2018

  • 95-Year-Old KCK Company Wins Award for Pharmacy Innovation

    Pharmacy dean quoted in Kansas City Business Journal
    “Balls Food Stores have provided cutting-edge clinical education, engaging our students in critical medication therapy management and health and wellness services in highly accessible community settings,” UMKC School of Pharmacy Dean Russell Melchert said in the article. Dec 28, 2018

  • Top 10 Photos of 2018

    Some favorite photos of our community this year
    Each month, UMKC photographer Brandon Parigo selects his Top 10 favorite pictures. From these, our Strategic Communications team picked our favorites of 2018, and Brandon shared the story behind each image. “It is a genuine hug by students on a staff member. You can't go wrong with that much emotion.” Photo: Lavender Graduation “I love how happy they are doing something like cleaning. The woman on the right, Maggie, is another student who is dedicated to UMKC and it shows.” Photo: Roos Give Back volunteering day “I like the lab shot because of how it was composed with the grad-student teacher in the middle. It shows the fullness of the classroom.” Photo: lab class at the School of Biological Sciences “Even though this isn’t the best composed image, it shows the energy of Kasey interacting with a high school student from North Kansas City.” Photo: UMKC Day at Sporting KC “Julian (Zugazagoitia, director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art) is just a cool guy and I enjoy the off-angle composition.” Photo: portrait taken in Haag Hall “Joe Parisi, like all of our Conservatory conductors, is passionate about students and learning. I think it is hard to hide that when they make facial expressions when working.” Photo: Wind Symphony performance at White Recital Hall “Cara and Dakota are friends and that comes out in the snow shot. They are two students I think UMKC is lucky to have.” Photo: snow on Volker Campus “The three students doing the ninja warrior game makes me smile because they seem to all enjoy doing something over-the-top cheesy.” Photo: UMKC Orientation this summer “I can't help but love every image that designer Mike Duah and I created with UMKC student-athletes all around Kansas City.” Photo: Men's basketball players outside Gem Theater in historic 18th and Vine district “The cheering students really captures the new sense of school spirit at UMKC. When you get one this good, you cherish it.” Photo: UMKC soccer game during Welcome Weekend Dec 21, 2018

  • Fed Chief Alumna on PBS News Hour

    Mary Daly ('85) shares her experience and unique views on economic policy
    Can a high school dropout turned top economist give a new perspective to the Fed? Learn more in this PBS News Hour piece about Daly. Dec 18, 2018

  • Medicine Dean Addresses Reappearance of Polio-Like Disease

    Sharing in-demand expertise in pediatric infectious diseases
    Cases of acute flaccid myelitis, which mainly affects children and can cause lasting paralysis, continue to be reported this fall across the U.S. When two possible cases of the polio-like disease were reported in Kansas City, people looking for answers turned to Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. ’78, interim dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Jackson is an expert in pediatric infectious diseases section at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City. She has been offering parents reassurance and colleagues advice. Stats Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. The disease is extremely rare, Jackson said, with one-in-a-million odds of contracting it. So parents shouldn’t be alarmed, she said, even though reports of the disease, often referred to as AFM, have been occurring in two-year cycles since 2014. Jackson said AFM, which appears to develop after a viral illness, could have several possible causes. Enterovirus D68 has been getting attention as a possibility, because respiratory problems from EV-D68 were widespread in 2014 when 120 cases of AFM were reported. The number dropped to 22 AFM cases in 2015 and spiked again, to 149, in 2016. The pattern continued with just 38 cases in 2017 but 80 confirmed so far this year by the Centers for Disease Control, out of 219 possible cases reported. The AFM numbers coincide with the cycles of viruses such as EV-D68, which tend to rise every other autumn. Symptoms Jackson said symptoms are easy to recognize because AFM attacks regions of the spinal cord known as gray matter. “If your child develops profound weakness, especially involving limbs, make sure to see your physician,” she said. Jackson also recently prepared an update on the disease for physicians. Besides acute limb weakness, Jackson said, a review of AFM reports also found signs of cranial nerve involvement, such as facial weakness, in more than one-fourth of cases. She said that examining cerebrospinal fluid and doing an MRI of the brain and spine were key to diagnosing AFM, and that all cases should be reported to the CDC. Prevention As for prevention, she said, nothing has been identified beyond the usual emphasis on hand washing and covering coughs to disrupt any viral illness that could be related. Though most AFM patients survive, weakness and paralysis can persist. Jackson said nerve transfer surgery – at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Washington University in St. Louis and Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia – showed some promise in cases of isolated limb disease. One Washington University patient, an 8-year-old boy whose legs were paralyzed in 2016, recently started walking again after the nerve transfer surgery. Besides keeping good track of cases the rest of this fall, Jackson said, “We will have to stay tuned to see how effective new research is in uncovering the etiology of this disease.” Dec 18, 2018

  • Renowned Economist Receives Honorary Doctorate

    More than 700 students received degrees in three ceremonies
    Deirdre McCloskey, a renowned economist, rhetorician and historian, was presented with an honorary doctorate during the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s College of Arts and Sciences’ mid-year commencement ceremony Dec. 15. A distinguished professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago from 2000 to 2015, McCloskey has written 18 books and nearly 400 articles on a wide range of topics including economic history, philosophy, feminism and law. She describes herself as a “free-market quantitative literary postmodern Anglican feminist Aristotelian woman from Boston who now lives in Chicago.” “We are pleased to honor Deirdre McCloskey for not only her countless contributions to the field of economics but for her unwavering dedication to education,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Wayne Vaught. “Her books on the bourgeoisie have offered an illuminating viewpoint on the history and ethics of capitalism.” More than 700 students received degrees in three ceremonies. It was also UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal’s first graduation ceremony at UMKC. “Student success will always be at the core of what we do,” Agrawal said. “Congratulations, Roos, on a job well done.” Michelle Wimes (B.A. ’88), attorney at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., delivered the College of Arts and Sciences commencement address. Wimes is a lawyer, civic leader and a nationally in-demand speaker on workforce development, diversity and inclusion, and work/life balance. Recalling her days as an undergraduate student at UMKC, Wimes said, “I remember all the wonderful graduation festivities. The excitement of four years coming to an end. UMKC laid the groundwork for the critical thinking and language skills I have used my entire life. The woman I am today began when I was a young person at UMKC.” Wimes shared this advice to the graduating students: “Be excellent. Be the best at what you do, and I promise success will abound. Stand for something. Use your smarts for good. You and you alone are responsible for your own personal and professional success. Follow your passion even when others don’t understand you or mock you. Align yourself with others who share your passion. Surround yourself with others who support you.” Above all, Wimes told the graduates to keep up the good work. “Be willing to take risk. Choose growth and advocate for yourself. Learn how to weather setbacks. Real success requires step after step and choice after choice, persistence and hunger.” At the morning Henry W. Bloch School of Management ceremony, Agrawal expressed gratitude and appreciation to University of Missouri System Curator John Phillips, who is nearing the end of his term on the board. “Since joining the Board of Curators, he has become a strong and powerful advocate for all things UMKC,” Agrawal said. “His leadership specifically related to our efforts to build a new home for the Conservatory of Music and Dance has been invaluable. Our students have no greater champion than you. Thank you for your countless hours of staunch and dedicated service to the Board of Curators. We are better because of your leadership and advocacy.” Darcy Howe, managing director, KCRise Fund, LLC; and president and CEO, KCRise Fund Manager, LLC, gave the UMKC Bloch School commencement address. Growing a successful entrepreneurial business within a Fortune 100 company, Howe was named a “Barron’s Magazine Top 100 Women Advisors in the U.S.” as well as Worth magazine’s “Top 100 Wealth Advisors in the U.S.” In her current position with KCRise Fund, Howe connects companies with capital from all over the U.S. “Because of Howe’s efforts, a number of early stage firms are growing and prospering,” said UMKC Bloch School Dean Brian Klaas. “Her efforts have helped to create a vibrant environment for entrepreneurs and her efforts are setting the stage for long-term growth and prosperity in the region.” Klaas said Howe works hard to make a positive difference in the community and has been a friend of UMKC. She has mentored and coached UMKC Bloch students, employed Bloch graduates and traveled to China with a Bloch student group to study and promote economic development. At the conclusion of the commencement ceremonies, Agrawal presented the Class of 2018 – future world leaders, innovators and humanitarians. “Graduates, the years you’ve spent here at UMKC are like the great opening chapter in a good book. You just know there are a lot of great chapters to follow.” Dec 17, 2018

  • Honoring Student Leaders

    Dean of Students celebrates new graduates with high academic and community service achievements
    It’s difficult to believe now that at one point Matheus Rohde wasn’t sure he was in the right place. His transition to UMKC four years ago when he came to play tennis wasn’t an easy one. Rohde, whose coach and teammates nicknamed “Brazil” for his birthplace, was not crazy about the cold weather in Kansas City. And he had just had surgery and didn’t get to play tennis immediately. “I had a hard time adjusting to the classes and the dorms,” he said. But on Dec. 14, Dean of Students Sandra Miles recognized Rohde and eight of his fellow graduating students for their commitment to leadership and service to the university while maintaining high academic standards at the Honors Recipient Breakfast. Rohde credits his tennis teammates for his success. “The cool thing about being on a team is that you come to a new place, where you know literally no one, and you still have a group of people who you can count on as friends,” Rohde said. Rohde was able to play second semester and began to find his place at UMKC. “(Matheus Rohde) is one of those players who motivates by example…His work and effort are a major reason why we won the 2017 Western Athletic Conference championship.” -UMKC Tennis Coach Kendall Hale “I knew something big was waiting for me at the finish line and I needed to push a little bit,” he said.This tenacity allowed Rohde to emerge as a strong team leader.“Up until college, tennis was just about the individual. But college tennis is different—it’s about the team,” he said. “It’s a lot more energy. It’s a lot more intensity. I became one of the people who tried to hold the knots together. I was one of the people who tried to make sure that everyone was being accountable in practice and doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”UMKC Head Tennis Coach Kendall Hale—who nominated Rohde—recognized his player’s potential.“I’m not in the habit of nominating students for this honor,” Hale said. “Matheus is the old-school model. He is one of those players who motivates by example. He worked for two years as an assistant without pay or credit. His work and effort are a major reason why we won the 2017 Western Athletic Conference championship.”In addition to his high academic standing and his accomplishments on the court, he’s represented UMKC in the community and volunteers at a soup kitchen and the Ronald McDonald House, Harvesters and the Kangaroo Food Pantry.Rohde, who majored in psychology, is planning to attend graduate school.“I’ll be pretty open,” he said. “But I’m thinking industrial organizational psychology.”At the ceremony recognizing Rohde and his fellow honor recipients, Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal noted “student success is at the core of what we do. These students began as students on fire and ready to learn.”Rohde encourages younger students to find that fire.“Try to get involved as much as you can. UMKC offers so many resources for students to find their niche – whether it’s research, organizations, a campus job or even athletics. My motto during my time on the team and for life is ‘Always leave a place a little better than it was when you came in.’” Dean of Students Fall 2018 Honor Recipients The program recognizes graduating students from all academic programs who have actively demonstrated their commitment to leadership and service to the university community while maintaining high academic achievements Felix AmparanoCollege of Arts and SciencesHonors CollegeMichele BakerSchool of Nursing and Health StudiesHonors CollegeAshutosh BarveSchool of PharmacyAnita CapSchool of Biological SciencesCollege of Arts and SciencesHonors CollegeEun-Li DeemHenry W. Bloch School of ManagementEmma DyerHenry W. Bloch School of ManagementAkshay JainSchool of PharmacyMatheus RohdeCollege of Arts and SciencesElizabeth SitesCollege of Arts and Sciences Dec 14, 2018

  • 2019 Alumni Award Winners Announced

    Sixteen alumni and one family will be honored March 15
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Class of 2019 Alumni Achievement Award recipients includes the director of the world-famous San Diego Zoo, the former chief of staff at the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, a winner of the prestigious Cliburn Gold Medal piano competition and the president and CEO of Union Station. Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes individual alumni and one family with top honors. UMKC will honor these outstanding alumni at the 2019 Alumni Awards Event Friday, March 15 on campus. UMKC’s Alumni Association will highlight recipients’ stories and accomplishments during an evening program in White Recital Hall, followed by a reception. Click here for tickets to the event. Alumni Awards is one of the university’s largest events and proceeds support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards event has garnered more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Co-chairs for the 2019 event are Jim Hogan (B.S.C.E. ’84) and Tamra Hoffman (B.S.D.H. ’05). Following are the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awardees: Campus-Wide Award Recipients Alumnus of the Year: Dwight Scott (B.L.A. ’94) As director of the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Scott has helped the 102-year old organization grow into a leading force in conservation worldwide. Home to more than 3,500 rare and endangered animals and 700,000 exotic plants, the Zoo participates in the science-based Species Survival Plan, which maintains genetic diversity and long-term sustainability in captive populations. Through science-based, collaborative projects and cutting-edge, immersive exhibits, the organization strives to lead the fight against extinction and connect people with wildlife. Spotlight Award: Steven St. John (B.A. ’96) St. John has been a fixture on the Kansas City sports scene since 1999. He is the host of the popular sports morning show “Border Patrol” on 810 WHB, the first program to be simulcast daily on radio and television in Kansas City. St. John spent several years offering color commentary for the UMKC men’s and women’s basketball teams and has spoken at numerous university events including the College of Arts and Sciences Graduation with Distinction Luncheon. He also serves on the board of directors for the ALS Association of Mid-America Chapter and as honorary chairperson for the annual Sheffield Place Golf Tournament. Bill French Alumni Service Award: Dick Gibson (B.M.E. ’67, MBA ’02) Gibson’s impressive military career spanned 26 years and included serving as the chief of staff at the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and twice working with General Colin Powell. During his time in the military, Gibson received the Silver Star, Bronze Star for Valor and Purple Heart for action in Vietnam. A former president of the Bloch School of Management’s Alumni Association Board, he was one of the founding members of the EMBA Alumni Admissions Council and currently serves on the business advisory board to Enactus, the award-winning UMKC student group focusing on entrepreneurial service projects in the Kansas City community. Gibson is also an at-large director on the UMKC Alumni Governing Board. Defying the Odds Award: José Faus (B.A. ’87) Faus lived with his grandmother in Bogota, Colombia, before moving to the U.S. at nine years old. He and his brother came to Kansas City in the dead of winter to live with his mother, who’d come to the U.S. three years earlier. While he went through a period of rebellion, Faus realized he had a knack for writing and has used his personal journey as a source of inspiration for his work. As an artist and writer, Faus is a founding member of the Latino Writers Collective and serves on the boards of The Writers Place, UMKC Friends of the Library and Nuevo Eden. He has been involved in many mural works in the Kansas City area, Mexico and, most recently, Bolivia, where he received a cultural ambassador grant from the U.S. State Department. Legacy Award: The Strickland–Hembree Family The Strickland–Hembree family is anchored by two sisters, Dr. Mary Pat (Strickland) Lange and Dr. Kathryn Ann (Strickland) Hembree. Both are graduates of the UMKC School of Medicine and are ophthalmologists. Mary Pat graduated in 1985 and has served the Lawrence, Kansas, community for more than 25 years as an ophthalmologist and senior partner at Lawrence Eye Care Associates. Kathryn Ann graduated in 1986 and founded Northland Eye Specialists, focused on providing comprehensive family eye care. Kathryn Ann’s daughter, Kathryn Hembree Night, a second generation Roo, received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and philosophy in 2009 and is a graduate of the UMKC Honors College. She works in finance in New York. School-Based Award Recipients College of Arts & Sciences: Jeanne Drewes (B.A. ’76) Drewes’ career spans four decades and encompasses a myriad of achievements. She has worked in university libraries and museums and currently serves as chief of the Binding & Collections Care Division and Deacidification Program at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In 2017, Drewes was awarded the Ross Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services. School of Biological Sciences: Patrick M. Rose (B.S. ’73, M.S. ’75) Considered one of the world’s leading experts on the Florida manatee, Rose, executive director of Save the Manatee Club, has tirelessly advocated for their health and habitat for more than 40 years. He served as the first federal manatee recovery activities coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the first manatee and marine mammal administrator for the Florida Department of Natural Resources and was also the environmental program administrator for the Department of Environmental Protection in Tallahassee before joining the Save the Manatee Club in 1996. Bloch School of Management: George M. Guastello II (B.B.A. ’82, MBA ’84) Guastello has used his extensive civic and business experience to help lead the transformation of beloved Kansas City institutions including the Starlight Theatre, the American Royal Association and, most recently, Union Station. Since becoming president and CEO of Union Station in 2008, Guastello, with board and staff, has reimagined Kansas City’s favorite monument into a financially stable civic center that has attracted a variety of new tenants, hosted a number of exciting world-renowned exhibits and created an internationally awarded science center within the station called Science City. School of Computing & Engineering: Philip Straub (B.S.E.E. ’92) As executive vice president, managing director at Garmin International, Straub oversees all aspects of the company’s aviation division including product development, flight operations, sales and marketing. Straub, who has a passion for promoting STEM education, also serves as chairman of the board of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and is a member of the Drone Advisory Committee for the Federal Aviation Association. An accomplished pilot, he earned his private pilot license at the age of 17. Conservatory of Music and Dance: Stanislav Ioudenitch (Performance Certificate ’03) Winner of the prestigious Cliburn Gold Medal, a world-renowned piano competition, Ioudenitch has performed at cultural centers around the world including Carnegie Hall in New York, Conservatorio Verdi in Italy, the Mariinsky Theater in Russia and Théâtre du Châtelet in France. Ioudenitch founded the International Center for Music at Park University where he is artistic director and master teacher of piano. Additionally, he is director of the Young Artists Music Academy and vice president of piano at the Piano Academy of Lake Como. Since 2017, he has served as associate professor of piano at Oberlin Conservatory. School of Dentistry: Terry G. O’Toole (D.D.S. ’81) Prior to his retirement in April 2018, O’Toole served the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration for more than 35 years holding various roles including chief of dental service and, most recently, director of dental informatics and analytics. In the latter position, O’Toole oversaw the development of strategic plans, healthcare budget and national policy initiatives including the implementation of an integrated electronic medical/dental health record. He has served as chair of the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Council on Dental Practice. School of Dentistry – Dental Hygiene: Rebecca L. Stolberg (M.S. ’96) A leader in both the profession and education of dental hygiene, Rebecca Stolberg serves as senior director of allied dental education and faculty development at the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). Prior to joining ADEA, Stolberg led the Department of Dental Hygiene at Eastern Washington University (EWU) for 15 years. School of Education: Deborah Siebern-Dennis (B.A. ’05) As a seventh-grade teacher at Bode Middle School in Saint Joseph, Missouri, Siebern-Dennis was the only Missouri teacher to receive the Milken Educator Award in 2015. She is currently one of 45 middle school science teachers from across the U.S. selected to participate in a two-year teaching and learning project funded by the National Science Foundation. Siebern-Dennis is known for her engaging lessons, understanding of students’ needs and passion for learning. School of Law: Paul F. Kavanaugh (J.D. ’84) As a trial lawyer specializing in medical malpractice, Kavanaugh has represented seriously injured clients for more than 30 years, been ranked in the top 100 trial lawyers by “The National Trial Lawyers” and lectured on the prevention of medical negligence at UMKC School of Medicine, University of Kansas Medical School and University of Arizona College of Medicine. As co-founder of the Kavanaugh Charitable Foundation, started with his wife, Debbie, he has funded elementary schools in Cambodia, donated 1,500 wheelchairs to the underserved and created a fully endowed scholarship for students in need at UMKC School of Law. School of Medicine: William Arthur Cooper (M.D. ’92) Going above and beyond a career as a cardiothoracic surgeon, William Cooper is founding medical director of a nationally recognized heart surgery program, has served 30 years with the U.S. Army Reserve, including four tours of duty, and received his MBA from Emory University. Since joining WellStar Health System in 2004 as medical director, Cooper has paved the way for new technologies that have transformed the standard of care for cardiac patients. School of Nursing & Health Studies: John Stevens (D.N.P. ’12) As CEO and clinical director of deNovo Health in Dallas, Texas, Stevens puts his 18 years of experience in aesthetic services to work. He began his career serving as a trauma nurse and member of the United States Army during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia. A lifelong learner and entrepreneur, he has started multiple companies, earned his doctorate of nursing practice at UMKC and is studying metabolic and nutritional medicine with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. School of Pharmacy: Alan W. Carter (B.S.P. ’79, Pharm.D. ’02) With more than 35 years of experience in clinical pharmacy management and research, Carter has worn many hats including: educator, board member and researcher. Currently serving as a consultant, Carter also donates his time as an adjunct professor at the UMKC School of Pharmacy and as a board member for the UMKC Pharmacy Foundation. Earlier this year, a study Carter completed on the concentration and efficacy of insulin garnered national attention and resulted in a formal confirmatory study commissioned by the American Diabetes Association and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Dec 13, 2018

