March

  • New UMKC Public Health Program

    Educating practitioners focused on prevention
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City took another step forward in shaping the future of health care. In the fall, it welcomed the first class of students into the new Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree program. The goal is to integrate public health into the community and improve health outcomes for the population at large. The new program is based at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies. While a nurse or doctor will treat individuals, public health professionals look at prevention measures that can help people stay healthy. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over the past century, public health efforts are responsible for 25 of the nearly 30 years of improved life expectancy.UMKC Public Health Program Director Joseph Lightner sees great value in all health care students getting a taste of what public health has to offer. “Medicine alone can’t solve all the problems," he said. "Public health brings everyone to the table and having all disciplines interact is the only way public health issues will get solved.”Prevention plays a big role and that is primarily what drew public health student Kinzie Aulgur to the program. She was initially pursuing a path in nursing, but it was her experience in hospitals that began to change her thinking.“So many of the people in the hospitals were sick due to preventive diseases and I wanted to do something to help them avoid the hospital altogether,” said Aulgur. “I wanted to go directly to the source, and when I heard about the public health program at UMKC, I knew it was a perfect fit.”  Joey Lightner, director of the UMKC public health program, talks to student Krunal Bombaywala. Photo by John Carmody Recently, a group from the program; including Lightner and another one of his students, Krunal Bombaywala; attended the American Public Health Annual Meeting. The national conference is the largest for public health professionals with nearly 13,000 attendees. Lightner said these experiences can be instrumental in a student’s career path. When he was an undergrad at Kansas State University, one of his faculty members suggested that he present their research at a large national conference. “That trip was the reason that I applied to graduate school and started a career in research,” said Lightner. “Learning from experts in the field and gaining exposure to the newest research is essential to getting the next generation of public health practitioners and researchers excited about research and advocacy. Doing so will contribute toward the goal of making UMKC the premier undergraduate research institution for public health.” According to Lightner, the program works to get its students doing the work of public health right away. The goal of the program is to get boots on the ground working on public health outcomes immediately. “Medicine alone can’t solve all the problems. Public health brings everyone to the table and having all disciplines interact is the only way public health issues will get solved.”  – Joey Lightner   The culmination of the program is the capstone course, where seniors in the program choose what public health entity they’d like to work with and then effectively evaluate their processes and design thinking. The students do the work that consultants in the field would perform. They provide the entity the data from their research and gain valuable real world experience. Aulgur was able to incorporate her capstone project into the work she was doing as the gender violence prevention intern at the UMKC Women’s Center. She is evaluating the effectiveness of the programs that the Women’s Center provides and looking at ways to get more students involved with the center. Once she’s finished with her research, she’ll present that data directly to the Women’s Center leadership.That research component is critical throughout the program, not just during the capstone course. A number of the public health students will be presenting their research at upcoming UMKC Undergraduate Research Symposium on a number of innovative topics that cover a wide array of issues. The students will present on racial justice in the courts and incarceration system, the link between sodium intake and cardiovascular disease, and e-cigarettes usage, among other interesting topics.Bombaywala says public health’s focus on the entirety of the health care spectrum is making him a more well-rounded health care provider. He plans to pursue a career in dentistry but appreciates how his pursuit of a public health degree is giving him a deeper understanding of the health care system as a whole.“As a future dental student, the public health program has provided me a perspective beyond just clinical,” said Bombaywala. “I’ve been able to collaborate with a variety of health care providers so I will have a better understanding of the entirety of the health care issues my future patients may be facing.” Learn more Mar 30, 2019

  • Enthusiastic Entrepreneur

    Salem Habte is inspired by her parents' entrepreneurial example
    Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Salem Habte is a first-generation student who is inspired by her small-business owner parents. She shares what she's learned from them and how she's found entrepreneurial opportunities at UMKC. Salem Habte ’20 Major: Bachelor of Business Administration, EntrepreneurshipSchool: Henry W. Bloch School of ManagementUMKC organizations: UMKC EnactusHometown: Overland Park, Kansas Congratulations, we hear you're traveling to London for a global business competition. Tell us about it. Unilever is a company sponsor of Enactus USA, and in May 2018 at National Competition, we won an award called the Unilever Bright Future Partnership Accelerator for our FeedKC project. This honor was awarded to the best initiatives combating food waste, and we won first place in the nation.  Each year, Unilever hosts the Unilever Future Leader's League, a business case competition for university students at their London Headquarters. As the winners of the Accelerator, Unilever invited three members from UMKC Enactus to represent the United States in the competition in England! This business case competition will be from April 10 to 12, and will host Enactus students from more than 20 different countries across the world. Andrea Savage (project leader of FeedKC) and Ali Brandolino (vice president of Enactus) and I (president of Enactus) will travel as the United States team. I'm thrilled that UMKC will be representing the United States in a world business competition, and honored to take part in it.  Why did you choose UMKC? I wanted to go to a college with a progressive, diverse student body. I was lucky enough to go to a high school (Olathe North) with every kind of student, and I didn’t want to go somewhere that lacked that. A family friend told me that this university was full of culturally diverse students who really thought outside of the box. I had the opportunity to meet with the chancellor before making a final decision on where to go. He was very welcoming, funny and such a bright guy. He advised that I join the entrepreneurship program and so I did. What else inspired your field of study? My father is a great influence on me. We have a family-owned coffee shop, Revocup Coffee Roasters, in Overland Park. He believes in attacking a problem in the world with a business model. He follows that belief with our coffee shop. We have been able to give back and fight the literary famine in Ethiopia— so far 25 libraries have been built.What I’ve learned is that entrepreneurship is really a form of applied creativity and that the entrepreneurs who really flourish are passionate and willing to extend the limits of what is possible. “I have access to one of the most entrepreneurial ecosystems around.” What are the challenges and benefits of the program? From what I’ve seen, to lead a successful project or business, you have to be crazy. The amount of hard work is impossible unless you’re relentlessly driven by a cause or a vision. It can be challenging to stick to something even when the going gets tough, or to try an idea that doesn’t work. But those become learning experiences.The benefits are the people you get to meet and work with. Most of these connections have happened through an incredible organization that I’ve been involved in since my first day here, called UMKC Enactus. I’ve only been in Enactus for a year and have gotten to work on projects with so many unique individuals on and off campus. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor? That what I do in class will get me a job, and what I accomplish outside of class will get me a promotion. My extracurricular activities have shaped me and have given me priceless experiences and knowledge, and I think those are what will really open doors for me when I graduate. What motto do you live by? “Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t.” –Bill Nye What do you admire most at UMKC? I admire the enthusiasm of UMKC as a whole. My school supports and sees me. My efforts are visible here. UMKC has provided me a platform and there’s a lot of love to go around. Are you a first-generation college student? Yes! The authentic first-generation experience is different for everyone and is very personal, but I think that basically we all live with something to prove. The dream for first-generation Americans, whether that’s joining the workforce straight out of high school, going to college or embarking on a new mission, is to realize one day that we’ve used our beginnings as motivation to transcend anyone’s expectations. “Reaching my goals is a team effort at UMKC.”   What are your life goals? Michelle Obama is a huge inspiration. I would like to start projects, nonprofit organizations on a business scale. I would like to have a heavy influence on making lives better and put effort into making this world a better place. I want to give a TED Talk. What is one word that best describes you? Joyous! I’m pretty responsible for the energy I bring into a space and I’ve found that when I put out positivity, I usually get positivity back. Mar 29, 2019

  • Laura Bush Speaks at UMKC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

    Dos Mundos covered the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame induction event on March 22 at UMKC
    Former first lady Laura Bush, and her daughter, Barbara Pierce Bush, headlined the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame induction event on March 22 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read more  Mar 29, 2019

  • InterUrban Arthouse Exhibit Gives Women Artists the Spotlight

    The Kansas City Star reports on 50 local artists who have come together in the hopes of making a bit of a change
    Arzie Umali, assistant director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Women’s Center and the show’s curator, notes that women artists have been written out of the history of art over time. Read more Mar 27, 2019

  • More Doctors Want to Treat Patients From the Comfort of Their Couch

    From Bloomberg: Mobile medical apps let physicians practice telemedicine full time
    Most doctors have a license to practice medicine in just one state. Lindsey Mcilvena, M.D., can practice medicine in 26 states. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Read more Mar 26, 2019

  • KC Jazz Musician Bobby Watson’s Desk Keeps Him Close to His Music

    The Kansas City Star's "What’s on my desk" feature highlighted UMKC Conservatory faculty member Bobby Watson
    For people who have a hard time thinking outside the box, a desk is likely a piece of furniture. That definition might not work for Kansas City jazz musician and educator Bobby Watson. Watson is the first William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri endowed professor of jazz studies and director of jazz studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. After 20 years of being in that role, he plans to retire from academia at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Read more Mar 25, 2019

  • Getting Paid To Act Sick? For Some Kansas City Actors, It's An Important Gig

    KCUR takes a look at UMKC's standardized patient program and the actors who help out
    "It's important for all students to receive the same level of training, and in clinics it's challenging for everybody to see the same patients," says Courtney McCain, who coordinates the standardized patient program for the UMKC School of Medicine. Read more Mar 23, 2019

  • Former First Lady Laura Bush Honors KC Women Inducted Into UMKC Hall of Fame

    Fox4KC attended the 2019 Starr Women's Hall of Fame that paid tribute to 10 extraordinary Kansas City women
    Mar 22, 2019

