• Celebrating an Athletics Pioneer

    Bill Ross' legacy lives on at UMKC
    Bill Ross As one of the founders of the athletics program, Bill Ross (1935-2019) has left a lasting legacy at UMKC. He was the first coach for men’s basketball when the team formed in 1969; the first women’s basketball coach, launching the team in 1980; and was head golf coach from 1972 through 2006. He also served as the first Sports Information Director at UMKC, as an assistant athletics director and also taught physical education as an assistant professor. He was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, where he is cited for following up a successful tenure as a high school basketball coach by becoming “instrumental in the development and implementation of the Intercollegiate Athletics program at UMKC,” as well as having “a significant impact in UMKC’s transition from NAIA to NCAA Division I athletics in 1987.” After his 2003 retirement, Ross and his wife, Pat, split their time between Hawaii and Kansas City. Spring and the return of golfing weather was always a harbinger of the Ross’ return to Kansas City, where Bill would schedule plenty of rounds with former student-athletes. Upon his induction into the UMKC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010, Ross said he held the golf program closest to his heart.  "It was more a labor of love than anything," Ross said. "I'd say because of the longevity I held onto in that sport, it has to rank at the top for me." Brandon Martin, Ph.D., director of athletics, said Ross was “an integral member of UMKC Athletics.” “We are saddened to learn of the passing of legendary coach Bill Ross. His impact is everlasting as a founding member of our department, and we are thankful for the time he spent building leaders at UMKC.” J.W. VanDenBorn, head men’s golf coach at UMKC, played for Ross and later served as an assistant coach for him before taking the head coaching position when Ross retired. “We are deeply saddened to lose our coach, mentor and friend,” VanDenBorn said. “He dedicated much of his life to UMKC Athletics and is largely responsible for what we all enjoy within the athletic department today. Everyone associated with UMKC Athletics is deeply indebted to him for his innumerable contributions. There will never be another Bill Ross.” Feb 28, 2019

  • Communication Students Benefit from Alumnus’s Gift

    Broadcast studio gets an upgrade
    Bob Carpenter, an award-winning sports broadcaster and voice of the Washington Nationals baseball team, recently donated $15,000 to the Department of Communications Studies to provide new equipment for existing studios to ensure students are prepared for today’s work environments. Carpenter understands the significance of updated equipment in broadcast studios. He has seen a lot of change in the industry since he graduated from UMKC in 1975.  “When I was at UMKC 40 years ago, all the equipment was old stuff,” Carpenter remembers. “Our engineer was always putting things back together with duct tape. Even then I thought that if I were ever in a position to give back, I would.” Originally designed for the analog broadcast world, the video studio was outdated for the creation of digital, high definition video, which is now the industry standard.  Caitlin Horsmon, associate professor and chair of communications studies, acknowledges the gift’s importance. “So often now a reporter is a one-man band,” Horsmon says. “They have to do everything – shoot, edit and publish. Up-to-date equipment ensures that we are giving them the best launching pad for success when they graduate.” “Having access to the new studio will make getting experience with the technology and equipment so much easier and enjoyable.” – Ciara Pate, communication studies A keen understanding of the field and an appreciation for hard work have contributed to Carpenter’s success, but he counts his years at UMKC as a significant influence. “Going to UMKC was the best decision I ever made,” says Carpenter.  “There were about 75 people in the whole department. It had a real team feel. “I want UMKC’s students to have that experience and the type of equipment that is going to prepare them for their jobs when they graduate.” If you're interested in making a gift to benefit UMKC students, learn more from the UMKC Foundation. Feb 28, 2019

  • Numerous UMKC Staff Awarded for Excellence in Service

    Second annual ceremony recognizes contributions
    Excellence at UMKC is not just the standard for our students, it is the standard for everyone who lives, works and visits our university. For more than 1,300 staff members, excellence in customer service and quality of work are not just university values, they’re personal ethics, and the annual Staff Awards event gives our campus community a chance to recognize those who make a difference at UMKC. On the morning, Feb. 27, hundreds of staff members gathered for the second annual Staff Awards celebration in the James. C. Olson Performing Arts Center to celebrate a commitment to student success, diversity and inclusion, engagement and outreach and research and discovery. The celebration also included milestone anniversaries, staff who were a part of the 2018 graduating class and staff who completed leadership development courses offered through the university. “It is important to host events like the Staff Awards because it reminds us that our work is valuable and our people are our most valuable asset.” - Chancellor Mauli Agrawal Whether working directly with students, coordinating programs and services for the greater Kansas City community, or providing foundational support for the various departments and academic units that make up our campus community, UMKC staff are a key part of our mission to be a transformational force in our community and in the world. “We strive each day to recognize staff as an important factor in the equation that makes up UMKC, and that contributes to the totality of the success of our university,” said Staff Council Chair Roland Hemmings. Congratulations to the 2019 Staff Awards recipients 45-year Milestone Anniversary Bill Marse 2018 summer and fall graduates Cary ChelladuraiLauren DorsettApril GrahamAnthony LabatCourtney McCain Supervisory Development Series Graduates Haley AndersonDakota JuhanAndrew HansbroughNancy BahnerFrancis MagroneBenjamin ZygmuntRebecca BergmanHeather MillerMichelle HeimanThom BoogherSarah MoteJennifer BurrusMary ParsonsCary ChelladuraiChristopher RoccoBrian DalyShannon RossAaron DavidJohn SmithStacy DownsElora ThomasAlison EatonHai VuShana EisentragerSandy Wilson Administrative Leadership Development Program Graduates Thom BoogherMegan CrossSean GrubeBecky PottebaumFred SchlichtingMolly WilenskyRob Williams Staff Council Dedication Award Liza Hughey Living the Values Awards Kristen Abell, Division of Strategic Marketing and CommunicationsCheryl Adam, Conservatory of Music and DanceCasey Bauer, School of Nursing and Health StudiesRebecca Bergman, College of Arts and SciencesAndrea Brown, School of LawCary Chelladurai, School of MedicineLawrence Dreyfus, Academic Affairs, being recognized by the Office of Research ServicesShana Eisentrager, School of PharmacyStephanie Griffin, School of Computing and EngineeringLibby Hanssen, University LibrariesWes Hinman, Information ServicesAmelia Howard, Intercollegiate AthleticsJody Jeffries, Student AffairsSteve Jenks, Campus Facilities ManagementMichelle Kroner, Affirmative ActionBill Marse, School of DentistryKim McNeley, University CollegeLauren Petrillo, School of Biological SciencesPolly Prendergast, School of EducationNancy Wilkinson, Henry W. Bloch School of Management University Staff Awards Excellence in Student Success – Corinna Beck, School of Nursing and Health StudiesExcellence in Research and Creative Works – Chelsea Dahlstrom, Office of Research ServicesExcellence in Engagement and Outreach – Erin Christensen, Henry W. Bloch School of ManagementExcellence in Multiculturalism, Globalism, Diversity and Inclusion – Tamica Lige, School of PharmacyExcellence in Planning, Operations and Stewardship – Amy Carlson, Registration and RecordsChancellor’s Staff Award for Extraordinary Contributions – Mary Flores, School of Biological Sciences   Learn More About UMKC Feb 28, 2019

  • Alumnus Committed to Teaching Future Musicians

    Conservatory of Music and Dance selects Stanislav Ioudenitch to receive Alumni Award
    Stanislav Ioudenitch (P.C.-Piano '03)Artistic Director, International Center for Music at Park University Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. In 2019, UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance is honoring Stanislav Ioudenitch (Performance Certificate-Piano ’03) with their Alumni Achievement Award. Gold-medal winner at the world-renowned Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Ioudenitch has performed at cultural centers around the world, including Carnegie Hall in New York, Conservatorio Verdi in Italy, the Mariinsky Theatre 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. Of teaching, Ioudenitch has said that relating his experiences, knowledge and performance practices to his students has always been a personal and professional passion. About the Alumni Awards Ioudenitch will be honored at the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awards on March 15. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards events have raised more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Feb 27, 2019

  • Latino Author and Artist Gives Back to the Community

    José Faus to receive UMKC Defying the Odds Award
    José Faus (B.A. ’87)Artist Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. In 2019, UMKC is honoring José Faus (B.A. ’87) with the Defying the Odds Award. 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 in his teens, Faus came to realize his knack for writing and has used his journey as a source of inspiration for his work. An artist and writer, Faus is a founding member of the Latino Writers Collective and serves on the boards of Charlotte Street Foundation, UMKC Friends of the Library and Nuevo Eden. He’s been involved in many mural works in the Kansas City area, Mexico and Bolivia, where he received a cultural ambassador grant from the U.S. State Department. Faus reflected on his artistic influences and passion for community.  How does your upbringing influence your art? I can honestly say that the experience of being in two different worlds (cultures) influences the way I respond creatively. I am also not concerned with the idea that only one discipline is all we should pursue. I can’t imagine writing without the visual and performing aspect and that comes from being in two places culturally, emotionally and socially. You’re deeply involved in the Kansas City community. Why is supporting the community and its residents so important to you? I really believe it is important to create the type of community one is comfortable in. I recall when one could legitimately say there was nothing going on in town but now there are so many things to do. This town is growing culturally and it is exciting to see what that transformation looks like. We are creating this in real time. Where did the idea for the Latino Writers Collective come from? I was going to readings around town and seeing voices that did not reflect my experience or my background. There was a group of Latina and indigenous women writers called Las Poetas that did. When they broke up, I remember pressing my friend Angela Cervantes to see if she would be interested in helping form a group of Latinos that would work to help refine our work and present it. We found like-minded folk and created the collective. We started out by meeting at The Writer's Place, and in time started getting our work out and people started coming to our readings. About the Alumni Awards Faus will be honored at the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awards on March 15. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards events have raised more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Feb 27, 2019