  • Education Research Shows Girls’ School Graduates Have Clear Edge

    Stronger academic skills than co-educated peers cited along with confidence and community involvement
    Graduates of all-girls schools have a definitive edge over their coeducated peers in academic achievement, community involvement and self-confidence in the sciences, according to research led by a School of Education professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.Tiffani Riggers-Piehl, assistant professor of higher education at UMKC, was principal investigator of the study in collaboration with the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California-Los Angeles. The study, Fostering Academic and Social Engagement: An Investigation into the Effects of All-Girls Education in the Transition to University, shows statistically significant advantages for girls’ school graduates. The study used sophisticated multilevel modeling to separate the effect of an all-girls education from other influences including socioeconomic differences, race/ethnicity, parent education and the characteristics of the high schools attended.Riggers-Piehl and her colleagues note the data reveals “a consistent portrait of girls’ school graduates who are more engaged academically and socially than their coeducated peers.” Commissioned by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, the study is an update of a 2009 HERI report that was originally conducted by Linda Sax of UCLA with colleagues, including Riggers-Piehl.The new study identifies several key areas in which all-girls schools are better preparing their students for success in university and beyond. Based on the reported data, the researchers concluded that when compared to their female peers at coed schools, girls’ school graduates: Have stronger academic skills Are more academically engaged Demonstrate higher science self-confidence Display higher levels of cultural competency Express stronger community involvement Exhibit increased political engagement Specifically, the research report identifies more than 80 statistically significant differences that favor graduates of all-girls schools when compared to female graduates of coed schools, such as: Girls’ school alumnae are 5 percentage points more likely than their coeducated peers to say they frequently seek alternative solutions to a problem and more frequently explore topics on their own, even when not required. More than two-thirds of girls’ school graduates report frequently supporting their arguments with logic, whereas coed school female graduates are 7 percentage points less likely to report this academic skill. Graduates of girls’ school are 7 percentage points more likely to frequently tutor other students and 6 percentage points more likely to frequently study with others. Girls’ school graduates, compared to students from coed schools, are 4 percentage points more likely to report they are “very confident” or “absolutely confident” in their understanding of scientific concepts and ability to explain the results of a study and use technical science skills such as tools, instruments and techniques. When asked about their ability to work and live in a diverse society, alumnae from all-girls schools are nearly 10 percentage points more likely to have the goal of helping promote racial understanding, and 75 percent of respondents from all-girls schools desire to improve their understanding of other countries and cultures, compared to 70 percent of their coeducated peers. Half of girls’ school graduates, compared to 45 percent of female students from coed schools, count their tolerance of others with different beliefs as a strength. Girls’ school alumnae are 6 percentage points more likely to note their ability to work cooperatively with diverse people as a strength. Girls’ school graduates are 8 percentage points more likely to have a goal of participating in community action programs and are 5 percentage points more likely to think it is “very important” or “essential” to become involved in environmentally minded programs. Alumnae of all-girls schools more frequently participate in volunteer work compared to their coeducated peers—52 versus 47 percent. Women who attended all-girls schools are 5 percentage points more likely than coeducated graduates to plan to vote in elections and to publicly communicate their opinion about a cause. Considering their political engagement, graduates from all-girls schools are 7 percentage points more likely to think it is “very important” to have the goal of keeping up-to-date with political affairs. Girls’ school graduates rate themselves as more successful and engaged in areas where men have historically seen greater representation: science and politics. Reflecting on the totality of the findings, the researchers noted, “these statistically significant results demonstrate differences in areas of critical importance in the twenty-first century for women as they enter university and beyond, thus emphasizing the contribution of all-girls schooling for women’s success.” Dec 13, 2018

  • Starr Women’s Hall of Fame Reveals 2019 Class of Inductees

    Hall honors Kansas City’s greatest women, past and present
    A new group of extraordinary women, past and present, who have made their mark on the greater Kansas City community have been named to the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame.The Hall of Fame was created to honor women who have made Kansas City a better place to live, work and serve, said Carol Hallquist, co-chair of the Hall of Fame planning committee.“These women make up the third class of honorees since the Hall of Fame was formed. They are remarkable women whose stories and examples will inspire women to reach ever higher for generations to come,” Hallquist said.The 10 outstanding women in the 2019 class of honorees will be honored at a gala event at 11:30 a.m. March 22, 2019, in Swinney Recreation Center on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus. Former First Lady Laura Bush will be the featured speaker at the event and her daughter, Barbara Pierce Bush, will be interviewing her at the event; tickets are available at www.umkc.edu/starrhalloffame.The new inductees are:· Lois Ellen (Bunni) Copaken, founding board member of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, founding member of the Women’s Foundation and past president of the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri.· Mary Tiera Farrow (deceased), founder of the first organization to welcome women in the legal field in Kansas City, first female judge in the City of Kansas City, first woman in the U.S. to defend a woman on trial for murder and first woman to argue before the Kansas Supreme Court.· Laura Rollins Hockaday (deceased), longtime society editor for The Kansas City Star. She transformed race relations by redefining “society” and by expanding the newspaper’s previously racially restrictive society page to be inclusive of all people in the community.· Mamie Currie Hughes, advocate for scores of projects aimed at cutting through racial and gender biases and discrimination, charter member of the Jackson County Legislature, former Chair for the Mid-America Regional Council and founding member of the Central Exchange.· Patricia McIlrath (deceased), longtime chair of the Department of Theatre at UMKC, founder of the Missouri Repertory Theatre (now KC Rep) and progenitor of Kansas City’s status as one of the top five professional theatre cities in the U.S.· Janet Murguia, president and CEO of Unidos U.S. (formerly National Council of La Raza); longtime national civil rights advocate, especially for Hispanics; and former Deputy Assistant to President Clinton.· Mona Lea Perry, tireless advocate for Native Americans, one of Kansas City’s Wisdom Keepers and recipient of four certificates of service as a member of the Missouri Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.· Nell Quinlan (Donnelly) Reed (deceased), dress designer and manufacturer of the Nelly Don brand. Her Donnelly Garment Co. was the largest dress manufacturing company in the world during much of the 20th century. She was a pioneer in employees’ rights and implemented many improvements in employee work conditions and compensation.· Beth K. Smith (deceased), co-founder of the Central Exchange and Women’s Employment Network, chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Human Relations for Kansas City, Missouri and member of numerous national and local nonprofit boards.· Linda Hood Talbott, founder of the Center for Philanthropic Leadership and founding member of the Greater Kansas City Foundation, Women’s Employment Network, Central Exchange and Women’s Foundation. She was recognized by three U.S. presidents for her leadership in helping the elderly, youth and women of America.The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame is a repository for their legacies. By sharing their stories, the Hall of Fame encourages and inspires women everywhere. Biographies of all of the previous honorees are available at https://www.umkc.edu/starrhalloffame/hall.cfm.The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund, which was established upon her death through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. The idea for the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame stemmed from Starr Education Committee members.A permanent display honoring Hall of Fame members is now open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The library is at 800 E. 51 St., Kansas City, Missouri.The civic organizations that advocate on behalf of women and family issues and have signed on in support of the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame include: American Association of University Women, American Business Women’s Association, Central Exchange, CBIZ Women’s Advantage, Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri, Greater Kansas City Chamber’s Executive Women’s Leadership Council, Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus, Jackson County Missouri Chapter of the Links, Inc.; Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri; KC Metro Latinas, Kansas City Athenaeum, Kansas City Young Matrons, Women Leaders in College Sports, OneKC for Women, SkillBuilders Fund, Soroptimist International of Kansas City, Soroptimist Kansas City Foundation, UMKC, UMKC Women’s Center, UMKC Women’s Council, UMKC Women of Color Leadership Conference, WIN for KC, win|win, Women’s Foundation, Women’s Public Service Network, Zonta International District 7 and Zonta Club of KC II. Dec 04, 2018

  • New Athletic Director seeks to ignite fan base

    Martin to leverage past experience and Roos' achievements
    Brandon Martin officially begins his tenure Dec. 3 as director of athletics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. That’s “officially” because he’s been hard at work since his appointment was announced Nov. 14. He’s committed to solving a puzzle that has eluded predecessors for decades: while the Roos have produced conference champions in competition and excelled in the classroom, the teams’ fan base is fervent but small. They have not yet broken through to ignite a sizable fan base across campus or in the community. His best asset right now is his track record. Martin has athletic leadership experience at two of the nation’s leading Power Five conference programs, Southern California and Oklahoma. At Cal State-Northridge, he took over a Division I athletic program that was largely ignored by campus and community, and raised donations by 450 percent and student attendance for men‘s basketball by 71 percent. During his last full year there, his programs had three All-Americans, nine individual Big West Champions, three Big West Coaches of the Year and eight Big West Players of the Year. Oh, and by the way, that’s Doctor Brandon E. Martin, Ph.D. When introduced as the new leader of UMKC Athletics last month, Martin said he won’t be accomplishing anything on his own. “I’m not a savior. We’re going to do this all together,” Martin said. As a senior associate athletics director at Oklahoma, he made annual trips to Kansas City for the Big 12 basketball tournament. “Kansas City is a great sports town, so we just have to get people engaged. “There’s really no ceiling on how great we can become.” Martin’s goals for UMKC’s program are straightforward. Become a Top 100 Division I program. Winning Western Athletic Conference championships and earning NCAA tournament berths. Providing a first-rate campus life experience for student athletes, while producing graduates who not only earn degrees, but develop as leaders for campus and community. Martin put to rest any lingering questions about the status of UMKC athletics. “We are playing at the Division I level. Period.” Martin is taking over a UMKC program that has a reputation for academic achievement, a reputation he has a real passion to not just continue, but build on. “I always had a passion for education. I always knew that I would become a teacher, I just didn’t know at what level.” So when he was recruited to play basketball at USC, he enrolled in the university’s Rossier School of Education. After graduation, he stayed at USC to begin his career in athletic administration, but also enrolled in graduate school. “I wanted to work in college athletics, but I wanted to be connected to the true fabric and true mission of a university,” Martin said. “I knew that I needed a terminal degree.” At USC, Martin served as an assistant professor of clinical education at Rossier. His dissertation entitled “A Phenomenological Study of Academically Driven African American Male Student-Athletes at Highly Selective Division I Universities” won the 2005 Rossier School of Education Dissertation of the Year Award. In 2005, he also earned the National Association of Academic Advisors award for Student-Athlete Excellence in Research. He has presented more than 40 papers, symposia and workshops at national higher education conferences. In 2014, Martin was appointed to the NCAA Committee on Academics. Before serving as athletics director at Cal State-Northridge, Martin served as a senior associate athletics director for administration at the University of Oklahoma. He handled day-to-day administration for Men’s Basketball, Men’s/Women’s Track and Field, Cross Country, Women’s Soccer and Rowing. His duties also included oversight of departmental strategic planning, marketing and promotions, human resources, strength and conditioning, Big 12 and NCAA legislation, risk management, NCAA certification and all diversity and inclusion programming for the department. While at the University of Oklahoma, Martin also served on the President’s Graduation and Retention Task Force. In addition to student-athlete development and winning championships, Martin said integrity and engagement also will be hallmarks of Roo athletics under his leadership. “It’s important to win, but you have to do it the right way,” he said. He, along with coaches and student-athletes, will engage with students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and fans. “It’s engagement that will be meaningful. We’re giving the whole Kansas City community an invitation to come and see how we are building up our program.” “My words and actions have to connect,” Martin added. “I have to paint a picture of who we can be. My vision is for the Roos to become a Top 100 program, but I have to explain to people how we’re going to get there.” His road map starts with providing the best campus experience possible for student-athletes. That will require additional resources, so jump-starting fundraising will be critical. It continues with meaningful engagement to generate excitement about the program’s possibilities. Then, the program has to close the deal. “We have to win. Winning championships is paramount.” Dec 03, 2018

  • Researcher Wins Third Major Award from American Heart Association

    John Spertus of School of Medicine and Saint Luke’s receives Distinguished Scientist Award
    John Spertus, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine professor and Daniel J. Lauer, M.D., Endowed Chair in Metabolism and Vascular Disease Research, received the American Heart Association’s 2018 Distinguished Scientist Award. Spertus also serves as clinical director of outcomes research at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. The award annually recognizes several prominent scientists and clinicians who have made significant and sustained contributions to advancing the understanding, management and treatment of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Spertus developed technology that guides physicians and patients in medical-decision making by using models to measure and predict the risk factors of various procedures. Many experts cite two tools he created — the Seattle Angina Questionnaire and the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire — as the gold standards for measuring symptoms, function and quality of life in treating coronary artery disease and heart failure. Both have been translated into more than 95 languages. “I am humbled by the honor to be recognized by the AHA for our work to improve the patient-centeredness of care,” Spertus said. “While traditionally the basic sciences are prioritized, to see the work of our community to improve care and outcomes is a terrific validation of the collective efforts of my entire team and colleagues.” This is Spertus’ third major award from the American Heart Association, which he received this month at the AHA Scientific Sessions in Chicago. He previously received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and the Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Distinguished Achievement Award in 2013. “These three prominent awards reflect Dr. Spertus’ national and international stature in lifesaving health outcomes research,” said UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal. “We are proud to have him at UMKC and fortunate that he is in our Kansas City community.” Spertus is the founder of two outcomes research organizations. The Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Consortium and CV Outcomes is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing health care quality and outcomes research in cardiovascular disease. Health Outcomes Sciences is an information technology company that implements precision medicine in clinical care. He is currently leading a regional effort with BioNexus KC and the Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Awards consortium to bring local hospitals together in collaboration to improve the value of health care in Kansas City. Nov 29, 2018

  • Berkley CFDC Celebrates 25 Years

    Milestone service to UMKC and the Kansas City community
    Inside any child care center, you might see small children sharing toys, toddling around their surroundings and making friends with other children. The staff of the UMKC Edgar L. and Rheta A. Berkley Child and Family Development Center see much more. They understand these children are learning critical thinking skills and building the archetype of the brain. Play teaches children how objects work in the world; how people think, feel and act; and how to problem-solve. It is a crucial part of Berkley CFDC, which has served the UMKC campus and Great Kansas City Community for 25 years. The Berkley Child and Family Development Center (CFDC) was established as part of the UMKC School of Education as a 12-month, full-day program serving as a learning laboratory for children from birth through age five. Berkley’s name is in honor of the major benefactor, Rheta Berkley and her husband, Edgar. Berkley was a leading figure and advocate of education and the arts in Kansas City for nearly three-quarters of a century. Berkley CFDC is dedicated to reflecting state-of-the-art practices in early childhood education and working with children and families. “Berkley was built on the vision to provide a progressive, creative approach to early childhood education, a devotion to developing the whole family in that education and a commitment to supporting its employees and the community,” says Polly Prendergast, Director of Berkley CFDC since 2003. Berkley CFDC seeks to raise the quality of early learning in the Kansas City area. The cornerstone of their philosophy is building equal relationships among the family, child and teacher. Berkley CFDC is firmly embedded in constructivism: the theoretical view that learners construct knowledge through interactions with the physical and social environments. Berkley CFDC helps set the stage for these children with the understanding that 85% of intellect, personality and skills are cultivated by age five. Berkley CFDC is inspired by the Schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy and actively studies their approach to education. It is also accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Nationally, only 7 percent of early childhood programs have received this accreditation. Parents are drawn to the program because of Berkley CFDC’s method of incorporating research-based methods into its teaching practices. Both of Rheta Berkley’s great nieces, Sara and Sophie Sosland, enrolled their children at Berkley CFDC. “The fact that Berkley has a clear vision for its approach to education and backs that up by continuing to explore new and better ways to refine and implement that vision is what makes it so great,” says Sara Sosland. She also appreciates how inclusive the program is as well. “I appreciate the value that Berkley places on professional development and continuing education for their own educators, and I think it’s wonderful that they provide those opportunities in-house,” Sara says. “They host opportunities for parents to learn more about infant and child development, and collaborate with other schools across the world.” Berkley CFDC serves 100 students on a daily basis with 20 full-time and 18 part-time staff members. The programs have also grown over the years. “Berkley expanded its infant-toddler program in 2000,” says Pendergast, “and since 2003 preschool enrollment has increased by 20%.” To the parents, the extraordinary care that Berkley CFDC offers makes the center stand out when searching for the right place for their children. “The staff at Berkley is wonderful,” Sophie Sosland says. “They’re warm, attentive, playful, and knowledgeable. We feel very comfortable knowing our son is under their care. And we are extremely pleased with the progress he has made in the last year.” The School of Education also directly impacts the program through teacher preparation. “Students from the School of Education’s early childhood program complete practicum teaching placements with us. Students complete observations and link those observations to their course work,” says Pendergast. “Practicum students, student teachers, interns, and other students from the School of Education are placed and or given assignments to complete here throughout the year.” In addition, this year, Berkley CFDC initiated a community collaboration focused on professional development with St. Mark Center, an urban not-for-profit preschool located near 12th Street and Garfield Avenue. Just like the children they care for, Berkley CFDC will never stop changing, which leaves only more room for growth. They continue to cultivate their programs based off current research and developmentally appropriate practice. “Berkley challenges us to create a revolution in child care,” Prendergast said. Nov 28, 2018