  • Starr Women’s Hall of Fame Welcomes Laura Bush and Barbara Pierce Bush

    First Lady and First Daughter speak during event honoring the legacies of women leaders in Kansas City
    UMKC welcomed Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter, Barbara Pierce Bush, in conversation at this year’s Starr Women’s Hall of Fame luncheon. Both recounted their work in humanitarian causes to a room of more than 1,000 attendees. They spoke with fondness about their relationships with President George Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, who died within months of each other last year. Barbara Pierce Bush recalled being conflicted about sharing her name with her grandmother and the occasional confusion it caused. Her thinking changed following her grandmother’s death. “She finally chose hospice after having lived so fiercely and fearlessly. I realized that she taught me how to live and how to die,” she said. “It was incredible to get the gift of a reminder every day of her bravery and to be more fearless in life.” Laura Bush was grateful, too, that her mother-in-law had been a strong role model in life and as first lady, a position she referred to as “a role without a rule book.” Since her husband left office, Bush has focused her efforts on education and literacy inspired by her career as a teacher. She is working, too, on initiatives through the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum with women leaders in the Middle East to use their roles as platforms to help the people of their countries.  As their talk concluded, Pierce Bush asked her mother if she could offer a piece of advice. Bush told the story of former First Lady Barbara Bush in the last years of her life, who made a regular practice of walking her dogs on the beach daily. As her health deteriorated, she drove a golf cart with the dogs running behind. Bush felt that her mother-in-law knew that her life was waning and she was making the most of it.  "Take advantage of your life as it is," Bush said. "All we know we have is now." In addition to the Bushes, previous speakers at the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame events have included actress Ashley Judd, “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts and Chelsea Clinton, daughter of President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Inducting the 2019 Class of the Starr Women's Hall of Fame The Starr Women's Hall of Fame is held biannually at UMKC, and is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. This year’s inductees are: Bunni Copaken envisions the arts as a vehicle to promote racial understanding and inclusivity, which led her to create opportunities for people from disparate backgrounds to meet, connect and create together. Copaken is a founding board member of the Women’s Foundation, the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, and a longstanding member of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre board of directors. Mary Tiera Farrow (1880-1971), is the founder of the first organization to welcome women in the legal field in Kansas City, first female judge in the City of Kansas City, the first woman in the United States to defend a woman on trial for murder and the first woman to argue before the Kansas Supreme Court. She graduated from Kansas City School of Law (now UMKC School of Law) in 1901, at a time when women lawyers were very rare. Laura Rollins Hockaday (1938-2017), longtime society editor for The Kansas City Star, transformed race relations by expanding the newspaper’s previously racially restrictive society page to be inclusive. In recognizing and addressing the injustice in lack of coverage, she quickly and efficiently used her small part of the paper as the impetus for wider change for Kansas City as a whole. Mamie Currie Hughes has made her mark on the Greater Kansas City community as a tireless advocate for cutting through racial and gender biases and discrimination. She has been a charter member of the Jackson County Legislature, former Chair for the Mid-America Regional Council and founding member of the Central Exchange. She serves on the Council of Advocates for the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education. Dr. Patricia A. McIlrath (1917-1999), was a longtime chair of the Department of Theatre at UMKC and founder of the Summer Repertory Theatre, which became the Missouri Repertory Theatre in 1966 (now KC Rep.) She opened auditioning to the community and directed racially-integrated productions. The majority of theatre companies in the Kansas City area trace their roots back to her mentorship and influence. Janet Murguía, one of the nation’s most prominent civil rights leaders, has fought for equal rights throughout her career. As a legislative assistant to former Congressman Jim Slattery and deputy director of legislative affairs to President Clinton, Murguía counseled and convinced U.S. leaders on the economic needs of minorities. She is president and CEO of UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of LaRaza), the largest Hispanic advocacy group in the United States. Mona Lea Perry has lent her voice to furthering civil rights and diversity inclusion for minority and ethnic groups for more than 60 years. She worked as an employment specialist with the American Indian Center in Kansas City and has volunteered with a myriad of organizations including the Homeless Service Coalition, Stand for Children and KC Harmony. Perry has received four certificates of service as a member of the Missouri Advisory Council for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and in 2014 she was honored with the Martin Luther King Olathe Kansas NAACP Hero of Diversity Award. Nell Quinlan (Donnelly) Reed (1889-1991), a pioneer in employee rights, established the Donnelly Garment Company in 1919 and for much of the 20th century it was the largest dress manufacturing company in the world — making more than 75 million dresses and employing 1,300 people for years in Kansas City. She was also a pioneer in employees’ rights and implemented many improvements in work conditions and compensation including air conditioning, life insurance and pension plans. Beth K. Smith (1921-2017) consistently worked to help women in Kansas City reach their full personal and professional potential. A co-founder of The Central Exchange and The Women’s Employment Network and instrumental in establishing the Women’s Foundation of Kansas City, Smith created organizations that aim to promote equity, inspire confidence and foster economic independence for women. Dr. Linda Hood Talbott, founder of the Center for Philanthropic Leadership and founding member of the Greater Kansas City Foundation, Women’s Employment Network, Central Exchange and Women’s Foundation, became the first woman from Kansas City to sit on the board of a Fortune 1,000 company when she was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of Kansas City Power & Light in the early 1980s. Talbott has established a number of scholarships at UMKC, her alma mater, and in 2015 announced her commitment to leave $1 million of her estate to the Honors College. Mar 22, 2019

  • Impact of ‘Brexit’ Could Make Its Way to Kansas City

    UMKC student Salem Habte talked to KCTV5 about the UMKC Enactus competition in London next month
    A group of students at UMKC’s Bloch School are gearing up for a business competition next month at Unilever in London. They were selected to represent the entire United States and expect to learn about more than just business. Read more Mar 22, 2019

  • Architecture Partnership With K-State Offers Students Unique Experience

    Joel Burford won the Helix Prize scholarship challenge for architecture and design students
    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. Joel Burford recently won the Helix Prize and Scholarship for architecture and design students. He shared a little about his entry and what it’s like being an architecture student at UMKC.  Joel Burford Expected graduation date: UMKC 2019, completing program at Kansas State University 2022Hometown: Wichita, KansasHigh School: Homeschooled K-12Program: M.A. Architecture, Interior Architecture/Product Design Why did you choose your field of study? From the time I was little, I was always designing and making an array of things. From websites in PowerPoint to handmade magazines, movie sets and props to competitive robots. Product and industrial design (as well as architecture) have been the longest running passions of mine. Why did you choose UMKC? UMKC is nicely situated near many great sites in Kansas City for architecture students such as the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Union Station and the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. In addition, Kansas City is home to much of my family. Many don’t realize the architecture program is a partnership between UMKC and Kansas State University. As a student, how do you benefit from this partnership? For me, I get the best of both worlds: UMKC is in an urban setting with smaller class sizes and KSU is in the Kansas plains with larger class sizes. By working on the UMKC to KSU path, I get the maximum variety in learning while still growing in the same curriculum. Where do you draw inspiration from when working on a project? Depending on the project, inspiration can come from site visits, programmatic issues, precedence of similar projects or doodling on paper and bouncing ideas off peers. “UMKC is nicely situated near many great sites in Kansas City for architecture students such as the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Union Station and the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts.” –Joel Burford  You won the 2018 Helix Prize and Scholarship. Tell us about the architecture and design competition. Every year there’s a final project for the semester, which is also the biggest. This year, we were tasked with creating a (hypothetical) library in the Columbus Park neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, and were given suggested specifications for size (about 28-29,000 square feet) and a list of required rooms: reading room, books stacks, business center, study rooms, café, etc. There was a large learning curve with this project. Previously, our biggest project had been a fairly large pavilion—even that was small compared to this.We had to take into consideration the rich history of the neighborhood and interpret how the library of 2018 would fit into that. To accomplish this, I designed a library that transitions the community from the old to the new with what we call in architecture a “wall scheme.” The neighborhood on the south side of the library’s site (located on East 5th Street and between Harrison Street and Gillis Street) is dense, and the green space to the north is open. Visitors walk through limestone and terra cotta veneered spaces - reflecting the historic architecture - to a larger and open space where the steel structure emerges, celebrating modern architectural technology and giving the neighborhood an enriching community hub.Also, on the site there are locust trees. I decided that instead of outsourcing the wood, we could use materials already on the site. The wood from those trees would be used for the main circulation flooring. This would help give a warm-feeling middle to the library. Learn more about the Architecture Program Mar 21, 2019

  • Pride Breakfast Raises $200,000 for Scholarships

    Activist Sarah McBride speaks at event to support UMKC LGBTQIA students
    The UMKC Pride Breakfast returned on March 21 with more than 600 allies gathering to show support for the university’s LGBTQIA students. The featured speaker was Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, one of America’s most public voices in the fight for LGBT equality. McBride was the first transgender woman to address a national political party convention. This year’s breakfast raised $202,195 for LGBTQIA programs and scholarships at UMKC. Student speaker Trae Tucker noted that support and events at a local level can make a difference on a much larger scale. “Starting with a drop of water to reprove inequalities and exclusivity in our communities eventually creates big waves that spread across our country for a more equal and loving life for all,” he said.   How UMKC Pride Breakfast Makes a Difference for Students Featured Speaker: Sarah McBride Chris Hernandez interviews Sarah McBride at the 2019 UMKC Pride Breakfast. “We have transformed impossibility into possibility into reality.”  – Sarah McBride Sarah McBride is a progressive activist and currently the National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. McBride first made national headlines when, at the end of her term as student body president at American University, she came out publicly as transgender in the student newspaper. She went on to intern in the Obama White House, the first openly trans woman to do so, and, after graduating from college, helped lead the successful effort to pass gender identity nondiscrimination protections in Delaware. It was during her time at the White House that McBride met Andrew Cray, a transgender man and fellow advocate. The two fell in love and began working together in the fight for LGBTQ equality. Cray was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2014, and just days after they married, he tragically passed away. Cray’s passing instilled in McBride a firm belief in the urgency of political and social change. Now as a spokesperson for the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, McBride has become one of America’s most public voices in the fight for LGBTQ equality, culminating in her address before the nation during the 2016 presidential election. Her moving new book Tomorrow Will Be Different chronicles her journey as a transgender woman, from coming out to her family and school community, to fighting for equality in her home state and nationally, to her heartbreaking romance with her late husband. From Delaware to North Carolina to Texas, McBride is working to resist the politics of hate and to move equality forward. “Sharing your story is one of the most significant and transformative things you can do to make a difference in the LGBT community.” – Sarah McBride About the UMKC Pride Breakfast Since 2008, the UMKC Pride Breakfast has raised funds to support LGBTQIA students at UMKC and served as a way to show our university’s commitment to creating and inclusive and welcoming environment on campus. The Pride Breakfast benefits programs and scholarships established specifically for LGBTQIA students, including the Pride Empowerment Fund, which provides emergency assistance to those who are experiencing financial difficulty due to loss of family support. Mar 21, 2019

