2020

  • UMKC Professor Discusses Breonna Taylor’s Case

    KCTV5 interviews Sean O’Brien
    Sean O’Brien, UMKC School of Law professor, who is part of a team to free the wrongly convicted, says it would be hard to argue what happened was murder, as many upset by the decision say it should be. But he says it is a clear example of why law enforcement tactics should be re-examined. Read the full story and watch the news report. Sep 23, 2020

  • 4Star Politics: Breaking Down the Supreme Court Vacancy, Missouri Governor Race

    Fox4KC talks to UMKC School of Law professor about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the twist it brings to the presidenti...
    David Actenberg said Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the type of judge that we don’t see much of today. Replacing her could bring a big shift in the high court. Read the story and watch the news segment. Sep 23, 2020

  • Revisiting ‘The King of Kings County’

    Whitney Terrell’s 2005 novel inspired by Nichols Company racial covenants speaks to moment
    KC Studio recently interviewed Whitney Terrell, associate professor in the UMKC Creative Writing Program, about his 2005 novel that tells the story of the racial covenants used to build a segregated suburban empire.   Sep 23, 2020

  • Welchert Recognized for Mentoring Efforts

    Biology professor goes the extra mile with student advising
    Effective student advising is more than checking boxes on a worksheet. To honor the significance of advising students, the Missouri Academic Advising Association (MACADA) recognizes achievements in the field. This year, the association honored Tammy Welchert, associate teaching professor, director of academic advising, with the Outstanding Academic Advising Award for Academic Advising Administrator. “Dr. Welchert has been a long-time champion of advising and the MACADA organization, including serving on our MACADA Executive Board as our Liaison Coordinator from 2006-2008, and our Kansas City Representative from 2005-2006,” says Bethany Jordan, MACADA president-elect. Welchert also served as President of MACADA from 2009-2010. Jordan says the nominations and awards serve as a recognition from colleagues who have identified these individuals as champions of advising who strives to make an impact in the field. "Advisors make a difference in the lives of their students every single day.  We empower them to be independent, confident professionals." – Tammy Welchert “Her letters of support spoke volumes about the role she continues to play to improve academic advising on the UMKC campus.” Welchert is living what she learned. She is the product of strong academic advising. “I didn’t start college until five years after I graduated from high school,” Welchert says. “I was married and had a young daughter. In my first term my biology professor, Dr. Albert Gordon, might have recognized me as a non-traditional student and perhaps that caught his eye.  It was a fairly small class and I did well. He would stay in the lab and talk to students before and after class and we got to know each other. He took me under his wing and guided me throughout my undergraduate degree. We still stay in touch and trade Christmas cards to update each other on our lives every year.” Welchert has carried that model of mentoring forward. She sees advisors as students’ success coaches, cheerleaders and parents away from home. “Advisors make a difference in the lives of their students every single day,” she says. “We empower them to be independent, confident professionals.” But beyond being willing to listen, laugh and advise, Welchert aims to inspire students to be happy, confident and prepared for the next steps of their journey. “Our students inspire me every day with the incredible talent they bring,” she says. “Some of them just need someone to believe in them to tip the scale that allows them to bloom.” That someone is often Welchert, who has a box filled with students notes of gratitude that she refers to as her “sunshine file.” “It’s filled with cards and letters from students over the years thanking me for being there for them, for believing in them when they couldn’t believe in themselves. Advisors make a difference in the lives of their students every single day. We empower them to be independent, confident professionals.” Welchert is looking forward to connecting with her colleagues at this year’s MACADA virtual conference. “In my new position as director for academic advising at UMKC there will be more reasons than ever for us to find ways to partner to support our advisors.” “Dr. Welchert has been a long-time champion of advising and the MACADA organization,” Jordan says. “We thank her for all her hard work, and congratulate her on a well-deserved recognition.” Sep 21, 2020

  • Food Security Task Force Recommends Expansions

    Satellite Kangaroo Pantry locations suggested for Volker and Health Sciences campuses
    Since opening five years ago, Kangaroo Food Pantry has given UMKC students, faculty and staff access to food. Then the pandemic hit, and the demand has more than doubled. With the growing need, Chancellor Mauli Agrawal formed a food security task force charged with finding gaps and finding solutions. The group studied best practices at other universities, analyzed campus survey data and held student focus groups. “We made recommendations that are being implemented now and later this semester, but also determined future needs,” said Sue Agrawal, the chancellor’s wife and a co-chair of the task force. “We want long-term solutions that make food accessible and convenient for our campus community.” Based on the task force’s recommendations, this fall the Kangaroo Pantry, located at 4825 Troost Ave., room 103, extended its hours of operations from 6 to 12 hours per week, and expanded its offerings to include fresh produce. It also transitioned the pantry to operate as a full client-choice model so clients can shop as they would at a traditional grocery store. The task force recommended that Kangaroo Pantry continue online request/pick-up option for students that was instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic in March, and to consider alternate locations for pick-up to make more convenient for students, such as Student Union. In addition, the group recommended establishing satellite pantry locations this fall on the Volker and Health Sciences District campuses. The group’s long-term recommendations: Consider moving Volker pantry to more central location on Volker campus. Develop permanent location on Health Sciences District campus. Increase food offerings. Expand operations to 40 hours or more per week. Hire a full-time coordinator. Institute comprehensive volunteer program to run food pantry. Build new community partnerships and resource options for students experiencing food insecurity. Create more food drives for the pantry. Work in collaboration with UMKC Foundation to develop a comprehensive fundraising campaign with plan for outreach to local and national foundations. Create a basic-needs center that would share space with pantry, which could contain school supplies and student resources. Food security task force members are: Sue Agrawal, co-chair, community volunteer  Obie Austin, co-chair, Student Health administrator  Sheri Gormley, co-chair, executive director of strategic initiatives, Chancellor’s Office Debby Ballard,  president of Sprint Foundation and UMKC Trustee  Stefanie Ellison, professor, associate dean for learning initiatives, School of Medicine  Sally Ellis Fletcher,  associate dean for students, School of Nursing and Health Studies  Kellee Harris,  assistant director, Multicultural Student Affairs  Kimberly Johnson, director of special projects, Chancellor’s Office  Ali Korkmaz,  director of Institutional Research   Anthony Maly,  senior program manager, Office of Student Involvement  Uzziel Hernandez Pecina,  assistant teaching professor, School of Education  Gabriel Rop,  director of programs and operations, Reconciliation Services  Leslie Tracy,  residence hall manager, Residential Life  Katie Wiegand,  graduate student, School of Social Work    Sep 21, 2020

  • The Great Admissions and Enrollment Reset

    Inside Higher Ed publication highlights UMKC work with prospective Latinx students
    Since virtual channels make it possible to provide native-speaking representatives and break down cultural barriers, institutions can use digital platforms to connect with historically underserved groups of first-generation students and their families. A recent opinion article from Inside Her Ed gave UMKC as an example of this. UMKC reaches prospective Latinx students virtually with live remote bilingual chat office hours. Sep 21, 2020

  • Battle To Replace Ginsburg Could Go Either Way, Local Experts Say, Possibly Impact Kansas Senate Race

    Fox4KC interviews UMKC political science professor
    Beth Vonnahme, an associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said both sides are up for the fight. Read the article on the Fox4KC website. Sep 21, 2020

  • Kansas City Community Reacts to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Death

    Dia Wall, KSHB, talks to U.S. Supreme Court expert at UMKC Law
    David Achtenberg, UMKC School of Law professor, was interviewed for this story. Watch the news segment. Sep 18, 2020

  • Conservatory Piano Faculty Excel in a Digital World

    Conservatory piano faculty find creative ways to stay engaged with students and perform during social distancing
    In a time when a lot of us are feeling disconnected and missing personal interactions, members of the UMKC Conservatory piano faculty have been finding new ways to connect with students and audiences alike. Read the article in KC Studio. Sep 18, 2020

  • UMKC Program Helps Latino Students Keep Moving Forward

    KSHB interviews UMKC Avanzando program director; Race, Ethnic and Gender Studies associate professor; and UMKC Bloch student
    Ivan Ramirez works in the UMKC Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and leads the Avanzando program. Andres Gutierrez interviewed Ramirez; Theresa Torres, an associate professor of Race, Ethnic and Gender Studies at UMKC; and Donovan Castaneda, UMKC Bloch student. Read the full story or watch to the news clip. Sep 17, 2020

  • UMKC Will Debut A New Race, Ethnic, Gender Studies Degree Next Fall

    KCUR reports on a new UMKC department that was driven by student demand.
    Toya Like, associate professor and interim chair, Race, Ethnic and Gender Studies Department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was a guest on Up to Date. Sep 17, 2020

  • Take a Campus History Tour

    Chris Wolff shares his research on UMKC through the decades
    Whether you're a new student to campus or a seasoned employee, you're bound to learn something new from this new campus history tour video series. Chris Wolff, general merchandise manager at the UMKC Bookstore, will give a little background to the history of UMKC and help you see campus in a new light. Check out the videos for the campus locales you visit regularly or take your buds and phone along and give yourself a guided walking tour of campus. Once you know the history behind it, you’ll never be able to look at it the same way again. Start with this video below of Volker Campus history. Then check out these videos in the rest of the series.  Scofield Hall Haag Hall Haag Hall - Second Floor Murals Haag Hall - Third Floor Murals Royall Hall Law Building Swinney Center University Playhouse Gateway Sculptures Atterbury Student Success Center and Pierson Auditorium Sep 16, 2020

  • Kangaroo Pantry Aids Roos in Need

    Recent updates to the pantry include fresh produce and client choice model
    Two years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 11% of Americans experienced food insecurity. Since COVID-19, that number has doubled. And our UMKC Kangaroo Food Pantry is observing the same uptick in need this year. The Kangaroo Food Pantry strives to provide food assistance for Roos in need, including students, faculty and staff. “We had a lot of issues with COVID,” a recent pantry visitor shared. “A lot of unexpected expenses came up as a result. The Kangaroo Pantry has helped me overcome that.” Anthony Maly, senior program manager, says historically the food pantry was distributing about 500-800 pounds of food per month but from March through August this year, they’ve given out more than 6,000 pounds. Maly estimates the monthly need for food to be around 1,200-1,500 pounds for the duration of the semester and likely into 2021. The pantry opened in 2015, after UMKC staff members learned of students in need of food assistance. Since then, the pantry has seen some changes, including the addition of fresh produce and a new refrigerator and freezer that will soon house meat and dairy items. The pantry has also switched to a “full client choice” model that allows individuals to pick their own food off the shelves. A majority of these changes stem from a food security task force created by Chancellor Agrawal to examine the needs of the campus community. The task force also completed recommendations for long-term expansion of the food pantry that will enable more students, faculty and staff to take advantage of the resources. “We had a lot of issues with COVID. A lot of unexpected expenses came up as a result. The Kangaroo Pantry has helped me overcome that.” —Recent pantry visitor How to receive assistance from the Kangaroo Food Pantry If you are a UMKC student, faculty or staff member who needs food assistance, bring your university ID and you can shop for food during the pantry’s open hours, see below. Masks or face coverings are required and a limited number of individuals can be in the space at one time. Maly says they are frequently sanitizing high-touch surface areas to ensure the pantry is clean and safe for all visitors. Tuesday: 1:30-5:30 p.m.Wednesday and Thursday: 1-5 p.m. 4825 Troost Ave.Room 103Kansas City, MO 64110 Roos are eligible to pick up 20 food items once a week, with a maximum of five proteins. Fresh produce doesn’t count toward the 20 items. If you’re unable to visit the pantry during these times, contact kangaroopantry@umkc.edu for other arrangements. Sam Weis, graduate assistant at the pantry, stocks new food arrivals on the shelves. How to support the Kangaroo Food Pantry  If you’d like to donate food to the pantry consider the most needed items below. Due to COVID-19, the pantry has been unable to hold food drives, but Maly says they are working to coordinate drives for the fall semester. Items currently needed: Canned chickenMac and cheeseRamenCanned vegetables Monetary donations are important so that additional food can be purchased for the pantry, if you’d like to make a financial contribution click here. Another way to support the Kangaroo Pantry is to participate in the UMKC Virtual 5K, Oct. 4-11. Registration is $25 and all proceeds support the pantry. Learn more about the Kangaroo Pantry Sep 15, 2020

  • Bloch Launchpad, Hispanic Development Fund Create College Entrance Pathway

    Hispanic high school students offered special programming, up to $10,000 in scholarships
    The Hispanic community in Kansas City faces a 17-point college degree attainment gap compared to all other adults in the region. This means getting into and being successful in college can be a tough road ahead for students in this community. The University of Missouri-Kansas City is addressing the issue. In an effort to close this gap, the Launchpad program at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management is teaming up with the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund to help provide a pathway for Hispanic students and their families as they prepare for college. This partnership brings tailored Launchpad programming – including professional development and leadership skills – and scholarship support to Hispanic students planning to join the Bloch School. These opportunities and more will give students concrete skills to better stand out as they navigate college and prepare for their future careers. Scholarship support ranges up to $10,000 per year, when paired with a UMKC Automatic Scholarship. As these high school students become Bloch Launchpad Scholars, they will continue to benefit by gaining exclusive access to additional coaching, professional development, leadership advising and professional networks – setting them up for a bright future. How to Apply Apply to UMKC and gain admission to study Business (B.B.A.), or Accounting (B.S.A.) no later than Nov. 15, 2021, (for Spring 2021 admission) or April 1, 2021 (for Summer/Fall 2021 admission) Complete the Bloch Launchpad Application by Nov. 15, 2021, (for Spring 2021 admission) or April 1, 2021 (for Summer/Fall 2021 admission) Submit official high school transcripts and ACT/SAT scores (high school students only) or submit official college transcript(s) (transfer students and/or high school students with dual-credit) Sep 15, 2020

  • Jeff Rydberg-Cox Is First Scholar-in-Residence at Linda Hall Library

    Curators’ Distinguished Professor supports Kansas City scholars
    Jeff Rydberg-Cox, Curators' Distinguished Professor in the UMKC English Languages and Literature Department, is the first-ever Scholar-in-Residence at the Linda Hall Library. Located at 5109 Cherry Street next to the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus, the Linda Hall Library is an independent research library devoted to science, engineering and technology. This newly-established position provides support for scholars in the Kansas City metropolitan area whose research would benefit from sustained engagement with the library’s collections. Jeff Rydberg-Cox “Linda Hall Library is full of treasures, and it has amazing collections covering science, engineering and technology with a spectacular history of science collection,” said Rydberg-Cox. “I was so happy that the library gave me the opportunity to spend an uninterrupted stretch of time working with their collections.” As scholar-in-residence, Rydberg-Cox used his experience in digital humanities and put it into practice. One way he did that was through lectures, such as the virtual presentation on July 30, “Modeling the Sources and the Topics of Pliny’s Natural History.” Gaius Plinius Secundus, called Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author. He wrote Naturalis Historia, which became an editorial model for later encyclopedias. In the July lecture, Rydberg-Cox discussed the nature of Pliny’s work, how other scholars and editors have tried to make the work more manageable and the ways that network analysis and other quantitative approaches can help people understand the sources that Pliny used. “I am very excited to start developing projects with the students in my digital humanities seminar and my course on methods for digital publications,” said Rydberg-Cox. “I have a long wish list of other works in the History of Science Collection that I would like to study and integrate into my classes, such as a 1522 printed edition of Natural Questions by Seneca the Younger, a near contemporary of Pliny, a 1472 printing of Appian’s history of the Roman civil wars, a 1515 edition of Lucretius’ On the  Nature of Things, and the library’s six editions of Vitruvius’ work on architecture from the 16th and 17th centuries.” Rydberg-Cox started at UMKC during the 2000-2001 academic year. He teaches courses on ancient literature, digital humanities and representations of the ancient world in film. His research is on methodologies for digitizing texts and other materials in the humanities, multispectral analysis of manuscripts and early printed books, statistical analysis of Ancient Greek texts and applying techniques from the field of network analysis to literary texts. Sep 15, 2020

  • University of Missouri-Kansas City Revamps Its Black Studies Offerings

    The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reports on the new Race, Ethnic and Gender Studies Department
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced it is combining its Black studies, Latin American studies and women’s studies programs into a new academic department. Read the full article. Sep 15, 2020

  • As Officials Tout Operation LeGend's Successes, Some Remain Frustrated, Skeptical In Kansas City

    NBC News taps UMKC professor for comment about Kansas City crime statistics
    Ken Novak, professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, said that while the statistics are encouraging, crime typically ebbs and flows. Read the article on the NBC News website. Sep 15, 2020

  • The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Driving Food Insecurity Among Young People

    KCUR explores food insecurity, includes college students in discussion
    Anthony Maly, senior program manager at the UMKC Office of Student Involvement, was a guest on Up to Date. Sep 15, 2020

  • Dale Wayne Eaton Will Undergo Mental Evaluation As State of Wyoming Again Seeks His Execution

    UMKC School of Law professor represents Eaton
    Dale Wayne Eaton’s attorney, University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor Sean O’Brien, had argued his client had the right, pursuant to the Fifth, Sixth and 14th amendments to the Constitution, to have a defense lawyer present at any state-ordered competency. The story from the Casper Star Tribune was picked up by The Billings Gazette and The Sidney Herald. Sep 14, 2020

  • Highlights From the First Week of Classes in Fall 2020

    Photos show the new normal at UMKC as classes get underway
    We were excited to welcome our Roos back to campus! The beginning of the fall semester looked different this year, but Roo pride was still felt all throughout UMKC. We welcomed back students with a socially distanced parade, virtual Week of Welcome events and much more. With many safety precautions in place, our students were able to connect with one another and make a strong start to the semester. Here are a few photos that highlight our return to campus.   Sep 11, 2020

  • ‘Surprise’ Bills From Ambulances Deal a Costly Blow, Patients Need More Protection, Researchers Say

    USA Today taps assistant professor
    “You call 911. You need an ambulance. You can’t really shop around for it,” said Christopher Garmon, an assistant professor of Health Administration at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management who has studied the issue. Read the full article. Sep 11, 2020

  • Tina Niemi's Expertise Is Highlighted in Publication

    National Geographic interviews UMKC College of Arts & Sciences professor
    Tina Niemi, a geologist at the UMKC Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences who was not involved with the Tel Kabri project, agrees that the evidence seems to point to an earthquake, though she says more research is needed to determine exactly where it originated. Read the full article. Sep 11, 2020

  • Environmental Science Student Gains Perspective with NASA

    Grant Verhulst shares his internship experience
    Most Missourians are familiar with the Mark Twain National Forest, and many have even seen it in person. Imagine getting to look at it from space. That is precisely what UMKC Environmental Science student Grant Verhulst spent his summer doing.  How did you first discover the NASA DEVELOP Program? This internship was introduced to me in my environmental science program. My mentor, Dr. Jejung Lee has had two of his former students participate in it as well. It is a great opportunity for students in the environmental sciences field because this program facilitates research projects to address environmental concerns all across the country. What excited you most about conducting environmental research with NASA? I applied directly to a project involving the Mark Twain National Forest. I have always been interested in it, having camped and gone hiking there many times. This internship also gave me a great picture of what my future career could look like. Collaborating with NASA and other environmental agencies is exactly what I hope to be doing someday. I also really enjoyed partnering with my three other research participants on this project. We were a mixed team of undergraduates and graduate students so I gained useful insight into what my next steps could look like as a researcher.  COVID-19 has obviously made a huge impact on in-person experiences. What was it like conducting research remotely all summer? Our main task was to utilize remote sensing using satellites produced by NASA to conduct feasibility studies. We wanted to see if it was possible to identify and track an invasive species of trees with satellite technology. While our research was possible to conduct from home, I did miss the energy that comes from sharing lab space with other researchers and having free flowing ideas and exchanges. Photo by Missouri State Parks What were the biggest benefits of interning for NASA? The networking aspect of the internship was hugely beneficial. I got to speak with a lot of government employees in various agencies and practice having scientific conversations with non-scientists. I also learned how to create a lot of scientific materials like posters, presentations and papers. These are skills that any researcher needs to have. "UMKC is filled with opportunities, especially in the environmental sciences field." – Grant Verhulst How did being at UMKC help you get to this place in your academic career? UMKC is filled with opportunities, especially in the environmental sciences field. There is also a lot of environmental action going on around this region, so opportunities abound. UMKC provides students the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research which I believe helped me get accepted into the DEVELOP program in the first place. "Try everything. Environmental science is such a broad field with so many opportunities. You could get really deep into the science aspects and focus on lab research." – Grant Verhulst What advice would you give to a younger student? Try everything. Environmental science is such a broad field with so many opportunities. You could get really deep into the science aspects and focus on lab research. You could also work on climate justice and public policy or local regulations. If you take opportunities and explore everything you can figure out what you like doing the most. My internship with NASA is a great example of that. I am now one step closer to finding my dream career because of my time in this program. Sep 10, 2020

  • Mechanical Engineering Student’s Art Based on Research Selected for Auction

    Mahsa Yazdani’s ‘Droplets as Continents’ chosen for annual BioNexus KC Science2Art event
    Many of us don’t often view science as art. When we think of art, we see something abstract, something, maybe, with pretty colors, that's nice to look at or think about. That was until the introduction of arts into science, technology, engineering and math fields – STEAM. Mechanical engineering doctoral student Mahsa Yazdani created an artistic digital imaging piece from her research that landed among the 12 featured visual works currently up for sale in the annual BioNexus KC Science2Art auction. Science2Art is a platform for regional scientists to display and describe their research through the visual arts. Each of the images tells a personal research story and poetically captures the fieldwork performed by the scientists and their teams. Yazdani, under the direction of assistant professor Zahra Niroobakhsh, Ph.D., is part of a research team studying if non-toxic food-grade surfactants can be used to prevent environmental damage as a result of crude-oil spills. As the only UMKC student to have their work included in the BioNexus KC art auction, Yazdani shared the inspiration behind her artwork, background on her research and the importance of incorporating art into science. What influenced your interest in engineering? I became interested in engineering while I was working on an application of engineering in biology. I noticed a combination of engineering and biology could affect human life in various ways, specifically by advancing our understanding of the environment and health. What are your primary areas of research? In addition to optimizing emulsions for oil spill remediation, I’m working on creating biomembranes using biocompatible surfactants through microfluidic systems for pharmaceutical applications. How has UMKC helped to inspire and influence your research? UMKC resources are key to my ability to continue several unique projects. Not only does UMKC give me access to other researchers’ scholarly work, but it also allows me to become acquainted with esteemed scientists who inspire me throughout my projects. What do you hope to do with your degree when you graduate? I am an interdisciplinary Ph.D. studying mechanical engineering and pharmaceutical sciences. I have always been interested in research – and becoming an effective researcher – learning new things and investigating. Walking on the edge of science fulfills my passion for solving problems to advance human health. Why is it important to incorporate art into science? I think art functions as a medium to expose people to the amazing, beautiful aspects of engineering. Without that exposure, everyone might not fully grasp how bold and astonishing science really is. Droplets as Continents. Is this work based on an ongoing project? “Droplet as Continents” is currently an ongoing project, and we are still working on that in the PRISM (Printing and Rheology of Interfacial Soft Materials) research group under the supervision of Dr. Zahra Niroobakhsh. What is the inspiration behind your art? When the BP oil spill happened in 2010, a large amount of crude oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. Several previous studies investigated the effects of this using various toxic surfactants to solve the problem. We are studying the effects of non-toxic surfactants on oil spill remediation. Droplets as Continents is a post-processing image from our preliminary studies, which displays several droplets covered with water in a similar way that continents are separated with water on the surface of the earth. What are you learning from your research? It has been documented that toxic surfactants have been used to amend oil slicks floating on the surface of the water during clean-up activities following an oil spill. As a member of the niROO PRISM Lab supervised by Dr. Niroobakhsh, I am studying the effectiveness of non-toxic food-grade surfactants to improve the effects of a similar environmental disaster. So far, we’ve done several preliminarily studies and hopefully, these non-toxic surfactants are just as effective as toxic ones, only without resulting in additional damage to the environment. You are the first student to have their art included in the Science2Art auction. What does that mean for you? I feel honored to have this special opportunity, and I’m glad that this platform helped me to contribute to fundraising for STEM education in Kansas City. The current bid for Droplets as Continents is $350 on the BioNexus KC website. Images included in Science2Art were submitted by scientists from Columbia, Missouri, to Manhattan, Kansas. All proceeds from the Science2Art auction will be donated to STEAM education in KC. Check out more UMKC Research Sep 10, 2020

  • 'Class of COVID-19' Documentary Capturing Educational History

    UMKC professor, Kansas City filmmaker team up to show experiences and emotions of students, teachers, families.
    What do you do if you’re planning to make a documentary about teaching history in an age of disinformation, but history itself takes a big turn? If you’re Donna Davis, Ph.D., a professor in the UMKC School of Education, you go with the more urgent story: How are the students, teachers and parents of the “Class of COVID-19” reacting to their new reality? “This was supposed to be a small research project,” Davis said, “interviewing maybe four or five teachers about what it means to teach U.S. history with Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and other streams of information constantly feeding into their students’ worlds. I wanted to know how these teachers helped students understand what is fact and what is fiction. “When the pandemic hit, it was clear that the film needed to adapt, adjust and make room for additional conversations.” Fortunately, Davis already had Kansas City filmmaker Jon Brick on board. Davis’ work on the historical and social foundations of education typically appears in scholarly journals and books, but she thought filmed interviews would bring her new project to life. “You’ll see both students and teachers express their real outrage about so much of what is happening.”    — Donna Davis    “I researched several professional directors in the area, and Jon stood out,” Davis said. Brick’s credits include documentaries, original online video, and film and social media content for clients including Yahoo! News, People, Oracle, Getty Film and “60 Minutes.” Most relevant to Davis’s project was Brick’s 2018 documentary, “Uncommon Allies,” which told the extraordinary story of Rosilyn Temple, a Kansas City woman who responded to her son’s murder in 2011 by becoming an activist for reducing violence and improving police-community relations. “Jon’s commitment to telling stories that are founded in social justice was important,” Davis said. “And his background in working closely with the Kansas City Police Department and community members on “Uncommon Allies” made this transition very smooth. We were able to ask very difficult questions of our interview subjects, and they were so very open and willing to share. You’ll see both students and teachers express their real outrage about so much of what is happening.” Now, they have done more than 60 interviews, with more in store as schools and families continue to adapt to the pandemic, the explosion of protests over shootings by police, and other developments.  “This is an unfolding story, and the end hasn’t been written yet, unfortunately,” Davis said. “We continue to collect stories and get a look at just how devastating this has been for so many people.” Davis said she already had learned how much people want to tell their stories and be heard, how powerful the stories of young people are, and how much they want social justice and social change. “This is the Class of COVID-19, all of the participants on a terrible journey who took the time to share their lives with us.” — Donna Davis Though they are staying flexible, David and Brick currently are hoping to produce a one-hour documentary by next summer or fall. “As we thought about it, we wanted to capture the initial reaction to the pandemic, the various touch-points along the way, and then, hopefully, a look at the resolution of this nightmare, when a vaccine or solid treatment is in place,” Davis said. “This is the Class of COVID-19—all of the participants on a terrible journey who took the time to share their lives with us.” As for distribution, Brick said, “We’ll submit the film to a number of film festivals as a feature documentary. We’ll work with some distribution partners to get the film out on streaming services such as Netflix, and possibly PBS or other television outlets. We also will do a social impact campaign and use the film for educational purposes.” Davis and Brick are working with the International Documentary Association to gain fiscal sponsorship and 501c3 status, allowing foundations to contribute to the production of the film. They also have a crowdsourcing campaign underway with Indiegogo where anyone can support the project. “People need to know that this is a project designed to illuminate the voices of the pandemic and all that took place during this awful time,” Davis said. “We don’t purport to have all the answers, but the questions are very clear and the emotion is raw.” Sep 09, 2020

  • Training to Counter Unconscious Bias

    Faculty and staff training part of Roos Advocate for Community Change
    UMKC people are taking thoughtful action on campus and in our community to ensure lasting and comprehensive change through Roos Advocate for Community Change, a new campus-wide effort announced in June. It is a significant component of the UMKC response to the tragic death of George Floyd and the vital national conversation on racism it has spawned. Chancellor Mauli Agrawal is leading this effort, working with a broad leadership group of faculty, staff and students. Activity is comprehensive, with intensive work being done across campus. One such example is the commitment for mandatory professional development for all UMKC faculty and staff by the end of this calendar year. Beginning Sept. 16, faculty and staff will be required to attend a virtual session of “Unconscious Bias, Microaggressions, and What to do About Them.” The training will focus on understanding and identifying bias and microaggressions, how to mitigate them and how to respond when you see them carried out by others. The training will offer employees concrete examples of microaggressions, insights on how unconscious bias influences decision-making, interactive conversation and breakout groups. Managers and supervisors will attend similar sessions with an expanded dialogue on how to address microaggressions and bias when it happens. “I’m really excited for this training. We’ve known that it was needed and now is the time to make it mandatory,” says Susan Wilson, Ph.D., vice chancellor of the UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion. Training sessions will be conducted via Zoom and last one hour and 15 minutes. There will be 36 sessions offered, with a maximum capacity of 60 people per training. Employees can sign up for the sessions directly through MyLearn. University leadership attended a training earlier this summer with Andrea Hendricks, Ed.D., senior executive director of diversity and inclusion strategy at Cerner. Professional development efforts are just one piece of Roos Advocate for Community Change. Other initiatives include the Critical Conversations series, virtual resource center and Troost to Prospect partnerships. Sep 04, 2020

  • Future of Policing: Part 2

    Kansas City community members continue dialogue around local control, use of force and future reforms.
    The Future of Policing: Part 2 is the third discussion in the series sponsored by Chancellor Mauli Agrawal of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the university’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion. The second discussion focused on policing in the Critical Conversations series took place on Thursday, Aug. 27, and continued the dialogue around local control, use of force and future reforms. Participating panelists included: Gwendolyn Grant, president and CEO, Urban League of Greater Kansas City Ronald Lindsay, pastor, Concord Fortress of Hope Church Ken Novak, professor, UMKC Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology Deputy Chief Karl Oakman, Kansas City, Missouri Police Gary O’Bannon (co-moderator), executive-in-residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management Cynthia L. Short, trial lawyer, mitigation specialist and sentencing advocate  Jasmine Ward (co-moderator), third-year student, UMKC School of Law  Local control was top-of-mind since Mayor Lucas recently withdrew a measure allowing voters to weigh in on the issue. Grant cited the move as a wise one, saying that the people of Kansas City were not voting to establish local control or not, but only to have the city council make it a legislative priority. Lindsay added that while the issue of local control is important, Kansas City would be better served by focusing on how we include communities, individuals and neighborhoods into the global policing strategy.  One way to offer community members insight into the police department is transparency, particularly around use-of-force techniques. Novak said that there is no greater disconnect between the police and public than what is considered a reasonable and unreasonable use-of-force. Partly because the public views use-of-force incidents through a larger, historical lens and partly because they don’t have access to or understand the police department’s existing policies and procedures. Some police departments – including Kansas City – make their policies available online to allow for greater transparency. Another element that has been brought up nationally is the idea that police forces have “a few bad apples” and their actions aren’t indicative of the entire department. Unfortunately, as Short pointed out, framing the issue as a few bad apples is misleading to the public. Until everyone holds police accountable, including other officers, the situation will remain the same. Sep 03, 2020

  • UMKC Receives Significant STEM Funding

    Fox4KC covers recent announcement of STEM funding
    The National Science Foundation awarded UMKC $100,000 to support collaborative programming. Read the story from Fox4KC.       Sep 03, 2020

  • Central Exchange Forges Strategic Agreement with UMKC Bloch School

    Collaboration will enhance networking and leadership development for women
    Central Exchange has signed a three-year services agreement with the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC to further advance development of women by leveraging Bloch School assets to expand the reach, services and programming of Central Exchange. Central Exchange, Kansas City’s community for women leaders, has signed a three-year services agreement with the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The strategic and collaborative agreement will further advance development of women by leveraging Bloch School assets to expand the reach, services and programming of Central Exchange. The school will provide leadership and expertise for program design, delivery, and oversight of operations and events. The agreement was effective as of Sept. 1. The Bloch Executive Education Center will be the new home of Central Exchange. Ann M. Hackett, Ph.D., chief learning and engagement officer for executive education, will lead day-to-day management of Central Exchange. Hackett and other Bloch Executive Education faculty and staff will also work with the Central Exchange board of directors on strategic planning to find ways to expand the reach and enhance the experience of Central Exchange members and corporate partners.  “We are excited about the opportunity to work with Bloch and build on Central Exchange’s legacy through fresh new programming and expanded networking and development opportunities focused on advancing women, both professionally and personally,” said Ellen Fairchild, Central Exchange board chair. “Additionally, this will allow Central Exchange to streamline its overhead and help ensure its financial future. We want the Central Exchange to be here and relevant for the next 40 years.” This year, Central Exchange is celebrating its 40th anniversary of being the premier women’s organization in greater Kansas City. With hundreds of members, Central Exchange represents the largest cross-section of women from throughout the Kansas City area. Members include business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, managers, nonprofit professionals, civic leaders and community volunteers. “This agreement will allow both organizations to build on their long-term community relationships and expertise to accelerate women achieving their full potential,” Hackett said. “It is exciting to think about where Central Exchange can go with the Bloch engine powering its vital mission.” Central Exchange is Kansas City’s community for women leaders. A women-centric organization that empowers and connects women across generations, industries and perspectives, promotes equity for women, ignites confidence in women and cultivates and accelerates women leaders. For more information go to www.centralexchange.org. The Bloch Executive Education Center provides opportunities — including seminars, certificates, and custom programs — to help professionals and the organizations they serve promote innovative insights and business best practices. Sep 02, 2020

  • UMKC Receives Significant STEM Funding

    The National Science Foundation awards $100,000 to support collaborative programming
    The National Science Foundation awarded the University of Missouri-Kansas City $100,000 to support the Integrating STEM Education Research Collaboration for Regional Prosperity. The conference is designed to support researchers in science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM) as they collaborate to develop a regional STEM ecosystem that will identify challenges, opportunities and solutions to impact and educate the STEM workforce. The Integrating STEM conference will focus on professional development in conjunction with bringing together postsecondary faculty and administration, STEM communities and civic leaders to discuss the challenges of attracting and maintaining a diverse student pipeline that leads to graduation and career success, which fuels regional economic development. Alexis Petri, director of faculty support and associate research professor, is the principal investigator for this project. “We think it’s possible that focused professional development on new strategic tools and research driven initiatives will provide increased traction for students and regional prosperity.”- Alexis Petri “Kansas City needs a more robust STEM workforce,” Petri says. “At UMKC, STEM faculty have been addressing this need. However, we believe a regional approach will bring increased urgency and collective impact to educating a skilled STEM workforce that meets employer demands.” According to KC Rising, a business collaborative focused on accelerating regional growth, the Kansas City region outperforms its peers in STEM employment, but fewer students are graduating with STEM-related degrees than four years ago, especially among Black and Hispanic students.  “We think it’s possible that focused professional development on new strategic tools and research driven initiatives will provide increased traction for students and regional prosperity,” Petri says. During the three-day conference, participants will discuss six topics critical to the Greater Kansas City STEM education research ecosystem: Supporting student success in STEM majors by supporting intentionally inclusive educational research theories and practices Transforming the first-year college experience – innovative educational technology and inclusive pedagogies for student learning and retention in STEM Smoothing transitions from two- to four-year institutions – opportunities and challenges for institutional partnerships Using high-impact practices to retain STEM majors and foster interest in STEM careers Building coalition among stakeholders Sustaining a multi-institution ecosystem in the Kansas City region including social and cultural inclusiveness for student success. The conference is designed to encourage diverse viewpoints, the opportunity to engage with experts, and discuss the application of the presented information into real-world settings.  “Through the Integrating STEM education research efforts, UMKC seeks to promote collaboration among postsecondary institutions and community organizations to determine whether application of education research – existing and new – could support systemic, large- scale change,” says Chris Lui, Ph.D., vice chancellor of research. “These efforts ensure that UMKC is a regional stronghold for student learning, faculty and staff development and workforce production.” To receive more information on Integrating STEM, including how to participate in the online conference, please contact Petri at petria@umkc.edu.   Sep 02, 2020

  • Alumnus Entrepreneur Establishes College of Arts and Sciences Scholarship

    Kansas City businessman Albert Gerecht liked helping others succeed
    Albert Gerecht, B.A. ’52, established his business, The Tax Gallery in 1956, one mile from his alma mater. After earning his degree and meeting his wife, Doris, he led a bold life making friends, building his business and supporting the community. Upon his death he bequeathed $400,000 for merit-based scholarships to further his commitment to helping people help themselves.  “Albert was one of kind,” Melanie Zeigler says. “I walked into The Tax Gallery 32 years ago looking for a notary and ended up with a job. It was his idea. You did not tell Albert ‘no.’” Zeigler and Ken Baylie have co-owned The Tax Gallery since 1995 when Gerecht sold them the business. Gerecht told Zeigler that he started the business selling insurance and went door-to-door selling policies. One day, a potential customer said that he couldn’t talk because he was working on his taxes. Gerecht had a quick reply.  “’My wife does taxes,’” Gerecht said. “‘Bring them down!’” The Gerechts started their insurance and tax-preparation business on Troost Avenue, which is considered a racial and economic dividing line in Kansas City. Albert was committed to helping everyone who walked through his door. “Albert loved his customers,” Zeigler says. “A lot of his clients were of color and he knew that they were often charged more at other places than white clients.” “Albert was one of kind,” - Melanie Zeigler In the 1970s, Gerecht sued multiple insurance companies under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which protects consumers from abuses, for red-lining. “He didn’t win, but that was who he was,” says Albert’s son, Wolfe Gerecht. “He was always willing to do battle.” In addition to his integrity, his family and friends remember him as a garrulous, quick-witted and intelligent man. He confided in them that he felt that because of his Jewish faith he experienced prejudice and mistreatment. As a result, he believed that an unbiased association with all people combined with the power of education could eliminate hatred. Albert’s best friend, Art Kammerlohr, said his gift to UMKC to establish scholarships was intended to foster performance and excellence irrespective of need, but his substantial giving in other areas demonstrated his desire to help those less fortunate, foster education and to promote and support organizations that speak truth to power and protect individual rights. The people who loved Albert remember him as garrulous, quick-witted and hard working. “Albert loved people,” Zeigler says. “He would walk into a restaurant and say, ‘Hello, everybody!’ I learned a lot from him. He was a giving man.” The Albert Gerecht Scholarship will fund five $10,000 scholarships annually until the funds are expended. For more information on scholarships, please contact Scholarships and Financial Aid.   Sep 01, 2020

  • With Computer As His Instrument, Kansas City Student Finds ‘Pathway Into Playing Music’

    Conservatory student captures attention of local newspaper
    While many of us are tied to our computers typing, reading or (these days) meeting, Kansas City musician Tim Harte is creating. He’s the first and only student admitted to the UMKC Conservatory with his computer as his instrument. Read the full story from The Kansas City Star (subscription required). This story was also picked up by MSN. Aug 28, 2020

  • KC Celebrates Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker on the Centennial of His Birth

    Flatland publishes article by Chuck Haddix
    This article was written by Chuck Haddix, director of the Marr Sound Archives, a collection of 380,000 historic sound recordings housed at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He also is the author of “Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker” and host of the “Fish Fry” Friday and Saturday nights on KCUR-FM. Aug 28, 2020

