September

  • Meet the 2020 UMKC Alumni Awardees

    Sixteen alumni and one family will be honored April 24, 2020
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Class of 2020 Alumni Achievement Award recipients includes a national leader in radiology, a corporate immigration attorney, a Latin Grammy award winner and the owner of Bier Station. Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes individual alumni and one family with top honors. This year's recipients will be inducted on Friday, April 24, 2020, when the Alumni Association will highlight each awardee's story and accomplishments during an evening program at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center followed by a reception. University-Wide Alumni Awardees Alumnus of the Year: Alexander Norbash (M.D. ’86) An interventional neuroradiologist, a highly technical specialty that addresses life-and-death matters with techniques requiring high precision and composure, Alexander Norbash serves as chair and professor of the Department of Radiology, associate vice chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and adjunct professor of Neurosurgery at the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego). Norbash has been instrumental in inventing and implementing new technologies which are less invasive and more effective for treating strokes and brain aneurysms. He is currently president of the Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments and president-elect of the American Roentgen Ray Society. Additionally, he’s founding chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Head Injury Institute that seeks to standardize reporting of traumatic brain injuries and has been funded by the Department of Defense. Prior to joining UC San Diego, Norbash was chairman and professor of Radiology and assistant dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at Boston University. Spotlight Award: Mark McHenry (M.P.A. ’89) Mark McHenry retired as director of the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Parks and Recreation Department at the end of 2018 but the accomplishments from his 44-year career there — including adding 34 parks, six community centers and doubling the size of the Kansas City Zoo — will endure for generations to come. McHenry’s leadership was evident not only in the region, but on a national scale as well. A member of the National Recreation and Parks Association since 1984, he was inducted into the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in 2004 and served as president of the board in 2018. A perennial ambassador for UMKC, McHenry has lent his expertise to the university as a member of the Department of Public Affairs Advisory Council and helping to develop the executive master’s of public administration program. He recently joined landscape architecture and planning design firm Ochsner Hare & Hare, the Olsson Studio, to help with local and regional business development. This summer, he was appointed to the Missouri Conservation Commission by Gov. Mike Parson for a six-year term. The Bill French Alumni Service Award: James Polsinelli (J.D. ’67, H.D. ’13) Since starting a law firm in 1972 with two fellow UMKC alumni, James Polsinelli’s name has become synonymous with legal services in Kansas City. His trademark integrity, entrepreneurial spirit and adaptability have made his firm one of the city’s largest. In addition to a successful, 51-year legal career, Polsinelli is known for his ardent and longstanding support of UMKC and the Kansas City community. He currently serves as chair of the UMKC Board of Trustees and as a director on the UMKC Foundation Board. He supports the university’s students by sponsoring receptions at his firm, advocating for the university in Jefferson City and, in 2018, he co-chaired the UMKC Alumni Awards event that raises money for student scholarships. A hallmark trait of Polisnelli’s style is his ability to inspire others and empower them to act — whether he’s passing on his excitement for service or mentoring a new generation of lawyers. His passion for giving back to the community extends beyond UMKC and includes work with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, Rockhurst High School and the Kansas City Bar Association. Defying the Odds Award: Hagos Andebrhan (B.S.C.E. ’78) From a one-room household in Eritrea, a country in eastern Africa, to CEO of Taliaferro & Browne, a lead civil engineering firm in Kansas City, Hagos Andebrhan’s hard work and dedication have earned him success in the United States. The youngest of five children, Andebrhan came to the U.S. in 1970 to join an advanced airline pilot training program in Kansas City but ended up meeting his mentor and the founder of Taliaferro & Browne, Will Taliaferro, and changing careers. While completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and doctoral candidacy in civil engineering, Andebrhan worked full-time as a draftsman at Taliaferro & Browne as well as supporting his wife and children and family back in Eritrea. After Will Taliaferro’s death in 1990, Andebrhan and Leonard Graham, a fellow UMKC alumnus, purchased the company. Since then the company has grown to nearly 60 employees and has worked on numerous projects in Kansas City, including Berkley Riverfront Park, Science City in Union Station and the Kansas City Power and Light District. Legacy Award: The Edelman Family The Edelman Family’s UMKC legacy begins when 12-year-old Doris Tager fled Nazi Germany in 1938. Sponsored by members of the local Jewish community, her family traveled to the Netherlands and Cuba before arriving in Kansas City. She’d go on to attend the University of Kansas City (now UMKC) and graduate in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and economics. That same year, Doris met her husband William Edelman, a fellow Roo who would graduate in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Doris had a successful career as a stockbroker and was the first female vice president and partner of B.C. Christopher and Company where she worked for more than 20 years. William served patients in the heart of Kansas City as a family physician for more than 50 years before retiring in 2001. Their oldest son, Mark (J.D. ’75), founded the Theater League, Inc., a not-for-profit community-based performing arts organization that presented the best of Broadway to Kansas City audiences for forty-two years. Youngest son Ron (J.D. ’82) opened one of the region’s most successful law practices — Edelman and Thompson — with James Thompson in 1994. Middle son Alan and his wife Debbie Sosland-Edelman, great supporters of UMKC, also connect with the university through their son Alexander (J.D. ’12). He started his own firm with two other UMKC alumni and was recognized by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of the “40 Best Attorneys Under 40.” School Alumni Achievement Award Recipients College of Arts and Sciences: John Couture (B.A. ’95) Owner/Operator, Bier Station School of Biological and Chemical Sciences: Carl Hoff (Ph.D. ’77) Professor of Chemistry, University of Miami Henry W. Bloch School of Management: Heather Humphrey (MBA ’11) Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Evergy School of Computing and Engineering: Bonnie Gorman (B.S.M.E. ’86) Director, Programs, Northrop Grumman Conservatory: Andrés Salguero (G.R.C.T. ’11, D.M.A. ’11) President/Teaching Artist, 123 Andrés School of Dentistry: Nick Rogers (D.D.S. ’78) Dentist, Rogers Family Dentistry School of Dentistry – Dental Hygiene: Cindy Sensabaugh (M.S. ’15) Senior Manager, Professional Education & Academic Relations, Philips School of Education: Mary Delac (M.A. ’98) Principal, Our Lady of Hope Catholic School School of Law: Mira Mdivani (J.D. ’99) Business Immigration Attorney, Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm School of Medicine: Kevin Blinder (M.D. ’85) Partner, The Retina Institute School of Nursing and Health Studies: Theresa Maxwell (M.S.N. ’01) Nurse Practitioner, Office Manager, Digestive Health Specialists School of Pharmacy: Jerry Bauman (Pharm.D. ’77) Editor, Pharmacotherapy Publications; Retired from University of Illinois at Chicago Sep 30, 2019