  • Local Sports Show Host Driven to Give Back

    Steven St. John to receive UMKC Spotlight Award
    Steven St. John (B.A. '96)On-Air Personality, 810 WHB Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. In 2019, UMKC is honoring Steven St. John (B.A. ’96) with the Spotlight Award. A fixture on the Kansas City sports scene since 1999, St. John 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. He spent several years offering color commentary for UMKC basketball teams and has spoken at numerous university events. An active member of the Kansas City community, St. John devotes his spare time to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City and the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City. 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. He spoke with us about his career path and passion for giving back.  Rumor has it you called radio shows and impersonated characters to talk sports with the hosts. Any truth to that? Yes, while working at Union Broadcasting [parent company of 810 WHB], I would call the show and prank the hosts. I was just doing a weekly boxing segment and basically doing anything around the radio station that they would let me do, for free. I just wanted to get my foot in the door. I think it showed my eventual bosses that I had some unique voice talents. Now I’m living my dream. I’m probably most comfortable in life when I’m on air in front of a microphone.  You donate your time to a number of organizations. Where does your passion for community service stem from? Without a doubt, my mom. She always told me that along with any success I achieved in life, I needed to remain humble and give back to the community. I’m only doing the things she would be doing if she was still alive. So all of my philanthropic endeavors are dedicated to her memory and done in her name. How did UMKC prepare you for success? I needed direction. I needed support. I needed confidence. Working for the basketball program and University News gave me those things. The broadcast performance class taught by Pam Whiting crystallized my desire to make it in radio. I remember Gary Lezak came to class as a guest speaker and I thought he would be a cool guy to work with. Now, he does a segment on my show every day. About the Alumni Awards St. John will be honored at the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awards on March 15. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards events have raised more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Feb 27, 2019

  • UMKC Grads Are Everywhere

    New marketing campaign shows Roos' enormous impact on Kansas City and beyond
    UMKC launched a new marketing campaign this week that, quite literally, should have you seeing UMKC Roos everywhere. The campaign's essential idea builds off something we Roos already know - UMKC grads are everywhere. Our alums are some 57,000 strong in Kansas City. We have tens of thousands more people who benefit from our community engagement work, who donate to our programs, who serve on boards, who believe in our mission as an urban, public research university. UMKC makes a huge impact on the leadership, workforce and culture of our great metro area. So we decided to create a new way to tell that story. The campaign is the collaboration of the UMKC Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications and Bernstein-Rein, one of Kansas City's leading advertising firms. The look The campaign is built around simple but indelible elements. The UMKC gold and blue. Our distinctive kangaroo mascot. The central image - a powerful kangaroo silhouetted against a gold background - is reminiscent of the deer crossing signs you see in Missouri and Kansas. The idea is that anytime you see one of our signs, you'll remember that UMKC grads truly are everywhere - they could be your pharmacist, your accountant, the director of the museum you're visiting or a musician in the performance you're attending. The messages Our campaign is built around two central overarching messages. Yes, our UMKC grads are everywhere. But more than that - they excel everywhere. Over time, our campaign will also communicate some of the key ways UMKC provides a great return on investment for our community. And we'll highlight the many successful and varied academic programs that have provided the foundation for our students to go out and change the world. Where to see it Billboards. Downtown streetcar stops. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Online digital ads and search. Wild postings of our signs in neighborhoods across KC. Car decals and T-shirts. These are just a few of the places you can see our campaign all across the greater Kansas City metro, and even all the way to Wichita and Topeka. Want to see it in person? Go here: Downtown KC. You'll see it on the streetcar shelters lining Main Street and on huge digital billboards in the Power and Light District. On major interstates. Keep your eye out for billboards on I-35 northbound on the Kansas side as you near downtown, I-70 westbound as you drive from Independence and I-29 crossing the river. Westport, Crossroads and Midtown neighborhoods and more. You'll find UMKC signs sprinkled throughout these areas where may least expect it.   Buy T-Shirt, $9.99 Spread the word! Tell your story with hashtag #RoosEverywhere about how UMKC positively impacted your life. Tell a prospective student about the campaign. Represent the gold and blue and sport your UMKC gear Take a selfie with one of our kangaroo signs and post it to social with #RoosEverywhere. Like and retweet other #RoosEverywhere stories. See someone else sharing their story? Send it to our UMKC social accounts - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - and we'll feature them in future social media posts or stories. Donate to fund scholarships for new Roos. Any and all are great ways to support UMKC.   Feb 27, 2019

  • Alumnus is Celebrated for his Longtime Support of UMKC

    Dick Gibson to receive the UMKC Bill French Alumni Service Award
    Dick Gibson (B.M.E. '67, EMBA '02)Retired Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. In 2019, UMKC is honoring retired Colonel Dick Gibson (B.M.E. ’67, EMBA ’02) with the Bill French Alumni Service Award. A former president of the Bloch School of Management’s Alumni Association Board, Gibson is a long-time supporter of UMKC. One of the founding members of the EMBA Alumni Admissions Council, Gibson serves on the business advisory board to Enactus and as an at-large director on the UMKC Alumni Governing Board. Despite living nearly an hour from campus, Gibson can be found supporting students at campus events, including alumni pizza nights, move-in days and commencement ceremonies. He recently spoke with us. What do you enjoy most about working with the students in Enactus? I love helping them meet key business leaders in the Kansas City metro area who can assist them with completing some of their projects to better the community in which they live as UMKC students. I also enjoy getting the Enactus students ready for their annual competition and have had the honor to see them compete twice at the national competitions. You’ve served in several different capacities over the years: Bloch Executive Education Advisory Board Alumni Alliance Board Member Bloch EMBA Alumni Admissions Council Bloch Alumni Association Board Member/Past President Alumni Association Board Member/Director-at-Large  Bloch Regnier Institute Advisory Board Experience UMKC Volunteer Legislative Day Volunteer Bloch School Guest Speaker Mid-Year Commencement Volunteer Bloch School Case Management Competition Judge Move-in Day Volunteer Would you pick one or two and tell us why it was meaningful? I find meeting with students and their parents during Experience UMKC each spring in Pierson Auditorium a tremendous opportunity for me to give back to prospective students and relay to them the value of coming to UMKC for undergraduate studies. Also meeting the parents, who sometimes are equally trying to decide if their children should attend UMKC, allows for great interaction and discussions. Being a judge for the Bloch School Case Management Competition for eight years has been a fantastic experience. Each year I enjoy watching student teams deliver their solutions and recommendations to different Kansas City businesses that want valuable feedback on real business problems.  What phrase do you use most often? “Friends are like notes of a song — one melody, one harmony. Together they make music.”  Friends are important. It is true friendships that have endured over time that keep me going. About the Alumni Awards Gibson will be honored at the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awards on March 15. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards events have raised more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Feb 27, 2019

  • Alumnus Leads World-Famous San Diego Zoo

    Dwight Scott to receive the UMKC Alumnus of the Year Award
    Dwight Scott (B.L.A. '94)Director, San Diego Zoo Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. In 2019, UMKC is honoring Dwight Scott (B.L.A. ’94) as Alumnus of the Year. 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. Scott is responsible for daily operations of all departments including admissions, education and animal care. Through science-based, collaborative projects and cutting-edge, immersive exhibits, the organization strives to lead the fight against extinction and connect people with wildlife. Scott also serves as a mentor for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ executive leadership development program and on the advisory board of the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. He recently spoke with us about his career. You started your career as a primate keeper at the Kansas City Zoo. Has your interaction with animals decreased since you’ve become director of the San Diego Zoo? Relationships with animals is a special bond. They learn to trust the people they see daily, so I can’t just walk by the gorillas and expect them to come over and say hello. I miss that. But now I get to admire our great animal keepers and the bond they form with the animals. I walk the zoo early in the morning and run into our horticulture staff and I always learn something from them. It’s not just about animals, plants are critical, too. Where do you hope to see zoos go in the future? The future of zoos is important as more and more plant and animal species are threatened with extinction every day. In Africa, what people think of as “the wild” is different than “running free.” Poaching is one of the gravest threats to wildlife. The last two northern white rhinos on the planet are under armed guard 24/7. I am grateful to have the chance to collaborate with like-minded organizations to save species from extinction. It is noble, humbling and inspiring. I’m fortunate to work in an industry that makes a difference for wildlife. What advice do you have for students who’d like to follow in your footsteps? When I started, I was attracted by animals but what I’ve learned is that to save the animals, you have to work well with people. Collaborations are key—be able to develop relationships. Be prepared to work well and effectively with people. About the Alumni Awards Scott will be honored at the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awards on March 15. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards events have raised more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Feb 27, 2019