  • Alumna Inspires Future Jazz Musicians

    Multi-instrumentalist Aryana Nemati-Baghestani on her musical journey
    UMKC Conservatory Jazz Studies alumna Aryana Nemati-Baghestani (B.M. ’14) spoke with us about her experiences as a female in jazz, what she’s been up to during the pandemic and her future goals. Where does your passion for music stem from? I remember in middle school having a portable CD player (Sony Walkman) and carrying it with me everywhere I went. At the time, I also joined band class playing alto saxophone. My brother and sister, who are older, were also in band so I was inspired by them to join. My mother played clarinet in grade school and my father never really picked up an instrument, but I later realized how avid music listeners and music lovers they were and still are. I didn’t start really listening to jazz until I was in high school. My main influences before then were mainly pop, hip-hop, reggae, alternative and R&B. I was fortunate to be a part of the distinguished band program at Grandview High School. Garry Anders was the band director for only a short time while I was there, but I learned so much from him and was exposed to music and musicians I didn’t know about, which has had a lasting impact on my career and life as a whole. At first, I was inspired by music because of the way it sounded and how it made me feel. As I got older, I began to appreciate and understand why many styles of music came to be. Because jazz and reggae, two genres of music that are dear to me, came to fruition mostly because of oppression, music and its creation has a completely different meaning to me and motivates me in new ways. What instrument(s) do you play? I started my musical journey in middle school on the alto saxophone. About a year later, I switched to the baritone saxophone primarily. When I got to high school, our band director was adamant about getting the saxophone players to be able to “double” on flute and clarinet, so I began to work on both. I am glad I did so at a younger age, because it has definitely come in handy. My brother played the oboe, and I came across some opportunities that had some oboe playing/teaching. With his help, I was able to learn that instrument as well. I took some keyboarding classes in college and continue to work on my keyboard skills. This is one instrument I wish I would have started sooner. I believe it is an important one to know for any musician. I also play a little electric bass and drums for fun. Jazz is seen as a male-dominated industry, particularly regarding instrumentalists. What drew you to it? I was introduced to jazz later in my middle school years and enjoyed playing in the jazz band. I did not really get into jazz until high school. I was exposed to certain artists and performances that I was naturally attracted to for reasons, at the time, I could not put into words. I did know that I felt attentive and intrigued when listening. Also, at this time, I had not really noticed how male-dominant jazz was. What has been your experience as a female in the profession? My experience has been good and bad. I didn’t start realizing that the field, even in Kansas City, was male-dominated until I got to college and began playing professionally. There were only a few females in the jazz department (none on staff) and it felt as though there were even fewer at the jam sessions and gigs around town. As I began to understand the lack of women in the field more, it both discouraged and encouraged me. It isn’t easy being a woman of jazz. You get a lot of sexist comments on gigs and as a woman. Even if you have worked extremely hard to become a working musician, that stigma stays with you. I have been fortunate though to work with people that hire me solely because of my playing, and I feel their intentions are genuine. I have also had people, such as young women or parents with daughters that play instruments, come up to me at shows and thank me for what I am doing or tell me that it is inspiring for them to see a female performing on an instrument. As difficult as it is, it is experiences like those, genuine people, and my love for the music, that pushes me to continue on. How do you hope to encourage the next generation of female musicians? Or next generation of musicians in general? I believe exposure is a big part of it. Thankfully today, there are many well-known female musicians that have successful performing careers. With my female students, I like to show them videos and recordings of these artists to exhibit that there are artists out there, we just have to do some digging. I do expose all my students to current musicians of all walks of life. In the general media, there is not a lot of exposure to jazz, and I do my best to provide resources for them. I have been thinking about doing more community outreach in this respect, to get the word out there. Visiting local schools and giving clinics about jazz. Especially in Kansas City, with the great jazz history we have and the thriving music community, I like to encourage them to go to jam sessions and see live shows because there are opportunities and things happening but, again, you may not see a commercial for it or hear it on the typical radio stations. "Because jazz and reggae, two genres of music that are dear to me, came to fruition mostly because of oppression, music and its creation has a completely different meaning to me and motivates me in new ways." —Aryana Nemati-Baghestani Why did you choose UMKC? Being a Kansas City native, it was definitely one of my top options for school. I was fortunate enough to see Bobby Watson perform a number of times while I was in middle and high school and was always blown away by his playing, so to be able to go to the school he taught at was a huge plus. I also got to see the jazz bands at the Conservatory perform while I was in high school and remember thinking how great the band sounded, as well as the soloists, and that I would be honored to be a part of the program. Luckily, they accepted me when I auditioned! Who was your most influential faculty or staff member at UMKC? I am not able to choose only one. The faculty in the jazz department were great people and phenomenal performers, but I did work with some more closely than others. Doug Auwarter was a drum instructor (now happily retired) but he also taught the Latin jazz combos. He has a huge heart and is one of the sweetest people I know. He is extremely well-versed in many areas, but Latin rhythms and styles was one of the things that he was teaching primarily at UMKC, and he was definitely the one for the job. I was fortunate to work with two wonderful saxophone teachers and my experiences with them will be with me forever. Dan Thomas was teaching mainly the freshman and sophomore classes and I took lessons with him for two years. I will be honest, at first, he stressed me out! He had high standards and was full of energy. Some of the things that he would tell me to work on I would think to myself, “are you crazy? There is no way I can do that!” but little did I know, Dan believed in me and was pushing me to reach my full potential unlike any mentor I had before. I ended up being able to do things I never thought I could because of Dan, and I am forever grateful for his tutelage. And then of course, Bobby. Another kind-hearted man, but would not sugarcoat the truth. He taught me to never take for granted picking up your horn, to have fun but also, that we need to take this musically seriously. Just being around him was inspiring. I am pleased to say that I am still in contact with all three of these mentors and am happy to call them my friends as well. "Thankfully today, there are many well-known female musicians that have successful performing careers." —Aryana Nemati-Baghestani What are your lifelong goals? Most of all, I want to live a happy life. I would like to have a successful performing career and work with a group of other musicians that believe in the music that is being performed. I enjoy learning about other cultures, so it would be nice to live abroad for some time and do more traveling. I have thoughts of starting a nonprofit that would benefit young musicians, primarily females and people of color. I would like to have a family and be able to provide a comfortable living situation for them. I have been doing this a bit, but I would like to explore other hobbies more, and get better at them, such as, painting, gardening, and woodworking. Who are your favorite jazz musicians? There have been quite a few musicians that have inspired me over the years, primarily saxophonists. One of the first was Cannonball Adderley. I had not listened to much jazz when I came across him, but I remember thinking when listening to him, “Wow, how does he even do that?” Another one of my early influences was Bobby Watson. He was one of the first musicians I saw perform live and I will always remember that concert with the high school band in my high school auditorium. I love the personality and phrasing of Sonny Rollins. For the baritone saxophone, Ronnie Cuber is a huge inspiration. In my opinion, he has the quintessential sound for the horn and his ideas are thorough and precise and full of soul. I stumbled upon Charles McPhearson a bit later and when I heard him, I was surprised I had not heard of him before. I have been listening to him quite a bit lately. Where can we hear you play? As of now, for live settings it is hard to say. I have done a few Facebook Live shows, but am taking a break from it to focus on other aspects of music (practicing, writing). I know that some places are having live music, but I feel now is a good time to reflect and meditate instead of rush back onto the scene. I did come out with a reggae/jazz album that is on some streaming platforms such as YouTube and iTunes. A great summer soundtrack. It is entitled The Sax in I. What have you been up to during the COVID quarantine? Since the quarantine and the end of semester for school, I have been primarily teaching online music lessons. I have done some livestream gigs here and there as well. They started out as solo shows but I have had the pleasure of playing with small groups (trios and quartets) mainly outside, on patios and driveways. There have also been some home and studio recording projects for clients and myself that I have been working on. I have also been going for walks, bike rides, working on small home projects, and gardening. A couple of local musicians, Marcus Lewis and Matt Otto, started a weekly Zoom meeting that primarily includes jazz musicians in KC, and our main focus is to discuss the racial injustices that are a big issue in America. This has been great, not only seeing everyone, but working together to figure out what we can do to make a difference for the better. It is also insightful hearing people’s opinions and experiences. I’ve known most of the folks for some time but never got to have discussions with them such as the ones we are having now. Aug 27, 2020

  • UMKC Researcher Finds Charitable Giving Boosted When People Can Contribute Opinions

    Yes, human expression can be leveraged
    Human beings’ urge to express themselves is so strong that it can be leveraged to increase charitable donations. That’s the finding of one of the newest faculty members at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management.  Jacqueline Rifkin, Ph.D., came on board this semester as an assistant professor of marketing. She is co-lead author of a paper recently published by the prestigious Journal of Marketing. Jacqueline Rifkin For one of the experiments the authors conducted, they placed tip jars on a café counter, alternating for set periods between a single jar marked “Tips” and a pair of two jars, with one labeled “Cats” and the other “Dogs.” The result: When café guests were able to vote for their favorite animal by choosing between two jars, the total dollar amount of tips doubled. In a similar experiment soliciting donations to the American Red Cross in which half of people could choose to donate by expressing their preferred ice cream flavor, donors gave 28% more money when given the opportunity to express an opinion at the same time. Since the paper was published earlier this summer, it has generated international news coverage, including an article in the German magazine Der Spiegel. The research was inspired by anecdotal accounts offered by baristas and other counter-service retail workers. “Put really simply, people are willing to pay for a chance to share what they believe in, and this is what makes the dueling preferences approach so effective at increasing giving.” “Our goal in this research was to formally test the belief that this strategy works, and, moreover, to understand the psychological reason why it works,” Rifkin said. “We found that this strategy works because it transforms an act of giving into an opportunity to say something about one’s beliefs and opinions, which people inherently find motivating. “Prior work has shown that people find the act of self-expression to be incredibly attractive and rewarding. In fact, the parts of the brain that light up when we get to share our opinions also light up in response to finding $10 or eating dessert,” Rifkin added. “Put really simply, people are willing to pay for a chance to share what they believe in, and this is what makes the dueling preferences approach so effective at increasing giving.” Rifkin’s co-authors are Katherine Du, assistant professor of marketing at the Lubar School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; and Jonah Berger, associate professor of marketing at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Rifkin earned her Ph.D. in business administration at Duke University and her Bachelor of Arts in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Aug 27, 2020

  • Happy 100th Birthday, Bird! Charlie Parker Invented Bebop Style And Put Kansas City On The Musical Map

    KCUR talked to Chuck Haddix about Charlie Parker
    Charlie Parker’s story is also kept alive by Chuck Haddix, the director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Marr Sound Archives. Haddix wrote a 2015 book about Parker, titled “Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker.” Haddix was recently interviewed for KCUR All Things Considered. Aug 27, 2020

  • Jazz Great’s Legacy Joins University Collections

    Students create digital exhibit highlighting achievements
    Barney Kessel began playing guitar when he was 12 years old in his hometown of Muskogee, Oklahoma. By 1937, at the age of 14, he was playing professionally. Kessel built a legendary jazz career and an impressive collection of music and manuscripts that archivists and students have worked to preserve in the Marr Sound Archives and the LaBudde Special Collections at UMKC. Kessel played with jazz greats, such as Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Charlie Christian. He jammed with Christian for three days and the session had a profound effect on his style. In 1942, Kessel moved to California and played with big bands and studio musicians. He contributed to soundtracks with musicians including Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys. After his death, Kessel’s widow, Phyllis Kessel, made the decision to donate his materials to the Marr Sound Archives and the LaBudde Special Collections. “Phyllis had been looking for a place to house Barney’s collections,” says Chuck Haddix, curator of Marr Sound Archives. “She contacted Rob Ray at San Diego State. He is the former head of the UMKC collections and recommended she get in touch with us because of our strong holdings in jazz. He knew that we would be able to manage it.” Phyllis met Kessel in 1987. She was a magazine editor, and while she was on a personal trip, she saw Kessel play with Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd. She has a natural curiosity about people and an instinct to interview. She was familiar with Kessel and struck up a conversation with him in the park where he was playing. “Barney was the most talkative of the great guitarists that were there and he loved to talk,” she says. They married two years later and traveled together often. Phyllis understood the significance of Kessel’s collection and following his death in 2004, she began to think about preserving his legacy. “I needed to find a home for all that Barney had left behind.” The donation includes an extensive audio-visual collection and manuscripts spanning the length of Kessel’s career. In addition to the library staff cataloguing and processing the collection, seven students, who referred to themselves as the Barney Bunch, produced a digital exhibit, Barney Kessel; Illuminating a Musical Legacy, of Kessel’s life and work. “We started the third week of February,” says Lacie Eades, a member of the team from the UMKC Conservatory advanced research and bibliography class led by Sarah Tyrell, Ph.D., associate teaching professor of musicology. “Our goal was to create a virtual exhibit. We worked for about four weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak led to the global shutdown.” The team moved to working remotely. While it took a few days to adjust, Eades notes that the staff at LaBudde worked to digitize the content the team needed. “Anything we flagged, anything we needed, the staff retrieved for us,” Eades says. “We met as a group two days a week and there was a lot of group messaging. It was continual cooperation.” The team knew they needed to determine if they were going to create a biographical sketch or a narrative. The material seemed to lend itself to narrative. “This class working on a project that shows the artist’s work, gives them the skills to see it through from the research to the digital exhibit – that is the way of the future.” - Chuck Haddix “One of my jobs was to go through his daily planner,” Eades says. “One of the intriguing elements was that on one day he would note, ‘Studio with Elvis.’ And the next day would be, ‘Take boys to the dentist.’ On November 22, 1963 he wrote, ‘President assassinated.’” Each student took responsibility for different aspects of the research. Bryanna Beasley is pursuing her master’s degree in flute performance and musicology. “I had the opportunity to work directly with Phyllis,” Beasley says. “Especially during COVID, she became a primary resource. She is funny and intelligent. It was rewarding to work directly with her to create a legacy for scholars and enthusiasts. We are lucky she saved so much of his materials. It enabled us to highlight different aspects of his legacy.” Phyllis is satisfied and relieved that Kessel’s collection is safe and available for scholars and enthusiasts. “I have a great interest in keeping Barney’s name and music alive for future generations,” she says. “Sadly, I know how quickly the public forgets our stars. It takes some effort to keep their legacies alive. I truly believe Barney was one of the greatest jazz guitarists that ever lived.” Sandy Rodriguez, associate dean of special collections and archives, understands that donating a loved one’s material is always very personal. “They want to give to a place that’s going to be responsible,” Rodriguez says. “As the long-term home for these materials, we work hard to ensure they are cared for over time and are made available for research as soon as possible. Not all collections are processed so quickly. This was prioritized.” “I have a great interest in keeping Barney’s name and music alive for future generations.” - Phyllis Kessel Haddix appreciates that the team was able to make such a quick pivot to develop the digital exhibit. “These are brilliant students who treated the project with humor and good will,” Haddix says. “The exhibit tells Barney’s story and is free and open to the public.” He notes that this turned out to be a great way to manage research. “This class working on a project that shows the artist’s work, gives them the skills to see it through from the research to the digital exhibit – that is the way of the future.” Aug 26, 2020

  • Updates on Parking, Library Availability

    Parking app is a no-touch system
    Changes students will encounter this semester include expanded online and in-person library access and a new metered parking system that requires no cash or physical contact with meters. Library Update This fall, the library buildings are open whenever classes are in session on campus, while virtual resources and live help will never close. You can use the library online, any time at library.umkc.edu. Chat with a librarian 24/7, make an appointment for some research help on Zoom, or hop onto video with a librarian any time between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, no appointment needed. UMKC students voted in March 2019 to implement a new Student Library Fee to pay for improvements to the hours, resources, spaces, and services at UMKC Health Sciences Library and Miller Nichols Library. While the UMKC campus is operating with modifications for COVID-19, the libraries are directing resources toward services, projects and tools to keep the libraries virtually available to users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During the pandemic, the library is not open as late as usual and library fee-funded staff have been reassigned to earlier shifts to support health and safety measures such as increased cleaning, making library materials available virtually, and extra work duties to keep library users safe. The library hours for fall 2020 preserve the longer hours implemented last fall as much as possible and retain the new highly-used late closing time on Friday, and early opening times on Saturday and Sunday. When using the library in person, remember to maintain face coverings except when seated to eat or drink. Leave the furniture in place; it has been arranged to maintain physical distancing. Wash your hands before and after using a library computer or table and chair. Parking Update All metered parking on the two UMKC campuses will now be through the use of the AMP Park mobile app, available from both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. This is a “no-touch” system, eliminating the potential risk of spreading viruses by touching a machine or meter, as well as digging in your cup holders to find enough change to pay for parking. Within the app, users will be able to see on a map the general areas where metered parking is offered on campus. There will be signs in those areas denoting the spaces designated for metered parking. Campus signage indicating metered parking also has a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to be taken directly to the appropriate store to download the app. Simply download the app, select the area where you are parking on the map, and select how long you anticipate needing to park. Then add your license plate number, issuing state, vehicle make (brand), and your payment information to the secure app, and start your parking time. You will have the option to save your account information (if you will be a regular AMP Park user on campus) or just enter the information for a one-time use. If you save your account information, you will be able to add another license plate if you are driving a different car during a different parking session. If you find that your class or meeting is running longer than expected, you can add time to your metered parking session from your smartphone, without having to go all the way back to the parking lot. And you will receive a notification on your phone when you are nearing the end of your paid parking time. Anyone who has a meter park card, for use at the old single meters, can contact the UMKC Parking and Transportation office for a refund of the remaining balance on the card. We are also now on Twitter, @UMKC_parking. Follow us to be updated with the latest parking information around campus. Aug 26, 2020

  • 6 Tips to Start the Semester Strong

    From how to meet people to getting help with coursework
    Welcome back, Roos! While this semester looks a little different than normal, there are still plenty of ways for you to get plugged in and explore the many opportunities available to you at UMKC. Here are some of the tried-and-true tips from our students, faculty and staff for incoming students. 1. Check out Roo Groups. Hands-down this is the best way to get involved on campus. With 300+ groups around hobbies and professional interests, you’re bound to find something you’re interested in and meet new people along the way. Check out the current groups or create your own at umkc.edu. And if you want to check out what else is happening on campus, visit the Office of Student Involvement. 2. Get to know your professors. Just because you have online class doesn’t mean you can’t get to know your professors. Many professors are natural mentors for students and often have great connections to industry professionals (and internship opportunities) in Kansas City and beyond the region. They’re also the gateway to exploring undergraduate research So, if you can’t stay to chat after class, make sure to send an email or drop by their virtual office hours to get to know them. 3. We’re back on campus – explore it! UMKC has a very green, walkable campus, so take some time every day or each week to walk to an area you haven’t explored yet. While you’re at it, check out our list of top 5 Instagrammable spots on Volker Campus. Both campus maps are available online. If you have questions, stop by one of the CityPost kiosks on campus or ask any staff member you see. And while you’re at it, make sure to check out this slideshow of how campus has changed throughout the years and check out the UMKC campus history tour videos featuring staff member historian Chris Wolff. 4. Scope out academic resources. At the heart of UMKC is the desire to see students succeed. That’s why there are so many campus resources dedicated to helping you. Make sure you check out Supplemental Instruction, especially for those harder classes — SI is basically a free study/review session with your peers led by an upperclassman who aced the course material. Also, look into tutoring and the writing studio for help. And don’t worry, they practice COVID health and safety measures and also provide virtual sessions. And if you’re just looking for general tips on creating a study plan, note-taking, and success in an online course, check out the RooUp Seminars, available 24/7 via the RooUp Seminar Canvas page. 5. Not feeling 100%? Know where to go. The beginning of the semester can be stressful, especially if it’s your first time away from home, not to mention during a pandemic. It can be intimidating to find help in an area you’re unfamiliar with. That’s why we have Student Health and Wellness as well as Counseling Services on campus (and virtually) to help take care of you when you need it. You’re a valuable part of our community and it’s important to pay attention to your health and wellbeing. Our staff are very friendly, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re not feeling well or need help. You can also check out the Counseling Services’ online resources, the Sanvello mental health app (free to all with a UMKC email address), Roos for Mental Health and the COVID symptom monitoring app. 6. Get to know why people love KC. We’ve got a great location in the heart of the city. And while some of typical entertainment, like sports and concerts, aren’t going on right now, there’s still plenty to explore. Check out Visit KC and a list of some of our students’ and alumni’s favorite places to explore and make KC your new home away from home. Aug 26, 2020

  • Why Does California Have So Many Wildfires?

    New York Times taps Earth and Environmental Sciences Department assistant professor
    Fengpeng Sun, assistant professor in the UMKC Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, was interviewed by the New York Times about the California wildfires. Each fall, strong gusts known as the Santa Ana winds bring dry air from the Great Basin area of the West into Southern California, said Fengpeng Sun, assistant professor in the UMKC Earth and Environmental Sciences Department. Sun is co-author of a 2015 study that suggests that California has two distinct fire seasons. One, which runs from June through September and is driven by a combination of warmer and drier weather, is the Western fire season that most people think of. Sun and his co-authors found a second fire season that runs from October through April and is driven by the Santa Ana winds. Read the full article. Aug 26, 2020

  • Free Mobile App for COVID Monitoring

    Campus Screen is for students, faculty and staff
    Campus Screen is a new mobile app that University of Missouri-Kansas City is recommending that students, faculty and staff can use in their daily COVID-19 self-monitoring. Campus Screen users are walked through a series of questions and responses and based on their answers, are given a “Campus Pass” that is good for a period of time. It can help people identify if their symptoms warrant contacting a health professional, and could be used at campus events to verify entrants have passed a screening by showing their app upon entry. Other University of Missouri System universities are also using Campus Screen, including Missouri Science and Technology and the University of Missouri-St. Louis Download links are here: Download for iOSDownload for Android For more about monitoring your health, please visit the UMKC Coronavirus website. Aug 25, 2020

  • Observing and Influencing Student Growth

    Keichanda Dees-Burnett went from active undergrad to motivating staff member and mentor
    The Black Excellence at UMKC series helps to increase awareness of the representation of Black faculty and staff and show a visible commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion on campus. This series highlights Black and Roo faculty and staff working to help our university achieve its mission to promote learning and discovery for all people at UMKC and the greater Kansas City community.   Name: Keichanda Dees-Burnett Job function: co-interim dean of students and director of Multicultural Student Affairs Tenure: 17 years Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri Alma Mater and Degree Program: UMKC B.A. Communication Studies (minor in Black studies) '02; M.A. Higher Education Administration '04; Current Ed.D student  Keichanda Dees-Burnett grew up at UMKC. From an active undergraduate majoring in communications studies to the director of Multicultural Student Affairs and co-interim dean of students, the Kansas City native is a key source of support for minority students on campus. Oft-referred to by many students of color as a go-to safe space on campus, Dees-Burnett said one the best parts of her job is the opportunity to mentor and interact with them daily while helping them achieve their goals.  "It is my responsibility to help them make connections with other faculty, staff and community members who can help them reach their goals."  Why did you choose UMKC as the place to grow your career?   It happened naturally. I didn’t necessarily know I would grow my career here, but I definitely chose to start here. I enjoyed my experience as an undergraduate student here at UMKC and wanted the opportunity to give back to future students and make their experience even better.  What do you enjoy most about working at UMKC?   I enjoy working with the students and doing my part to help make this campus welcoming and exciting for them. I also enjoy my wonderful colleagues across campus. Everyone is always great about lending their expertise with initiatives that support students.  "There’s a need to help others understand what it is that we do and the importance of our work in achieving the mission of the university." How did you decide this career was right for you?   I knew this career was for me after my first semester in graduate school. I was very involved at UMKC as an undergraduate. I was active with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, The African American Student Union, Student Government Association and the Rho Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.   When I started learning about student development theories and the history of higher education and the college environment, it enhanced my understanding of how the university and its staff support students. That’s what influenced me to take what I learned and put it into practice.  Keichanda (far right, second to last) poses for an NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council) Greek photo with fellow staff members and MSA student leaders at the conclusion of the 2019 TAASU Freedom Breakfast.  What are the challenges of your career field?   Increased cuts in funding to higher education definitely threaten our ability to create and maintain important programs and services that support student engagement and success on campus. Also, higher education administration or student affairs aren’t careers commonly known to those outside of the field. There’s a need to help others understand what it is that we do and the importance of our work in achieving the mission of the university.  What are the benefits of your career field?   Helping students get to college and helping them reach their aspirational goal of graduating from college. We also have the privilege of observing and influencing the growth and development of students from the beginning to the end of their college journey. For many student affairs professionals, our connections with our students last beyond graduation, sometimes even for life.  How do you connect and establish relationships with other Black faculty and staff in other units and departments?   I am hopeful that there are things in the works to make it easier for Black staff and faculty to connect. I typically meet other Black staff or faculty through committee work on campus, or participation on panel discussions. The Women of Color Leadership Conference planning committee has served as a great source for meeting fellow Black women staff and faculty. I typically try to maintain those relationships through periodic email check-ins, connecting on social media or connecting them to opportunities to get involved with MSA.  Describe your mentoring relationships with students.   My role as a mentor is to empower students to make decisions that are best for them by sharing my knowledge, providing honest feedback, offering pros and cons and, ultimately, respecting the fact they are adults. It is my responsibility to help them make connections with other faculty, staff and community members who can help them reach their goals.  What is one word that best describes you?   Selfless. I very rarely do anything with myself in mind. This may be to a fault at times but doing what’s right for the greater good is what drives me.  What is your favorite spot to eat in Kansas City?   There are too many great places in KC to choose from, but I will say Jazz’s Louisiana Kitchen because I LOVE Cajun and spicy foods. Peachtree Buffet is also one of my favorites.  Where’s your favorite spot to hang out/visit in Kansas City?   My aunt and uncle’s front porch on a Saturday night.  "For many student affairs professionals, our connections with our students last beyond graduation, sometimes even for life." What’s your favorite spot on campus?   The Student Union, specifically the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, which is where my office is located. I love all the noise and energy from the students in the building and the opportunity to interact with them daily. Being around students everyday has definitely kept me youthful.  What is one piece of advice you’d give someone looking to grow their career at UMKC?   I would advise new employees to take some time to understand the culture of UMKC, lean on their colleagues with tenure for support, and to never be afraid to ask questions.  What is one piece of advice you’d give a student wanting to follow in your footsteps?  Start protecting your image and reputation now, and nurture existing relationships because you NEVER know who you will need later when you get into the field.  Learn More About Multicultural Student Affairs Aug 24, 2020

  • Introducing a New Department: Race, Ethnic and Gender Studies

    REGS is in the College of Arts and Sciences and offers many opportunities
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will offer a new academic department starting in the fall semester: Race, Ethnic and Gender Studies (REGS) in the College of Arts and Sciences. The REGS Department’s interdisciplinary curriculum teaches critical thinking through an examination of historical and contemporary problems and expands student understanding of the intersection of gender, culture and society. The department currently offers minors in three interest areas: Black Studies; Latinx and Latin American Studies; and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Students are able to pursue a specialized focus while enhancing their major in the humanities, social sciences or natural sciences. The minors provide flexibility to allow for the creation of a course of study suited to individual student interests. A proposal for a Race, Ethnic, and Gender Studies major is in development. “The REGS Department truly reflects who we are as an urban, public university community. UMKC REGS alumni will be the future leaders who will insist on and play a significant role in creating a more socially just Kansas City community.” - Provost Jenny Lundgren, Ph.D. “This is the course of study we need to offer right now, during this period of raised consciousness and expanding opportunity,” said Toya Like, Ph.D., interim chair of the REGS Department and associate professor of criminal justice and criminology. “Individuals and organizations across the country are recognizing that they have a lot of work to do if they want to expand social justice, and that work will need to be guided by well-educated professionals with a deep understanding of the roots of injustice.” Employers in business, law, education, communications, the arts, government, medicine and public and social services actively recruit job candidates with knowledge and training in issues of race, ethnicity, sexuality and gender. The goal is for REGS to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree and minors for the Fall 2021 semester, and students can start earning credits toward that with the currently available minors. The degree will focus on the intersectionality of race, ethnic, gender and sexuality studies. “Creation of a REGS Department is the culmination of years of research, effort and activism by students, faculty, alumni and community stakeholders,” said Kati Toivanen, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The result is a strong interdisciplinary program featuring some of our most accomplished faculty from multiple disciplines representing diverse perspectives.” “This is the course of study we need to offer right now, during this period of raised consciousness and expanding opportunity. Individuals and organizations across the country are recognizing that they have a lot of work to do if they want to expand social justice, and that work will need to be guided by well-educated professionals with a deep understanding of the roots of injustice.” - Toya Like, Ph.D. A few of the faculty in addition to Like include Brenda Bethman, Ph.D., associate teaching professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies and director of the UMKC Women’s Center, who was integral in helping form the department and developing the new degree; Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D., Latinx and Latin Studies and planning professor; Linda Mitchell, Ph.D., Martha Jane Phillips Starr Missouri Distinguished Endowed Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and professor of history. “Our classes fill up semester after semester because UMKC students are interested in the intersectionality in these areas of study,” Bethman said. “It is rewarding that we can offer this new robust course of study that will provide students with the opportunity to eventually major or double major in REGS.” Internship programs will provide opportunities for undergraduate or graduate students to gain on-site experience. In some cases, students can receive 1 to 4 hours of academic credit while learning and working in off- or on-campus placements. Kansas City offers numerous opportunities. When travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted, REGS along with other departments will once again host a study-abroad program in Senegal, West Africa. UMKC is known for its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and is consistently striving to improve at every level. REGS is one of the ways the university is strengthening academics based on this core mission. “The REGS Department truly reflects who we are as an urban, public university community,” said UMKC Provost Jenny Lundgren, Ph.D. “UMKC REGS alumni will be the future leaders who will insist on and play a significant role in creating a more socially just Kansas City community.” Aug 24, 2020

  • UMKC Welcomes Back Students

    Kansas City television station covers the first day of the new semester
    UMKC welcomed students back to campus Monday. KSHB talked to Michael Graves, director of facilities operations, about the new semester and changes students will see. Aug 24, 2020

  • Stressed? Help and Healthy Resources Are Available

    An interview with the UMKC counseling director about coping with COVID-19
    The strain of starting a new school year combined with the personal and global effects of the coronavirus pandemic may be unavoidable. But there are resources available to help manage stress and anxiety. Arnie Abels, Ph.D., director of Counseling, Health, Testing and Disability Services at UMKC, suggests strengthening your assets may help you manage your emotional needs. “One thing to remember is that every experience is individual,” Abels said. “For some people, the continued isolation is a huge blow. Those folks may need to be creative – trying new activities or using Zoom or online activities – to stay connected to other students, friends and family. For others, the physical constraints may be more challenging. Especially at the beginning of a new academic year, they may need to figure out how to get enough sleep, the best way to exercise and create a routine. Others’ primary concerns may be financial as they try to find jobs and possibly change living situations. All of this is valid. Each of us needs to understand that all of these things are important and manage our own individual emotional needs.” “One thing to remember is that every experience is individual.” - Arnie Abels He notes that returning students may be feeling completely differently than freshmen. “For first-time college students, adjusting to everything new can be exciting and challenging,” Abels said. “Returning students may be frustrated and disappointed that campus life is still disrupted.” Noticing an increase of posts on social media related to alcohol and drugs, Abels cautions about turning to substances for relief. “First, smoking cigarettes or cannabis creates vulnerability in your lungs, which we all need to avoid,” he said. “We don’t judge, but we want to encourage people to make healthy choices. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink – if you’re of legal age – but drinking to excess can create difficult situations with difficult consequences, especially if you are using it to avoid feelings.” There are healthier ways to deal with stress. “Getting enough sleep is very important,” Abels said. “One of the things that may help with this is regular exercise. Eating healthy will feel better. But not everything needs to be productive. Along with online exercise videos, Swinney Rec is offering a video-gaming competition. That could be a great escape as well.” Abels encourages people to take the opportunity to see how we can grow and become better individually and as a group. “Personally, I’m writing letters to the people I care about. It’s a creative process for me and it allows me to let people know in a way that may be out of the ordinary and maybe more special than an email or text.” Mental Health Resources Personal counseling Counseling Services provides several opportunities for students. Walk-in crisis hours for any student weekdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Most group meetings are available on-line and counseling appointments are telehealth as well. Mind Body Connection will be reopening with limited services as soon as student staff workers are hired. Movement Matters Fitness classes available on campus, Instagram stories and Esports including PS4 and X-Box Fifa and Madden Help at Your Fingertips The Sanvello app provides on-demand help for stress, anxiety and depression, including videos for coping with COVID-19. Additional Resources Roos for Mental Health has additional resources. Disability Services is open from 8:30 a.m. to  5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but the office is encouraging virtual visits. To set up an Accommodations Plan or address questions about accommodated exams or notetaking, details are available on the site. The Employee Assistance Program has a wide range of resources related to both work and life, including tools for coping with COVID-19. The Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK.) Aug 21, 2020

  • UMKC Week of Welcome Creates Connection

    WoW now more than ever
    UMKC faculty, staff and student leaders welcomed our new and returning Roos with the same confidence and enthusiasm as always. Showing up and connecting has never been more important, which was evident in the online activities that made up Week of Welcome. While events were virtual, common experiences and common goals still connect students in a unique way. This year’s Week of Welcome  ‑ or WoW ‑ included Residential Life housing floor meetings, where students drew Roos with the guidance of local artist Josh Ware and had the opportunity to participate in Late Night with the Greeks Trivia. Brandon Henderson, Student Government Association president, encouraged freshmen to get involved in one of the more than 250 student organizations. “You are embarking on your journey. The most exciting part is the time you will spend outside the classroom,” Henderson said. “No matter who you are, you’ll find a space on campus to call your own.” “No matter who you are, you’ll find a space on campus to call your own.” - Brandon Henderson Convocation embraced new students by celebrating their addition to our UMKC family with the traditional UMKC Pinning Ceremony. A longtime tradition, this ceremony signifies the inclusion of new students into our UMKC family. Chancellor Mauli Agrawal noted that this year’s virtual convocation was a great example of how the university is balancing being careful with health with a real campus experience. “I hope you are as eager as I am to get started,” he said. “Today marks the beginning of the best four years of your life. From this moment on you are officially part of the UMKC family.” This year’s freshman class and new students will always have a special story to tell about the commitment to their future that they undertook at a challenging time. That commitment will draw this class together in a unique way. To this year’s students we say: “WoW!” We can’t wait to get to know you. Aug 21, 2020

  • Classes, Procedures Looking Different at UMKC as Students Begin Moving In

    Fox4KC stopped by campus on Monday to learn what's new
    College students started moving into dorms on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus Monday. Check out John Pepitone's story online. Aug 17, 2020

  • College Freshmen Still Excited Despite Coronavirus Precautions

    Local television station previews UMKC move-in
    Aug. 17 was the first day for move-in at UMKC. Like almost everything else in 2020, it’s going to look a lot different than in years past. Read the story by KCTV5. The station came back on the first day of move-in and covered the story again. Aug 16, 2020

  • ReboundKC: New Grant for Minority-Owned Businesses Is Accepting Applications

    Charlie Keegan with KSHB interviewed Rebecca Gubbels of the UMKC Innovation Center about new grant
    Beginning at noon, Monday, Aug. 17, the Kauffman Foundation and UMKC Innovation Center began accepting applications for the Kansas City Minority Business Resiliency Grant. The full story is on the KSHB website. Aug 16, 2020

  • Athletics Get Hopping at UMKC

    Brandon Martin featured on the Aug. 14 cover story of the Kansas City Business Journal
    When people talk about Division 1 college athletics in the metro area, the University of Missouri-Kansas City rarely enters the conversation. Brandon Martin vows to change that. Read the full article. Aug 14, 2020

  • Emergency Team Helped Dental Patients Through Months of Shutdown

    When everything became 'after hours,' School of Dentistry faculty kept emergency care available.
    Ask a person with a toothache to list “essential workers” and chances are “dentist” will top the list. So when most UMKC operations closed and moved online for the pandemic, some School of Dentistry faculty stayed on call for emergency patients. “Three of us were used to taking turns answering emergency calls after hours,” Cynthia Petrie, associate professor and chair of the Department of Restorative Clinical Sciences. “Suddenly, everything was ‘after hours,’ but we worked together to get our patients through the difficult time when the school closed.” Another member of the emergency team, Ahmed Zarrough, clinical assistant professor, said they did their best with phone calls and teledentistry to determine the nature and severity of callers’ conditions. Though initial pain relief often could be taken care of over the phone, the team members didn’t hesitate to have patients come in when needed — and to call on their specialist colleagues. “We could do restorative work,” Zarrough said, “but I have to give a big shout out to endodontics and oral surgery. When patients needed an extraction or a root canal, those specialists stepped in and took care of them.” Similarly, Petrie said, problems with braces led to frequent calls to the school’s orthodontists. “Orthodontists rarely get emergencies,” Petrie said, when their practices are open. But with their practices shut down, “they had a couple of emergencies every day.” An important part of the emergency team’s work was advising and reassuring callers, especially early in the pandemic, said Melynda Meredith, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Restorative Clinical Sciences who is the third member of the school’s emergency dental team. “We were a counseling service of sorts for concerned patients,” she said. “Some of them were so scared at first. There was so much unknown in March and April, and if you even had a minor dental issue, it made it seem more severe. But just being there to offer reassurance — to let them know it will be OK — seemed to help a lot. And once I got out of my house and came back to the school the first time, I felt much better, too.” “I have to give a big shout out to endodontics and oral surgery. When patients needed an extraction or a root canal, those specialists stepped in and took care of them.” — Ahmed Zarrough If anything, she said, patients with urgent needs might have been seen more quickly during the shutdown. “Before, we could always say ‘come in tomorrow’ or ‘come in Monday’ if a problem could wait,” Meredith said. “But with everything closed, we got people in as quickly as we could.” Though the team members didn’t work side-by-side, they said communication with one another and with other colleagues was a key to providing excellent care during the shutdown. For example, the school donated most of its personal protective equipment to hospitals nearby, but the dental faculty who run the clinics made sure to keep enough on hand for emergencies. “We also made sure to let each other know about patients who might need continuing care,”  Zarrough said, “and to plan ahead.” The team members’ triage duties have lessened a bit as the school slowly and carefully reopens its clinics. An operator is back on phone duty most days from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and some non-emergency patients are being scheduled (primarily those who had to stop mid-treatment when things shutdown). But the team members still cover emergencies after hours and are ready to do whatever is needed. “We have hundreds of patients,” Petrie said, “and with our added precautions, we don’t expect to be able to treat the same volume we did before. But we will provide safe, excellent care — and continue to handle the emergencies as they arise.”     Aug 13, 2020

  • Masks, Small Classes, No Parties. How Colleges Plan to Keep Students Safe From COVID

    The Kansas City Star interviewed UMKC faculty, staff and students for back-to-school article
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will test dorm residents before they move in, and vending machines are now loaded with personal protective equipment. UMKC faculty, staff and students were interviewed for the article, which included two videos about UMKC welcome kits that include a mask and hand sanitizer as well as the vending machines. Read the Kansas City Star article or the story picked up by the Wichita Eagle. Aug 13, 2020

  • Campus Survey on Fall Semester Supports Mask Policy

    Responses on class modality vary widely
    A July survey of students, faculty and staff revealed deep and widespread support for a face covering requirement on campus for fall semester. While the campus face covering policy announced last week is based on best available medical advice, the survey indicates strong support for that decision. The survey also sought student preferences with regard to in-person, online and blended class modalities. Responses varied widely among various student groups – new students, returning students, graduate students and professional students – but one consistent factor was a strong preference for asynchronous online courses (students engage with the course on their own schedule) over synchronous courses (class sessions conducted live at a scheduled time). Survey results will inform decisions on in-person, online and blended class options in the spring. Here are highlights of the survey results: 90% of faculty and staff and 83.9% of students agreed that face coverings should be required while you are physically on-campus. The UMKC policy is that face coverings or masks are required in all indoor spaces, except when you're alone in a private office, and are required in all outside spaces when physical distancing of six feet cannot be maintained per Kansas City order.  Class modality preferences: Incoming new students: 56.2% prefer face-to-face, 46.1% blended and 25.6% asynchronous online courses All undergraduate students: 42.9% prefer asynchronous online, 40.1% face-to-face and 37.2% blended Graduate students: 40.4% prefer blended, followed by any online modality Professional students: 46.6% prefer face-to-face, 34.4% blended and 29.1% asynchronous online Note: percentages on class modality preferences are not cumulative since this question allowed students to select multiple preferences. Student meetings/consultations with faculty and staff: Incoming new students preferred appointments over walk-in unscheduled sessions, either in-person or virtual Exceptions: walk-in preferred for Student Health and Wellness and UMKC Central All other students preferred virtual sessions by appointment Exception: walk-in preferred for Student Health and Wellness Survey response rates: more than 6,000 students, faculty, and staff responded Faculty: 23.6% Staff: 28.5% Students: 30.7% Aug 11, 2020

  • Managing a Safe Return to Campus

    Personal responsibility will be a key factor
    People want to know: Is it really safe to return to campus during a pandemic? University officials conducted a webinar for employees on Aug. 10 and for students on Aug. 11 that explained in detail how this can be accomplished with a high level of cooperation from the university community. The hour-long webinars included detailed explanations from campus experts about risks, the steps UMKC is taking to minimize those risks, and the vital role individuals must play to manage risks on an ongoing basis. Chancellor Mauli Agrawal said occurrences of COVID-19 on campus during the semester are all but inevitable, but if we all do our part, the spread can be controlled. “The virus is with us, but the good news is we can keep it under control,” the chancellor said. Personal responsibility, many of the presenters emphasized, is key. If students, faculty, staff and visitors are disciplined about three fundamental behaviors – wearing face coverings, maintaining at least six feet of distance from others and frequent, thorough hand washing – the risk of on-campus transmission will be significantly reduced. Another vital step is for anyone who gets sick to notify campus authorities immediately, and stay home.  Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., is dean of the UMKC School of Medicine and an infectious disease expert who has counseled Kansas City and Missouri state government leaders on pandemic response. She pointed out that the mortality rate from COVID-19 infections is three times higher for black patients compared to the population as a whole, and two times higher for Hispanic patients. “This is an example of health inequity driven by systemic racism,” she said. Jackson added that the primary source of transmission is personal contact; the risk of contracting COVID-19 from a contaminated surface such as a countertop is much lower than originally believed. Nevertheless, Mike Graves of Campus Facilities Management said their team has been hard at work all summer and will continue a stepped-up regimen of cleaning and sanitizing across campus. “We’ve been here all along. We have flushed water systems in buildings and improved air circulation in HVAC systems,“ he said. “We know we are going to have positive cases. We have a plan to respond.” Obie Austin, Student Health and Wellness administrator, said his team will play a major role in that response as well, working to trace the movements and contacts of people who test positive for the virus and advising people on proper isolation or quarantine steps. “If at any point you can’t remember what to do or you’re not sure, call us,” Austin said. Student Health and Wellness can be reached at 816-235-6133. Provost Jenny Lundgren said the academic operation is fully prepared as well. UMKC faculty participated in training specifically for effective online teaching. For the fall semester, the university will be offering approximately 50% of classes online, 40% percent in person and 10% via hybrid delivery. “Students will have a wonderful experience because of the hard work of our faculty,” Lundgren said. The full range of student success services, from advising to financial aid, will be offered via a mix of virtual and face-to-face modes; appointments are recommended in most cases but walk-ins will be allowed in many offices. In the student webinar, Kristen Temple, UMKC Residential Life director, addressed the steps taken to prepare the physical spaces and configure the rooms. Guests will not be permitted in the residence halls, except for move-in help (two guests per student). Students living on campus must submit a negative COVID-19 test result before moving in, from a test taken no more than 7 days before their official move-in date. The Student Services Office has a list of testing locations that provide test results within 24 to 48 hours. "All spaces are ready for you," Temple said. Changes to campus dining services were addressed by Jody Jeffries, manager of Student Union Operations and Student Auxiliary Services. Although seating capacity in the UMKC dining center will be reduced to allow for physical distancing, all but one menu option will be offered. Open area cooking will not be offered. UMKC retail dining services will also be open. Students will have the opportunity to dine in person or take their orders to go. Order ahead and pay ahead services have also been added to the offerings, including the Bite by Sodexo App. Lundgren also urged faculty and staff to refer to the UMKC coronavirus website to get full details on all aspects of preparation and response to the pandemic. A recording of the student webinar is available online. Aug 11, 2020