  • KCUR Reports on NextGen Precision Health Initiative

    UMKC has significant role to play in University of Missouri president Mun Choi's bold initiative
    KCUR's Up to Date hosted President Choi to discuss his ambitious NextGen Precision Health Intiative designed to push all four University of Missouri system campuses into the forefront of health care advances. UMKC's role will be to develop a center for excellence in data analytics.  Sep 30, 2019

  • Three Questions with Matt Ramsey of the Blue Man Group

    The UMKC Theatre alumnus reflects on his nearly 20 years in blue
    Matt Ramsey (M.F.A. '00) was hired as a Blue Man fresh out of grad school. What he expected to be a year-long stint has become a "bona-fide career." The internationally recognized Blue Man Group has entertained more than 35 million people in 25 countries with their unique performances that incorporate drums, paint and marshmallows. Ramsey recently spoke to us about his time in the group. What was the training like to become a Blue Man? It’s generally about a three-month process in which we teach the blocking, the music, and most importantly the acting. The last part is the hardest thing to learn: how the character thinks and behaves. For me, training to be a Blue Man was like an extension of graduate school. It’s a performance style that requires a mental and physical discipline that I was well prepared for after UMKC. The most bizarre part of training was practicing catching marshmallows in my mouth. Every day for three months. What are some of the most interesting things you've gotten to do with the group? I’ve had so many incredible experiences: throwing out the first pitch for the Chicago Cubs, performing on the Tonight Show and performing at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. I’ve performed with The Roots, Neil Patrick Harris, Shaquille O’Neill, and this summer I was at a Mets game at Citi Field throwing t-shirts into the crowd with Mr. Met. Also, it’s me on the cover of the Blue Man Group album called Three. I think the most surreal moment was being an answer in Jeopardy. I was named in a question about Blue Man Group, to hear Alex Trebek say “Matt Ramsey” on Jeopardy was amazing! Ramsey in costume, left, before throwing t-shirts out at a New York Mets game and helping other Blue Men during a photoshoot, he's pictured out of costume top left. What keeps you coming back to being a Blue Man? I’m often asked if I get tired of doing the same show. There have been times, naturally, when I can’t believe I have to put on blue greasepaint again. But it’s not long before I’m reminded again how special it is to perform this character. The level of listening, commitment, and focus required to connect with a theater full of strangers without saying a word is an incredible feeling. It’s why I’ve stayed for this long- the connection on stage between the three Blue Men is something I’ve rarely experienced in other shows. It’s very satisfying. Sep 27, 2019

  • UMKC Theatre Presents 2019-20 Productions

    New season features exceptional talent, quality shows
    Rehearsals are underway for the first production of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Theatre 2019-20 season with “An Italian Straw Hat” on Oct. 18. “For decades, UMKC Theatre has been enriching the Kansas City theatre scene by providing actors, dramaturgs, costume designers, stage managers, production managers, sound designers and more,” said Kenneth Martin, UMKC Theatre chair and Patricia McIlrath Endowed Professor of Theatre. “We’re proud to continue that tradition with a strong first production, ‘An Italian Straw Hat.’ ” The Productions An Italian Straw Hat Oct. 18 through Oct. 27 in Spencer Theatre This is an undergraduate and graduate production by Eugène Labiche and Marc-Michel, and newly translated by Felica Londré, Ph.D., Curators’ Distinguished Professor. The show is directed by Ian Crawford, associate artistic director at Unicorn Theatre. Groom-to-be Fadinard gallops all over Paris on his wedding day in search of a straw hat to replace one his horse has inadvertently eaten. Followed in hot pursuit by his fiancée, her blustering father and a giant wedding party of her country relatives, Fadinard makes his way through increasingly ridiculous situations to try to save his big day. In a new translation by Londré, with a contemporary pop music score, this hysterical French farce is not to be missed. Tickets are $12 each. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the UMKC Central Ticket Office. Discovery Project Oct. 18 through Oct. 21 in Studio 116 of the Olson Performing Arts Center The Discovery Project is an opportunity for first-year MFA acting and design students to deepen and express the discoveries they are making in their first few months of training. It is a personal and creative lab. This production is free. Tickets are not required. Fall Intensive Nov. 14 through Nov. 18 in Room 105 of Grant Hall This is an undergraduate production directed by Heidi Van, producing artistic director at Fishtank Theatre. Annually, Fishtank Theatre works with UMKC undergraduate theatre students on a production that fuses form and idea in a devised piece based on the students’ themed class work. This production is free. Tickets are not required. The Moors Nov. 29 through Dec. 8 in Studio 116 of Olson Performing Arts Center This is a graduate production by Jen Silverman and directed by Kim Martin-Cotten. Two sisters and a dog live out their lives on the bleak English moors, and dream of love and power. The arrival of a hapless governess and a moor-hen set all three on a strange and dangerous path. “The Moors” is a dark comedy about love, desperation and visibility. Tickets are $12 each. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the UMKC Central Ticket Office. White Rose: We Defied Hitler Jan. 24, 2020, through Feb. 9, 2020, at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Ave., Suite 144 This is a graduate co-production with Coterie Theatre by David Meyers, and directed by Jeff Church and Markus Potter. Based on real events, “White Rose: We Defied Hitler” is a challenging new work that examines the role of ordinary people in extraordinary times. This gripping and intriguing play tells the true story of Sophie Scholl, a German college student who led one of the major acts of public resistance to the Nazis during the Second World War. The play contains little-known facts about Sophie, her brother Hans, and the civil disobedience of the White Rose movement in Nazi Germany. Scholl’s moral strength is tested while being interrogated for her crimes, leading her to question whether to save her own life or continue her righteous crusade. Tickets start at $15 each. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Coterie Theatre. Blood Wedding March 6 through March 15 in Studio 116 of Olson Performing Arts Center This is an undergraduate production by Federico García Lorca and directed by Vanessa Severo. Two families in semi-mythical rural Spain are intricately bound in an unbreakable cycle of murder and revenge. The death-bound love triangle at the center of the play fuels these passions to a fever pitch and propels the story to its unstoppable tragic conclusion. An arranged country marriage between the children of rich landowners is about to take place. A past lover, himself in a loveless marriage, cannot allow the wedding to take place and spirits the bride away, who goes with him willingly on her wedding night. An entire town goes after the lovers in the middle of the night where pursuers and pursued plunge into a realm of deep darkness where the moonlight is not friendly and the forest not shelter enough. Tickets start at $12 each. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the UMKC Central Ticket Office. Playwright Showcase April 16 through April 20 in Room 105 of Grant Hall This is an undergraduate production. Playwrights and directors will be announced later. The show includes staged premieres by UMKC Theatre undergraduate, graduate and alumni playwrights performed by undergraduate actors. This production is free. Tickets are not required. Divided April 24 through May 3 in Studio 116 of Olson Performing Arts Center This is a graduate production and devised production about what sets Americans apart and what brings us together. It is co-created by Stephanie Roberts, associate professor of Physical Theatre; and the second year MFA Acting Ensemble. How do we cope in an increasingly divided nation? Where do we turn when the growing schisms within politics, race, gender, sexuality, religion and class have become part of our daily lives? Using physical theatre, interviews, music, comedy and personal storytelling, the second-year MFA acting students take on these questions to discover how looking at America’s divisions can ultimately bring us together. Tickets start at $12 each. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact the UMKC Central Ticket Office. About UMKC Theatre The UMKC Theatre program offers students intensive, hands-on experience for all aspects of theatre production. The department has an established tradition of working with local theatres so that its actors, designers and stage managers may benefit from working alongside local and national professionals. UMKC partners with the Unicorn Theatre, The Coterie, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Actors Theatre and Fishtank Performance Studio, granting students the unique opportunity to establish relationships and build their professional career while earning their degree. Sep 26, 2019

