not only improve their resumes, but give them skills and tools they can use in the future. Medical student Vagmi Kantheti received a Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity (SUROP) grant in 2022 where she worked with Billie Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor of applied statistics, Majid Bani-Yaghoub, chair of the mathematics and statistics department and Scott Curtis from the UMKC library to develop a corpus of full-text journal articles related to the Spanish flu of 1918. “It has been a real pleasure to work with and introduce our undergraduate students to a research project,” Anderson said. “Many undergraduate students are not aware of all the details and hard work that goes into a research project. By working with undergraduate students, it allows them to obtain exposure to another part of university life that they may not always be exposed to. This exposure to undergraduate research could spark interest in a student to attend graduate school. Students get to experience meeting deadlines, following specific instructions, and creating a final product, all of which will assist them in their professional careers. “ The project, which is divided into two parts, went on to be presented at regional and national conferences. The first part, which focused on developing the methodology for using the statistical language R, was presented at the Mathematical American Association Missouri Section meeting in April 2022. This work was also published in the Journal of Information Science. “I am so happy for Dr. Anderson who has been working very hard at this project and many others and believe she very much deserves to be published and recognized for her work,” Vagmi said. “I am very happy with the outcomes of my work and am so grateful that she decided to let me be a part of this work. ”The second part of the project entailed applying a textmining algorithm to determine any connection or “lessons learned” from the Spanish flu that could be applied to the COVID-19 pandemic using a text mining model. That research was presented at the Joint Statistical Meetings of the American Statistical Association in Washington, D.C. in August 2022. “Dr. Anderson was truly an amazing mentor and she helped me be not as fearful of doing further research in fields that I have better knowledge in, like biological research,” Vagmi said. “It was clear that the people I worked with were very capable and were more than willing to help me grow as a part of the research team. Dr. Anderson even let me make and present the work that I did in a math and statistics conference that was held on UMKC campus.” SUROP recipients present their findings every year at the Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship. It gives each student, like Vagmi, the opportunity to share their projects among their peers and colleagues. The success of the project through SUROP inspired Billie Anderson to put together a group of undergraduate Bloch students and lead a summer project to put together another corpus focusing on reject inference. “Before this summer, the idea of undergraduate research was very intimidating to me. And, with no prior experience, my only hope was to learn more about research and what it looks like at UMKC,” Hunter Meisner, a student who worked on the research, said. “Not only did I achieve that, but I achieved it with help from the people here at UMKC.” Anderson received $8,000 in funding for the project to be split up amongst four students, $2,000 each, as part of a Strategic Investment in Applied Statistics grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarships. The corpus of over 100 documents will be used to then develop a literature review of the loan outcome status for rejected applicants, in turn developing a credit score model without bias of only accepted applicants. The consolidation of the information and documents will allow for a text mining model to be used to uncover potential areas where more research on rejected applications is required. The opportunity to conduct undergraduate research provides students with valuable experience where they can learn and develop research skills than can help them in the future. “While I am not a finance major, this experience was incredibly valuable because it was my first time conducting undergraduate research,” Meisner said. “But, more than a learning experience, it was an opportunity to show myself and others that I can contribute to the world of academia.” “If you don’t take opportunities that are in front of you, you may miss out on future opportunities,” Cody Harman, who participated in the research, said.   Sep 15, 2023