  • New Scholarship Announced at Alumni Awards

    La Familia Promise and Opportunity Scholarship Fund receives first donation from Chancellor Mauli and Sue Agrawal
    Students attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City now have access to additional scholarship funds thanks to a generous donation by UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and his wife, Sue. The new scholarship, called the “La Familia Promise and Opportunity Scholarship Fund,” was announced at the 2019 UMKC Alumni Awards Celebration on March 15. The La Familia Promise and Opportunity Scholarship Fund will provide additional scholarship funds to students with high financial need. With matches from the Alumni Association, the UMKC campus and the UM System, the fund’s initial impact will be 10 students, receiving $5,000 each. “Our eyes are always on what we can do to support our students,” said Tamra Hoffman, UMKC Alumni Awards Celebration co-chair and vice president of events for the UMKC Alumni Governing Board. “Many of our students have dire financial need. They have what we call a ‘financial hold’ on their accounts, which means they owe tuition money that needs to be paid in order for them to continue as a student, or to obtain their transcripts.” Tamra Hoffman talks about the benefit students receive from the scholarship funds. Thanks to the La Familia Promise and Opportunity Scholarship Fund, students have more resources, and alumni and friends have another opportunity to help students. To highlight the impact of these types of scholarships, Jim Hogan, Alumni Awards Celebration co-chair and former alumni awardee introduced alumnus Brian Boman (B.S.C.E. ’17) who received financial holds funds as a student, allowing him to stay in school. “The feeling of relief that I felt was immediately followed by the humbling truth that the UMKC Alumni Association and its supporters had paid my remaining balance,” Boman said. “The generosity shown to me felt like an affirmation of all the choices I made to be part of UMKC. While earning my degree I found community with my classmates and faculty. But, most importantly I found a way to have the life that was important to me; a life that gives back to the people and places that have already given me so much.” Boman now works as a graduate engineer for the City of Kansas City and volunteers his time at UMKC as a member of the School of Computing and Engineering Alumni Board. “The feeling of relief that I felt was immediately followed by the humbling truth that the UMKC Alumni Association and its supporters had paid my remaining balance.” – Brian Boman (B.S.C.E. ’17) “UMKC helped me discover my passion, and I made my mind up that I would achieve my goal no matter how long or how hard my path would be,” Boman said. Over the past several years the annual Alumni Awards Celebration has raised more than one million dollars in support of student scholarships including a full ride scholarship to an outstanding student supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees. The event also celebrated the outstanding achievements of UMKC graduates by presenting 17 awards. In addition to school-based achievement awards, the UMKC Alumni Association presented university-wide honors to Dwight Scott (B.L.A. ’94), Alumnus of the Year; Steven St. John (B.A. ’96), Spotlight Award; Dick Gibson (B.M.E. ’67, MBA ’02), Bill French Alumni Service Award; José Faus (B.A. ’87), Defying the Odds Award; and The Strickland–Hembree Family, Legacy Award. UMKC Alumnus of the Year Dwight Scott at the event. Among the awardees were four veterans and doctors who work with veterans; a researcher, two conservationists and two preservationists. Awardees included educators, and people who share their knowledge, time and treasure. Honorees were people in STEM fields and people shattering glass ceilings. All of the alumni awardees had one thing in common – excellence. In addition to raising scholarship funds, the Alumni Awards Celebration allowed UMKC to express pride in alumni accomplishments and to tell their stories. Mar 20, 2019

  • 70 Women Awarded Scholarships

    Graduate Assistance Fund recognizes academic excellence
    This year, the UMKC Women’s Council supported 70 scholars through its Graduate Assistance Fund.  Women from all 11 UMKC academic units offering graduate and professional programs including the College of Arts and Sciences, the Conservatory of Music and Dance and the School of Computing and Engineering received financial support for post-baccalaureate degrees. Chancellor Mauli Agrawal noted that UMKC is sensitive to the educational needs of working professionals and busy families and that the university has developed more programs to fit the lifestyles of many students.  “At UMKC we offer online education, flexible program structures to fit working professionals and busy families, and much more, Agrawal said. “Yet for many of our students, there are still obstacles that exist, and I am proud that UMKC has organizations like the Women’s Council to help us to ensure those obstacles do not stand in the way of our students’ abilities to pursue advanced degrees.”  Mary Allison Joseph, a two-time GAF recipient, is pursuing her Masters of Arts in the theatre program.  Joseph feared her dreams of a career were over when she wasn’t cast as Little Red Riding Hood when she was 10 years old.  “Graduate school has allowed me to craft a very specific personal mission to advocate for diverse stories on stages.” – Mary Allison Joseph “They cast me as Chicken Little instead,” Joseph said. “I thought this was the universe’s way of saying, ‘Theatre is not for you.’” Joseph pursued an interest in languages that eventually led her back to the stage. “I moved to Latin America in my 20s, and an unexpected result of the move was becoming a really great dancer,” she said. “I moved to Brazil a few years later and through my dance network became friends with some actors.” Joseph realized that she missed the stage and enrolled in an acting program. Mary Allison Joseph, Graduate Assistance Fund recipient, speaking at the event. “While my two semesters in that acting program were an important start, I still felt like a scholar first and foremost,” Joseph said. “My time at UMKC has solidified in me this professional identify of artist-scholar. Graduate school has allowed me to craft a very specific personal mission to advocate for diverse stories on stages—as a scholar and an artist—in order to bridge communities and foster mutual understanding.”  Chancellor Agrawal recognized that these students are already contributing significantly. “I am grateful for these graduate students,” Agrawal said. “I treasure their tenacity and their scholarship. I am confident that they will use their work to pay it forward and impact their communities.”  The Graduate Assistance Fund was established in 1971 at UMKC to provide financial support to women enrolled in graduate programs. To date, the GAF as sponsored more than 2,100 women graduate students by providing more than $1.8 million in graduate fellowships. Mar 20, 2019

  • UMKC Joins Campus Network's Student Entrepreneur Quest Accelerator Competition

    The Startland News reported on a final showdown of student startups where budding entrepreneurs from across the University of Missouri campus netwo...
      Launched in October 2018, Entrepreneur Quest accepted 50 applicants from each of the four UM campuses –– University of Missouri, UMKC, UMSL and Missouri S&T. Read the story Mar 20, 2019

  • An Immovable Force for Equality and Justice in Kansas City

    Beth K. Smith to be inducted into Starr Women’s Hall of Fame
    The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women, preserving the history of their accomplishments and inspiring women everywhere. Beth K. Smith (1921-2017) is one of the outstanding women being honored in the 2019 class of inductees. A 1943 graduate of Wellesley College with a degree in economics, Smith went on to earn her M.P.A. from the Henry W. Bloch School of Management in 1976. She went on to co-found The Central Exchange and The Women’s Employment Network (WEN). In the early 1960s, Smith became an activist and advocate for both women’s and civil rights, culminating in leadership roles with the Kansas City Human Rights Commission. Over the years, she consistently worked to help women in Kansas City reach their full personal and professional potential. In 1978, Smith co-founded The Central Exchange with 2015 Starr Women’s Hall of Fame inductee, Marjorie Powell Allen and in 1986, the two launched The Women’s Employment Network (WEN). The organizations were created with the aim to promote equity, inspire confidence and foster economic independence for women. Additionally, Smith was instrumental in founding the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership. “An immovable force for equality and justice in this community.” – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, U.S. House of Representatives She also served as an adjunct professor at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management and established the Edward Smith internships to encourage students to pursue careers at nonprofits in Kansas City. The recipient of numerous awards, Smith received the first American Jewish Committee Human Relations Award, the Bridge Builder Award for improving race relations and the first ATHENA Award given by the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, U.S. House of Representatives called Smith, “an immovable force for equality and justice in this community,” during his time as Kansas City mayor. “From the days of the 1960s to the turn of the 21st century, Smith was an ardent advocate, leader and collaborator — one who was committed to the cause of supporting the development of opportunities for the women of the region while also working tirelessly to strengthen the fabric and vitality of the community as a whole,” says David O. Renz, Ph.D., Missouri Chair in Nonprofit Leadership at UMKC.  About the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live.  The Hall of Fame honors their legacies by sharing their stories to encourage and inspire women everywhere. A permanent display honoring these women is open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Mar 18, 2019

  • An Agent of Change

    Janet Murguía to be inducted into Starr Women’s Hall of Fame
    The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women, preserving the history of their accomplishments and inspiring women everywhere. Janet Murguía is one of the outstanding women being honored in the 2019 class of inductees. From Congress to the White House to leading the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights organization, Murguía has inspired many. Born in the Argentine district of Kansas City, Kansas, to Mexican immigrants, she rose from a humble background to becoming a tireless advocate for civil rights for all. After receiving her bachelor’s and law degree from the University of Kansas, Janet moved to Washington, D.C., and joined former Congressman Jim Slattery’s office as a legislative assistant. She then worked at the White House as the Deputy Assistant and Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs to President Clinton, providing strategic and legislative advice on key issues and acting as a senior White House liaison to Congress. She served as Deputy Campaign Manager in the Gore-Lieberman 2000 presidential campaign. Murguía came back to her roots in the Midwest, serving as the executive vice chancellor of University Relations for the University of Kansas from 2001-2004, where she oversaw internal and external relations and coordinated the university’s strategic planning and marketing efforts. In 2005, she returned to our nation’s capital to become the president and CEO of UNIDOS US (formerly the National Council of LaRaza) in Washington, D.C. “Janet has elevated the status of women by her work in Washington, in Kansas and throughout the country,” says Laura Curry Sloan, executive director of the Shumaker Family Foundation. “As a Hispanic woman, she is acutely aware of the need to support the rights of women to contribute in every way in our society, including being able to help support their families and raise their children without being harassed or being treated as ‘less than.’ There is no doubt that Janet Murguia will continue to inspire others by her example.” About the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame honors their legacies by sharing their stories to encourage and inspire women everywhere. A permanent display honoring these women is open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Mar 18, 2019