  • UMKC Theatre Again Named a Top Costume Design Program

    Second year in a row, Hollywood Reporter names UMKC to its Top 10 list
    For the second year in a row, Hollywood Reporter has included UMKC Theatre in its list of Top 10 Costume Design schools. “It’s pretty exciting,” said Lindsay W. Davis, UMKC Theatre professor of costume design. “There have been only two years of the Top 10 list, and it is basically a list of behemoths, giants in university education, and UMKC is among them.” UMKC Theatre offers a single comprehensive M.F.A. degree in costume design and technology, which has been key to its success. Students learn many skills including drawing, painting, sketching and learning how to construct a garment with techniques in fabric manipulation, millinery, tailoring and pattern drafting. Doug Enderle was the first M.F.A. costume design graduate from UMKC in 1981. He received an Emmy for his work for The Walt Disney Company at which he was a senior lead costume designer. Other notable alumni include Tom Houchins, costumer on Grey’s Anatomy; and Jonathan Knipscher, lead tailor on The Greatest Showman. “Running a shop of several tailors, pattern makers and milliners for a large movie like this can be stressful, especially with an ever-evolving schedule," Knipscher said in the Hollywood Reporter write-up about UMKC Theatre. “UMKC taught me to deal creatively with these struggles, be calm and come up with the best solution in the moment.” UMKC Theatre graduates have worked as costume designers or costume makers at HBO, The Metropolitan Opera, The Los Angeles Opera, on Broadway, London’s West End, the Market Theatre in South Africa, as well as opera companies in Brazil, Italy and throughout the U.S. Regional theaters recent graduates have worked at include Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., The Roundabout Theatre in New York City, The Cleveland Play House and The Old Globe in San Diego. Pheobe Boynton (M.F.A. '08) was costume supervisor on Norwegian and Oceania cruise line, and also designed for the Discovery channel group and YouTube Red. Feb 25, 2019

  • Bloch Student Admires Drive and Diversity

    Daphne Posadas seizes opportunities at UMKC
    Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.  Daphne PosadasAcademic program: Business Administration (Management), Pre-lawHometown: Independence, Missouri; originally from New JerseyAnticipated graduation year: 2021 Why did you choose UMKC?  When I was deciding where to go to college, I originally wanted to go back to New Jersey (where I was born) or New York, because there's tons of diversity, cultural identity and people who are proud of who they are, no matter where they're from. But UMKC offered me a lot of financial opportunity to go to school. I couldn’t turn it down! It was a last-minute decision that I'm very thankful I made.  What do you like about UMKC? One key thing that I love about UMKC is I feel like I can contribute here. I didn't think one person could make a huge difference, but I got to be an orientation leader and an RA and make a difference in so many freshmen's lives. Another thing I love about UMKC is the diversity. It's great to see people from all different cultures and stories. I realized I haven't met everyone in the entire world, and I want to. UMKC allows students to start becoming the adult they want to be – one who is full of confidence, creativity and compassion.   How did you choose your field of study?  In Honduras, my grandmother was a humble businesswoman. Instead of carrying a briefcase to work every day, she carried a basket full of hand-sewn cloths and clothing to sell. Instead of calling customers in a cubicle, she walked door-to-door talking to neighbors and engaging with them over a cup of coffee. My father saw how hard she worked to make do for her children as a single mother, and it taught him from a very young age that money isn’t everything, but it sure does help. Since migrating to the U.S., my parents have broken their backs to keep my siblings and I financially stable. After working for others for 15 years, my father finally owns his own company (also without a degree, like my grandmother). They’ve inspired me to follow in their footsteps and try to be even more successful than they were, but this time, with a college degree.  What are the benefits of the program?  The UMKC Bloch School has the AACSB business school accreditation, given to less than 5 percent of business schools nationwide. Bloch students truly learn from the best. A business school in the heart of a city has its advantages, too, because a city is always surrounded by business. Kansas City businesses are always on the lookout for the next best innovators and experts in their field, which is why Bloch has so many internship opportunities that lead to a more than 90-percent employment rate after graduation. "UMKC allows students to start becoming the adult they want to be – one who is full of confidence, creativity and compassion."-Daphne Posadas     What are the challenges of the program?  Lots of people go to college to study business, which means more competition. We have to compete with one another, not only for the same jobs, but also to find new and better ways to stand out in a big crowd where everyone is just as good as you. How has your college program inspired you?  Bloch has inspired me to become an innovator – someone who looks for how to make the world a better place through business. Henry W. Bloch created a multi-million-dollar company that helps thousands around the nation. Then he came back to his Kansas City roots and donated $32 million to expand the UMKC business school. He inspires me to become someone who makes a difference and gives back, so others can not only do the same, but better.   What do you admire most at UMKC?  I admire UMKC’s need for success. It’s not just a school that teaches students and takes their money. It’s a school that genuinely cares and wants you to succeed. You see it in the classrooms, in the library, in the Student Union. Everyone is in it to succeed and strive to be more.  What are your lifelong goals? In my career, I want to impact everyone, not just focus on minorities or majorities but how I can bring those together – how I can use my culture and languages to further influence people. I once said I wanted to be an immigration lawyer to help those who don't tend to have the best of luck with lawyers. Maybe I’ll get a law degree. Or maybe I’ll get my master's in international business. I say “maybe,” because I'm honestly trying to learn how not to plan out my life. I have goals but I know it's okay if they don't happen. I'm a perfectionist. I'm someone who needs everything to be on a list for it to happen. But I'm learning to live with imperfections. I'm trying to learn how to improvise and live in the moment.       "I'm learning to live with imperfections. I'm trying to learn how to improvise and live in the moment."-Daphne Posadas Feb 24, 2019

  • New Legislative Caucus Supports UM System Universities

    Bipartisan group of 13 represents UMKC and the three other universities
    A group of Missouri state legislators have formed a new bipartisan caucus to support the University of Missouri System and its four universities, including the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The 13 legislators in the caucus all graduated from or represent one of the system’s four campuses. The group is led by state Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, and Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia. The group announced themselves at a Feb. 21 press conference in Jefferson City with UM System President Mun Y. Choi. “As far as students that are served, areas they are going into, research being done, what that research means as an economic output in our state, that’s the story that needs to be told,” Rowden said, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. "I believe very much in the mission of our university system, and want to see it succeed," Razer said, quoted by the News Tribune of Jefferson City. Razer is a University of Missouri-Columbia graduate, and his House district borders the UMKC campus. Razer noted state funding is only around a quarter of the funds each campus needs to operate — 27 percent at UM-St. Louis, 24 percent at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla), 23 percent at UMKC and only 20 percent at Columbia. "It is time that we fund our universities at a rate that they deserve," Razer said, according to the News Tribune, "and I look forward to spending my time in the General Assembly working toward that goal." More from the News Tribune: "In the last two years, we have cut and re-allocated $180 million, so that we can fund those programs that are critical for us," Choi said. Just in the first five months of the current business year, that began last July 1, he said, "We were able to raise $80 million for scholarships, primarily for need-based students and our outstanding students in Missouri, so that they don't go outside of our state — so, we are reversing the 'brain-drain.'" Still, he said, better legislative support for the UM System is important, because "We can be the engine for economic development. We can be the engine for research that cures cancer. "We can be an institution that enlivens our lives through music, art and the humanities." More from the Columbia Daily Tribune: “Hopefully, this is a long-term caucus of looking at how we fund higher education in general,” Razer said. “Moving it forward, we have seen the (higher education) budget flatlined for some 20 years now. ... That’s not sustainable.” The system is getting back to its basics, Choi said at the morning announcement. It developed a strategic plan two years ago that focused on excellence in student success, research and engagement, he said. “We have a new mission and that mission is to make a difference to our students and Missourians every single day, Choi said.   Feb 22, 2019