  • It’s a Zoo Out There for Dental Hygiene Students

    UMKC School of Dentistry offers clinical experience at the Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium
    Macila Arnold knew it was an unusual day for her as a UMKC dental hygiene student. First off, the day started at the Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium. “We came in to work on some swamp monkeys,” Arnold said.   “We got to watch the doctors do their annual visits, do the physical with swamp monkeys and then we got to scale and clean their teeth, and polish them up, just like we would with our human patients.” Arnold is taking advantage of an opportunity with the UMKC School of Dentistry. Through a partnership with the Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium, the dental hygiene program offers students the Zoo Practicum. Each spring semester, senior dental hygiene students like Arnold, who was joined by her classmate Sidney Dennis, spend time cleaning the teeth of all kinds of zoo animals. “The experience has been very unique. I know it’s something that I’m never going to forget,” Dennis said. The collaborative partnership between the School of Dentistry and the Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium started in 1994. Dr. Wm Kirk Suedmeyer, the Zoo’s director of animal health and conservation research, sees great value in the expertise the students provide. “It really helps, and they do a good job providing good dental hygiene for our animals,” Suedmeyer said. The UMKC School of Dentistry provides students with a wide variety of clinical experiences across the Kansas City metropolitan area and beyond. “We have different rotations here at the School of Dentistry: We go out to local elementary schools to give fluoride and sealants and do all kinds of screenings with them,” Dennis said. “There’s a lot of real-world opportunities at the School of Dentistry.” Originally from Springfield, Missouri, Dennis appreciates how much of Kansas City she’s seen through her rotations. “Being able to get involved in the community through hygiene has been just so much fun,” she said. “I’ve loved my experience here in Kansas City.” All that time in the community helped Arnold find her niche of public health within the dental field. "Kansas City has definitely been our classroom by giving us the opportunity to go outside the School of Dentistry and just our patients. We get to go out and do the rotations where we get to go out and work with a diverse population." — Macila Arnold (B.S.D.H. '23) “I feel like having that exposure and getting to work in the Kansas City area has helped me find my own passion within dental hygiene.”   Sep 12, 2023

  • UMKC Divine Nine Garden Deepens Community Connections

    Placement in the heart of campus reflects an environment of invigorating multiculturalism, globalism and inclusion
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City celebrated the new Divine Nine gardens in the heart of campus with a ceremonial unveiling. Hundreds of people from across the Kansas City region representing the Divine Nine Black Greek organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council gathered in the Quad, proudly dressed in the colors –  crimson, emerald, gold, royal blue, black and beyond – that represent their fraternity or sorority. A tribute to the contributions and presence of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities, the garden is also a gathering place for students and alumni to reflect on and celebrate the achievements of their respective organizations. For more than a century, the Divine Nine have championed progress, tackling challenges from civil rights to racial justice and leadership cultivation. Those who are members of this council know their membership goes far beyond college years, offering lifelong chances for networking and leadership. “I am humbled to be here today to share in and witness the unveiling of the UMKC Divine Nine Garden monuments,” said Michele Smith, Ph.D., vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students. “The UMKC Divine Nine Garden celebrates the work of our hands and the legacy of kinship, allyship, interdependence and impact the Divine Nine inspires across our campus and within our communities.” Groups stood next to the tall granite monument emblazoned with the Greek letters of their organization. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Increased visibility of the Divine Nine organizations was one initiative developed with Chancellor Mauli Agrawal’s work with student leaders in the African American Cultivating Excellence Program to generate positive change on campus. Contributions by the Sunderland Foundation, the UMKC NPHC students, the Chancellor and Provost offices, Hollis and Miller Architects, among others, supported the conception and creation of the garden.  “Establishing this garden on the Quad – the very core of our campus – is symbolic of our recognition of these important fraternities and sororities, their significant national contributions, across the Kansas City area and here at UMKC,” Agrawal said. “We are proud to commemorate the opening of the Divine Nine Garden, with recognition for each organization.”  Calvin Flemons, Alpha Phi Alpha Delta Rho chapter president, addressed the crowd and recognized the support of the UMKC community in the garden’s creation.   “I speak for us all when I say, with so much gratitude and joy in our hearts, that being a part of this history at UMKC will be unforgettable,” Flemons said. “So let it be known that today and for years to come, NPHC will continue to make an impact on this campus and in our community.” Keichanda Dees-Burnett, assistant dean of students and director of Multicultural Student Affairs, expressed her pride in being a Divine Nine member and a UMKC alumna.   “When I reflect on my experiences as a UMKC Black Greek alum and staff member, I am proud to have been able to contribute and witness how far our university has come,” Dees-Burnett said. “The campus has grown and there are now so many more people and spaces where Black students can find their sense of belonging. Starting today, the Divine Nine Garden will serve as an additional space and a symbol to current and future African American students at UMKC that they belong here.” Following the dedication, participants visited the Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center lobby to view, “Legacy in Bloom,” a Divine Nine exhibit designed to coincide with the opening of the garden,  which showcases each of the nine Greek organizations’ history and their connection to UMKC. The exhibit will run throughout this academic year ending in May. It is on display in the lobby of Miller Nichols, as well as on the fourth floor in the Dean’s Gallery. Sep 11, 2023