  • UMKC Innovation Center Launches Grant Program for Minority Businesses

    The Kansas City Business Journal reports on new funding opportunities
    The UMKC Innovation Center has partnered with local banks to help close the funding gap for minority-owned businesses in the Kansas City metro. Read the full article. Aug 11, 2020

  • ‘They Know It’s Wrong.’ Some Call on Scouts to Change Use of Native American Culture

    Kansas City Star interviews UMKC professor
    Robert Prue, a professor of social work at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said his scouting experiences years ago didn’t involve Native American traditions, but when he moved to Kansas City he learned more about Mic-O-Say and its various traditions. You can read the full article with a Kansas City Star subscription. Aug 11, 2020

  • Biden’s Historic VP Selection Receives Positive Reaction In the Metro

    Fox4KC taps UMKC political science professor for commentary
    This fall UMKC Associate Dean and Political Science Professor Beth Vonnahme will be teaching a class called “The Road to the White House.” She says that race now starts in earnest. Read more from Fox4KC. Aug 11, 2020

  • With COVID-19's Spread Comes Serious Ethical Dilemmas

    KCUR includes UMKC ethics professor on panel discussion
    Clancy Martin, professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was a guest on KCUR's Up to Date. Aug 11, 2020

  • AI Could Help Track Response to Anti-VEGF Therapy for Diabetic Macular Edema

    Medscape covers commentary by UMKC School of Medicine professor
    In a linked commentary, Peter Koulen, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and colleagues write, “These findings are in accordance with previous work demonstrating aflibercept’s superiority compared with other anti-VEGF treatments in improving functional and anatomical outcomes in DME, particularly in patients with a BCVA of 20/50 or worse.” Read the full article. Aug 10, 2020

  • Nursing Research Mentor Knows: Horses Are Good for You

    Sharon White-Lewis oversees a rare nursing doctoral research program in equine therapy.
    Betting on a horse at the racetrack is a good way to lose your money. But betting on horses to help people heal turned out to be a sure thing for Sharon White-Lewis, earning her a Ph.D. and making her a unique mentor and leading researcher in the field of equine therapy. Horses have been used for therapy since at least the second century, but research documenting their therapeutic benefits is a relatively recent development, said White-Lewis, an assistant professor in the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies. Her review of equine-therapy research was published in 2017, and she found benefits for all sorts of patients, from veterans with PTSD and women recovering from breast cancer to cerebral palsy patients who regained nerve function and muscle strength through horseback riding. “The physical and psychological effects are huge,” said White-Lewis. “Some people walk who have never walked before. Autistic kids talk who never talked before. Horseback riding stimulates all five senses. It’s fascinating what it can do.” Her own doctoral research at UMKC found that a regular riding program for adults with arthritis decreased their pain, increased their range of motion and improved their quality of life in just six weeks. She’s currently following up with research involving the biomarkers — molecules in the bloodstream —that indicate cartilage and muscle damage, to track how much they decrease with equine therapy as a way to measure its effectiveness. Besides earning her doctorate, White-Lewis joined the UMKC faculty, and now she wants prospective nursing graduate students to know that they, too, can do equine-therapy research at UMKC, with most of their costs covered. She particularly likes the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, which forgives 85% of advanced-degree students’ loans in return for serving as nursing faculty or hospital preceptors.  “Some people walk who have never walked before. Autistic kids talk who never talked before. Horseback riding stimulates all five senses. It’s fascinating what it can do.” —Sharon White-Lewis  As White-Lewis sees it, “It can take five years to earn your doctorate, so why not spend that time working with horses and having most of your expenses covered?” She has identified more than two dozen medical uses for horses, so there are plenty of types of therapy to research. And as more high-level research is conducted to document the benefits, she said, equine therapy could gain insurance coverage and benefit more people. White-Lewis currently has one student doing doctoral equine-therapy research, Holly Bowron Hainley of San Diego. She’s a certified nurse practitioner and has a non-profit organization in Southern California that promotes the psychological benefits of equine therapy by bringing miniature horses to schools and clinics. Like White-Lewis, she’s hoping equine therapy can spread through greater awareness and more evidence leading to insurance reimbursement. Bowron Hainley, whose research involves people with eating disorders, said, “Our goal is to have the kind of data you could show a health system saying that if you would reimburse, say, $10,000 for a person to be part of this equine-assisted intervention program, it would save you $30,000 you would have to spend otherwise on psychotherapy, medication, and hospitalization for relapses. “I can’t tell you how many people tell me my work is the first time they’ve ever actually seen a horse in person. And I’m in California where it’s much easier to have horses than in many parts of the country. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this therapy was more widely available and affordable?” Bowron Hainley also hopes others interested in equine therapy research will find White-Lewis. Though such research can be done under a variety of disciplines, from psychology and psychiatry to physical, speech and rehabilitation therapy, such research at nursing schools is rare. “I did some deep searches, and she appears to be the only nursing faculty in the country mentoring equine therapy research,” Bowron Hainley said. “When I read her dissertation, I said, ‘This is what I want to do.’ ” “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this therapy was more widely available and affordable?” —Holly Bowron Hainley  White-Lewis hopes for more doctoral students and pointed out that the research could be done in and around Kansas City, or elsewhere as Bowron Hainley is doing. “My husband and I own four horses and two miniature horses,” said White-Lewis, who also noted that there are several good stables and riding programs around the area. Her work also has drawn international attention. Her published analysis of equine-assisted therapy helped clarify terms in the field, and her dissertation led to a consortium of researchers in Spain, the United States and six other countries planning to perform extensive further research like hers on equine therapy for arthritis. For all she has done in equine therapy research, White-Lewis is no one-trick pony at the School of Nursing and Health Studies. She also leads the school’s emergency response studies and teaches quantitative research and disaster preparedness for nurses. As an expert in emergency response, she has helped with local efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus, and she will help teach a COVID-19 course the school is adding this fall. But it’s also clear that horses, and equine therapy, have a special place in her heart. “It’s gratifying that physicians, occupational therapists and other professionals in other countries are working on this,” White-Lewis said. “But I want to see more equine therapy research at UMKC. Its benefits are fascinating, from physical improvements to psychosocial and mental health. We just need more nurse researchers willing to look into the applications and gain evidence to support it.”  Aug 07, 2020

  • Future of Policing: Part 1

    Panelists address police reform in Kansas City
    The Future of Policing is the second discussion in the Critical Conversations series sponsored by the office of UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer was the latest chapter in a bigger story. From police stops to use of force and arrests to incarceration and the death penalty, nearly every aspect of the criminal justice system is pervaded by racial disparities. On July 30, panelists discussed the history of policing and actions for reform moving forward, focusing on Kansas City. Another Critical Conversations discussion will be held on Aug. 27 to further examine the future of policing. Participating panelists included: Gary O’Bannon (co-moderator), executive-in-residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management and former director of human resources, City of Kansas City, Missouri Jasmine Ward (co-moderator), third-year student at the UMKC School of Law Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County prosecutor Emanuel Cleaver III, senior pastor, St. James United Methodist Church Damon Daniel, president, AdHoc Group Against Crime Toya Like, associate professor, UMKC Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology The importance of engaging the community and rebuilding trust of the police was a common theme throughout the discussion. In Kansas City, panelists said a lack of local control, unresolved complaints, unsolved cases and biased policing has resulted in distrust of the police. Currently, the city does not have local control over its police department — making it the only city in Missouri and one of the largest in the U.S. that doesn’t govern its own police force. The Kansas City Police Department is controlled by a five-member board (among the members is Mayor Quinton Lucas) appointed by the governor. The argument for local control has pros (making decisions regarding police without having to go through Jefferson City) and cons (the challenge of putting together a new structure for the KCPD). Whether or not the city gains local control over the police department, Cleaver suggested forming an independent review board to address community complaints in an effort to foster trust. Right now, complaints are overseen by the police department and community members feel many are unresolved. Peters Baker added that two out of 10 violent crimes come to her office for charges, meaning that eight cases go unsolved leading to further distrust of police. Calls to reallocate funding and increase training for police officers have been heard across the country. All the panelists agreed that changes in funding should be considered, including training on recognizing bias, ongoing psychological evaluations for officers and systematically reviewing cases where excessive force was used to improve future encounters. Like wants to remove confusion around defunding the police, a common call-to-action during recent protests, by putting community safety and reformation at the forefront. Watch the discussion in its entirety below and check-in on the original story to see when part two of the future of policing will be announced this fall.    Aug 07, 2020

  • Education Faculty Publish Award-Winning Collection of Essays

    Womanish Black Girls/Women Resisting Contradictions of Silence and Voice
    “Womanish.” It’s an anthology of stories meant to break the silence and spark conversation surrounding key issues around power and transformation among Black women, and two School of Education faculty members – professor Loyce Caruthers, Ph.D. and professor emerita Dianne Smith, Ph.D. – are among the trio of editors who compiled this award-winning literature. Since it was published in 2019, Womanish has received two awards and sold out twice. Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award, 2020 American Educational Studies Association Critic's Choice Book Award, 2019 While it can serve as a secondary text in academia, Caruthers and Smith said book clubs from Kansas City to North Carolina have read and discussed the collection of essays. “We all have different interpretations about what womanish means, but one of the common themes was about speaking your mind and being heard." - Smith “There is a lot of hope and self-empowerment in this book,” said Caruthers. “The themes in each of the stories shed light on things that have impacted all of our lives that we don’t always understand.” The editors said the power of the book comes from breaking the silence about topics from abuse to religion to the stereotypes and sexualization of Black women and girls. Each of the writers pulls from personal and familial life experiences to share how their lives were shaped from childhood to adulthood. “'Womanish' for me comes from the fact that we are sexualized too early as little girls. There was also Black male patriarchy where we were to be seen and not heard,”  Smith said. “I used to ask my Sunday School teacher why Eve was blamed for the fruit and not Adam, and I was shamed for that.” The idea for “Womanish” stems from Smith’s dissertation and previous writings, which focus on themes surrounding race and racism, feminist theory, critical educational theory and curriculum theory. When the opportunity came to publish a book, she said knew she needed to include more than one Black woman’s voice, so she invited Caruthers and Shaunda Fowler, principal of Troost Elementary in Kansas City, to contribute and serve as co-editors. “The themes in each of the stories shed light on things that have impacted all of our lives that we don’t always understand.” - Caruthers Each woman has her own story to tell, they have each had various experiences growing up being called “womanish.” “We all have different interpretations about what womanish means, but one of the common themes was about speaking your mind and being heard. A lot of it has to do with our mothers protecting us from cultural and social oppression,” said Smith, adding that the book, for some, is hard to read. Caruthers said “Womanish” is about each author grappling with the secrets of their lives, things that they know happen to women but that become silenced and left unaddressed. “Womanish” is a book for every generation of woman from every walk of life, says its writers. The list of authors includes women from academia and from the broader community. Voices from the past and present can be heard as, throughout the book, each writer chose different Black women authors and theorists to pull from as influence and inspiration: Audrey Lorde, Alice Walker, Brittany Cooper, Rebecca Walker and Maya Angelou and Joy James, who authored the foreward, are among the voices you can expect to be presented in this collection of work. “If you don’t know where you’ve been,” said Caruthers, “you don’t know where you’re going.” Aug 06, 2020

  • UMKC Foundation Celebrates Record Year

    Donors respond with increases across the board in challenging year
    The UMKC Foundation has had a year of record giving with significant increases in both contributions and donors. This year’s donations are 35% greater than the previous record year, with gains in all areas of giving. “We are thrilled with the level of support that we have received from the community and our alumni through donations,” said Lisa Baronio, UMKC Foundation President and UMKC Chief Advancement Officer. “This year, we celebrate our donors who have provided contributions that totaled more than $59 million. To receive an increase in giving at this level in a year that has proved so challenging for so many people is reflective of the recognition of the great work UMKC is doing and our staff.” The Marion and Henry Bloch Foundation and the Sunderland Foundation that support programming integral to student success as well as capital commitments represent a significant component of the donations. But individual giving increased as well. “More than 20,000 donors contributed 103,789 gifts,” said Baronio, who recently celebrated her first year at UMKC. “And we also achieved a $20,000 increase in annual giving – a small, but significant increase.” These donations represent increased funding to programs, scholarships and emergency funds as well as capital improvements. This year the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation donated $21 million to support three initiatives: $11.8 million for programming within the Bloch School of Management; $8 million for infrastructure improvements to and expansion of the Bloch Heritage Hall building; and $1.2 million to support RooStrong, the university’s new program for increasing student retention, six-year graduation rates and career outcomes. “We are deeply grateful to donors who support UMKC with gifts at any level,” - UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal  The Sunderland Foundation’s $15 million gift provided significant support for capital improvements on both UMKC campuses including $5 million for renovations to Bloch Heritage Hall, which has not received an upgrade since 1986, and $3 million for the School of Law for renovations of classrooms and student services. In addition to major gifts, individual support of more than $70,000 to the Student Emergency Fund provided funds to help students stay in school and with basic living expenses during the COVID-19 crisis. “We are deeply grateful to donors who support UMKC with gifts at any level,” UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal said. “We view this as strong message of confidence in the university, as well as our students, faculty and staff and an investment in future success. I commend the UMKC Foundation on their dedication and diligence in helping to generate these resources.” Aug 06, 2020

  • Guidelines for Events and Meetings on Campus

    Safe planning ensures physically and mentally healthy Roos
    Thinking about hosting an event this semester? Returning to campus creates needed opportunity for connecting and collaborating. In order to facilitate meetings and events in the safest possible way, the university has developed guidelines incorporating the latest information on preventing the spread of COVID-19.  Safe and successful events can be arranged with three criteria: Make it easy for attendees to touch fewer surfaces Allow touchless check-in Manage space effectively Creating opportunities to register online can provide a high level of touchless interaction. Digital registration also creates an opportunity for attendees to print digital credentials at home, eliminating the need to pick up materials at the event. Digital registration information also allows organizers the opportunity to communicate staggered arrival times and ensures effective communication if follow-up information related to exposure or contact tracing is necessary. If on-site registration is necessary, plexiglass shields are recommended between registration staff and registrants and masks are required for registration staff. All attendees must wear masks as well. In addition, advanced digital registration allows organizers to plan for the necessary space for the number of attendees. While rooms can be arranged with seating six feet apart, meeting rooms with stadium seating may require seats to be blocked to allow distancing. Directional arrows on the floor can provide clear guidelines on traffic flow that enable attendees to limit interaction. Pre-packaged food provided by a fully licensed caterer ensures that attendees will not be sharing serving utensils or condiments. Bottled beverages may be used at self-serve drink stations, and pre-wrapped utensils are required. Hand sanitizer throughout the event – at the meeting room entrance and exit, food and beverage stations and restrooms – are key to encouraging the elimination of spreading. Face masks are required and should be worn whenever people are within six feet as recommended by the CDC. Communicating as much information as possible to attendees in advance allows all attendees to understand the expectations and make appropriate accommodations when visiting campus. For further information, including suggested room seating diagrams, please visit the Events section of the Coronavirus site. Aug 06, 2020

  • Conservatory Professor's Work Will be Featured in Gala

    Yotam Haber won the Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music prize
    The Azrieli Foundation will present its biennial Azrieli Music Prizes Gala Concert on Oct. 22. Yotam Haber's work will be featured in the gala. Haber is a UMKC Conservatory associate professor. Read the full article online. Aug 06, 2020

  • Health Sciences Student’s UMKC Education Began in Kindergarten

    Alea Roberts aspires to a career in nursing
    Name: Alea Roberts Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri High School: Raytown High School  UMKC degree program: Health Sciences, Pre-Nursing Track Anticipated graduation year: 2022  Get to know our people and you'll know what UMKC is all about. Alea Roberts has her sights set on nursing school, but as she makes her way through her undergraduate degree, she works with Jumpstart, a program to encourage kindergarten success for children in under-resourced communities. Alea's history with UMKC began in kindergarten, so her experience has come full circle. “I participated in programs at UMKC from kindergarten through 12th grade,” Alea says. “I did a summer reading program in elementary school, I was in the Young Achievers program my sophomore year of high school and I did the Summer Scholars program my junior and senior years.” She also picked up some dual credit classes in high school that went through UMKC. So it’s no surprise that she is pursuing her dream of nursing school, hopefully at UMKC. “I love the medical field!” Alea says. “There is a vast selection of careers to choose from and there will always be demand as a health care worker, even more so as a nurse. I want to meet new people every day, never stop learning and make a difference in someone's life. Nursing is a great path to achieve all of these goals.” Beyond her interest in nursing, Alea is a team leader for Jumpstart. Her work there has been eye-opening. “When we walk into the classroom wearing our red T-shirts, all of the children's faces light up and they run to give us hugs, even on the first day we meet them.” - Alea Roberts “When we walk into the classroom wearing our red T-shirts, all of the children's faces light up and they run to give us hugs, even on the first day we meet them,” Alea says. “There are children from many different cultural and economic backgrounds, some who face devastating hardships at home. School becomes a safe haven for them.” The Jumpstart teams are made up of four to five people who spend two hours a day twice a week in the classroom reading and playing games. As a team leader, Alea also teaches short sessions on topics relating to the children’s current curriculum. She develops close relationships with the students. “We really encourage them and make them feel special. When they show us their projects, we really react. ‘You did so well! You used all those colors! You made that shape? I can see all the hard work you did.’ That’s what connects them to us.” As a team leader, Alea also spends time in the office preparing materials, meeting with supervisors and her other team members. She never feels as if the hours she puts in feel like work. “Jumpstart is different than people might expect. We tutor, but it feels as if we’re playing all day. We get to spend hours being big kids. And it’s a great opportunity to help out with our community.” “Jumpstart is different than people might expect. We tutor, but it feels as if we’re playing all day.” This year’s session ended a week early because of COVID-19 precautions. It was a tough transition. “Our job is to be a pillar of stability and encouragement while providing a way of learning that connects to each kiddo,” Alea says. “We ended up doing our year-end celebration and wrap-up online. It wasn’t the happiest ending, but we made the best of it.” Alea’s experiences at Jumpstart have influenced her career direction. “Now I’m sure I will be in the pediatric field,” she says. “I have seen how much kids can struggle and how they need someone who sees them. I learned that in Jumpstart. I know there’s so much I can do in the health field.”   Aug 05, 2020

  • Director Hired for UMKC Center for Health Insights

    Lemuel Russell "Russ" Waitman also will teach at the School of Medicine, help lead UM System’s precision health effort
    Lemuel Russell “Russ” Waitman, Ph.D., will join UMKC on Oct. 1 as the director of the Center for Health Insights at the School of Medicine. He also will be a professor in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics. The center partners with Truman Medical Centers and Cerner Health Facts to use de-identified health systems data to conduct data-driven research for biomedical discovery and to gain insights into usage and comparative effectiveness of treatment to improve patient safety and quality of care. “We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Waitman, who can help accelerate our research at the university to help improve health care for millions of people,” said Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. “We look forward to his leadership at the UMKC Center for Health Insights and expanding our outcomes research enterprise.” Waitman also will spend time at the University of Missouri System’s campus in Columbia as the director of medical information for the NextGen Precision Health Institute, which fosters big data medical research at the UM system’s four campuses. He also will be the Columbia campus’ associate dean for informatics and vice chair for informatics and professor in its Department of Health Management and Informatics. He also will be an adjunct professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine there. In his new position, Waitman plans to split his time between the campuses. He will work one day a week from his UMKC office at the School of Medicine and spend the rest of his time working from the Columbia campus. “This is a transformational hire to the University of Missouri System, as MU and UMKC have jointly worked together to make a recruitment of this type happen,” said Richard Barohn, M.D., executive vice chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Missouri. “Dr. Waitman is a national leader in medical informatics and is well known around the country as an informatics researcher at the top of his field. We hope this is the first of a number of systemwide recruits that will further our mission to provide leading-edge research and world-class health care to Missourians.” Waitman's research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Waitman established the Greater Plains Collaborative, which linked the electronic medical records for a dozen academic health centers in the Midwest, Utah and Texas to enable investigators to access clinical data to perform leading-edge precision health research. The University of Missouri has been part of the Greater Plains Collaborative for several years as one of the collaborating sites. “By working together, we have an opportunity to create a stronger environment for investigators from all schools.” —Russ Waitman Since 2010, Waitman has served as a professor of internal medicine, the director of the Center for Medical Informatics and Enterprise Analytics, and as the associate vice chancellor for Enterprise Analytics at the University of Kansas Medical Center. There, he has worked to establish a strategy for clinical and translational research informatics for Frontiers, the Kansas and Kansas City NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award. Before his time at KU, Waitman served as a faculty member with the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he led their Computerized Provider Order Entry project, “WizOrder,” and its commercialization to McKesson Corp. “I’ve enjoyed my collaborations with the University of Missouri over the past decade and am excited about this opportunity to enhance informatics across the campuses,” Waitman said. “By working together, we have an opportunity to create a stronger environment for investigators from all schools to engage patients and partner health systems in advancing health in Missouri and nationally. As a former Air Force medical service corps officer and military brat, I am also interested in the potential with Cerner to contribute to military members’ and veterans’ health.” Waitman received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree and doctorate from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.   Aug 05, 2020

  • New City Beautiful Movement: Restoring KC’s Parks and Boulevards

    Flatland KC wrote about a study that pushes for more a equitable investment citywide
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Center for Neighborhoods opened in April of 2016. While it is still fairly new, the center currently works with 67 neighborhood associations across the city. Writer Mawa Iqbal interviewed Director Dina Newman, who refers to the center as a “one stop shop” for neighborhood associations seeking resources to go back to their communities and do the work that needs to be done.  Read the full article. Aug 05, 2020

  • UMKC, Kauffman Launch $100K Resiliency Grant Fund For Minority-Owned Businesses Hit By COVID

    Startland News writes about the fund
    A new $100,000 fund is expected to help minority-owned Kansas City businesses — left out of initial rounds of COVID-19 relief — to build resiliency and come back stronger as the pandemic persists. The grants are funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and administered by the UMKC Innovation Center in partnership with local financial institutions. Aug 05, 2020

  • Drama and Intrigue Greet Voters in Kansas GOP Primary

    UMKC Political Science professor offers election commentary
    Greg Vonnahme was recently interviewed by Courthouse News Service about the upcoming primary election in Kansas. Read the full article. Aug 04, 2020

  • Our Top 10 Roo Responsibilities to Each Other

    Cooperation is vital to managing pandemic
    As we return to campus during this uniquely challenging time, all of us will need to become more careful and intentional about how we interact with our physical environment and, especially, how we interact with each other. To protect our own health, as well as the health of other members of our community, we have responsibilities that we must take seriously. Our challenge will be to keep these responsibilities top of mind. We have to really think about things we used to take for granted, such as conversations and formal and informal gatherings; even the way we greet old friends we haven’t seen for months. Here are our most important responsibilities to each other: Wear a mask or face covering. UMKC policy: face coverings or masks are required in all indoor spaces, except in private offices, and are required in all outside spaces when physical distancing of six feet cannot be maintained, per Kansas City order. Any time you are within six feet or less of another person, you must have your nose and mouth covered. This is the single most important thing we must do to prevent the spread of the virus on campus.   Maintain physical distancing. Stay at least six feet apart from others to the maximum extent possible. Be patient. Don’t crowd, don’t cut properly distanced lines. Do not congregate in hallways, outside classrooms in other common areas. Wash your hands. Wash as often as possible, for at least 20 seconds, with soap.   Be safe off campus as well as on. Masking, hand washing and distancing on campus will make no difference if you go unprotected to crowded social gatherings in bars, restaurants, music clubs, parties, etc. after school. This also means avoiding unnecessary travel. Monitor yourself for symptoms. Take your temperature daily. If it is above 100.4F, or if you display these other symptoms of COVID-19, stay home. If you test positive, we ask that you call and notify campus within four hours of getting test results. Students: Call UMKC HelpLine at 816-235-2222. Faculty and staff: Call your supervisor. After business hours: Call 816-235-COVI.   Cover coughs and sneezes. Follow these CDC recommendations. Clean up after yourself. When using residence hall kitchens, workplace break rooms and other common areas, clean up before you leave by using provided materials and following directions on posted signs.   Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of rest and exercise and reduce your stress levels. Useful information and tips on a healthy lifestyle are available on the Sanvello app and the campus recreation Instagram account. Understand and accept that you will be inconvenienced. This will be a challenge for all of us. Be patient, be kind and remember that you are part of a Culture of Care. Stay informed. Take the time to read campus communications. Our COVID-19 website has all of the most recent communications as well as the latest rules and recommendations for our campus based on local, state and national public health guidance. Aug 04, 2020

  • Two NEH Grants to Aid High-Tech Humanities Research

    Use of digital photography, computer analysis and cataloging bring historical texts alive for modern researchers.
    UMKC researchers’ 21st century methods for analyzing records from the Middle Ages and the 17th century have received a $400,000-plus boost from two grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities.   One grant, for $324,317, goes to a team led by Jeffrey Rydberg-Cox and Virginia Blanton, both curators’ distinguished professors in English; Nathan Oyler, associate professor of chemistry; Zhu Li, associate professor of computer science and director of the Center for Big Learning; and Yugi Lee, professor of computer science. Their project, titled “Unlocking the Mysteries of a Medieval Chant Book with Multispectral Imaging,” furthers their work with a new method for analyzing early modern manuscripts and print materials. It draws upon special collections held by UMKC, the Linda Hall Library and the University of Kansas. A sophisticated camera Oyler built is able to capture a wide spectrum of colors in Medieval manuscripts, including some the human eye cannot see, giving the other professors and the graduate students on their team the ability to extract more information from the texts. They hope the method eventually could be used widely by graduate students in their research, and by smaller libraries to analyze their own collections. The team has been working on the project since 2014 and first published on it in 2015. Rydberg-Cox said the new grant will help finance refinements in the multispectral imaging equipment and support two graduate students on the team for three years. Blanton said the team was gratified to have national funding affirm its work, and grateful to the UM system for funding at an earlier stage that helped get the project going. “These NEH grants are very competitive, so it’s exciting to receive one and build on the support UMKC has given us. It shows we are headed in the right direction.”    — Viviana Grieco The other grant, for $100,000, goes to a project of Viviana Grieco, associate professor of history and Latin American and Latinx studies, and Praveen Rao, who taught computer science at UMKC before moving to MU-Columbia earlier this year. Their project, titled “A Knowledge Graph for Managing and Analyzing Spanish American Notary Records,” aims to unlock thousands of notary records from Argentina. The records, from the 17th century, were written in a script that can be difficult to decipher, Grieco said, even after years of study. Making the texts digital and developing a system for reading them will make them accessible to researchers. And although notary records may sound dry, Grieco pointed out that “they touch on every aspect of life and how a society is organized. Wills, contracts, dowries and other records can tell us about trade, poverty and other economic, social and political arrangements.” Like the other grant winners’ project, their work crosses disciplines to get a deeper look at the past. Grieco and Rao met while organizing a UM System summit on bringing technology and the humanities together, and it has been a fruitful collaboration. Using “big data” techniques such as deep learning and scalable knowledge management, Rao said, will make it possible for researchers without substantial technical backgrounds to quickly search and access thousands of records for information relevant to whatever aspect of history and society they are researching. “It brings the humanities into the digital age,” he said. Grieco said their project, just a year and a half old, also got an early boost from seed money from UMKC. “These NEH grants are very competitive, so it’s very exciting to receive one and build on the support UMKC has given us,” Grieco said. “It shows we are headed in the right direction.” The awards for UMKC were two of four that went to Missouri institutions from the NEH, and were among  238 grants totaling $30 million. The other Missouri projects will benefit the St. Louis Botanical Garden and an MU-Columbia project making a volume 18th-century engraved prints and essays available digitally. A full list of the 238 grants by geographic location is available here.    Jul 30, 2020

  • Pat Tillman Scholar and Veteran Aims To Become School Administrator

    Roberto Diaz advocates for underserved and underrepresented children
    Get to know our people and you'll know what UMKC is all about. Name: Roberto DiazHometown: Pomona, CaliforniaUndergraduate University: California State University, Long BeachUMKC degree program: Education SpecialistAnticipated graduation year: Fall 2020 Growing up in a single-parent home in Pomona, California, Roberto Diaz resisted the influence of gang violence by getting involved in community education programs like the ones he aspires to someday lead. After joining the Marine Corps Reserve his sophomore year of college, which he said taught him discipline and perseverance, he gained transferrable skills that he applies to his journey to becoming a school administrator. Why did you choose UMKC? I was teaching in Chicago when I was recruited by Teach for America to come work in Kansas City. From there I joined Kansas City Plus, which is a two-year principal certification program for educators. They have a partnership with the School of Education, so I was able to apply to the education specialist degree program. Why did you choose your field of study? I got into teaching when I did City Year and Teach for America. Both of those experiences showed me that there are very few Latinx educators in front of black and brown children. Research shows when students have teachers that reflect their identities, they often do better. This motivates me to stay in education. I currently work at Operation Breakthrough as an education manager and lead instructional coach and hope to someday lead a similar organization in the future. "I'm grateful to be a part of so many elite veterans and represent Kansas City." What do you enjoy most about teaching? Inside every person, there is this inner child that we often neglect due to pressures from adulthood and society. As an early childhood educator, I try to tap into that inner child when I engage with children. I enjoy seeing them light up when they learn something new; it's a unique feeling that not many people get to experience. What are the challenges of your career field? I think a challenge for me is trying to advocate for early childhood education when most programs are geared toward K-12. I have to find a way to translate a lot of content through an early childhood lens. Having an undergraduate degree in political science helps me understand the more systemic issues in education like funding, teacher retention, lack of resources, achievement gap, etc. I can understand from a macro level how systemic issues trickle down into the classroom. What are the benefits of the program? I get to influence education for the most underserved children in Kansas City. When campus reopens, I’m looking forward to being in class. Are you a first-generation college student? If so, what does that mean to you? Yes, and I take pride in that because I know my family made a sacrifice to leave their homeland to come here and prosper. My parents were only able to get so far in life because of the lack of resources provided to them; however, I was inculcated with the desire to work hard and be humble, and I can't thank them enough for teaching me those values. Who/What do you admire most at UMKC? The different resources it provides students. It’s a great school that challenges its students. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor? This isn’t necessarily a piece of advice, but a quote from one of my professors, Arthur Jacob, that had a profound impact on me: He said, “I do not respect a school that turns children away.” What he was saying is that schools should not pick and choose the children they accept because they want their data to be the best. It made me reconsider my position on charter schools. What about the other children? Where will they go? “Having an undergraduate degree in political science helps me understand the more systemic issues in education.” You were recently awarded the Pat Tillman scholarship for veterans. What does it mean to you to have been one of only 60 students, and the only student from the University of Missouri System, to receive the scholarship? I learned about the scholarship two weeks before the deadline, and it captivated my attention based on the information I had about who Pat Tillman was. Soon after I submitted my application, COVID hit. That gave me a lot of downtime to read more about Pat Tillman and I was amazed. The program supports veterans who are pursuing programs that impact people’s lives. I’m grateful to be a part of so many elite veterans and represent Kansas City. What’s has your class experience been like during the pandemic? It’s impacted my education but not too much. I think it’s been difficult knowing that I am missing out on real dialogue in the classroom. We can still interact on Zoom but, in person, the interaction is more organic. When campus reopens, I’m looking forward to being in class. As an undergraduate, I used to dread going to class but now that it’s online, I realize there’s nothing like having that in-person human connection. How has your work been impacted by COVID? When COVID first happened, we closed for a little while but then we opened back up. We’ve been open since May, but we do our best to adhere to health and safety guidelines. From an administrator’s standpoint, the dilemma of virtual versus classroom learning a hard call to make because you wonder where the kids will go -- their parents need to go to work and the kids need to eat. I trust my school leader, Mary Esselman, and I know she is making the best decisions for everyone. What do you hope to take from your experiences at UMKC into your professional career? I remember when I got to Kansas City, I was perplexed about the segregation that exists here. Living on Troost, a street known to historically be the dividing line between black and white folks over the course of many years, I experience this division daily. Kansas City has been ranked as one of the most racially segregated cities in America and, in some respects, it remains that way. Segregation existed in LA and Chicago, but it wasn’t as obvious as it is in Kansas City. Here, you can cross one street and literally be somewhere else. I hope to use this experience to inform my decisions as a school leader later down the road. Jul 30, 2020

  • UMKC Bloch Student Donates Business Proceeds

    Black Lives Matter movement inspired Harper Zimlich to use her business to spread awareness
    Sophomore Harper Zimlich found a way to use her side hustle as a fundraiser for an organization that is making a difference in her community. Harper Zimlich Zimlich, a business administration major and and Bloch Launchpad student, has been selling baked good since she was in middle school. Her business, Harper’s Homemade, really took off when she began high school. Typically, she runs her business on an order and pick-up basis out of her home, but this summer she began selling at the Topeka Farmer’s Market. Topeka is her hometown. “This was a great way to gain exposure for my business within my community,” Zimlich said. At the June 6 Topeka Farmer’s Market, Zimlich sold sugar cookies and cupcakes as a fundraiser for the YWCA of Northeast Kansas. She donated $363, which was the total sales from that day. Zimlich chose the YWCA because its mission as an organization aligns with her values.  “The organization as a whole works to eliminate racism while empowering young women directly in the Topeka community, which I feel a personal connection to being a female small business owner," she says. "I have been very moved by the Black Lives Matter movement, and I felt the best way I could do my part would be to use my platform to spread awareness. My hopes with this act would be to bring attention to the movement and give others an opportunity to do their part by donating and continue to educate themselves on the matter. I believe small acts within your own community can inspire some of the biggest change!”  Zimlich said running Harper’s Homemade has taught her many valuable skills and has given her a look into what running a business is like. “I figure, by the time I graduate, I can take what I have learned and put it towards my existing business, or pursue a different career that will further develop my skills while still operating Harper’s Homemade as a side hustle.” You can find Harper’s Homemade on Instagram, @harperzhomemade. Orders can be placed through her Instagram account.     Jul 30, 2020

  • Curators Combine Roles of President, Mizzou Chancellor

    Council of Chancellors will represent all four universities
    Mun Choi will serve as both president of the University of Missouri System and Chancellor of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, under a new system governing structure approved July 28 by the University of Missouri Board of Curators. The Columbia campus is one of four universities that make up the System, along with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Missouri-St. Louis and Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. The new structure will also include a Council of Chancellors, consisting of the chancellors of all four universities, that will meet monthly to “confer, address mutual challenges and opportunities and exchange information,” according to the board resolution.  “I respect the decision of the Board of Curators and appreciate the fact that they are willing to ask hard questions regarding the governing structure of the University of Missouri System,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “It is clear that the board recognizes the lasting significance of any changes to this structure and the potential impacts on each individual campus. Through the ongoing process approved by the board, we must ensure that the entire UM System flourishes and UMKC can thrive and continue to be the vibrant and vital urban resource of teaching, research and service that Kansas City depends on.”  The board also directed the Council of Chancellors to explore the role and services of the UM System, the role of the president, the role of the chancellors and the scope of the Council and how it should function. The council will provide ongoing updates and recommendations to the board within 120 days. Agrawal says he will call on the UMKC community for guidance and input into the questions the board has asked the council to explore. In addition, he looks forward to introducing the two curators who will be appointed as a UMKC-specific advisory committee to the Board of Curators. He wants those two curators to understand the unique needs of UMKC and to hear from a diverse group of campus-specific voices. Julia Brncic, chair of the Board of Curators, said the new governance structure “offers the best way to ensure continued academic and research excellence across the UM System while providing a more cost-effective model during this unprecedented budget crisis and beyond.” “The combined role preserves the strength of our individual universities and will not result in a one-university model,” Brncic said. Jul 29, 2020

  • Biology Student Launches STEMology Podcast

    Alynah Adams created a niche for students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math degrees
      Alynah Adams ‘20 Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri High school: Liberty North High School Degree program: B.S. Biology, minor Chemistry Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Alynah Adams has explored a few areas that intrigued her academically, but with her interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and with her sights set on the medical field – she decided to create a podcast for other students like her. “Science students like to talk science, but there’s not always a space to do that,” says Adams, who is majoring in biology at UMKC. “I was talking about this with some of my friends one day and thought, ‘Someone should start a podcast.’ And then I thought, ‘Why not me?’” Once she had the concept in mind, she started coming up with potential names. Her friends were her focus group. “I sent about 30 friends 10 podcast names,” she says. “Within a day they helped me settle on ‘STEMology: The Young Scientists Survival Guide.’” Adams’ parents had encouraged her to try different things. She played college volleyball in Nebraska for two years before transferring to UMKC. At one point she considered a journalism degree, but her focus kept coming back to a career in the medical field. These two interests peacefully coexist on STEMology. “Science students like to talk science, but there’s not always a space to do that.”-Alynah Adams While her interview subjects have a common interest, their backgrounds and focus are different. “Mostly, I try to choose based on what people are studying in school now and their future plans,” Adams says. “But I reach out to my professional network, too.” Close to home, Adams has interviewed Tammy Welchert, associate teaching professor, director of student affairs and academic advising in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, on information high school students should know that will help on the first day of college classes and beyond. In a recent episode, Adams interviewed one of her mentors, David Tung, Ph.D. of BioMed Valley Discoveries, on the importance of developing mentoring relationships. In the interview, Tung outlines elements of a beneficial mentoring relationship that goes beyond a resume entry. He sees a real advantage in making interviews like Adams’ available for interested students. “I was an engineer by training before I went into drug discovery research,” Tung says. “There were a lot of encounters in this vocation that surprised and shocked me. I feel that while everyone is trying to get more minorities and females into the STEM world, no one has actually provided an honest picture of how life is really like.   “I’ve always known what I wanted to do. My compass has always pointed North." - Alynah Adams Having the intellect to survive in this business is only part of the story. Having the aptitude to endure and excel is something that is seldom addressed. In all these conversations, the words 'happiness' and 'fulfillment' were never mentioned. Alynah has always wanted to share her experiences and help others.” Adams worked with Tung on a research project for a family in England who needed information on Sengers Syndrome, a rare mitochondrial autoimmune disorder from which their son was suffering. “Only 44 people in the world have this condition,” Adams says. “I was able to find information on what might help mitigate the symptoms and what won’t. I put it in presentation form and we presented it to the family and their team of medical professionals. It was amazing for me to able to directly affect their lives.” Adams’ parents have encouraged her to explore opportunities in health care that go beyond being a physician. “I’ve thought about being a pharmacist and a few different specialties,” she says. “But it’s always been about health care. I may be an anomaly, but I’ve always known what I wanted to do. My compass has always pointed north." Jul 29, 2020