  • Regnier Institute Receives Model Program Award

    Award recognizes comprehensiveness, impact on students and community
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation won a top national award in entrepreneurship education, recognizing the program as a model for comprehensive, bold, high-quality education. The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship gave the Regnier Institute the Model Program Award at the group's annual conference in January. To win, a program must submit a proposal and presentation about its university's entrepreneurship programs. The Regnier Institute is a program of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management and one of Kansas City's leaders in entrepreneurial education. “Over the past five years we have built a tremendous team of faculty and Regnier Institute staff. Our programs are impacting students and community members” - Jeff Hornsby, Director For the competition, the Regnier Institute submitted verifiable materials regarding curricular and co-curricular programs and their impact, which also had to support sustainability of the programs, said Laura Moore, MPA. Moore is senior program and project coordinator for the institute and a member of the UMKC team that gave a 20-minute presentation at the conference. More than 55 universities submitted materials for the USASBE award. “This is an overall program award for the comprehensiveness of what you do and the impact on students and the community,” said Andy Heise, MBA, assistant director and a member of the presentation team. “I believe it was the quality of our Regnier and Bloch team and the programs each of them oversees that resulted in the award. We have degree programs and courses that reach across the UMKC campus and into the community. We have co-curricular programs, especially Entrepreneurship Scholars and mentoring that received a lot of compliments.” The impact: The Entrepreneurship Scholars (E-Scholars) early-stage accelerator program for student and community entrepreneurs accepts 70 ventures per year. Over E-Scholars’ eight years, more than 300 entrepreneurs have received support, resulting in more than 100 ventures launched; more than 70 have received external funding from competitions, grants, loans and investors; and more than 50 hired employees or used outside contractors. The UMKC Bloch Venture Hub is a community resource for Kansas City area entrepreneurs developing their ventures from concept to launch and scale. It currently houses 12 ventures.  More than 150 community mentors who volunteer more than 1,000 total hours per year for UMKC program and students. “Over the past five years we have built a tremendous team of faculty and Regnier Institute staff,” said Regnier Director and Henry W. Bloch/Missouri Endowed Chair Jeff Hornsby. “Our programs are impacting students and community members by creating an entrepreneurial mindset and teaching and coaching people through the entrepreneurial process. Our niche is to focus on very early stage entrepreneurs and nurture them to launch. We welcome all good ideas from individuals with passion and a willingness to learn and experiment.” This award reflects the tremendous support of the UMKC and Bloch School administration; and funders and donors including the Regnier Family Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, attendees and sponsors of the Entrepreneur of the Year banquet and donors to the Henry Bloch Birthday Fund, Hornsby said. “The administrative and financial support is what provided the foundation for our team to build great programs,” Hornsby said. “The award is a symbol of the quality of the Regnier team and the programs we have built. However, the external validation provided by this award is always important when you are working across the UMKC campus, the UM System and in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.” Feb 20, 2019

  • Success Runs in the Family

    Strickland – Hembree Family to receive UMKC Legacy Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. In 2019, the university and Alumni Association are honoring the Strickland – Hembree Family with the Legacy Award. The awardee family is anchored by two Strickland sisters, Mary Pat and Kathryn, who both graduated from the UMKC School of Medicine and entered the field of ophthalmology. Mary Pat Lange graduated from the School of Medicine’s six-year program 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 Hembree graduated in 1986 and founded Northland Eye Specialists, focused on providing comprehensive family eye care. Kathryn Ann’s daughter, Kathryn 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. The women of the Strickland – Hembree family spoke with us recently about their career paths. Mary Pat Lange (M.D. '85) Mary Pat Lange You were one of the first doctors in the U.S. to use a laser cataract machine. What benefits does it have over traditional cataract surgeries done by hand? I believe it makes surgery more controlled and more predictable. The laser offers the ability to correct astigmatism (blurred vision from irregularly shaped cornea) at the time of cataract removal. It allows the rapid performance of all corneal incisions with high accuracy and provides a real-time image of the cataract’s size and depth, allowing for precise and easier removal. Kathryn Ann Hembree (M.D. '86) Kathryn Ann Hembree When you and Dr. Susan Carney founded Northland Eye Specialists, did you face adversity as two females starting an office? There were times in our early years that discrimination and borderline sexual harassment occurred. I think as women it took a little while for people (patients and other colleagues) to accept that we were, in fact, competent. Remember, this was 30 years ago. But it didn’t take long for our practice to take off and, happily, those days are in the past. Kathryn Hembree Night (B.A. '09) Kathryn Hembree Night How did you wind up working in finance? During college, I pursued a variety of internships to get practical experience working in different fields. I worked with my mother in her ophthalmology practice. I also spent two summers in New York, first interning for the District Attorney in Brooklyn and later working as a litigation paralegal at a law firm. At the law firm, I was working on a large securities litigation matter and the experience was my first real exposure into finance. I found myself eager to learn more about this type of work. About the Alumni Awards The Strickland – Hembree Family will be honored at the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awards on March 15. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards events have raised more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Feb 19, 2019

  • A Career in Costume

    Alumnus shares his journey from benchwarmer to NFL mascot
    Andrew Johnson (B.B.A. '13) shares about his first time meeting KC Wolf, his job as TORO for the Houston Texans and what it's like inside the suit.  Yours is not the typical journey from a bachelor's degree in marketing to a high-profile career. How did you end up there? Johnson: My journey to become a professional mascot started when I was young. My parents were always pushing me to play sports, but most of my playing involved practical jokes and goofing around with my friends on the bench. I never would have imagined that my role as a benchwarmer would lead to a job in the National Football League. When I was in the 5th grade, the mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs came to visit my school in Lee's Summit, Missouri, to host an assembly program. As we funneled into the gymnasium, KC Wolf was running around keeping us entertained with his googly eyes and 85" hips. Under the costume was Dan Meers, who has been the mascot for the Chiefs for almost 30 years. He began the presentation by talking about his cool job and all of the cool things he'd done, places he had been and people he had met. I thought that he had the coolest job in the world. At the end, he asked for a volunteer to try the costume on. I raised my hand and was selected as the student that got to wear the KC Wolf costume. It was at that moment that I was inspired. You can probably imagine the expression on my parents' face when I raced home from school that day and told them what I was going to do for the rest of my life. Read more on umkcalumni.com. Feb 19, 2019

  • Causes of 2014 EV-D68 Outbreak Still Unknown

    School of Medicine professor's study cited in Healio
    Christopher J. Harrison, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and director of the Infectious Disease Research Laboratory at Children’s Mercy, and colleagues wrote that in the last 50 years, the United States has seen fewer than 100 sporadic cases and periodic outbreaks caused by EV-D68. Read more. Feb 16, 2019

  • Alumna Specializes in Preservation

    College of Arts and Sciences selects Jeanne Drewes to receive Alumni Award
    Jeanne Drewes (B.A. '76)Chief of Binding and Collections Care Division and Deacidification Program,Library of Congress Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. In 2019, UMKC College of Arts and Sciences is honoring Jeanne Drewes (B.A. ’76) with their Alumni Achievement Award. Drewes’ career spans four decades and includes roles at universities, libraries and museums. She currently serves as chief of the Binding and Collections Care Division and Deacidification Program at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. She spoke with us about her career path and travels to Cuba. When you received your undergraduate degree from UMKC, did you already plan to pursue a career in libraries? No, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I had worked at Linda Hall Library and got a job at the UMKC Library, so I understood how libraries worked. Having that experience led me to think about the master’s degree so that I could make a difference where I worked. You instituted a program for college students to assist with book preservation at the National Library of Cuba. Tell us about the program and what students accomplished during their time there. During winter break, students from Johns Hopkins would go to Cuba and learn about Cuban culture and hear lectures at the University of Havana and at the Special Interest Section, which was run by the U.S. State Department before there was an embassy there. The first project was rehousing slave registries held at the provincial archives in Matanzas, Cuba. The students wanted to help the country and felt good about helping to preserve history that was both Cuban and American. The second student project was putting old maps into new folders in the National Archives in Havana. I remember one student telling me how honored she was to be able to work on these old maps, saying, “In the United States, I wouldn’t be allowed to touch maps this old, and in Cuba I am helping to preserve them.” How did UMKC contribute to your success? Both the coursework, which I completely enjoyed because it made me think more deeply about what I was reading, and the work experience really helped me on my career path. Being part of the inventory of the library was a great experience and one I have continued to build on, most recently doing a survey of some three million volumes at the Library of Congress. About the Alumni Awards Drewes will be honored at the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awards on March 15. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards events have raised more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Feb 14, 2019

  • UMKC Is One Of Few That Teaches Fetal Surgery

    Dynamic duo in medicine is leading the way
    The heart of UMKC is our campus community. With small class sizes, it’s easy to develop faculty-student mentorship teams. And these rich relationships—our Dynamic Duos—are some of our best success stories. You might have heard about Emanuel (Mike) Vlastos, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UMKC School of Medicine, because he’s made news for performing life-changing surgeries — in the womb. For example, he has been able to lessen the defects of babies who have spina bifida (when the spinal cord isn’t covered with skin and bone) before they are born. When he came to Kansas City from St. Louis in 2017, he brought open-fetal surgery to Children’s Mercy, where he is director of fetal therapy. Akash Jani, a Chicago native who is a six-year-medical student expecting to graduate in 2020, sought out Vlastos for a rotation in fetal medicine and surgery. How did this mentorship come to be? Some people go their whole lives without having a mentor. Mike Vlastos: It was Akash’s impetus and push, which brought this to fruition. He has broken trails for the next student to tread. It has been a pleasure and a challenge. Let this continue!Akash Jani: I sent him an e-mail after hearing about the work that he was doing with fetal surgery and it all snowballed from there. All you have to do is find a faculty member or staff person who’s inspiring to you, does cool work, or is respected in their field, and just introduce yourself. My experiences have led me to apply to obstetrics and gynecology for my residency after I complete my M.D. I have never felt a more rewarding feeling than when the OB/GYN team hands a mom her newborn baby. What has Dr. Vlastos taught you? Jani: Dr. Vlastos has challenged me to not let any obstacles stop me — our potential is limitless. A lot of his work and surgeries were once thought to be crazy ideas with impossible outcomes, yet here he is doing them every week. This idea is also evident in his teaching; he does not let me get away with saying that something is not possible. Dr. Vlastos has inspired me to be a better physician. Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” and that is how Dr. Vlastos practices fetal surgery. He often uses the sleeve of his shirt to explain the amniotic sac to a patient or an ultrasound probe to explain the kidneys and he simplifies it so the patient can understand. He taught me that making sure you can communicate and teach is one of the most crucial jobs of being a physician. "I admire Dr. Vlastos’ humility. He performs some of the most difficult, intricate surgeries in the country and saves families, mothers and babies who were never supposed to make it." Akash Jani What changes have you seen in Akash? Vlastos: Step up to the Tree of Knowledge and take a bite! So it is with Akash. He has taken the whole fruit of this rotation to chew on. From skin to seed, the nutrition has fed his learning and, furthermore, it is now part of him. Looking forward to see what will happen next!Jani: Before working with Dr. Vlastos, I always thought that life’s paths were linear and you just go from one stage to another. Through teaching me fetal surgery and sharing the journey of how he got to Kansas City, I’ve learned that it is okay to go through life in unconventional ways, take breaks, and try new things out. There is plenty of time to do what you want to do. This means a lot when I’m finding it hard to put things into perspective. I admire Dr. Vlastos’ humility. He performs some of the most difficult, intricate surgeries in the country and saves families, mothers and babies who were never supposed to make it. I have never seen him brag about his expertise, be arrogant or disrespectful to someone on his staff. Whenever patients thank him for saving their babies, he simply smiles and says, “It’s the team! We all did it!” Feb 14, 2019