  • Welcoming the 2023 UMKC Trustees’ Scholars

    Prestigious program for outstanding scholars launches college careers
    The newest class of UMKC Trustees’ Scholars took their first steps toward outstanding college careers and bright futures at their welcome reception. The seven recipients were part of a pool of 200 applicants, and many will become campus leaders. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program provides a fully funded educational and experiential program for a select group of first-time students at UMKC. The scholarship is a collaboration between the university and the UMKC Trustees. The program gives students access to UMKC Trustees’ knowledge, experience and mentorship as well as specialized guidance from key UMKC staff. UMKC Trustees Chair Debby Ballard welcomed the scholars at a reception August 18. “The Trustees’ Scholars program is very close to my heart,” Ballard said. “I have mentored two scholars in the past, and I am currently a mentor to a scholar who is a dance major at the Conservatory. Meeting with my scholars was always inspiring. I learned a lot from their perspectives, and their optimism and enthusiasm are uplifting.” Suzanne Shank, chair of the Trustees’ Scholars Committee, serves as a mentor. “The scholars program is the signature program of the Trustees,” Shank said. “The students we are celebrating today were handpicked from almost 200 applicants who  represented the best of the best in our region. We know they will be extraordinary representatives of the Trustees, the program and the university.” UMKC Provost Jennifer Lundgren welcomed the incoming scholars. “You are now part of the Roo family,” Lundgren said. “Being a Trustees’ Scholar is an incredible and unique opportunity that few students are awarded. The connections you’ll make and the rigorous course work you will undertake, will help prepare you to shine in the careers you’ll pursue when you graduate.” Lundgren assured the scholars’ parents that they were in the right place. “Thank you for getting them here,” she said. “We have developed a culture of care that will help them build resilience and responsibility. I assure you, that if they need someone, I’m here.” Each student had the opportunity to share their story of what brought them to UMKC and their aspirations. Laila Atkins Atkins is from Grandview and is studying political science. Driven and focused, she feels fortunate to have the opportunity to be a Trustees’ Scholar at UMKC and getting to know the other scholars. While she’s a little nervous, she’s excited to challenge herself.  Her Trustee mentor is Donald Maxwell, an attorney with his own private practice. Maisy Blanton Blanton is from Benton, Kansas and is studying communication and digital media, with a minor in race and gender studies. In high school, Blanton wrote an essay about being queer for Young Queer America and received pushback from the school board. She chose UMKC because of the loving and supportive atmosphere. She is preparing for a career in public relations and journalism. Her Trustee mentor is Steve Doyal, a retired executive with Hallmark Cards. Andrew Custis Custis is from St. Louis and is studying earth and environmental science. When he toured campus, he met faculty who had worked in Africa at Lake Chad and another who had studied volcanology and geology. “I valued the effect I could have on the world. That’s why I chose UMKC.” His Trustee mentor is Kyle Vena, vice president of new campus development with the American Royal Association. Atlas Mallams Mallams is from Liberty and is studying computer science with a minor in sociology. “When I visited UMKC I had a feeling of community. I felt safe and welcome. I could see the school welcomed diversity and different economic backgrounds. Also, there’s a Cheesecake Factory down the street!” Their Trustee mentor is Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, executive director and chief operating officer at the DeBruce Foundation. Yasmina Mokhtar Mokhtar is from Joplin and is studying sociology and Spanish. She has a small hand-embroidery business and plans to go to law school. Her family is Muslim and from Egypt, and the diversity at UMKC was appealing. “I wanted to meet other people of color,” she said. Her Trustee mentor is Heather Humphrey, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Evergy. Alexis Reed Reed is from Kansas City and attended school in the Center district. She is pursuing a degree in biology, with an interest in pathology; she is minoring in Spanish. She chose UMKC because she wanted to be close to her home and family. “And I love the diversity,” she said. “I like to learn about new people.” Her Trustee mentor is Joseph Reuben, chief medical officer at Menorah Medical Center. Micaela Richards Richards is from Lee’s Summit and is pursuing her degree in business administration, with a minor in political science. She was DECA president in high school and is proud of her work ethic. She plans to pursue a career in law. “I chose UMKC because I felt heard.” Her Trustee mentor is Donna Ward, senior vice president of the administrative services division at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Sep 11, 2023