  • Faculty Honored as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

    Wai-Yim Ching is one of 461 leading scientists recognized nationally
    Wai-Yim Ching, Ph.D., Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year 416 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially Wai-Yim Ching, Ph.D., Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year 416 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin Feb. 16 during the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. According to the AAAS, Ching was cited for his distinguished contributions to theory and methods of electronic structure and spectroscopic properties of materials. Ching began teaching at UMKC as an assistant professor of physics in 1978. He quickly rose to a tenured associate professor in 1981 and a full professor in 1984. In 1988, he was named to his current role as a Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Physics. His research and publications cover diverse disciplines, such as condensed matter physics, ceramics and glasses, chemistry, biology, material science, engineering, medical science, geophysics and earth science. He was one of the most cited physicists in the world from 1981 to 1997, with more 2,000 citations of 171 papers. To date, he has published more than 425 papers in peer reviewed journals with total citations over 19,800. He is currently the supervisor of seven Ph.D. students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Since 1978, Ching has brought in nearly $8 million in external support and has been funded by several agencies including the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Defense. Ching was honored with the University of Missouri System President’s Award for Sustained Career Excellence in 2017. The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. This year’s AAAS Fellows will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Nov. 29, 2018. Nov 28, 2018

  • History Professor in Washington Post Story About Medieval Women

    Linda Mitchell discusses the queen at Medieval Times
    “It’s just another form of objectification, isn’t it? To claim that putting a woman on a pedestal gives her power just means that she’s standing somewhere where she can’t get down without help,” said Linda Mitchell, president of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship and a history professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. “If [Medieval Times] wanted to be more authentic, she would be surrounded by women, her ladies-in-waiting. The women around her would be active and engaged.” Read more of the article. Nov 27, 2018

  • Business Insider Article Focuses on School of Education Research

    Berkley Center report says child’s outdoor play is serious
    Research suggests that outdoor play can benefit the mental, emotional and (of course) physical development of children. In the words of a report released by the UMKC School of Education’s Edgar L. and Rheta A. Berkley Child and Family Development Center, “Child’s play is not just all fun and games.” When kids play outdoors in a relatively unstructured manner, they enjoy the benefits of “growth and development of the brain, body, and intellect.” Read the article from Business Insider. Nov 21, 2018

  • Former First Lady Laura Bush and Daughter, Barbara Pierce Bush, to Headline Event

    Starr Women's Hall of Fame induction to honor Kansas City’s greatest women, past and present
    Former First Lady Laura Bush and daughter, Barbara Pierce Bush, will be the featured speakers at the March 22, 2019, induction event for the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame. Laura Bush served as First Lady from 2001 to 2009 during the presidency of her husband, George W. Bush. She is an advocate for education, health care and women’s rights. After leaving the White House, President and Mrs. Bush founded the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. The former First Lady will be interviewed during the event by her daughter, Barbara Pierce Bush, co-founder and board chair of Global Health Corps, which mobilizes a global community of young leaders to build the movement for health equity. The event is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. March 22, 2019, in Swinney Recreation Center on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus. The event will honor the 2019 class of honorees into the Hall of Fame, and tickets are available online. The 10 outstanding women to be honored this year will be announced at a later date. As chair of the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative, Mrs. Bush promotes access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity for women and girls around the world. The Women’s Initiative programs are preparing and empowering the next generation of women leaders in North Africa and the Middle East, working to ensure the expansion and protection of women’s rights in Afghanistan, and engaging and supporting first ladies from around the world to effectively use their unique platforms to advance issues for women and girls in their countries. Global Health Corps was founded in 2009 by six twenty-somethings who were challenged by Peter Piot at the aids2031 Young Leaders Summit to engage their generation in solving the world’s biggest health challenges. Barbara Bush and her co-founders were united by the belief that health is a human right and that their generation must build the world where this is realized. “We are both honored and delighted to have Mrs. Bush headlining this event. She represents the qualities of leadership and service that define this Hall of Fame and its honorees,” said Carol Hallquist, co-chair of the hall of fame planning committee. “Having her daughter, Barbara, participate is a perfect example of the Hall of Fame mission to inspire future generations of women.” The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame is a repository for their legacies. By sharing their stories, the Hall of Fame encourages and inspires women everywhere. Biographies of all of the honorees are available at https://www.umkc.edu/starrhalloffame/hall.cfm. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund, which was established upon her death through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. The idea for the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame stemmed from Starr Education Committee members. A permanent display honoring Hall of Fame members is now open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The library is at 800 E. 51 St., Kansas City, Missouri. The civic organizations that advocate on behalf of women and family issues and have signed on in support of the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame include: American Association of University Women, American Business Women’s Association, Central Exchange, CBIZ Women’s Advantage, Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri, Greater Kansas City Chamber’s Executive Women’s Leadership Council, Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus, Jackson County Missouri Chapter of the Links, Inc.; Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri; KC Metro Latinas, Kansas City Athenaeum, Kansas City Young Matrons, Women Leaders in College Sports, OneKC for Women, SkillBuilders Fund, Soroptimist International of Kansas City, Soroptimist Kansas City Foundation, UMKC, UMKC Women’s Center, UMKC Women’s Council, UMKC Women of Color Leadership Conference, WIN for KC, win|win, Women’s Foundation, Women’s Public Service Network, Zonta International District 7 and Zonta Club of KC II. Nov 19, 2018

  • Student Organization Raises Funds for Latinx Scholarships

    Association of Latin American Students helps Dreamers stay in school
    Kansas City barbecue is good for so many things – besides being a favorite pastime for locals and attracting visitors from across the country to experience what real barbecue tastes like. For University of Missouri-Kansas City juniors Maria Franco (mechanical engineering major with a minor in mathematics) and Bryan Betancourt (finance and management major), a simple invite to a barbecue led to a huge opportunity for their student organization, Association of Latin American Students, to help Latinx students stay in school.ALAS recently participated in a Hispanic Development Fund fundraising campaign and competition that resulted in the student organization raising nearly $9,000 in matching scholarship dollars for Latinx first-generation and DACA students. The group competed against three other universities – Rockhurst University, University of Kansas and Kansas State University – to see who could raise the most money; the winner received a matching gift from the HDF. ALAS outdid their competition by raising $4,400.Franco, ALAS president, said they dedicated the entire month of September, Hispanic Heritage Month, to hosting off-campus fundraisers for the competition. However, according to ALAS treasurer, Betancourt, the majority of their success was a result of direct donations from community members, professors, peers and the students’ individual networks.“We went out and talked to people, told them we were raising money and why,” said Franco, adding that networking and connecting with the community is important to ALAS. The organization has an underlying goal of increasing the Latinx student population at UMKC.As another fundraising – and low-key  recruitment – strategy, ALAS students designed Latinx-inspired button pins for high school students as a way to show them that not only do Latinx students go to college, there are ways to pay it and that “UMKC is the best.”“The Chancellor had my same idea of using ‘La familia’ because that was going to be one our buttons,” she said, adding that the Spanish phrase often used by Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal, in reference to UMKC’s campus community, immediately resonated with her. In fact, Franco said that makes them “best friends now.”The money ALAS raised for scholarships will go back to help DACA students at UMKC pay for school. Area high schools participated in their own division of the competition, as well as local businesses and organizations.Alta Vista High School, a Guadalupe Center charter school, won the high school division of the competition and those scholarship dollars go toward seniors. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers won first place in the professional division and those scholarship funds go toward high school and college students.Betancourt said this opportunity especially means a lot to him because “it’s supporting our Hispanic community, which doesn’t have a lot of the opportunities that others have.”Both Franco and Betancourt are first-generation college students and have had personal experiences with the challenges that come with paying for college.“For most DACA students, this means they’re able to stay in school,” said Franco, who proudly proclaims her DACA status despite its accompanying challenges. “With the way politics work, DACA students have to pay international tuition, so every bit helps.”Betancourt and Franco encourage their peers to save the date for January 1 when the HDF starts accepting scholarship applications. In the meantime, prospective and current students can visit the UMKC Financial Aid website for more scholarship and grant opportunities.Over the past three decades, the Hispanic Development Fund has awarded more than $4.5 million in scholarships to more than 3,000 prospective college students. Their mission is to improve the quality of life of Latino families in Greater Kansas City by engaging the Latino community in philanthropy to build stronger communities through grant making and scholarship support. Nov 15, 2018

  • Prosper with Purpose

    2018 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Emphasize Lasting Legacy of Henry Bloch
    Hundreds of warm hearts and souls traveled to campus on Wednesday, Nov. 14 to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation, and the legacy of Henry W. Bloch, during the 33rd annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards ceremony, hosted by the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.Among this year’s notable honorees were: Steve Case, co-founder of America Online, Henry W. Bloch International Entrepreneur of the Year Toby Rush, founder of EyeVerify, Regional Entrepreneur of the Year Paul DeBruce, founder of the DeBruce Foundation and former Chairman and CEO of DeBruce Grain, Inc., Marion and John Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship Andrea Savage, business administration senior, Student Entrepreneur Award James “Jim” E. Stowers Jr. and Virginia G. Stowers, founders of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, 2018 Entrepreneur Hall of Fame inductees  The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards event has been an iconic Kansas City tradition since 1985. Beyond its philanthropic cause of supporting the Regnier Institute, this event is a valuable forum where Kansas City CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, industry legends, world-class faculty and students alike are able to celebrate a common passion – entrepreneurship and innovation. Especially important this year was the event’s return to campus as a way to honor the legacy of Henry Bloch, the endowed namesake of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management and its Bloch Executive Hall. “We brought the Entrepreneur Awards back to the Bloch School this year because there is no better place to recognize the man who has given so much not only to UMKC, but to the Kansas City community.”– Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal One of the more prominent themes of the evening focused on Henry Bloch’s lasting legacy and his entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit. “At the Bloch School, we strive to follow the example offered by our beloved benefactor, Mr. Henry Bloch. Henry embodies the philosophy of working hard, doing well, and giving back.”-Brian Klaas, Dean of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management Prior to the awards ceremony. students had an opportunity to put their venture creation ideas on display. Projects ranged from a website for group travel planning, disability resource services, autonomous aerial vehicles and more. Senior Andrea Savage accepted the Student Entrepreneur Award for her role as project leader for UMKC Enactus’ FeedKC project, which identified the dual problems of food waste and hunger in Kansas City. In addition to diverting over a ton of edible meals to organizations and people in need, she has taken the additional step of creating a scalable mobile application to create a sustainable solution that can be used across the country.  “I’d like to thank the Bloch School faculty who have boldened and equipped me to make a difference in the world.”– Andrea Savage, business administration senior, 2018 Student Entrepreneur Award. Food for Thought from 2018 EOY Honorees According to this year’s International Entrepreneur of the Year, Steve Case, entrepreneurs are the job creation engine of almost every community. “If we care about our communities we need to make sure we are embracing, mentoring and celebrating the next generation of entrepreneurs.”Case, most known for co-founding AOL, works with civic leaders across the country to champion efforts to jumpstart entrepreneurship. “This a great entrepreneurial nation and I am proud to be a part of it, but when it comes to startup funding it does matter where you live, what you look like and who you know, and we are trying to find ways to level the playing field.”– Steve Case  To that end, Toby Rush, Regional Entrepreneur Award honoree said though he’s traveled all over the world and has achieved much business success, the key to living a fulfilled life is in relationships. “If you invest deeply and often in relationships, you will forever have treasure.”– Toby Rush, founder of EyeVerify, Regional Entrepreneur Award winner It was evident that many of this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year honorees live by a much similar principle. A principle that Paul DeBruce, founder of the DeBruce Foundation, displayed when he dedicated his Social Entrepreneur Award to his team as he “is simply a facilitator for [former UMKC Chancellor] Leo Morton, [DeBruce Foundation executive director] Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, our astute board members and our very talented and passionate staff.”  “We join UMKC, the Bloch School and Regnier Institute in nurturing the next generation of social entrepreneurs who will forever change the world for the better.”– Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, executive director of the DeBruce Foundation Jim and Virignia Stowers’ investments continue to change the world for the better. Sixty years after they founded American Century, the company oversees billions of dollars in assets. This was the company that allowed them to use their wealth to invest back into the lives of others through medical research. The Stowers Institutute, founded in 1994; and BioMed Valley Discoveries, founded in 2002; have received billions of dollars in resources to search for new insights into biology and disease.  “At the Stowers Institute and at BioMed Valley Discoveries, I see people every day who are inspired and guided by Jim and Virginia’s words and deeds. ‘Prosper with Purpose.’  ‘Hope for Life.’ ‘The best is yet to be.’ ‘Do the right thing.’ ‘Trust the team.’ ‘Plan for the long term.’ ”– David Chao, president and CEO of Stowers Institute, BioMed Valley board member accepting award on behalf of the late Jim and Virginia Stowers. Event organizers say each of the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year honorees embody Henry Bloch’s entrepreneurial spirit, community engagement and generous philanthropy. Their stories speak of hard work, perseverance and the importance of paying it forward for generations to come.Henry Bloch celebrated his 96th birthday last July and 96 entrepreneurs donated $96,000 ($1000 each) in his honor to the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Nov 15, 2018

  • UMKC Names New Athletic Director

    Introducing Dr. Brandon Martin
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City launched a national search in September to find a proven leader who could transform its Division I athletics program, one who could continue its long history of success in developing scholar-athletes while rallying more wins, greater fan support and increased revenue. UMKC announced its pick: Brandon Martin, Ph.D. “Brandon Martin is, first and foremost, an educator. That’s how it should be. He was a true scholar-athlete as a basketball player at the University of Southern California, and he will lead true scholar-athletes at UMKC,” said Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal. “He is coming here to build a tradition that our campus and community can rally around with enthusiasm and pride, and I am confident that he will succeed.” Martin most recently served as athletic director for California State University, Northridge. His history as a scholar-athlete dates even farther back, to when he played basketball at the University of Southern California and earned a Bachelor of Science, Master of Education and Doctor of Education there. He received the Outstanding Dissertation of the Year from the USC Rossier School of Education, “A Phenomenological Study of Academically Driven African American Male Student-Athletes at Highly Selective Division I Universities.” Martin served as a faculty member at the Division I schools where he also was an athletics department leader, at USC and the University of Oklahoma, where he hired men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger. He has presented more than 40 papers, symposia and workshops at national higher education conferences. In 2014, Martin was appointed to the NCAA Committee on Academics. “I always had a passion for education. I always knew that I would become a teacher,” Martin said. “I wanted to work in college athletics, but I wanted to be connected to the true fabric and true mission of a university. I knew that I needed a terminal degree.” Martin served as athletics director at CSUN, from 2013 to earlier this year. While at that Division I program he: Oversaw a $15.8 million operating budget, 19 sports and 350 student-athletes Raised $1 million in his first 100 days Increased athletics donations by 453 percent Increased student attendance at men’s basketball games by 71 percent Was named one of Los Angeles’ 100 most influential African-Americans Martin’s goals for UMKC Athletics are straightforward: Become a Top 100 Division I program. Win Western Athletic Conference championships and earn NCAA tournament berths. Provide a first-rate campus life experience for scholar-athletes while producing graduates who not only earn degrees but develop as leaders for campus and community. UMKC won two WAC regular season championships last year, three WAC post-season championships and contributed more than 2,000 community service hours to the Kansas City area. UMKC student-athletes also excel academically, carrying an average 3.3 GPA. Martin takes the helm of UMKC Athletics on Dec. 3, 2018. He will be joined by his wife, Rosemary, and their children Germany, Riley and Brandon Jr. He is excited about his future at UMKC and in the community. “Kansas City is a great sport town, so we just have to get people engaged,” said Martin, who as a senior associate athletics director at Oklahoma made annual trips to Kansas City for the Big 12 basketball tournament. “There’s really no ceiling on how great we can become.” What they’re saying about Brandon Martin: “UMKC made a tremendous hire. Dr. Martin understands the business of college sports while maintaining genuine care for student-athletes. It’s a rare mix. Go ‘Roos.” -Greg Moore, baseball coach, California State University, Northridge “It was a joy to work alongside Dr. Martin as a colleague in the Big West Conference. He’s an authentic communicator who has proven to be impactful in leading coaches, staff, student-athletes and key stakeholders. Brandon will no doubt build and advance UMKC’s legacy.” -Tamica Smith Jones, athletics director, University of California, Riverside “Dr. Martin is a rising star in our industry. His tenure at CSUN was nothing short of extraordinary. His integrity and core values allowed him to set a standard of excellence at CSUN and within the Big West Conference. UMKC made a fine choice in hiring Brandon Martin.” –Dennis Farrell, commissioner, Big West Conference “Brandon Martin is an excellent choice. He is a highly passionate and extremely capable administrator who genuinely cares about student-athletes and their entire experience – from athletics to academics. In Brandon, the Kangaroos are getting a leader who will wholeheartedly dedicate himself to getting positive results.” –Dan Guerrero, director of athletics, UCLA “Brandon has an unwavering focus on the success of the student-athletes in the classroom and on the fields of play. He will work with the administration, coaches, staff and student-athletes to drive championship performance in sports, academics and in their personal growth.” –Warde Manuel, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics, University of Michigan “Dr. Martin’s knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for his work was evident in the interview process. I am excited to work closely with Brandon to continue the forward momentum of Roos athletics.” -Kathy Nelson, president and CEO, Kansas City Sports Commission & Foundation “I’m grateful for the time Dr. Brandon Martin served as an excellent member of my senior leadership team here at Oklahoma. UMKC is getting a dynamic leader but an even better person. He possesses the ability to convey a vision, create energy, collaborate with stakeholders and inspire a culture of integrity and success with the focus on student-athletes. Brandon will connect and engage with everyone who can support the Roos.” -Joseph R. Castiglione Sr., athletics director, University of Oklahoma “Dr. Martin not only brings several years of administrative experience, but he also brings tremendous scholarly expertise. He conducts research, publishes studies, and presents at an impressive array of national conferences. Brandon also has significant teaching experience. This is very rare for an athletics director. The UMKC faculty will respect him and appreciate the intellectual leadership he brings to the University and its athletics department.” –Shaun R. Harper, provost professor and USC Race and Equity Center executive director, University of Southern California “Dr. Brandon Martin is the ideal practitioner-scholar in higher education. He will do transformative things within UMKC Athletics and the campus community.” –C. Keith Harrison, associate professor, DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program, University of Central Florida “UMKC has hired an outstanding person to lead their athletics program. Dr. Martin has all of the educational preparation and practical experience to excel. I look forward to working with Brandon and watching his leadership.” –Bob Bowlsby, commissioner, Big 12 Conference Nov 14, 2018

  • Political Science Faculty Co-Writes Washington Post Analysis

    Rebecca Best detailed why so many veterans successfully ran as Democrats
    Best is an assistant professor of political science at UMKC. She teamed up with Jeremy M. Teigen to write this article for the Washington Post: “An unprecedented number of veterans ran as Democrats this year. Here’s why they were unusually successful.” Read the article. Nov 14, 2018