  • For the Love of Manatees

    School of Biological Sciences selects Patrick Rose to receive Alumni Award
    Patrick M. Rose (B.S. '73, M.S. '75)Executive Director, Save the Manatees Club Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. In 2019, UMKC School of Biological Sciences is honoring Patrick M. Rose (B.S. ’73, M.S. ’75) with their Alumni Achievement Award. Considered one of the world’s leading experts on the Florida manatee, Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, has tirelessly advocated for their health and habitat for more than 40 years. He spoke with us recently about his pivotal roles in protecting the species. When did you decide to focus on manatees? I decided to focus on manatees in my later teens when I learned to SCUBA dive and build underwater camera housings. It only took seeing manatees underwater one time to be moved by the disfiguring scars and cuts from propeller strikes. I felt empathetic and wanted to do something to protect them, since there were no protections for them from speeding boats at that time in the late 1960s. Tell us about your roles before joining the Save the Manatee Club. The U.S. Marine Mammal Commission provided the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with a grant to hire me as the first federal manatee recovery activities coordinator. My primary responsibilities centered on writing and facilitating the implementation of the first comprehensive and annotated manatee plan that later became the model for future manatee recovery plans. The plan detailed what would be required to recover manatees as a population and to identify required staffing and funding. Upon completing that three-year assignment, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided funding to the Florida Department of Natural Resources to hire me as the state’s first manatee coordinator, a lone position tasked with building the state protection programs from scratch. I later served as the administrator of the newly created Office of Protected Species for the Department of Environmental Protection. I was fortunate enough to shepherd the expansion of the programs to include dozens of other scientists and managers and was able to implement comprehensive manatee protection and recovery programs with an emphasis on aquatic ecosystem protection. I should point out that many of the programs we implemented were unprecedented in scope. What is a typical day like for you as executive director of the Save the Manatee Club? I must balance our scientific, educational, outreach, advocacy, legal and fundraising responsibilities while defending the organization from those who see our existence as a threat to speed boating or as an impediment to developing unsustainable developments within important aquatic habitats and seagrass communities. What advice do you have for students who’d like to follow in your footsteps? Be willing to volunteer to follow your passion. This is especially true when you are first starting out as it gives you a chance to prove your worth. About the Alumni Awards Rose will be honored at the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awards on March 15. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards events have raised more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Feb 11, 2019

  • New Degree Gives Pre-Med Students A Boost

    The revamped Master of Arts in biology gives students chance to enhance portfolio
    Students who have discovered their focus later or hit some academic bumps in their careers have a new opportunity to enhance their experiences, grade point averages and approach to advanced medical degrees through a reconceived three-semester master of arts in biology. Prospective students will have recently completed their bachelor’s degree and are interested in pursuing medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy or veterinary school.  “We are offering an opportunity for students who may have had a rocky semester that affected their GPA — or have been challenged by the MCAT or DAT — to continue their course work while they are retaking tests or submitting applications,” said Karen Bame, graduate programs officer and director of the MA Biology program. While UMKC has offered a Master of Arts biology degree in the past, the coursework was different. Now students will be in the same classroom as professional students rather than with Ph.D. students who are more research focused. This first year the department will accept 5-10 students; in the future there will be room for 30 or more. “This first year we will be highly selective,” Bame said. “We are interested in having the strongest students with acceptance similar to that of a doctoral program.” “We are offering an opportunity for students who may have had a rocky semester that affected their GPA — or have been challenged by the MCAT or DAT — to continue their course work while they are retaking tests or submitting applications.”-Karen Bame The program is designed for students like Marriam Hassan who want to recalibrate their educational path. “I was a late bloomer, but my senior year I began to excel in my science courses.  I needed a program to take those new skills and perfect them. Dr. Bame mentioned the new MA biology degree, but I couldn’t wait,” said Hassan, who is now pursuing a master of science in cellular and molecular biology. “Some students are late bloomers and sometimes students face personal challenges that can affect their success for a semester or a year,” said Margaret Kincaid, associate professor, who will assist Bame on administration and getting feedback from students on the structure of the program.   Kincaid enjoys working with students on this sometimes indirect path. "They are very introspective and receptive to feedback on how to improve their academic performance and applications to professional programs," Kincaid said. "This degree provides them a path that will demonstrate they are up to the challenge of rigorous coursework, while also being very economical compared to other options.”  Hassan agrees. “There are so many students out there like me who thought about giving up, but that one chance was all they needed to get back up and start fighting for their dream again,” Hassan said.  “I thought medical school seemed impossible, but I have the opportunity to achieve my dream again. I hope this new program will give other students the same chance.” More about the Master of Arts in Biology Questions about the new MA Biology program, or how to apply can be directed to Karen Bame, (bamek@umkc.edu).  The deadline for application is April 1, 2019. Feb 08, 2019

  • STEM Student Discovers Career Development Opportunities

    Dominique Paje's UMKC experiences are leading to her dream career in healthcare
    Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Dominique PajeAnticipated graduation date: 2020 Hometown: Joplin, Missouri; immigrated from the PhilippinesAcademic program: Chemistry and Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences Why did you choose your field of study? I’ve always known I wanted to work in health care so I chose chemistry as a pre-professional degree, but I also love the field of psychology. It’s fascinating to learn how and why people think the way they do, what their motivations are and the theories behind it. What have you learned since entering college? Because I have majors in both STEM and the arts, my education has been very well rounded. As a result, I not only have gained numerous worldly perspectives, but I’ve also been surrounded by a diverse group of people and interests throughout my time in undergrad. I’ve had several awe-inspiring faculty mentors, and from them I’ve learned that there isn’t one cookie-cutter way towards making the world a better place, but it’s each individual’s determination to do so. What internships or professional experiences have you had while at UMKC? Over the summer, I was selected to participate in the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute. It’s a two-week career development program for ethnic minority students. Through this opportunity, I was exposed to the ever-growing disparities in health as well as the complexities of health-care policy and administration. I absolutely loved every moment of my internship. It opened my eyes to so many different opportunities to make an impact in people’s lives through leadership in health care. I’ve also been selected as one of two legislative interns who will represent the UM system students next spring to our state legislators in Jefferson City. I’ve always loved reading and analyzing policy, healthcare or otherwise, and I’m excited to finally be able to take part in it. "I absolutely loved every moment of my internship. It opened my eyes to so many different opportunities to make an impact in people’s lives through leadership in health care." What are your lifelong goals? No matter what I do, I want to be in health care. I’ve always wanted to be in health care. Eventually run a hospital, preferably in underserved areas because that’s where help is needed most. It’s a goal that has kept me focused. And if I had to pick a motto that guides me, it would have to be one of my favorite quotes from Meryl Streep: “Put blinders onto those things that conspire to hold you back, especially the ones in your own head.” Feb 08, 2019

  • Computer Science Major Earned Points for Top Israel Internship

    A points program rewards Birthright alumni for ‘doing Jewish’ once back home
    Alexa Summers, 20, a junior and computer science major at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, earned points for signing up for a Top Israel Internship next summer, hosting Shabbat dinners and volunteering as a computer support technician for Jewish Family Service of Greater Kansas City. Read the Jewish Telegraphic Agency article. Feb 07, 2019