  • UMKC Now Has A Football Team: The Kansas City Chiefs

    Five-year partnership centers on student recruitment, scholarships and success programs
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced today that it is an official higher education partner of the Kansas City Chiefs, the 2022 World Champions. “Kansas City’s university is thrilled to join with Kansas City’s football team to bring exceptional real-world learning experiences to our students,” said UMKC Vice Chancellor of Strategic Marketing and Communications Anne Hartung Spenner. “There is great forward momentum in our city and our university, and we look forward to building on this continuing wave of excellence in our community through this partnership.”“We’re very excited to roll out this new education partnership with the administration, faculty, staff and students at UMKC,” said Chiefs Vice President of Partnership Strategy and Development Kim Hobbs. “We think the relationship between the team and the university will present extremely unique opportunities and access for their students moving forward and will reinforce the idea that Roos should ‘Never Choose the Norm.’”The five-year partnership between UMKC and the Kansas City Chiefs focuses on student success and recruitment efforts. Opportunities for UMKC students include scholarships as well as leadership, mentorship and career-shadowing within the Chiefs organization. Events for prospective students include stadium tours and other programs.The partnership between the two organizations - both pillars of the city - is a natural one. Each founded by innovative entrepreneurs and pioneers - William Volker (UMKC) and Lamar Hunt (Chiefs) - the two organizations each have worldwide stakeholders. UMKC attracts students from more than 75 countries and the Chiefs’ fanbase spans the globe. The Chiefs and UMKC also share many connections through alumni, students, faculty and staff, including:• Amy Patel, M.D., professor of the UMKC School of Medicine and an alumnae, was the 2022 Kansas City Chiefs NFL Fan of the Year.• Chiefs Safety Justin Reid created a coding camp hosted this summer at UMKC.• Union Station is the site of Chiefs fandom in large part thanks to UMKC alumni George Guastello, its chief executive officer, and Michael Tritt, its chief marketing officer.• Jerry Blanton, associate director of UMKC Student Union, is a former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and his son, Kendall Blanton, was a member of the Chiefs in the most recent Super Bowl.• Numerous UMKC alumni work for the Chiefs including Ishmael Shumate (BBA ’20, MBA ’22), philanthropy and community programming coordinator, or have worked for them, including dental hygienist Ashley Hobbs (B.S.D.H. ’11), who was a Chiefs Cheerleader.To commemorate the new partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, UMKC is planning a campuswide celebration Sept. 7 ahead of the season opener that evening, and a Red Friday Roos Tailgate on Sept. 22.Yet another thing the two organizations have in common: mascots named for their beloved hometown. Both KC Wolf of the Chiefs and KC Roo of UMKC will attend the celebrations.Earlier this year, Kansas City’s university entered into a partnership with another city favorite, the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium. The five-year partnership funds improvements to the Australia new habitat, where kangaroos live, and provides learning opportunities from UMKC students. The university’s mascot was inspired by kangaroos at the zoo, and the classic Roo was drawn by Walt Disney. UMKC also is a longtime partner of Sporting KC, and the campus community has enjoyed that relationship for more than a decade. Sep 06, 2023

  • New UMKC School of Medicine Building Will Transform Health-Care Access in Missouri