  • Donor and Student Strike a Chord

    Conservatory donor supports programs and people
    The strongest relationships sometimes build over time. Marylou Turner’s exposure to music began as a child in a small town in Kansas, but she has become a stalwart supporter of the UMKC Conservatory and its students. Turner has been a Conservatory donor and member of the Women’s Committee for the UMKC Conservatory, which supports scholarships, for 27 years. She served as the council’s president for six years, serves on the board of the UMKC Friends of the Conservatory and co-chaired Crescendo, the Conservatory’s largest fundraiser, in 2019. Despite her dedication, her early exposure to music was limited. “I grew up in Albert, Kansas,” Turner says. “I heard music mostly at church and school. It was a rural community so there were lots of opportunities to perform in school and other activities. My teacher was very into music, but not classical. It was during World War II, so we were exposed to hit songs mostly.” Eventually, Turner’s parents bought a piano and she and her sister learned to play. “I played the snare drum and bassoon in high school and the bassoon in college. That was the beginning of my exposure to classical music.” Turner married her late husband, John Turner, who was her high school sweetheart, and they moved to Kansas City after their college graduation. Turner started teaching school and her husband began his work as an interior designer. “There was a salesman at my husband’s office who bought season tickets to everything, but he rarely went. He usually gave them away. We were able to go the symphony and the opera for free.” Turner taught for seven years before returning to school at UMKC to achieve her Master of Arts in Education. She did not return to the classroom, but decided instead to tutor and began dedicated herself to volunteering, primarily in the arts. “I’ve met a lot of wonderful people who I may have never had the opportunity to meet.” One of Turner’s fortuitous meetings was with Conservatory student Chase Shumsky who studied saxophone performance. Shumsky was the recipient of the endowed scholarship that Turner established with her late husband. They were seated next to one another at the annual Conservatory brunch for donors and scholars. “We became acquainted at the brunch, but we’ve met many times,” Turner says. “We talk about his hopes and dreams. I’m always interested in his aspirations.” Shumsky received his news about receiving his scholarship in an email, but he did not anticipate that he would become friends with the donor, who is several decades his senior. “When I first found out I received a scholarship, my reaction was, ‘Where do I sign?’ I overlooked the clause in the contract that outlined the requirement to attend the annual scholarship brunch to meet the person generous enough to support the Conservatory and its students.” “The best part of being Marylou's friend is that she took the time and effort to actually get to know me as a person.”- Chase Shumsky Shumsky admits that while he understood the importance of scholarship funding – he would not have been able to attend the Conservatory without it - he did not understand how significant this relationship would become. Turner attended Shumsky’s solo, quartet and band performances. She had dinner with him and his parents after his senior recital. “The best part of being Marylou's friend is that she took the time and effort to actually get to know me as a person,” Shumsky says. “She is an amazing conversationalist, and for a good amount of time as her scholarship student, I was not. This leads to probably one of my favorite traits about Marylou. She is strong and persistent in the most kind and generous way possible. These traits are present not only in how she developed a meaningful relationship with me but how she fights in the Kansas City community as a supporter for the arts and for arts education.” While Turner enjoys developing these relationships with students, she’s aware that they may not go on to professional careers. She does not see that as failure. “I learned the bassoon, but never played it again after school,” Turner says. “But when I hear or see another musician, I understand the dedication that went into it. Not every student will pursue a lifetime occupation of performance, but the discipline and work ethic benefit them in other areas.” “I enjoy talking to people about giving. I couldn’t ask for myself, but I can ask for a cause that I believe in and I enjoy encouraging others to contribute.”-Marylou Turner Turner’s perspective, experience and financial support have been a constant pillar of support to the Conservatory’s endeavors. “I love raising money!” she says. “I enjoy talking to people about giving. I couldn’t ask for myself, but I can ask for a cause that I believe in and I enjoy encouraging others to contribute.” Diane Petrella, dean of the UMKC Conservatory, appreciates and applauds Turner’s commitment. “Marylou is one of our most passionate and dedicated patrons,” Diane Petrella, dean of the UMKC Conservatory says. “She is a force to be reckoned with in every sense. She leads by example, holds everyone to the same high standards she exhibits and her steadfast commitment to the organizations in which she serves is profound. In every situation, from chairing Crescendo to tracking the scholarship funds for the Women’s Committee, Marylou’s attention to detail, perseverance, intellect, and humor inspire us all to give more of our time, talents and resources. She has made a tremendous impact on the Conservatory and its students, and we look forward to our continued collaboration.” Turner has no intention of slowing down. Even the COVID-19 outbreak has not kept her from her passion. “The arts have a special place that is very important to me. Of course, I’ve stayed involved in my volunteer work.” Lifetime of Leading the Arts Marylou Turner has dedicated her time, energy and resources to the arts for nearly 50 years. Her contribution to the UMKC Conservatory as a leader, donor and friend is exemplary. Member of the Women’s Committee since 1993 Instituted the Women’s Committee endowed scholarship program, which is responsible for 23 endowed scholarships valued at over $1.4 million Serves as a board member of the UMKC Friends of the Conservatory, and is a member of the 20/20 Scholarship campaign which has raised over $900,000 toward 20 new scholarships   Jul 29, 2020

  • New Ensemble Caters to Marginalized Communities

    UMKC Conservatory grad, UMKC Bloch student featured by KC Studio
      “Music changed my life in positive ways only. And I wanted to be able to provide that while also significantly offering help,” said founder and artistic director Flor Lizbeth Cruz Longoria. Cruz, a flutist. She graduated with a master’s degree from the UMKC Conservatory in May and is completing a graduate certificate in nonprofit management and innovation from the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Read the full article. Jul 28, 2020

  • Student Emergency Fund Assists Nearly 100 Students

    Yahoo News picked up KSHB story about emergency funding for students
      “We created this emergency fund back when we went into quarantine,” said Logan P. Cheney, director of Annual Giving for the UMKC Foundation. “Students could apply for it to pay their bills, to help pay for rent. If a lot of students had to basically up and leave their apartment or quit their job, this was a way to help kids out.” Check out the KSHB story that was picked up by Yahoo News. Jul 27, 2020

  • Bringing An Artist’s Spirituality to the Practice of Medicine

    Bill Tammeus, Flatland KC, calls Nancy Tilson-Mallett a rare combination - a physician and an artist
      In science classes, Nancy Tilson-Mallett, M.D., says students are taught “that there’s got to be a right answer. In art class, I teach them that sometimes there are right answers but there are also shades of gray and ambiguity.” Tilson-Mallett has been teaching a class at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine called “Medicine and Art.” Read more. Jul 26, 2020

  • UMKC Extends Operations of BkMk Press

    Publisher will complete literary projects that are in progress
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will extend operations of its publishing house, BkMk Press, in order to complete literary projects that are in progress. Kati Toivanen, interim dean of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences, said the extension has been funded by donors for a limited time that will will allow BkMk to publish these works in the professional quality the press is known for. “This will also give us additional time to seek another home for the press or to identify a more self-sustaining funding structure,” Toivanen said. “Published literary works contribute to our culture, expand our understanding of the world and enrich our lives. We welcome any support, ideas and partnerships that would allow the tradition of this distinguished press to continue.” Public higher education has been facing budget constraints in recent years that have been further challenged by the coronavirus pandemic. These pressures compelled UMKC to reduce funding for the literary entity that includes both BkMk Press and New Letters magazine, in order to focus available resources on academic programs and student success services. New Letters will continue its operations and will be run out of the Department of English with faculty leadership and student support. Jul 24, 2020

  • UMKC Center for Neighborhoods Launches New Website to Address Digital Equity in Kansas City

    Provides access for organizations that cannot afford web design, hosting
    The Center for Neighborhoods at the University of Missouri-Kansas City has launched a new website designed to highlight the work of Kansas City, Missouri, neighborhoods and to address the issue of digital equity. The Center for Neighborhoods is housed in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design, part of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences. Director Dina Newman said many urban neighborhoods, with volunteer leaders and limited financial capital, are impacted by unequal access to information, connectivity and data. Too often, they must endure the racial and economic disparities associated with the “digital divide.” The new website, cfn.umkc.edu, provides an interactive digital resource hub for Kansas City neighborhoods. This platform features up-to-date contact information and meeting times for neighborhood organizations and HOAs (homeowners’ associations) that have participated in the center’s 12-week Neighborhood Leadership Training session since 2016. Additional features include a calendar of events, critical information from partner organizations including pertinent information from City Hall, the popular weekly update “News You Can Use” and a short film from the Center for Neighborhoods’ First State of the Neighborhood Address. Newman said the website provides access and a platform for those organizations that might not be able to afford the fees associated with web design, hosting and maintenance. “The website creates an opportunity for Center for Neighborhoods to expand socially in our increasingly digital world,” Newman said. “These mediums are a tool for people and organizations to connect with each other and share valuable information to those who need it the most.” As a follow-up step, the Center for Neighborhoods plans to take a more expansive role in popular social media platforms. “Our goal is lifting up the communities we serve.” Jul 24, 2020

  • Brandon Martin to Co-Chair New Alliance

    Kansas City Star, CBS Sports reports on Black AD Alliance
    The Black AD Alliance includes 16 Black athletic directors in Division I, which includes Kansas City Athletics Director Brandon Martin as co-chair. Read the full KC Star article. Read CBS Sports. Jul 24, 2020

  • BioNexus KC Awards UMKC Researcher

    Kansas City Business Journal covers research grants
    Timothy Cox, Endowed Professor in Musculoskeletal Tissues at the UMKC School of Dentistry, is studying genetic differences in embryonic facial tissue to see how they affect the development of cleft lip and cleft palate. It is among the most common birth defects, affecting one in 700 live births globally. Read more. Jul 24, 2020

  • UMKC Student Volunteers Step Up to Help With COVID-19 Testing

    More than 80 students helped the Kansas City Health Department in providing COVID-19 tests
    Earlier this spring, the Kansas City Missouri Health Department received federal funding to provide COVID-19 testing. What the department lacked was the manpower to support the many testing sites across the city. It didn’t take long for the UMKC Health Sciences Campus to fill the void. More than 80 students from the schools of dentistry, medicine and pharmacy answered the call for helpers. In May and June, they volunteered 28 three-hour blocks of time at 18 testing locations through the greater Kansas City area. Many of those were at schools and churches. “This is a great example of a long-running collaboration with the health department,” said Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., director of the Health Equity Institute. “Especially since our students could help expand their capacity to conduct testing in communities hard hit by COVID-19.” Stefanie Ellison, M.D., associate dean for learning initiatives at the School of Medicine, said students across the campus were eager to help. “In 24 hours, I gave a group of students the chance to communicate the need across social media sites and get the word out,” Ellison said. “They stepped up to fill in the volunteer spots.” The testing was offered at federally qualified health centers such as the KC Care Clinic, Swope Health and the Samuel Rogers Health Center. Carole Bowe Thompson, project director for the Health Equity Institute, helped organize the volunteer efforts. While workers at the testing centers did the actual COVID-19 testing, Thompson said the students worked in a supporting role, handling patient check-in and registration, providing patient education, labeling and securing specimen tubes and even directing car and walk up traffic up to the test sites. “They did the pre-screening, going over COVID-19 symptoms and collecting health and other important intake information,” Thompson said. “The testing centers didn’t have the support they needed for taking care of traffic. They needed the students to help direct traffic.” Many of the students said the experience helped them realize the importance of working with other health care providers and how community outreach can play a large role in public health. “I learned that I am in a prime position to assist those in need,” said Rico Beuford, a sixth-year medical student. “I don't necessarily need a medical degree to open up access to health care resources to vulnerable communities. I think it's important for each us to realize how much we can impact those who are on the periphery of society and that are largely neglected by it.” Sixth-year med student Emma Connelly was one of those who helped with the screening process, taking basic patient information and asking those being tested if they had experienced symptoms or been exposed to anyone with the coronavirus. “Being a medical student, I am not technically on the front lines, so I thought this would be a small way to help out,” Connelly said. “I felt that it was important to help out no matter how small the task was. And if I could help prevent at least one COVID-19 positive individual from spreading it to their family or friends, it was totally worth the effort.” Ellison said students found a wide variety of other ways to help those in need as well. Some spent time simply talking online with senior center residents to keep them company and help them feel less isolated. Students volunteered to tutor and check on grade school students who were suddenly faced with online school while their parents had to work. Others found their green thumbs to help with gardening, harvesting and distributing produce, while some provided babysitting for health care workers. “I am so overwhelmed by our students’ efforts to help out,” Ellison said. Thompson said she hoped the volunteer efforts would continue through the summer and pick up steam when students returned to campus for the fall semester. “There will be plenty more opportunities,” she said. “The health department is not going to stop doing testing.” Jul 23, 2020

  • Law Librarian Named Unsung Legal Hero

    Missouri Lawyers Media recognizes Ayyoub Ajmi
    Ayyoub Ajmi, associate director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library and director of Digital Communications and Learning Initiatives at the UMKC School of Law, was named a 2020 Unsung Legal Hero in Information Technology. Jul 23, 2020

  • What Are You Most Excited About in Returning to Campus?

    Roos share what they’re looking forward to this fall
    It’s definitely been a minute since most of us have visited campus in person. Come August, it will have been five months ‑ nearly half a year! Yes, the world has changed, and classrooms will be modified so we can safely maintain social distancing. While the physical space will be a little different, it’s our campus community that we’re most excited to see. We talked to a few Roos about what they’ve been anticipating the most this fall. 1. Week of Welcome “Not just for incoming students or current students, but EVERYONE! I think we all have shared this difficult time together and no matter what this fall looks like, it’s going to be great to welcome everyone back to the new school year.” -Hope Romero, music therapy ’ 21 2. Helping others “I want to help other students, whether it’s by giving tours or with classwork. Since all of this (the pandemic) started, my professors have been super helpful to me.” -Hannah Shackles, communications ’ 21 3. Familiarity “I'm coming back home, back to a daily routine, to see the faces of my friends and professors and just walk on campus again like I used to!” -Jose Mendoza, vocal performance and composition ’23 4. Student organizations “I’m definitely looking forward to getting more involved with my organizations and my senior year.” -Krithika Selvarajoo, chemistry and English ‘21 5. Theatre “It’s hard to do theatre online. Yes, in my theater classes, we’ll have to wear masks like everyone else does. This time away has made me realize how social my job is and how social the field I’m going into is.” -Michelle Lawson, theatre and history ’ 21 Jul 22, 2020

  • 5 Ways to Get Your Kids to Wear Masks

    CNN interviewed School of Medicine assistant professor of pediatrics
    Gail Robertson provided tips for parents. Read more.   Jul 22, 2020

  • Conservatory Finds Ideal Leader

    Diane Petrella was interviewed by The Independent on going from interim dean to full-time dean
      Paul Horsley talked to Diane Helfers Petrella, the first woman to head the UMKC Conservatory in its 110-year history. Read the full article.   Jul 22, 2020

  • Alumnus Reflects on His Super Bowl Experience

    Steven St. John shares some of his favorite moments from SBLIV
    Steven St. John (B.A. ’96) has been a fixture on the Kansas City sports scene since 1999 and a lifelong Chiefs fan. As host of the popular sports morning show “Border Patrol” on 810 WHB, he was in Miami, Florida, covering Super Bowl LIV and celebrating KC’s win in person. He recently shared some of his favorite moments with us and how things have changed since February. What was your most memorable moment from the Super Bowl? Wow. Such a tough question to answer. Waking into the stadium, realizing that I was actually at the Super Bowl and the Chiefs were playing in the game. That was mind-blowing. I loved watching the Chiefs run out of the tunnel during the pre-game festivities. That was so cool.  Also, screaming at Goldie Hawn to the point she was visibly startled. (I meant Goldie no harm. You see, I’m a Goldie Hawn fan, so when I saw her, I naturally screamed “Goldie!” Sometimes I forget the power of my booming voice and the sheer volume of my cry clearly caught Goldie off guard.) All of these are wonderful memories. But, nothing compares to the moment when Damien Williams scampered into the end zone and secured the biggest Chiefs victory of my life. I still get chills when I relive that moment in my mind. What did you think of the halftime show? I thought the halftime show was wonderful. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are two of the most electric live performers in the world and they were on stage together! It was such an exciting experience to be inside the stadium while they shared the stage. The lights, colors, music, sounds and emotion all overwhelmed my senses. It really was a magical experience. And, when you mixed in the tremendous anticipation for the 2nd half of Super Bowl LIV, it was a perfect recipe for one of the most enjoyable nights of my life. Steven St. John, left, interviewing during 810WHB's Super Bowl coverage in Miami. What are your predictions for the next season? The Chiefs will repeat as Super Bowl champions and Patrick Mahomes will win another Super Bowl MVP. Biggest play of the game? Jet. Chip. Wasp. That is all. Under the radar MVP? Most people will say Damien Williams or Chris Jones. But, I will say me. I absolutely deserve some type of award for successfully composing myself in time to conduct post-game player interviews just minutes after watching my beloved Chiefs win their first Super Bowl of my lifetime. I wept quietly on my way down to the locker room, thinking about all the past heartbreak in the life of a Chiefs fan. They were some of the happiest tears I’ve ever cried. "I absolutely deserve some type of award for successfully composing myself in time to conduct post-game player interviews just minutes after watching my beloved Chiefs win their first Super Bowl of my lifetime."—Steven St. John, B.A. '96 How do you feel about the Patrick Mahomes contract?  He's worth every penny and more. Imagine if I would have told you a few years ago that the Chiefs were finally going to draft a QB in the first round. And, that QB would win the NFL MVP in his second season. Then, in his third season, he'd win the Super Bowl MVP and lead the Chiefs to their first championship in 50 years. 50 years! And, along the way, he'd become KC's most beloved athlete because he was as great off the field as he was on the field. He'd be involved in the community to a level that helped him develop an unparalleled connection with the city. And, he'd also become the best player in the NFL, the face of the league and one of the most recognizable and respected sports figures in the world. And, all the while, he'd continue to represent KC and spread unadulterated joy throughout the city, at a time when it was desperately needed. In other words, I think it was a good deal.  What do you think about the plans for the upcoming season amid COVID-19? Along with everyone else, I really don't know what's going to happen. Things are far too unpredictable to make any type of educated prediction and feel confident about it. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I've learned to brace for the worst and hope for the best. But, if any league can make it happen, it’s the NFL.  How has the pandemic affected the way you work? I've been very lucky to be able to work from home. I've broadcast my show from my house the last few months and that's worked well for me. I have a heart condition that I need to protect, so working from home has allowed me to take a cautious approach while trying to keep my family healthy. And, when we do leave the house, we've done our best to wear masks and practice social distancing.  Jul 21, 2020

  • Making Data Science Relevant to Society

    Interdisciplinary UMKC faculty influence a new storytelling approach to teaching the subject
    Data science education is challenged with attracting minority students from various socio-economic backgrounds. However, recent advances in artificial intelligence and deep learning create an urgent need for a qualified data science workforce that can perform critical functions in a variety of domains and aspects of human society from journalism to health communication to advertising to educational resources for underserved populations. Enter the Open Collaborative Experiential Learning in Artificial Intelligence (OCEL.AI) project with a unique solution to address this need. “We’re trying to change the reality and culture of data science education.” - Yugi Lee, computer science professor, School of Computing and Engineering   Led by a multi-disciplinary team of faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City – Yugyung (Yugi) Lee, professor of computer science; Ye Wang, associate professor of communication studies; and Alexis Petri, senior director of faculty support – OCEL.AI received a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to make data science more relevant to minority students. The OCEL.AI project is an open knowledge network and collaborative partnership with the University of Florida, Eastern Michigan University and Essex County College that supports postsecondary instructors who teach underserved populations (Data Science) + Journalism and strategic communications within their existing institutional structures. This storytelling approach maps a story onto data to transform artificial intelligence models and then extracts knowledge that can help solve societal issues. The group expects to see increased interest, self-efficacy and motivation in studying data science among both computer science and non-computer science majors – particularly female, Black and Hispanic students. “Most computer scientists like to dive right into data to solve problems without thinking about the stories behind the data, so this project is a transformative approach to teaching the subject,” said Lee, who serves as the principal investigator for OCEL.AI. “We’re trying to change the reality and culture of data science education.” Storytelling is used to create cases – personas if used in marketing, also called user stories in data science – that guide users through the process of machine learning. Wang said each user story contains the core fundamentals of storytelling taught in communications studies: who, what, when, where, why and how. “We’re taking a ‘so what?’ approach to big data. What problems can we observe? How does this change a user’s life?” Wang said. The machine-learning experience is guided by theoretical frameworks – also called the use cases –  so rather than taking the traditional approach to machine learning to build models, Wang is helping teach computer science students the fundamentals of journalism to determine which data helps tell a story. Students can then input that data in machine learning applications, which also helps ensure outcomes are fair and unbiased because developers are no longer applying a singular context – typically the majority – in machine learning. Groups from each of the partnering universities are currently working to test this model on sample stories to answer unique questions like “where can I buy a used car as a college freshman?” or “the community economic approach to COVID-19.” Computer science students from UMKC recently participated in a Hack-A-Thon and applied use cases to develop a mobile application to help parents find after school learning resources in Kansas City, based on budget, student gender, age and transportation needs. The storytelling approach has inspired students and faculty from the four partnering universities to learn more about data science’s role in society. OCEL.AI will host a virtual workshop in August and invite faculty and students to learn about this new teaching approach and how to apply it and plans to invite student participants to try it in upcoming projects. Petri is working with Lee and Wang to develop a new curriculum for teachers to implement this model into their courses. Petri will also conduct a user study to help inform improvements to the new model. “When you’re trying to implement a new learning model, you don’t always get it right the first time,”  Lee said. Jul 21, 2020

  • Disaster Informatics to the Rescue

    Harnessing the power of AI to aid disaster relief
    Imagine you’re receiving multiple calls about dangerous levels of floodwater damage, and your job is to prioritize relief efforts. Now imagine you have a statistical map telling you exactly where the damage will be worst. Creating solutions for real-world disaster-relief situations is the primary focus of the research of ZhiQiang Chen, Ph.D., associate professor of civil and mechanical engineering. Chen is part of a growing field of research that he refers to as “disaster informatics.” That is, harnessing the power of cuttingedge technology and using it to respond to natural disasters. His research is part of a much larger collaboration between several entities, including the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, University of Indiana, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ImageCat in California and Pacific Disaster Center in Hawaii. Chen’s piece of the puzzle has to do with artificial intelligence (AI)-based computing of remote sensing data for global flood-hazard monitoring and damage assessment. His ultimate goal is to develop a program that automatically creates 3D renderings that clearly show damage and provide decision-makers with stats about damage levels in real time. “When I first started this research, it was a very small field,” Chen says. “However, the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters is attracting more people to this field.” Currently, images of disaster areas are typically taken by satellite, but Chen imagines drones being used more regularly. In theory, a drone could fly over a damaged area, collect an image and either process the image with an edge computing system or send the data to a ground center to be processed. Then a 3D rendering would be sent directly to first responders to help them quickly prioritize areas with the greatest damage. Chen’s first opportunity to test his research’s potential was in the aftermath of the 2019 tornado in Jefferson City, Missouri, through support from the Structural Extreme Events Reconnaissance (StEER) program of the National Science Foundation. In the days following the tornado, he and his team flew a drone over an apartment complex to collect images of the damage. He then processed the data and produced two images: one was an orthomosaic image — stitched together from multiple images — and the other was a digital surface model, showing the volume change of each structure. These final products were then fed to an AI-based model to determine the extent of the damage to each of the buildings in the apartment complex. In Jefferson City, Chen used only one drone, but during the 2017 total solar eclipse, he was able to test the use of multiple drones. Local law enforcement officers and emergency responders in St. Joseph, Missouri, had expressed concern over traffic congestion. With a group of about 20 residents and a total of 10 drones, Chen and his team collected images and funneled them to a single location for processing. Local officials received the final outputs on iPads and used the images to assess traffic throughout the day. “With this experience, we confirmed the notion of community-based, connected remote sensing where citizen scientists can participate in disaster response and provide key input to first responders,” he says. "When I first started this research, it was a very small field. However, the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters is attracting more people to this field." — Zhiqiang Chen, Ph.D. While it is exciting to see the potential of Chen’s research, there is one major obstacle to overcome. Aviation regulations require approval to fly in order to maintain safe and open airspaces for other aircraft like medical helicopters. Currently, there are not many ways for helicopters and other aircraft to identify a flying drone in their airspace. The new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Remote Identification Program may soon resolve this issue, opening up the civilian market for use in projects like this. Another equally important challenge is the nature of disaster response in general. With so many social factors at work, the application may not be straightforward. Chen stated that at a certain point this research will have to become interdisciplinary in order to study social implications and how they affect implementation. “For me, the greatest success would be to see my research being used to make a difference and help people when they need it most,” Chen says. “The possibility that my research could someday become a regular part of disaster relief is what fuels my passion for this work.” Jul 20, 2020

  • Student Emergency Fund Success

    Support for emergency funding keeps more than 90 students afloat
    As the UMKC community began to feel the impact of COVID-19, individual donations to the Student Emergency Fund made a significant difference for students in need. From fellow students who started crowdfunding projects, to staff members and community donors, UMKC supporters contributed over $70,000 to the UMKC Student Emergency Fund to help students not only stay in school, but pay for housing, food, utilities and other emergency needs. “We recognize that the effects of COVID-19 are not only physical, but economic. We are grateful to those who were able to step up and lend a hand.” - Jenny Lundgren “Based on the demand, we were relieved to be able to provide critical assistance to our students in need,” said UMKC Provost Jenny Lundgren. “We recognize that the effects of COVID-19 are not only physical, but economic. We are grateful to those who were able to step up and lend a hand.” Victor is studying electrical and computer engineering. He believes having a college degree will provide a solid foundation for him to build a successful career. Emergency aid kept him on track for completing the academic year and building a brighter future.  “With this act of kindness, I am one step closer in achieving my educational and career goals,” he said. “I plan to always give back to the community as a professional and successful engineer.” Some students faced broader challenges than solely their academic ones. Denise is raising her children alone while pursuing her graduate degree. “I had fallen behind on everything,” she said. “I am ever grateful for the blessing that you have bestowed on me.” "We are grateful for those donors who support this fund at every level." - Lisa Baronio While the current crisis will eventually pass, the need for emergency funds will always exist. UMKC Foundation President Lisa Baronio is confident that the community will continue to support students on their paths to graduation. “We always make the distinction that our donors are supporting people who are working to improve their lives and our communities as a whole,” Baronio says. “But these emergency funds are critical to keeping students in school, and we will always have students for whom relatively small amounts can make the difference between graduating and not being able to continue their education due to small financial constraints. We are grateful for those donors who support this fund at every level.” UMKC Emergency Fund Availability The UMKC Foundation continues to accept donations to the UMKC Student Emergency Fund to assist students.   Donate for Students In Need  If you are a student who needs assistance, please access UMKC resources.  Student Emergency Resources  Jul 16, 2020

  • Upgrading Auto-pilot to Save-a-Pilot

    Researcher looks to computer modeling to enhance aviation safety
    Assistant professor Mujahid Abdulrahim’s passion for flying once led him to devise a way to commute to work in his personal plane. That passion also drives his research on helping pilots and passengers get home safely. Modeling the movements of aircraft is the backbone of his research at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering. Abdulrahim’s specialty is in autonomous aircraft development, but he stresses that autonomy isn’t just drones – it is everywhere in aviation. He wants to take auto-pilot functionality to a new level, not to take flying away from pilots, but to make their safety net stronger.  “I don’t want to replace pilots with computers,” Abdulrahim says. “I love the idea of preserving everything that makes airplanes fun to fly, but I also love the idea of coming home to my children after every time I take to the air.“ A self-described “air safety geek,” Abdulrahim is working on a computer algorithm that would interpret the equations of motion for each individual aircraft with predetermined models on how it should be performing. At any given time, moving the elevator stick of an airplane results in a specific response, and this technology would try to determine whether the flight matched the expected motion for that specific aircraft. He’s also interested in the human element of these models. That’s why he’s looking to study how pilots learn and how they react to certain aviation situations. He’s especially interested in studying how pilots react when they’re at the edges of the flight envelope – the term “pushing the envelope” comes from testing the operating limits of an aircraft. Abdulrahim’s goal is to incorporate pilot behavior into these models, to help indicate when the pilot could use assistance. He compares this supervisory system to lane-change warnings in modern automobiles: to detect an irregular driving pattern and let the driver know. One area that will play a big part in this supervisory system is something called “task saturation.” According to Abdulrahim, it’s a concept that’s not limited to pilots. “If you’re taking notes and someone asks you to solve a math question while also jumping on one foot and reciting the alphabet – you’ll eventually hit your task saturation point,” he says. “From there you’ll stop receiving inputs and only focus on one thing at a time, and you probably aren’t going to do that one thing very well.” In aviation, this can happen to any size of aircraft, but is more common when pilots of small airplanes fly into bad weather. For example, a pilot can be talking to air traffic control while scanning for other aircraft, with limited visibility and high winds affecting air speed – suddenly that pilot has hit saturation. With Abdulrahim’s supervisory system, a model can be built to monitor the flying skills a pilot shows as they fly – how well they hold airspeed, how well they hold altitude. If those skills suddenly take a turn for the worse, the system can intervene to improve safety. Abdulrahim sees far-reaching potential for his modeling technology. He’s looking at replacing or enhancing aircrafts’ airspeed sensor – the only aircraft sensor exposed to the elements and thus more susceptible to being corrupted mid-flight. There are also ridesharing companies looking at autonomous aviation as the future of people transport. Abdulrahim is looking at how his models could help make that a reality. His passion for flying will continue to drive his research into safer skies so everyone in flight – pilot and passenger – can keep coming home to their families. Jul 16, 2020

  • Economics Professor Writes Opinion Piece

    The Kansas City Star publishes an article by Linwood Tauheed
    Linwood Tauheed, UMKC associate professor of economics, recently had an article about policing published by The Kansas City Star. Jul 16, 2020

  • UMKC Health Equity Institute Works to Halt COVID-19 Pandemic in KC

    Charlie Keegan, KSHB, talked to Jannette Berkley-Patton and volunteers at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site
    The UMKC Health Equity Institute facilitated volunteer efforts at a recent drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. The institute is a group, which was formed four years ago, focused on identifying health care problems and offering solutions led by Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D.. Read Keegan's story about the testing site and the Health Equity Institute. Jul 16, 2020

  • PPE Sold in Campus Vending Machines

    Local media cover safety measures taken at UMKC.
      UMKC students, faculty and staff will be able to purchase personal protective equipment in campus vending machines this fall. Local media outlets talked to UMKC administrators about the offerings. Read more from KSHB.   Jul 15, 2020

  • What Does Defund the Police Mean?

    UMKC Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology Ken Novak provides insight to The Beacon
      In addition to violent crime, police officers are often the first responders to nonviolent incidents, like individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Ken Novak, UMKC professor of criminal justice and criminology, was recently asked by The Beacon if police officers are in the best position to respond to somebody who's having a mental health crisis. Jul 15, 2020

  • UMKC Nursing and Health Studies Accredited for Another Decade

    The nursing school's programs continue to meet or exceed national standards.
    The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies’ national accreditation has been renewed for 10 years, through June 2029. Joy Roberts, interim dean, said, "This full accreditation means that the school’s BSN, MSN, DNP and post-MSN certificate programs meet or exceed standards accepted by nursing education programs throughout the country. This gold standard of approval indicates the high quality of our nursing education." The school received the good news from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, a national accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The commission reviews undergraduate, graduate and residency programs in nursing under a voluntary, self-regulatory peer review. Jul 14, 2020

  • UMKC Statement on International Student Visa Issue

    Statement from University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and Provost Jenny Lundgren
    International students have long been an integral part of our campus community. They teach as well as learn, sharing information about their home countries and their cultural traditions. We welcome today’s news that puts their fears about visa issues and online courses to rest and look forward to continuing this rich and rewarding shared experience when we return to campus in August. Jul 14, 2020

  • Safety Modifications for Classrooms and Offices

    Shields and rearranged furniture are among the changes
    No surprise, but classrooms and offices will look slightly different this fall due to safety precautions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We talked to Michael Graves, director of UMKC facilities operations, to find out about building modifications for in-person interactions. "We're following CDC guidelines to help keep our students, faculty and staff safe," Graves said. Classroom modifications Following those guidelines, UMKC is using 25 percent capacity in classroom spaces. To accomplish this, Graves' teams are moving furniture and taping off seats in auditoriums. “The goal is for each student to have a 6-foot perimeter,” Graves said. Faculty instructors in lecture spaces can wear clear face masks — vs. cloth masks — to promote more accessible learning. The transparent plastic material allows others to read lips and facial expressions more easily. Desk shields A desk at the School of Dentistry will have a shield to provide a barrier between patients and employees. For extra safeguarding on the Health Sciences and Volker campuses, front desks and counters that don’t provide enough physical distancing will have plexi shields. If you’ve been to the grocery store recently, you’ve probably seen shields in the checkout aisle as a barrier between cashiers and customers. Office precautions Departments throughout UMKC are making sure staff are sufficiently distanced from others. For example, Graves' team is building clear desk shields in between cubicles that are not 6 feet from others. Common spaces Floor markers are being added to areas where lines form to help remind everyone to keep a 6-foot distance from others. And seating is being separated 6 feet away from other seating. Ventilation During depopulation, all HVAC systems continued to operate at reduced levels to maintain adequate air quality and prevent adverse environmental conditions. An increased amount of fresh air has been introduced into spaces. All buildings have now experienced multiple air changes. Appropriate filters are being utilized based on each system’s design specifications and are being maintained regularly to provide continual air filtration.  UMKC buildings are designed to meet building code ventilation requirements, based on ASHRAE standards. Those standards include a set number of air changes per hour (ACH). All of those rates are calculated to provide good air quality for the maximum total occupancy allowed in the space. Since spaces are rarely filled to maximum occupancy, the buildings are almost always over ventilated during normal operations. In addition, our Energy Group will continue introducing as much additional fresh air into those air changes as is practical, based on each system’s capabilities, outside air conditions, and financial stewardship. School of Dentistry Clinic Scheduling has changed to shorten wait times and reduce patient loads in the waiting area, where easily disinfected and well-spaced plastic chairs have replaced cloth-covered ones.  In the clinic, 30 aerosol suctioning units are being added to quickly remove water droplets a patient expels during dental or hygiene work. A bipolar ionization filtration system, which kills viruses, has been added to the heating and air-conditioning system. Jul 13, 2020

  • Asthma Sufferers May Breathe Easier

    UMKC researchers are working on the technology behind a noninvasive device that would monitor for symptoms
    Professor Masud Chowdhury, Ph.D., and his postdoctoral fellow, Mahrukh Khan, Ph.D., are in the beginning phases of developing a new approach that would detect the severity of asthma at different stages without subjecting patients to invasive measures. Their work is somewhat personal. Chowdhury has a child with asthma and has experienced the anxiety of identifying and treating asthma attacks. Khan went through the difficulty of trying to diagnose a young child with a persistent cough. “My son suffered from the time he was a year old until he was four. My daughter, who is five years old, had to go to the emergency room twice last year,” Chowdhury says. “Now I know firsthand the severity of the condition. We carry two types of nebulizers.” Khan has experienced similar challenges. “My daughter was having problems breathing when she was very young,” Khan says. “Her daycare teacher mentioned that asthma was very common here in Kansas City and that may be the cause. It was so alarming for me. I did a lot of research.” Asthma is a chronic condition that inflames and narrows the airways of the lungs. This narrowing creates symptoms such as shortness of breath, a persistent cough and a feeling of tightness in the chest. Some people can easily manage their asthma, but it can be extremely serious for others. Every day ten Americans die from asthma, and many of these deaths are preventable with treatment. Adults generally monitor their own breathing, and when situations escalate can use a nebulizer — or inhaler — to deliver medication directly to the lungs. Monitoring children with asthma can be a particularly stressful responsibility, as children don’t always recognize symptoms until they escalate. “This can be a big hurdle in monitoring, because parents cannot always determine if children need to be taken to the hospital or treated,” Khan says. “If we develop a low-profile wireless monitoring device, we can improve the accuracy of monitoring and help parents and other caregivers make better decisions.” Currently, people with asthma monitor symptoms with a peak flow meter. The device looks like a kazoo, with a gauge that measures how well air is flowing. To achieve an accurate reading, the patient needs to close their lips tightly around the mouthpiece, keep their tongue away from the opening and blow as hard as possible. That physical maneuvering is often difficult with young children and older adults. Detection of an impending attack can be tricky — sometimes even for doctors. A wireless system could relieve the asthma sufferer and their caregivers from being in a constant state of alert. It could also send notifications to patients, caregivers and health- care providers in real time. “If a child or older person is having an asthma attack away from caregivers, we can integrate a warning system they can use within the monitor,” Chowdhury says. “It could be programmed to notify the doctor and the family if the patient is unable to respond.” The research is focused on detecting the concentration of mucus and water content in the lungs and bronchial system. To make the system effective, Khan and Chowdhury would need to expose the device to existing information so it can “learn.” “We would have to train the system with microwave images of healthy lungs and bronchial systems and then images of different levels of asthma so that it can recognize the severity of the condition,” Chowdhury says. This data collection may not be as far-fetched as it seems. The technology has been in use in the medical field for years and is currently in place for monitoring blood glucose without collecting blood samples through needle pricks. Kahn is also developing electromagnetic wave-based technology that can be used for detection of breast cancer. The doctors view this as a long-term project because of the prototype development. The initial phase — collecting data, testing information-gathering methods and developing and testing the resulting device — will take a few years, but Kahn and Chowdhury are dedicated to its completion, both professionally and personally. “When you witness an asthma attack firsthand, it’s very scary — especially if it’s a young child,” Chowdhury says. “We are hoping to use this evolving technology to identify reliable early detection so patients can receive early and effective treatment. This will provide peace of mind for asthma sufferers and their caregivers.” Jul 13, 2020

  • The Future of Stormwater Management Runs Through Kansas City

    UMKC School of Computing and Engineering Professor John Kevern tells Medium about his stormwater research
    John Kevern, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is the inaugural director of the new Center for Urban Stormwater Research. The center is a research consortium focused on tackling urban flooding in Kansas City. Read the full article in Medium.     Jul 13, 2020

  • School of Medicine Dean Answers Coronavirus Questions

    Mary Anne Jackson was a guest on KCUR's Up to Date
    Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., has been providing expert advice on coronavirus and COVID-19. Most recently, Jackson participated in a Q&A session with KCUR. You can listen to the full interview on KCUR. Jul 10, 2020

  • UMKC Institute for Data Education, Analytics and Science Results Featured by Local Media

    The Kansas City Star, KMBC, The Pitch produced stories about the data analysis conducted by the new institute
    The coordinator of the new institute, Brent Never, associate professor at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, conducted an analysis of the recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program loans tied to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Read more from The Kansas City Star, KMBC and The Pitch. Jul 10, 2020

  • Recent Grad Helps Mayor Engage Latinx Community

    Aly Hernandez's background sparked her passion for public service
    Prior to joining Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas’ office, UMKC Honors College graduate Aly Hernandez (B.A. ’19) worked on his election campaign as well as efforts for U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II and the Jorge Flores campaign for Wyandotte County Commissioner. Aly Hernandez(B.A. '19 with University Honors) Now, as external affairs manager, she is helping connect Mayor Lucas with the Latino community. “Aly is a vital member of the Mayor’s Office, bringing to work each day her creative ideas, passion for change and positive mentality. Never does Aly forget why she chose a career in public service—which is to increase opportunities for the community she’s from. Aly has been an important liaison between my office and the Latinx community throughout Kansas City, especially during this uncertain period of COVID-19, and we appreciate her tremendously,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas. We spoke with Hernandez recently about her role in city government, her love of learning new languages, and what fuels her passion. Tell us about your role in Mayor Lucas’ office. I assist the Mayor by providing recommendations for city boards and commissions, brief him on current events and information prior to events and meetings, create social media posts and act as our onsite field coordinator for various community and office events. Recently, I began acting as our communications liaison with local Spanish media and have translated various interviews, speeches, and statements for Mayor Lucas. How do you keep the Latinx community engaged with the Mayor and vice versa? COVID-19 is a great example of how we have kept our community engaged with the Mayor and vice versa. Our office has continued to provide Spanish language translations for our Spanish-speaking community almost immediately as it has been shared. We’ve kept a weekly Spanish radio spot and have been increasing Spanish interviews for the Mayor. I’ve also increased the number of Latino community events he attends and panels and townhalls he participates in. What is VozKC? Why is it important? I am a member and co-founder of the organization Voz Kansas City. We are a new Latinx Organization advocating for and advancing the role the Latinx community plays in the community and within politics. Our goal is to support political candidates whose interests align with ours and increase the number of Latinx candidates in our elections. We also support equity education initiatives and are heavily focused on the immigration debate in our country.  VozKC is important because the Latinx community is the largest growing electorate, meaning that our voting potential and voting power will continue to grow in the years to come. Thus, it is crucial to have organizations like VozKC to work on Get Out The Vote campaigns and be involved in the policy making process. It is also important to have representation in all political offices “I want to help people in the way my family would have wanted to be helped when we first moved to the city.” —Aly Hernandez, B.A. '19 Have you attended any of the Black Lives Matter protests with Mayor Lucas? Do you brief him on the events? Has there been any policy instituted as a result?  I have attended Black Lives Matter Protests with and without the Mayor. I keep him up-to-date on any major things that may arise, but I am also there as a supporter for BLM. The Mayor is currently working on a few initiatives that resulted from the protests such as introducing an ordinance directing the City Manager to examine any city ordinances that have negative racial/bias language and directly affect people of color along with working with the Board of Police Commissioners and forming the Public Safety Study Group.  What are the challenges of your job? The benefits? The most challenging part of my job would be how quickly your day can change. Sometimes we go into the office with an idea of our plan for the day and then something changes which impacts our entire day. We just have to be comfortable with never knowing what each day might bring. The most rewarding part of the job would be how fast or quickly something can get passed by the council and almost immediately help people. It’s amazing how much non-partisan local governments can do without polarizing political views interfering with day-to-day Mayor and Council operations. Aly Hernandez, left, with U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II at a previous fundraising event. Where does your interest in politics and public service stem from? My interest in politics and public service has to come from seeing my family, friends, and neighbors live difficult lives. My parents and I are immigrants. I grew up undocumented in the northeast part of the city and am a product of public schools. I grew up hearing my classmates say that college wasn’t even in their minds, much less graduation. I’ve seen, and experienced myself, how families who have homes often struggle just to pay their utilities or struggle to provide basic services for their families. I want to help people in the way my family would have wanted to be helped when we first moved to the city.  What advice do you have for students who want to pursue a career in politics or public service? Sometimes change doesn’t happen immediately. It can take a long time, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less worthwhile to continue the effort. Patience is important in this field, but the relief in seeing the project through is like no other. “Sometimes change doesn’t happen immediately. It can take a long time, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less worthwhile to continue the effort.” —Aly Hernandez, B.A. ’19 What brought you to UMKC? I knew I wanted to be close to home and within a city that could provide me with many internship opportunities and scholarships. I found that at UMKC, and I also found my niche there as well. I think UMKC was big enough for me to get the large university experience, but small enough where I could get to know my professors and be involved on campus. Why did you choose your majors of criminal justice and French? I knew I wanted to get into politics and Criminal Justice fit perfectly with what I wanted to do. By focusing on crime, I’m able to apply those skills here in the office as needed as well. I’m currently getting a master of public administration in urban policy and my background in criminal justice helps me understand policy making and research that my professors often discuss in our classes. I also love learning languages, and French was always something I wanted to take when I was in high school but was never able to take since they only offered Spanish. I hope to learn another language soon. What is something you learned about yourself at UMKC? I learned that I should take care of myself as much as I am determined to help others. I never really paid much attention to self-care until I went to UMKC. I appreciate all the efforts they made to help us relax and have fun apart from just studying all day. Self-care really stuck with me even after undergrad. Why did you and your family come to the United States? My mom left Mexico to give us a better opportunity in life. She grew up poor and wanted more opportunities for my sister and I. She left her life behind and crossed the border like millions of others did to join my grandparents in Texas. She didn’t see her mother for 17 years until she received her green card. She made a huge sacrifice, and I will always be appreciative of it. Jul 09, 2020