  • Alumnus is a Champion for Kansas City Community

    Bloch School selects George Guastello II to receive Alumni Award
    George M. Guastello II(B.B.A. '82, MBA '84)President and CEO, Union Station Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. In 2019, UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management is honoring George M. Guastello II (B.B.A. ’82, MBA ’84) with their Alumni Achievement Award. Guastello has used his extensive civic and business leadership 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 has attracted new tenants, hosted world-renowned exhibits and created an internationally awarded science center in Science City. He spoke with us about his passion for the Kansas City community. Why is the challenge of breathing new life into organizations so intriguing to you? I love the challenge and sense of responsibility to our community. So many memories have been and are created at these historic places. It is our duty to preserve and keep vibrant these important threads of our collective community. You’re on the Board of Directors for the KC Streetcar Authority. How has having the streetcar up and running affected visitors and traffic at Union Station? Union Station has always been a hub of transportation, so the streetcar has been a real win for us and the entire community. It drives tourism. It’s a legitimate commuter solution. And it has served to spur even more growth along and around the line. When the streetcar expands and connects to UMKC, a direct downtown and student/educational link will be in place, fostering even more growth and opportunity. What else is planned for Union Station? Our latest undertaking is our Early Learning Initiative for Science City. It includes the 13,000-square-foot reimagined early learning experience designed for the entire community. It will shape future generations in a profound way. How did UMKC contribute to your success? UMKC instilled in me an appreciation and passion for entrepreneurship. My professors challenged me to think outside the box and I was able to put into practice what I learned. About the Alumni Awards Guastello will be honored at the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awards on March 15. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards events have raised more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Feb 06, 2019

  • Student Entrepreneurs Develop Second Sight for Visually Impaired

    Team wins first place in Regnier Venture Creation Challenge competition
    “Professor Lee is writing an equation on the whiteboard. Sigma equals …” “Room 308 is six steps ahead on your left.” “Saria Goudarzvand just sat in the chair to your right.” “Intersection 12 steps ahead. Traffic light for your direction is currently red. Vehicle moving through from right to left on cross street.” Imagine being blind. Now, imagine having this kind of information being piped into an earpiece whenever you need it. World-changing, perhaps? Gharib Gharibi hopes so. He is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Computing and Engineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Inspired by a blind high school friend in Saudi Arabia, he came to UMKC to pursue a degree – and a way to use cutting-edge technology to bring a new kind of sensory perception to the visually impaired. Gharib and his partners are imaging possibilities for the prototype. His prototype is a camera that mounts to eyeglasses and connects via Bluetooth to a highly capable smartphone app. The app combines technologies for facial recognition, color and written-character recognition with an enhanced-GPS feature that combines existing maps with real-time visual inputs. The device uses “deep-learning” technology to retain information about environments visited regularly and use it to develop more detailed reports to the user. The app recognizes when it is in a classroom setting and focuses the camera on inputs such as a display screen or writing on a whiteboard. Outdoors, the app focuses the camera on critical inputs such as traffic lights, vehicles and obstructions. Users can activate specialized programs such as a “shopping mode” that will seek out specific items, read price tags and labels, and even tap into online product reviews. It’s called DeepLens. Gharibi's partners in the DeepLens team are also Ph.D. students: his brother, Mohamed Gharibi; and Saria Goudarzvand. The team expects to have a fully capable prototype completed by March, and they estimate they are about a year away from going to market. The team won $20,000 in May from the UMKC Bloch School Regnier Venture Creation Challenge Competition, which provides real-world exposure, feedback and financial support to startup companies. DeepLens won the competition's BlueKC Healthcare Innovation track, which celebrates innovation and community impact in healthcare. The team also won a slot among 10 UMKC student finalists competing for spots in the University of Missouri System Entrepreneur Quest (EQ) Student Accelerator. The EQ Student Accelerator is backed by a $250,000 investment from the UM System and includes an eight-week educational program, mentorship opportunities, pitch competitions and significant financial support for finalists from each of the system’s four universities. “The EQ accelerator program sharpened our ambition,” Gharibi said. “The competition challenged and inspired us to accelerate our research into the implementation phase. Thanks to the EQ accelerator and E-Scholars programs, we’ll get to market faster and start to help people sooner.” Ten semifinalists per university have been selected for the educational program, which began in January on each campus. Students will receive dedicated workspace and mentorship from a selection of executives, industry leaders, investors and subject-matter experts. The individual courses will conclude with demo days and the selection of three finalists at each campus, who will receive $15,000 for first place, $10,000 for second and $5,000 for third. The finalists from each campus will meet at the Entrepreneurial Educators Summit in April and compete for another chance at $15,000, $10,000 or $5,000. UMKC received 35 applications to participate in the first round of the EQ program. Individuals and teams applying included 22 undergraduate students and 19 graduate students. Disciplines represented by these students included biological sciences, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, business administration, music, accounting, chemistry, geography, economics, psychology and medicine. Applications included ideas for fashion, wellness, renewable energy, AI-assisted health, healthcare software, sports tech, AI-assisted market intelligence, cloud infrastructure, mobile phone accessories, mobile applications and more. The 10 EQ finalists for UMKC are: Bride to Bee – automated wedding planning Crannium Labs – oral cancer detection and prevention using AI DeepLens Egara Sensors – home gardening smart sensor platform Family Partners Support – services to help families remain intact Landlocked Opera – providing young operatic professionals and students the opportunity to gain live music experience League Builders – fantasy sports platform RawCompo – connecting restaurants with customers interested in composting Subi – mobile application for pickup sports games Tonderai – aviation safety mobile application Feb 06, 2019

  • Internships helped launch her career

    Alumna Micah Starr shares her UMKC experience
    UMKC Grads are Everywhere. Our students graduate with much more than a diploma. They leave UMKC with the practical knowledge, real-world experience and skills that help them land jobs they love. Micah Starr ’15 UMKC Major: Urban Planning and DesignUMKC Athletics: Women's GolfCurrent job: Account Manager What did you most appreciate about UMKC? I believe what you hold onto illustrates what you value most. Today, I am still in contact with my coaches, professors, teammates and friends at UMKC. Favorite thing to do while you were a college student? My favorite thing to do was go to the top of the Student Union and lay out overlooking campus, the Nelson Atkins, and the Plaza. If you had an internship during college, how did it help prepare you for your first job? During my college career, I had two internships — one with an architecture firm in Northwest Arkansas and one with an engineering firm in Kansas City. These two internships were instrumental in my career as they taught me about the real-world application of what I was learning in school and propelled me into the job I received after graduation. “Have an open mind. Get as many internships as you can — even be open to internships in slightly different fields than your exact degree.” Best career advice you’ve received? I heard this a lot but it’s absolutely true — it’s not what you know but who you know. So always put your best self forward in every situation no matter what. What advice do you have for students entering your field/profession? Have an open mind. Get as many internships as you can — even be open to internships in slightly different fields than your exact degree. Know that someone is always watching. Remember the beginning of anything is always the hardest, so just keep going! Feb 06, 2019

  • Life-changing connections

    Alumnus DeJ'on Slaughter shares the impact of relationships and volunteer service
    UMKC Grads are Everywhere. Our students graduate with much more than a diploma. They leave UMKC with the practical knowledge, real-world experience and skills that help them land jobs they love. DeJ’on Slaughter ’13 UMKC Major: Civil EngineeringCurrent job: Development Associate What did you most appreciate about UMKC? There are many reasons, but the most compelling would have to be the friendships and bonds with my fellow classmates, professors and faculty. I am proud to say that I am still very connected with many of these people. I also appreciated the ability to transform my relationships with professors and staff into mentoring opportunities, which has helped me to grow professionally throughout my career. The challenge, learning opportunities and support didn’t end when I received my diploma. Favorite thing to do while you were a college student? By far, my favorite time on campus was spent as chapter president of the National Society of Black Engineers. We spent countless hours serving our community. We introduced local K-12 minority students to life-changing career opportunities in engineering. In a majority of minority communities, engineering is a foreign concept with little to no mentors to look up to. Our team worked diligently to impact as many students as possible to ultimately change the narrative in our community. If you had an internship during college, how did it help prepare you for your first job? My internship experience was a “game-changer” in my life. The exposure to the professional environment forced me to grow both personally and professionally. “The challenge, learning opportunities and support didn’t end when I received my diploma.” Best career advice you’ve received? Learn from your mistakes and always embrace adversity. What advice do you have for students entering your field/profession? Don’t be afraid to think entrepreneurially. Introduce new ideas and always find ways to improve your professional pathway. You’ll get noticed and your personal stock will rise as a leader in this industry. Feb 06, 2019

  • Student Organizations Open Doors

    Alumnus Luigi Cruz shares how his UMKC connections jump-started his career
    UMKC Grads are Everywhere. Our students graduate with much more than a diploma. They leave UMKC with the practical knowledge, real-world experience and skills that help them land jobs they love. Luigi Cruz ’17 UMKC Major: Business AdministrationCurrent job: Marketing Assistant What did you most appreciate about UMKC? I most appreciated the opportunities to get involved in student organizations that interested me. Joining a student organization was fantastic because I got to learn new things and meet new people. Favorite thing to do while you were a college student? One of my favorite things to do was to sit around the Bloch School and have conversation with friends. Outside of school, I really enjoyed walks through downtown and checking out new places there. How did an internship help prepare you for your first job? Internships exposed me to how organizations work and they gave me the experience and confidence needed to hit the ground running when I got my first job. “Get involved in student organizations that are in line with your career.” Best career advice you've received? Be authentic. In a world where everyone shows their highlight reels on social networks and presents an edited version of who they are, authenticity is a breath of fresh air. What advice do you have for students entering your field? Get involved in student organizations that are in line with your career. By being engaged in these, you will get experience for internships. Through the internships, you will earn experience you need to land your first job. Once you enter the field, learn the inner workings of your organization you work and get to know the people. At the same time, master the tasks that are assigned to you and learn to increase your value. Feb 06, 2019