  • Dressmaker to Millions of American Women

    Nell Quinlan (Donnelly) Reed to be inducted into Starr Women’s Hall of Fame
      The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women, preserving the history of their accomplishments and inspiring women everywhere. Nell Quinlan (Donnelly) Reed (1889-1991) is one of the outstanding women being honored in the 2019 class of inductees. Reed established the Donnelly Garment Company in 1916 and for much of the 20th century it was the largest dress manufacturing company in the world — making more than 75 million dresses and employing 1,300 people for years in Kansas City. In an industry dominated by men, Reed succeeded by combining high quality design with state-of-the-art manufacturing technology at affordable prices. She was also a pioneer in employees’ rights and implemented many improvements in work conditions and compensation including air conditioning, life insurance and pension plans. Reed twice received the Navy-Army “E” Production Award for making service women’s uniforms during World War II. “She lived a fabled life and were her incredible story not true, it would be hard to believe.” -Terence Michael O’Malley, attorney, author and documentary filmmaker, great-great nephew of Reed Generally credited with having invented the housedress, Reed was an innovator and the first to put a brand label in dresses, include extra buttons and deploy removable shoulder pads. The Donnelly Garment Company was one of the original tenants in the Empire State Building in New York and Reed the first woman in business in the United States to be a self-made millionaire. “She essentially created daytime fashions for women by reinventing the housedress, taking it from a shapeless and cheap frock to a beautiful ensemble. Reed understood every aspect of her business, not just the design. She studied the textile industry and was the first to apply silk fabric design to American cotton and rayon,” says Mitchell J. DiCarlo, lifelong resident of Kansas City, Missouri. This spring, “Nelly Don The Musical!” will chronicle Reed’s creativity, business acumen and personal travails at the Musical Theater Heritage at Crown Center in Kansas City. “In 1916, Reed created a fashion empire and became one of the wealthiest and most celebrated American women in business. She lived a fabled life and were her incredible story not true, it would be hard to believe,” says Terence Michael O’Malley, attorney, author and documentary filmmaker, great-great nephew of Reed. About the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame honors their legacies by sharing their stories to encourage and inspire women everywhere. A permanent display honoring these women is open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Mar 18, 2019

  • Changing the Landscape of Giving

    Dr. Linda Hood Talbott to be inducted into Starr Women’s Hall of Fame
    The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women, preserving the history of their accomplishments and inspiring women everywhere. Dr. Linda Hood Talbott is one of the outstanding women being honored in the 2019 class of inductees. Talbott (B.A. ’62, M.A. ’64, Ph.D. ’73) exhibits all the traits of an extraordinary Kansas City woman. Philanthropist, researcher and educator, Talbott’s work has impacted many lives, particularly providing avenues for women in education, support and advancement. “Dr. Talbott has been recognized by three U.S. presidents for her leadership in helping the elderly, youth and women of America. She has changed the philanthropic landscape of Kansas City,” says Elizabeth Danforth, director of public affairs, Kansas City Power & Light. Talbott earned three degrees from UMKC and in 1973, served as director of development and communications for then-UMKC Chancellor James Olson. In her capacity, Linda helped develop the private-public funding partnership for the UMKC Performing Arts Center. “She consistently demonstrates through her actions that compassion, devotion and integrity do make a difference and she has devoted her life to the betterment of society.” – Leo Morton, former UMKC Chancellor When she was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of Kansas City Power & Light in the early 1980s, she became the first woman from Kansas City to sit on the board of a Fortune 1000 company. Talbott is a founding member of many organizations including the Greater Kansas City Foundation, Women’s Employment Network, Central Exchange and Women’s Foundation. With her late husband Thomas H. Talbot, she established the UMKC Honors College Scholarship, the Talbott Scholarship and Leadership Award for outstanding student leaders in the College of Arts and Sciences; the Talbott Scholarship for Performing Arts Excellence; the Talbott Honors Scholarship for Leadership Development; the Linda Hood Talbott Scholarship for Urban Education Excellence; and the Linda Hood Talbott Award for Excellence through the UMKC Women’s Council. In 2015, Talbott announced her commitment to leave $1 million of her estate to the new Honors College. “Talbott is a model alumna whose impassioned dedication and commitment to her alma mater and this community is truly remarkable,” says Leo Morton, former UMKC chancellor and chief operating officer, DeBruce Companies.“Through her example and countless forms of leadership, she has inspired fellow alumni and communities alike to give, act and engage. She consistently demonstrates through her actions that compassion, devotion and integrity do make a difference and she has devoted her life to the betterment of society. She continually demonstrates through her work to elevating those who ‘should,’ those who ‘can’ and those who ‘will.’ She is a treasure and inspiration.” About the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame honors their legacies by sharing their stories to encourage and inspire women everywhere. A permanent display honoring these women is open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Mar 18, 2019

  • Social Activist and Community Organizer to Receive Award

    Mona Lea Perry to be inducted into Starr Women’s Hall of Fame
    The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women, preserving the history of their accomplishments and inspiring women everywhere. Mona Lea Perry is one of the outstanding women being honored in the 2019 class of inductees. An advocate with the American Indian Center in Kansas City, for more than 60 years Perry has lent her voice to furthering civil rights and diversity and inclusion for not only American Indians but all minority and ethnic groups. “She has also mentored and advised young people of all ages and cultures in need of adult guidance or just an ear to listen, while determining their next steps to navigating the day to day roadmap of life.” – Henry E. Lyons, president, NAACP – Olathe, Kansas branch Highly respected in the Kansas City area and throughout Missouri and Kansas for her knowledge of and connections within the American Indian community, Perry assisted American Indian youth and adults with accessing resources to garner employment, housing, medical assistance and education opportunities as part of her work as an employment specialist with the American Indian Center in Kansas City. Henry E. Lyons, president, NAACP – Olathe, Kansas branch said of Perry, “she has also mentored and advised young people of all ages and cultures in need of adult guidance or just an ear to listen, while determining their next steps to navigating the day to day roadmap of life.” Additionally, she has volunteered with a myriad of organizations, including the Homeless Service Coalition, Stand for Children and KC Harmony, and received four certificates of service as a member of the Missouri Advisory Council for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 2014, she was honored with the Martin Luther King NAACP Hero of Diversity Award for the Olathe, Kansas branch. Grace Little Eagle, retired registered nurse and pastor of First People Independence Circle, says, “Perry has worked tirelessly with a committee from First People Community of Christ-Independence Circle for the past five years to ensure that there would be Christmas gifts for children in the American Indian community.”  About the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame honors their legacies by sharing their stories to encourage and inspire women everywhere. A permanent display honoring these women is open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Mar 18, 2019

  • UMKC Students Develop App that Helps Visually Impaired People See What is Around Them

    Fox4KC reported on a group of UMKC Ph.D. candidates who developed technology that could make life easier for people who are blind or have visual im...
    The app is called the DeepLens project and would use an iPhone app and glasses to narrate a scene in real time. The technology developed by Gharib Gharibi and his partners is a form of artificial intelligence called deep learning. More Mar 15, 2019

  • Exploring the Depths of Mars with a Mentor

    Dynamic Duo Julia Boyd and Alison Graettinger blaze a new trail
    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. Assistant professor of geosciences Alison Graettinger and physics junior Julia Boyd are using satellite imagery to explore the depths of Mars through the study of planetary volcanoes. A double minor in mathematics and classical and ancient studies, Julia is new to the field of geology and says she benefits most from the one-on-one time for learning and interacting with peers, educators and her mentor. Hear from the dynamic duo about the benefits of mentorship at UMKC. How has your mentor inspired you? Julia: Dr. Graettinger has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone by taking my physics and math background and applying it to research based in geology. She has inspired me to use the perspective that I bring from my own field and apply it to many aspects of my research, while also learning methods of geology to identify maar and crater characteristics through satellite imagery. Dr. Graettinger has also sparked a desire for me to continue researching in the field of planetary geology. What makes faculty mentorship critical to the success of students? Alison: Mentors help push students to reach scholarly and personal responsibility goals that in-class interactions do not always allow. I also find that one of my most important roles as a mentor is being invested in the student and being a role model of a successful woman in science, both of which help motivate students to achieve their best. “Access to and good interaction with a mentor helps students see both their areas that need growth and their strengths in areas that may not have been obvious before.” – Alison As a woman in science, how does mentorship help close the gender gap in STEM professions? Alison: When I got my first female mentor, it was something I didn’t know I needed. Finding someone who has something in common with you adds something extra because they understand your experience. How are you different now than when you first started at UMKC? Julia: I don’t think I had a good grasp and true understanding of my place in the world and how I was going to get where I wanted to go when I started college. My biggest fear was failure and not being good enough, both in my degree and just in general. I feel like that has really changed. Dr. Graettinger has also helped me build confidence in myself as an aspiring scientist. “The more time I spend practicing—whether it’s studying or getting more involved—the more my academic performance improves and I learn valuable life skills.” – Julia  How has your mentor helped you grow as a person? Julia: It can be intimidating starting research and doing something different in a new field, plus I always want do things perfectly the first time. That is not the way the world works, though, and Dr. Graettinger has really helped me to learn how to channel my perfectionist nature and set realistic goals and be proud of myself for achieving them. I gain more confidence every time I reach a small goal, and in turn that gives me the confidence to set higher goals and actually achieve them.  What qualities make a good mentor? Alison: Step one is to want to be a good mentor. Realizing that mentoring is not something that just happens on its own helps mentors be able to support and motivate a range of students, not just students like themselves. Some people go their whole lives without having a mentor. What advice would you give people about finding one? Julia: Whether it be in academia or just in life, do not be afraid to ask questions and for help, guidance, or to find a community! There are so many groups and communities of people here at UMKC that are both dedicated to helping others and who want to connect with people. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out to someone and get involved. Ask others for guidance, both instructors and peers, because 9 times out of 10 people will be honored that you even asked and would love to help you. Alison: Have a real conversation with your potential mentor first. Talk about expectations, goals and the project itself. Mar 15, 2019