    The expanded footprint in St. Joseph, Missouri is designed to train rural health-care providers
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City broke ground on a new $14.5 million medical building for its School of Medicine campus in St. Joseph, Missouri. “Through our investments in the St. Joseph campus, UMKC is answering the call to help ensure all Missourians have access to the health care they deserve,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Today’s groundbreaking ceremony marks a catalyst in our state and region that will be felt for decades to come.” The 22,000-square-foot building will transform health-care access for Missourians by training future health care providers who are committed to rural medicine, supporting research and providing care to people in St. Joseph and the surrounding area. The building will feature the latest medical teaching and learning technology. There will be four exam rooms designed to simulate real-world patient interactions and dedicated study and meeting spaces to support student collaboration. It’s expected to open in 2025. Rendering provided by Clark & Enersen “The physical environment for medical students is important: Using cutting-edge architecture and technological best practices, this new building creates physical spaces that advance active learning, teamwork and interdisciplinary collaboration,” said UMKC School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson. “This campus will give UMKC the tools to train hundreds of talented medical professionals so that they can go on to provide the highest-quality care to our neighbors throughout Missouri.” Missouri is facing a severe physician shortage, with nearly half of the rural counties in the state lacking adequate access to hospital health care. Research shows medical students who have experience in rural medicine during their residency programs are more likely to practice medicine in rural settings.Physicians who practice in rural areas face numerous challenges. They care for a population of patients with increased risk for many conditions compared to urban and suburban patients, Jackson said. These include higher levels of chronic diseases such as COPD and heart failure, addiction and cancer diagnoses. At the same time, rural physicians encounter limited access to needed specialists, including cardiologists, oncologists and addiction specialists. To help fill health-care gaps, the UMKC School of Medicine partnered with Mosaic Life Care in 2021 to train physicians at its St. Joseph location, but the program has since outgrown its space.“We are excited to see our partnership with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine grow and prosper on our St. Joseph campus,” said Chief Executive Officer Mike Poore, Mosaic Life Care. “We have the opportunity to shape the future of rural health care and address the shortage of physicians in our region. This extended footprint for the UMKC School of Medicine bridges that gap, especially knowing that students training in rural programs are three times as likely to remain in practice in those areas.” The new building will incorporate design elements to symbolize the statewide impact of the UMKC St. Joseph campus. A large artistic map will be installed near the entryway, pinpointing UMKC medical program partners throughout Missouri and Kansas. This installation is meant to showcase the strength of the existing system and will include the ability for UMKC to add future partners as it expands its rural education network.So far in three years of the UMKC School of Medicine program in St. Joseph, students have logged 19,764 clinical contact hours in medically underserved areas. In addition to Mosaic, they have practiced in other clinics in St. Joseph, Albany, Cameron, Chillicothe, Maryville and Mound City, Missouri.Emma Smith is part of the program’s first cohort of students. She said doing rotations in Chillicothe gave her unique experiences in understanding and overcoming barriers to care in rural areas.“I have learned so much during my time at UMKC, and some of my strongest learning experiences have been during my rural family medicine and internal medicine rotations,” Smith said. “Expanding the UMKC School of Medicine St. Joseph campus is a benefit to the region because it provides additional resources for students to live, work and train in a community with unique patient needs.”This new medical education facility represented strong support and help from federal and Missouri leaders. Of the total $14.5 million cost, $13 million was designated from federal funds and $1.5 million came from state funding. Former Senator Roy Blunt was instrumental in championing federal funds for the new building in a 2022 spending bill, which also included $2.5 million for the UMKC School of Medicine to expand its behavioral health training at the St. Joseph campus. "Missouri is facing a physician shortage, creating major challenges for rural communities," Blunt said. "As the former chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services, I was a strong advocate for the UMKC School of Medicine St. Joseph campus expansion and its important work in training physicians who will be uniquely qualified to provide care where it's needed most. I am glad to see UMKC breaking ground on the new building today that will strengthen our rural communities by providing quality care to families in underserved areas across the state." In addition to the contributions from Blunt, Missouri State Rep. Brenda Shields was instrumental in the creation of the UMKC School of Medicine St. Joseph campus and spoke at the groundbreaking event. “It has been exciting to be involved in this project from the very beginning. When I spoke to the students at the first white coat ceremony and heard their passion for rural medicine, it was clear to me we were accomplishing what we set out to do—to bring better health care to rural Missouri,” Shields said. “This school will be the premier location for rural medical training in the United States, and it is right here in northwest Missouri.” UMKC has a strong history of expanding access to rural health care education programs in Missouri. In addition to the School of Medicine program, the university operates satellite campuses for the UMKC School of Pharmacy at the University of Missouri in Columbia and Missouri State University in Springfield. Here's what other supporters who spoke at the groundbreaking event had to say: “This expansion is a game changer for rural health care in the region," said U.S. Congressman Sam Graves, a sixth-generation family farmer who grew up in northwestern Missouri. "Health-care access in north Missouri depends on the availability of rural doctors. If we want more rural doctors, we need more rural training. I’m thrilled that UMKC and Mosaic have come together to make this happen in St. Joseph and I can’t wait to see the impact this will have on north Missouri.” “This is a textbook case of how our communities and the University of Missouri System should be collaborating," said Michael Williams, chair of the Board of Curators. “These partnerships will lead to improved health care across the state, and that means a better quality of life for every Missouri citizen.” “This project is a tremendous example of how the University of Missouri System is transforming our state’s critical workforce and supporting rural health,” said University of Missouri President Mun Choi. “The new campus will increase access to essential care for all Missourians while preparing the next generation of providers to serve close to home and address the shortage of rural health care providers. Aug 28, 2023