  • Surprise Scholarships Delivered to 42 High Schools

    UMKC, KC Scholars partner on $20 million in new scholarships
    > Watch the video presentation  Paseo High School seniors Nakyiah Hopkins and Diamond Sparks were called to a meeting at Manual Career Tech Center, where they are studying emergency medicine. They thought they were meeting with the principal.But no. Surprise! Each won a $50,000 scholarship to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Both of their faces went from big eyes to smiles to tears.“Wow, I’m so happy, so happy,” Hopkins said, wiping her eyes. She wants to become a physician, and had already applied to UMKC. “African-American doctors…there aren’t many of us. This is such awesome news.”“$50,000 – I can really go to college,” said Sparks, who wants to be a nurse.“Congratulations, I’m so excited for you both! What a wonderful way to start the day,” said UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph. D, who was there to deliver these life-changers along with Beth Tankersley-Bankhead, president and CEO of KC Scholars. Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal hugs Diamond Sparks, a senior at Paseo High School who wants to be a nurse.  UMKC and KC Scholars are expanding their existing partnership to create college opportunities for an additional 400 low- to modest-income students from the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area over the next nine years.Agrawal announced the expanded scholarship program during his State of the University address on campus Nov. 8. UMKC and KC Scholars are each contributing $10 million, for a total commitment of $20 million. Nicholas Berns-Hoyt and Joselyn Aldaco Cortes, seniors at Shawnee Mission West High School, were surprised with scholarships. “I can’t stop smiling,” said Berns-Hoyt, who wants to study civil engineering “I didn’t know whether college was a possibility,” said Aldaco Cortes, who is interested in studying art history. KC Scholars, launched in 2016, currently awards approximately 500 college scholarships annually for students from the KC metro area to attend one of 17 partner colleges and universities in Missouri and Kansas, including UMKC. There are 46 recipients of KC Scholars grants currently enrolled at UMKC. The new funding will support 400 additional UMKC scholarships over the next nine years, each worth $10,000 per year.“We are taking our partnership with the KC Scholars organization to a whole new level,” Agrawal said during the address. “KC Scholars provides financial aid and other forms of support to low- and modest-income families in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area so that young people can attend college. Unfortunately, there are far more students who qualify for this assistance than KC Scholars has the resources to serve. So I am proud to say that UMKC is stepping up to meet that challenge. As the university that was created to serve this community, this is our role and our responsibility.” “This is so cool!” said Harrison Breshears, a senior at Lee’s Summit West High School, who wants to major in graphic design. The UMKC commitment is the first scholarship match program to be offered by any of the four University of Missouri System universities under a new program announced by UM System President Mun Choi on Sept. 14 in his “Excellence Through Innovation: A New University of Missouri System” address. Choi said the UM System would invest $100 million in new scholarship programs, including $75 million for Promise and Opportunity Scholarships available to students based on need. The scholarship investment is a major component of $260 million in total investments by UM System for strategic priorities over the next five years.“In its first two award cycles, KC Scholars had 1,900 eligible 11th-grade applicants that went unfunded because we simply did not have enough scholarship dollars,” said Jan Kreamer, chair of the KC Scholars board of directors. “We are grateful to UMKC for providing a life-changing opportunity to attend college for 400 additional students with this gift.” Nov 09, 2018

  • Hornsby and Parisi Named Curators’ Distinguished Professors

    UMKC, KC Scholars partner on $20 million in new scholarships
    The Board of Curators of the University of Missouri voted to name two UMKC faculty members as Curators’ Distinguished Professors: Jeff Hornsby, Ph.D.; and Joe Parisi, Ph.D.Hornsby is Henry W. Bloch/Missouri Endowed Chair and director of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship Innovation at the Bloch School of Management. Earlier this year, the UM System named him its Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year. He joined the UMKC faculty in 2013.Parisi is professor of instrumental Music Education and associate director of bands at the Conservatory of Music and Dance. He also is director of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at UMKC. He also is conductor and music director of the Fountain City Brass Band. He joined the UMKC faculty in 2002.Hornsby and Parisi each received a letter from UM System President Mun Choi informing them of the honor.As a Curators’ Distinguished Professor, they each will receive a $10,000 annual stipend — $5,000 will serve as an increase in annual compensation and the other $5,000 will be available for professional expenses associated with teaching, research or creative activities.The term of appointment is five years, and it can be renewed at the discretion of the chancellor.Here’s a master list of UMKC faculty named Curators’ professors. Nov 09, 2018

  • Geosciences Professor’s Research Cited in New York Times

    Fengpeng Sun co-authored study on California wildfire seasons
    The 2015 study that suggests that California has two distinct fire seasons. One, which runs from June through September and is driven by a combination of warmer and drier weather, is the Western fire season that most people think of. Those wildfires tend to be more inland, in higher-elevation forests. But Sun and his co-authors also identified a second fire season that runs from October through April and is driven by the Santa Ana winds. Those fires tend to spread three times faster and burn closer to urban areas, and they were responsible for 80 percent of the economic losses over two decades beginning in 1990. Read more of the article “Why Does California Have So Many Wildfires?” Nov 09, 2018

  • Media Promotes $20 Million in New Scholarships at UMKC

    KC Scholars partnership receives national and regional attention
    he University of Missouri Kansas City expects to hand out 400 more scholarships to low- and moderate-income students, thanks to a partnership with a local nonprofit. UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal announced Thursday during his state-of-the-campus address that the university is partnering with KC Scholars to expand its scholarship program. UMKC and KC Scholars will each contribute $10 million into the program. Read more in The Kansas City Star Read more in U.S. News and World Report Read more in the Associated Press Read more in the Kansas City Business Journal Read more by KCTV Channel 5 Nov 09, 2018

  • $20 Million in New Scholarships

    Chancellor delivers the good news in his first State of the University address
    > Watch Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal’s State of the University address online. Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D., announced $20 million in new scholarships November 8 as the capstone to his first State of the University address.The address focused on key themes and objectives in Agrawal’s vision for the university he has led since June, and also provided an opportunity to shine a spotlight on outstanding students, faculty and staff.“True greatness can be achieved here,” Agrawal said. “UMKC has the potential to move into the top ranks of the great urban public research universities in America. All of the ingredients needed are already here – we just need to put them together in the correct fashion.” UMKC Women’s Soccer has achieved great success this season. They won their conference in the regular season and performed at a high level in academics, posting a team average GPA of 3.75. Agrawal’s address outlined his vision for a renewed and enhanced partnership between the Greater Kansas City community and UMKC, which was established by and for that community. That vision calls for strategic investment in several key areas, including student success, research, community engagement and an enhanced student life experience on campus.“This is a campus, and a community, on the rise,” Agrawal said. “We can address both our short-term needs and achieve true greatness in the long term. Spectacular can happen here. I believe that we are called upon to ensure that it does happen here.”Commitment to the success of current and future students is at the core of Agrawal’s vision, and starts with making higher education more affordable to more students within the Kansas City community. Breana Boger helped the Honors College increase enrollment from 120 to 400 students since June 2015. Her approach is to understand the complex picture of a student’s entire life situation and use that knowledge to empower each student to solve their own problems and to seek excellence in everything they do. “KC Scholars provides financial aid and other forms of support to low- and modest-income families in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area so that young people can attend college,” Agrawal said. “Unfortunately, there are far more students who qualify for this assistance than KC Scholars has the resources to serve. So, I am proud to say that UMKC is stepping up to meet that challenge. As the university that was created to serve this community, this is our role and our responsibility.”The new need-based scholarships announced by Agrawal are being funded by $10 million from KC Scholars, $5 million from UMKC and $5 million from the UM System’s new Promise & Opportunity Scholarship program.KC Scholars, launched in 2016, currently awards approximately 500 college scholarships annually for students from the KC metro area to attend one of 17 partner colleges and universities in Missouri and Kansas, including UMKC. There are 46 recipients of KC Scholars grants currently enrolled at UMKC. The new funding will support 400 additional scholarships over the next nine years, each worth $10,000 per year, for students enrolling at UMKC.Agrawal also stressed the university’s public service mission throughout the address. Among the initiatives he announced: Improving and expanding student housing on campus Improving graduation rates Increasing enrollment by 50 percent over 10 years Doubling research grants over a span of 10 years Establishing a Data Science Institute to leverage existing campus strengths in Big Data and Big Learning Establishing a task force to explore potential new programming and uses for the historic Epperson House and potential new funding streams to rehabilitate and maintain the building Increasing service learning opportunities for students bringing the level of student engagement to 75 percent in five years, and 90 percent in 10 years Exploring ways to enable capital projects such as the Conservatory, the renovation of the labs in the Spencer Chemistry building, phase I of a new shared facility in the UMKC Health Science District and renovating parts of the Bloch School Salem Habte is an undergraduate student in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. She exemplifies the Twin Pillars philosophy of school benefactor Henry Bloch because she believes in addressing problems in the world by using a business model. In the pursuit of excellence in engagement, UMKC will look for ways to increase community partnerships to address cultural, social, health and economic prosperity in the greater Kansas City region. “Our new strategic plan makes one point very clear: our foundational commitment as a university is to provide an unwavering commitment to the development of our people,” Agrawal said. Jane Greer, professor of English, is a gifted researcher. Her leadership has helped make undergraduate research opportunities a hallmark for UMKC, a factor that plays a critical role in attracting outstanding undergraduates to UMKC. To follow through on that commitment, Agrawal has tasked one of the university’s outstanding longtime leaders to develop and oversee an enhanced faculty development structure. Lawrence Dreyfus, Ph.D., has accepted the new position of Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Research Support, effective January 1. In just the past two years, Kun Cheng has been awarded three National Institutes of Health grant awards totaling more than 4.7 million dollars. He is an outstanding example of the greatness that is possible at UMKC. In Agrawal’s listening tour on campus, he has heard a lot from faculty, staff and students about the need to increase attention and service to mental health and well-being. As a result, a task force has been formed to review the state of mental health services. The goal is to take inventory of the campus resources, determine the level of preparedness to respond, identify gaps and develop recommendations for improvements.“My personal commitment is to ensure that we have the right services on campus, staffed at appropriate levels that work seamlessly together,” Agrawal said. “We will also explore ways to provide more professional training and mentorship for our staff so that they can have potential career ladders. This must also be a part of a strong infrastructure. Nate Thomas, associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion at the School of Medicine, plays a critical role in implementing programs to support UMKC students and help them stay in school, overcome obstacles and succeed. Lastly, Agrawal said he will work hard to create a culture of “la familia” or “we are family” on the UMKC campus. This will start with first ensuring a high level of customer service.“This cannot be mandated, but has to be a change from within all of us – a change of attitude where service to others is more important than our own personal benefit,” Agrawal said. “We all will need to be role models – each and every one of us. At UMKC we have a lot to be proud of – both in our history and in our present. But we still have a lot more to do until we achieve excellence in everything we do. I will work alongside you as we march toward this goal. As others see our resolve they will join us.” Nov 08, 2018

  • Crescendo: Rhythm of a City

    UMKC Conservatory dazzles at scholarship fundraising event
    Nov 06, 2018

  • UM System Offers New Express License to Faculty Entrepreneurs

    To encourage entrepreneurship, the University of Missouri System is now offering a fast-track express license for faculty and staff inventors, enab...
    Each year, UM System faculty create startup companies based on their innovations in research and new technologies. The startups bring in research discoveries to the marketplace and contribute to the university’s $5.4 billion annual impact in the state. “Scientific, business and legal experts in our UM System technology advancement offices help faculty commercialize their innovations by pursuing patents and negotiating licenses with companies interested in further developing university innovations,” said Mark McIntosh, UM System vice president for research and economic development and MU vice chancellor for research, graduate studies and economic development. “Our new express license makes this process easier to navigate, reduces barriers and streamlines contract negotiations for faculty and staff interested in obtaining a license for their startup company.” Licenses and other intellectual-property agreements allow companies to access the rights to university-owned inventions. Eric Anderson, director of the UMKC Office of Technology Commercialization, said that while each technology advancement office within the UM System is responsible for managing and licensing technologies developed at their university, the express license is built as a one-size fits-all. “The express license’s terms are predefined and advantageous to faculty,” said Anderson, “and the UM System may pay for a portion of the patent expense, which is usually an impediment for a startup.” The office offers individual assistance to faculty members. Moving an invention from the university to the marketplace is often a lengthy process that requires education, networking and advocacy. “Before, we negotiated licenses individually and went back and forth on language and terms,” said Anderson. “The express license offers a two percent patent royalty rate. That rate usually ranges anywhere from three to 10 percent.” In order to start the discussion about an invention, faculty members need to submit an Invention Disclosure Form. Disclosures come from all across campus, but the majority arise from the STEM units: engineering, pharmaceutical science, biology and chemistry. The door is open, however, for any faculty and employees (graduate students, postdocs and staff) who are inventors and have interest in obtaining a license for their startup company. Anderson hopes that the express license will offer a new avenue for those who were previously deterred or discouraged. For more information about the express license, view the guidelines and contact Eric Anderson. Nov 05, 2018

  • Podcast Created by UMKC English Professor has Global Reach

    Whitney Terrell discusses seeing news through the lens of literature
    Writers have a lot to say. And books and magazines are not always the best places for them to express themselves.That’s what UMKC Associate Professor of English Whitney Terrell thought.“I read news stories and kept thinking there was something already written about this,” says Terrell. “I noticed in my Twitter and Facebook feeds that writers were more politically active than ever before, which started during the last election. But no one ever asked writers what they thought about what is going on in the world.”They needed more than to be asked, though. They needed a platform on which to answer.Terrell came up with the idea for a podcast a little over a year ago. The result is Fiction/Non/Fiction, a podcast hosted by Terrell and University of Minnesota professor V.V. Ganeshananthan.There was nothing out there like it. Whereas social media feeds and television are populated with political pundits and, on occasion, celebrities, Fiction/Non/Fiction comes alive with the voices of Terrell, Ganeshananthan and guests who range from novelists to poets to journalists.Past episodes have included appearances by award-winning writers such as Tayari Jones, Edwidge Danitcat, Thomas Frank, and Curtis Sittenfeld. Fiction/Non/Fiction has featured the Washington Post’s chief book critic, Ron Charles, and the editor of the New York Times Book Review, Pamela Paul.UMKC already boasted one established radio show and podcast: UMKC Professor Angela Elam’s New Letters on the Air, which invites writers to discuss their work and is the longest continuously- running broadcast of a national literary radio series. But this podcast would be different. It would connect the constant stream of news with writers’ opinions and ideas.“Writers have a political voice in this country in the realm of fiction and nonfiction,” says Terrell.Terrell took his idea to Literary Hub, one of the biggest literature websites in the U.S. Terrell had written a few pieces for Literary Hub, and the site had posted an excerpt of his latest novel, The Good Lieutenant. According to the website, Literary Hub is a “single, trusted daily source for all news, ideas and richness of contemporary literary life.”He reached out to Jonny Diamond, editor of the website, and pitched the idea. To Diamond, the idea of launching the podcast was a no-brainer.“It’s all about giving writers a platform to talk about ideas and the things going on in our world that they may already be writing about,” says Diamond.The news would now be seen through the lens of literature.And it would not just offer the outlet for writers. The podcast would include critics, book reviewers, poets, anyone who wrote about the world around them.Diamond explained that letting writers discuss politics and world events is not a new idea.“There is a great tradition, in Italy and France and other parts of Europe, where in talk shows, they ask writers to talk about what is going in the world, rather than only political analysts.”He added that the idea of the podcast fit in nicely with Literary Hub’s mission.“Literary Hub helps books and writers maintain and regain prominence in cultural conversations,” he says.With the green light, Terrell sought out Ganeshananthan, a professor at the University of Minnesota, as his co-host. In October 2017, Fiction/Non/Fiction launched.“We did the whole thing from scratch,” says Terrell. “And ever since, the response has been really positive.”They now have a world-wide audience, from the U.S to Australia to French territories. Currently, the highest concentration of listeners reside in New York, California, Massachusetts and Missouri. Most recently, an episode that discussed the ins and outs of applying to MFA programs, and featured UMKC professor Hadara Bar-Nadav prominently, reached as far as Jordan.With 40,000 downloads and subscribers from all over the world, Fiction/Non/Fiction allows its subscribers to explore the news of today with the novels and published works of the present and past. Nov 02, 2018

  • Recipe for Healthy Neighborhoods: Mix Well

    Alumnus Tony Salazar builds modern, thriving communities
    Tony Salazar has a recipe for healthy, thriving neighborhoods. The ingredients may vary a bit from place to place, but the directions are always the same. Mix well. Salazar, a UMKC alumnus, is a successful real estate developer whose focus is on distressed urban neighborhoods across the country. But while the result of many urban developments is gentrification that drives lower-income residents out, Salazar preaches – and practices – a holistic approach based on mixed-income housing and mixed-use tracts. In many cases, it even involves mixed-use individual buildings. The result is stabilized neighborhoods in which newcomers blend with longtime residents, while people, local businesses – and the developer – all thrive. Salazar discussed his approach to neighborhood-building at the annual National Hispanic Heritage Month Lecture, co-sponsored by UMKC’s Latinx and Latin American Studies Program; Association of Latin American Students; the departments of Economics and Architecture, Urban Planning + Design; and numerous community partners. Salazar is president of west coast operations for McCormack Baron Salazar, a firm he co-founded. He was born and raised in Kansas City, and is one of 14 members of his family to hold UMKC degrees. The key to his approach, he said, is not to segregate people by race or economics. His multi-family buildings typically combine market-rate units with “affordable” units subsidized by a variety of government aid programs. Affordable units are not segregated to a single floor or wing, but sprinkled throughout the property. “No one knows who is affordable and who is market,” he said. Redevelopment of distressed urban neighborhoods must be a planned process, he said, and usually involving public-private partnerships. That way, the newly developed neighborhood will have all the necessary ingredients for success – anchors such as churches and schools, mixed-income housing, retail, transportation, open space and health care. “It doesn’t happen automatically. You have to look at it holistically and make sure all of the ingredients are there,” Salazar said. “Layout, landscaping, illumination – they all matter.” In one project in California, he said, “I put units that sold for $775,000 next to units that rented for $500 a month. And I sold every one.” “I dispelled the myth that people with different incomes won’t live together. It’s absolutely not so,” Salazar added. Economic segregation is a modern anomaly from most of human history, he said, driven by practices of the modern real estate industry. This kind of redevelopment require government to play a financial role, he said in response to an audience question about tax incentives. His projects typically are financed with a combination of federal housing grants, private investment and local or state historic tax credits. “Otherwise, it’s not going to get built.” Nov 02, 2018