  • Tackling Racism in the Workforce

    Panelists call for action on multiple fronts to drive change
    How do we drive change to address systemic racism in the workplace? Use your voice, use your vote and use your purchasing power. That was one of the primary messages emerging from the first of a series of “Critical Conversations” panel discussions sponsored by Chancellor Mauli Agrawal of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the university’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion. Panelists discussed how racism – often unconscious but no less real – remains pervasive in the American workplace, despite years of training programs and volumes of legislation. In order to continue the anti-racist momentum arising in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, panelists said people of color, and their white allies, must use multiple avenues of leverage to drive ongoing awareness and action. More than 600 people tuned in. Participating panelists included: Gary O'Bannon (Moderator), Executive in Residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management and former Director of Human Resources, City of Kansas City, Mo.  Clyde McQueen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Full Employment Council Uzo Nwonwu, Corporate Legal Counsel, UMB Bank Jeffrey J. Simon, Office Managing Partner, Husch Blackwell LLP A'yanna Tomlin, UMKC student, studying Business Administration  Racism in the workplace is rarely overt or obvious, Nwonwu said, and it is often sanctioned by “facially neutral” language: a policy or standard that does not mention race, but has the net effect of favoring white people and exploiting disadvantages that are more prevalent or powerful among people of color. Simon said an example would be a standard that favors the connections that white males have to power structure networks, such as minimum revenue generation standards for partnerships in a law firm. It can also be subtle, McQueen said. When people of color are not acknowledged or recognized in group interaction, they sometimes lose confidence and become withdrawn. “They take themselves out of the game,” he said. Tomlin said people of color often feel pressured to practice “respectability politics” in the workplace: “Putting on an act, a face, to make the other people in the room more comfortable.” Government and business policies also play a powerful role in workplace racism, panelists agreed. Those policies, for example, drive many of the best job opportunities well outside of the urban core, out of reach of underfunded public transit systems that people of color depend on. Too often, workplace diversity programming is a check-the-box exercise with little impact on entrenched company culture. Panelist offered several strategies for moving past that barrier. McQueen said organizations must commit to monitoring progress and reporting improvement – or the lack thereof – in an honest and transparent manner. “Build cultural competency into job descriptions and performance reviews,” he said. “If you’re not getting it done in-house, you need to bring in an outside expert,” Nwonwu said. “Outside forces can infuse new ideas into the conversation but change has to come from inside.” When progress fails to happen, Nwonwu said, people have to decide to either confront it, or look for better opportunities elsewhere. Simon said that applies not just to those who experience workplace racism, but also those who witness it. People of color cannot bear the burden alone, “The white power structure that built the structure of systemic racism has to be a part of tearing it down,” he said. ”It takes leadership, and a sincere, heartfelt belief that it’s part of who we are and what we believe in. And to have the courage to look at ourselves and say, here is where we are not doing a good job.” Tomlin said companies need deeds to match their words. “A lot of these companies issued statements of solidarity with Black Lives Matter, but then I look at their all-white executive board. You have to practice what you preach.” McQueen urged people to do the research they need to use their power of the purse effectively, doing business with organizations that have demonstrated a genuine commitment to addressing systemic racism. That applies to both personal consumption and business relationships within their organizations. “Use your voice, use your vote and use your purchasing power,” he said. Jul 09, 2020

  • UMKC Analysis Finds Few Pandemic Loans Went to Women, Minorities

    Fox4KC interviewed Brent Never about his analysis of federal data on the Paycheck Protection Program
      Brent Never, coordinator of the new UMKC Institute for Data Education, Analytics and Science, conducted an analysis of the Paycheck Protection Program loans. The analysis and found only 341 of 4,677 went to minority- or women-owned firms. Read the full story from Fox4KC. Jul 09, 2020

  • UMKC Data Analysis: Federal COVID Loan Program Eluded Minorities, Women in KC

    Only 341 of 4,677 Paycheck Protection Program loans went to minority- or women-owned firms
    A $650 billion federal loan program created to address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic failed to reach large numbers of women, Black, Hispanic or Asian people in the Kansas City region, according to an analysis by the new UMKC Institute for Data Education, Analytics and Science (IDEAS). The coordinator of the new institute is Brent Never, associate professor at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Never conducted an analysis after the Small Business Administration on Monday released information about the recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program loans tied to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Never’s analysis found that the program made 4,677 loans of $150,000 or more in the Kansas City region to small businesses or 501(c)(3) public charities with up to 500 employees. Of those loans: 24 went to African American/Black-owned firms; 34 went to Hispanic-owned firms; 33 went to Asian-owned firms; 250 went to women-owned firms. The vision for IDEAS is positioning UMKC as the top option for data science training in the region, building on the university’s strengths in biomedical informatics, big data analytics, image analysis, digital humanities and geospatial analysis. Jul 08, 2020

  • Beams of Light to Treat Diabetes: UMKC Invention Gets Federal Funding Boost

    Pharmacy researcher awarded $1.5 million NIH grant to refine innovation
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue work on an important advancement to help treat the tens of millions of people who have diabetes. The lifetime burden of constantly checking blood sugar and injecting insulin is significant. UMKC research has developed a way of delivering insulin to diabetics that eliminates pumps and most injections. “We’re aiming to improve the lives of diabetics all over the world,” said UMKC pharmacy professor Simon Friedman, the principal investigator on the grant. Normally, diabetics must inject themselves with insulin numerous times per day to enable the body to absorb blood sugar. The amount of insulin needed and timing vary with what an individual eats and their activity level. With blood glucose continuously varying, the insulin requirement parallels the amount of glucose in the blood. The only clinically-used method to permit continuously variable delivery of therapeutic proteins like insulin is a pump. But they do so at a high cost:  a physical connection to the outside of the patient, where the drug reservoir resides, and the inside of the patient, where drug absorption will ultimately take place. This connection in insulin pumps is a cannula — or needle — which can be dislodged, crimped, snagged, infected and most importantly, rapidly gets biofouled from moisture after implantation. This leads to variable and unpredictable delivery.  For several years, Friedman and his lab associates have been developing a method in which a single injection of a material called a PAD (photo-activated depot) can take the place of multiple normal insulin injections and allow for minute-by-minute automatic updating of insulin release. The material is injected into the skin like insulin, but lies dormant until a beam of light stimulates release of insulin, in response to blood sugar information. The new grant will help make the technology more reliable for someone to use and easier to manage.  “With the improvements, we anticipate creating a new and revolutionary approach to continuously variable protein delivery, one that minimizes invasiveness and maximizes the close matching of therapeutic with patient requirements,” Friedman said. Karen Kover, associate professor of pediatrics at the UMKC School of Medicine and Children’s Mercy, has been an integral member of the research team for years, and Friedman is grateful for her collaboration. Reviewers of the grant application praised the work, and Friedman, who has won previous NIH funding, said this was his highest rated grant award. “We are grateful for the enthusiastic response from the NIH study section, given the very competitive nature of funding at this time during the pandemic,” said UMKC Vice Chancellor for Research Chris Liu. The project is supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the NIH. In people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin. Patients need insulin to process sugar from meals. People with type 2 diabetes make insulin, but their bodies don’t respond well to it. At first the pancreas produces extra insulin to make up for it. But over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep blood sugar at normal levels. About 34.2 million children and adults in the U.S. — 10.5% of the population — have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 25 percent use insulin shots. About 86 million people ages 20 and older in the U.S. have prediabetes. Complications from diabetes include heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system damage and amputation. People with diabetes risk more serious complications from COVID-19 than others who do not have the disease. “Through research at UMKC, we strive to improve the health of not just our community but our entire population,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “We are proud of Dr. Friedman and his team’s innovation, which could significantly benefit people around the world.” Jul 08, 2020

  • Cameron High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven for 2020
    Aubrey Brown, a spring 2020 Cameron High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar.  When Brown begins business administration studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. An annual member of the Principal’s Honor Roll and academic letter recipient, Brown was president of National Honor Society, vice president of DECA, co-captain of the pom squad, president of the chamber choir and member of the drama club. She was also a member of the Northwest Missouri All-District Choir and volunteered with Meals on Wheels through the Cameron Regional Hospital. Brown consistently played lead roles in school theater productions, received the Rising Star award for her involvement in arts at school and was named Best Female Vocalist in the Cameron High School choir two years in a row. Brown won first place in the Northwest Missouri District 1 Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research DECA competition. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Brown shares why she plans to pursue a degree in business and marketing. “I love all of the opportunities the marketing field offers for creativity and variety; you have the potential to be doing something new and imaginative every day. I enjoy getting to organize and design fun flyers and videos for events. Through projects I have done for DECA, I have made a few flyers with online programs. I have even made a flyer for a girl who organized a fashion show for our community last summer.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020

  • Joplin High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven for 2020
    Lily Dang, a spring 2020 Joplin High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar.  When Dang begins biology studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. Active in the Future Business Leaders of America, Dang was vice president of membership and a senior representative in addition to being a member of student council and Key Club. She volunteered at St. Peter’s Outreach House preparing and serving food to the hungry and held the position of secretary with Messengers of Christ, a group responsible for educating youth about faith and their Vietnamese heritage. During her final two years at Joplin High School, Dang was a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Dang explains why she wants to pursue a career in medicine. “Growing up, I’ve always been so curious about why and how things work. When it comes to understanding life, especially the human body, it makes my heart skip a beat. There are so many questions that I ponder about. Why is life the way it is? Why are people the way they are? All these thoughts fascinate me.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community.  The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020

  • Olathe South High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven for 2020
    Whitney Schweiger, a spring 2020 Olathe South High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar. When Schweiger begins music education studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. A Kansas Honor Scholar, Schweiger was a member of the National Honor Society, Fountain City Youth Brass Band and Tri-M Music Honor Society. She was a drum major of the Olathe South Band, received the Terry James Social Science Award and was also a nominee for the Wellesley College Book Award. Schweiger served as president of United Sound, a club that teaches students with special needs how to play an instrument, and volunteered with Harvesters and as a writing center tutor at Olathe South. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Schweiger explains the importance of leadership.  “Leadership has taught me how to connect with others, work as a team, and make decisions for the good of a whole. These lessons are important to all people in everyday life, which is why I believe that it is important for everybody to know how to be a leader.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020

  • Park Hill High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven in 2020
    Grace Yu, a spring 2020 Park Hill High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar. When Yu begins accounting studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. Yu was a section leader in the marching band and as co-captain, led her team to the Varsity Tennis Co-Conference Championship title in 2019. Yu was an AP Scholar of Distinction at Park Hill High School and also graduated in 2017 from the Chinese School of Greater Kansas City where she placed first in a speech competition. In 2016, Yu’s piano performance earned high marks at the MSHSAA District Solo and Ensemble Festival and allowed her to advance to the state festival where she received the highest rating. Yu served on the leadership committee for the Trojan Mentors program at Park Hill, as a teaching assistant at the Chinese School of Greater Kansas City and traveled with the Youth Summer Mission Project to host Vacation Bible School on a Native American reservation in Arizona. Recently, she organized a book drive for Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City where she collected and donated 159 books for children in need. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Yu shared her career goals. “I plan to pursue a master’s degree in accounting to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), followed by a Juris Doctorate degree to become a tax attorney. My interest in both these fields comes from how much I enjoy maximizing the use of my money, in my case, to contribute to a greater cause.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020

  • Clinton High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven in 2020
    Madelyn Bremer, a spring 2020 Clinton High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar. When Bremer begins political science studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. In addition to academic excellence, Bremer held a variety of leadership positions in the Future Business Leaders of America, including chapter president and north central region vice president. She was the Student Council Senior Class president, the National Honor Society chapter secretary/treasurer, a student body delegate in the Student Activities Leadership Team and volunteered as a tutor as well as worked part-time at Cook Auction Company. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Bremer shares why she plans to pursue a career in law after receiving her political science degree. “I believe the law is the base of our society, and I want to help people at its foundation. I know that I can best accomplish this as a human rights attorney, where I hope to work on cases that will improve the lives of the people around me. With this career, I can incorporate my passion for social justice and the skills I will gain to make an impact that matters.”  The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020

  • Ladue Horton Watkins High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven in 2020
    Isabella del Cid, a spring 2020 Ladue Horton Watkins High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar. When del Cid begins health sciences studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. She was secretary of Health Occupations Students of America, vice president of the Make-A-Wish Club and co-captain of the volleyball team. A mainstay on the honor roll throughout high school, del Cid received the AP Scholar Award, Ram Pride Award and was a member of the National Honor Society. She was also named to the Ladue All-Academic Team for volleyball and received All-Conference honorable mentions in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.  Del Cid volunteered with the Ladue Special Olympics tournaments and at St. Luke’s Hospital as a courier and served as a camp counselor at King’s Kids Camp. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, del Cid shares how being a camp counselor affirmed her passion for helping others.  “The servitude that I show at camp has grown in my daily life. I have an intense drive to help others, and that passion consequently boosts my confidence in my abilities. I’m able to lead people confidently by putting their needs first and helping them grow personally.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020

  • Ruskin High School Graduate Named UMKC Trustees' Scholar

    Kansas City's university awards seven in 2020
    Mouada Allan, a spring 2020 Ruskin High School graduate, has been named a University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees’ Scholar.  When Allan begins biology studies at UMKC in the fall, she will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years. Her award is supported by the UMKC Board of Trustees, the founder of the scholarship program. Allan, who is already a Certified Nursing Assistant and plans to become a doctor, was co-president of the National Honor Society, vice-president of Health Occupations Students of America and served as a student representative on the Superintendent’s Council in addition to being captain of the soccer team. A mainstay on the honor roll throughout high school, Allan interned with the First Hand Foundation at Cerner and volunteered in the long-term care wing at Truman Medical Center during the summers of 2017 and 2018. In the essay submitted to the Trustees’ Scholars selection committee, Allan shares why she values tact in a leader. “As a Muslim female in the United States, I tend to receive many stares and comments from others who aren’t fully informed about Islam. Hence, I communicate with them tactfully to ensure that I can convey my opinion without offending the other person or their views … If tact wasn't used in situations like this, where two people have different viewpoints, then a dispute may break out. On the other hand, when tact is used, both sides can voice their views and opinions on the topic to understand each other peacefully.” The Trustees’ Scholarship provides educational fees and on-campus room and board for the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the package provides educational fees and $2,000 for room and board. Each Trustees’ Scholar also receives $500 toward books each year. To qualify as Trustees’ Scholars, students must meet at least two of the following three criteria: score a minimum ACT Composite of 30, rank in the top five percent of the graduating class, or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more in a 17-class core curriculum. Trustees’ Scholars must enroll full-time, be seeking an undergraduate degree and commit to living on campus for the first two years. The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program is unique in that it aligns students closely with corporate sponsors, who give students access to their professional knowledge and experience, insight into the inner workings of the company or institution they represent, and a strong mentor relationship throughout the college experience. Students have opportunities to network and find internships or jobs through the Trustees and their connections in the community. The UMKC Board of Trustees is a non-profit organization established by civic and community leaders to support the University. Members advocate on the University's behalf, provide community feedback and forge partnerships to help the University achieve its strategic priorities and financial objectives. Jul 07, 2020

  • Faculty Receive UM System President’s Awards

    The 2020 recipients include Richard Delaware and Sarah Pilgrim
    Each year, the highly competitive UM System President’s Awards recognize faculty who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the University. The awards are presented on behalf of President Mun Choi to faculty members across the four universities of the UM System. President’s Award recipients will be recognized at a Board of Curators meeting on their university campus, as well as at a faculty awards event hosted at their home institution. This year, two UMKC faculty, Richard Delaware and Sarah Pilgrim, were among the 13 awardees recognized across the UM System. President’s Award for Innovative Teaching Richard Delaware, Ph.D. Richard Delaware, Ph.D., Teaching Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, UMKC In Delaware’s own words: “We must encourage our students to reason actively, not blindly master mathematical tools, and to trust to their own innate originality. Mathematics is a quintessentially human endeavor.” Delaware teaches mathematics courses that integrate history, writing, immersion and active learning principles. His students have published dozens of expository mathematics publications and won numerous national and local writing awards. In his classes, students engage with the subject by working together on mathematical proofs and posting them on online learning platforms. He also has created YouTube-based courses that can supplement high school and college lectures. Importantly, his methods of educating middle school mathematics teaching majors inspire them to re-create empowering education experiences for their future students. Delaware’s innovative teaching encourages students to take ownership of their learning and apply creativity to all aspects of life. President’s Award for Intercampus Collaboration Sarah Pilgrim, Ph.D. Sarah Pilgrim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, UMKC Ginny Ramseyer Winter, Ph.D., MU The Inter-Campus Collaboration Award recognizes faculty who engage in activities that foster collaboration across two or more universities of the University of Missouri System. At UMKC, Sarah Pilgrim, Ph.D., focuses on the sexual health and decision-making of adolescents in foster care. At MU, Ginny Ramseyer Winter, Ph.D., investigates body image and health disparities. She created the Center for Body Image Research & Policy with the help of MU colleagues; and faculty from other universities, including Pilgrim, are affiliated. The collaboration includes departmental affiliations with Psychology at Penn State Abington, Textile and Apparel Management at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Social Work at Washburn University, Social Work at the University of Arkansas, Public Health at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The range of collaborators and their departments speaks to both Ramseyer Winter and Pilgrim’s dedication to interdisciplinary partnerships. Their work examines body image and sexual health among Missouri foster youth and utilizes mobile technology to provide foster parents with the knowledge and skills necessary to help decrease sexual health disparities. Importantly, this study would not be possible without intercampus collaboration. Ramseyer Winter and Pilgrim’s sincere desire to better the lives of underserved youth is energizing for all those involved. This collaborative project will go a long way to assisting the most vulnerable young Missourians by disseminating critical public health information. Jul 07, 2020

  • UMKC Researcher Tests Masks

    KSHB talked to Steven Siegel about his research on mask misconceptions
    Steve Siegel, senior research design engineer with the Department of Physics and Astronomy, told McKenzie Nelson that false information compelled him to conduct his own research on masks. Find out more by reading the story online. Jul 07, 2020

  • Scholarship Honors Renowned UMKC Professor

    Henry Frankel was admired for his research and personal connection
    The recent death of Henry R. Frankel, Ph.D., who was known as “Hank” to his friends, has left a void for those who knew him. Passionate and enthusiastic about his family, his research and his students during his 43-year career at UMKC, Frankel’s legacy will continue to enhance the university through a new scholarship. “Hank Frankel is the most accomplished and influential scholar the philosophy department at UMKC has ever had,” says Bruce Bubacz, Ph.D., Frankel’s friend and colleague. “His extraordinarily complete and extensive research into the controversy over the acceptance of continental drift and plate tectonics must be examined and understood by anyone who is studying that subject.” Frankel devoted much of his professional life to studying the theory of continental drift, which was initially received with skepticism. “Hank Frankel is the most accomplished and influential scholar the philosophy department at UMKC has ever had.” - Bruce Bubacz, Ph.D. “In 2012, Cambridge University Press published his four-volume work, ‘Continental Drift Controversy: Wegener and the Early Debate,’” Bubacz says. “It was the culmination of a distinguished 40-year research career and has brought recognition to our university among philosophers and historians of science as well as Earth scientists and physicists.” Frankel called the work a “romance,” referring to its emotion, imagination, heroism, mystery and adventure. The volumes are considered the definitive work on continental drift and plate tectonics in the field of Earth science. Bubacz notes that the verification that the continents were not stationary was revolutionary. “The plate tectonics revolution changed Earth science as profoundly as the Copernican revolution changed astronomy and the Darwinian revolution changed biology,” he says. Beyond Frankel’s groundbreaking work, he was a remarkable human being. Bubacz says that he was one of the first professors to “flip the classroom” by posting his notes online and devoting class time to discussion and debate. His family remembers that his passion for teaching and his excitement about science and philosophy were obvious to his students. "He could be loud and enthusiastic when teaching, walking back and forth in front of the class, talking excitedly.” - Johanna Comes, Frankel’s daughter “He could be loud and enthusiastic when teaching, walking back and forth in front of the class, talking excitedly,” says Johanna Comes, Frankel’s daughter. “It was as if he hoped that through his genuine excitement for the subject, his students would become genuinely excited for the material also. And his delight for teaching wasn’t just with college students. One year, he came to my grade school class to give a talk about basic logic. He brought logic workbooks for the kids and he worked through some problems with us. I don't know if he inspired any kids to become future philosophers, but it was cool that he took time to do that." Comes says that her father expected students to work hard, but he genuinely wanted them to succeed. She remembers that he committed himself to working with students who struggled with the subject matter as long as he could see they were trying. Her sister, Nora Frankel, agrees. “My dad always wanted his students to succeed,” she says. “I think his dedication to education was apparent in not only the way he treated his students, but also how he was an educator at home, both with me and my sister and his granddaughters.” Paula Frankel, Frankel’s wife of 50 years, witnessed his extra efforts to help students who were interested in undergraduate or graduate degrees in philosophy. She and her children are proud that the Henry R. Frankel Scholarship in philosophy will recognize his efforts. “In a way, this scholarship is just a continuation of that help,” she says. “I think he, and I know his family, are proud to have this established in his name.” Henry Frankel signed his correspondence, “Joy, Hank.” The Henry Frankel Scholarship in philosophy will continue the sentiment of his parting wish for future scholars in the field.   For more information about scholarships, please contact Financial Aid and Scholarships. Jul 06, 2020

  • Classical Music Is Back On the Radio In Kansas City for the First Time In Eight Years

    KCUR officially launches 91.9 Classical KC
    Kansas City has not had a classical music station since KXTR went off the air more than eight years ago. Classical KC will operate out of the same space at 4825 Troost in Kansas City, in a building owned by the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read more. Jul 06, 2020

  • UMKC School of Medicine Professor Dispels Mask Myth

    The Kansas City Star gets advice from Michael Moncure about the Kansas City COVID-19 mask orders and exemptions
    The Kansas City Star interviewed Michael Moncure about an internet myth that diabetics who wear a mask risk spiking their blood sugar. A Kansas City Star subscription is required to read the full article. Jul 06, 2020

  • Classical KC News Makes National, Local Headlines

    Media coverage includes Yahoo Finance
    KCUR public radio, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a host of Kansas City’s charitable foundations are bringing classical radio to Kansas City. The announcement made local and national headlines including Yahoo Finance, Broadway World and The Kansas City Star.   Jul 06, 2020

  • UMKC Bloch School Professor Weighs In on Retention of Patrick Mahomes

    KCTV5 interviewed Brent Never
    Brent Never, Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC associate professor, said the Chiefs aren’t the only people who should be excited to see this photo securing the champion quarterback as a Kansas City fixture for an additional ten years. Read more. Jul 06, 2020

  • Classical KC: A New Music Platform for Kansas City

    KCUR creates second radio station to provide 24/7 classical service
    At a time when we most need it, classical radio has returned to Kansas City. 91.9 Classical KC began broadcasting June 30 and is now operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The music service also can be streamed through a new website at classicalkc.org. The station is an enterprise of KCUR 89.3, Kansas City’s public radio station, which purchased the signal at 91.9 FM from William Jewell College in late June. KCUR is an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which holds its broadcasting license. Adding a second radio station to its portfolio fits well with KCUR’s history of supporting Kansas City’s rich arts culture, said Sarah Morris, interim general manager. “We see Classical KC as a cultural institution in the making,” Morris said. “Over time, we want the new station to be Kansas City’s ambassador for all things classical, and this is a fundamental step in that direction.” Morris pointed out that the purchase of the station would not have been possible without the generous support of several key funders in Kansas City. “We are supremely grateful to those wonderful funding partners who enthusiastically agreed to make initial investments in this vital project,” Morris said. For the past 20 years, Kansas City has been one of the few metropolitan areas of its size without a full-time classical music radio station. But, with the launch of the new music platform, KCUR intends to do more than simply play classical compositions. “Classical KC will not only be a major asset to our world-renowned UMKC Conservatory, but to our entire Kansas City community at a time when the spirit of music is needed more than ever.” - UMKC Chanellor Mauli Agrawal 91.9 Classical KC will be a local service with a focus on Kansas City, its arts institutions, its home-grown musicians, its audiences and its schools. The new station will act as an ambassador for the classical community and will partner with area arts organizations such as the UMKC Conservatory, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Kansas City Symphony to promote their work. Danny Beckley, executive director of the Kansas City Symphony, said he looks forward to working with the staff at Classical KC to develop innovative ways to share classical music with as broad an audience as possible. “We must democratize this music just as the ‘foodie’ movement has democratized our cultural taste buds,” Beckley said. “If we could commit to a collaborative partnership unburdened by more traditional siloed models of radio and orchestra, I believe such an effort could be transformational for Kansas City’s appetite for classical music.” Even before the purchase of 91.9 FM, William Jewell College and KCUR have enjoyed a longtime relationship that has included collaborative events involving the college’s Harriman-Jewell performing arts series. The launch of the new station allows that partnership to continue to flourish, says Elizabeth MacLeod Walls, president of William Jewell College.  “William Jewell College has a proud history as a supporter of the arts, from helping grow aspiring performers on our campus to bringing the best artists to Kansas City through the Harriman-Jewell Series. We believe music inspires creative thought, and this new station is a valuable addition to our culturally rich city.” “We see Classical KC as a cultural institution in the making. Over time, we want the new station to be Kansas City’s ambassador for all things classical, and this is a fundamental step in that direction.” - KCUR Interim General Manager Sarah Morris Stephen Steigman, KCUR’s longtime chief of broadcast operations, will lead Classical KC as its director. Over the next three years, the new station plans to expand its dedicated staff, including announcers, a social media/digital editor, a membership director and a community outreach coordinator. Steigman reiterated the importance of bringing Classical KC to life at this time. “While concert stages are dark, we can help classical arts organizations and musicians remain in front of their audiences at a time when they need to be in front of their audiences,” he said. “I’m looking forward especially to working with Kansas City’s musicians and organizations to find innovative ways to reach audiences through the broadcast of small-scale performances, living room concerts, interactive interviews and the airing of great archival content,” Steigman said, adding that classicalkc.org will provide a choice platform from which to share the work of local performing arts organizations, including performances and works by UMKC Conservatory faculty and students. While most commercial classical stations in the country have gone out of business in the past two decades — including KXTR in Kansas City — classical music is flourishing on public radio. More than 11 million listeners in the U.S. tune in to classical music on 71 public radio stations nationwide. “While concert stages are dark, we can help classical arts organizations and musicians remain in front of their audiences at a time when they need to be in front of their audiences.” - Classical KC Director Stephen Steigman The new station will be operated by KCUR as a community service of the UMKC, and will reinforce the university’s long-standing commitment to the arts in Kansas City. Classical KC will be funded exclusively by private donors, partner marketing and a membership program modeled after the one that helps sustain KCUR. No state or tuition money will be involved in this enterprise, Morris said. Although the new station’s signal is located in Independence, Missouri, it will be run out of KCUR’s offices at UMKC. “We are thrilled by this new partnership and celebration of the arts,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Classical KC will not only be a major asset to our world-renowned UMKC Conservatory, but to our entire Kansas City community at a time when the spirit of music is needed more than ever.” About KCUR KCUR 89.3 is a public radio service deeply rooted in the Kansas City metro area since 1957. It is the flagship NPR station in Kansas City, connecting people to ideas and to each other through news reporting, thoughtful conversation and vibrant expressions of arts and culture. The station serves the public by reporting on and sharing information about local governments, politics, education, health care, arts and culture through the voices of the people living those stories. It spotlights the creative works of artists, musicians and innovators who make the world and our community more vibrant. It brings people together through events intended to inspire and engage. The station is operated as an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), which holds the station's broadcast license. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day in a 90-mile radius of Kansas City. Its audio stream, archived local programming and podcasts are available at kcur.org. The station leads three public media collaborations: Harvest Public Media, the Kansas News Service and America Amplified, a national project for the 2020 election year. Jul 05, 2020

  • Campus Vending Machines Sell Personal Protective Equipment

    All details considered in preparing for fall
    Under our new normal with COVID-19, no detail is too small to be considered when it comes to preparing for the safety of all on campus. Even the vending machines. This fall, there are two vending machines dedicated to personal protective equipment, commonly known as PPE. One will be at Royall Hall, near Einstein Brothers, on the Volker Campus. The other will be inside the Health Sciences Building on the Health Sciences Campus. “We are very fortunate to have a partnership with a local vending company that was fully prepared to address the personal safety and welfare of our students and the campus community during these unprecedented times,” said Jody Jeffries, manager of Student Union Operations and Student Auxiliary Services. The vending machines will offer: Ear-loop masks Hand sanitizer Disinfecting, antimicrobial wipes Disposable non-latex gloves Kits with a mix of items  Most items cost between $1 and $4 to keep them more affordable than what you’d buy in most stores, Jeffries said. Regular vending machines that sell snack items on both campuses also will be stocked with some PPE items. Jul 02, 2020

  • 'A Bridge to the Stars' Mentors Help Former Student

    Fox4KC highlights contributions made to Jayden Francois
      Three years ago, Jayden Francois joined the UMKC “A Bridge to the Stars” program. It aims to teach high school students in the urban core, or who are under-represented, about STEM. One month ago, Jayden’s father, was murdered after a protest near the Plaza. Now, faculty and student mentors in the Bridge to the Stars program are showing support to Jayden and are helping him reach for the stars. Read the story by Fox4KC. Jul 01, 2020

  • Michael Pritchett’s New Book Featured

    KCUR interviewed Pritchett about his novella "Tania the Revolutionary"
    Michael Pritchett’s new work of fiction is the third book for this University of Missouri-Kansas City associate professor of English. Read more from KCUR. Jun 30, 2020

  • Economics Associate Professor Co-Authors Article

    Scott Fullwiler co-writes article on fiscal deficits and central bank financing
      In the June 30 issue of The Business Times, UMKC Economics Associate Professor Scott Fullwiler addresses reasons to not fear fiscal deficits and central bank financing. Read the article. Jun 30, 2020

  • UMKC Launches Critical Conversations Series

    Town halls about systemic racism draw hundreds
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Division of Diversity and Inclusion will hold a series of critical conversations addressing systemic racism in the United States. UMKC people are taking thoughtful action on campus and in our community to ensure lasting and comprehensive change through Roos Advocate for Community Change, a new campus-wide effort announced in June. The Critical Conversations are part of that initative. The panel discussions will be in a Zoom town hall-format and will feature UMKC faculty, staff, students and volunteer leaders who represent the topic being discussed. The sessions are free, but pre-registration is required online. Recent incidents regarding the death of George Floyd have sparked a global movement that highlights the dysfunction that permeates most aspects of people’s lives. Regardless of race, every person is impacted by racism; however, overwhelmingly most have not engaged the topic head on. The goal of each discussion will be to enlighten, to educate and to explore the causes and potential cures for racism. Further, the university will strive to share actionable steps that can be used to improve racial interactions in the broader community.  ­­­­ Future topics include police reform, Blacks in higher education at primarily white institutions, addiction as a public health issue, racism in banking and racism in housing. The town hall sessions are open to UMKC faculty, staff, students, volunteer leaders, community partners and the community at-large. For more information, please email umkcchancellor@umkc.edu. Notes on Critical Conversations First session, July 8: Systemic Racism in the Workforce  Panelists include: Clyde McQueen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Full Employment Council; Uzo Nwonwu, Corporate Legal Counsel, UMB Bank; Jeffrey J. Simon, Office Managing Partner, Husch Blackwell LLP; A'yanna Tomlin, UMKC student, studying Business Administration; Gary O'Bannon (moderator), executive-in-residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management and former Director of Human Resources, City of Kansas City, Mo.  Second session, July 30: The Future of Policing, Part 1 Panelists include: Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County prosecutor; Emanuel Cleaver III, senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church; Damon Daniel, president of the AdHoc Group Against Crime; Toya Like, associate professor, UMKC Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology; Gary O'Bannon (co-moderator),executive-in-residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management and former Director of Human Resources, City of Kansas City, Mo.; Jasmine Ward (co-moderator), third-year student at the UMKC School of Law. Third session, Aug. 27: The Future of Policing, Part 2 Panelists include: Gwendolyn Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City; Ronald Lindsay, pastor of the Concord Fortress of Hope Church; Ken Novak, professor in the UMKC Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology; Deputy Chief Karl Oakman, Kansas City, Missouri Police; Gary O'Bannon (co-moderator), executive-in-residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management; Cynthia L. Short, trial lawyer, mitigation specialist and sentencing advocate; Jasmine Ward (co-moderator) third-year student at the UMKC School of Law. Fourth session, Sept. 17: The Color of Money, Racism in Finance Panelists include: Ruben Alonso, president, AltCap; Victor Hammonds, director of small business banking, 1st National Bank of Omaha; Nathan Mauck, associate professor of finanace, Henry W. Bloch School of Management; Gary O'Bannon (co-moderator), executive-in-residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management; Nick Richmond, president and CEO, Kansas City Credit Union; Lisa Uhrmacher (co-moderator), IoT and analytics practice lead, Atos.  Fifth session, Oct. 5: The Future of Policing in Kansas City, A Conversation with Mayor Quinton Lucas Click here to register for the event. Participants include Mayor Quinton Lucas; Brandon Henderson, president of the UMKC Student Government Assocation; Ken Novak, professor in the UMKC Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology; Gary O'Bannon (moderator), executive-in-residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Hosted by the UMKC Student Government Association. Sixth session, Oct. 7: A Dialogue Among Women of Color and White Women in Higher Education Click here to register for the event. Panelists include: Karen Lee Ashcraft, professor, College of Media, Communication, and Information at University of Colorado Boulder; Karen L. Dace, vice chancellor, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Lona Davenport (co-moderator), senior diversity program coordinator, UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion; Christine Grant, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, associate dean of faculty advancement, North Carolina State University; Jennifer Laflam, professor and director of Center for Teaching and Learning at American River College; Tamica Lige (co-moderator), program coordinator, Students Training in Academia, Health, and Research (STAHR); Shani Barrax Moore, director of diversity and inclusion, University of North Texas; Julia Vargas, director, Center for Service Learning, Rockhurst University. If you'd like to read more on the subject prior to the discussion, check out the book, "Unlikely Allies in the Academy: Women of Color and White Women in Conversation," edited by panelist Karen L. Dace. Use this link and receive 20% off with the code BSE20 at checkout, valid only for books purchased through Routledge website. Jun 29, 2020

  • Political Science Professor Emeritus Quoted by National Media

    Max Skidmore was again tapped for commentary
    The Portland Press Herald recently reprinted a Washington Post article quoting UMKC Professor Emeritus Max Skidmore. Skidmore is the author of a book on presidential leadership during health crises.  Jun 27, 2020

  • Henry Bloch’s Legacy: Free Tuition to Aid Recovery from Pandemic Recession

    Local, national media outlets share details about the new scholarship
    The scholarship, announced on June 24, provides first-semester grad school tuition for adults hit by the COVID-19 recession. This story was picked up by more than 65 sources, including Business Insider, Yahoo Finance and The Kansas City Business Journal. Jun 26, 2020

  • School of Dentistry Nurse Served in NYC at Height of Pandemic

    Desire to help other nurses led her to the epicenter of COVID-19 cases
    What could cause a nurse to leave family and safety behind to work at a New York City hospital filled with COVID-19 patients, many of them destined to die on her watch? “I really wanted to help my fellow nurses,” said Hanna Bates-Crosby, RN, who works at the UMKC School of Dentistry and is trained as an emergency room nurse. “I went with my sister, who’s also a nurse, because we knew the nurses and doctors in New York were struggling, drowning in patients. I didn’t know how I could ethically not go and use my skills to help them.” Bates-Crosby and her sister, who is trained in intensive care, were among the first of thousands of nurses from across the country who went to New York to help. They arrived March 26, just after a week in which the number of COVID-19 patients in New York City had increased tenfold. “It truly was a war zone,” said Bates-Crosby, who worked the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift for seven straight days at one of the hardest-hit hospitals in Queens. “A trauma bay designed for four patients would have eight or 10 patients in it, and one nurse, because that was all we had. Another room meant for a few heart attack patients would have a dozen COVID patients and two nurses.” On one of her shifts, 30 people died. “Those people who don’t believe they were loading bodies into semi-trailers need to believe it,” she said. “It happened.” Away from the emergency room, on the regular hospital floors, “it was still practically all COVID patients, and if someone came in with something else, within a couple of days they could have COVID. There was no way to separate and protect the non-COVID patients,” she said. “But we went in knowing it wasn’t going to be normal nursing. We were going to see a lot of death, and not be able to do much for many of the patients. It was hard, being there for a patient and sedating them and putting them on a ventilator, knowing the odds of them coming off were not good.” She remembered one patient in particular. Making a rectangle around her eyes with her hands, to represent her hospital mask and other protective gear, Bates-Crosby said, “Knowing my face, this much of my face, was probably going to be the last face he saw — that was hard.” “It was hard, being there for a patient and sedating them and putting them on a ventilator, knowing the odds of them coming off were not good.” Hanna Bates-Crosby But the difficult experiences were worth it, she said, to do what she could to support her colleagues. “One doctor asked me where I was from, because I sounded different,” she said. “She couldn’t believe I had come all the way from Kansas City to help them.” Since returning, she said, “I have dreams sometimes where I’m in that emergency room. And I’m a very auditory person, so for a while I would wake up and hear ventilator alarms going off. But I was only there a week, so I’m doing all right. I worry about the nurses who are still there, getting COVID or just being exhausted.” When she and her sister returned to Kansas City, they still had to quarantine in a motel for two weeks. “That was hard, too. My husband was really good about it, bringing food and clothes, but he said, ‘It’s like you’re back, but you’re not really back.’ ” When quarantine was over, she finished coursework that added a bachelor’s in nursing degree to her RN, and in August she will start classes toward becoming a nurse practitioner. Bates-Crosby also picks up shifts administering infusion therapy in people’s homes. But she’s most looking forward to working again at the School of Dentistry as its clinics reopen, she hopes in July. “I really miss the students,” Bates-Crosby said. “It will be good to be back.” Jun 25, 2020