  • A Conference for the Ages

    Legacy families come together for centennial celebration
    This year at the Midwest Dental Conference, the UMKC School of Dentistry celebrated 100 years of gathering for an annual alumni meeting. For some alumni, their first experience at the conference wasn’t as a dentist, or even as a dental student – but instead, as a kid, tagging along with their parents or grandparents. Those childhood family trips to MDC are often just the beginning of a deep connection with the School of Dentistry that the school’s alumni share. Mark Mosier (D.D.S. ’85) remembers attending the alumni meetings with his dad, Richard Mosier (D.D.S. ’54), and grandfather, Harry Mosier (D.D.S. 1922), in the 1970s. According to Mark, Harry was close friends with Roy Rinehart, former dean of the School of Dentistry and the namesake of the Rinehart Foundation. Harry liked to  tell a story about an alumni meeting in the 1930s where the two friends and their wives were seated together at the banquet. It was a table for six people, but it was just the four of them. Harry looked around and noticed another couple sitting by themselves, while everyone else was cliqued up, lost in their own worlds, catching up with their buddies. “My grandfather and Dean Rinehart were not the kind of people to ignore others,” Mosier said. “They were very inclusive and social.” The two men went over and introduced themselves to Albert and Ruth Mizzy, who had traveled to the conference from New York City. They later learned the Mizzys owned a dental supply company that would later become the worldwide manufacturer of medical and dental supplies, Mizzy, Inc. Harry and Roy insisted the couple join their table. The new group quickly formed a close connection. “They all became great friends,” Mosier said. “The Mizzys would come visit for the holidays, they’d go hunting together. And they came back to that meeting year after year.” Mark Mosier started attending MDC when he was just five years old. Now 65, this year’s meeting is a special one for him. He attended with his niece Kiralyn Mosier, who graduated from the School of Dentistry in May. “Kiralyn will be the fourth generation Mosier graduating from UMKC,” Mark Mosier said. “I am so proud she is continuing the legacy we have. We’re all very excited.” The Samples are another legacy family that had a strong turnout for this year’s MDC. Kyle Samples (D.D.S. ’11) and his brother, Stuart Samples (D.D.S. ’07), are partners at McCoy Samples Mattingly Dental Clinic in Carrolton, Missouri. The two have been attending MDC with their dad, James Samples (D.D.S. ’71), for as long as they can remember. “I remember going when I was six years old, hanging out with the kids of Dad’s alumni buddies,” said Kyle Samples. “Now, my kids love doing that too. They look forward to it all year.” This year, another generation joined the mix as Stuart’s daughter, Emily Samples, attended MDC with him. Now a sophomore at the University of Missouri, Emily plans to apply to dental school after undergrad. Kyle’s wife, Krystal, and their two children also made the drive down to Kansas City, making this year’s conference a little bit of a family vacation. “In 50-plus years, I’ve only missed one (MDC), when I was serving in the military,” James Samples said. “I love having my boys with me at the meetings. It’s wonderful. I’m so proud of them.” James remembers the earlier years he attended the conference fondly. He and his classmates would compare notes on the continuing education each day, trade clinical stories and share memories about dental faculty. According to James, his classmates would go out on the town, but he and his wife Maggie would forgo the partying to have a quiet dinner with other married classmates. “It