  • KCSourceLink Will Leverage EDA Grant and Community Matching Dollars

    University Center Economic Development Grant will support infrastructure for entrepreneurs, job creation and corporate engagement
    The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that KCSourceLink, a program of the Innovation Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, will be awarded a second grant to continue its work as a University Center Economic Development Program to spur entrepreneurship, economic growth and job creation. KCSourceLink received its first University Center Program grant in 2013. “KCSourceLink and the University of Missouri-Kansas City have made great strides to cultivate an environment where entrepreneurship can flourish and entrepreneurs can pursue their dreams,” said Angie Martinez, regional director of the U.S. Economic Development Administration. “The EDA is proud to once again partner with KCSourceLink to make resources more visible and accessible for all entrepreneurs and to deliver such strong outcomes for the Kansas City economy and community.” The five-year grant, awarded by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, will be awarded in annual installments. The grant is being matched with financial support from Kansas City’s corporate leaders, civic organizations and foundations. Organizations and people who have committed to support KCSourceLink’s work of building an infrastructure to connect, empower and measure Kansas City entrepreneurship include, among others: Black & VeatchBurns & McDonnellCity of Kansas City, MissouriThe Illig Family FoundationDairy Farmers of AmericaSS&C DST SystemsGlobal PrairieHall Family FoundationJE Dunn ConstructionEwing Marion Kauffman FoundationKCP&LKemper Family FoundationDeBruce FoundationThe PNC Financial Services GroupRegnier Family FoundationsJack F. and Glenna Y. Wylie Charitable Foundation “SS&C began as a startup, so we know the importance of supporting entrepreneurs and innovation to move our industry forward. Our largest global office is in Kansas City, and we’re committed to the communities in which we operate,” said Bill Stone, chairman and CEO, SS&C Technologies. “SS&C DST has a long history of supporting Kansas City and we’re proud to renew our commitment with KCSourceLink.” Building America’s Most Entrepreneurial City Starts with Entrepreneurial Infrastructure “Our community is stronger and more entrepreneurial because of the work, vision and grit of KCSourceLink and its founder, Maria Meyers,” said Anne St. Peter, founder of Global Prairie and member of the KCSourceLink board of advisors. “We are proud to be working with KCSourceLink in our collective quest to make KC America’s most entrepreneurial city.” For the past five years, KCSourceLink’s University Center Program has used university assets to support young firms that create jobs by connecting them to just-in-time resources to start and grow business in Kansas City. KCSourceLink will continue to build on its programs, partnerships and progress toward making Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city, a community goal framed in 2011 by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, with its first University Center Program grant, KCSourceLink developed a series of metrics to measure the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region in six key areas: 1) access to capital, 2) corporate engagement, 3) talent, 4) pipeline of opportunity, 5) awareness of Kansas City as a region for entrepreneurship and 6) technical resources. Research completed in 2016 revealed that Kansas City has made measurable progress in finding capital for its early-stage companies and raising the awareness of the KC entrepreneurial ecosystem. But the research also found that corporate engagement still remains weak. To address this gap, KCSourceLink will work with local corporations to define and implement interventions that draw corporations and entrepreneurs together, creating access to industry research, investment, customer acquisition, connections and expertise, leading to jobs for the community. “The UMKC Innovation Center and KCSourceLink play a leading role in the region’s initiative to advance entrepreneurship and drive innovation in Kansas City,” said UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal. “We are pleased to have the support of the Economic Development Administration and our local private-sector corporate partners to provide additional support to our entrepreneurs who create new ideas, businesses and jobs in our community.” The Right Resources at the Right Time The first task completed under the new grant award: a refreshed website with a more streamlined user experience for doers, makers, creators and entrepreneurs eager to find the resources they need to start and grow businesses in Kansas City. At KCSourceLink.com, aspiring and established entrepreneurs can access a smart database of resources for their industry and challenge; review and download entrepreneurial guides for starting, growing and funding business in Kansas City; and get inspired by the journeys of other KC entrepreneurs. And when they have question about their particular business or just need help with their next step, they can reach out to KCSourceLink’s Network Navigators via email or phone to get a personal action plan to help move their business forward. KCSourceLink uses the aggregated data from its website and one-on-one referrals to build community-wide collaborations to fill gaps in services and advance entrepreneurship in Kansas City. In recent years, KCSourceLink-led collaborations have improved access to capital for early-stage entrepreneurs, resulting in nearly a billion dollars in available capital. Discover other research, collaborations and their impact at WeCreateKC.com, KCSourceLink’s research portal. Over the next five years, KCSourceLink will focus on building regional collaborations with university, government, community and business leaders to further identify and fill gaps in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. KCSourceLink’s previous work increased available capital, advancing its mission to establish Kansas City as a financial hub for entrepreneurs. Identifying gaps has helped KCSourceLink create an action plan and collaborations to increase corporate engagement in KC entrepreneurship. And most importantly, KCSourceLink will continue to build inclusivity and assist every entrepreneur at any stage of business. To that effort, it will support distressed areas of the community to create economic mobility through access to funding, knowledge and resources. “Our goal is to strengthen the fundamental building blocks of a prosperous and innovation-centric economy by building better connections between entrepreneurs, resources, capital, talent and the greater KC community,” said Maria Meyers, founder of KCSourceLink, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center and vice provost of economic development at UMKC. “We know entrepreneurship doesn’t just add value to our society by way of startups, innovations and jobs. For many, it’s a path to economic independence, hope and prosperity.” Nov 01, 2018

  • An Un-Trivial Pursuit

    University gained the national spotlight as first interracial team in televised trivia competition
    A package arrived at the UMKC Alumni Association office last year. Inside was a single sheet of paper with a contact name and phone number. It also included a medal, tucked inside bubble wrap. The medal, with “GE College Bowl” embossed on one side and “Alvin F. Easter University of Kansas City” engraved on the other, is a small reminder of the big impact four students had on the university in 1963. Right around the time the University of Kansas City (UKC) announced its plans to merge with the University of Missouri System to become the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the school was chosen to compete on the popular television show “GE College Bowl.” The program, sponsored by General Electric, pitted two colleges, each with a team of four, against each other in a trivia showdown. The young men chosen to represent UKC — Team Captain Elbert Hayes (B.S. ’63), Phil Marcus (B.A. ’63), Bill Williams (B.A. ’65) and Alvin Easter (B.A. ’67) — began an accelerated study program to prepare for the trivia show. Easter, a freshman who skipped a grade in high school and was just 17 at the time, specialized in history and cinema. Hayes was the music and science enthusiast. Marcus focused on sports and literature, while Williams was the expert on art, geography and nursery rhymes. Their skillsets were certainly impressive, but this team was different from every other in one important way: Hayes was black, making him the first African-American to compete on the program and UKC the first interracial team. Their appearance on “GE College Bowl” drew criticism from some and even resulted in death threats for the team. But on a Sunday afternoon the UKC team took the stage, undeterred. Accompanying photo caption from the Kansas City Times on Feb. 18, 1962 [sic]: A team of four University of Kansas City students will compete Sunday for scholastic honors on the national television program, “College Bowl.” Left to right, Elbert L. Hayes, science; Alvin Easter, history; Phil Marcus, literature, and Bill Williams, fine arts. They will match erudition with the university’s alternate team at a warm-up session at 8:30 o’clock Wednesday night in room 214 of the Law building, Fifty-second street and Rockhill road. It will be open to the public. Alternate team members are Dan Creasy, Mike Edwards, Grover Walker and Steve Wheelock. Dr. Walter Murrish, forensic director at the university, is the team’s coach and will accompany them when it faces a group from Norwich university, Northville, Vt., in New York. UKC’s episode of “GE College Bowl” was taped live on Feb. 24, 1963. UKC was competing against Norwich University from Northville, Vermont. Easter, who sent his medal to the UMKC Alumni Association for its archives, says he still recalls a few of the questions posed during the show: naming a photo of the crab nebula, the date of the Battle of the Alamo and identifying a line from “Death of a Salesman.” Ultimately, the team bested Norwich and won $1,500 for the UKC Scholarship Fund. Back in Kansas City, the university was abuzz with excitement. It was the first time UKC had received national media attention, and the win united campus. Hundreds of students watched the contest to support their hometown team, and many showed up at the airport to give the team a hero’s welcome. Although they didn’t claim victory during their next matchup against Wake Forest on Sunday, March 3, the team still received an additional $500 for the UKC Scholarship Fund and a place in university history. This article first appeared in the 2018 issue of Perspectives, the UMKC alumni magazine.   Nov 01, 2018

  • History of the Haag Hall Don Quixote Mural

    Mural by Luis Quintanilla captures an enduring, pre-World War II point of view and has special connection for one Kansas Citian
    Every year, hundreds of students, faculty, staff and visitors pass the vibrant murals of Luis Quintanilla, the Spanish expatriate who spent part of his exile from Spain creating the work for the University of Kansas City (UKC). Julián Zugazagoitia, director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, has a compelling connection to the murals — one he only discovered when he saw them firsthand. Zugazagoitia had lived in Kansas City for five years before he climbed the marble steps to the second floor of Haag Hall to investigate the legacy between his family and Kansas City. Quintanilla and Zugazagoitia’s grandfather, also named Julián Zugazagoitia, were friends and soldiers in the Spanish Civil War, fighting the fascist regime of General Francisco Franco. Quintanilla and Zugazagoitia had been in prison together in Spain in 1934, where the artist sketched his friend and compatriot. “I’d seen an exhibit in New York that included the drawing of my grandfather,” says Zugazagoitia. “Not long after, Quintanilla’s grandson sent me an email to tell me about the murals. It was in the back of my mind, but I had not made it over to see.” A Presidential Request Quintanilla came to UKC in 1940 to serve as its first artist-in-residence at the invitation of UKC President Clarence Decker. At 34 years old, Decker was the youngest-serving president of the country’s youngest university. He suggested Quintanilla paint a mural in Haag Hall using the theme, “Don Quixote in the Modern World.” It was a bold move for the college president, considering Quintanilla’s political past. “The national mood in 1938 was certainly one of unease,” says John Herron, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of history. “The effects of the Great Depression were still apparent, and the growing militarism and unrest in Europe did little to calm fears. Americans, for the most part, wanted nothing to do with a second world conflict and were eager to stay out of European politics.” Decker, a vocal proponent of the arts and culture, used his role at the university to cultivate relationships with many politically informed artists. “He offered visiting appointments to a number of artists, poets and writers, and worked actively to make Kansas City a kind of avant-garde center in the American Midwest,” Herron says. “Decker understood the hostility many artists and scholars, especially Jews, faced abroad. He remained a proponent of bringing these artists to Kansas City whenever possible.” Quintanilla's Vision At the time of Decker’s invitation, Quintanilla was living in New York as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Committee for Displaced Scholars and Artists program that brought oppressed and imprisoned artists from Europe to the United States. His art had recently been shown at the 1938 World’s Fair in New York. Quintanilla envisioned four panels using Don Quixote’s story as an allegory of the horrors and oppression of fascism in Europe. The artist used members of the university faculty and staff as models. His own family appears in one panel. Zugazagoitia, who was aware that Quintanilla used family and friends as models in his work, expected to find his grandfather’s face looking back at him from the walls. This was not the case, but what he discovered was even more powerful. “When I saw he had dedicated the mural to my grandfather I was stunned. To see his name — my name — in the corner … It took a while for me to process, but it fulfilled a notion of destiny for me. Finding his name confirmed that Kansas City is where I should be.” Modern-day Revelations Beyond his personal connection, Zugazagoitia was reminded how significant it is to be an immigrant. He sees the murals as a reminder of what it takes to make your way in a foreign place. “It underscored for me how important it is to reinvent yourself in a new country. It seems the perfect time to be talking about this,” he says. Zugazagoitia emphasizes how important it is to preserve these murals. Besides recognizing the work for its artistic and historical merit — it is one of only two Quintanilla murals that were not destroyed during the Spanish Civil War — he believes living with art changes those who are exposed to it. “Our experience is better because it exists. We are privileged to live in an environment that nourishes us, even if we don’t notice,” he says. “It makes these stories meaningful and present in our lives.” This article originally appeared in the 2018 issue of Perspectives, the UMKC alumni magazine.  Nov 01, 2018

  • UMKC Awarded $2.5 Million

    Grant to address substance use disorders
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City won another large grant to help address the U.S. opioid crisis nationally. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded a $2.5 million grant to the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies Collaborative to Advance Health Services. UMKC will bring together leaders in the field of substance use prevention, partnering with National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc., National Prevention Network and the Applied Prevention Science International. As part of the grant, the UMKC Collaborative will support the Prevention Technology Transfer Centers as the Network Coordinating Office. This innovative partnership will be the first of its kind for the field of substance-use prevention. The team will represent a unique and significant collaboration between the Prevention Network Coordinating Office and the Addiction Technology Transfer Center for which the Collaborative has been a partner with for 25 years. “The highly experienced team of experts in implementation science in the field of substance- use prevention will make a substantial impact on providers and services for our most vulnerable communities and populations locally, regionally and nationally,” said Ann Cary, dean of the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies. The partnership will serve SAMHSA, 12 technology transfer centers across all 50 states and U.S. territories (10 regional and two national centers that are population specific), and the substance use prevention field as a whole. The Network Coordinating Office team anticipates serving 1,730 participants and over the five-year period of the grant will serve 8,650. The Network Coordinating Office will address the following goals: Develop and enhance strategic alliances among culturally diverse practitioners, researchers, policy makersandcommunity leaders to stretch scarce resources Increase and optimize opportunities for the Prevention Technology Transfer Centers to build the prevention workforce; Establish a collaborative, coordinated network approach based on implementation science strategies, to improve the quality of substance use prevention efforts. “Building this network from on-the-ground, state-level know how and combining it with evidence-based prevention practices will maximize the Network Coordinating Offices’ ability to affect real-world practice change,” said Holly Hagle, principal investigator for the grant and an assistant research professor in the UMKC Collaborative. “We’re confident this combination will accelerate the utilization of prevention science in the field.” The UMKC Collaborative is an applied research group that is working to advance health and wellness by bringing research to practice, supporting organizations through change processes and providing high -quality training and technical assistance to the healthcare workforce. Included the team for this UMKC Collaborative grant was co-lead investigator Laurie Krom, a program director at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies. Rounding out the rest of the UMKC Collaborative are 19 staff members as well as a number of specialists and consultants making up the project teams across a portfolio of more than 12 active grants and contracts.  Oct 14, 2018

  • Bloch Faculty Interviewed on NBC Nightly News

    Brent Never interviewed by Lester Holt
    Brent Never, associate professor of public affairs at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management, was interviewed by Lester Holt for a story that aired during the show. Read more about the interview and story. Oct 11, 2018

  • Law Student Wins Warren E. Burger Prize for Writing

    Jonathan Brown is only the second law student to be awarded this prize
    Jonathan Brown, third year law student and Managing Editor of the UMKC Law Review, has won the Warren E. Burger Prize for Writing. The national writing competition was open to judges, lawyers, professors, students, scholars and other authors. He is only the second law student to ever be awarded this prize. Brown won the prize for his essay, “Two Approaches to the Modern Reality of Temporary Cross-Border Legal Practice: The United States and the European Community.” The Warren E. Burger Prize for Writing is a competition designed to promote scholarship in the areas of professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal excellence. The Burger Prize is one of four awards given at the American Inns of Court’s annual Celebration of Excellence. American Inns of Court is an association of lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals from all levels and backgrounds who share a passion for professional excellence. The nationwide writing competition is in tribute to the late Chief Justice Burger, the “founding father” of the American Inns of Court movement. Chief Justice Burger envisioned an organization that would help lawyers improve their advocacy skills, with an emphasis on professional integrity and ethics. The American Inns of Court inspires the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education and mentoring. Brown’s essay was written for his Global Legal Systems course in Spring 2018, with the competition in mind. The course, taught by Professor Thomas Nanney, explores different legal traditions and systems, mainly within the Civil and the Common Law traditions, focusing on each tradition’s history, legal structures, legal actors, procedures, and sources of law. Nanney provided Brown with valuable input as he developed the essay. “Professor Nanney was instrumental in helping guide the topic of my paper,” says  Brown. “It allowed me, as a 3L about to enter the legal profession, to further understand our own rules of professional conduct while gaining insight by seeing how other legal systems have taken a different approach to the same problem.” The essay compared and analyzed how the U.S. and European professional rules deal with “inter-state” legal practice: i.e. if a practicing attorney in one state may temporarily practice in another. Brown proposes that as our globalized world becomes more connected, multijurisdictional practice will continue to become an important facet of global economies and legal systems. Brown was only the second law student to ever win the Burger Prize; the first won in 2015. Typically, he says, the award winners are legal practitioners. “It’s a great honor,” Brown says. “This is one of the best things about the legal profession. There are so many avenues to be part of advancing legal scholarship and to make valuable contributions to the profession, even as a law student.” As part of the prize, the essay will be published in Volume 70 of the South Carolina Law Review. Brown will also travel to Washington, D.C. in October to be presented with a cash prize of $5,000 at the American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence hosted by Justice Clarence Thomas at the Supreme Court of the United States. Oct 01, 2018

  • $32 Million Research Center to Open in 2020

    Building will offer new computing and engineering opportunities
    Students flew drones above and demonstrated robotics around steel bridges and racing buggies outside of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Student Union Theater. These prize-winning innovations gave guests just a glimpse of the talent that comes out of the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering as they filed into the theater to celebrate the long-awaited groundbreaking Sept. 20 of the school’s new research and laboratory building. The name of the new $32 million building was revealed at the event: The Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center. The 57,800-square-foot building will provide leading-edge, high-tech research and development capabilities for both the campus and the Kansas City community at large. As home to the campus’ Free Enterprise Center, a maker space with industry grade equipment available for anyone to use, this building will serve a much broader audience than just the UMKC community when it opens in 2020. “The efforts of our faculty and staff – under the leadership of Dean Kevin Truman – have led to a rapid increase in student enrollment over the past 10 years at the School of Computing and Engineering," says UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal. "The new education and research center will increase both classroom space and faculty research capabilities for the school, both of which play a key role in maintaining and enhancing Kansas City and Missouri’s ability to compete in a high-tech 21st century global economy.”  Switching up from the traditional dirt-and-shovel groundbreaking events, and directly in line with UMKC’s leadership in drone technology, Agrawal and School of Computing and Engineering Dean Kevin Z. Truman led the audience through a virtual groundbreaking experience and multimedia visual of the building. “This building gives us the ability to perform world-class research in fields such as nanomaterials, unpiloted aircraft, renewable energy and Big Data," Truman says. "Our students will be thrilled to continue their in-depth participation in scholarly research, now taking place in a new, modern, enhanced facility.” High-tech capabilities in the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center will include: $3 million worth of new virtual reality and augmented reality equipment A clean room and scanning electron microscope, which can allow for the development of nanotechnology, robotics, biomedical applications, mechatronics and other technologies Research-grade 3-D printing equipment A high-bay structural lab that will power research and development for, and prepare the workforce for, Kansas City’s large and growing civil engineering and construction sector “Big data” analytics labs that will replicate major data centers, preparing students for jobs at local tech firms such as Cerner and Garmin as well as major national and international employers such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook An energy learning and research facility that will address topics ranging from renewable energy and traditional high-voltage transmission to the creation of batteries small enough to power tiny monitors being used in medical research and healthcare. Though only a freshman, Ruby Rios’ relationship with the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering extends back to her middle school days when she first became involved with the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering-founded KC STEM Alliance. Rios said it was her involvement with KC STEM Alliance that sparked her interest in connecting more with the Kansas City tech community. Attending UMKC was a natural fit for her as she’d already spent time on campus, and Flarsheim Hall – the current home of the School of Computing and Engineering –  through various summer programs and tech camps for girls. “Today, I feel very fortunate that I’m able to return to Flarsheim Hall as a Computer Science freshman," Rios says. "I think the new building represents how seriously UMKC is taking its role as a leader in STEM education in our region. I’m excited to see that the School of Computing and Engineering is growing right alongside the rest of our tech community.” Though many of the attendees there to celebrate the groundbreaking each came with a unique perspective, the shared excitement among them was that the future of STEM research and education is as bright as ever. “As one of the first corporate supporters of this project, I couldn’t be prouder," says Greg Graves, retired CEO of Burns & McDonnell. "And as one of the first personal supporters of this project, I’m even happier. What you will do here will move your students forward, it will move Kansas City forward.” Construction of the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center will begin immediately. The technical consultant team on the project is PGAV Architects, Odimo, Branch Pattern, KH Engineering Group and SK Design. The design-build team is Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, HOK, Ross & Baruzzini, Antella Engineering Consultants, Alper Audi Inc., Taliaferro and Browne Inc. and Colin Gordon Associates. The UMKC School of Computing and Engineering recognized major donors to the building project: The Sunderland Foundation The Robert W. Plaster Foundation The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation The Hall Family Foundation The Illig Family Foundation SS&C – formerly DST Systems The Economic Development Administration The Jack and Glenna Wiley Foundation The National Science Foundation KCP&L Black & Veatch Burns & McDonnell Paul DeBruce The building is named for Robert W. Plaster of the Robert W. Plaster Foundation. Plaster was a successful Missouri businessman as well as a co-founder and active supporter of Enactus, at that time known as Students in Free Enterprise, and was a member of its executive board until the time of his death in 2008. Sep 20, 2018