  • For Women In Sports, Going Pro Is Tough

    Jacie Hoyt, UMKC women’s basketball head coach, was a guest on KCUR
    Kansas City this weekend will host the nation's largest luncheon celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day. To mark the occassion, we spoke with two people who are helping elevate female athletes locally and nationally. We explored just how far women have come in sports — not just as competitors, but as coaches, officials and owners. We also discussed how many firsts are still left to achieve. Listen to the interview on "Up To Date." Feb 06, 2019

  • Assistant Professor Discusses Treatment for Lung Cancer

    Lara Kujtan, M.D., of the UMKC School of Medicine, talked about frontline therapy for patients
    The topic centered on EGFR-positive non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Learn more on OncLive. Feb 06, 2019

  • Legacy of a Roo and Former NBA Player

    Tony Dumas' impact on UMKC Men's Basketball
    Dumas dunks over his opponent. UMKC Athletics is proud to announce a four-part series celebrating African American History during the month of February. Each individual featured is a key member of Roo athletic history and impacting the University in a lasting and positive manner. The first part in this series features men’s basketball alum Tony Dumas (1990 – 94). Former NBA first-round draft pick and the second all-time leading scorer in UMKC history, Tony Dumas, made his mark as a Roo in the early 1990s and continued to add to his reputation after his time in Kansas City came to an end. Read more on umkckangaroos.com. Feb 05, 2019

  • UMKC School of Law to Honor Six Alumni, One Organization for Achievements

    Honors to be bestowed Feb. 23 at The Big Event
    Six outstanding individuals and one organization will be recognized for their professional achievements and dedication to the law school and the legal profession by the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law at the school’s annual Big Event on Feb. 23, 2019. “Each year the Law Alumni Association and Law Foundation are pleased to honor exceptional accomplishments and achievements of our alumni and friends,” said Ashley Atwell-Soler (’08), President of the UMKC Law Alumni Association. The Law Alumni Association and Law Foundation sponsor and organize the event that raises money for student scholarships. The honorees will be presented at the dinner by Atwell-Soler, Foundation President Scott Bethune (’88), and Dean Barbara Glesner Fines. The Decade Award This award will be presented to Abraham Kuhl (’08), a Partner at Young Jakobe & Kuhl LLC. In his ten years of practice, Kuhl has made outstanding contributions to the legal profession as a respected member of the family law bar in Eastern Jackson County and the state of Missouri. He is an adjunct professor at UMKC Law School and serves on the Law Alumni Association Board. He serves as Chairman of the KCMBA Domestic Relations committee, President of the KCMBA Family Law Section and on the board of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Foundation. He provides pro bono legal services to victims of domestic violence through the Volunteer Attorney Project and provides pro bono legal services to our military veterans through the Military Matters program. The Pat Kelly Service Award This award will be presented to M. Blake Heath (’09), owner of M. Blake Heath, Trial Attorney, LLC. He focuses his practice on helping clients in complex personal injury suits, product liability claims, medical malpractice lawsuits, and insurance coverage disputes. Heath started giving back to UMKC School of Law immediately after graduation, serving on the Pat Kelly Poker Tournament Committee in 2010, and has served as chair of the committee since 2013. He also serves on the Law Alumni Association Board and the Bob Downs Golf Tournament Committee. Heath has taught continuing legal education seminars through the UMKC School of Law, and has supported the school financially as a consistent donor to the Law Foundation and events held for the law school. The Pro Bono/Public Service Award This award will be presented to the Hon. Karen L. Krauser (’02), who serves as a Circuit Judge for the 7th Judicial Circuit Court. Judge Krauser has dedicated her career to public service.  She began as an assistant prosecuting attorney with the Clay County Prosecutor’s Office, eventually working her way to the role of Deputy Chief. She has worked to improve the quality of our justice system and the overall betterment of the legal profession thorough her appointed positions and dedicated efforts on multiple committees and sub committees. She also generously devotes her time, energy and resources to many professional and charitable organizations. The Lifetime Achievement Award This award will be presented to Fred L. Slough (’74). Slough’s first trial experience was as a criminal defense lawyer, often appointed, with little or no pay. He continued to practice criminal defense until he moved over to plaintiff's side personal injury, civil rights and discrimination cases. He is now a solo practitioner and is also a mediator. Slough is a member of the Missouri Bar, the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, the National Employment Lawyers Association – Kansas City, the National Lawyers Guild, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association and the Missouri Association Against the Death Penalty. The Philanthropy Award This award will be presented to the Kansas City Estate Planning Symposium. KCEPS has been associated with the UMKC School of Law since 1981. Since then, the UMKC Continuing Legal Education program has provided services to this organization and continues to present three seminars that attract more than 1,000 professionals each year. Additionally, to encourage law students to consider the field of estate planning as a career, the KCEPS Prize was established in 1999. It is annually awarded to students who write an exemplary paper on an estate planning or taxation problem, or who distinguish themselves during an internship in a law firm that specializes in estate planning. In 2017, KCEPS established the Myron Sildon Endowed Scholarship that is awarded to 3L or LLM taxation students. The scholarship honors the legacy of Myron Sildon, the founder of the organization.  KCEPS has not only made significant financial commitment to the UMKC School of Law, but also has helped expand the reputation of the law school to the estate planning community and beyond    The President’s Award This award will be presented to the Hon. Lajuana Counts (‘88) and to James R. “J.R.” Hobbs (’81). Hobbs is a shareholder at Wyrsch Hobbs & Mirakian, P.C.  He has an active practice in the areas of white-collar criminal defense, criminal defense, and commercial litigation, representing individuals and businesses. He is a past president of the Law Foundation and continues to serve as an adjunct professor at UMKC School of Law. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, a Fellow in the International Society of Barristers, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Hobbs has served on the Missouri Appellate Judicial Commission and is currently a member of the Missouri Supreme Court Commission on Race and Ethnic Fairness.  He is a past recipient of the Lon O. Hocker Memorial Trial Lawyer Award bestowed by the Missouri Bar Foundation and recipient of the Dean of the Trial Bar, awarded by the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association Counts is a magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. She served as Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District for nearly thirty years. Her enthusiasm for service seems limitless. She is the immediate past president of the Law Foundation, and her continuing service to UMKC earned her the prestigious Bill French Award. She has served on the Jackson County Bar Association since it was founded and is a past president. The same story of service and leadership can be found through her involvement in the National Bar Association, the Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City, the UMKC Women’s Council, and the Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance. About the Event The Big Event: A Night in Paris at the Hilton President Hotel is scheduled for Saturday, February 23 at 1329 Baltimore St., Kansas City. For more information and to purchase tickets online or contact Cary Powers at 816-235-6328. About the UMKC School of Law UMKC School of Law provides a comprehensive, affordable legal education comprised of a personalized admissions process, collaboration with supportive faculty, real-world opportunities in a vibrant city, and tools and skills to experience professional success. It is housed in a modern, technologically sophisticated building on a landscaped campus and enjoys strong community and alumni support. About the UMKC School of Law Foundation and Alumni Association The Law Foundation is in its 60th year of service to the UMKC School of Law. The Foundation raises money for scholarships and programs that will enhance legal education opportunities for students and elevate the reputation of the law school. Feb 05, 2019

  • Three Generations Share Their Experiences at UMKC

    Freedom Breakfast celebrates 50th anniversary of The African American Student Union
    The three keynote speakers at the 29th annual Freedom Breakfast may represent different generations, but they all share the experience of being a black student at UMKC who found life-changing meaning through The African American Student Union, commonly called TAASU. Founded in 1969, a year after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., TAASU focuses on fostering a sense of community among African American students. Each of the speakers reflected on how TAASU made a difference in their life as a black student at UMKC. “African American students reached out to each other on campus. There were not many of us on campus, so we were glad to see each other. Our group paved the way for minority students. It was during the Civil Rights movement, and we wanted to show support for one another because of what was going on in our nation during the time. Being with students like us gave us comfort and a sense of security and community.” -Margaret Evans, Ph.D. (B.A.,’71, MPA, ’72), an early member of TAASU “I met successful black men. I saw successful black women. And for me, the light just went on, and I thought we can be so much more. And being on campus and being exposed to that just lights your fire.” -Michael Watson, attended UMKC in the 2000s, played basketball professionally “My experience has mostly been shaped by other student leaders who have been molded by leaders from the staff and administration at UMKC. Leaders of all races and all backgrounds. Thanks to TAASU’s leaders, my time here has been nothing short of great.” -Cameron Johnson, current president of TAASU and a junior majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry Feb 05, 2019