  • UMKC Political Science Professor Breaks Down Impeachment Process

    KCTV interviews Benjamin Woodson
    Woodson outlines the possible next steps in the Trump impeachment inquiry. Sep 25, 2019

  • Alumnus Acting in Starlight Production

    KCTV5 interviews alumnus Daniel Beeman
    Daniel Beeman discusses playing Cornelius in a touring production of the iconic Broadway musical, "Hello, Dolly!" at Starlight Theatre. Sep 25, 2019

  • Emeritus Professor Discusses Navy Suicides

    MedPage Today investigates cause of recent suicides on USS George H.W. Bush
    Charles Van Way III, M.D., U.S. Army Reserve Medical Command and emeritus professor of surgery at UMKC answers questions about the increase and military suicide prevention. Sep 25, 2019

  • Theatre Production Named Must See

    Round up of most anticipated shows this year includes UMKC Theatre co-production
    In a national round up of most-anticipated productions by American Theatre, Jay Mcadams, executive director, 24th Street Theatre, Los Angeles, mentions the Coterie Theatre's co-production with the UMKC Theatre of The White Rose: We Defied Hitler by David Meyers, directed by Jeff Church. Sep 24, 2019

  • Hot Flashes Are More Than Annoying

    Healthline reports that research shows hot flashes could be a signal of higher risk of heart disease
    A new study from the University of Pittsburgh finds that frequent or persistent hot flashes could be a sign that a woman is at higher risk for heart attach or stroke. "Unfortunately, before now, there's not been a lot of studies of large numbers of women to really confirm what we know or what we don't know," said Tracy Stevens, cardiologist with Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute and a professor of medicine at UMKC. The study will be presented at the North American Menopause Society. Sep 24, 2019

  • School of Computing and Engineering Receives $1 Million Grant to Help Transfer Students

    Transfer students will receive scholarships to replace off-campus work with paid undergraduate research opportunities
    On average, more than 80% of civil and mechanical engineering students at UMKC attend school while working. While that doesn’t seem so odd given the ever-increasing cost of higher education, trying to work and make ends meet can often stifle academic excellence. A team of faculty from the Schools of Computing and Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences, and School of Education, led by Darran Cairns, Ph.D., School of Computing and Engineering director of program operations, recently received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to break this cycle and increase bachelor’s-degree completion rates among engineering transfer students. Through a new program partnership with Metropolitan Community College, transfer students studying civil and mechanical engineering can follow an enrollment pathway into the School of Computing and Engineering and — rather than having to worry about a full-time job — receive a stipend to cover their expenses while working on undergraduate research and gaining more experience in their field of study. The team, which includes Michelle Maher, Ph.D., chair of educational leadership, policy and foundations at the School of Education and Jacob Marszalek, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and research fellow in the UMKC Urban Education Research Center, worked collaboratively to design a program that would have maximum impact for the students it aims to serve – primarily students from disadvantaged backgrounds. “We wanted to develop a holistic approach to create a culture of openness, curiosity and collaboration,” Cairns said. “Transfer students have a harder time fitting in because they're not freshmen and they also didn't come in with their peers, so they don't always feel empowered to get involved and lead.”-Michelle Maher, chair of educational leadership, policy and foundations; School of Education This new program will work to change that narrative by helping students free up more time to get involved in campus life and offering both peer and professional mentorship to get them through to graduation and into the workforce. “We’re paying students to get richer experiences.”- John Kevern, Ph.D., chair of civil and mechanical engineering, School of Computing and Engineering Of the $1 million grant, the majority will go toward student scholarships and provide students opportunities to perform research focused on improving urban infrastructure. The team is working with the city of Kansas City and local companies to identify livable city projects ranging from sidewalk repair to designing material for cool pavements to urban agriculture. “Our goals for this project are to increase the number of transfers from MCC and also track their journey – what gets them to come and what gets them to stay,” Marszalek said. The program will start in the fall with 24 students – eight first-year Metropolitan Community College students, eight second-year MCC students and eight first-year UMKC transfer students. The program also will impact Kansas City Public Schools, where the School of Computing and Engineering recently established a math academy for high school juniors and seniors taking classes in pre-engineering at Manual Career and Technology Center, with support from the Bloch Family Foundation. The center is using growth-mindset models to help students develop their abilities to persist with challenging math classes and overcome widely held preconceptions about who can and who can’t do well in math. Seniors from Kansas City Public Schools will be eligible to be part of the first cohort of students at the program in fall 2020. “This program essentially creates a support that travels with students from public school to college graduation,” Cairns said. “We also want them to be able to pay it forward and become peer mentors.” As part of the program, the department of civil and mechanical engineering will develop new courses and alter existing ones to maximize the impact on students. The program also helps to diversify the engineering field. As students get closer to graduation, they’ll be encouraged to apply for National Science Foundation fellowships that will help pay for graduate school as the NSF wants to see more students from underrepresented groups obtain graduate engineering degrees. “This grant speaks to the needs of Kansas City and the mission of UMKC to go above and beyond for our students,” Maher said. The team is also working with the director of engineering at Metropolitan Community College to identify students for consideration. Details on how to apply are still to come. Scholarship awards will be announced during the spring 2020 semester. Explore More Scholarship Opportunities Sep 23, 2019

  • Is KC Still a Good Home Base for Artists?