  • Tenacity Pays Off for Bloch Student Who Landed a Competitive Internship

    New York investment firm adds UMKC student to its Ivy League lineup
    Eduardo Avendano, a rising senior in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, is chasing a dream. “I want to achieve big things,” Avendano says. He is off to a good start. Avendano, who is majoring in business administration in finance, is a native of Brazil. Attending UMKC was the first step on the path toward a long-term goal. “I decided to come to the U.S. for college so I could chase my goal of building my career closer to the biggest players in the financial market.” Last fall, he interviewed with more than 30 companies in the United States for a summer internship. Avendano knew that the large New York-based firms usually hire interns from Ivy League colleges. He was undaunted. “I want to achieve big things.”- Eduardo Avendano “I understood that the easiest way for the firms to sort so many people applying for the same position was to separate people by school,” he says. “I had so many automated emails saying I did not get the job.” To change the outcome, he decided to change his approach. “Not only was I applying through the websites, I started cold calling, adding connections through LinkedIn and sending emails.” Using this method, he applied for 30 jobs and secured one interview at Ares Management Corporation. “Out of more than 3,000 applicants, 100 people were selected for a phone interview. I told my story and clinched the in-person interview in New York two weeks later.” Besides Avendano, four other candidates received an invitation to interview in person. “You can probably guess their backgrounds. Two were from Wharton [School of the University of Pennsylvania], one was from Brown University, one from Cornell University. And then there was me.” Avendano was not intimidated. “Even though there were more than 3,000 candidates, the moment I had the phone interview I knew would get the job.” He was able to visit the company before the escalation of the COVID-19 outbreak. The energy of New York City did not disappoint. “I stayed in a hotel overlooking Central Park. I love the energy of the city. When I looked down from the 42nd floor, I knew I was making the right decision." While the outbreak of COVID-19 has upset some of his plans, Avendano has remained positive even as he has been working at home in Kansas City. “It’s still very exciting,” he says. “We are supposed be in the office in the next few weeks.” "Even though there were more than 3,000 candidates, the moment I had the phone interview, I knew I would get the job." Avendano would encourage anyone with a similar dream to be as tenacious as he was. “I wanted to be where the best players in the market are. I knew some of the other candidates had more choices, but I knew I had the qualities to be as successful as they could.” He recommends being tenacious in the search, even if something seems like a long-shot. “It’s not an easy thing, but anyone can do it,” he says. “Just because you keep hearing ‘no’ doesn’t mean you’re not capable. You just better be prepared for the next ‘yes.’” Jun 25, 2020

  • Another Helping Hand from the Bloch Family: Free Tuition

    New scholarship provides first-semester grad school tuition for adults hit by COVID-19 recession
    Kansas City working professionals facing career setbacks due to the COVID-19-related recession can get a helping hand toward a fresh start, in the generous tradition of the late Henry W. Bloch: free fall tuition for the first semester for graduate school programs at his namesake school of management at UMKC. Henry Bloch never wavered in his support for Kansas City, or in championing the people of his hometown. Following his example, the UMKC Bloch School of Management and the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation are helping Kansas Citians affected by COVID-19 begin the next step in their careers and lives. One of the first scholarship programs in the nation aimed specifically at working professionals suffering financial hardship due to the coronavirus recession, the Bloch Helping Hand Scholarship provides awardees free tuition for their first semester in a Bloch graduate program and immediate access to the Bloch School’s career and entrepreneurship resources.  “We know what Dad would do in this difficult time; he would seek out unique ways to help those most in need.” said his son, Tom Bloch, chairman of the Bloch Family Foundation. “With this program, the school that bears his name is honoring his generous spirit to help those who have suffered unprecedented hardship and uncertainty by providing a pathway forward and upward through education.” Helping Hand Scholarships are available to people living in the greater Kansas City designated market area who have suffered job loss, furloughs, or other financial hardships as a result of the pandemic. Applications are available at this link and must be submitted by August 1. “Support for working professionals who have experienced job loss or other financial hardships due to the coronavirus recession is a critical unmet need,” said Brian Klaas, dean of the Bloch School. “Providing scholarship support during these challenging times is a fitting legacy of Henry Bloch’s lifetime of leadership and service, and we are grateful to the Bloch Family Foundation for working to address an important need within this community.” The Bloch Helping Hand Scholarship is funded by grant from the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation and is designed to help approximately 100 students restart their careers. The Henry W. Bloch School of Management, “Kansas City’s Business School,” emphasizes programs that link Bloch students and faculty with business partners throughout greater Kansas City. For students, these strong connections offer opportunities to learn from leaders in many of Kansas City’s most successful organizations. The Bloch School full menu of resources includes career coaches, entrepreneurship mentors, social media skills builders and deep connections to Kansas City’s business community, providing opportunities for internships, full-time jobs, mentoring and project-based learning. Apply for the scholarship Jun 24, 2020

  • Making a Difference in Women’s Global Health

    Physician mentor David John helps med student Faith Mueller toward her goal
    The heart of UMKC is our campus community. With lots of opportunities, it’s easy to develop mentorship teams. And these rich relationships — our Dynamic Duos — are some of our best success stories. Faith Mueller wants to become an obstetrician/gynecologist and change the world. David John, M.D., believes she will and is mentoring her on that path. When each talks about the other, it’s clear that their inspiration is mutual. “Early on, I became enveloped in the world of women’s liberation,” said Mueller, who is entering her last year of the UMKC School of Medicine’s six-year B.A./M.D. program. “I started reading stories of female genital mutilation, of sexual violence, of the pregnancy circumstances in areas of instability. These were stories that I could not shake, and I knew I had found my vocation.” Faith Mueller When she graduates, Mueller plans to find a role in women’s global health after serving her OB/GYN residency. John, a member of the six-year program’s original graduating class in 1977, had a long career in rheumatology in Hawaii and returned to UMKC three years ago to teach and mentor students as a docent, the teaching physician for a small “docent unit” of medical students. He and Mueller met when she joined his docent unit. “Our students are all bright and uniquely talented,” John said, “but it is rare to have a student like Faith Mueller. In addition to exceptional capabilities, Faith has the drive and the initiative, the passion, to do great things in her career. I hope to live long enough to see her early accomplishments to improve the health of women at a global level.” “Dr. John … approaches medicine with an empathy that is sustainable and rooted in ideas of equality. He stands for a world that is better for the people he serves.” — Faith Mueller Her drive to get started in medicine as soon as possible led Mueller to UMKC, where she could get her M.D. two years sooner than at other universities. But in John, who as a young man envisioned being a professor of English literature, she found a mentor who also emphasized the humanities and appreciated her desire to help others. “Dr. John is unwaveringly kind and takes the effort to see the humanity in everyone, no matter how they come to him,” Mueller said. “He approaches medicine with an empathy that is sustainable and rooted in ideas of equality. He stands for a world that is better for the people he serves.” David John Her mentor’s personality and commitment also make learning medicine less daunting. “I know I can always ask questions, whether about patient care, navigating the medical field, or life in general,” Mueller said. In turn, John said, Mueller and his other students have inspired and renewed him. “I had become intellectually complacent, emotionally placid, professionally successful but somehow not complete,” John said. “When I was a medical student here in the 1970s, certain docents showed me what it really means to wear the mantle of the physician within society. I viewed it as a great gift. This knowledge kept me true to the profession; it kept me grateful that my purpose was to help people suffer less and live healthier. When I decided it was my turn to give back, life got exciting again.  “Faith has the drive and the initiative, the passion, to do great things in her career. I hope to live long enough to see her early accomplishments to improve the health of women at a global level.”— David John “As Faith’s mentor, I feel my major purpose is to be a sounding board and a cheerleader. Her accomplishments are her own; she created her own goals. Mueller said she appreciates his support: “Dr. John inspires me to live boldly. I feel like I can ‘go for the gold’ knowing that I have someone within the faculty who will have my back and advocate for my success.” The med school’s docent system gave Mueller her opportunity to find a mentor, but she encourages other students to actively seek out mentors if a mentor relationship doesn’t develop naturally. “Keep your mind open for who would be a good mentor,” she said. “They don’t have to be in your field or occupation. Find someone that helps you grow as a person. Look for someone who inspires you.”  Jun 24, 2020

  • Bloch School Professor Interviewed by KSHB

    Scott Helm explains the impacts of JC Nichols’ policies and practices
    KSHB interviewed a number of local experts for their recent story about the renaming of the JC Nichols Fountain. Scott Helm, professor at the UMKC Bloch School of Management, was one of the individuals interviewed. Read more and watch the news clip.   Jun 24, 2020

  • Hollywood Reporter Ranks UMKC Theatre in Top 25 Again

    Master of Fine Arts program consistently recognized as one of the best performing arts schools
    The Hollywood Reporter’s recent rankings have the University of Missouri-Kansas City Theatre graduate program at No. 24 out of 25 for the world’s top dramatic and performing arts schools, making this the second year in a row in the Top 25. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the publication consulted with academics, influencers and alums to rank the top 25 Master of Fine Arts acting programs. In the article, the Hollywood Reporter highlighted UMKC for bringing theater, music and dance departments under one roof: the UMKC Conservatory. UMKC Theatre was also ranked in the Top 25 by the Hollywood Reporter last year at No 20. For the third year in a row, Hollywood Reporter has also included UMKC Theatre in its national list of Top 10 Costume Design schools. UMKC Theatre offers a single comprehensive M.F.A. degree in costume design and technology, which has been key to its success. Students learn many skills including drawing, painting, sketching and learning how to construct a garment with techniques in fabric manipulation, millinery, tailoring and pattern drafting. “The history of UMKC Theatre has been one of excellence,” said Ken Martin, Patricia McIlrath Endowed professor of Theatre and chair of UMKC Theatre. “A high quality, forward thinking faculty, coupled with a regional professional theatre on campus, results in a world class training. We are proud to be mentioned alongside these other programs, and look forward to building on the traditions and quality already established.” As well as merging with the UMKC Conservatory in 2019, Martin was named chair of the UMKC Theatre Department. The merger was a natural alignment: the two programs share a long history of collaboration, a physical space, a conservatory model of teaching where students receive intensive hands-on training while gaining analytical skills taught by professional performing artists, a professional-school focus, a strong national reputation, a spirit of civic engagement and a supportive philanthropic audience. UMKC Theatre continues to make the entire city an artistic campus. In addition to its on-campus partnership with Kansas City Repertory Theatre, this year the program continues to partner with Unicorn Theatre, Coterie Theatre and Kansas City Actors Theatre, featuring MFA and Bachelor of Arts acting students in major professional roles.  Alumni include Nick Gehlfuss of “Chicago Med,” Patrick DuLaney of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway” and Toccara Cash of Broadway’s “The Play That Goes Wrong” and “Half Me, Half You” at London’s West End.   Jun 23, 2020

  • UMKC Edits Its Writing Style to Capitalize ‘Black’

    Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications updates reference to Black faculty, staff and students in UMKC style guide
    Listening to feedback from members of our campus community, the UMKC Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications (MCom) changed its writing style guidelines to capitalize the ‘B’ in Black in reference to Black people, history and culture. To capitalize or not to capitalize Black has been an ongoing discussion in cultural, academic and journalistic circles for many years. As the Black Lives Matter movement nationally has heated up that discussion, the UMKC marketing and communications staff, took note. And decided to make a change. The Associated Press (AP) Style Guide, the bible of writing and editing rules for most news and communications organizations, including MCom, has long called for lowercase “black” when referring to Black people, history and culture. However, newspapers, journals, TV news programs and many companies have slowly begun the shift to capitalizing that reference over the years, more so in recent weeks. The AP announced its decision to change its longtime standard on June 19, also known as Juneteenth, the day commemorating the official end to slavery in the United States. UMKC Law Professor Jamila Jefferson pointed out that trend, in a recent interview with MCom about some of her research. MCom conducted some quick research and took the pulse of staff members. People noted some key developments: Many large newsgathering organizations across the country -- USA Today, the LA Times, CNN, The AP and NBC, to name a few – have made the decision to capitalize. Several journalists and scholars have called for AP to change its style guide in recent years. They announced the change on Friday, June 19. This week, the influential National Association of Black Journalists announced that its plans to update its own guidelines. “Many on our staff cited excellent reasons to make this shift,” said Anne Spenner, vice chancellor of Strategic Marketing and Communications. “Given our university’s desire to listen, learn and lead when it comes to matters of diversity and inclusion on our campus, this change makes sense for UMKC.” Learn about the values of UMKC Jun 23, 2020

  • Alumna Shepherds Late Brother’s Case to Supreme Court Victory

    Melissa Zarda (B.A. ’02, M.A. ’07) stepped in to advocate for equal protection in workplace discrimination
    Don Zarda worked at a skydiving company in Long Island, New York where he would accompany customers on tandem jumps. In an effort to make a female customer more comfortable, he mentioned that he was gay. Following the jump, the customer’s boyfriend complained and Don was fired. He sued and pursued the case, Zarda v. Altitude Express, through the courts until his death BASE jumping in 2014. His sister, Melissa Zarda, who had been at his side during the years following his dismissal, took up the mantle that recently resulted in a Supreme Court ruling that sexual orientation falls within Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that determined people could not be discriminated against based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Melissa never wavered in her commitment to advocate for her brother and the LGBTQ community. "This case was so important to my brother that we owed it to him to pursue it in his honor,” Melissa says. “I heard from people all over the world who had been fired for nothing more than being themselves at work. People lost their paychecks, the ability to provide for themselves and their families, their health insurance and more.” Don Zarda BASE jumping from a tower in Kuala Lumpur Before Don filed his case, Melissa was not aware how common LGBTQ discrimination was in the workplace. “I was totally ignorant of the plight of LGBTQ people in the workplace,” she says. “I assumed federal protections were already in place under Title VII and couldn't be challenged.” While she was active and supportive in Don’s case, her role changed after his death. Despite her drive to achieve his dream of the courts supporting LBGTQ equality, her devotion to her brother and her conviction that workplace equality was essential, she was not confident that they would win. “I hate to say it, but there were times that I worried that we’d lose and I thought that would be tragic.” As she watched the oral arguments during the Supreme Court hearing, she began to gain hope. “I noticed during oral arguments that (Associate Supreme Court Justice) Neil Gorsuch was really engaged,” Melissa said. “He was asking questions and paying attention and taking the time to listen to both sides. Also, we were represented by the best of the best. Our attorney was Pam Karlan, co-director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford, and we were also supported by a talented team at the ACLU.” Melissa Zarda addresses the press after the verdict Despite her years of work and devotion to her brother’s cause and the strength of their team, Melissa was overwhelmed when the verdict was in their favor. “My heart was racing. I can’t really put it into words. My brother had been dealing with this case for a few years already before he died and it took a huge toll on him,” she says. ”I took over along with his partner, Bill (Moore), in 2014. We hit many snags along the way, but we kept going. It has been a long journey, and to see it all end at the highest court with a fair ruling was euphoric.” Melissa felt as if Don were with her when she heard the news. “I feel he was looking down on us and that he was proud that we didn’t give up,” she says. “He would have been wearing his biggest smile and would have given me one of his bear hugs that I miss so much.” Rather than resting, Melissa is taking advantage of the momentum of the decision to pursue further LBGTQ protection. Don Zarda and his partner Bill Moore “I think it’s important to push Congress to pass the Equality Act to fully protect LGBTQ people — and all people — from discrimination in all contexts covered by federal civil rights law. The reality is that many LGBTQ people face harassment and mistreatment in their daily lives. LGBTQ people of color — particularly Black transgender women — face even higher rates of discrimination and too often violence. LGBTQ people should be protected from discrimination across all areas of life, including health care, education, housing and more. The Equality Act would address that discrimination. We need to pass it now.” Jun 23, 2020

  • Brothers’ Scholarship Honors Mother’s Emigrant Experience

    Family with strong UMKC ties furthers future success
    Doris Edelman fled Germany with her family when she was a teenager as violence began to build against Jewish citizens. She instilled the value of education into her three sons, Mark, Alan and Ron, who have established an endowed scholarship in her name.  “My mother was the principal influence in our lives,” Mark Edelman, J.D. ’75, says of he and his brothers Ron, J.D. ’82 and Alan. “She was German, so there were certain cultural imperatives that worked their way into our home. Her expectations for us were high.” Doris Edelman’s family left Germany in 1938 following Kristallnacht, or “the night of the broken glass,” in which paramilitary troops demolished synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses and buildings. The event was a precursor to the rise of the Nazi party and the “final solution” to eliminate the Jewish race. Doris’ family sailed to Cuba on the S.S. Rotterdam, one of the last ships bringing refugees from Europe that was allowed to dock in the Americas. “They were in Cuba for a year and a half before they moved to Kansas City,” Edelman says. Edelman’s grandfather had owned a men’s clothing store with its own workroom in Germany. A cousin sponsored the family’s immigration to the United States and Brand and Puritz, a Kansas City Garment District manufacturer, offered his grandfather a job. “My mother was the principal influence in our lives.” - Mark Edelman Eventually, Doris Edelman enrolled in Kansas City University and earned degrees in Spanish and economics in 1947. Her husband, William, earned a psychology degree from the university in 1954 while supporting the family as a practicing physician. “My mother was a very bright woman,” Edelman says. “After she graduated KCU, she translated overseas cables for Butler Manufacturing. She became the first woman vice president and partner at B. C. Christopher & Co., a securities and brokerage firm. She loved going to work and being a part of that business.” In addition to work, education was very important to Doris. “I wanted to be a filmmaker,” Edelman says. “She did not think that was very serious. She said, ‘Mark, you can always be a filmmaker if you go to law school, but you can’t be a lawyer if you go to film school.’ I forgot to say ‘I don’t want to be a lawyer.’ So I ended up in law school at UMKC, which turned out to be a great foundation for my career.” Edelman’s connection to the university began years before law school. “My parents took advantage of all the things an urban campus like UMKC can provide to the city,” he says. “My love of the theater grew from my experiences of going to the Missouri Rep while in high school.” “When my brothers and I began to think about what we could do to honor her memory, we decided that a scholarship that would enable refugees like my mother to have an education was the best thing to do.”- Mark Edelman Edelman founded the Theater League, Inc., a not-for-profit performing arts organization that presented the best of Broadway to Kansas City audiences for 42 years. He built the Quality Hill Playhouse and produces 12th Street Jump, a syndicated public radio show hosted on KCUR-FM 89.3, another UMKC institution. His brother Ron and Alan’s son Alex also attended UMKC law school. The family will be recognized with the 2020 Legacy Award at the UMKC Alumni Awards ceremony which will take place in spring of 2021. Their deep and broad connection to the university contributed to honoring Doris Edelman with a scholarship. “When my brothers and I thought about how we could best honor her memory, we decided on a scholarship that would enable refugees like her to get a college education,” Edelman says. “I think she’d like that. She was proud of us and I think she’d be proud of our association with the university.”   For more information about scholarships, please contact Financial Aid and Scholarships. Jun 23, 2020

  • Startland News Features Success of FEC Coding Academy

    Coding academy is backed by the Full Employment Council and the University of Missouri-Kansas City
    The UMKC School of Computing and Engineering and Full Employment Council created this partnership to deliver a 21st century workforce in Kansas City. Read the Startland News story. Jun 23, 2020

  • Concrete for a Changing Climate

    How a UMKC researcher is paving the way for sustainability
    Our global temperature is on the rise, oceans are warming and extreme weather events have been steadily increasing. According to NASA, “the current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95% probability) to be the result of human activity."  Kevern with students makingconcrete in an SCE lab. Luckily, humans from the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering are developing ways to make their respective areas of expertise more environmentally friendly. John Kevern, Ph.D., professor and civil and mechanical engineering department chair, has been working with SCE alumni as well as Kansas City architects, builders and concrete companies to increase the amount of pervious concrete used around the city. Pervious or permeable concrete is a porous mixture of cement, water and coarse aggregate. The beauty of the lumpy, holey concrete that has the consistency of a rice cake is that it serves as pavement and stormwater mitigator in one. It can also help prevent floods, control erosion, allow groundwater recharge and improve water quality through filtration. Bonus: Pervious concrete doesn’t freeze over like normal pavement. It’s less slippery since the water has a smaller surface area to freeze on. A recent $55,000 EAGER grant – which support exploratory work in early stages with opportunity for high risk-high reward – from the National Science Foundation allowed Kevern and SCE students to experiment with de-icing and slip and fall.  “For society, from an equity and access perspective, any surface where we can reduce the chance of a slip and fall makes both a safer surface and allows us to use less de-icing agents like salt. Salt is not only bad for the environment but it also reduces the lifecycle of concrete,” Kevern said of his NSF research. Kevern, who is a member of the advisory group for the American Public Works Association’s Sustainable Stormwater Task Force, is also researching a greener way to produce the cement used in concrete by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted throughout the process. Using recycled ingredients — like the byproducts of coal burning power plants or iron and steel production — in the cement mix drastically lowers CO2 emissions. Kevern ran the numbers on CO2 in Kansas City and found that the city used 2.5 million cubic yards of concrete in 2018, which equals 663,375 tons of CO2. The average Kansas City vehicle is responsible for 10.690 pounds of CO2 each year. That means that if you use a mix of concrete that’s made of 35% recycled byproducts, the CO2 reduction would be equivalent to taking 42,000 cars off the road. Increase to 50% recycled byproducts, and the equivalent is 60,000 vehicles. “The production of cement for concrete is somewhere around 8-10% of the human-produced carbon dioxide in our atmosphere — there are many other things that are more but it’s not insignificant — anything we can do to replace cement and reduce the CO2 footprint of our concrete is helpful from a climate change perspective,” Kevern said.  Concrete and Beyond The increased greenhouse gases can also account for an increase in extreme weather changes. In Kansas City, stormwater and flooding have raised an early challenge. "Building physical models is nearly a lost art. When computers came around, everyone thought they’d take the place of physical models, but unfortunately they aren’t able to predict flooding as accurately.”—John Kevern, Ph.D., UMKC professor and civil and mechanical engineering department chair Kevern regularly works with KC Water, the city department responsible for accessibility and quality of water services around the city, including School of Computing and Engineering alumni like Tom Kimes (B.S.C.E. ’87), manager of stormwater engineering, and Jose Lopez (B.S.C.E. ’15), watershed planner. KC Water recently installed several different types of concrete, including contracting Kevern to install pervious concrete, in the parking lot of their offices to test the long-term benefits of each. Kimes and Lopez are also working on a way to combat the longstanding stormwater and sewer issues that have plagued the city for years and will be exacerbated by the added rainfall that climate change brings. After several years of repeated flooding from nearby Indian Creek, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, bought the land and demolished the strip mall that stood at 103rd Street and Wornall Road. The mall was home to Coach’s Bar & Grill, where two employees had to be rescued from the roof by firefighters during severe flooding in 2017. Kevern (left) regularly partners with SCE alumni at KC Water to examine stormwater and sewer issues that have affected the Kansas City area for years. Here he is pictured with watershed planner Jose Lopez (B.S.C.E. ’15, center) and manager of stormwater engineering Tom Kimes (B.S.C.E. ’87, right) with a model they are constructing inside the KC Water building to identify various flood risks and ways to combat them. Now, the city, along with KC Water and the Army Corps of Engineers, are building a 70 feet long by 25 feet wide physical model of the area inside a building downtown, to better identify the flood risks and how to combat them. It’s an innovative approach. Kimes says not many places are able to produce physical models and having two experts in the city — UMKC adjunct professor Don Baker and associate professor Jerry Richardson — is especially valuable. Lopez has been working on the model since its inception – he started working on the scaling for the project while still a student at UMKC. “Instead of something to be protected from, I’d like to see us embrace rivers as the valuable parts of our ecosystem that they are.”—Tom Kimes, B.S.C.E. ’87 Kevern agrees, “Building physical models is nearly a lost art. When computers came around, everyone thought they’d take the place of physical models, but unfortunately they aren’t able to predict flooding as accurately. I’d estimate there are less than a handful of places that have people with the knowledge and technique needed to build physical models.” That’s not to say computers are totally out of the picture. Lopez says they will “flood the model several times to get the flow patterns, then make the computer model reflect those.” Once the research on flooding is done, the area will become a park complete with pervious concrete, green space and information about Indian Creek. Focusing on Stormwater Research In May, Kevern and the School of Computing and Engineering will team up with KC Water and several other stakeholders – including FEMA, Unified Government of Wyandotte County and the Army Corps of Engineers – to launch the Center for Urban Stormwater Research. The first project the center will focus on is a FEMA grant exploring ways to educate the public about the risks of flooding. Kimes hopes that Kansas City is able to manage stormwater in a way that leads the nation and turns the city’s “wild rivers” into community assets even with added rainfall. “Instead of something to be protected from, I’d like to see us embrace rivers as the valuable parts of our ecosystem that they are,” Kimes says. Jun 22, 2020

  • 7 Campus Living and Dining Changes This Fall

    Residential Life and Dining Services take extra precautions due to the pandemic
    One of the most rewarding and memorable parts of the college experience is living on campus and forming friendships with other students. Considering that importance with the pandemic top of mind, here are seven steps UMKC is taking at the beginning of the fall semester with campus housing and dining services to ensure students have a fun but safe place to live, learn and grow. 1. Guest policy Guests will be limited to residents from the same building, caretakers and those assisting with move in and move out only. Roommates and suitemates must establish their own visitation rules for their room/apartment. 2. Room configuration Furniture will be arranged to maximize distance between individuals. Additionally, beds may not be bunked to ensure adequate distance is being maintained. However, lofting will still be allowed in Oak Street Residence Hall. 3. Community spaces Study and community lounges will be closed at the beginning of the semester. Kitchens will remain locked but available for use by checking out a key at the building’s front desk; cleaning supplies for residents will be provided with the expectation that they clean up after each use. Elevators will be limited to two people to allow for physical distancing. Lobbies, access doors, laundry rooms and public restrooms will have additional cleanings. 4. Equipment checkout Front desk services are limited to essential operations to reduce traffic flow. Board games, kitchenware, sports items, pool cues and other items are temporarily suspended. 5. Dining service Service at all locations, both residential dining and retail dining, will be either directly served or pre-packaged. There will be no self-service. On-premise dining will be limited to 50% of seating capacity at all locations. 6. Modified dining hours Dining Center hours will be modified to allow for more frequent cleaning and disinfection of the dining area between meal periods, while offering longer periods of time for students to access the full breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings. 7. New app A new app will allow students to place orders, complete secure payment using their dining plan or payment card information and schedule pick-up times at all locations, which are moving toward contactless entry and transactions. FreedomPay at all locations currently accepts Apple Pay and Google Pay. As the pandemic situation evolves, university leaders will make certain best practices are in place so students have a safe living and learning environment. Jun 22, 2020

  • Media Again Looks to UMKC Professor for Perspective

    The Kansas City Star calls on UMKC Criminal Justice and Criminology Professor Ken Novak
    Ken Novak weighs in on whether the public should have a voice in determining whether police departments allow the use of neck restraints during less-than-lethal encounters. Read more from The Kansas City Star. (subscription required) Jun 22, 2020

  • My Life During COVID: Provost Jenny Lundgren

    Checking in to see how our UMKC community is managing the highs and lows of sheltering in place
    UMKC Provost Jenny Lundgren is sheltering in place with her 5-year-old daughter, 10-year-old son, her husband and their dog. As life takes steps back toward “normal,” their household is beginning to resemble pre-COVID activity.  “My husband goes to work each day and my daughter is back at daycare, so during the day it’s me, my son and our dog,” Lundgren says. “My son spends most of his day playing [the online game] Roblox with his friends, but that will change in July when camps start up. Thankfully!” Everyone in the Lundgren house is doing his and her share to keep things running smoothly. “I work best when the house is organized and clean, so that’s been my contribution” she says. “My son has weekly chores and my husband does most of the cooking. We both love to work outside in the yard, so we are doing that together when we have a chance.” "The work day doesn’t have a starting and stopping place like it used to." - Jenny Lundgren Even while sheltering in place, home has looked very similar for her family, except the dining room became her office. “My actual office at home has poor Wi-Fi, so I’ve spent most days in the dining room.  That worked well when I was simultaneously home schooling my 4th grade son.” While Lundgren and her family have managed to blend work and home, it can be challenging. “The work day doesn’t have a starting and stopping place like it used to,” she says. Still, the family is finding a way to take breaks and find joy. “We get to the lake every once in a while, and have the opportunity to spend some time in nature,” Lundgren says. “I love hearing my daughter say, ‘This is the best day of my life!’ I’m reminded that you don’t need exciting vacations to make your kids happy.” What are you reading? I wish I were reading more than just emails! I try to practice Spanish on the Duolingo app every day, so that – and emails - are the bulk of my current reading. I just ordered Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and I’m looking forward to reading that. What are you watching? Bloodline on Netflix What are you eating? The only consistent food in my diet is a daily iced coffee with cream and sugar! Jun 21, 2020

  • KSHB Taps UMKC History Professor for

    Diane Mutti-Burke explains the significance of Juneteenth and emancipation proclamation
    “The emancipation proclamation actually didn’t free any enslaved people," said Diane Mutti-Burke. "Lincoln basically said to the southern states that he was turning the army into an army of liberation and, anywhere that the Union Army went from that point forward, they would liberate people." Read more and watch the story on KSHB's website. Jun 20, 2020

  • Juneteenth Celebrates Black Americans’ Resistance and Resiliency

    Three questions with Diane Mutti-Burke, professor and chair of History
    June 19 is celebrated throughout the United States as Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in this country. Diane Mutti-Burke, professor and chair of the Department of History, is a historian of the American South and the Civil War with a particular interest in the history of slavery, women and the Missouri/Kansas border region. She discussed the history, meaning and the importance of Juneteenth. Juneteenth recognizes a specific event in Galveston, Texas – the notification of Black people there that slavery had ended. Why is it considered a national holiday? The Juneteenth holiday celebrates the official end of slavery in the state of Texas on June 19, 1865. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, but it did not immediately free any enslaved people. The order explicitly did not apply to border states like Missouri or areas of the South already under the Union army’s control. Although the Civil War formally ended on April 9, 1865 when Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, there were still Confederate forces in the field, including in the West. Texas had remained relatively protected during the war because of its great distance from the fighting. This geographic isolation created a situation in which many enslaved Texans were unaware of the end of the war or their freedom. Union troops finally entered the state in early June 1865, and in Galveston on June 19, Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, an emancipation order informing people of their freedom. Since the Emancipation Proclamation was a wartime military order, Abraham Lincoln and Congressional Republicans decided a constitutional amendment was necessary to permanently secure people’s freedom. The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865, legally ending slavery in the United States. In the decades after the Civil War, African American communities throughout the U.S. organized Emancipation Day celebrations to commemorate their liberation from slavery. Many celebrated on January 1, the date of the Emancipation Proclamation, but in some states, they commemorated dates that were specific to their location, such as June 19 in Texas, known as “Juneteenth.” Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday in 1979. Black Texans migrated to other parts of the United States, bringing the Juneteenth celebration to their new communities. In recent years, Juneteenth has become an informal national holiday celebrating African American heritage throughout the United States. “Juneteenth allows us to celebrate Black Americans’ resistance and resiliency as they fought – and continue to fight – to rectify four centuries of racial discrimination and economic and social injustice.” Diane Mutti-Burke What can you tell us about how emancipation took place in this region?  When most Americans think about emancipation they focus on the legal or military acts that occurred on specific dates, such as Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation or the Thirteenth Amendment. I would encourage people instead to think about emancipation as a process – one that was as much driven by enslaved people themselves as it was by white emancipators.   Missouri’s border location and politically divided population (with white Missourians supporting both the Union and the Confederacy) resulted in a violent armed conflict between Union military forces and Confederate guerrillas, which actively engaged the civilian population.  Many of Missouri’s 115,000 enslaved people took advantage of the chaos of the state’s internal civil war and struck a blow for their own freedom, running away to nearby Union military encampments or to the bordering free states of Kansas, Illinois, and Iowa. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation explicitly did not apply to the border states. But over time, enslaved men, women and children continued to flood into Union military camps, forcing officers to increase protections for those who sought their aid and eventually to authorize their freedom. Many recognized that Black Missourians greatly aided the Union war effort through their labor and the information that they provided about the activities of secessionists and guerrillas, many of whom were their former owners.  Eventually, the Union army enlisted Black men to fight and Missouri men joined in large numbers.  Black men fully understood that their enlistment would ensure their freedom and might result in the freedom of their family members as well. On January 11, 1865, Missouri’s Republican-controlled state Constitutional Convention freed enslaved people in the state through an emancipation ordinance, which predated the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment by three weeks. What are the important lessons that Americans should take from the Juneteenth celebration? The Juneteenth holiday provides a wonderful opportunity for both reflection and celebration.  The commemoration allows Americans to reflect on the United States’ long and tragic history of slavery, segregation, racial injustice and systemic inequality. It is important that we learn about and reckon with the many painful and destructive legacies of this devastating history and how it affects us still today. This is an uncomfortable and difficult history to process and study but it is imperative that we wrestle with it. Too often people respond to issues of race as being outdated and irrelevant because slavery and legal segregation ended “so long ago,” but understanding the legacies of slavery, white supremacy and the challenges and pain that the Black community continues to encounter in the face of ongoing systemic racism and inequalities illustrate the importance of this history. At the same time, Juneteenth allows us to celebrate Black Americans’ resistance and resiliency as they fought – and continue to fight – to rectify four centuries of racial discrimination and economic and social injustice. Equally essential, the Juneteenth holiday provides a venue to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate the profound contributions that Black Americans have made to the economic, social, political and cultural foundations of the United States. I encourage everyone to spend today in contemplation and celebration of the long history of the Black freedom struggle and the central role that Black Americans have played in building this nation, while also reflecting on how much farther we must travel along the road toward justice and equality in order to achieve America’s promise of a more perfect union.  Jun 19, 2020

  • UMKC School of Medicine Satellite Campus Receives Media Coverage

    Local media outlets covered the news about the new satellite campus for the UMKC School of Medicine
    Read some of the media coverage of the satellite campus in St. Joseph. Kansas City Business Journal, KCUR,  Jun 19, 2020

  • Alumnus Stars in Hit Netflix Show

    Frank Oakley III draws on his theatre training in role on "Sweet Magnolias"
    We caught up with Frank Oakley III (B.A. ’14) a theatre performance grad who is part of "Sweet Magnolias" on Netflix. He spoke with us about what he's learned in the acting biz, his favorite UMKC memory and what’s next. Frank Oakley III, B.A. '14Photo credit: Mike Senior How does it feel to be part of “Sweet Magnolias,” one of the most popular shows on Netflix right now? It honestly still hasn’t fully hit me yet! “Sweet Magnolias” was released on Tuesday, May 19, and the very next day we were #5 in the U.S. We kept climbing up the ranks, and by that Sunday were #1 on the world’s largest streaming platform! After holding down that spot for a few days, I think that’s when things started hitting me. To say the very least, it’s surreal to be a part of a show that so many people connected with, supported, and loved so much to get us to that point in less than a week!  Was Harlan Bixby, in "Sweet Magnolias," your first recurring role on a series? What did you learn from the experience? Yes, it was my first recurring role on a series. I’ve learned so much from filming the first season, but the two biggest things came from the callback room and being on set.  First, I learned that you really can’t go off of how you feel you did in the audition/callback room, because it isn’t always true. I felt like I was completely bombing my callback audition — and in front of some major players in the process! I psyched myself out by getting into my head too much, but once I was able to relax, I feel like I did much better. Then, the filming process just really affirmed how valuable my training from UMKC is. I was able to do my job, play with other seasoned actors and adapt to any changes made during the process in a quick manner.  The takeaway in both lessons: it’s all about your mental game. From the audition to working on set, you have to trust your training, trust the process and keep a strong mental game.   What are the challenges of being an actor? The benefits?  Some of the more universal challenges I’ve found as an actor are getting established, creating a name for yourself, defining what your brand is and booking work. For the most part, we as actors can have some control over those challenges, with the exception of the seemingly most important one — booking. That said, I’ve found that once I was able to define what my brand was for me, set up boundaries, and was willing to stand firm on what I mapped out, everything followed suit. The benefits (besides booking work) are doing work that you’re proud of and believe in and getting to collaborate with some amazing people to create and play! I know it sounds like an artsy-fartsy thing to say, but man, it is real and rewarding. To be a part of a larger picture or body of work, and to share that with both fellow artists/creators and the audience, is truly a blessing and privilege. Oakley, pictured right, with Justin Bruening in episode four of "Sweet Magnolias." Still courtesy of Netflix. What brought you to UMKC? It is truly a long story, but in an attempt to condense a bit: one audacious prayer, teachers and mentors believing in me, and the kindness and support of people. At the beginning of 2011, I was sitting in contemplation in my dorm room at my first college, trying to figure out whether or not I’d be truly satisfied with a career in broadcast journalism. A thought sparked in my mind: maybe acting. I reached out to my high school debate/forensics coach, Ms. Michelle Lee, about possibly trying out acting. She sprang into action and shared with me a bucket of resources — everything from colleges with awesome theatre programs to prestigious theatre summer camps. After some research, I was considering transferring to UMKC and auditioning for the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp.  While waiting to see if I got accepted, I auditioned for the camp. And I got in with a partial scholarship! I couldn’t afford to pay the remaining balance, so Ms. Lee helped me sell candy bars. I knew this was a really hard hump to overcome, so I prayed “God, if this is something I supposed to do with my life, help provide a way for me to attend this camp. If I’m able to go, then I know this is what you have for me to do with my life.” As it got really close to time to go, I was told that the rest of what I couldn’t earn from selling candy bars was covered, and that I’m heading to camp. Later in life I found out that Ms. Lee and Melinda McCrary (director of education and community programs at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre) funded the rest. Once I got that confirmation of being able to go, and getting accepted into UMKC, that was all I needed to know. It was off to UMKC with purpose and a mission! Oakley pictured with his future wife, Anna, in the production of Three Sisters at UMKC in 2013. Photo Credit: Brian Paulette. Do you have a favorite memory from UMKC? Cheesy, yes, but true: meeting my wife, Anna Oakley! (She was Anna Day at that time, B.A. '15). We met and worked together for the first time on a show “Cover of Life” in November of 2012. But our relationship actually started to bloom while we were doing a show together “Three Sisters” in October of 2013. Hands down, favorite memory. What advice do you have for students entering UMKC? I actually have three pieces of advice. And honestly these are for everyone, no matter what your life path is. I say these a lot, but it’s something that is extremely imperative to grasp and understand from the beginning. It will save you a lot of time, frustration, and darkness: You are always enough, no matter what! Don’t give up, what is for you is for you. Regardless of the circumstances or odds. Don’t find your identity in your craft. Your worth is in who you are, and not what you do!  What other projects are you working on? Where else can we catch your performances?  As of now, there isn’t anything I’m working on, due to the pandemic. However, I will be in an episode of a series called The Underground Railroad. It is an upcoming American historical fiction drama limited series directed by Barry Jenkins. The series is set to premier on Amazon Video in the near future. I’ve had the privilege to be a part of some really amazing and special projects, and almost all of them can be found online. Feel free to go to my website at www.frankoakleythethird.com to check them out! Jun 18, 2020

  • UMKC School of Medicine Approved to Expand Its Program in Missouri

    New campus in St. Joseph in partnership with Mosaic Life Care will increase rural health care
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine plans to expand its program to St. Joseph, Missouri, to address the state’s rural physician shortage. The University of Missouri System Board of Curators approved the proposal on Thursday. UMKC received a $7 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to start the new program in January 2021. HRSA, the primary federal agency for improving access to health-care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable, will pay out the grant over four years. “We are thrilled we will be able to address a critical health-care need in Missouri,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. “This will enable more patients throughout the state to get better access to high-quality medical treatment.” The need is great in the United States – the American Association of Medical Colleges projects a shortage of nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032, with primary-care physicians making up almost half of this shortage. And the need is especially great in Missouri: the state has 250 primary-care health professional  shortage areas, including 109 of its 114 counties. It ranks No. 40 among U.S. states in terms of health. “The disparities in care in rural areas result in higher rates of death, disability and chronic disease for rural Americans. Expansion of our medical school to the northwestern region of our state will serve to bridge this gap, knowing that students training in rural programs are three times as likely to remain in practice in those areas.” - UMKC School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson “Missouri is facing a physician shortage in the next five years, creating major challenges for rural communities,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Missouri). “As chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services, I started the Medical Student Education Program to ensure resources were specifically targeted toward improving access to care where it’s needed most. I am glad to see the University of Missouri-Kansas City focusing efforts on addressing that challenge by training more physicians to practice medicine in rural and underserved areas. This is great news for UMKC and the St. Joseph community.” Typically, physicians remain in the areas where they go to medical school, and 80 percent of UMKC School of Medicine students are from Missouri and the surrounding counties, said Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean of the school. “The disparities in care in rural areas result in higher rates of death, disability and chronic disease for rural Americans. Expansion of our medical school to the northwestern region of our state will serve to bridge this gap, knowing that students training in rural programs are three times as likely to remain in practice in those areas.”  While the UMKC School of Medicine is known for its innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program that admits students directly from high school, it will offer a four-year M.D. program in St. Joseph open to students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree. This M.D. track option has been part of the school tradition since opening its doors almost 50 years ago. ”I am glad to see the University of Missouri- Kansas City focusing efforts on addressing that challenge by training more physicians to practice medicine in rural and underserved areas. This is great news for UMKC and the St. Joseph community.” - U.S. Senator Roy Blunt The new program in St. Joseph will expand the UMKC School of Medicine M.D. program by adding 20 students in St. Joseph to each cohort of about 100 students in Kansas City, said Steven Waldman, M.D., J.D., program director and principal investigator on the grant, and vice dean and chair of Humanities at the UMKC School of Medicine. The co-investigators on the grant are Michael Wacker, Ph.D., associate dean of academic affairs, and Paula Monaghan-Nichols, Ph.D., associate dean of research administration, both from the UMKC School of Medicine. The four-year program eventually will allow the UMKC School of Medicine to train 80 additional medical students. In addition to the grant, the expansion is possible because of a partnership with Mosaic Life Care, located in St. Joseph. Mosaic is one of the largest private rural primary-care networks in the U.S. and a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Students will be able to learn and train in Mosaic’s rural healthcare network. “The receipt of this federal grant, as well as the partnership, will allow the UMKC School of Medicine to expand our mission of training superlative physicians and health-care professionals to care for our most vulnerable populations,” Waldman said. “The addition of the UMKC School of Medicine’s St. Joseph campus will greatly enrich rural health-care education for our students.” Other partners: Truman Medical Centers, the primary teaching hospital for the school, has a mission dedicated to providing public health and specialty services for those with financial, health or insurance issues that limit access to care in Kansas City. Students, residents and faculty who are based at Truman in Kansas City will be able to learn and teach at Mosaic in St. Joseph and collaborate on care for patients. UMKC Health Sciences District is a partnership of a dozen health-care entities including four UMKC health professions schools. This further expands the district’s reach into rural health care. UMKC STAHR (Students in Training, in Academia, Health and Research) Partnership Program is committed to increasing the number of students from educationally and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are prepared to enter, persist and graduate from a UMKC health sciences degree program. STAHR serves as a mentorship resource to students. UMKC has a successful track record of creating rural health education programs in Missouri. The UMKC School of Pharmacy includes satellite campuses at the University of Missouri in Columbia and Missouri State University in Springfield. Jun 18, 2020