  • Honoring an Educational Visionary

    UMKC remembers longtime friend Hugh Zimmer
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City celebrates the impact of a longtime friend, generous donor and educational visionary, Hugh J. Zimmer (1930-2019). Zimmer was the retired chairman of Zimmer Companies. His impact on Kansas City, and on UMKC, would be difficult to overestimate. At UMKC, he was known as a tireless and ardent supporter of the School of Education and its efforts to address the needs of underserved children in our urban neighborhoods. His generosity has been instrumental over the years in building the school’s capacity to deliver on that mission, and he devoted his time and talent as well, serving as the chair of the Chancellor’s National Advisory Board for the school’s Institute for Urban Education. The school’s highest honor is the Hugh J. Zimmer Award for Excellence in Urban Education. Hugh Zimmer talks to UMKC students at an event. Zimmer helped develop several new opportunities for UMKC students. As a former chair of the UMKC Trustees, he was instrumental in the founding and development of the Trustees’ Scholars program, designed to retain the region’s best and brightest young people for education at UMKC, and then to build careers in Greater Kansas City. He also served many years as a member of the UMKC Foundation board. A highly successful real estate developer, he funded and led the creation of the Hugh Zimmer Equity Planning Internship Program in the UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design, in which students work with a local community-based organization. In 2010, he was awarded the UMKC Chancellor’s Medal – the highest non-academic award the university offers to a volunteer. In 2014, the UMKC Trustees recognized Zimmer as the first recipient to follow Henry W. Bloch in receiving the Henry W. Bloch Trustee Excellence Award for his significant contributions and service to UMKC and the UMKC Trustees. “A great many young people over the years have had opportunities to succeed, opportunities that would not have existed if not for Hugh Zimmer. I can imagine no greater legacy,” said Mauli Agrawal, UMKC chancellor. “I am both proud, and humbled, that Hugh chose to invest in this university as a vehicle to further his noble goals.”  Leo E. Morton, UMKC chancellor emeritus and chief operating officer at DeBruce Companies, said Zimmer was instrumental in placing Morton on the UMKC Board of Trustees, which led to Morton’s selection as chancellor, a post he held for nine years.  “People would joke that they would hesitate to pick up the phone if Hugh Zimmer was calling, because they knew that he would be asking you to volunteer for something,” Morton said. “But in fact, most people would pick it up on the first ring, because you knew he was trying to do great things for Kansas City and the people of Kansas City. “He was like a second father to me, since I arrived in Kansas City 30 years ago. He got me involved in more things than I can count. It is clear that he was one of those people who really cares.” “A great many young people over the years have had opportunities to succeed, opportunities that would not have existed if not for Hugh Zimmer. I can imagine no greater legacy.” UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal As a civic leader, Zimmer chaired the Kansas City Area Development Council, the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Kansas City and the Hawthorn Foundation of Missouri. He served on the boards of directors and executive committees of the Greater Kansas City Area Chamber of Commerce, the Platte County Economic Development Council and the Lenexa Economic Development Council. In 2010, the Kansas City chapter of the Urban Land Institute presented him its Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his ongoing contributions to the built environment in the Kansas City region. In 2004, the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management named him Regional Entrepreneur of the Year. In an article observing his company’s 65th anniversary, Zimmer said his education-focused philanthropy was motivated by enlightened self-interest. “Our business is to bring new businesses to Kansas City, and helping established Kansas City businesses to grow,” Zimmer said in the 2013 interview. “If we don’t have a well-trained workforce, the Zimmer Company won’t be around for another 65 years.” Feb 04, 2019

  • Accomplished Pilot and STEM Advocate

    School of Computing and Engineering selects Philip Straub to receive Alumni Award
    Philip Straub (B.S.E.E. '92)Executive Vice President,Managing Director,Garmin International Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. In 2019, UMKC School of Computing and Engineering is honoring Philip Straub (B.S.E.E. ’92) with their Alumni Achievement Award. 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. He spoke with us about his career at Garmin and enthusiasm for supporting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. You’ve been with Garmin for 25 years and held a variety of positions in engineering, product development and management. Which have been your favorite roles or projects? There are many fulfilling experiences over the years, but I treasure the time in the mid to late 1990s when I was involved in a revolutionary new aviation radio development. We were a smaller company at that time and had to wear many hats. I would go from writing digital filters in optimized assembly code to flight testing that software in the afternoon. There was immense gratitude from having that much contribution and ownership in a product development. Why is it important to you to promote STEM education? Think about products and technology that have affected our lives for the positive. These products and technology are driven by the passion of innovation. This passion for innovation comes from people, and it comes from people that are educated in the areas of STEM. What advice do you have for students who’d like to follow in your footsteps? Be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses when asked to assume additional responsibility and then objectively work on your limitations to turn those into strengths. About the Alumni Awards Straub will be honored at the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awards on March 15. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards events have raised more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Feb 04, 2019

  • Editorial: Missouri University Wants To Talk About Racism. To Whites Only

    UMKC vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion says workshops that explore white privilege have become popular
    Workshops that explore topics of white privilege and white fragility have become more popular recently, said Susan B. Wilson, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the rest of the editorial from The Kansas City Star reprinted in the Columbia Missourian. Feb 03, 2019

  • Review: Philharmonic Ties New Threads To A Recent Premiere

    Praise for string quartet led by longtime Conservatory professor
    Among the highlights was “At the Kansas City Chinese New Year Concert,” a compact but theatrically astute string quartet by Chen Yi, Lorena Searcy Craves/Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Endowed Professor of Composition at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Read the rest of the review. Feb 02, 2019

  • Empowering Girls in Math

    Daiwa Emmert combines her strength training and math experiences to empower girls in the classroom
    Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Daiwa Emmert ’18Academic programs: Mathematics, College of Arts and Sciences; Secondary Education, School of EducationUMKC Athletics: Track & FieldHometown: Bolivar, Missouri Why did you choose UMKC? Growing up, I came to Kansas City a lot to go visit my grandparents and attend Chiefs games. I knew I wanted to experience a different culture in a big city. You have a unique name. What's the story?  Daiwa—it rhymes with Iowa! It means “sweet harmony” in Japanese. It’s also a brand of fishing reel my dad uses. What got you started competing in track and field? I got started in track just as something to do in between basketball and volleyball in the seventh grade. I usually played soccer, but decided to try something new. I loved it right away. I loved that it was individual but still had that team feel to it. My coaches through middle school and high school were a big reason I stuck with it. They all really pushed me. Why strength train? Strength training adds confidence. I know that what I do there will make me stronger mentally and physically. Practicing on the track does as well, but I know if I can push myself to lift as heavy as I can, I can use that strength to push me elsewhere. I have never been the strongest, and I never claim to be, but going through the last four years here have made me the strongest I’ve ever been. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to be a part of UMKC’s track and field team. Success in athletics and academics seem to go hand in hand for you. Regardless of it being athletics or academics, you set goals and you push to achieve them. For athletics, it’s pushing your body as hard as you can towards achieving your goals and seeing hard work pay off. It’s doing what you love to the fullest. In academics, especially math for me personally, it’s studying something you love and pushing the mind. It’s about learning something new everyday and striving to make your impact in the community. Why did you choose math? I started at UMKC as a biology major, but after my first semester, I didn’t really feel like it fit. I was more drawn to the calculus class I was taking, but I still wanted to make an impact in the community. So, I ended up changing my field of study to a double major with math and secondary education. What are the challenges and benefits of the program? When you get to upper level mathematics, it is not going to focus on just the calculations; proving statements is just as important. It takes a long time to develop the skills needed to be able to logically explain a solution without flaws. The benefits are challenging myself and meeting people with the same love for math. What are your lifelong goals? My biggest goal is to have a family and become a high school or college teacher in math. I just want to be an influence on younger girls — especially in math. I connect with math, the repetition connected with me. I’ve had teachers who were passionate about math and I want to have that kind of positive impact. [Update: Now that Daiwa graduated from UMKC and is a high school math teacher, her new goal is to teach college-level math at high school.]  Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself? Since entering college, I am a lot more outgoing and have been able to get out of my bubble. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor? Relax, and don’t procrastinate. If you wait until the night before the exam to try and memorize all the proofs, it’s not going to work. Who do you admire most at UMKC? I admire the faculty and staff that I have interacted with. They are so supportive and really express how much they care about my success. What’s your greatest fear? Clowns. They are definitely not invited to my birthday party. What is one word that best describes you? Caring. I am always willing to help someone if they need it. Feb 01, 2019

  • Magazine Interview with Alum and Former Kansas City Mayor

    Kay Barnes talks to INKansasCity
    Serving on the student council in high school, Kay Barnes discovered early a knack for public speaking. She earned a masters in secondary education, as well as a Master of Public Administration degree at University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the interview. Feb 01, 2019

  • 435 Magazine February 2019 Issue

    Three articles feature UMKC alumni and expertise
      24 Reasons to Love Kansas City Check out No. 23: More than 60 percent of UMKC alumni stay in the area, and more than 25 percent of KU and K-State grads flock to the metro.   The short answer is maybe. The key is doing something about it. We all have unconscious bias, a subconscious attitude that affects how we see race, gender, appearance and age. Even cavemen exhibited unconscious bias, says Susan Wilson, vice chancellor of diversity and inclusion.   Crafting Theater: Behind the Scenes of The Unicorn Theatre Cynthia Levin has been with the Unicorn Theatre almost since its inception. The theater company was begun by three UMKC graduate students who wanted to continue their vision — and who needed jobs. Feb 01, 2019