  • Alumna to Lead Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

    Mary C. Daly (B.A. ’85) is second alum to take helm of Fed bank
    After more than 20 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, UMKC alumna Mary C. Daly has risen through the ranks to become president and CEO. Daly’s appointment makes her the second UMKC alumna to be leading one of the Federal Reserve’s 12 regional banks—she joins Esther George (EMBA ’00), president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, who has held that role since 2011. Alex Mehran, chairman of the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and chairman of the Board’s presidential search committee, praised Daly’s depth of knowledge. “In addition to her profound knowledge of economics and monetary policy, Mary is one of our nation’s leading authorities on labor market dynamics,” Mehran said. “Her research in this area reflects her deep commitment to understanding the impacts of monetary and fiscal policy on communities and businesses at a local, regional and national level.” Daly joined the San Francisco Fed in 1996 as a research economist and has served as executive vice president and director of research since 2017. Daly has also strived to equalize the hiring between male and female research assistants at the San Francisco Fed, working to balance what she deems a “diversity crisis” in the industry. “I believe very strongly in the Federal Reserve’s mission and in the important role we play in helping to create strong, stable economic conditions in all corners of the country that allow individuals and businesses to prosper,” said Daly. As noted in a report by the New York Times, Daly dropped out of high school and later earned her general education diploma before enrolling at UMKC. She received her bachelor’s degree in economics from UMKC’s College of Arts and Sciences, followed by a master’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Ph.D. from Syracuse University. Both George and Daly have been recognized as outstanding alumni by the UMKC Alumni Association. George was honored as UMKC Alumna of the Year in 2017. Daly was cited as the association’s Defying the Odds Award winner in 2013. The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States and is charged with promoting the effective operation of the U.S. economy and, more generally, the public interest. Three of the 12 Federal Reserve Bank presidents have degrees from Harvard. In addition to UMKC, universities with two alumni among the bank presidents are Stanford, the University of Illinois and the University of Pennsylvania. George, a national leader in domestic monetary policy, joined the Federal Reserve of Kansas City in 1982 and spent much of her career in the Division of Supervision and Risk Management. Prior to her appointment as president and CEO, she had served as chief operating officer since 2009. George has participated in the Bank for International Settlement’s Financial Stability Institute programs in Lima, Abu Dhabi, Beijing and Malaysia. She is currently a UMKC Trustee and a member of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Sep 17, 2018

  • UM System President Choi Address Cites UMKC Programs in Entrepreneurship, Civics

    Part of $260 million in investments for strategic priorities over the next five years
    It’s not “business as usual” at the University of Missouri System. During the past two years, university leaders have reallocated millions of dollars to make a college education at the system’s four universities affordable and accessible to Missourians. As a result, student enrollment is up, retention is high and spending on research is growing. In his speech, “Excellence Through Innovation: A New University of Missouri System,” Choi announced $260 million in investments for strategic priorities over the next five years, including $100 million in new scholarships and $50 million to support research and creative works. Choi singled out two innovative UMKC programs for investments to drive system-wide and statewide expansion. The System will invest $1.25 million to support the expansion of KCSourceLink, an innovative entrepreneurship support program developed by the UMKC Innovation Center. The investment will expand the program to MOSourceLink with the partnership of the Missouri Technology Corporation. MOSourceLink will connect small businesses and startups in the state with resources to achieve success. A $250,000 investment will expand UMKC-based American Public Square to partnership with all four System campuses. The new partnership will provide opportunities to bring non-like-minded individuals together at the four universities for fact-based, civil conversations about important issues. Additionally, he declared that the UM System will focus on innovation, collaboration and transformative actions to grow its stature. “By cutting and reallocating more than $180 million over the past two fiscal years, we have stated emphatically that the University of Missouri is making bold changes to achieve excellence,” Choi said. “While many of the changes were painful, they were necessary to create a more resilient university. It’s now time to make meaningful investments to achieve excellence. We will take actions that put Missourians first and invest only in areas that support our new vision for the university. We will be more innovative in all we do and break away from traditions that impede excellence.” The one-time money provided by the UM System — with the expectation of matches from each university — will be used to invest in students, faculty and staff through the universities’ strategic plans, including: $100 million for scholarships — $75 million will be used for “Promise & Opportunity Scholarships” based on need, and $25 million will be used for “Next Generation Merit Scholarships” to recruit academically outstanding Missouri students to the four universities. $50 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative and the Translational Precision Medicine Complex — this initiative will provide UM researchers with the latest technology as they seek answers to complex medical questions. $50 million for research and creative works — university leaders hope this infusion of funds will spur collaborative, multi-investigator proposals that lead to more external research funding. $20 million for digital learning initiatives — this effort will grow online and distance-learning opportunities, reduce the cost of traditional education and increase the number of online degrees granted. $12 million for Missouri Compact Distinguished Professorships — this initiative will help university leaders attract members of the National Academies who will significantly increase scholarly and research output. $10 million for engagement — these funds will support a systemwide program encouraging additional industry partnerships. $8.5 million for inclusive excellence — this will support recruitment and retention of faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. $7.5 million for faculty and staff success — these funds will be invested in faculty and staff to improve university culture, establish effective orientation programs for new employees and develop strong professional development programs. The full list of investments can be found online at http://umurl.us/stratinv. Proposals for the funds will be evaluated this fall, and Choi, the four chancellors and senior officers of the university will make final selections. All funding requests and plans should demonstrate a path to financial viability for mission-centric projects and a positive return on investment to achieve excellence, increase revenue generation and reduce costs. “Through administrative changes at the UM System and good financial management of our investments, we are able to reallocate these funds and focus them on the needs of our students, faculty and staff, directly supporting our teaching and research missions and the Missouri Compacts,” said Ryan Rapp, vice president for finance. Also in his address, Choi announced: The launch of Missouri Intern Connect, in partnership with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry with support from the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers, to create opportunities for students to connect with internship opportunities across the state. The appointment of Bill Turpin, CEO of the Missouri Innovation Center, to lead economic development efforts for MU and the UM System. The launch of the EQ Student Accelerator to support entrepreneurially minded students systemwide. The UM System Buy Missouri program to better support Missouri businesses through UM System procurement processes and spending. The appointment of UMSL CFO Rick Baniak as UM System Chief Transformation Officer to lead the efforts of modernizing administrative functions systemwide. A five-year plan to increase salaries for faculty and staff. “We want our universities to be a place where our faculty and staff are proud to work, our students are proud to attend, civic leaders and communities are proud to support, and business are proud to partner,” Choi said. “We will become a stronger UM System driven by innovation and hard work.” Sep 14, 2018

  • Mentoring Future Health Professionals

    $3.2 million grant will go to mentoring tomorrow’s doctors, dentists and pharmacists
    The U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration has awarded a five-year, $3.2 million grant to the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine to prepare students from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds for health professional careers. The UMKC schools of Dentistry and Pharmacy also are partners on this initiative. The grant will go to expand summer programs for high school and college students, and it will go to a mentorship program for UMKC undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing health professional degrees. “Historically, students from educationally or economically disadvantaged backgrounds experience greater challenges with regards to persisting in college and entering health care fields,” said Alice Arredondo, director of UMKC admissions and co-investigator on the grant along with Nate Thomas, associate dean of diversity and inclusion at the school. “This grant will allow us to support students in overcoming academic, economic and social barriers, while having an impact on the diversity in our educational environment and the success of disadvantaged students in the UMKC health sciences. By providing students early access to hands-on programming and mentoring, we hope to prepare students to achieve success in college and, eventually, graduate or professional school and the workforce.” The grant funding begins Sept. 1. Each year, 32 to 36 students — including UMKC undergraduates — will be mentored by faculty members, practitioners and other students. The first summer program will be in 2019, expanding the program from two to six weeks. These are part of the Students in Training, in Academia, Health and Research (STAHR) Partnership. “This partnership will allow us to help students develop academically, psychosocially, professionally and as leaders who can have a positive impact on the workforce and their communities,” Thomas said. The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies — a partner in an innovative educational team approach called interprofessional education with the UMKC schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Pharmacy — offers similar federal-grant funded programming for high school and college students. One includes KC HealthTracks, offering mentorship and programs for more than a dozen area high schools. Sep 04, 2018

  • Big Opportunity for Big Learning

    Grant accelerates corporate partnerships in research
    Researchers from the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering are launching the Center for Big Learning in conjunction with their participation in the National Science Foundation’s Industry and University Collaborative Research Center Program. The NSF grant of $3 million to four universities over the next five years is designed to encourage innovative research in artificial intelligence and deep learning, and significant partnerships between university researchers and industry nationwide. The initial phase incorporates NSF partnerships with four universities: University of Missouri–Kansas City, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Florida and University of Oregon. Each university will recruit at least three industry partners that are interested in big learning solutions who will match NSF funding. The program could lead to a potential investment of $1.5 million in UMKC alone. The UMKC team is led by Zhu Li (director), and Yugyung Lee (co-director) with active participations from faculty members including Sejun Song, Praveen Rao, Reza Derakhshani, Shui-Qing Ye from the School of Computing and Engineering. The center will be supported by SCE faculty ZhiQuiang Chen, Baek-Young Choi, Chi Lee, Shui Ye and Yongjie Zheng and Peter Koulen, faculty researcher from the School of Medicine. They will collaborate with researchers from the other sites. While private companies seem to have more access to capital for this type of research, it is more cost-effective for them to form university partnerships. “It’s very exciting,” Lee says. “These companies don’t know what the product is yet. They want to find out what’s possible. We have the opportunity to take on some risky projects and develop prototypes, and they can take the solutions.” Because individual workers with comparable education and experience can be very expensive for companies, especially for cuttingedge research, supporting university research can be incredibly cost-effective, especially with the structure of this project at UMKC. “We’ll be creating a workforce prepared with top-tier knowledge of this sector right here in Kansas City,” says School of Computing and Engineering Dean Kevin Truman. “Through this industry partnership, faculty have the opportunity to develop some of the most exciting new technology solutions that will be going to market immediately. This isn’t just researching to know the answer, this is researching to create actual processes that will impact real people in real time.” Each of the research projects, which will be located in the new Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center expected to open in 2020, are focused on network management, deep learning, artificial intelligence, the web and the Internet of Things. This technology will enable systems to analyze large data sets and develop new prediction models that allow for more sophisticated processing and voice and image recognition. In its current form, this is the technology that drives systems like Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. As the technology develops, it will enhance sophisticated applications such as heart monitoring implants. “Our mission is to accelerate the innovation and impact to the real work,” Li says. “UMKC has its own unique strengths in embedded systems deep learning in imaging, compression, communication and fully embedded systems.” The team has attracted five industry partners this year with which to collaborate: RIC Semiconductor, CloudMinds, Electronic Telecommunications Research Institute, SquareOffs and Tencent Media Lab. These companies, as well as the participating schools and their partners, will have access to all of the research generated by the consortium. This is a key selling point when attracting partners. “All the universities did a fantastic job of getting commitment letters from potential industry members and coming up with compelling projects for the full proposal submitted last year,” Rao says. “As result, the NSF panelists were impressed by the team and, ultimately, the Center for Big Learning was funded.” Derakhshani, who has experience in both academia and the private sector through his role in developing the technology that led to EyeVerify (now Zoloz), which was the largest technology transfer project in the university’s history, agrees. “Industries coming to universities to solve their problems is a good model. This means that academics don’t create solutions that are looking for a problem,” he says. “In industry, you are always looking at your quarterly results. That’s what’s right about the partnership. Academia doesn’t have quarterly reports. We can focus on creating new and interesting knowledge. We fill the gap.” INDUSTRY PARTNERS To date, the UMKC site of the Center for Big Learning (CBL) has secured five research partners. The team will work with each company to develop artificial intelligence and big learning solutions for their specific challenges. The resulting technology will be shared with other CBL members. RIC Semiconductor is a Dallas startup working on novel 77Ghz RF solutions for radar, imaging and communications. CloudMinds is developing mobile-internet cloud services, a platform to augment Cloud AI with human intelligence, secure private networks connecting robots and smart devices to Cloud AI and mobile devices as a robot control unit. CloudMinds is co-funded by the CEO of Softbank, the owner of Sprint. Electronic Telecommunications Research Institute is a Korean government-funded research center focused on core technologies in information, communications, electronics and broadcasting. SquareOffs is a micro debate platform designed to raise awareness, engagement and traffic for online publishers and brands. Tencent is a leading provider of internet value-added systems in China focused on social media platforms and digital content services. MEET THE RESEARCHERS Zhu Li, Ph.D.Director, Center for Big Learning; Associate professor, Department of Computer Science Electrical EngineeringJoined UMKC: 2015 Yugyung Lee, Ph.D.Director, Center for Big Learning; Professor, Department of Computer Science Electrical Engineering Joined UMKC: 1999 Reza Derakhshani, Ph.D.Associate professor, Department of Computer Science Electrical EngineeringJoined UMKC: 2013 Praveen Rao, Ph.D.Associate professor, Department of Computer Science Electrical EngineeringJoined UMKC: 2007 Sejun Song, Ph.D.Associate professor, Department of Computer Science Electrical EngineeringJoined UMKC: 2013 This story originally appeared in Explore, the UMKC research magazine.  Aug 31, 2018

  • Combatting the Opioid Crisis

    Armed with data, evidence-based practices and prevention strategies, UMKC researchers and health professionals are on the front lines in the war on...
    Each day in the United States, 144 people die from opioids. As if that’s not startling enough, an estimated 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription opioids, and more people die each year from overdoses than car crashes. National leaders in 2017 declared America’s opioid epidemic a public-health emergency — a designation typically reserved for natural disasters University of Missouri-Kansas City health professions faculty and staff are combatting the crisis on multiple fronts locally, regionally and nationally — all armed with research. Their work is an all-out 360-degree approach: from mining data to educating future health professionals and training current care providers to helping people and their families who are struggling with the highly addictive class of painkiller. “It’s not just an urban problem or a rural problem, it’s an everywhere problem,” says Heather Lyons-Burney, clinical assistant professor at the UMKC School of Pharmacy. “One thing is not going to fix this problem. We have to attack it from different angles.” Data Tells the TaleThe research of Maureen Knell, clinical associate professor in the School of Pharmacy, is being cited with greater frequency in the wake of the opioid crisis. The New York Times, The Kansas City Star and Kansas Public Radio have featured Knell and longtime collaborator Rafia Rasu of the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy. For years, they’ve been analyzing data from about 690 million outpatient clinic visits by patients who suffer from chronic pain not related to cancer. They’ve detected some surprising patterns. People 35 to 49 years old were more likely to get an opioid prescription than younger adults — and more likely to get one than those over 65. “Maybe physicians have the assumption that they’re safer in middleaged patients,” Knell says. Primary-care doctors were more likely to prescribe opioids than specialists, especially if they had a longstanding relationship with their patients. Financial factors might be at play, with providers more likely to steer Medicaid patients toward inexpensive generic opioids for pain rather than alternatives like physical therapy or newer brand-name non-opioid painkillers, Knell found. Linked to that, Knell and Rasu discovered discrepancies in opioid prescribing that seemed to be more cultural than clinical. Poverty and chronic health conditions are higher in the South, which could explain the higher rates of opioid prescription there. “As far as the patterns we saw, we found that opioid use was reported in 14.3 percent of the total patient visits,” Knell says. The pair also found that Hispanic patients, regardless of where they lived, were 30 percent less likely to get an opioid prescription than their non-Hispanic counterparts. They said that could be due to language barriers that make it more difficult for patients to describe their pain, making physicians feel less confident they will be able to communicate how to take the drugs safely. Or it could be that Hispanics have a higher tolerance for pain, which is consistent with other studies as well, Knell says. So what are the key takeaways from these findings? Knell says prescribers aren’t always following guidelines like those from the American Academy of Pain Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A prescription has to be appropriately written, and they need to verify if a patient already has tried something else as a first-line therapy. Also, Knell and Rasu hope to influence policymakers, public health officials and health care providers through their research. Up next: Knell and Rasu want to analyze newer data. Their last study was based on data from 2000 to 2007, the most recent when they started. Building Capacity for ActionOne of the main reasons our nation has not been able to address the opioid epidemic is because we don’t have the workforce capacity to do so, says Laurie Krom, co-director of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network, called the ATTC for short. For 20 years, UMKC has housed the national and regional ATTC coordinating offices. Their top mission: accelerate the implementation of promising addiction treatment and recovery practices and services. The topic of opioids dominates the ATTC’s news and upcoming events lists. The ATTC is part of the Collaborative to Advance Health Services at the School of Nursing and Health Studies. To address the workforce problem, the Collaborative, in partnership with the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, was awarded an $8 million grant for two years from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to support primary-care providers in the prevention and treatment of opioid-use disorders. The project is an unprecedented alliance of physician, nurse, allied healthcare and behavioral health organizations with broad national, regional and state networks and technical expertise in preventing, treating and supporting recovery from substance-use disorders. “This money will go to provide training and assistance to build the capacity of physicians and counselors to provide treatment in evidencebased care,” says Krom, who also is an investigator on the grant, the work of which will benefit those needing treatment nationwide. “Our hope is that it will have an impact on the people and communities who are suffering,” says Holly Hagle, co-director of the ATTC Network, UMKC assistant research professor and principal investigator on the grant. In addition to Hagle and Krom, Patricia Stilen, director of the regional ATTC Network, also at the Collaborative to Advance Health Services at UMKC, is an investigator on the grant. Those people suffering are close to home. In 2016, more than 900 people in Missouri died from overdosing on opioids. According to state data, one in every six deaths was opioid-related. Krom says 419,000 people in Missouri have diagnosed substance abuse disorders. She says 17,000 of those people are children between 12 and 17 years old. “Kansas City, St. Louis and southwest Missouri are really being impacted by the opioid epidemic,” she says. Preventing ProblemsWhen Heather Lyons-Burney first became a pharmacist two decades ago in Missouri, prescriptions for heavy-duty pain medication were only given for the worst suffering, for those who just underwent surgeries, who had cancer or who were in hospice care. But then the tide turned. Newer agents — opioids — with long-lasting pain relief would take care of those who suffered back and other types of ongoing pain. No need to worry about addiction, right? Wrong. People sought them for more than pain relief and soon pill mills — places where unethical doctors hand out prescription drugs like candy — sprouted up across the country. The health-care industry cracked down on itself, and the tide has turned again. “Providers are looking for other ways for patients to manage pain instead of narcotics,” she says. “Like physical therapy and chiropractic care, for example.” As a pharmacist, Lyons-Burney has become involved with preventing opioid use on many levels in Missouri: Through leadership positions in the Missouri Pharmacy Association and the Ozark-area pharmacy community where she lives and works. Through county coalitions in Greene County in Springfield and Taney County in Branson. Through the choice not to carry controlled substances at Faith Community Health, the nonprofit clinic she helped establish. Through working with Generation Rx, a prescription drug misuse prevention program run by university student pharmacy chapters. Through teaching future pharmacists at UMKC. She’s based at the UMKC School of Pharmacy at Missouri State University in Springfield, but through broadcast classes, teaches students at the two other locations in Kansas City and Columbia. This past summer, she has been researching how prevention efforts have worked through survey data. “We have a responsibility to people to fight this problem and help people,” Lyons-Burney says. “We’re getting there.” This story originally appeared in Explore, the UMKC research magazine.  Aug 31, 2018