  • Making A Difference For Future Generations

    Education senior Daishanae Crittenden incorporates her passion for teaching into her activism
    School of Education senior Daishanae Crittenden has a clear idea of how she wants to structure her future classroom – as a team. Her passion for teaching and her want to help shape the lives of her students fuels her activism in the community. Though she’s only had practicum teaching experience so far, she’s already hard at work showing her future students that she’s advocating for them not just through their academics, but also through social justice. This is her story. Why did you choose to attend UMKC? I knew I wanted to get out of St. Louis, but I didn’t want to go too far because I wanted to be able to come back and visit my mom. My mom is like my best friend. She’s one of my biggest supporters. Kansas City is similar to St. Louis – just a little smaller; and UMKC isn’t small but it isn’t too large either. Plus, in the School of Education, the classes are smaller. I was able to get out and work in the field and get practicum teaching experience earlier than I would at a larger school.  "I want my future students to see that I did this, that I’m fighting for them. We have to fight for things to be better for future generations." What drives your passion for wanting to be a teacher? Growing up all my teachers told me I would become a teacher. My mom was a teacher for many years. She instilled the value of education in me. I’m also the oldest of five; I have four younger brothers, so teaching kind of came naturally. I denied it for a long time but eventually, I accepted it. I love kids. I don’t care what grade I teach; I just know that I want to teach children and be a part of shaping their lives. What other student activities are you involved in at UMKC? Being in education doesn’t give you a lot of free time because I’m doing practicum work in the schools. I was part of the student government at the School of Education, and then I also participate in NAACP and The African American Student Union when I do have time. "Our protest was about unity. It was about all of us being on the same team; we are fighting for the same cause." Speaking of which, tell me about the large protest you were a part of organizing in St. Louis. That was so exciting. I still can’t believe I did that. It was me and three friends I went to school with. It was right after the murder of George Floyd. I remember waking up one day to a bunch of texts in our group chat and we were all talking about how we need to do something. We couldn’t just sit by and do nothing, and there hadn’t been anything organized by women in our city and we need to hear women’s voices too. So we came up with the idea to have a protest. I was kind of nervous about it because I’ve never organized a protest before. Wow! I wouldn’t have guessed that. From the media coverage and feedback, it seemed really organized. How long did it take you to organize? We pulled it off in like 8 days, so there were a lot of long nights. We made the flyer and posted it and, with all of our connections, people started sharing it on Facebook. We had eight speakers, including an educator, a Pride representative, a speaker from the first Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson, Cori Bush, who was a campaign surrogate for Senator Bernie Sanders, and a local pastor. We had a lot of people who wanted to speak but those are the ones we chose. How did you narrow down your choices for speakers? Each of the speakers were vetted. We shared a Google Form for potential speakers to complete and let us know what they wanted to talk about, and then we did Zoom interviews with the people we were interested in hearing from. We also sent follow-up letters to let everyone know whether or not they were selected. During the protest, we strategically placed our speakers in a certain order. The first group of speakers spoke prior to the march at City Hall to inspire and motivate the protestors, and the second group of speakers spoke at the downtown St. Louis Police Department to further discuss the deeper systemic issues within our country and why we are fighting this fight. Some people already had scripts written and submitted them with the Google Form, but we asked for final copies of everyone’s script closer to the event because you just never know what someone will get on the mic and say. We didn’t want any surprises, and we didn’t want anyone to say anything that might incite violence. The attention to detail is impressive. How were you able to ensure it remained peaceful the entire time? We really made sure everyone knew that it was going to be peaceful. We couldn’t say that enough. We included that in everything we put out. And people who know me know that I don’t like violence or drama. It’s all about how you present yourself to the public, so people know that’s not what I’m about. More importantly – and I know not everyone is religious – but I have faith in my God and He had us. We marched from downtown City Hall to the police headquarters without any problems. We didn’t want to agitate the officers and meet anger with anger, but we did make sure we had someone there to read everyone their rights before we started walking. People also donated bail funds in case we had to get anyone out of jail. Our protest was about unity. It was about all of us being on the same team; we are fighting for the same cause. "Growing up all my teachers told me I would become a teacher. My mom was a teacher for many years. She instilled the value of education in me." Circling back to teaching, how do you apply the lessons you’ve learned at the School of Education to your activism? In education, you learn to work with people from different backgrounds but with similar interests and outlooks. We did that with the protest, and I want my classroom to be structured like that. I want my students and me to work together and win together, and I never want them to feel like they can’t come and talk to me. I want my future students to see that I did this, that I’m fighting for them. We have to fight for things to be better for future generations. Protest organizers left to right: Bersabeh Mesfin, Natasha Jain-Poster, Brooke Jones, and Daishane Crittenden Lastly, what has this experience taught you? I learned that I am capable of leading a crowd. Nearly 5,000 people showed up and we led them. I also learned that it’s OK to be flexible and wing things. You can’t micromanage a protest, just like you can’t micromanage a classroom. You have to just take things one step at a time. Half the people that showed up were allies, which goes to show that skin color is an excuse. So is age. We had babies walking with us! This protest was all-inclusive. We tried to make sure everyone was represented and felt that Black lives matter, Black trans lives matter…Black people matter. We had an ASL interpreter signing everything, as well, to make sure the deaf community knew what we were saying. It was an amazing experience; I still can’t believe I did that. People have been asking when we’re going to plan another one and we keep saying we need a minute to breathe. This took a lot out of us. It’ll have to be in the next month or so, though, because we all attend different universities across the country, and we’ll have to go back to school soon. Of course, I’m at UMKC, one of the girls goes to Xavier University, which is an HBCU in Louisiana; one attends the University of Miami and one attends the University of California-Irvine. Had it not been for COVID, we wouldn’t have been able to pull this off. We just all happened to be home because the universities closed. Jun 18, 2020

  • UMKC Receives First Federal Research Support to Directly Combat COVID-19

    The National Science Foundation awards UMKC nearly $200,000
    For scientists to develop a successful vaccine to fight COVID-19, they must understand the structure of a virus and how it attacks human cells. The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded UMKC researcher Wai-Yim Ching, Ph.D., $199,640 to identify the cell structure of components of the virus. This is the university’s first national grant directly for COVID-19 research. “In early March, I was reading a paper published in a science magazine about the virus’s structure,” says Ching, who is a Curator’s Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. “I thought I might be able to do some calculations.” Within two weeks, he had some credible preliminary results. About the same time, NSF made a special call for requests. He submitted his early finding in a five-page proposal that he developed with his assistant, Puja Adhikari, Ph.D., a recent UMKC graduate and postdoctoral fellow.   “Within five weeks, we had a decision,” Ching says. “That’s very fast – and we were very happy.” Understanding the structure of the virus through large-scale computer modeling will pave the way for highly efficient vaccine development and antiviral drug design, potentially at a lower cost. To identify accurate data on the structure of the virus, Ching will work with Adhikari, undergraduate students and external collaborators. “The support of the Office of Research Services and Research Support Services was significant. It would have been difficult to submit our request so quickly without them,” Ching says. Vice Chancellor for Research Chris Liu, Ph.D., says the research targets the structure and properties of a crucial COVID-19 protein using large-scale computational modeling and is exactly the type of research that the UMKC and the upcoming NextGen Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center (dSAIC) are designed to address. “Dr. Ching will be providing critical data that could advance the development of a COVID-19 vaccine,” Liu says. “We are excited that his research will contribute to unlocking the complexities of the virus’s structure.” Chancellor Mauli Agrawal sees the NSF’s support of Ching’s research as a harbinger of the growing success of the UMKC research enterprise. “We are equipped to provide cutting-edge research by analyzing massive amounts of data, thanks to the research infrastructure development including the upcoming dSAIC. The center will continue to meet current and future demands from the public and private sector and develop solutions for our most critical challenges.” Ching is already immersed in the research. “This research is very important,” Ching says. “We need to roll up our sleeves and get working. There is no time to waste.” Jun 17, 2020

  • Three UMKC Faculty Named Presidential Engagement Fellows

    Selections based on demonstrated research excellence and ability to communicate
    Three members of the University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty were among the 15 2020-21 Presidential Engagement Fellows introduced today by University of Missouri System President Mun Choi. The announcement came at the University of Missouri Board of Curators meeting. Presidential Engagement Fellows represent the UM System and share their research discoveries and expert knowledge with Missouri citizens in every county.  This year’s UMKC Fellows are: Jamila Jefferson-Jones, associate professor, School of Law Jefferson-Jones teaches courses in Property, Real Estate Transactions and Professional Responsibility. Her scholarship reflects her intellectual interest in theories of property and ownership as well as in property and wealth attainment by communities and groups on the margins of society. Her recent work has three strands: the interplay between and among sex, race, status and property; the intersection of property and criminal justice theory; and the regulation of the housing sector of the sharing economy. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where she was an executive editor of the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and delivered the graduate English oration at the university’s 346th commencement. Joey Lightner, assistant professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies Lightner is director of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health Program at the school. The program combines urban-focused coursework in health policy, health and wellness, health program development and population health outcomes, to prepare students for a wide variety of careers in public health. His research is focused on increasing physical activity for large populations. His current projects attempt to understand how to improve social relationships that may lead to improvements in physical activity behavior. Joan McDowd, professor and chair of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences. McDowd serves as director and advisor for Gerontology programs. Her research interests are in cognitive aging, particularly in attention and memory processes. Although primarily interested in healthy aging, she also applies methods from cognitive psychology to understanding cognition in stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease as well as in severe mental illness. She was awarded the 2017 President’s Award for Community Engagement, which recognizes faculty who are involved in exemplary engagement activities such as volunteerism, service-learning, educational programming and outreach. “The Presidential Engagement Fellows are among our best scholars and are widely respected by their peers," Choi said. "This group also demonstrates the breadth and depth of the expertise among our faculty. I’m excited as we welcome them. This is yet another example of our commitment to serving the state of Missouri and improving the lives of our fellow citizens.”  Faculty members were selected based on their demonstrated excellence and their ability to communicate their research to the public. Bookings for the new class of speakers will begin in August. For more information, please visit: www.umsystem.edu/forms/pef-speaking-request-form. Jun 17, 2020

  • Common Diabetes Medication Can Open Patients to Adverse Pulmonary Effects, Worsen COVID-19

    School of Pharmacy’s Emma Stafford is the lead author of the article in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association
    A drug routinely used in treating type-2 diabetes could also make those patients more susceptible to complications from COVID-19 says a report written by a UMKC School of Pharmacy researcher. The article published in late May in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association says the drug, captopril, was found to produce a statistically significant higher rate of pulmonary adverse drug effects compared to other drugs in its class. Emma Stafford, Pharm.D., is the lead author of the article. Stafford worked with a group of data scientists from a collaborative known as 1Data to comb through a large source of information from national and international databases. 1Data is a partnership between UMKC and Kansas State University that has developed a platform for sharing human and animal health research data. Stafford and her 1Data colleagues evaluated all adverse drug effects reported to the Food and Drug Administration for diabetic patients taking common front-line drugs known as ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin-II receptor blockers). “They were able to actually delineate diabetic patients that were taking these medications,” Stafford said. “Because pulmonary side effects are so common and so prevalent in COVID-19 patients, we were trying to ascertain if captopril, which is the oldest ACE inhibitor, might worsen someone with pulmonary issues from this disease.” Stafford concluded in the article that going forward, pharmacists and clinicians must consider the specific adverse event profile of specific medications, particularly captopril, and how that might affect infections and other acute disease states that could alter pulmonary function, such as COVID-19. ACE inhibitors are known to upregulate the ACE2 enzyme that is responsible for cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2. Stafford likened the effects of using captopril to a door that opens a path for the coronavirus to enter the body. “By taking this medication, instead of having one door, you now have 20,” she said. “So, you can see that can put patients at risk.” At the same time, Stafford said captopril also helps create a molecule that can help protect people infected with the COVID-19 virus. “It's a really fine line and I think a lot of research is trying to toe that line and figure out which way is more predominant; is it protective or is it putting patients at risk,” Stafford said. “That was what we wanted to look at in the data. But I do think it’s early to tell exactly what effect it will have.” Stafford is already working with a physician-researcher at the UMKC School of Medicine to look specifically at patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus and whether those on ACE inhibitors and ARBs fare worse than others not using the medications. “These drugs are being taken for a reason,” Stafford said. “If we can help delineate these specific drugs that are a problem, it can eliminate much the confusion amongst clinicians and patients.”   Jun 16, 2020

  • “Living While Black” and the Law

    Five Questions With Jamila Jefferson-Jones
    Cell phone videos in recent years have captured multiple incidents in which white people have threatened African Americans with calls to police in situations in which no laws are being broken. The case of a white woman walking her dog in New York’s Central Park threatening a black man in this manner was the latest example of a phenomenon that has been called “Living While Black.” Jamila Jefferson-Jones, associate professor of law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, recently co-authored an article, "#LivingWhileBlack: Blackness as Nuisance," published by American University Law Review. She was subsequently interviewed for a New York Times article on the phenomenon. Jefferson-Jones recently discussed the phenomenon with UMKC Today. Can you explain the “Living While Black” phenomenon in layman’s terms? The hashtag #LivingWhileBlack first appeared as a social media hashtag to mobilize attention to incidents where white people called the police on Black people for engaging in non-criminal/everyday activities such as shopping, using the sidewalk, swimming in community pools, studying in university common rooms or sitting in a Starbucks. While the term “Living While Black” had been previously used to describe the fraught conditions of navigating racist encounters for Black people, the hashtag brought this term into the nation’s common lexicon.  It is a play on an older term, “Driving While Black,” which euphemistically describes the violence of racial profiling of Black drivers by law enforcement. What does it mean for a public space to be “racialized”? A public space is “racialized” when it is ascribed a racial identity or character that includes some and excludes others on the basis of race. Those spaces can be neighborhoods, public parks, avenues/boulevards, or sidewalks, among other spaces. Spaces are racialized by the people who use and lay claim to them, irrespective of whether those spaces are legally designated as public or private. The idea is that a claim is wrongfully staked to shared space in the name of racial exclusion based in notions of white supremacy.    What role has cellphone technology played in making Living While Black a “genre”? Is the net impact on black Americans positive or negative — i.e., easier for racists to call police quickly, but also a capacity for victims/bystanders to collect video evidence? Cellphone technology has put high-quality video production and distribution in the hands of the masses. Everyone is able to use this ostensibly objective medium to validate their witness to abuses — whether to the circumstances prompting false 911 calls or to police violence. The ubiquity of cellphones does make it easier for racists to call the police quickly, but I think this is outweighed by the benefits that victims and bystanders are able to reap. Cellphone video corroborates what had previously been dismissed as unreliable. Explain how the vocabulary and word usage of 911 callers is key to revealing their true racial intent — i.e., “you don’t belong here.” In our law review article, we examined video recordings and transcripts of 911 calls from 2018 and 2019. Our research highlighted language that either explicitly called for exclusion of the victim based on his or her race or that employed racially coded language (“dog whistles”) to call for the removal or expulsion of Black people from shared space. In one instance, where a white graduate student called Yale’s campus police on a Black graduate student who was napping in their dormitory’s common room, both the white graduate student and the police relied on the language of “belonging” to question the Black student’s presence in the building. The implication was that someone like her could not possibly belong in such a Yale dorm. Last month, when Amy Cooper called 911 on a Black birdwatcher in New York City’s Central Park, she deployed racist ideas about Black men to communicate to the dispatcher that he was a threat. In fact, before she called 911, she told Mr. Cooper that she was going to leverage racist ideas to summon police. Her intention was to signal to the dispatcher that Christian Cooper’s race alone made him a threat worthy of swift police response. What are the potential legislative or procedural remedies that could reduce the incidence of #LivingWhileBlack events? Some cities and states have enacted laws that punish perpetrators of #LivingWhileBlack abuses. Last year, the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed a human rights ordinance that prohibits crime reporting based, among other things, on an individual’s actual or perceived color or race.  Such biased crime reporting may result in prosecution for a municipal civil infraction and is punishable by a modest fine in addition to costs, damages, expenses and sanctions. Also last year, Oregon enacted legislation that allows targets of #LivingWhileBlack calls to sue those who initiate such calls for civil damages up to $250. In the wake of the recent incident in Central Park, a bill that was introduced two years ago in the New York State Assembly has gained new life. It is already illegal in New York to make a false 911 call; if this new bill is passed, it will make it a hate crime to call 911 and make a false accusation of criminal activity based on race, gender or religion. In addition to statutory remedies, there have been calls to better train 911 dispatchers so that they ask questions aimed at rooting out bias rather than unquestioningly sending officers to the scene. Finally, police must also be better-trained to respond to instances that may be #LivingWhileBlack occurrences — and to better protect the victims of such false reporting. Jun 16, 2020

  • Social Justice Through Education

    UMKC School of Education’s Institute for Urban Education offers guidance on creating culturally inclusive classroom environments
    In the current racial climate and unrest facing America today, and as schools continue to explore how classrooms will be structured post-COVID-19, Jennifer Waddell, director of the UMKC School of Education’s Institute for Urban Education, said the preparation of teachers has become increasingly critical in uplifting our society and promoting educational equity and justice. “Racism and oppression are both learned and practiced throughout societal institutions, including schools and, in particular, through the socialization of children and youth,” Waddell said in a statement following the recent deaths of black men and women due to racism and systemic injustice. “Teachers help children and youth interpret, make sense of, and view the world around them. Therefore, it is critical that they understand the power they yield, as well as, their influence and the importance of implementing a culturally responsive and anti-racist curriculum. It is also our duty as educators to identify and eradicate racist policies and practices within educational systems and communities. Institute for Urban Education faculty and staff shared their thoughts on how teachers can do their part to develop inclusive classroom curricula and ensure their classrooms are a safe space for black students. "It's important to understand yourself first," said associate director Bradley Poos. "It's more than just reading books; you have to be willing to do self-examination and allow yourself to be vulnerable and recognize your unconscious biases." Poos said that while the institute trains teachers to foster inclusive classroom environments, they are also committed to increasing the number of students of color who want to be teachers. “Teachers are trained to be the expert voice in the classroom and focus on the curriculum on the shelf, but there’s a need to engage the curriculum of self.” - Jennifer Fergerson, program coordinator, Institute for Urban Education “Studies show that students who have a teacher that looks like them at an early age are 17% more likely to go to college,” Poos said. “The percentage of likelihood increases to 35% if they have two. That’s why we ensure we're able to recruit and retain teachers of color.” At the Institute for Urban Education, faculty and staff view education as a form of social justice. There is only 5 percent of teachers of color statewide in Kansas and Missouri and, according to Poos, that’s not unintentional. “Black teachers were pushed out after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision and we haven’t recovered,” he said. “When we integrated schools, we accounted for students, but we didn’t account for teachers. We’re making a push to help undo that.” “Studies show that students who have a teacher that looks like them at an early age are 17% more likely to go to college.” - Bradley Poos, associate director, Institute for Urban Education Program coordinator Jennifer Fergerson said that one reason oppression continues to be so prevalent is that we haven’t learned how to listen to one another. Learning to listen and engage in discourse starts in school. “Teachers are trained to be the expert voice in the classroom and focus on the curriculum on the shelf, but there’s a need to engage the curriculum of self,” Fergerson said. She said teachers have to create student voice in the classroom, especially in areas like social studies and literature. It’s up to teachers to ensure they use supplemental material to ensure multiple voices are presented and give students the opportunity to analyze from different perspectives. “Students are the experts on their identities and their lives,” Ferguson said. “They should be a part of setting norms in the classroom. They want to learn, and they want respect.” Institute for Urban Education staff suggests: Incorporating room meetings to give students an opportunity to share and be a part of creating classroom norms Implementing an 80/20 rule – 80% student and 20% teacher – to ensure teachers are doing more listening and moderating discussion among students, allowing them to learn from one another and give voice to necessary conversations One-on-one conferences with students to check in on their success and build relationships, Studying and really getting to know students’ names Building authentic relationships with students’ families, letting them see teachers as human Waddell said this work isn’t just for teachers in schools with predominantly black student bodies; predominantly white schools need to do this work as well – in some ways, more importantly. “Teachers help children and youth interpret, make sense of, and view the world around them. Therefore, it is critical that they understand the power they yield, as well as, their influence and the importance of implementing a culturally responsive and anti-racist curriculum." - Jennifer Waddell, director, Institute for Urban Education The Institute for Urban Education plans to continue doing its part by fostering important conversations with its future teachers, its partners and the community. This fall, the institute is launching its Grow-Your-Own program, a teacher pipeline program for future Institute for Urban Education students and teachers in local K-12 schools. Its goal is to recruit more teachers of color, especially males, who view education as a social-justice profession and want to remain in Kansas City to pursue their careers. Beginning July 8, the institute will host a free weekly webinar series, Voices in Education, to share resources with local teachers and continue the conversation surrounding the need for diversity, equity and inclusion in education. Classes will take place at 1 p.m. each Wednesday and cover topics like anti-racist classroom practices, promoting student voices, tech tools for the classroom and remote learning and more. Follow the UMKC School of Education on social media for upcoming registration details.  The mission of UMKC School of Education’s Institute for Urban Education is to prepare and support exemplary teachers for richly diverse schools in Kansas City. Jun 15, 2020

  • Forbes Draws on UMKC School of Law Professor's Expertise

    Nancy Levit, an employment law scholar and associate dean at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, was interviewed by Forbes about ...
    The ruling is “historic, long overdue, and offers some hope that many of our fellow citizens can now feel more secure at work,” noted Nancy Levit. Read the full Forbes article. Jun 15, 2020

  • 3 Reasons Why I Want to Return to College This Fall – No Matter What That Looks Like

    Even in uncertain times, it’s a decision I am confident about
    COVID-19 is continuing to change the way our world is functioning. However, one thing that has remained a constant throughout this global pandemic is my determination to complete my degree as soon as possible. It is important to acknowledge that although COVID-19 momentarily caused the world to be at standstill, our goals and dreams will not wait for anyone. Here are some reasons why I am eager to go back to school in the fall. 1. There are still things I need to learn for my career. Growing up, I always loved learning about new things. Academics has played a significant role in my life and has taught me so much about the world we live in. I cannot imagine taking a break from my college experience because I know learning plays an important role in my everyday life and will in my future career as well. I already have my classes picked out for the fall semester and am looking forward to continue to learn more about everything, from American literature to Physics. 2. I still want to make a difference on campus. A huge part of my college experience has been defined by being involved in various organizations. I would definitely like to continue to be a part of these organizations and contribute as much as I can. I am very excited and despite the uncertainty, I cannot wait to contribute my efforts and ideas towards the organizations I am currently involved in, which include Her Campus at UMKC and the UMKC Student Government Association (UMKC SGA). Also, I am currently a writing consultant at the UMKC Writing Studio. Working on campus has been a significant part of my college experience. The UMKC Writing Studio is one of the places where I can truly express and develop my passion for writing while helping my peers. I definitely want to go back to school in the fall so that I am able to continue working there – whether that is in person or online. 3. UMKC continues to help me grow as a leader. UMKC has been the place that has allowed me to grow not just academically, but holistically as well. I have become a more well-rounded person with various leadership qualities under my belt due to the experiences UMKC has offered me. I cannot imagine taking a break from my undergraduate academics as this would mean that I would not have many opportunities to continue to grow as a person. Knowing that UMKC is #RooReady has definitely alleviated my anxiety surrounding going back to campus in the fall. I’m encouraged about the steps the university is taking to ensure students are safe while getting a high-quality education. Krithika Selvarajoo is a senior double majoring in English and Chemistry, and an orientation leader. Upon graduation in 2021, she plans to further her studies to potentially work in a health care setting. Jun 11, 2020

  • Recommended Works by African American Writers

    Recommended reading by University Libraries and English Department to build empathy and understanding
    In support of the Black community in Kansas City, nationwide, and all over the world, here are resources for recommended reading. University Libraries Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee has compiled a list of resources to help those support racial justice and as well as a reading list. Gloria Tibbs, organizational development coordinator for University Libraries, is the founder of the African American Read-In at UMKC. She was recognized by the White House in 2013 as a "Champion of Change." Her recommendations include The Venus Hottentot by Elizabeth Alexander, An expanded edition of Movement in Black by Pat Parker and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Broadcasting from UMKC since 1977, the literary radio show New Letters on the Air has long been known for its diversity of voices among writers of poetry, fiction, essays, plays and more. Producer and host of New Letters, Angela Elam recommends listening to recordings in their extensive archives such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Terrance Hayes, Audre Lorde, Stanley Banks and Stephanie Powell Watts. Imaginative storytelling has the narrative power to build greater empathy within and among readers. The English Department offers the following list of recommended creative works by African American writers: Hadara Bar-Nadav, professor and director of Creative Writing, recommends:  Gwendolyn Brooks’ Selected Poems Virginia Blanton, Curators’ Distinguished Professor, recommends:  Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes were Watching God Britta Bletscher, M.A. student and graduate teaching assistant, recommends:  Alice Walker’s The Color Purple Crystal Doss, associate teaching professor, recommends:  Toni Morrison’s Beloved Madison Clay, M.A. student, recommends:  Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give  Ande Davis, Ph.D. candidate, recommends:  Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith, Jamal Igle, and Khary Randolph’s BLACK Laurie Ellinghausen, professor and interim chair, recommends:  Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man Robert Farnsworth, emeritus faculty, recommends:  Richard Wright’s Native Son Thomas Ferrel, instructor and director of the Writing Studio, recommends:  Alice Walker’s To Hell with Dying Jane Greer, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor, recommends:  Nella Larsen’s Quicksand Emily Grover, instructor, recommends:  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah Christie Hodgen, professor and editor of New Letters, recommends:  James Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son” Sheila Honig, lecturer, recommends:  James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”  Ben Jasnow, instructor, recommends:  Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Sarah Beth Mundy, instructor:  recommends:  Chinua Achebe’s A Man of the People Ashley Pendleton, M.A. student and graduate teaching assistant, recommends:  Nic Stone’s Dear Martin Jennifer Phegley, professor, recommends:  Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad Robert Stewart, former editor of New Letters, recommends:  Tim Seibles’ One Turn Around the Sun Jun 11, 2020

  • Cleaning on Campus

    University taking precautions during pandemic
    UMKC has been working hard to follow the latest recommendations and precautions to keep our students, faculty and staff safe on campus as we continue to deal with COVID-19. We spoke to Michael Graves, director of facilities operations at UMKC, to give us the information we’ve all wanted to know as we get ready to return to campus. What are we doing to keep university facilities clean? While buildings have been closed, Campus Facilities Management has remained on site performing enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of facilities at both Volker and Health Sciences campuses. They are using procedures recommended by the CDC and products approved by the EPA as effective against COVID-19. We’re continuing to follow those protocols as a part of daily cleaning and disinfecting services.  High-touch points like handrails, door handles and light switches are receiving increased cleaning. Most of that daily cleaning occurs overnight and during the early morning hours so that buildings are ready to be used the next day. Is hand sanitizer being used on campus? Where are the dispensers? Yes, hand sanitizer dispensers are stationed at every building entrance as well as other high-traffic areas. Our team will refill these daily. If you see a dispensing station that has been damaged or needs service, please call Campus Facilities Management at 816-235-1354. What will be different about buildings when we return to campus? Elevator capacities are being reduced to two-person occupancy to accommodate social distancing. New signage encourages occupants to face away from each other while in the elevator. Water fountains are being taken off-line to prevent use. Bottle fillers will remain operational. Acrylic “Plexiglas” type screens are being installed at reception desks, service counters and other spaces where close interaction for prolonged periods is common and social distancing is not practical. These are generally custom-made and may be requested by individual units as needed. Breakrooms, lunchrooms, open shared spaces and gathering areas will be closed or significantly limited in use to avoid social gatherings. They may still be used for food and drink preparation and consumption (one at a time, or multiple people as long as 6-foot social distancing can be maintained). Users should disinfect any shared appliances after use including copiers, fax machines, microwaves and coffeemakers. There will be cleaning supplies nearby. Tell us about the new signs on campus. Signage is being placed around campus identifying sanitizer dispensers, promoting hand hygiene and social distancing practices, revising occupancy limits and more. It’s part of the university’s “Keep Every Roo Safe” campaign. Do the buildings’ heating and air conditioning systems provide fresh air to the spaces? Yes, UMKC buildings are designed to meet building code ventilation requirements that are based on the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards. Those standards require a set number of air changes in every space per hour, based on the size and type of area. Those air changes include a certain percentage of outside air. All of those amounts are calculated to provide good air quality for the maximum occupancy allowed in the space. Since spaces are rarely filled to maximum occupancy, the buildings are almost always over-ventilated during normal operations. What will Campus Facilities Management do if there’s a suspected case of COVID-19 on campus? After any suspected case of COVID-19 on campus is communicated to campus leadership, Campus Facilities Management immediately will help vacate spaces that are potentially affected and close them so that others do not enter. Following CDC guidelines, the area will remain closed for at least 24 hours, before being thoroughly disinfected using an EPA- and CDC-approved process. We want to make sure we maintain a safe environment for students to learn, and for our faculty and staff to teach and work. Jun 11, 2020

  • Pandemic Presents Unique Scheduling Challenge

    Faculty, staff tackle ‘big lift’ to meet demand
    How’s this for a Rubik’s cube-level puzzle challenge? UMKC typically schedules more than 5,800 courses a week. Now we have to limit all of our classrooms to only 25% of capacity due to COVID-19. There is some extra meeting space available, but not nearly enough to consequentially meet what is essentially a four-fold increase in demand for classroom space. What do we do? Ask UMKC Registrar Amy Cole. She and her team are doing it. To maintain recommended social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university is mandating that classroom population be limited to 25% of capacity for the fall semester. That key element of the #RooReady challenge landed in the lap of the Registrar’s office. To make it work, Cole and her team are converting event spaces including Pierson Auditorium and the fourth floor of the Student Union into classroom space, while exploring “every nook and cranny” of almost every building on both campuses to make sure students and faculty can socially distance while having a great in-classroom experience. The team is working with each of the schools to expand online and hybrid class offerings, and offer more evening and early-morning sections of popular classes. “It’s a big lift, and we’re still at it,” Cole said. “We’re still finding spaces that can be converted to classrooms, figuring out a safe capacity for them and working them into the schedule. The goal is to give as many students as possible as much of what they want as possible. It’s time consuming, but we have a great team of dedicated people committed to getting it done.” Other members of the UMKC community are hard at work as well in order to meet this unique challenge. Faculty are undergoing summer training to create format flexible courses. This means that while they are planning to teach in-person, they will have a Plan B to take classes online if the COVID environment makes that necessary. Those plans will be communicated clearly to students in the syllabus at the beginning of the semester to minimize surprises or disruptions during the semester. Instructors will have new flexible attendance policy guidelines to meet the unique demands of attending class during a pandemic, including guidelines for those with underlying health conditions or other situations. Those guidelines will be clearly laid out in the syllabus. Students requesting COVID-related academic accommodations should contact Scott Laurent at (816) 235-5696 or by email at laurentr@umkc.edu.  UMKC also is making increasing use of “hybrid” courses for the fall, which include a combination of online and in-classroom sessions. For example, the course readings and online lectures are completed outside of class and students meet in person for smaller discussion groups or lab sections. The university is expanding online offerings of both “synchronous” courses, which are conducted in real time with ongoing interaction among students and instructors; and “asynchronous” courses, which allow students to access the material at times of their own choosing. Even for fully online courses, faculty are preparing them so that there are opportunities for small group, virtual break-out sessions allowing students to have safe, meaningful engagement with other students and the faculty. “We are looking at scheduling some sections as early as 7 a.m., or on weekends,” Cole added. “Some students may prefer an online course meeting at a more convenient hour.” Classes involving internships, service learning, and clinical rotations/practica will have to be set up, and communicated, on an individual basis. “We’re trying to provide as much flexibility as we can while sticking to that 25% capacity limit,” Cole said. “UMKC wants to provide all of our students with an engaging and meaningful college experience despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.” Jun 11, 2020

  • Roo is KC’s Sportswoman of Year for 2020

    Ericka Mattingly played during the 2019-20 women’s basketball season and was featured in The Kansas City Star
    On June 12, she received the Spire Sportswoman of the Year Award from the Kansas City Sports Commission. Read more about her in the article from the Kansas City Star. Jun 10, 2020

  • Pride Awards Recognize Leaders in LGBTQIA+ Community

    Annual program honors accomplishments by students, faculty, alumni and more
    The annual UMKC Pride Awards recognize outstanding individuals in the community who have contributed to the betterment of the LGBTQIA+ community through education, support, programming or activism. These awards honor those who have contributed in the areas of service and outreach, establishing a safer and more welcoming environment at UMKC. “This year, our office was blown away by the nominations and the quality of awards candidates,” said Kari Jo Freudigmann, assistant director, LGBTQIA Programs and Services. “There are many change-makers on campus and in our local community, and we want to be sure they know that their work and efforts do not go unnoticed.” The full list of 2020 awards includes: Note: The text under the names of each award recipient are excerpts from the nomination packets. Outstanding Faculty/Staff: Tamica L. Lige Recognizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, or ally faculty or staff who contribute to a positive campus climate for LGBTQIA individuals. “Plenty can talk, plan or imagine: Tamica Lige gets to work. Under Ms. Lige’s leadership, an organization on UMKC’s Hospital Hill with an established history expanded its mission to include the needs of LGBTQIA+ people.” “Tamica Lige scheduled sessions with healthcare providers at institutions with which UMKC has partnerships in order for us to learn more about the needs of transgender patients and their struggles navigating healthcare systems.” Jim Wanser Award: Mark T Sawkin Named for the faculty member, advisor and guiding force to the UMKC LGBT Initiative and its development into the LGBT Office, this award recognizes an individual who has volunteered hours of service to the UMKC LGBTQIA community or the greater Kansas City LGBTQIA community. “Dr. Sawkin is heavily involved in the UMKC STAHR program that focuses on ways in which we can increase program retention for students that come from underserved backgrounds. One way in which he has done this is by eliminating barriers, and helping all his students, including myself, feel accepted.” Rising Star Award: Jager “Jay” Wirth Recognizes one area high school student whose leadership and service have resulted in a tangible gain for LGBTQIA students (such as Gay/Straight Alliance), or whose energies have created a more friendly, inclusive environment at their high school.   “Jager helped to found the GSA at our high school two years ago, as before there wasn’t really a safe space for students in the LGBTQIA community to go and be supported by peers and faculty as well. Jager saw a need, and he made it happen.” Outstanding Alumni Award: Taryn Hodison Recognizes one UMKC Alum who works toward fostering an inclusive community, at UMKC or in the community in which they live and work. “She has a gift of being able to provide a space in which those identifying as LGBTQIA+ feel safe, seen and heard, something many have never felt.” “Taryn has a special interest in transgender youth, especially in providing them with education, fellowship, connection and acceptance. She has hopes of developing a program that will benefit Kansas City youth that can also be taught and implemented nationally.” Graduate/Professional Student of the Year Award: Luke R. Allen Recognizes one student for outstanding leadership, dedication and service within the university, or in the community, that has resulted in new or revitalized resources, services, or programs for the LGBTQIA community.  “Luke is especially interested in topics related to sexual and gender diversity, including LGBTQ youth, counseling effectiveness, and culturally relevant counseling approaches with these populations. Luke developed a study that explored the extra-familial sources of support for transgender and gender nonconforming youth.” Undergraduate Student of the Year Award: Kristen Garcia Recognizes one student for outstanding leadership, dedication, and service within the University, or in the community, that has resulted in new or revitalized resources, services, or programs for the LGBTQIA community.  “I met Kristen for the first time at the 2019 Masqueerade event after she personally reached out by email to invite me. As a queer individual who never got the chance to go to homecoming and Prom, that night truly meant the world to me. That night happened because of the endless work Kristen put into it.” Collaborative Excellence Award: Central United Methodist Church – Sally Haynes and Maggie Holley Recognizes departments whose collaborative efforts have resulted in new or improved resources and services for LGBTQIA students, faculty, staff or community members.  “Rev. Dr. Sally Haynes from Central Methodist Church works endlessly for the students at UMKC. She has committed to ensuring her church to be inclusive and affirming of all gender and sexual identities. She put up flags and posters to tell the community that the church is on the LGBT+ side and that the community is welcome.” “With the help of Maggie Holley reaching out to the LGBTQIA Programs & Services office, she organized a UMC Community Dinner where students from UMKC were welcomed in the church to discuss LGBT+ concerns, goals and get to know students.” Jun 09, 2020

  • COVID-19 Research by the Numbers

    Math and statistics students began studying the potential spread in January
    Before many people were aware of the COVID-19 virus and its potential for broad infection, UMKC students were building predictive models of its possible spread. Majid Bani-Yaghoub, Ph.D. (known as Dr. Bani), associate professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, focuses on mathematical modeling in several areas of study including health and biomedicine. He had been following the scientific reports of the new virus in China and incorporated it into his Graduate Differential Equations class. “I was following the news in January, and I knew modeling and analysis of the virus would be a good fit with this course,” he says. “Our work is continuing. We have three different groups using epidemiology, math and statistical models and numerical simulations to see how the virus is affected by policy.” In addition to following the progress of COVID-19, they are using optimal control theory, to predict the best way to minimize spread. “Analyzing which combination of control measures gives us the best result and provides a good understanding of how to stop the spread of the virus,” Bani says. Hope Mertz, MS ‘20, Science and Mathematics, studied the spread of COVID-19 for her research project. She was not that familiar with the virus when she enrolled. “I had just started hearing about what was happening in China, so when Dr. Bani started talking about the project, my partner [Kodi Kuhlmann] and I jumped at the chance to work on something so pertinent.” At the time, it appeared that the virus was only spreading in a small part of China. Bani shared the website for research articles at John Hopkins University and Mertz began to think that virus was spreading further and faster than reported. “We modeled the spread from Wuhan City to New York City via their main travel hubs,” Mertz says. “We could see that the reported number of cases was a huge understatement. I could not force my model to give me numbers as small as what was being reported.” Besides the student projects, research on COVID-19 has yielded successful collaborations with other faculty members. Using existing resources through the UMKC Institute for Data Education, Analytics and Science, Bani has recently started research on drug repurposing with Bi-Botti Celestin Youan at the School of Pharmacy and Liana Sega, also in the Mathematics and Statistics Department in the College of Arts and Sciences. “There are millions of untested drugs,” he says. “We can use predictive modeling, machine learning techniques and some abstract areas of mathematics such as persistent homology to explore how we could use an existing drug as a solution for the problem.” While he is certain of the quality of his team’s work, Bani cannot predict the likelihood of another surge. "We could see that the reported number of cases was a huge understatement. I could not force my model to give me numbers as small as what was being reported.”- Hope Mertz “Math models are as accurate as the data,” he says. “From what we see so far, we hope that there’s a down trend, but we are not 100% sure about the data.” Bani says we will know more once more businesses are open and more people are out. “The spread could be really rapid, and we should follow the CDC guidelines to prevent the second wave,” he says. “We are relying on each individual. This is proven epidemiology – each person can make a difference.” He notes that the basic reproduction number is an essential threshold value. If the average number of newly infected people caused by an infected individual is less than one, then the virus will die out. “Social distancing and mask wearing are effective in preventing virus transmission,” he says. “We need to get used to these measures.” Along with the other projects, Mertz and Kuhlmann’s modeling approach and research results were presented at the UMKC Sixth Annual Math & Stat Research Day on April 17. Jun 08, 2020

  • Film Studies Faculty Featured in The Kansas City Star

    Mitch Brian, associate teaching professor at UMKC, is Kevin Willmott’s former screenwriting partner
    Brian was recently interviewed by the Kansas City Star about Willmott's latest film and going to the movie theater. Jun 08, 2020

  • The Best 25 College Drama Programs Around the World

    Hollywood Reporter ranks UMKC Theatre in Top 25
    The Hollywood Reporter surveys alums, academics and industry pros for its annual list of the top acting schools. Read why the publication ranked UMKC Theatre. Jun 08, 2020