  • Women of Color Connection Day Empowers Young Women Across Kansas City

    Annual event promotes education, equity and professional development
    Over last eight years, hundreds of teenage girls from high schools across the greater Kansas City area have come to UMKC for the annual Women of Color Leadership Conference High School/Collegiate Connection Day hosted by the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. This half-day mini conference encourages connection, empowerment and, most of all, access to higher education. An extension of the larger Women of Color Leadership Conference, which takes place every June, the connection day gives high school girls an opportunity to learn from professional and collegiate women of color across UMKC and the greater Kansas City community. Workshop presenters discuss topics related to self-esteem, personal branding, embracing your identity and more. Here’s a look back at the impact made at this year’s conference. “Never in my life have I ever felt more EMPOWERED by the person I am and my background. I’ve never been more PROUD of the person I am and have never felt I mattered as much as I have today.” – Isabella Keynote speaker Brittany Ferrell, Black Lives Matter activist and founder of Millennial Activists United, let the audience know that “you don’t have to have it all figured out.”  Photos by John Carmody, Strategic Marketing and Communications “‘It’s okay not to be okay,’ taking in all of the wisdom from keynote speaker Brittany Ferrell at the Women of Color Leadership Conference. What a truly amazing talk.” – Trinity UMKC students served as emcees and workshop presenters, speaking with high school students about navigating society in light of the #MeToo movement, the importance of personal branding, and the disadvantages of colorism. “I loved today’s Women of Color Leadership Conference! So uplifting and powerful to see a room full of beautiful and successful black and brown women of all areas spreading awareness and self-love and change.” - Mari Kansas City schools who brought young women to the conference included Olathe Schools, University Academy, F. L. Schlagle High School, Grandview School District and many more. Several teachers and counselors attended as chaperones. “The Women of Color Conference is always the highlight of my year. These young folks are beautiful, strong and making it happen! Chancellor’s Chief of Staff Kimiko Black Gilmore kicked us off with fire!” - Diane Mar 15, 2019

  • The Border Patrol

    Steven St. John shared his thoughts with listeners of 810 Sports on receiving the Spotlight Award from the UMKC Alumni Association
    Steven St. John (B.A. ’96) is the host of the popular sports morning show “Border Patrol” on 810 WHB in Kansas City. He will receive the 2019 Spotlight Award from the UMKC Alumni Association. Listen to what he had to say. Mar 13, 2019

  • Why a Midwesterner is Leading the Charge to Save Manatees

    UMKC Alumni Award winner on KCUR "Up to Date"
    Patrick Rose, executive director, Save the Manatee Club, and UMKC School of Biological Sciences 2019 Alumni Award winner, was a guest on “Up to Date.” Mar 12, 2019

  • UMKC Law Ranks Among Best in Trial Advocacy and Legal Writing

    U.S. News and World Report releases program rankings
    The School of Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is one of the best in the nation at preparing students for Trial Advocacy and Legal Writing, according to new rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report. According to U.S. News, UMKC Law is ranked 27th in the country in Trial Advocacy, tied with the University of Virginia, the University of Texas-Austin and Syracuse, among others. UMKC was ranked ahead of Harvard (34th), Duke (35th), Columbia (60th), Stanford and Yale (both 76th). “Trial Advocacy is more than just public speaking in the courtroom – it is a skill that requires understanding and translating a client’s story into a persuasive narrative that must fit the constraints of the formal rules of evidence and procedure,” said Barbara Glesner Fines, dean of the UMKC School of Law. In Legal Writing, UMKC Law was ranked 20th in the nation, ahead of Boston College (29th), Ohio State (37th), Duke (42nd) and Washington University of St. Louis (52nd). “Legal Research and Writing is a foundational skill for all attorneys,” Glesner Fines said. “Attorneys communicate in writing to their clients, public, courts, companies – it’s all writing, all the time and the formats vary significantly across the audiences.  UMKC is proud of its record of educating our students to be excellent professional writers in all these settings.” “This ranking is largely a consequence of the national leadership in this field provided by our legal writing professors: Norm Plate, Judy Popper and Wanda Temm,” Glesner Fines added.  “Wanda Temm in particular deserves kudos, as she has been a national leader in both legal writing and bar preparation programs.  Their leadership on behalf of legal writing professors nationwide, presentations at national conferences, and engagement with the national legal writing listserve have raised our visibility and reputation for excellence.” The overall ranking for the UMKC School of Law was 108th in the country, up from 119th last year and 123rd in 2017. In reputational ranking, which is based on surveys of attorneys and judges, UMKC School of Law ranks in the top 100 in the country. According to U.S. News & World Report, graduates from the top law schools have consistently high bar passage and employment rates, among other factors.   Mar 12, 2019

  • Philanthropist Advocates for Women and the Arts

    Bunni Copaken to join Starr Women’s Hall of Fame
    The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women, preserving the history of their accomplishments and inspiring women everywhere. Bunni Copaken is one of the outstanding women in the 2019 class of honorees. “Copaken is best known as a philanthropic leader and community advocate who believes unequivocally in the importance of equity and opportunity for women and in the power of the arts to unite people,” says Angela Gieras, executive director of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.  Copaken is a founding board member of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA), and a longstanding member of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre board of directors. She shares the belief of renowned dancer Alvin Ailey that the arts break down artificial barriers between people and unite communities. Fueled by this, she empowered and mobilized people to create a community around the arts in Kansas City. “Copaken’s vision of the arts as a vehicle to promote racial understanding and inclusivity led her to create opportunities for people from disparate backgrounds to meet, connect and create something wonderful together,” Gieras says. “Out of these connections, which Copaken lovingly fosters to this day, has risen a city united and inspired by a common passion in the arts.” She was instrumental in creating the KCFAA AileyCamp, now replicated in 10 cities nationwide, an award-winning day camp built on the philosophy that the skills needed to learn dance are the same skills needed for broader success in life.  “Copaken’s vision of the arts as a vehicle to promote racial understanding and inclusivity led her to create opportunities for people from disparate backgrounds to meet, connect and create something wonderful together.” – Angela Gieras, executive director, Kansas City Repertory Theatre Her commitment to empowering individuals doesn’t stop there. Copaken is also a founding member of the Women’s Foundation and a past president of the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri. Her work to promote equity, inclusion and opportunity for women has left an undeniable mark in Kansas City. “Copaken made it possible for women in our community to become philanthropists in their own right,” says Ann Spivak, vice president of development, Women’s Foundation. “She has led us to a place where we can influence decision makers in our community to affect real, meaningful change for thousands of women in both Kansas and Missouri.” As a volunteer, philanthropist, grant writer and visionary — Copaken has been an excellent example of the power of women as visionary leaders whose ideas and action deeply influence lives. About the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame honors their legacies by sharing their stories to encourage and inspire women everywhere. A permanent display honoring these women is open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Mar 12, 2019

  • Former Society Editor Celebrated for Trailblazing Inclusivity

    Laura Rollins Hockaday to be inducted into Starr Women’s Hall of Fame
    The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women, preserving the history of their accomplishments and inspiring women everywhere. Laura Rollins Hockaday (1938-2017) is one of the outstanding women being honored in the 2019 class of inductees. Hockaday, a longtime society editor for The Kansas City Star, transformed race relations by redefining “society” and  expanding the newspaper’s previously racially restrictive society page to be inclusive of all people in the community. Hockaday worked for The Kansas City Star in many capacities from 1962 to her retirement in 2000. She is remembered for many things, including her popular column “Come into My Kitchen,” but her most enduring contributions were the changes she made to The Kansas City Star’s society pages. “Having been raised in an environment of white privilege and country clubs, Hockaday was keenly aware of the exclusivity and segregation that existed at the paper,” said Anny C. “Acey” Lampe, Ph.D., sustainer colleague with the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri. After 20 years working on the paper, Hockaday, then a travel editor, was asked to take the society editor job. She agreed only on the condition that she be able to portray society as it truly existed in the city, which included African American and Hispanic communities who were previously overlooked. “She opened the society section of The Kansas City Star for all to see that Kansas City is a beautiful ethnic mosaic.” – Gwendolyn Grant, president, Urban League of Greater Kansas City Hockaday, often practically dressed in rubber flats and skirts, attended Kansas City’s galas and black-tie events, developing new relationships and writing stories about less-publicized individuals. Minority communities noticed the shift as the society pages became more integrated, featuring not just the parties, but the organizational and philanthropic work of African American and Hispanic women in Kansas City. “Hockaday believed society reporting should really be a common denominator for the community and that it should be a medium for bringing people together instead of setting people apart,” said Gwendolyn Grant, president of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City. “She opened the society section of The Kansas City Star for all to see that Kansas City is a beautiful ethnic mosaic.” Bunni Copaken, a past president of the Junior League of Kansas City and fellow inductee, said Hockaday’s work invited all of Kansas City to meet a diverse group of women heralded by their own ethnic communities. “Hockaday single-handedly helped to redefine the notion of society in Kansas City,” Acey said. “She did not see color, class or gender. She simply saw people. She especially elevated women of color whose philanthropic and celebratory events had historically been non-existent to the readers of The Kansas City Star.” In recognizing and addressing the injustice in lack of coverage, she quickly and efficiently using her small part of the paper as the impetus for change. Art Brisbane, former editor and publisher of The Kansas City Star, said of Hockaday, “I have asked myself what lesson can be drawn from her life. The answer, I believe, is that one person, possessing a clear eye and a fair mind, can make a great change by simply acting on her beliefs. Others will follow.” About the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame honors their legacies by sharing their stories to encourage and inspire women everywhere. A permanent display honoring these women is open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Mar 12, 2019