    KCUR hosts area artists to discuss Kansas City's art climate
    KCUR hosted Davin Watne, artist and curator, UMKC Gallery of Art, Patricia Bordallo Dilbadox, artist, Front Space and Brandon Frederick, artist, Open House, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of living and working in Kansas City today. Sep 23, 2019

  • Celebrating Faculty for Excellence in Teaching and Research

    Kansas City mayor joined in night of recognition
    Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas’ speech synopsis: Great UMKC faculty make Kansas City great. UMKC Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer and UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal led the celebration. “Our faculty work day in and day out creating a culture of care for our students, teaching and guiding them toward academic excellence,” Bichelmeyer said. “At the same time, faculty are publishing breakthrough research and award-winning creative works, and striving to achieve promotion and tenure. Most importantly, faculty challenge our students every day to maximize their full potential and reach their goals. UMKC faculty are a key reason why UMKC is the university it is today.” Among the evening’s honorees: Curators' and Governor's Awards New Curators’ Distinguished Professors in 2019 A curators’ distinguished professorship is the highest and most prestigious academic rank awarded by the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri. Virginia Blanton, College of Arts and Sciences, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English Language and Literature Kun Cheng, School of Pharmacy, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Pharmacy Jane Greer, College of Arts and Sciences, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English Language and Literature Jeffery Hornsby, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Global Entrepreneurship Joe Parisi, Conservatory, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Conducting/Music Education New Curators’ Distinguished Professors Emeriti in 2019 A curators’ distinguished professorship is the highest and most prestigious academic rank awarded by the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri. Joan FitzPatrick Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of English Emerita Dennis Merrill, College of Arts and Sciences, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of History Emeritus Wai-Yim Ching, College of Arts and Sciences, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Physics Emeritus Max J. Skidmore, College of Arts and Sciences, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Political Science Emeritus Felicia H. Londre, Conservatory, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Theatre Emerita Jerry R. Dias, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Emeritus Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching is presented to an outstanding faculty member from each participating higher education institution in the state based on evidence of effective teaching, effective advising, a commitment to high standards of excellence and success in nurturing student achievement. Kym Bennett, College of Arts and Sciences, associate professor, psychology Service and Engagement Awards Chancellor’s Award for Career Contributions to the University One of the highest honors for a UMKC empoloyee (faculty or staff) who has made significant contributions to higher education at UMKC over the course of his or her career and has significantly enhanced the mission of the university. Max Skidmore, College of Arts and Sciences, professor, political science Chancellor’s Award for Embracing Diversity This award recognizes and celebrates UMKC faculty, staff and registered student organizations that embrace diversity by celebrating diversity in all aspects of university life, creating inclusive environments, culturally competent citizens and globally-oriented curricula and programs. Sandy Rodriguez, University Libraries, assistant dean of special collections and archives Omiunota Ukpokodu, School of Education, professor, teacher education and curriculum studies  Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement This award recognizes and celebrates faculty, staff, units and campus organizations that have made engagement with the community a central aspect of their approach to student learning and scholarship. Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences  UM System Awards Presidential Engagement Fellows Named by the UM System president, the fellows are tasked with fulfilling the university’s land-grant mission by sharing research discoveries with Missouri citizens in every county. They were selected for their excellent teaching, breakthrough research and creative achievements. Jannette Berkley-Patton, School of Medicine, professor, biomedical and health informatics Barbara Pahud, School of Medicine, assistant professor, pediatric medicine Gerald Wyckoff, School of Pharmacy, professor, pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences  Teaching Awards Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching This award recognizes and celebrates UMKC assistant professors who have achieved excellence in teaching early in their professional careers. Rebecca Best, College of Arts and Sciences, assistant professor, political science Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching The university’s highest honor for excellence in teaching recognizes and celebrates UMKC faculty who are consistently superior teachers at the graduate, undergraduate or professional level over an extended period of time. Michael Wei, School of Education, associate professor, teacher education and curriculum studies Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching This award recognizes and celebrates teaching excellence among UMKC clinical and teaching faculty James Benevides, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, teaching professor in cell biology and biophysics Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring This award recognizes UMKC graduate faculty advisors with a long-established career at the university who have made significant contributions to higher education through exceptional mentoring. Loyce Caruthers, School of Education, professor, educational leadership, policy and foundations Elmore F. Pierson Good Teaching Awards Awarded annually to outstanding teachers in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, and the Schools of Dentistry, Law and Medicine. Roozmehr Safi, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, assistant professor, management Michaelle Tobin, School of Law, associate clinical professor Amgad Gerges Masoud, School of Medicine, associate professor, internal medicine Tanya Villalpando Mitchell, School of Dentistry, professor, dental hygiene Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers, Scholars and Artists Fenpeng Sun, College of Arts and Sciences, assistant professor, earth and environmental sciences Research and Creativity Awards  N.T. Veatch Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Recognizes distinguished research and other scholarly or creative activity accomplished by UMKC faculty. Kun Cheng, School of Pharmacy, Curators’ Distinguished Professor, pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences Trustees’ Faculty Fellows Award Trustees are recognizing the very best faculty who distinguished themselves through scholarship and creativity. Jeffrey Price, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, professor, biology and biophysics Trustees’ Faculty Scholar Award Recognizes faculty members who show exceptional promise for outstanding future research and/or creative accomplishments. Benjamin Woodson, College of Arts and Sciences, associate professor, political science Promotion and Tenure Eduardo Abreu, School of Nursing and Health Studies, tenure with promotion to associate professor Carolyn Barber, School of Education, promotion to professor Jannette Berkley-Patton, School of Medicine, promotion to professor An-Lin Cheng, School of Medicine, promotion to professor Masud Chowdhury, School of Computing and Engineering, promotion to professor Reza Derakhshani, School of Computing and Engineering, promotion to professor Travis Fields, School of Computing and Engineering, tenure with promotion to associate professor Scott Fullwiler, College of Arts and Sciences, tenure with promotion to associate professor Orisa Igwe, School of Pharmacy, promotion to professor Jeff Johnson, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, tenure with promotion to associate professor John Kevern, School of Computing and Engineering, promotion to professor Sungyop Kim, College of Arts and Sciences, promotion to professor JeJung Lee, College of Arts and Sciences, promotion to professor Debra Leiter, College of Arts and Sciences, tenure with promotion to associate professor Zhu Li, School of Computing and Engineering, tenure Jennifer Owens, College of Arts and Sciences, tenure with promotion to associate professor Tammie Schaefer, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, tenure with promotion to associate professor Zach Shemon, Conservatory, tenure with promotion to associate professor Hye Young Shin, College of Arts and Sciences, tenure with promotion to associate professor Michelle Smirnova, College of Arts and Sciences, tenure with promotion to associate professor Kim Smolderen, School of Medicine, tenure with promotion to associate professor Massimiliano Vitiello, College of Arts and Sciences, promotion to professor Ben Woodson, College of Arts and Sciences, tenure with promotion to associate professor Promotion, Non-Tenure Track John Ball, School of Dentistry, promotion to clinical professor Kylie Barnes, School of Pharmacy, promotion to clinical associate professor James Benevides, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, promotion to teaching professor Scott Curtis, UMKC Libraries, promotion to librarian IV Kenneth Frick, School of Dentistry, promotion to clinical professor Monica Gaddis, School of Medicine, promotion to associate teaching professor Melanie Guthrie, School of Medicine, promotion to associate teaching professor Tamas Kapros, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, promotion to teaching professor Floyd Likins, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, promotion to assistant teaching professor Angellar Manguvo, School of Medicine, promotion to associate teaching professor Steven Melling, College of Arts and Sciences, promotion to associate teaching professor Dhananjay Pal, School of Pharmacy, promotion to research professor Natalia Rivera, Conservatory, promotion to associate teaching professor Amanda Stahnke, School of Pharmacy, promotion to clinical associate professor Yesim Tunkuc, School of Dentistry, promotion to clinical professor Henrietta Rix Wood, Honors College, promotion to teaching professor Sep 20, 2019