  • UMKC First U.S. Campus to Install CityPost

    Digital bulletin board powers student and faculty communications with a host of innovative tools
    New school year, new technology. The University of Missouri-Kansas City is the first university in the U.S. to install CityPost digital kiosks. The eight kiosks — on UMKC’s Volker and Health Sciences campuses — resemble giant smart phones and provide up-to-date information on university services and how to access the best of Kansas City. Kiosk users might have experienced similar kiosks along the streetcar route, which loops from Union Station to the River Market. “As Kansas City’s university, we are committed to connecting our community to the rich resources available in our city,” said UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal. “We’re thrilled to be the first university in the nation to benefit from CityPost kiosks. Leading on the forefront of change and progress fits our vision of what UMKC should be all about. These kiosks are just one visible, tangible indicator of that vision.”  The digital kiosks are part of a communication network that broadcasts real-time, location-based information and alerts to provide safer, better connected public digital solutions. Information is powered by 55-inch smart screens and a companion CityPost mobile application. UMKC CityPost, in partnership with Duke Energy, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Smart City Media LLC of New York, the same creator of the kiosks along the Kansas City streetcar line. As Kansas City’s university, UMKC was invited to be the first campus site in the U.S. for CityPost. No public or tuition dollars are used to fund the system. Photos by Brandon Parigo Bob Bennett, chief innovation officer for the city of Kansas City, said the partnership that brought the kiosks to UMKC help to guarantee that Kansas City is one of the top 50 smart cities in the world. He noted the personal component is as important as the technological one. “These kiosks can be a critical venue to gather for human-to-human interaction without staring at phones,” Bennett said. “Kansas City can now claim 62 connected blocks when campus is included. We would not have been able to do this without private partners.” “We are honored to better connect the students and faculty to all the great things at UMKC, and to help build a stronger information bridge from the campus to the greater Kansas City community,” said Tom Touchet, CEO of Smart City Media LLC. “CityPost is a connected campus bulletin board and this is UMKC’s very own channel. We look forward to all of the new and innovative communications that our publishing tools will help provide. A college is a small city in itself and nobody understands how better to communicate within it like the students and faculty. We look forward to empowering them to use our new tools, and do new things.” Using touch-screen technology on the 7-foot-tall UMKC CityPost blue-and-gold kiosks, visitors to campuses can learn more about student services, dining options, UMKC and KC events, where to discover art and when to enjoy sporting events throughout the city. The kiosks also include local news, bike-rental info, walking maps and a selfie app. “We’re proud to be a part of bringing digital infrastructure solutions to forward looking communities such as UMKC,” added Michael Luhrs, Duke Energy vice president of customer solutions. “We expect our partnership with Smart City Media to significantly accelerate across North America and help enable what smart cities are all about.” “Rather than hunching over separate mobile phones, students and visitors can explore campus and Kansas City together,” said UMKC Provost Barbara A. Bichelmeyer. “The UMKC CityPost kiosks provide students and visitors the chance to explore campus and Kansas City communally.” UMKC sophomore Daphne Posadas said that the kiosks are great for students. “Students do not like to ask for help, and this definitely takes away the fear factor,” Posadas said. “Also, as a native Spanish speaker, I really appreciate the translations app. It’s a wonderful addition for diversity on campus.” Information is available in nine languages in addition to English. The kiosks can translate information into Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Nepalese, Spanish, Vietnamese and Urdu. See a map of the kiosks on the UMKC campuses: CityPost-Kiosk-Maps.pdf Are you a UMKC department or organization that wants to add information to the kiosk? Email mcom@umkc.edu Aug 20, 2018

  • Super-Cheap Solar Discovery

    UMKC researchers develop a dramatically less expensive material
    Just a dollar per gram instead of $100. That’s how much a new material — nicknamed PCA-1 — costs compared to what is currently used in high-performing perovskite solar cells. At the same time, PCA-1 greatly simplifies the fabrication process and improves device performance in terms of both efficiency and stability. This remarkable and potentially game-changing material was developed by chemistry researchers at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The UMKC team’s discovery, led by Curators’ Professors Zhonghua Peng and Kathleen Kilway, was recently published in a top peer-reviewed journal, Advanced Energy Materials. “This discovery leaps over a major hurdle in making solar power less expensive. The potential value is immense, because solar power is non-polluting and inexhaustible.” -UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal Solar power, generated by silicon solar cells, remains much more expensive than power resulting from burning of fossil fuels. An emerging form of solar cell called perovskite solar cells has become the new star of the solar industry and the focus of research over the past decade. Perovskite cells can generate as much power as silicon solar cells, but can be produced at a drastically lower cost by using simpler and easier fabrication processes, among other appealing merits. To function well, perovskite solar cells need to incorporate highly effective charge transporting materials in the device — that’s where UMKC’s PCA-1 comes in. “The current state-of-the-art material used for transporting positive charges is extremely expensive, costing around $100 per gram for material expense alone,” said Yong Li, one of the UMKC researchers. “In addition, a complicated, so-called doping process is required to make it an effective charge transporter. To make it worse, the doped material tends to attract moisture that is detrimental to the stability of the perovskite.” PCA-1, on the other hand, is easy to synthesize and takes only two to three simple steps from inexpensive starting compounds. “The material cost for PCA-1 can potentially be as low as $1 per gram,” Kilway said. Furthermore, “PCA-1 is found to exhibit high instrinsic charge mobility and thus does not require any doping, greatly simplifing the fabrication process,“ Peng said. “In addition, PCA-1 is hydrophobic, having no moisture attracting oxygen or nitrogen atoms, and can form dense and uniform film on top of perovskite, forming an excellent moisture barrier layer for the perovskite underneath.“ The UMKC team has demonstrated that PCA-1 can lead to perovskite solar cells with near record-setting efficiencies and significantly improved long-term stability. “This study reveals that PCA-1 is an ideal charge-transporting material for perovskite solar cells,” Peng said. “We will continue this project, and anticipate further performance and stability improvements with the utilization of state-of-the-art perovskite materials.” Other co-authors on the journal article are graduate student Kyle Scheel and research associate Robert Clevenger of UMKC; and Wan Shou and Heng Pan from Missouri University of Science and Technology. Funding for the research came from the National Science Foundation, the University of Missouri System Fast Track program, the Interdisciplinary Intercampus research program, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Curators Professorship funds. Aug 08, 2018

  • Father and Daughter Renewable-Energy Powerhouses

    Both law school alums, they recognized opportunity as demand for alternative energy grows
    Take a quick day trip nearly anywhere around the country, and it’s easy to see that renewable and alternative energy is gaining momentum. The evidence is everywhere, from large wind farms dotting the landscape to clearer, bluer skies that have lost the brown and smoggy tinge of just more than a decade ago. Wind and solar power is no longer just accessible to corporations and large municipalities. Now that alternative energy is more affordable for the individual consumer, not only is it possible that you and your next-door neighbor can go off the grid, it is more probable that you will in your lifetime. Consider the economic impact of wind power alone: there are 75,000 megawatts of wind power installed in the U.S. today, contributing 5.4 percent of the capacity of the power grid. This is expected to double to 10 percent by 2020, and to 20 percent by 2030, according to U.S. News and World Report. This will create 300,000 additional jobs in wind alone, not including solar. “The renewable industry is experiencing a level of policy uncertainty that may be unprecedented even for an industry accustomed to the shifting sands of federal and state policy,” according to a 2018 outlook report by Deloitte. “It may be a challenging landscape to navigate, but the potential for rewards could be substantial.” In sum: with renewable energy on the rise and all of its related complexities and uncertainties, it is poised for opportunities – opportunities that a father-daughter team of UMKC School of Law graduates are seizing. Many opportunities “Practicing law in itself is rewarding because it’s an intellectual challenge,” says Jennifer Gardner (J.D. ’07), senior staff attorney with the clean energy program of Western Resources Advocates in Salt Lake City. “But this type of law, where I work chipping away at retiring coal plants and adding more solar and wind, this is something at the end of the day I can genuinely feel good about.” Around the same time Gardner became interested in renewable-energy legal work, her father, Mark Gardner (J.D.’77), became involved in the field. Based in Springfield, Missouri, his business develops utility-scale solar projects and is the largest owner of solar projects in the state of Missouri. “People are emotionally and intellectually abandoning old ways of power,” says Mark Gardner, president of Gardner Capital. “What you’re seeing is a revolution of thought.” Jennifer Gardner’s initial legal goal was to become a prosecutor. After earning her law degree at UMKC, she worked in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. She enjoyed litigation, but was not passionate about the cases. So, Gardner decided to work for her family’s company, Gardner Capital. Most of her work at that time involved historic preservation, converting old buildings into low-income or senior housing. During this time, she became interested in renewable energy. She quickly discovered that in refurbishing historic buildings, there were limitations on using beneficial equipment such as solar panels. This interested her so much she decided to obtain a master of laws in natural resources and environmental law and policy from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. “It was an exciting time to be back in academia because the momentum for renewable energy was growing while I was getting this degree,” she says. In 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that led to many clean-energy initiatives, supporting state and local energy efforts. It also extended the investment tax credit for solar energy and production tax credit for wind energy. A job aligned after graduation, and opportunities arose leading to her current position. “We both love using our legal brains and we also enjoy a good challenge. Being a lawyer in the field of renewable energy offers us both. Perhaps most importantly, I think at heart, we are both passionate about serving the public interest.” Jennifer Gardner (J.D. '07) A lot of Western utilities are interested in joining regional energy markets. These markets are so desirable because they are incredibly effective at integrating large amounts of renewable energy at the least cost. And utilities in the West are flush with renewable resources. Gardner works closely with utilities, their state regulators and others in the industry to ensure that these markets are not only cost-effective vehicles for reliably integrating renewable energy, but also that the governance structures of these markets are independent and that their stakeholder processes are open and transparent. While her law degree certainly comes in handy with the work, there are some days she finds herself wishing she also had an engineering degree. Most recently, this advocacy has included the filing of comments in investigatory dockets at the Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado regulatory commissions. It also has included presentations to state utility regulators in regional forums throughout the western U.S. “One of the things I love about being an attorney working with renewable energy is that I get to wear lots of hats,” she says. Gardner is still a litigator. She’s also part lobbyist, educating legislators. She’s also part policy advocate, promoting the benefits of renewable energy in a variety of regional forums. Yet one of the most valuable skills a lawyer in renewable energy requires is negotiating. “Being successful in the field of renewable energy requires a lot of effective advocacy to get people to play in the same sandbox,” she says. “To see that at the end of the day, we really have the same goal – we want affordable, clean and reliable energy for customers.” Gardner is always meeting people who enjoy the practice of law, but feel their passion is lacking. They really want to make a difference and want to know how they can still practice law, but focus specifically on environmental and clean energy issues. Gardner recently helped an attorney make a transition from Goldman Sachs to another environmental nonprofit in Salt Lake City. He worked full time at Goldman Sachs and interned for her on the weekends before he made the switch. More serendipitously, she and her father, both UMKC School of Law alums, got into renewable energy at about the same time. “We’re really a lot alike,” Gardner says. “We both love using our legal brains and we also enjoy a good challenge. Being a lawyer in the field of renewable energy offers us both. Perhaps most importantly, I think at heart, we are both passionate about serving the public interest. In hindsight, I’m not surprised at all that we ended up in the same field.” Based in Springfield, Missouri, Mark Gardner’s (J.D. ’77) business develops utility-scale solar projects and is the largest owner of solar projects in the state of Missouri. The Future Is Here Mark Gardner grew up reading about renewable energy, including solar power, in the 1960s and 1970s. It seemed so out of reach, so futuristic, yet so necessary. “The air was dirtier when I was growing up,” he says. He remembers reading about the effects of pollution on health. A runner, he’d avoid exercising in some cities because of the dirty air. The Environmental Protection Agency was formed in 1970, while Gardner was in high school. He watched it make great strides in air quality. After he graduated law school, he eventually formed Gardner Capital, pursuing tax credits to develop affordable housing developments. Solar tax credits became available and his interest surged. The panels themselves initially were too expensive, but they became more affordable. Gardner started working with cities throughout Missouri to retire coal-burning power plants. One of the surprising — and refreshing — aspects of renewable energy he discovered is that it is not a political subject. “It’s not a liberal vs. conservative thing,” Gardner says. “Missouri is a pretty conservative state, yet cities and small towns want solar power. They want to be progressive and part of the solution. They realize you can’t continue burning fossil fuels forever.” These transactions with cities have involved lots of legal work, typically three to four legal teams and 300 to 400 pages of legal documents. Gardner sees the legal opportunities in renewable energy continuing — and growing. “Look at corporate America and the hundreds of businesses that want to go green,” he says. For example, General Motors will manufacture hundreds of thousands of all-electric cars by 2025. Also, wind and solar power is expected to more than quadruple in the next decade, bringing with it more legal work. “Being a lawyer has been invaluable to me as a business person and someone in the renewables industry,” Gardner says. “I love it. It’s exciting. It’s fun to look at a solar field and think we’re making clean energy. Once you pay for the hardware, it’s free.” This article is from Res Ipsa, the UMKC School of Law magazine. Aug 06, 2018

  • Clean Water Solutions

    Civil engineering professor works to increase access to clean water in Africa
    Access to consistent and safe drinking water is arguably the biggest challenge facing humanity. That’s especially true in Africa where the clean water shortage in many of the countries is getting worse. In Cape Town, South Africa, the crisis is called “Day Zero,” the day the taps run dry. John Kevern, University of Missouri-Kansas City associate professor of civil engineering, has been working alongside graduate students from the University of the Western Cape to help find a feasible solution for the crisis. For more than 30 years, the University of Missouri South African Education Program has delivered on the goal of aiding South Africans disadvantaged by their government’s former apartheid policies. Since 1986, the University of Missouri System has partnered with the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa to advance mutual understanding between the institutions’ faculties and foster cooperative teaching, research and service projects. Water scarcity, or lack of safe drinking water, in South Africa is the result of multiple factors including climate change, growing population, and heavy metal contamination from abandoned mines. Kevern said the South African Department of Mineral Resources holds a list of 6,000 neglected mines filling with water and causing acid-mine drainage: the outflow of acidic water from metal or coal mines. “Throughout its lifetime a mine can generate 2.5 million pounds of gold, silver uranium or other minerals, but South African mines are now a volatile wasteland.”– Kevern Kevern, a renowned expert in all things concrete, has worked with several other countries on the African continent, including Kenya and Ghana, to help solve waste issues. His passion for making a difference through resource and information sharing drives much of his willingness to work with disadvantaged communities. Kevern and his team discovered that by using waste fly ash, a byproduct of coal combustion, from two regional power plants, they can neutralize the acid mine drainage and help generate more clean water for the country. The chemical composition of fly ash makes it a common—and cost effective—ingredient in treating acid mine water.   “In the Johannesburg area, with 10 million residents, at least 15 percent of the population lives in informal settlements, with many placed by former apartheid government near or even on top of these dumps. At Blyvooruitzicht, about 11,000 people live around the abandoned mine, many of them unemployed miners unable to afford housing elsewhere. Fundamentally, social justice comes down to access to safe drinking water.”– Kevern When fly ash is inserted into the mine and mixes with acid water it creates a hard, non-porous material. That helps prevent any additional oxygen and water from getting into the mine and causing further pollution. Kevern spent much of the summer working at coal mines on the east side of the country, but UWC is on the west side so he and graduate student Rosicky Kalombe embarked on a cross-country road trip to collect coal to create fly ash. Traveling across South Africa was a new experience for both Kevern and Kalombe, who migrated to South Africa as a Congolese refugee. They got to see the wealth of the country and made a pit stop along the way to see one of the world’s largest hand-dug excavations – The Big Hole in Kimberley, South Africa. Since Kevern has been back in the states, he has been working remotely with Western Cape students who are continuing to conduct full-scale filter testing in the lab. The neutralization process, Kevern said, is fairly mature. The team’s next steps are to figure out what to do with the excess waste. Their idea is to use the waste to make a cost-effective geopolymer to fill the mine and prevent drainage from reoccurring. The team will pilot the project this winter. If the project goes as planned, they hope to implement this solution across the continent. That means two things for Africa: more jobs for students and increased access to clean water. Hear more about Kevern’s summer in South Africa on KCUR’s Central Standard. This story originally appeared in Vanguard, the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering magazine. Jul 31, 2018

  • Favorite Restaurants in Kansas City

    10 students and recent alumni give us their recommendations
    The City of Fountains could easily also be known as the City of Food. Sure, Kansas City dominates the nation — no question — in barbecue. But our UMKC family says there’s a whole world of delicious cuisine to explore around town, too. 1. The Mixx “I have been fortunate to be able to have a conversation with the owner of The Mixx, and she is an inspiration. On top of that, the food is amazing.” - Trae Tucker ’20, Business Administration, Communication Studies 2. Arthur Bryant's “Their barbecue is absolutely fantastic. I could enjoy anything they have on the menu.”–Jacob Hockman, ’19, Master’s Entrepreneurial Real Estate; ’17, Business Administration 3. Beer Kitchen “The food is beyond incredible in Kansas City, and this is one of my favorites.” –Cameron Miller ’18, Performance and Choreography 4.  Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue “I like the nice service and food. I also like the fact that they have a separate take-out section if I do not want to eat at the restaurant.” –Mary Okafor ’19, Mechanical Engineering 5. Fric & Frac “It’s kind of a special place for me since I grew up close to it. They have daily specials that are awesome! Missed the regular Taco Tuesday somewhere else? Well, Fric & Frac has you covered with Taco Saturday!”–Aaron Banes ’17, Geology 6. G's Jamaican Cuisine “My favorite place to eat is my home, just the way I like it, but if I were to choose a venue, it’s this one on Troost.” –Roland Hemmings ’18, Doctorate of Education 7. New Peking “My friends and I eat there quite often to celebrate special occasions.”–Tin Ho ’17, Entrepreneurship 8. Prime Sushi Bar “I am obsessed with sushi. That is probably where most of my money goes. That and art supplies.”–L.A. Clevenson ’19, Master’s in Costume Design and Technology 9. Seva Cuisine of India “My family and I like to go there. It’s so good!” –Zoe Lemon ’17, Physics 10. Tasso's Greek Restaurant “It’s more of an experience than a dinner. Along with the great Mediterranean food, they bring out a band every weekend, along with violinists and an incredible belly dancer that’s been performing there for years, and she brings people to the front to dance with her. It’s a really fun place to spend a night with a huge group of friends and family.” –Salem Habte ’20, Entrepreneurship  Kansas City Rankings in 2018 Best Cities in the U.S. 5 Up-And-Coming Tech Hotspots 10 U.S. Cities With High-Paying Jobs/Low Cost of Living Best Places for Work-Life Balance Jun 25, 2018