  • Community Champion and Advocate Receives Honor

    Mamie Hughes to be inducted into Starr Women’s Hall of Fame
    The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women, preserving the history of their accomplishments and inspiring women everywhere. Mamie Hughes is one of the outstanding women being honored in the 2019 class of inductees. Hughes has made her mark on the Greater Kansas City community as a tireless champion for those oppressed by racial and gender biases and discrimination. “For the past eight decades, she has boldly gone where others did not dare.” – Hon. Lisa White Hardwick, Missouri Court of Appeals She arrived in Kansas City in 1949 as a young adult poised to make a difference. Hughes raised five children while simultaneously pursuing a teaching career, holding elective office and immersing herself in civic affairs. She was involved in several community projects, including the plan to install immediate emergency services, the establishment of the Meals on Wheels program, and the economic development of the historic 18th and Vine Jazz District, including leadership service with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. She was elected as a founding member of the Jackson County Legislature, a former chair for the Mid-America Regional Council and founding member of the Central Exchange. She serves on the Council of Advocates for the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education. “She became an advocate and volunteer for scores of projects aimed at cutting through the racial and gender biases and discrimination,” says friend John Kurtz. “I regard Hughes as Kansas City’s own ‘godmother’ and I—as a Kansas Citian—thank God that she settled here in 1949 and has been here ever since.” In the prologue to Hughes’ autobiography, Judge Lisa White Hardwick of the Missouri Court of Appeals wrote, “For the past eight decades, she has boldly gone where others did not dare. Her mantra is, ‘Man who says it cannot be done should get out of the way of woman who is doing it.’… Since arriving in 1949 at the age of 20, she has broadly impacted the landscape of our city in politics, education, culture and family life … Her graceful and passionate advocacy as the Ombudsman for the Bruce R. Watkins Drive brought resolution and fair treatment for thousands of inner city residents affected by the project.” Hughes has been honored with the ATHENA Award from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Hall of Fame Award from the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus and the National Medal of Honor from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was named to the Alumni Hall of Fame by Metropolitan Community College and among “Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City” by City Union Mission. About the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame honors their legacies by sharing their stories to encourage and inspire women everywhere. A permanent display honoring these women is open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Mar 12, 2019

  • Theatre Professor Blazed Kansas City’s Path to National Acclaim

    Dr. Patricia A. McIlrath to be inducted into Starr Women’s Hall of Fame
    The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women, preserving the history of their accomplishments and inspiring women everywhere. Dr. Patricia A. McIlrath (1917-1999) is one of the outstanding women in the 2019 class of honorees. McIlrath was a longtime chair of the Department of Theatre at UMKC, founder of the Missouri Repertory Theatre (now KC Rep) and progenitor of Kansas City’s status as one of the top five professional theatre cities in the U.S. McIlrath graduated from Paseo High School during the Great Depression and was one of few in her class who was able to go on to college. She acquired several degrees, including a Ph.D. from Stanford, before joining the University of Kansas City (now UMKC) as director of University Theatres in 1954. During her time at UMKC, she opened auditioning to the community and directed racially-integrated productions. She accomplished many things: writing scholarly articles, serving on national and local boards, directing academic and off-Broadway productions, and creating the Summer Repertory Theatre, which became the fully professional Missouri Repertory Theatre in 1966 (now the Kansas City Repertory Theatre). “The founding of the Missouri Rep served as the impetus for the revival of professional theatre in the Kansas City metro. Following in its wake, numerous other professional theatre companies established in the city since the 1970s have found lasting success,” said Eric Rosen, Ph.D., former artistic director, Kansas City Repertory Theatre.   “She built and fueled a creative engine that continues to help theatre prosper in Kansas City.” McIlrath, fondly known as Dr. Mac, led the way (two years ahead of Yale Repertory Theatre, for example) in integrating professional theatre training into the college curriculum with her creation of an organic relationship between the UMKC theatre department and the regional professional company she founded. She also created a touring arm, Missouri Vanguard Theatre, to take professional productions to underserved communities throughout Missouri. “Her leadership was the fundamental factor in making Kansas City a thriving theatrical center where professional artists could live and work outside of New York City,” said Felicia Londré, Ph.D., Curator’s Professor of Theatre, UMKC. “The fact that Kansas City has a dozen Equity theatres can be directly traced to Dr. Mac’s work, an effort of many years of personal door-to-door to build community support for a theatre scene that had been virtually barren since the 1920s.” McIlrath welcomed women into positions of responsibility and showed by example that a woman could run a major arts organization. She mentored many of Kansas City’s theatre professionals and the majority of theatre companies in the area trace their roots back to Dr. Mac at UMKC.  She was nominated for the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame by many Kansas City theatre leaders, including Sidonie Garret, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival; Angela Gieras, Kansas City Repertory Theatre; Cynthia Levin, Unicorn Theatre; Joette Pelster, The Coterie; and Heidi Van, The Fishtank. Together, they expressed their appreciation for her pioneering vision. “She built and fueled a creative engine that continues to help theatre prosper in Kansas City. Dr. Mac was a pioneer who established herself as a capable, passionate and fair leader in a time when most business leaders were men. She elevated how women were viewed in the community and in the national theatre landscape. We stand on the shoulders of this trailblazing woman. Thanks to her determination and selfless leadership, since 1964, generations of Kansas Citians have been able to see the best theatre in the country created right here in this community.” About the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame honors their legacies by sharing their stories to encourage and inspire women everywhere. A permanent display honoring these women is open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Mar 12, 2019

  • Tenacious Lawyer Paved the Way for Women in Kansas City

    Mary Tiera Farrow to be inducted into Starr Women’s Hall of Fame
    The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women, preserving the history of their accomplishments and inspiring women everywhere. Tiera Farrow (1880-1971) is one of the outstanding women being honored in the 2019 class of inductees. Farrow embodies a number of ‘firsts’ on a local and national scale, as founder of the first organization to welcome women in the legal field in Kansas City, the first female judge in the City of Kansas City, the first woman in the U.S. to defend a woman on trial for murder and the first woman to argue before the Kansas Supreme Court. From a young age, Farrow was determined to be a lawyer. At the time, women lawyers were rare. She entered business school first to become a stenographer before getting into the Kansas City School of Law (now UMKC School of Law) in 1901. She became president of her class and graduated in 1903 with a bachelor’s in law. She soon after discovered that her fiancé only wanted her to work as a clerk, not a lawyer, so she promptly ended the engagement. She found work with other male attorneys, albeit with a meager salary, and through the opportunity was the first woman to argue a case before the Kansas Supreme Court. In 1907, she was also the first female treasurer elected to serve the city of Kansas City, Kansas. “She was forward-thinking and pushed the boundaries for women’s rights, both in and out of the legal community.” – JoEllen Flanagan Engelbart, Association of Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City After traveling abroad, she and fellow Kansas City School of Law alumna, Anna Donahue, opened the first women-owned law practice in Kansas City. After Donahue left the firm, Farrow got one of her most famous cases defending a newly divorced wife and mother who murdered her ex-husband on the steps of the courthouse after she was denied custody of their child. The case received national media attention because Farrow was the first woman to defend a woman on trial for murder. She earned credibility in the legal community after she successfully defended her client, who was charged with first-degree murder but escaped the death sentence with a second-degree murder conviction and two years in prison. “She was tenacious and driven, bent on finding her way as a respected and equal lawyer to her male counterparts before women even had the right to vote,” says JoEllen Flanagan Engelbart of the Association of Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City. “She was forward-thinking and pushed the boundaries for women’s rights, both in and out of the legal community.” Even with Farrow’s success, she was barred from joining the all-male Kansas City Bar Association, so she and 20 other women co-founded the Women’s Bar Association of Kansas City in 1917. The Missouri Women’s Bar Association was opened in 1918. She returned to UMKC to earn her juris doctor degree. Then in 1925, after the passing of the 19th amendment gave women the right to vote, she and fellow Kansas City School of Law graduate Louise Byers opened The Women’s Law School to educate non-legal women in their newly acquired legal rights. She was appointed to the Kansas City Municipal Court in 1928, becoming the first woman judge in Kansas City. She later served women and veterans during and after World Wars I and II and retired after many years in the Legal Aid in the Kansas City Welfare Department. Fondly remembered as the “Dean of Women Lawyers,” Farrow’s legacy lives on in the women whose careers were made possible by her trailblazing advocacy. About the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame honors their legacies by sharing their stories to encourage and inspire women everywhere. A permanent display honoring these women is open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women’s rights. The Hall of Fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Mar 12, 2019

  • UMKC Professors Receive Fulbright Awards

    J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board has recognized two UMKC faculty members
    Syed E. Hasan, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Geoscience, has been selected for a Fulbright Senior Scholar award and Rita Barger, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the School of Education, will serve as a Fulbright Specialist at Trakya University in Turkey for the 2019-20 year. Hasan will be affiliated with the University of Jordan, Amman where he will teach a course in his specialty area of waste management.  “I am hoping to be able to share my expertise in waste management with Jordanian officials in helping them turn solid waste into a resource for energy generation and material recovery,” Hasan said.  This is the second time Hasan has been selected for this award. In 2016 he taught at Qatar University where he worked with students on conducting waste assessment to help the university meet its recycling and sustainability goals.  “Officials from the U.S. embassy attended the students’ presentation. It was a memorable experience for all of us," Hasan said.    Barger will serve as a Fulbright Specialist in mathematics education and creative problem solving at Trakya University in Turkey. “For almost 20 years I have been teaching a course in creative problem solving that is designed to help students, especially pre-service and in-service teachers, develop the ability to look at problems from different perspectives,” Barger said. “This allows them to move beyond the traditional answers to real world problems and problems in the classroom, to new answers and approaches that are significantly different from the common practice in today’s classrooms.” Barger will be working with participants in workshops to apply creative problem solving techniques to challenges in their daily lives. The Fulbright Program, which aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Hasan and Barger are looking forward to collaborating with scholars and students abroad. Mar 11, 2019

  • UMKC Students 'Suit Up' For Success With Help From J.C. Penney

    Story from KSHB
    Having the right skills isn’t always enough to land your dream job. Looking the part is important, too. But dressing up didn’t come naturally to Steven Pinkerton, a senior mechanical engineering student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read more from KSHB Mar 11, 2019