  • Why I Put Myself in Their Shoes

    Students take a stand against sexual assault and violence at annual Walk-A-Mile event
    A large crowd in high heels and sleek flats joined forces with the UMKC Women’s Center to raise awareness of sexual assault and violence. Walk-A-Mile in Her Shoes is an annual internationally coordinated event that invites participants to understand and appreciate women’s experiences in order to help change perspectives, improve relationships and decrease the potential for violence.    Bearing brightly colored signs and stepping out in leather pumps, many of the participants shared with each other the reasons why they march. Here is what a few of them said: “I love walking in heels. I’ve seen women in my life go through sexual assault. I want to support all the women in my life.” — Andrew Schappe, freshman, theatre performance “I’m walking to support women. They tell me their stories and anything we can do to help, I want to.” — Angel Rojas, senior biology, member of Sigma Phi Epsilon “It’s important as a fraternity member. We want to continue to show up and let people know you’re not too manly to walk. It’s a good cause.”— Nicholas Arriagoda, junior, business administration, member of Sigma Phi Epsilon “We always come out and show support. It’s important to show women as equals.”— Marissa Iden, junior, political science “I walk with my fraternity and friends. I feel like women’s rights are not talked about in society and needs to be fixed.”— Evan Stoner, freshman, accounting Helpful Resources If you or someone you know has experienced relationship violence, UMKC has several resources to help you. Here are some of the best places to start. UMKC Women’s Center advocates, educates, and provides support services for the advancement of women’s equity on campus and within the community. In addition to helpful resources, they host several events on campus throughout the year. The Office of Violence Prevention and Response has several resources on their website, like how to help a friend, how to get help for yourself and many other resources at UMKC and in the community. If you are dealing with sexual assault or harassment, the Title IX Office can help you get the support that you need. In addition, UMKC has made Not Anymore online training free and available to students so you can learn how to be proactive in preventing interpersonal violence in our community.  Sep 20, 2019

  • Spotlight on Jill Meyer of UMKC Innovation Center

    Kansas City Business Journal and Startland News profile Meyer, senior director of technology ventures
    The Kansas City Business Journal and Startland News profiled Jill Meyer, newly promoted senior director of technology ventures for the UMKC Innovation Center.  Meyer will lead the center's early-venture initiatives. Sep 20, 2019

  • Donating Our Mental-Health Expertise to Aid Venezuelan Refugees

    UMKC faculty and staff work together to help refugees make transition to Colombia
    Fewer human experiences can be more traumatizing than being a refugee in a foreign country. A team at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies is easing some of that trauma through its expertise. Alex Azar, U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services, asked the Collaborative to Advance Health Services at UMKC to create training modules for first responders in Colombia to help Venezuelan refugees. This will help Venezuelans fleeing that nation’s ongoing economic crisis to get the mental-health assistance they need. The Collaborative oversees numerous federal grants and is home to several national-based centers that implement evidence-based clinical practices into substance use and mental health treatment. “We felt compelled and passionate to do this,” said Laurie Krom, program director of the Collaborative. “We wanted to help in any way we could.” “I have family members who live in the area so I know how difficult the situation is,” said team member Susan Garrett, assistant teaching professor at the School of Nursing and Health Studies, who has an aunt who worked for the Honduran embassy in Venezuela. “People are leaving their homes with only the clothes on their backs to walk to Colombia. We can’t even imagine what people are going through.” “We wanted to help in any way we could.” — Laurie Krom Because of the urgency, producing these training modules meant a quick turnaround time. The Collective delivered the scope of the project in just five weeks, a task which often takes a half year to do. And it was a volunteer project. Krom, Garrett and the rest of the team used nights and weekends of their personal time this summer to complete it. They collaborated with others from the Universidad Central del Caribe and National Latino Behavioral Health Association on expertise, translation and other tasks. The UMKC team, which also included the Collaborative’s associate project director Erin Hobbs and web developer Eric Barr, concentrated on the overall migration process in creating the four, 45-minute training modules translated in both Spanish and Portuguese. “People are leaving their homes with only the clothes on their backs to walk to Colombia. We can’t even imagine what people are going through.”— Susan Garrett The modules focus on what trauma means for different groups: men, women and children. One of the modules focuses on secondary trauma experienced by the workers at the border. “They’re suffering ‘compassion fatigue’ because they’re dealing with a lot themselves,” Krom said. The modules were delivered a few weeks ago to Colombia — and welcomed as much-needed mental-health assistance. “I really hope everyone knows how much you are appreciated for doing this on your own time,” said Pierluigi Mancini, project director of the National Latino Behavioral Health Association who traveled with Azar and other U.S. health officials to Colombia to help implement the project. “I wish I could have bottled the gratitude people expressed so I can share it with you — please know many people are grateful.” Sep 19, 2019

  • Professor Provides Perspective on Immunization Case

    Kansas City Star article on a recent case concerning an unvaccinated child features UMKC law professor, Ann Marie Marciarille
    UMKC Law professor, Ann Marie Marciarille clarifies exemptions and complexities of mandatory vaccinations in what she refers to as the "vaccine wars." Sep 19, 2019