  • 10 KC Top Spots

    Students and alums pick their favorites
    Summer got us thinking about exploring the best parts of our city. We asked students and alums from Kansas City’s university for their top spots to visit—not including UMKC. (Favorite campus hangouts deserve their own list, so be on the lookout for it soon!)  Here they are in alphabetical order: 1. City Market Visiting the City Market on Saturday morning is the top pick for alum Troy Norris, MBA '11. 2. Country Club Plaza "I love the architecture, and you can easily walk to the Plaza from campus," says Tin Ho, Entrepreneurship '17. 3. Crossroads Arts District "Nothing is more fun than eating from food trucks and meeting all kinds of artists, with music blasting through the streets during First Fridays in the Crossroads," says Salem Habte, Entrepreneurship '20 4. Crown Center "LEGOLAND plus Union Station plus Fritz's all within walking distance equals perfection at Crown Center," says Negar Khalandi, Mechanical Engineering '11. 5. Loose Park "I've never really seen anyone not having a good day at Loose Park. I love to go play tennis over there. The fountain area and the gardens are beautiful," says Tomas Patino Civil Engineering '15, Educational Administration. 6. National World War I Museum and Memorial "Liberty Memorial has such an amazing view of the city," says Jorge Perez, Music Education '19. Check out that view in No. 9 Union Station. 7. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art "The Nelson is a very calming place to go when you need a break, and it's right by UMKC," says Alexandria Brant, Dance '18. 8. Union Station "Because of the history, Pierpont's, architectural details and exhibits, Union Station is a magical place," says Klassie Alcine, Political Science and Criminal Justice and Criminology '09, MPA '11.  9. West Bottoms "I'm a big fan of the red-brick architecture in the West Bottoms," says Alvin Liow, MBA '15. 10. Betty Rae’s Ice Cream Last but not least, Alexandra Alpough, B.A. '12, J.D. '15, insists Betty Rae's Ice Cream in Waldo has moved into Kansas City must-haves. "You have to try the cinnamon ice cream in a waffle cone," she says. Jun 14, 2018

  • Motherhood and Addiction: Missouri Cases Tripled In Five Years

    Kansas City Perinatal Recovery Collaborative bringing together community partners to address the crisis
    Substance use among pregnant and parenting women is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue in greater Kansas City, experts say. Community partners, led by the Mid-America Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) at UMKC, are forming a new Kansas City Perinatal Recovery Collaborative to address an issue being driven to new levels by the opioid epidemic. Missouri had a 358 percent increase in neonatal abstinence syndrome in just five years, between 2011 and 2016. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) occurs when a mother uses drugs in utero or passes the substance through breast milk or the placenta. Infants born with NAS may experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, including mild tremors and irritability, fever, excessive weight loss and seizures. UMKC Leads the Battle Against Opioid Crisis School of Nursing and Health Studies Sub-Awarded $8 Million Grant Researcher assesses the epidemic nationally National and regional substance-use centers based at UMKC The Collaborative was formed to improve care in the bi-state area by increasing coordination among organizations serving mothers and families facing substance use. The group’s first event was June 4.  “When addiction occurs during motherhood, it affects the whole family and requires a comprehensive and compassionate response,” said Sarah Knopf-Amelung, coordinator of the new Collaborative and senior program coordinator at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies. “We are excited to convene this group of leaders in the bi-state area to help make sure we are doing the best for mothers and their families.” More than 120 community stakeholders attended, including professionals from child development, child welfare, housing, social services, health care and substance-use disorder treatment and recovery. The agenda featured prominent national, state and local figures including Randall Williams, Missouri director of Health and Senior Services; Steve Corsi, Missouri director of Social Services; Rex Archer, director of Kansas City, Missouri Health Department; and Hendrée Jones, professor and executive director, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Horizons Program. The kick-off event gave community stakeholders the chance to hear from state leaders and national experts about the best approaches for addressing perinatal substance use and its effects on families. Enthusiasm and knowledge built from the event will lead into a year-long project of shared visioning, strategic planning and action to improve how community organizations coordinate care for families dealing with substance use. The Kansas City Perinatal Recovery Collaborative, based at UMKC, is led by Mid-America ATTC, a collaboration between Truman Medical Centers Behavioral Health (TMC-BH) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies. Mid-America ATTC is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Jun 07, 2018

  • Learning from Yo-Yo Ma in a Master Class

    UMKC Conservatory student receives feedback from award-winning cellist
    “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it was my dream! I still cannot believe it!” Ezgi Karakus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance was one of two local university students to learn from award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The two students were chosen to participate in a Master Class conducted in late March in front of a sold-out audience of more than one thousand people in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. “When I was walking to the stage, Yo-Yo Ma was smiling at me and I felt like time stopped,” Karakus said. “I seriously did not remember that we talked before I played. When I sat down to get ready to perform, I looked at the audience and it was full of people. I just could not believe it. I feel like he helped me change my perspective about the reason we play music.” That learning experience is what the Master Class was all about. It’s part of the Charles and Virginia Clark Inside Music Series sponsored by the Kansas City Symphony. Karakus was selected for the Master Class after UMKC Conservatory Professor Michael Mermagen submitted her name to the Symphony. Karakus’ first piece was Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009: VI. Gigue by J.S. Bach. It’s a fast-paced piece with a lot of energy. Afterward, Ma took a few minutes to discuss the performance with Karakus. “Feel as if someone were playing a hand drum,” Ma said. As he drummed his hands in rhythm, he asked the audience to snap their fingers. Ma told Karakus to remember the sound of the drumming hands and snapping fingers the next time she plays the piece. “Because you can’t have a thousand people snapping their fingers,” Ma said. “But you need to make the audience feel like they can hear the drumming and snapping when you play. It will make people feel like they will get up on their feet.” The second piece performed by Karakus, “Dok Zulfunu Meydana Gel” for solo cello by Cavus arr. Altinsoy and Karakus, was a Turkish folk song that she arranged, in collation with a Turkish composer. “It has different sections, and I titled three different Turkish traditional instruments for each section,” Karakus said. “I came up with techniques to express those instruments on the cello.” The second piece was also the debut performance for the original arrangement. Ma picked up on the importance of playing an original piece, anticipating how Karakus may have felt. “It’s very emotional playing something for the first time,” Ma said to Karakus. With seriousness, but a slight laugh that seemed to ease her emotions, Karakus replied, “I’m glad I didn’t pass out.” “I’m glad you didn’t pass out too,” Ma replied. The famed Ma had some suggestions for Karakus for using the cello to imitate the sound of another instrument: Play a section of music with one finger; or hold the bow differently to replicate the way the other instruments are played. This is Karakus’ fifth year at UMKC and she will graduate in May with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Cello Performance. Her career goals are to teach, collaborate with musicians from all over the world, and to perform regularly with symphonies and chamber ensembles. Sharing her love and respect for the arts is very important to Karakus. “I cannot imagine a place without arts,” she said. “Arts bring people together, help people to see different perspectives, give people enjoyable and memorable moments in their life and provide opportunities from younger kids to adults.” Karakus believes in this so much that she volunteers with Harmony Youth Kansas City, a non-profit organization for underserved children. She is one of the cello instructors. “I love teaching music and cello to those kids and seeing them becoming a musician.” Karakus began her cello education at age 11 with Caglayan Unal Sumer and attended Dokuz Eylul University State Conservatory in her native Izmir, Turkey. Before arriving in the U.S. she joined several festivals including the Breman Youth Symphony Orchestra in Bremen, Germany. Karakus completed her master’s degree at Marshall University under Solen Dikener’s mentorship, where she was awarded first prize in the Belle and Lynum Jackson Balshaw Music Competition, and the Marshall University Concerto Competition. She has won the UMKC Conservatory concerto competition three times. She gave the world premiere of Mark Zanter’s Suite for Violoncello and Live Electronics and performed for the Society of Composers, Inc., 2013 National Conference at the Ohio State University School of Music. She has also performed with the Dokuz Eylul Symphony, Ohio Valley Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Medical Arts Symphony (acting principal), Spire Chamber Ensemble and Kansas City Jazz Orchestra. In addition to her studies at the UMKC Conservatory, Karakus is adjunct professor of Cello at Emporia State University, Missouri Western State University and Ottawa University; teaching artist at Harmony Project Kanas City; section cellist with the Topeka Symphony and substitute cellist with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas and Kansas City Symphony. Apr 02, 2018

  • Largest Non-Health Research Funding

    Department of Defense awards $14.9 million to develop counter-drone technologies
    The U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research has awarded a $7.2 million grant and a $7.7 million contract to the University of Missouri-Kansas City to develop technologies to reduce national security threats from small, unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly called drones. Drones were flown in the UMKC quad during an event announcing the research funding. These are the largest non-health research awards received at UMKC. The team of investigators also includes researchers from Missouri University of Science and Technology and the University of Missouri. The grant was announced at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering. Speakers were Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, interim chancellor and provost; Mun Y. Choi, president of the University of Missouri System; Missouri Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, House Minority Leader; and Anthony Caruso, UMKC assistant vice chancellor of research, physics and electronic engineering professor and principal investigator on the grant. UMKC Chancellor-Designate Mauli Agrawal attended the event.   Read a Q & A with Tony Caruso about the increasing threat of drones.     Travis Fields, left, assistant professor of engineering and UMKC’s drone guru, pilots a drone while Caruso and Mun Choi, UM System president, check it out. Drones are commercially available to the general public and present an increasing threat. Once viewed simply as an unintended airspace nuisance, drones have demonstrated acts of terrorism that have increased in recent years. Drone threats range from intelligence gathering, to delivery of a weaponized payload, to being caught in the air intake of a jet engine. The threat from drones, whether intentional or unintentional, is disproportionate in cost and complexity compared to the damage they can cause. For example, a few-hundred-dollar drone could destroy a billion-dollar stealth bomber. Currently, no cost-effective protection from this potentially devastating threat exists.   “A prominent threat example is the low cost and ease of automation for deploying drones to collect video data or the transport of an unwanted material to a location five miles or greater from their launch point.” -Tony Caruso, UMKC associate vice chancellor of research and physics and electrical engineering professor, and lead investigator on the grant   The four-year grant award will focus on advancing high-power microwave electronic countermeasure technologies. In addition to Caruso, the faculty team includes Plamen Doynov and Paul Rulis of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences; Deb Chatterjee, Travis Fields, Ahmed Hassan and Faisal Khan of the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering; Daryl Beetner and Victor Kilkevich of Missouri S&T Electrical and Computer Engineering and Scott Kovaleski of MU Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The grant also will fund 10 new Ph.D. students, and provide positions for 12 new undergraduate researchers. UMKC School of Computing and Engineering features a drone lab with drones of all shapes and sizes. The goal of the efforts is to evaluate and demonstrate the capability of the counter-technologies developed through the grant award.   “These awards demonstrate the value UMKC research brings to our community and our state, in terms of stimulating our economy, showcasing our region’s scientific and technological leadership and safeguarding our citizens.” -Barbara  A. Bichelmeyer, UMKC interim chancellor and provost   This UMKC-led effort with Missouri S&T and MU also includes team members from the Kansas City National Security Campus; Radiation Detection Technologies in Manhattan, Kansas; BAE Systems in Nashua, New Hampshire and Austin, Texas; Eagle Harbor Technologies in Seattle, Washington; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California; Metamagnetics in Westborough, Massachusetts; Scientific Applications & Research Associates in Colorado Springs, Colorado; the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.; Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, California; and, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren,Virginia.    “The counter-drone problem is considered a grand challenge — maybe even a wicked problem begging for a comprehensive study of present- and future-art countermeasures. This program will address and improve on countermeasures, significantly impacting the defense enterprise for Missouri.” -Mun Y. Choi, president of the University of Missouri System   In previous awards from the Office of Naval Research, Caruso led a team of 20 faculty and students to create a portable nuclear radiation detector, taking the product from concept through prototype to production. R & D Magazine awarded the team an R & D 100 Award, the “Oscar of Invention,” for the detector, which improves homeland security by protecting people from potential risks from radioactive materials. The team included investigators from the University of Missouri and Kansas State University. The Caruso group is also working on countermeasures for high-power microwaves under the Office of Naval Research, Counter Directed Energy Weapons program.   Mar 02, 2018

  • Operation: Air Supply

    Researcher designs covert and cost-effective parachute drops
    When dropping supplies for military operations, every second and every detail matter — details like cost and accuracy. But it’s these details that have proven to be extremely difficult to overcome, especially when it comes to the precision of the drops. Even a gust of wind can have catastrophic results that directly affect the safety and security of troops stationed abroad. This is an intense situation with serious consequences, and it’s one Travis Fields, Ph.D., assistant professor at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering is surprised to find himself exploring often. “During my graduate work, I definitely did not imagine all the ways the work I was doing could be translated and applied,” says Fields, whose research focuses on the applications of drone technology. His work is certainly sought after and has garnered interest from several high-profile government agencies, including the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) and NASA. Grant funding from these organizations has allowed Fields and his research partner from the Naval Postgraduate School, Oleg Yakimenko, Ph.D., to collaborate on innovative parachute technologies to accurately drop supplies from safer altitudes. Dangerous Drops The Department of Defense started out performing the drops from very low altitudes to ensure they do not miss the target. Over time, the team is working to scale up and drop from higher altitudes. Its next test, targeted for December 2019, will make a 30-foot drop. “Unfortunately, this puts the aircrew in harm’s way, and there are many cases of aircraft filled with bullet holes,” Fields says.  An alternative is to use a parafoil system like the canopies used by skydivers. These systems have sophisticated control algorithms that enable high accuracy; however, they are expensive — often upward of $80,000 — and are usually reserved for the direst situations. Currently, there are no great low-cost, yet accurate, delivery options that can be employed from safe altitude Nevertheless, the DOD still needs effective methods to safely get supplies to troops on the ground. “As we have continued to push the limits and boundaries of our operational bases, aerial resupply has become the only way to provide goods,” Fields says. Another complication that hinders successful supply drops is rugged terrains of hard-to-reach drop zones and unpredictable weather. “Winds are the major factor that impact aerial delivery,” Fields says. “Winds change constantly, and if the predictions are off the true wind by even a few miles per hour, the payload can be off by hundreds to thousands of feet.” In short, accuracy is crucial in these missions and can save lives. “Most — if not all — incidents have come from using unguided systems that missed the target,” Fields says. “By having gliding capability, we hope to hit the right location and avoid such issues. Safer Landing With cost and accuracy needs in mind, Fields, Yakimenko and SCE students are testing a cruciform, or cross canopy system, that is manufactured with two rectangular nylon panels that are sewn together. This process, according to the researchers, is significantly easier and less expensive than trying to create the complex shape of the parafoil. “This system, which is probably an order of magnitude cheaper than those based on a parafoil, demonstrates a capability to rely on a calculated aerial release point and uses a limited control authority to steer toward a desired point of impact,” Yakimenko says. The package is fitted with an airborne guidance unit that features sensors and Raspberry Pi, a credit-card-sized computer, to provide real-time situational awareness. Additionally, the Raspberry Pi controls a motor that pulls on a particular suspension line of the parachute and allows for more accurate gliding to reach the desired target. As Fields and his team continue to test this novel system, they have been fortunate to have unique experiences and increasing grant support along the way. Test Runs Fields and his team recently had an opportunity to do testing from UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters at the Army Yuma Proving Ground. “It was a great opportunity and enabled us to show that our system really is steering and could be a more cost-effective method for aerial delivery,” Fields says. To date, Fields has secured $75,000 from NASA’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research to further explore unmanned systems and models. NASA even provided the team with five days of fully supported testing in its vertical spin tunnel at the NASA Langley Research Center, the only one of its kind in the Western hemisphere. Additionally, the primary partner in the research, the U.S. Army NSRDEC, has provided $418,386 since its initial award in 2015. “I definitely did not imagine all the ways the work I was doing could be translated and applied.”– Travis Fields, Ph.D. The funding, Fields says, is essential to the research and has helped the team run experiments at Camp Roberts in California on several occasions. Camp Roberts is an Army National Guard base with a restricted airstrip, McMillan Airfield, used for unmanned aircraft. While there, the team uses both fixed-wing and large multirotor unmanned aircrafts to carry packages up to 4,000 feet and then deploy the systems. To gain additional insight into the parachute guidance performance, the team uses a quadcopter to chase after the parachutes to collect video footage of the descent. This helps diagnose what the system is doing and adjust for future tests. The team will conduct its December test at a skydiving in Eloy, Ariz. “Going to places like Camp Roberts and Eloy is absolutely crucial for us to test our steering and guidance methodologies,” Fields says. “Out there we can go higher and farther away than in the national airspace around Kansas City, which currently limits operations to 400 feet without a waiver.” Though the tests are only the beginning of developing and implementing this technology, Fields is happy to report positive results. “We have performed two tests from 4,000 feet above ground where we were within 10 feet of the target, and a test from 6,000 feet where we were near 300 feet from the target,” Fields says. He adds that the success their work has seen is directly attributable to the support from the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering and the passion the students have. Yakimenko agrees. Assistant Professor Travis Fields, Ph.D., conducts research using unmanned aircrafts, which drop 10- to 15-pound payloads up to 1,600 feet above the ground in restricted airspaces. “I enjoy working with the undergraduate and graduate students from UMKC because of their desire to be involved in real-world, defense-related applications, as well as their creativity, readiness, thoroughness and willingness to stay for several days in a desert, where we usually conduct our tests,” Yakimenko says. “I know I can always rely on Dr. Fields’ team.”  The team’s system has great potential to increase precision delivery capabilities for critical military missions, particularly when costs inhibit more complex parafoil-based deliveries. Fields’ system features descent profiles that are not currently achievable with other glide systems, which means his system can achieve more accurate drops, more successful missions and save more lives. “This low-cost approach opens up the potential for semi-precision delivery in a variety of scenarios well beyond military use, including aid relief for situations like the hurricane in Puerto Rico or any other major disaster or crisis,” Fields says. “I believe this will be a transformational technique for aerial delivery operations in both military and humanitarian relief efforts in the years to come.” This story originally appeared in Vanguard, the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering research magazine.  Mar 01, 2018