  • Smiles Are Important To This Pre-Dental Student

    Ahmad Haha loves how UMKC makes it easy for people to express themselves - including their faith
    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.  Ahmad HahaHometown: PalestineHigh School: Ruskin High SchoolUMKC degree program: BS Biology, Pre-DentalAnticipated graduation year: 2020 Why did you choose UMKC? I chose UMKC because it helps a person find his passion in life by giving a student experience with what they want to do.    Why did you choose pre-dentistry?  Smiles are so important. They are a sign of inner happiness. As a little kid I hid my smile because my teeth were horrible. Then I started going to the dentist almost every week for eight years. I had braces for six years. I saw the difference in how my life has changed. I've felt happier than ever. I want to give that back. I want to make others happy.  Are there people in your family with science and medical backgrounds? One of my brothers started in medicine, but switched to business. But for me, I want to help people.  I've wanted to be a dentist since I was a little kid.  I want to be the first person in my family to take the step into the health field. It benefits me to challenge myself and see what I'm capable of.  I knew it wasn't going to be easy, and entering this programs has benefitted my life outside of academics to reach for a higher goal. If you were advising a potential UMKC student, what would you tell them? No matter what - who they are or their background – there's no judgment here. UMKC accepts you for you are. They don't want to change you. There's a very diverse environment here where everyone can find a friend – or faculty or professor – who they can reach out to.  Was that unexpected? I moved to the United States when I was seven years old. I’m Muslim and live in a strong Muslim community. Some of the families I know sent their kids to Muslim school.  I went for a year, but I wanted to go to public school and still know my beliefs. I wanted to put myself in an environment with other religions to prove it wouldn't affect who I am.I've found that UMKC is a very safe place for Muslims. I'm on the board of the student Muslim organization. We have events and a feast for Ramadan. Everyone is invited. This year we had over 200 students from the whole community. The university has really supported us. We have Friday prayers, but we can't always make it to mosque. UMKC has given us a room in the Student Union. The Muslim community on campus wants to show people who we are. We have a strong heart. What other organizations are you involved in on campus? I am an orientation leader and a member of the Pre-Dental Society. Why are you an orientation leader? I wanted to help students who walked in my shoes. High school doesn't really prepare you for college. I had to develop my own study strategies. Now I'm a junior. I can see the impact the first year had on me. I want to help first year students believe in themselves. I want them to have confidence and know they will be okay. Being an orientation leader gives me a chance to speak out and let them know they can make it. Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?  I learned that I don't need to be perfect.  In life we make mistakes and failure is not wrong.  It's just a way to learn better and avoid making the same mistakes in the future.      Learn More About UMKC Mar 08, 2019

  • UMKC Athletics Director Receives School of Education Appointment

    Brandon Martin will be Executive in Residence
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education has appointed Director of Athletics Brandon E. Martin, Ph.D., as Executive in Residence. Dean Justin Perry said Martin will assist with the strategic development and growth of the School of Education’s Higher Education Administration Program. Martin will also teach various sports management courses and advise students in the program. Martin’s role will also include assisting in the development, coordination and implementation of experiential learning opportunities for students in the program. He will manage and develop contacts and relationships for the program with partner sports organizations in the Kansas City Region. "The School of Education is very excited that Dr. Martin will be joining the Division of Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations as Executive in Residence,” Perry said. “He will be a tremendous asset for the Higher Education Administration program, especially in Sports Administration.  I am so pleased that Dr. Martin will bring his wealth of experience, knowledge, skills and resources to the School as we continue to innovate, reach new heights and focus on student success." Martin earned Bachelor of Science, Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees from the University of Southern California, where he was a scholarship athlete in basketball. He received the Outstanding Dissertation of the Year from the USC Rossier School of Education for “A Phenomenological Study of Academically Driven African American Male Student-Athletes at Highly Selective Division I Universities.” “I look forward to making a meaningful contribution to the strategic vision and growth of the Division of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Foundations,” Martin said. “More specifically, I am grateful for the opportunity to positively impact the lives of our future leaders in the field of Higher Education Administration.” Martin became the UMKC Director of Athletics on Dec. 3, 2018. Mar 08, 2019

  • Getting an Entrepreneurial Advantage

    Alumna Vreni Fernandez's entrepreneur-focused education and volunteer work leads to museum leadership role
    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. Vreni Fernandez ’12 UMKC Major: Business Administration – MarketingCurrent job: Museum Executive Director What did you most appreciate about UMKC? The professors at Bloch were instrumental in my development as a strategic thinker and effective leader in the business world. When I was a student, there was a large focus on entrepreneurship — professors encouraged us to be creative and network with working professionals in the business community. I always keep these skills at the forefront of my mind when I am heading a new event or project. Favorite thing to do while you were a college student? I made many friends during my years at UMKC. My fondest memories are spending time with ENACTUS and Delta Sigma Pi friends at Pizza 51 after meetings and enjoying the occasional lunch at the Country Club Plaza. If you had an internship during college, how did it help prepare you for your first job? Throughout my entire academic career, I volunteered for multiple organizations. When I approached my senior year at UMKC, I began the search for a volunteer opportunity with a startup company in Kansas City. Coincidentally, the Kansas City Automotive Museum's founder had contacted one of my professors, Pamela Dobies, about a concept for a car museum in Kansas City. I have always had an appreciation for cars, and I am a proud Kansas Citian who loved the challenge of being involved with a large project from the ground up. My internship turned into a board position, which led to a hired position once we received a major donation. A year later I was offered the Executive Director position and the rest, as they say, is history.  “Don't be afraid to fail, but learn from your failures.” Best career advice you’ve received? Managing people is one of the hardest things you will do, so make sure you take care of your people. What advice do you have for students entering your field/profession? Don’t be afraid to fail, but learn from your failures. Mar 08, 2019

  • A Career in Emergency Medicine

    Alumnus Sean Mark shares his experience and advice for medical students
    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. Sean Mark ’17 UMKC major: Liberal Arts ‘16, Doctor of Medicine ‘17 Current job: Resident Physician in Emergency Medicine What did you most appreciate about UMKC? I really appreciated the opportunities I had to not only learn my profession but also to teach and to lead my peers during the process. UMKC values student leadership and I had a lot of opportunities during my educational career to be involved in and lead student groups that cultivated my passion for emergency medicine. I also was given many opportunities to tutor other students which really helped me to commit information to long-term memory. This information is what assists me in caring for patients on a daily basis. “In the ER, I feel called to help people in crisis when they are in their greatest hour of need.” Favorite thing to do on campus or in Kansas City while you were a college student? I was fortunate enough to become involved with the campus ministry group Luke18. It really helped me make lasting friendships which supported me in the tough times. One of my favorite things to do was to attend worship services and prayer meetings with my friends. We would frequently pray for our campus, the students, the professors and each other, which strengthened me in my faith. These times helped sustain me during the week. Best career advice you’ve received? Do what’s best for the patient even if other people give you flak. What advice do you have for students entering your field? Medicine is more of a calling than a career. The training is long and requires hard work and endurance. You have to find your calling in the field—something you can hold onto and believe for when times get tough. My calling is to serve the forgotten people of the world with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ, the greatest healer in history. I look to Him when I need inspiration and strength. In the ER, I feel called to help people in crisis when they are in their greatest hour of need. After a long shift or a tough patient encounter, these things are what I always come back to, and it gives me the power and love I need to continue on and care for the next patient. Mar 08, 2019

  • Balancing a Pharmacy Degree and Motherhood

    Alumna Kendra White graduates in first Springfield-based UMKC Pharmacy cohort
    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. Kendra White ‘18 UMKC major: Doctor of Pharmacy, inaugural UMKC School of Pharmacy class in Springfield, Missouri Current job: Pharmacist Why did you choose pharmacy? I had been a pharmacy technician for a long time but was limited in the health-care services I could provide to the community. I have realized what I am capable of and the impact I can have in patient lives and the healthcare field. It’s inspiring when patients compliment and thank you for your part in helping them with their pharmaceutical needs and healthcare goals. Before having kids, why was attending school in the southwest Missouri area important to you? I love this area and its landscape and outdoor activities. I also didn’t want to be far from family. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from Missouri State University. “I didn’t have to uproot my family to pursue my goals.” What did you most appreciate about UMKC? I appreciated that UMKC was open to nontraditional students. If it wasn’t for UMKC I may not have been accepted to a pharmacy school. Other schools I looked into had more strict acceptance criteria. Thanks to UMKC accepting me into their professional program I was able to prove my abilities and determination to succeed. The professors that I interacted with at the Springfield Pharmacy School campus were eager to challenge us and push us to be our best. I credit them for the skills I learned to pass my boards and the confidence I gained to practice pharmacy today. If you had an internship during college, how did it help prepare you for your first job? As an intern pharmacist I was able to perform actions above that of a pharmacy technician while at work. It prepared me by giving me experience with immunizations, patient counseling, and pharmacist responsibilities “Be confident in your abilities.” Best career advice you’ve received? The best advise I have been given is “you know this, you’ve got this.” I tell myself this often when I may lack confidence. As a pharmacist, you are thrown into a position of authority, as well as becoming a reference to patients and healthcare providers. Being confident in your ability to answer questions and interact with providers is vital in pharmacy. You have to know when and how to intervene to find, solve, and prevent medication related issues. What advice do you have for students entering your field/profession? Be confident in your abilities. Questions will come up that you don’t know the answer to. Use your resources and the schooling that you have received to confidently answer questions, support recommendations, and question orders. Don’t let questions from Patients and Providers intimidate you, they look to you as a source of information because you have the most knowledge and education when it comes to difficult medication inquiries. Approach each patient as if they were a member of your family, don’t be afraid to speak up and identify issues, because every patient deserves to have the pharmacist on their side preventing errors, providing them with the best possible pharmaceutical outcomes. Mar 08, 2019

  • Law Alumna Shares Internship and Career Advice

    Alumna Erin Kerl shares her tips for students in the legal field
    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. Erin Kerl ’16 UMKC major: Juris Doctorate Current job: Attorney What did you most appreciate about UMKC? I most appreciated the dedicated faculty and staff. I had a wonderful experience and could get help from anyone any time I needed it. Professors were always there for educational and emotional support. People in the library were more than eager to help with legal research needs. And best of all, the computer services people even brought my computer back to life! Favorite thing to do while you were a college student? My favorite thing was meeting friends for happy hours. Kansas City has so many delicious eateries and it was always wonderful to save a few dollars by meeting up when the prices were less. Plus, just sitting and enjoying my friends’ company brought down the stress levels from school. “Professors were always there for educational and emotional support.” If you had an internship during college, how did it help prepare you for your first job? During law school, I interned with both the Kansas Federal and Missouri State Public Defender offices. Both positions gave me great insight into the pre-trial and trial processes, how to carefully review case files, and how to talk with clients. I was also able to become more comfortable in courthouses before actually working in one. Best career advice you’ve received? The keys to a successful career are maintaining a positive reputation and networking with fellow attorneys to build strong relationships in the legal community. What advice do you have for students entering your field? You don’t know what you don’t know, but you can figure it out! (That’s most of lawyering.) Be honest if you don’t know the answer to a question, and ask for help if you really need it. You can always find an answer with the right set of tools! Mar 08, 2019