  • UMKC Recognized for Excellence in Diversity

    Outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion brings national recognition
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City has received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest publication focused on diversity and inclusion in higher education. Each year INSIGHT Into Diversity evaluates universities’ practices relating to recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff.  The process also considers the universities’ leadership commitment and program support.  UMKC embraces a broad spectrum of diversities including race, ethnicity, culture, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, linguistic ability, learning style, religion, socioeconomic and veteran status, life experiences, educational level and family structure. “We are thrilled to be recognized for outstanding work in creating an inclusive environment for our students, faculty and staff.”—Susan Wilson Susan Wilson, Ph.D., vice chancellor of the division of diversity and inclusion, leads the university’s diversity organizational development strategy. “We are thrilled to be recognized for outstanding work in creating an inclusive environment for our students, faculty and staff,” Wilson said. “This award is even more special as we remember how far we have come as an institution. This accomplishment is truly a team effort, as many across campus worked with the Division of Diversity and Inclusion to reach this milestone.” The HEED Award and the Health Professions HEED Award are the only national awards that honor individual institutions for being outstanding examples of colleges, universities or health professions schools that are committed to making diversity and inclusion a top priority across their campuses. “The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.” UMKC will be featured along with the other 92 recipients in the November 2019 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. It was the only college in Missouri to receive the recognition. The UMKC School of Medicine received a HEED award in 2018 and the School of Dentistry received the award in 2016. Sep 18, 2019

  • Assistant U.S. Education Secretary Visits UMKC Student Success Programs

    Johnny Collett comes from Washington for first-hand look at Propel and International Center for Supplemental Instruction
    UMKC has been a pioneer in development of highly effective programs that promote success for a wide variety of students. A top education official visited campus to get a close-up look at two of them.  Mauli Agrawal and Johnny Collett sat in a meeting room at the University of Missouri-Kansas City to discuss the focus on student success that is becoming pervasive in American higher education. They agreed that the “sink or swim” attitude that held sway for generations is no longer workable; the nation’s skilled workforce needs are too great to allow universities to stand by and watch capable students fail. Agrawal is the chancellor of UMKC; Collett is the assistant U.S. secretary of education. They met after Collett toured two highly successful programs at UMKC: Propel, a certificate-granting transition program for young adults with intellectual developmental disabilities; and the International Center for Supplemental Instruction, a student peer-driven program based on out-of-class group study sessions, developed at UMKC in the 1970s. A recent study by Civitas Learning included Supplemental Instruction, founded by UMKC, among the top five student-success programs nationwide out of almost 1,000 reviewed. Agrawal compared the modern approach – research-driven student success programs designed to provide individualize support for students to reach their full potential – to the practice of genetically individualized medicine. “We all have an academic DNA as well,” Agrawal said. “Your educational needs will be different than mine.” Collett nodded in agreement, adding that his federal department is dedicated to success for all students. “When we say all, we really mean all. And all has to mean each,” Collett said. Collett began his campus visit with a tour of the Propel program; he was accompanied by Gerren McHam, special assistant for external relations for the Missouri Department of Higher Education. They were greeted by John Herron, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Alexis Petri, associate research professor of psychology, who directs the Propel program. Many of the 46 students currently enrolled in Propel live in on-campus student housing. Petri said they take 60 to 70 percent of their credits in standard classes with traditional degree-seeking students; 60 percent of the Propel students are eligible for Pell low-income tuition grants. Herron said having Propel students immersed in the mix of the general student body is a teaching opportunity for all students, and campus visitors as well. “We’re sending a message about what kind of place this is – a message about what we care about and what we value,” Herron said. Collett asked about concerns of parents about their students succeeding in the college environment. “Parents need to understand that this is a safe space for their student to bump into challenges, a place where we have support systems in place to help them meet those challenges,” Petri said. The tour then moved from Cherry Hall, home of the Propel program, to the Atterbury Student Success Center, where the International Center for Supplemental Instruction (SI) is housed. Julie A. Collins, Ed.D., executive director of the center, led that tour. Collins explained that SI is targeted to “high-risk” courses – courses necessary for graduation that have a historically high failure rate. Undergraduate students who have previously passed the course are hired to be peer coaches who lead small-group out-of-class study sessions focused on the hurdles individual students are facing.  A recent study by Civitas Learning included SI among the top five student-success programs nationwide out of almost 1,000 reviewed. Following the meeting with Agrawal and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Collett announced that the Department of Education had just released new guidelines on the use of federal funds for higher education programs for young people with disabilities. Collett said the department wanted to clear up confusion by stating that vocational rehabilitation and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds can be used to support dual enrollment, comprehensive transition and other postsecondary education programs for students and youth with disabilities. Sep 18, 2019

  • Poll Predicts Surprising Results in Kansas Race

    KCTV reports on a leaked poll that predicts GOP loss if Kris Kobach is the nominee
    UMKC political science professor, Greg Vonnahme, says that numbers reflected in a leaked poll are consistent with the results from 2018 when Kobach unsuccessfully ran for govenor.  Sep 18, 2019

  • 3 New Ways UMKC and Metropolitan Community College Are Getting Students A Degree

    Partnership to provide affordable and accessible opportunities for Kansas Citians to succeed
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City and Metropolitan Community College are joining forces to create new opportunities for Kansas City area students for an affordable, accessible and successful college education. RooMentum is a series of programs designed to increase opportunities for student access to success in higher education in the Kansas City metro. Students who enroll in RooMentum will begin their studies at MCC but will have a dual enrollment in both institutions. The students will have access to student and academic support services at both UMKC and MCC, including libraries and financial aid. Academic advisors at each institution will work in tandem to co-advise students in the RooMentum programs. Chancellors Mauli Agrawal of UMKC and Kimberly Beatty of MCC signed a memorandum of understanding Sept. 17 that set up the RooMentum programs, and clarified transfer policies and procedures to assist students in making a seamless transition when transferring from one institution to the other. RooMentum will launch with three programs: 1. RooMentum “On Track” Program (Starting Fall 2019) is designed for first-time, full-time college students who may not qualify for direct admission into UMKC. This program will provide students an opportunity to explore academic and career interests, improve academic preparation and develop key academic strategies to enhance their success. Once students complete the prescribed RooMentum On Track curriculum at MCC, they will automatically be admitted to UMKC. 2. RooMentum “Pathways” Program (Starting Spring 2020) allows students to take advantage of dual enrollment and creates transfer pathways that promote successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in as few total credit hours as possible. Pathways allows earlier connection with major-specific opportunities at UMKC and eases transition to upper-level course rigor. 3. Bachelor of Applied Science (Targeted for approval in Spring 2021 and implementation in Fall 2021) – students will simultaneously work toward an Associate of Applied Science at MCC and a Bachelor of Applied Science at UMKC. The program provides an opportunity for returning students to complete a bachelor’s degree that builds on technical skills and experiences gained through the completion of a technical degree. “Today, we are announcing a major initiative designed to lower the barriers to college enrollment and college success that are too prevalent in this community, as they are in communities across the country,” Agrawal said. “With the adoption of these partnership programs, MCC and UMKC are living up to the promise, and the responsibility, of public higher education.” “Kansas City students are looking for affordable ways to attain an education that will help them get ahead,” Beatty said, “and this partnership with UMKC creates convenient and accessible pathways to a top-notch degree.”    Sep 17, 2019