  • First Native American Women in Congress on What It Means Being a First

    theSkimm interviewed Rep Deb Haaland and Rep Sharice Davids, the first two Native American women elected to Congress
    Rep Sharice Davids (B.B.A. ’07) is a UMKC graduate. Watch the video Mar 08, 2019

  • Eye on the Prize

    Pre-Optometry Club sees significant growth in eyeglass drive
    This year the UMKC Pre-optometry Club collected 131 pairs of eyeglasses and 106 cases in their eyeglass drive that they will donate to the Kansas City Free Eye Clinic. This is more than double last year’s donations.  “Since we are a pre-health club, reaching out to other health related, pre-professional departments made sense, so this year we asked the different schools if we could place boxes in certain locations,” Alexis Showalter, Pre-Optometry Club president, says. “We had boxes in Miller Nichols, Grant Hall, Flarsheim, the Health Sciences Building, Biological Sciences Building and Scofield Hall.” The Pre-Optometry Society was founded by students in the School of Biological Sciences, though it is comprised of students from several academic units.   “Being in a student organization such as the Pre-Optometry Society allows students to build their professional network.” –Tammy Welchert Tammy Welchert, Ph.D., associate teaching professor and director of student affairs and academic advising in biology as well as advisor and advocate of the optometry club, suggested the broader collection and collaboration. “Although the society was pleasantly surprised by the success of the eyeglass drive last year in SBS, we realized that if one school’s faculty could donate 56 pairs of glasses, expanding the program to the university would allow even more donations,” Welchert says. “We collected nearly three times the number of eyeglasses this year!” Showalter encourages other students to get involved.  “I would definitely recommend Pre-Optometry Society to younger students, even if they've never considered optometry or think they wouldn't enjoy optometry,” Showalter says. “Our meetings really educate students about the career and all the wonderful benefits it offers. It's opened a lot of doors and opportunities for me. I've been able to volunteer at Kansas City Free Eye Clinic, I've met optometrists to shadow, and now I work as a technician at Midland Eye which has been a great experience thus far.” Welchert agrees that student organizations enhance students’ experiences at UMKC. “Being in a student organization such as the Pre-Optometry Society allows students to build their professional network,” Welchert says. “They have the opportunity to interact with student colleagues who are interested in the same career path, admission and recruiting personnel from schools they may be interested in applying to, and professionals in the community that can provide informational interviews, shadowing, and even employment opportunities.”  For more information contact Tammy Welchert at welchertt@umkc.edu. Mar 07, 2019

  • UMKC Composer Named Among Top Arts Group

    Chen Yi to be inducted into American Academy of Arts and Letters
    Chen Yi, Lorena Searcy Cravens/Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Professor of Composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Chen is one of 11 new members who will be inducted in May.  The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers and writers. Members have included Theodore Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent and Mark Twain, and currently Henry Louis Gates Jr., Maya Lin, Frank Gehry, Tony Kushner, Calvin Trillin and Joyce Carol Oates. The Academy’s 250 members are elected for life. Chen has achieved international renown as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries. The Academy honored her with the Charles Ives Living Award in 2001, intended to provide an American composer an income of $100,000 a year for two years “for the purpose of freeing a promising talent from the need to devote his or her time to any employment other than music composition.” Born in China, Chen received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Central Conservatory in Beijing, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University in New York. Chen began playing the piano at age three and the violin when she was four. “Both of my parents were medical doctors who loved classical music,” says Chen. “But my studies were interrupted during the Cultural Revolution when I was a teenager. After almost two years of hard labor in the countryside, I went back to my home city in 1970 to play the violin as the concertmaster in the orchestra for Beijing Opera performance.” She was the first woman to receive a M.A. in music composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Chen went on to serve as Composer in Residence of the Women’s Philharmonic, the vocal ensemble Chanticleer, and Aptos Creative in San Francisco, supported by the Meet The Composer’s New Residences program. At the end of her three-year residency, she became the first woman in the United States to give a whole evening of multimedia concert with her symphonic and choral works in 1996.   She has received fellowships and commissioning awards from the Guggenheim Foundation (1996), Fromm Foundation at Harvard University (1994), Koussevitzky Music Foundation at the Library of Congress (1997), and National Endowment for the Arts (1994). She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist with Si Ji for orchestra in 2006. Chen joined UMKC in 1998 and is dedicated to inspiring students. “I love working with student composers because the feedback between all of us is the more inspiring and stimulating,” says Chen.  “I have also worked closely and extensively with my UMKC colleagues and students during the past 20 years, with many new music projects and cultural exchange programs. I think that we have grown together and made a contribution to our community. I feel extremely grateful to our Conservatory for the great support given to me.” In addition to electing new members as vacancies occur, the Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country. Mar 07, 2019

  • New traffic-style signs pop up around Kansas City in UMKC campaign

    KSHB reported on the Kangaroo crossing signs that are being found all over Kansas City
    Last month the University of Missouri-Kansas City began installing 200 traffic-style signs with a picture of a kangaroo and the words “UMKC grads are everywhere.” Read more Mar 04, 2019

  • Drawing Out His Communications Gifts and Leadership Skills

    Julius Carpenter on connecting with his peers and his internship at Atlantic Records
    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.  Julius Carpenter Expected graduation date: 2019 Hometown: Kansas City, MissouriHigh School: Lincoln College Preparatory Academy High School Program: Communications Studies, emphasis in interpersonal and public relations, College of Arts and SciencesOrganizations: Nu Epsilon Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.; Men of Color; Rootopia Concert Planning Committee; student assistant at the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs Why did you choose UMKC? I transferred from KU due to finances. UMKC was close to home and affordable so it was the best choice for me. This is my home now.   How did UMKC become home for you? I was sitting outside the Multicultural Student Affairs Office one day on the third floor of the Union one day when someone saw me and invited me to come inside and meet some people. My whole world changed. The warm feeling and accepting nature of everybody just lured me in. I haven’t stopped getting involved since. Why did you choose to major in communications? I was majoring in pre-pharmacy but I wanted to do something that would really accentuate and cultivate the skills I had, so I talked to the Communications Studies advisor about switching and the rest is history!   "The UMKC communications program has inspired me to pursue my dreams fearlessly. I set a goal to work for a record company, and I landed a semester-long internship at Atlantic Records in Los Angeles."-Julius Carpenter   What are the benefits of the communications program? I’ve obtained great skills from all assets of communications from mass media to journalism. The communications department also holds a free annual internship fair for all its students. The UMKC communications program has inspired me to pursue my dreams fearlessly. I set a goal to work for a record company, and I landed a semester-long internship at Atlantic Records in Los Angeles. Tell us more about your internship for Atlantic Records. It’s in the publicity department. The internship is for school credit and I'm taking online classes to stay on track for graduation this year. I work on press releases, and tour research for various artists on the label and work on marketing projects with my fellow interns to create digital marketing plans for up-and-coming artists on the label. I've been here since the middle of January, and I love it! Time flies when you're doing what you love to do.   What has your program taught you about yourself? To be brave in my speech and to be confident in how I speak. I have anxiety, but public speaking really has helped me to manage that. It’s also helped me be a leader. The best piece of advice that I’ve ever received from my favorite public speaking professor, Michael Schaefer, is to believe in yourself even when it seems those around you don’t. What do you admire most at UMKC? What I admire most about UMKC is the diversity and inclusiveness of the faculty and staff here. UMKC has expanded my world view. I’m an ally to LGBTQ students, Latinx students and Dreamers.   Learn More About UMKC Mar 04, 2019

  • Library in Bloom

    New landscaping provides another reason to look forward to spring
    Most people have their favorite places to hang out on campus whether they’re studying or spending time catching up with friends. For a lot of people, the patio of the University Playhouse by the Miller Nichols Library is just that spot. It’s about to get even better.  Most people have their favorite places to hang out on campus whether they’re studying or spending time catching up with friends. For a lot of people, the patio of the University Playhouse by the Miller Nichols Library is just that spot. It’s about to get even better. Recently, the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation donated over $160,000 to support new landscaping around the Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center site. The foundation worked with campus management to coordinate the plan.  In addition to plantings around the base of the library building, nine white-bud trees will be planted north of the playhouse area near the entrances of the library and learning center, and two planters will be added for planting spring and fall annuals at the Playhouse patio in 2019 as part of the second phase of the project. In addition, the sloping area northwest of the Learning Center will be landscaped with plant and hardscape materials. “Well-designed exterior spaces on a campus … are just as important as classrooms in that they provide places for students to decompress and recharge.” - John Eck, associate teaching professor While improvements to labs and classrooms are important to student success, environmental design is important too. John Eck, associate teaching professor in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, and his team reinforce the importance of their students considering outdoor spaces while developing their designs, whether they are residential or commercial projects. “Environments — inside or outside— provide functional and inspirational spaces for work, life and play,” says Eck. “A college campus is probably the best and highest example of this. Well-designed exterior spaces on a campus—quads, courtyards, plazas, paths—are just as important as classrooms in that they provide places for students to decompress and recharge. I think we all know what fresh air, sunlight and vegetation do for mental health. The design and maintenance of our campus greenspaces is critical to that sense of well-being.” While landscaping may not be something of which students or visitors are consciously aware, there’s no question that these plans and plantings enhance the university as a whole.  Make a Gift to UMKC Mar 01, 2019

  • Peace in the Madness, A New Way of Looking

    KC Studio featured Kansas City Ballet’s New Moves that showcases emerging choreographers
    Gary Abbott is the most experienced participant on the roster of the Kansas City Ballet’s New Moves program. An established choreographer, he is an associate professor of modern dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance and co-founded the Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre of Chicago, 22 years ago, following his experience with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. Read the article Mar 01, 2019