  • Research Aims to Tackle Trauma Related to Community Violence

    Research shows one in two youth have been exposed to community violence.
    WDAF-TV Kansas City reports on UMKC School of Medicine professor Jannette Berkley-Patton's research on the affects of community violence on youth. Sep 16, 2019

  • Alumna New President at Local High School

    Siabhan May-Washington, BA '88, MA, '91 takes the helm at local school for girls
    The Catholic Key reports that Siabhan May-Washington, Ph.D. is the new president at St. Teresa's Academy, a Kansas City high school for girls. Sep 16, 2019

  • New Sculpture Finds Home on Campus

    Open Spaces public art donated by the R.C. Kemper Charitable Trust
    A new work of art will find a home on Volker Campus, thanks to a gift by the R.C. Kemper Charitable Trust. The sculpture, titled “Any Word Except Wait” by Flávio Cerqueira, is one of three pieces that are being gifted to the city of Kansas City, Missouri. The sculpture by Flávio Cerqueira, titled “Any Word Except Wait."  The public art was part of last year’s inaugural Open Spaces, a two-month citywide visual and performing arts festival that was a collaboration between the City’s Office of Culture and Creative Services and a private arts initiative to highlight Kansas City’s arts, culture and creativity. The event, which gained national media attention, expanded opportunities for residents to experience world-class art created specifically for our city. “Open Spaces 2018 illuminated the ability of public art to connect and unify people, enriching lives and communities through shared experience,” said Mary Kemper Wolf with the R.C. Kemper Charitable Trust. “The Trust is proud to underwrite the permanent placement of three significant works from the inaugural Open Spaces.” Sep 12, 2019

  • Not Taking Your Pills is a $300 Billion Healthcare Problem

    UMKC study shows solution with intervention technique
    Half of Americans who are prescribed medications don’t take them as directed. That’s a $300 billion healthcare problem, but a University of Missouri-Kansas City study shows progress using a personal-systems approach to taking medicine. The UMKC study tracked the medication practices of kidney transplant patients. UMKC Professor Cynthia Russell is the primary investigator on the Medication Adherence Given Individual Change — or MAGIC — study, recently published by the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. Her team, funded by a $2.585 million National Institutes of Health grant, includes researchers from University of Missouri, Children’s Mercy, University of Tennessee and Indiana University. “Though they have received the ‘gift of life,’ about 75 percent of people with a kidney transplant struggle to take transplant medicines on time every day for the life of the transplant,” said Russell, past president of the International Transplant Nurses Society. “Without these critical medications, the kidney will not survive. Our goal is to help people keep their gift of life for a very long time. More kidneys will be available to those in need of this critical resource, since they won’t have to rejoin the transplant list.” “Though they have received the ‘gift of life,’ about 75 percent of people with a kidney transplant struggle to take transplant medicines on time every day for the life of the transplant. Without these critical medications, the kidney will not survive.”-Cindy Russell, Ph.D., UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies In the MAGIC study, Russell’s team used the SystemCHANGE intervention, which has been shown to be effective with difficult-to-change behaviors like exercise. With the intervention, the patient is taught to modify daily routines and habits. They track success using data from an electronic medication monitoring system. The SystemCHANGE approach moves away from traditional interventions that focus on motivation and intention and instead improves the patient’s ability to monitor small environmental changes and determine the effectiveness of the changes using data. The MAGIC study was conducted with 89 kidney transplant patients at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City; University of Kansas Medical Center; University of Missouri Healthcare in Columbia; Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. “...not only are kidney transplant patients able to benefit from this research, but patients with other diseases will soon gain from this model of scientific investigation.” -Mark Wakefield, M.D., University of Missouri Health Care The result: using SystemCHANGE “demonstrated large, clinically meaningful improvements in medication adherence.”  Russell’s recently published research represents a capstone of nearly 20 years of discovery to understand and improve medication adherence in transplant patients, said Mark Wakefield, M.D., director of the renal transplant program at University of Missouri Health Care.  “During this journey, she has successfully collaborated across disciplines and among institutions, which has allowed for a greater clinical impact among a more diverse population of patients,” Wakefield said. “As a result, not only are kidney transplant patients able to benefit from this research, but patients with other diseases will soon gain from this model of scientific investigation.”  “Our intervention with transplant patients is now being tested in other chronic illnesses such as heart failure, stroke and soon, chronic kidney disease,” Russell said. Sep 11, 2019

  • UMKC Professors Explore Effects of Contact Sports

    KCUR explores balancing the enthusiasm for football with concern for players' health
    KCUR's Ethics Professors consider the conflict of supporting sports that can lead to irreperable brain damage. Sep 10, 2019

  • Computer Science Faculty Honored for Making a Difference for Women in STEM

    Professor Yugi Lee receives Central Exchange award for her mentorship efforts
    The heart of UMKC is our campus community. With small class sizes and lots of opportunities, it’s easy to develop student mentorship teams. And these rich relationships—our Dynamic Duos—are some of our best success stories. As an internationally-recognized expert in computer science, Yugi Lee, professor of computer science at the School of Computing and Engineering, says her motto is that teaching and research are not separate. Throughout her 20-year tenure at the SCE, she’s continued to mentor and equip her students to survive in any work environment – teaching or industry – an experience she said also helps to inform her research and make a difference for women in STEM following her footsteps. It’s her impact and engagement with students that landed Lee among Central Exchange’s 2019 STEMMy Award recipients. Lee and mentee, Ph.D. student Mayanka Chandra Shekar, sat down to discuss the importance of mentorship and its significance for women in STEM. What makes faculty mentorship critical to the success of students? Lee: Students have their own goals. Sometimes they know what their goal is and they need someone to help guide and sometimes we help them identify their goals. That’s why it’s critical to have the right advisor, especially for graduate students. Sometimes their research may not be accepted, sometimes a project they’re working on may not go right and they get down. Additionally, mentorship is really important for female students in engineering where there aren’t many female faculty. “In the last five years I’ve been at UMKC, our number of female Ph.D. students in computer science has significantly increased. When I joined the program there were three of us, now we have between 15 and 20!” - Chandra Shekar How has your mentor inspired you? Chandra Shekar: How I perceive research is how Dr. Lee has taught me. She’s the most approachable faculty I’ve ever encountered. Every time there’s a new technology Dr. Lee says “let’s teach it,” because you become an expert through teaching.  I had limited exposure to research when I came to UMKC, but in my time here I’ve received a Google Lime scholarship, I’ve been selected to receive research funding from the School of Graduate Studies three times and has received the UMKC Women’s Council’s Graduate Assistance Fund scholarship five times. Lee: Mayanka is one of the more popular students in our department. She’s got a lot of energy and fresh ideas. Her presentation is great and she can teach almost anything. She’s currently supervising 10 master’s degree students and mentors five project groups, and will apply to a faculty position when she graduates. She even received a scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration, which is one of the largest conferences for women in technology. She is applying to some faculty positions. I think she will land somewhere great. What led you to UMKC? Chandra Shekar: When I came to UMKC in 2014, I had limited exposure to research. Where I’m from, in India, UMKC had positive reviews. I am only one of two students from my master’s program who came to the United States.  One of two? Wow! How many of you were there? Chandra Shekar: I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from a women’s college in India. We had 16 master’s students. Some are working, some got married and started families and two of us went on to pursue Ph.Ds. There just aren’t a lot of women in computer science. In the last five years I’ve been at UMKC, our number of female Ph.D. students in computer science has significantly increased. When I joined the program there were three of us, now we have between 15 and 20! I’m getting married in December so I’ll be learning to juggle marriage and completing my program. I graduate in May. "Teaching is part of the life cycle of research." - Yugi Lee What qualities make a good mentor? Lee: Understanding. It’s important to understand the student’s abilities and family situations. You have to be able to adjust to what’s going on with them and work with them to persist. Build a relationship with your students and be a support system for them. Finally, it’s important to be a good trainer and equip your students to be able to survive in any work environment – industry or teaching. What’s your favorite part about being a mentor? Lee: Relationships. I’ve overseen more than 20 PhD students in 20 years. Every year we have new faces coming in and sometimes I get students that challenge me in different ways. Each year students will have new questions, ideas, problems... Not all graduate students teach, but mine do. My philosophy is: teaching and research are not separate. Teaching is part of the life cycle of research. “All of her hard work has made such a difference in the lives of many.”   - Kevin Z. Truman, dean of the School of Computing and Engineering How has your mentor helped you grow as a person? Chandra Shekar: Dr. Lee has been a big source of support for me when I needed it – inside and outside of the classroom. When I was really sick, she supported me and motivated me to not want to stop learning. I was in the hospital coding! I was wheelchair-bound for a while and my mom came from India and stayed with me for close to a year. She and Dr. Lee helped me get around to my classes. They’ve been really fundamental women in my life. If you’re giving advice to a student on finding a mentor, what would you tell them? Lee: You have to meet every faculty member to find the best advisor or mentor. Sometimes without the right advisor, students won’t complete their degree program. You need good chemistry and you should have similar work styles. But if you don’t meet all the faculty, you won’t know who that person is. Finally, Yugi, what does your Central Exchange recognition mean to you? Lee: Recognition for women in STEM doesn’t come as often as it does for men. Computer science is a male-dominated field everywhere. I was the first female faculty member in our department only 20 years ago. While there are more women in the field than before, it’s important for women to have support systems. Central Exchange helps to create that. Women contribute a lot to STEM – we have a lot of creativity and pay close attention to detail…things you need in computer science. Kevin Truman, dean of the School of Computing and Engineering, nominated me to receive a STEMMy Award and I’m honored to have been selected.  Truman said of Lee’s honor: “Yugi is so deserving of this award, SCE and I are proud to have her as one of our leading faculty. All of her hard work has made such a difference in the lives of many.”  Lee will receive the WISTEMM Educator Award for full-time faculty in STEMM fields at the STEMMy Awards ceremony on Sept. 17. Read more UMKC mentorship stories Sep 09, 2019

  • The Story of Steve Lewis the Midwest Chamber Ensemble's Founder

    The Kansas City Star profiles alumnus Steve Lewis
    The Kansas City Star profiles the Midwest Chamber Ensemble's founder alumnus Steve Lewis. Sep 07, 2019

  • UMKC School of Dentistry Focuses on Special Needs Patients

    Fox4KC focuses on scarcity of metro dentists caring for patients with special needs.
    Alumnus Seth Cohen, DDS '14 and Tom Vopat, DDS, UMKC School of Dentistry clinical professor support focus on sensitive care for patients with special needs. Sep 06, 2019

  • KCUR Explores Kansas City's Country Music Connection

    Chuck Haddix host of KCUR's Fish Fry and director of UMKC's Marr Sound Archives discusses history of music in Missouri
    Country music is triving in the Kansas City area and Chuck Haddix weighs in on why. Sep 05, 2019

  • Cerner to Layoff 250 Workers

    KCTV and Fox 4 interview Stephen Pruitt, Gottlieb Chair of Finance at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management
    KCTV and Fox 4 interview Stephen Pruitt, Gottlieb Chair of Finance at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management regarding Cerner reorganization. Sep 04, 2019

  • Alumnus and Legendary Comics Editor Dies

    Lee Salem signed "Calvin and Hobbes" and discovered "Cathy" for Universal Press Syndicate
    The Washington Post recognized alumnus Lee Salem, MA '73, a legendary comics editor who died September 2nd. Sep 04, 2019

  • Meet the new artistic director of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Stuart Carden

    Media report on new Kansas City Repertory Theatre's new artistic director, Stuart Carden
    Read the Kansas City Star article: 'A really wonderful guy': Meet the new artistic director of the KC Repertory Theatre Read the Broadway World article: Stuart Carden Named New Artistic Director of KCRep Read the American Theatre article: Stuart Carden Named New Artistic Director of the Kansas City Rep Sep 03, 2019

  • Professor of Criminology Discusses Causes of Gun Violence

    Kansas City Star article and editorial explore causes of violence
    Ken Novak, UMKC professor of criminal justice and criminology wrote a guest commentary on breaking the cycle of violence. Novak debunks the myth that heat causes an increase in crime. Sep 03, 2019

  • UMKC Trustee John Sherman will buy the Kansas City Royals

    KCUR announces hometown team's sale
    Kansas City businessman and UMKC Trustee, John Sherman, will buy the Kansas City Royals. Sep 03, 2019

  • Sean Chen Joins Jonathan Wentworth Associates Roster

    Musical American Worldwide reports Sean Chen, currently a Millsap Artist in Residence at the UMKC Conservatory, joins Jonathan Wentworth Associates...
    Musical America Worldwide recognizes 2013 American Pianists Award Winner representation. Sep 03, 2019