  • UMKC Health Professions Students Gather for White Coats for Black Lives

    The Kansas City Star featured Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy students who showed peaceful solidarity
    Approximately 150 healthcare workers and students gathered at the UMKC Health Sciences campus on June 6 to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and demonstrators fighting for racial equality and an end to police brutality. Read more from the Kansas City Star. Jun 06, 2020

  • A Man Who Spent 23 Years In Prison After Being Wrongfully Convicted Has Gone Viral on TikTok

    School of Law professor on Ricky Kidd legal team
    Sean O’Brien, UMKC School of Law professor, worked to free Ricky Kidd, a man who was wrongfully convicted and sent to prison. The story was covered nationally at the time of the ruling and recently made headlines again, this time on BuzzFeed. Jun 05, 2020

  • Turning Class into a Podcast

    Students gain valuable experience in the world of podcasting
    What started as a podcast side project for UMKC faculty member Whitney Terrell, has now evolved into the first podcasting class at UMKC. In turn, the class has so far produced four thought-provoking, student-led podcasts. Terrell teaches creative writing and in his spare time has a successful podcast called Fiction/Non/Fiction that he co-hosts with V.V. Ganeshananthan of the University of Minnesota. His podcast led Jennifer Phegley, the chair of the English Department, to approach him to gauge his interest in putting together a practicum on podcasting “The department has always been interested in the digital humanities,” said Terrell. “With me already podcasting, it made perfect sense. And it has been super fun.” UMKC students have interned for Terrell to help with his podcast, and the success of the internship was another contributing factor to starting the class. Still, Terrell said he and his students were in uncharted territory for the university. “I’d never asked students to create a podcast from scratch in three months, so I really didn’t know whether we’d end up with something we’d want public,” said Terrell. “And when we got the final product I realized they were this good — we’ve got to get these out there.” What they got were four unique podcasts. “Everything Genre” — produced by Harmony Lassen, Hunter Moseley and Abbey Outain — teases out the way TV shows use genre tropes. “Lit Adaptations” — produced by Jasmine Rollins, Sophie Straight and Kara Walters — analyzes the ways books are adapted into films. “MFA Insider” — produced by Jared McCormack, Giana Miniace and Montana Patrick — talks to MFA students across the country about their programs and work. I started listening to their podcasts while I was jogging. I would get to the end of my run, finding myself just enjoying them and forgetting I need to be grading them as well. - Whitney Terrell All three podcasts can be heard on this website. There was a fourth podcast produced, by Eva June Narber, Summer Collins, and Beth Graham, that did investigative stories on human trafficking, but out of caution for the interview subjects the hosts decided not to make it public. Terrell was blown away by the finished products. “I started listening to their podcasts while I was jogging,” he said. “I would get to the end of my run finding myself just enjoying them and forgetting I need to be grading them as well.” McCormack plans to continue the MFA podcast, with a slightly different format rebranded as “MFA Writers” where he will be the sole host but continue to interview fellow MFA students from across the country. He sees it as a useful tool for potential MFA students and filling an untapped niche in the literary podcast space. “There are a number of podcasts out there that I love that interview established writers about their process,” said McCormack. “I think it would be really interesting to do something similar but with emerging authors on the cusp of making it.” One thing that hit home for Terrell was the advanced cultural commentary represented in “Everything Genre” and “Literary Adaptations.” “They were putting into practice the techniques that students learn in our creative writing and English programs,” said Terrell. “They were using the skills they’re picking up in the program, and I just love that.” For the class, the students were divided into four groups, with each group coming up with their own podcast idea. The students were grouped by similar interests. In addition to their own podcast, the students were assigned duties on the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast so they could practice sound editing and script writing ahead of tackling their own podcasts. Jasmine Rollins, who worked on “Lit Adaptations,” thought the work on Terrell’s podcast was particularly eye-opening. “I was surprised at how quickly the turnover was from week to week,” she said. “Before the new episode is even up they’re already working on planning for the next episode.” When it came to finishing production for the students’ podcasts, the class had to get creative because of the shutdown of the campus. They had planned to record and edit everything on campus with the help of a Communications professor, Angela Elam, and using audio software available in one of the computer labs. Those best-laid plans were turned upside down. The students instead used Zoom to record their podcasts and managed to edit their audio with an any-means-necessary array of free (or free-trial) audio editing software. Terrell said he was amazed by the students’ determination to experiment and improvise to get to their finished products. The plan is for Terrell’s spring semester Podcasting Practicum class (ENG 449C) to continue. Another podcasting course will be added in the fall in the Communications Studies Department (class #46784), taught by Elam, who is host of the “New Letters on the Air” podcast. For McCormack, the experience was incredibly rewarding. ““I didn’t know anything about making a podcast before taking this class. This was a great way to get my feet wet learning from someone who is actually doing it,” he said. “You really see what all goes into making a podcast before you jump straight into it.” Jun 04, 2020

  • My Life During COVID: Brandon Martin

    Checking in to see how our UMKC community is managing the highs and lows of sheltering in place
    UMKC Athletic Director Brandon Martin is off the court, off the field and home with his wife, two daughters and son. He’s been home with his family more than ever before — and finding that he loves it. “It’s really going great,” Martin says. “We are having a ton of family time and I’m just so grateful that my family is all here and safe.” He and his wife, Rosemary, who works in human resources at Metropolitan Community College, are both working at home in their basement and home office. His oldest daughter is home from her first year of college. “She came home from Arizona State University with straight As,” he said. “We were just thrilled”. His younger daughter and son were both going to school remotely. “They were going to school in their bedrooms and basically living on their iPads.” The Martins are all pitching in and helping each other out, and they are taking a lot of family walks. “I love it,” he says. “I’ve been home more now than I’ve ever been before. Balance has always been tough for me, but I feel like the ratio is good right now and it makes me feel fulfilled. We had a great Mother’s Day. I couldn’t stop thinking about what it would be like if my wife weren’t here. It just filled me with so much gratitude.” Still, Martin is aware of the suddenness of his athletes’ season ending and he understands the loss they are feeling. “I have a great respect for the resilience of our athletes and coaches. Their seasons ended so abruptly. I really appreciate how willing they were to take the appropriate directions. They were all patient, focused and centered.” Despite his positive perspective, Martin struggles with the ambiguity of what will come next. “I am trying to crystallize what the ‘new normal’ is going to be. My life — my job — are never going to be the same. In my life and my career, so much of it is about competing. Now we’re competing against the unknown, but I know we’re going to get through this.” What are you reading? “Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene “How Champions Think: In Sports and in Life” by Bob Rotella and Bob Cullen “Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman “Managing from the Heart” by Hyler Bracey, Jack Rosenblum, Aubrey Sanford and Roy Trueblood What are you watching? “The Last Dance.” It’s epic and it’s great family time for us. I love educating my kids about the greatness of Michael Jordan. “Billions.” What are you eating? I love to cook, and I’ve started posting on Instagram with the hashtag thecookingad. I just made Baja fish tacos. Jun 04, 2020

  • A Life-Long Love of Teaching

    Senior Hayley Benton wants to help people learn
    Get to know our people and you'll know what UMKC is all about. Hayley Benton has wanted to be a teacher since she was in first grade, and a degree in education has been a long-time goal. Hayley Benton ’21Major: Elementary EducationHometown: Omaha, NebraskaHigh School: Millard North High School A visit to the UMKC website led Benton to visit campus. That visit resulted not only in her enrollment in the School of Education, but her immersion in campus life as a Resident Assistant, a member of the Honors College and a campus ambassador. In addition, Benton was selected as a member of the UMKC Forward committee exploring solutions for university success in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Benton is a helper and her focus during the crisis has largely been on the success of others. “They say that you’re supposed to put your oxygen mask on first when the plane is crashing, but, that’s not me,” Benton says. “I wouldn’t be able to help people a row or two behind me if I did that. I would be the one running up and down the aisle making sure everyone has their mask on — or had the ability to put their own mask on. If I see someone who needs help, I drop whatever it is that I am doing and I help them no matter what.” She has stayed on campus and expanded her role with Residential Life to help the students who needed to remain on campus. “For me, helping students was crucial to my success and really helped me during such a challenging time.” - Hayley Benton “I am staying on campus throughout the summer as an RA as well,” she says. “For me, helping students was crucial to my success and really helped me during such a challenging time.” Despite her commitment to students at UMKC, Benton is missing the children in her elementary-school classroom. “The biggest challenge was that we were no longer able to go to our practicum placements, so my student teaching experience got cut very short,” she said. “I wasn't able to say goodbye to the class. I went from seeing them almost every day to absolutely nothing. I miss their smiling faces, jokes, personalities and out-loud thoughts. It's definitely pulled on my heartstrings.” She has been able to stay close to her cohort in the School of Education. Beyond online classes, the GroupMe Benton started became an essential way to connect. “We used it a lot prior to COVID-19, but once classes went online we used it a ton! While we couldn't see each other in person it still felt like we were connected and interacting with one another and building our relationships,” Benton said. “A lot of us faced very difficult things during this time as well and it was amazing to have such a strong support system of empowering women.” “I’ve learned that I am a strong leader and that I am able to do anything I set my mind to.” While she is not the first person in her family to attend college, Benton is the first person in a long time. “I take a lot of pride in my academic drive, my passion for getting a degree in education and for pursuing my dreams this way because it’s not the conventional thing for the rest of my family.” She has learned a lot about herself since coming to UMKC. “I’ve learned that I am a strong leader and that I am able to do anything I set my mind to. In high school, I was only involved a little bit. In college, I have thrown myself into a ton of new things in order to be as involved as I can be. I have grown so much as a person.” Her student teaching and the current crisis have opened Benton’s eyes to the challenges students face and has deepened her commitment. “It has inspired me to work as hard as I can to better an education system that is failing for a lot of people. I want to pour my heart and soul into my students.” Hayley’s Highlights Who do you admire most at UMKC? Elora Thomas, associate director of admissions, is the person I admire most at UMKC. I am a campus ambassador and Elora is my boss. She is so strong and powerful, and inspires me to be the very best I can possibly be. Sometimes I can get very discouraged because my family members and friends back home don’t understand the value of my work on campus, but Elora has always been so supportive. She has so much passion for this university. I just hope that one day I can be someone’s Elora Thomas, because she is the best person I have ever met.  What’s your favorite social media channel? RawBeautyKristi on YouTube is so amazing. She’s a very realistic, down-to-earth person who gives her actual opinion on things. It’s so refreshing to hear someone talk about real life on their social media platform rather than the fake stories people make up for entertainment. What’s something that you’re missing? I miss aimlessly wandering around Target for over an hour looking at things I never end up buying. Of course, it's a small thing, but it's all about routine.  Where are you finding joy? I have gone on a ton of walks and I've gone hiking a couple of times. I spent a lot of time—maybe too much time—playing Animal Crossing.  Jun 04, 2020

  • On a Mission to Bridge the Health Care Gap

    The UMKC Health Equity Institute brings together university researchers, government and community efforts to improve the lives of the underserved
    When Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal needed someone to head the new UMKC Health Equity Institute, he didn't have to look far. The School of Medicine’s Jannette Berkley-Patton is a leader in community health research — just the right person to direct the institute, which is charged with combining the university’s research strengths with community groups’ grass-roots involvement to identify, quantify and reduce health care gaps. Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., a professor in the school’s Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, might be best known for her Taking It to the Pews project, an outreach effort through local churches that gets people tested for HIV. She also is director of the UMKC Community Health Research Group, putting her in an ideal position to bring together the university’s research programs and Kansas City social services groups and agencies. In the year since Agrawal announced the institute, Berkley-Patton has made sure it got off to a running start. The institute has helped new projects large and small, with the goal of lasting improvements in health across social and economic classes. Anything that might improve health — from providing better transportation and more-affordable care to encouraging better eating and exercise — could be involved. “We spend billions on health care but are still one of the unhealthiest countries in the world,” said Berkley-Patton, who has degrees in engineering, human development and family life, and child and developmental psychology. “Large federal grants can help create effective programs, but we need sustainable improvements that continue when the grants end.” Berkley-Patton also is determined to keep the institute’s momentum moving forward, despite the COVID19 disruptions to health care and the wider economy. “In fact,” she said, “the Health Equity Institute is even more important than ever given that these underserved folks who historically have had more challenges in accessing health care services are likely to be hurt the most by the disruptions. Get on the bus One big project for the institute will be tracking how free bus service affects people’s health. This year, Kansas City, Missouri, plans to become the first large city with free public transit — dropping bus fares to zero to match the city’s streetcars, which already are fare-free. The institute, recognizing a golden opportunity to measure the benefits of free public transit, has drawn up a multi-step research plan and submitted ambitious applications for grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC grant calls for research into “a natural experiment,” Berkley-Patton said, “and if ever there was a natural experiment, offering free transit is it.” She continued, “We know from other research that people who use public transit tend to get 5 to 15 minutes more physical activity than non-riders, just getting to and from public transit. So if free bus service increases ridership, we hope to also see improvements in the health of people in low-income areas.” The institute will start by gathering baseline data, both from comparable cities’ transit systems and from 500 current riders. The plan for identifying those people and getting data from them has been approved by UMKC’s Institutional Review Board, which ensures that research subjects are treated ethically. That data gathering is on hold over COVID-19 concerns, but the institute is ready to go when the situation improves. The CDC grant the institute seeks calls for data on 10,000 people, which defies individual recruitment. “So, we’re proposing to collaborate with the Truman Medical Centers,” Berkley-Patton said. “We have identified 11 low-income ZIP codes, and TMC has data on thousands of people that can serve as a measure of the health of those areas.” Of those patients, the institute hopes to have 4,000 take a brief survey, to gauge some basics about them such as income and incidence of health problems including diabetes and obesity. The institute also plans to recruit 200 occasional bus riders to track, to see whether free service turns them into regular riders, and whether that improves their health. Berkley-Patton says the elimination of fares should be a good incentive, saving a regular rider an estimated $1,500 in transit costs. And the research should identify other possible benefits, such as having access to more and better jobs. “We’ve had lots of collaboration on this already to design research and make our grant proposals,” Berkley-Patton said, ticking off allies from Children’s Mercy, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and Public Works Department, UMKC Departments of Economics and Psychology, and the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, and Nursing and Health Studies.  Now the institute must wait — on whether it gets CDC and NIH money to go full bore on its plans, and on when people can resume more normal living and head to jobs, doctor’s appointments and other activities. ‘They miss recess’ Another project is Youth Engagement in Sports, or YES, led by Joey Lightner and Amanda Grimes, UMKC assistant professors in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. When their proposal received an $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Grimes described the need to increase activity in middle school students. “The evidence is very clear that American youth suffer from high rates of obesity, inactivity and poor nutrition,” said Grimes, who has a master’s degree in health science and a doctorate in community health. Joseph Lightner and Amanda Grimes of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences involve students in their community health research. “Adolescence seems to be a critical time in a child’s life where behaviors are learned or reinforced. Girls are particularly prone to low rates of physical activity during adolescence.” The YES program will help students at two Kansas City middle schools, Central and Northeast, said Lightner, who has a master’s in public health with an emphasis in physical activity, and a Ph.D. in kinesiology. According to Lightner, sixth- through eighth-graders are in a tough place between elementary and high school. “In talking with them, we found out they miss recess. They don’t get to play anymore. And they’re suddenly supposed to be adults, often without all the information they need on health and nutrition.” One goal of the institute is to come up with innovative programs, and YES is certainly that. “So after school, we’re going to give them a big, healthy snack and then there’s a physical activity intervention — they get to play,” Lightner said. “We’re going to offer competitive and non-competitive games, because we’ve found that some students gravitate to one kind of sport or another.” By reaching out to the students and their schools, the program also embodies the institute’s emphasis on community engagement. And it draws heavily on another institute strength — collaboration. TMC’s Mobile Market, which brings healthy foods to underserved areas, will give students a weekly bag of produce along with recipes. Children’s Mercy consulted on the program, providing its expertise with young people’s health. The Kansas City Department of Parks and Recreation will help with the sports activities. And Lightner, as director of the UMKC Public Health Program and a new bachelor’s degree under it, has recruited undergraduate students to help gather data — and get first-hand experience in devising and tracking the sorts of programs that could become integral in their careers. The program’s aim is to help at least 300 students at the schools in summer sessions, and then again in the fall. Of course, the level of disruption and other unknowns caused by COVID-19 make it hard to plan. But when school is back in full swing, Lightner wants YES to be making a difference. “We know this is a pivotal time for students, especially girls,” Lightner said. “Peer groups are really important; there’s a mentality of, ‘If my friends are doing it, I’ll do it.’ So if we get them engaged in physical activity with their friends at this age, they’re likely to continue. And so many benefits, from physical and mental health to staying in school and achieving academically, have been demonstrated.” Seeding other efforts Another goal of the institute is to communicate across the university and among hospitals, government health agencies and community groups. A database is being compiled for training and other resources, along with opportunities to collaborate. The institute's new website will be a clearinghouse for everything from health indicators to grant opportunities and processes. That could help community groups connect, for example, with the Health Forward Foundation, a Kansas City fund that promotes healthy communities. The institute also will be awarding mini-grants, with the aim of giving several community groups a few hundred dollars each for health-related training, software, added staff help and other basics. Overcoming health disparities is a huge task, made more daunting by the COVID-19 disruptions. But BerkleyPatton and other Health Equity Institute partners have had success in the past and will keep looking for new ways to reshape access to health care. “It will be a while before we know how much damage the pandemic has done,” she said. “But we do know that research programs that involve people in improving their own health can make a real difference, and it’s going to take all the innovative, collaborative efforts we can build to help those most affected. Jun 03, 2020

  • Criminology Professor Talks on KCUR About George Floyd and Nationwide Protests

    As protesters and police clash in cities from coast to coast, Kansas City discusses a way forward
    Ken Novak, professor of criminal justice and criminology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was a guest on KCUR's Up to Date. Jun 03, 2020

  • UMKC Criminal Justice Professor Provides Commentary

    Ken Novak, UMKC professor of criminal justice and criminology, was a guest on KCUR's Up to Date.
    The June 2 show was devoted to hearing what listeners have to say about the situation, which included a journalist, faith leader and criminal justice expert. Listen to the segment online. Jun 02, 2020

  • Alumna Becomes New Museum Director

    The Kansas City Star featured Mary McMurray
    ‘Johnson County Museum tells the story of suburbia.’ Its new director embraces history. Read the story here. Jun 01, 2020

  • Professor in Associated Press Article Weighs in on Homicide Spike in Kansas City

    Police report 68 homicides so far this year, compared to 56 in the same period a year ago
    Ken Novak, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, offered this perspective: Kansas City’s per capita homicide rate last year was about 30 deaths per 100,000 residents. Read the full article from the Associated Press. Jun 01, 2020

  • Political Science Professor Emeritus Weighs in on National Political Scene

    Max Skidmore has been providing local and national media interviews
    Max Skidmore, author of a book on presidential leadership during health crises, was quoted in an article by the Washington Post e-Replica Newspapers in Education. Jun 01, 2020

  • Study Featured in Healthline

    Studies Explore the Question: ‘Has My Insulin Gone Bad?’
    The experts who led this study included Dr. Alan Carter of the non-profit MRI Global research group and a pharmacy professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Dr. Lutz Heinemann, a San Diego-based expert on insulin and emerging biosimilars. Read the story here. May 31, 2020

  • Student Body President Featured in the KC Star

    Brandon Henderson, new UMKC student body president was interviewed about his experience at local protests
    ‘It could’ve been me’: Why one Kansas City student attended protest for black lives. Read the story here. May 31, 2020

  • Political Science Professor Offers Insight into the Pandemic

    Max Skidmore, political scientist at UMKC shares insights on politics and pandemics with multiple publications.
    Read the MSN article: Trump tightens grip on coronavirus information as he pushes to restart the economy Read The Philadelphia Inquirer article: Trump’s push to reopen Pennsylvania adds 2020 politics to a heated coronavirus debate Read The Deseret News article: How the pandemic might have been different if this wasn’t an election year Read The Washington Post article: Trump’s baseless claim persists Read The Washington Post article: President inflames rather than soothes May 30, 2020

  • Professor Interviewed by the Associated Press

    Ken Novak, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, offered this perspective on rising homicide rates
    Homicides spike in Kansas City; on possible record pace. Read the story here. May 30, 2020

  • 14 COVID-19 Myths and Misconceptions

    Dean of UMKC School of Medicine separates facts from fiction
    Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, is an infectious disease expert. Also an alumna from the UMKC School of Medicine’s innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program, she served as one of six physicians statewide advising Missouri Governor Mike Parson about COVID-19, and was recently named senior advisor of public health in a five-member volunteer group on how Jackson County should spend its $122 million in CARES Act funding. On numerous media appearances, Jackson has answered questions about evidence-based practices in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Here are just a few examples she’s dispelled of legend and lore about COVID-19: 1. A chiropractor has been publicizing an IV vitamin C product as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Anything to that? Jackson: While there is biologic plausibility based on the hypothesis that when an individual suffers a severe infection, vitamin C which is necessary for cellular and tissue function, is depleted, there is no scientific evidence to support the use of vitamin C in the management of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. There is no data to support its use as prophylaxis that would be given in a chiropractor’s office. One study registered at clinicaltrials.gov, will investigate the use of IV vitamin C in SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia patients in China using a randomized control trial protocol. The randomized control trial using a standard control group receiving placebo vs. the treatment group excludes bias and allows the outcome variable to be clear. This is especially important for COVID-19 where we know many cases spontaneously improve.  There have been two recently published studies that are “open label” (no control group) to study the use of vitamin C in non-SARS-CoV-2 infections where individuals suffered from shock and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Neither showed clear evidence of benefit. What is interesting is that anti-vaxxers appear to be circulating information on social media to drive the unproven messaging around vitamin C. For treatment of disease, trust a well-trained healthcare professional who practices evidence-based medicine and has extensive clinical experience. 2. Does heat kill the coronavirus? For example, the sun? A hot bath? Drinking hot water? Jackson: There is no evidence of a benefit to flushing the virus from your system by drinking hot water or taking a hot bath. Drinking water will keep one hydrated and that is recommended for all. The concept that heat can affect the virus is one worth discussing. The virus that causes COVID-19 is an enveloped virus, and enveloped viruses do generally demonstrate sensitivity to temperature and therefore may be more likely to appear or disappear during certain seasons related to temperature. Research on other enveloped viruses suggests that this oily outer coat makes the viruses more susceptible to heat than those that do not have one. In colder conditions, the oily coat hardens into a rubber-like state, much like fat from cooked meat will harden as it cools, to protect the virus for longer when it is outside the body. Many viruses wax and wane in seasons. Influenza typically arrives with the colder winter months. So does norovirus and RSV. Measles cases drop during the summer in temperate climates, and increase when schools are in session. But we have no information about how the virus that causes COVID-19 will change with the seasons. For one thing, pandemic viruses often don’t follow the same seasonal patterns seen in more normal outbreaks. Spanish flu, for example, peaked in the summer, while the typical seasonal flu peaks occur during the winter. Even if COVID-19 does show some seasonal variability, it likely will persist to some degree and not totally disappear in the summer. A dip in cases will bring benefits, however. If it decreases in the summer, it is likely to re-emerge again in the fall. But there will be fewer susceptible individuals at that point, too, so potentially fewer cases-depending on how much of the population remains susceptible after the first wave. 3. If there has been a day of rain followed by sunshine, is playground equipment safe from COVID-19? 4. Jackson: As the weather warms, people will want to be outdoors and I’ve seen more people in our community outdoor walking and running in neighborhoods and in areas of parks and trails. It’s important to be outside to keep healthy, physically and mentally. And I especially like that I’ve seen families outside with their kids, who need to be active especially since they have no school and can’t be out with friends. CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been emphasizing that to control the COVID-19 epidemic, we must “flatten the curve” — that is, reduce the amount of transmission of the virus. We know that one proven way to accomplish this is by physical distancing — keeping six feet or more from other individuals and taking precautions to wash hands, refrain from being in enclosed spaces with other people, disinfect surfaces and other precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. But do not take the kids to public playgrounds—you’ll find that all are cordoned off so that equipment can’t be accessed. Not only would open play areas encourage the kind of close contact we are trying to limit, but also, contaminated surfaces have been found to have detectable virus—including plastic and stainless steel. The duration that virus could exist on wood is not clearly known. There is no good evidence that following rain and with a day of sunshine, the playground is safe. There is no present guidance from CDC on how best to manage these spaces, including recommended cleaning and disinfection for outdoor equipment to prevent transmission of the coronavirus. Bottom line: Avoid the playground (and play dates) for kids while you are social distancing unless it is the playground in your own backyard for your family. 4. Should you consider deliberately exposing yourself to inoculate yourself?  Jackson: In the past, some parents participated in “chickenpox parties” to intentionally expose their unvaccinated children to a child with chickenpox in hopes that they would get the disease. CDC strongly recommends against hosting or participating in these events because serious complications and even death can follow infection and one cannot predict how severe the disease will be. Now the same bad idea has emerged related to COVID-19. On March 24, it was announced that an individual in Kentucky tested positive for the novel coronavirus after they attended a "coronavirus party" for people in their 20s. Young people are less at risk of developing serious complications of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, but they may still require hospitalization for serious symptoms. And even someone who only contracts a mild case of the disease can spread it to vulnerable people. We need to wait for the vaccine—and until then continue social distancing. 5. Can livestock pass COVID-19 on through our food supply? Jackson: There are some food products that can be contaminated and pose a risk for transmission to humans—like E coli, norovirus and hepatitis A. That is why there is emphasis on food preparation safety in general. The bacteria and viruses that are transmitted by food products are those that cause gastrointestinal infection. SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory virus and there is no known foodborne risk for transmission. There is no evidence that livestock or any other food product in the U.S. is a vector for transmission of the virus, and there is no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging to be associated with disease transmission. There is no risk of food product recalls, and the U.S. food supply is safe. 6. Will drinking lots of water wash the virus down to your stomach where it will be killed by stomach acid? What about drinking bleach? Can you ward off the virus by eating food with higher PH level? Jackson: Washing the virus down the esophagus will not reduce the risk of coronavirus and the virus is resistant to the diluted acid in the stomach Gargling with water or with an antiseptic solution, compared to doing neither, did reduce reports of respiratory symptoms in a study from Japan. However, the findings don’t necessarily apply to COVID-19 – and it’s dangerous to assume that they do. The main risk is from breathing in tiny droplets containing thousands of viral particles after an infected person coughs or sneezes within 6 feet from you. The overwhelming evidence suggests that the best approach remains avoiding unnecessary social contact and washing your hands. So, put down the water and pick up the soap instead. Drinking bleach is not a cure and is dangerous—it can result in vomiting, diarrhea and liver failure. Some bleach-based cleaners, however, are helpful for keeping surfaces virus-free. 7. Pets cannot spread the coronavirus, can they? Jackson: This virus is thought to have jumped from animals to humans, but there is no evidence that it is spreading among pets or from cats and dogs to their owners. Cats have been infected, both at the zoo and in homes-but there is no evidence that cat to human transmission is a significant concern. There was one instance in Hong Kong where a dog tested positive, but the dog was well, and it was thought contaminated by secretions from the infected pet owner. The CDC suggests letting family members without symptoms take on pet care and recommends that people with symptoms should avoid close contact such as “petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.” When you care for your pets, wash your hands before and after handling and feeding. 8. Does ibuprofen make COVID-19 symptoms worse? Jackson: I first heard of the ibuprofen alert after a report from the French health minister, Olivier Véran, identified that it could be a factor in worsening the infection based on anecdotal reports from physicians treating patients in that country. Then there was a letter that was published in the British medical journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine where it was hypothesized that ibuprofen could make it easier for the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, to enter cells. The theory is that ibuprofen could increase the levels of ACE2, which is a protein that the coronavirus uses to enter cells and might therefore increase the risk of serious infection. However, there is no evidence that ibuprofen raises ACE2 levels. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says more research is needed, but right now, there is “no evidence that ibuprofen increases the risk of serious complications or of acquiring the virus that causes COVID-19.” There are reasons in general to avoid ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (NSAIDs) because they are known to have gastrointestinal, kidney and cardiovascular side effects, which may be especially dangerous in very ill or elderly patients or in those with preexisting conditions. 9. Does putting petroleum jelly in your nose prevent the virus from getting into pores? Will rinsing your nose with saline prevent the virus? Jackson: In the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, it’s natural that we’re looking for ways to stay healthy. Washing your hands and practicing social distancing are two proven pieces of advice that are more important than ever. A dry nose can make one more vulnerable to viruses and certainly is an irritant for those who suffer allergies. A water-based product can help. Using saline or saltwater nose rinses will not prevent the virus, but in certain people with asthma for instance, who also have nasal and sinus symptoms, a saltwater nasal wash, or nasal irrigation, can help reduce nasal symptoms that can aggravate asthma. According to National Jewish Health, a nasal wash: Cleans mucus from the nose, so medication can be more effective Cleans allergens and irritants from the nose, reducing their impact Cleans bacteria and viruses from the nose, decreasing infections Decreases swelling in the nose and increases airflow But do not use tap water for the nasal wash. Do not use well water. Only use distilled or sterilized water for nasal rinses. And follow the CDC water preparation guidelines for proper preparation. Avoid petroleum jelly in the nose—it can be inhaled and cause lung injury called lipid pneumonia. Don’t use antibiotic ointment either—that type of ointment does not fight viruses. 10. Can kids die from COVID-19? Jackson: While children have been generally spared from COVID-19, pediatric cases requiring intensive care have occurred within our state and there are rare child deaths. The burden of disease is far less for children than influenza though. A new syndrome, recently described, called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). MIS-C is an inflammatory response with organ dysfunction, thought to be triggered by prior exposure to SARS CoV-2. On May 14, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control issued a health advisory, to alert providers to this condition, which has now been identified in at least 19 different states and Washington DC. Parents should report to their pediatric provider if their child develops fevers especially associated with a rash. While the prognosis is good, children have suffered shock and required intensive care—the syndrome is extremely rare and we are still learning more about it.  11. If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds, does that mean you don’t have the virus? Jackson: It is true that those with serious lung disease of many types, such as emphysema, may not be able to hold their breath for 10 seconds. Many respiratory viral infections make it difficult to hold your breath because the airway is irritated.  The inability to do so does not identify those who have COVID-19.  This false claim was first attributed to someone at Stanford University Medicine—and the spokesperson at Stanford denies it came from them, and on March 12, they posted on social media that this was misinformation. The only way to know if one is infected by SARS-CoV-2 is by testing secretions obtained by a swab placed in the nose/throat and having the specimen tested in a laboratory. 12. Is cupping a treatment for COVID-19? Jackson: Cupping is a process whereby the skin is bruised using a suction cup over the skin, and is used in traditional Chinese medicine for a variety of ailments. It is being studied in a Chinese population convalescing from COVID-19, but there is no evidence that it is beneficial at this point. 13. Is proning a treatment for COVID-19? Jackson: There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and we currently rely on supportive intensive care including oxygen, IV fluids andmechanical ventilation. Of specific therapies targeting SARS-CoV-2, none have been adequately studied, but there are some encouraging reports. Prone positioning of those with respiratory failure, meaning having the patient on a ventilator lay face down, was shown in a small study to result in better lung function with better oxygen levels and this treatment is being incorporated into care now. Other therapies which are being examined include the use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug which was shown to inhibit virus in a small study when paired with an antibiotic called azithromycin. We now know that there is no data to support its efficacy and individuals accessing chloroquine products and suffering life-threatening toxicity. There are a couple broad-spectrum antiviral agents (one used in Ebola called remdesivir) that are being studied. Remdesivir is an intravenous drug used for those with serious COVID who require hospitalization and treated patients have shown a shortened course of disease. Drugs that modify an inflammatory over-response seen in COVID-19 appear promising. These agents inhibit IL-6, an immune modifier, and are also being studied in severe cases of COVID-19. 14. Even though COVID is here to stay, at least for the next six months to a year, is it okay for me to go out into the community now? Can I go to the doctor for my routine care? Jackson: We have successfully flattened the curve here in Kansas City, but COVID is continuing to circulate. The chance that you’ll be exposed to SARS CoV-2, is related to three factors: what activity you are involved in your proximity to others the duration of exposure Risk is greatest for indoor exposure where individuals are in close quarters with a large group of people. After a choir practice that took place in Washington on March 17, 2020, among 122 choir members, 87% of the group became infected from one infected member—it appears the act of singing amplified the spread of the virus. In contrast, if one is outdoors for a limited time, and can socially distance from others, the risk is very low. In terms of going back to your doctor for routine appointments, every provider in our community is prepared to care for patients even while the virus is still circulating. It is especially important that infants and children visit their pediatrician and get their immunizations on time. Many pediatricians are asking parents to call on arrival to the office, and the provider will text when the office is ready to place the patient directly into an examination room. We don’t want a measles outbreak in our community while we’re still tackling COVID! May 28, 2020

  • UMKC Announces Plan to Repopulate Campus

    Three-phase process will run June 1 through August 24
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will begin to repopulate its two Kansas City campuses in June, using a phased approach designed to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors. Phase 1 of the plan runs June 1 to July 5 and will include a small group of employees engaged in critical operations that support the university’s core mission and who must be physically present to effectively complete their work duties. Phase 2 runs July 6 to August 2 and brings back to campus senior administration and departmental leaders heavily engaged in student services and academic roles preparing for the fall semester. Phase 3 runs August 3 to August 24. During this period, all remaining faculty, staff and students will return to campus, except for those with individual medical exemptions. The plan includes guidelines encouraging people to wear face coverings on campus. Masks may be essential under certain work/educational conditions which preclude adequate social distancing. The university plans to return to in-person classes in August but will monitor the public health situation closely and constantly, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local guidelines, and make changes to steps, timelines and requirements in the plan as needed. UMKC is #RooReady to begin classes in the fall, no matter what that looks like, whether it’s in person, online or a mix of both. “The time has come for us to prepare in earnest to return to campus,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “We will do so carefully and flexibly, because the health and safety of our community is our highest priority. We will continue to be team players in the overall effort to both reduce the impact of the virus and rebuild and restore our economy and our society. ” May 28, 2020

  • Alumni Physicians Help Chiefs, Blues to Championships

    School of Medicine classmates celebrated their teams' super seasons
    What a difference a few months can make. In February, team physician Michael Monaco (B.A. ’84, M.D. ’87) was holding the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl trophy. Now, he has a new granddaughter he hasn’t held yet, to keep her from any possible coronavirus exposure. And last June, orthopedic surgeon Matt Matava (B.A. ’86, M.D. ’87) was tending to the St. Louis Blues as they won their first-ever National Hockey League championship. Now, he’s slowly reviving his regular surgery practice and wondering whether the rest of the hockey season will be canceled.  Both savor the camaraderie and association with elite athletes that make being a team physician special, and the particular joy of being part of a championship. But they also confront the challenges and uncertainties, personal and professional, that the pandemic has put front and center for everyone. The peak  They didn’t complete the big touchdown pass or make the winning slap shot, but Monaco and Matava did their part to make their teams champions in the past year. In February, Monaco was the senior physician on the sidelines with the Kansas City Chiefs when they won the team’s second NFL championship, 50 years after their first. “I have been with the team 26 years,” Monaco said. “When I realized we were going to win the Super Bowl, I got a little teary-eyed.” It was much the same feeling for Matava the previous June, when the Blues took the Stanley Cup. “In 23 years with the Blues, my most memorable experience was being in Boston for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals,” Matava said. “I got to hold the Stanley Cup overhead on the ice and drink champagne out of the cup in the locker room during the player celebration.” Getting to the top, though, took years of effort, starting at the School of Medicine. Matt Matava in his office with the Stanley Cup. The long climb Matava played basketball for UMKC while he was in medical school, and he wanted to be a surgeon. That focus turned to orthopedic surgery for athletic injuries when a torn ACL (a knee ligament) knocked him off the basketball court. He experienced first-hand the important process of recovering from a serious injury. “Though I wasn’t drawn to internal medicine, my docent was Marjorie Sirridge, an excellent internist,” Matava said. “She taught us the importance of being thorough in the evaluation of patients … of sitting down when speaking with patients to let them know that you are taking time specifically for them. Doctors in general and surgeons in particular have a reputation for paying more attention to lab tests and imaging studies than to the patient themselves. No one should underestimate the importance of the physical exam.” When he returned to his native St. Louis after a sports medicine fellowship in Cincinnati, it didn’t take long to find work with sports teams to go along with a private practice. He became a team physician for Washington University, a job he still holds along with being a professor of orthopedic surgery. He also worked for the St. Louis Rams for 16 years, until the franchise moved back to Los Angeles. That’s in addition to serving the Blues, a position he’s held since 1997. The clock is always running But for all the excitement of being part of sports, being a team physician also means hard work, long hours and performing under intense pressure. “Hockey season involves up to three games a week from October to April for the regular season and into June for a deep run in the playoffs,” Matava said. “When I finish my regular clinical duties, I head to the games.” Add in his 25 years serving Washington University’s sports teams — along with football games each fall weekend during the years he was with the Rams — and Matava has spent a lot of time in locker rooms and away from his family. “In 23 years with the Blues, my most memorable experience was being in Boston for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals."—Matt Matava “But the most challenging aspect of being a team physician or surgeon,” Matava said, “is having to ‘bat 1,000’ in the care of every player, considering the scrutiny of the public, media, team administration, agents and other team members.” In Monaco’s situation, being the Chiefs’ head medical team physician is a year-round job. “From the end of July when training camp begins until the exit exams after our last game, two days after the Super Bowl this past season, there are daily issues: medication changes, illness evaluations, exams for new players acquired.” He’s also involved in the preparation for the NFL Combine each February, a weeklong showcase for possible pros coming out of the colleges, and the NFL draft in April.  “I also have a full-time internal medicine concierge practice with my partner of more than 20 years,” Monaco said. “He’s been very supportive, which makes doing both possible.”  Monaco with internal medicine and Matava with orthopedic surgery exemplify the two main types of medicine for sports teams. And they both will tell you it’s about a lot more than operations to mend broken bones or reconstruct damaged joints.  According to Monaco, his medical team handles various types of injuries, such as chest and abdominal problems. In a given week, they might take care of more players than the surgical and rehab staff, keeping players hydrated and managing their electrolytes if there’s a bug going around. Quickly isolating a player with the flu, for instance, can protect the rest of the team. “I have been with the team 26 years, when I realized we were going to win the Super Bowl, I got a little teary-eyed.”—Michael Monaco Working and waiting When the NHL season was suspended, Matava noted, “the team was in first place and expecting the return of Vladimir Tarasenko, our star goal scorer, whose shoulder I fixed earlier in the year.” Now, he said, he can see the players if they are injured or require rehabilitation, but the training facility, practice rink and weight room have been off-limits across the league. Whether the season resumes or is canceled remains up in the air.  For several weeks at his other practices, Matava said, “Washington University and Barnes Hospital were on a strict lock-down with all non-emergency surgeries and procedures cancelled to treat COVID-19 patients. The most COVID patients we have had at our hospital was 95. We are now allowed to return to 50 percent of our normal duties.” Monaco, far right, with students from the UMKC School of Medicine. For many years, Monaco was a supervising physician, known as a docent, for a group of first- and second-year medical students. For Monaco, coping with the pandemic has meant focusing on safety for his staff and patients, and for Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park, Kansas, where he is on the Medical Executive Committee. Precautions have worked to reduce the pandemic’s effects, but they can’t be eliminated.  “After my first positive COVID-19 in the office, I have been doing all testings outside in the parking lot using personal protective equipment,” he said. “I am doing this to protect my staff, others in the office and all those who come into our medical building.” One picture in particular, of a tent attached to the hospital, haunts Monaco: “Family members of COVID-19 patients cannot be allowed in the hospital, but we placed a tent next to the window of one dying patient in the intensive care unit to allow the family to be with and grieve for their loved one.”  Personally, Monaco said, precautions have meant he has yet to hold his third granddaughter, born just a few days before the pandemic was declared. And his son, Nicholas Monaco, a 2017 graduate of the six-year medical program at UMKC, is serving his internal medicine residency in Georgia, where the incidence of coronavirus cases is high. “I would say this virus has had a definite impact on my life professionally and personally, like so many other health care workers,” Monaco said. Monaco also is in touch with other Chiefs physicians, and infectious disease specialists across the country, as the team moves toward possibly reopening some facilities. Resuming sports would provide a great emotional outlet for fans, he said, but there’s no telling when that might be possible safely. “Unfortunately, I do not see it going away soon,” he said. “I can only hope we come up with more and improved testing to give us the data that we need to make better decisions, better treatment protocols to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with this virus, and eventually a vaccine to once and for all give the global community enough herd immunity so we can get back to work and life again.”  May 27, 2020

  • My Life During COVID: Gayle Levy and Whitney Terrell

    Checking in to see how our UMKC community is managing the highs and lows of sheltering in place
    Gayle Levy and Whitney Terrell are working at home as their two sons go to school via Google Classroom and their cat, Dusty, composes signs in order to get some sleep. The advantage for married UMKC professors Gayle Levy, associate professor of French and director of the Honors College and Whitney Terrell, associate professor of English, is that they have a keen understanding of each other’s jobs. They start each day working in their own offices, while their two sons, Moss (15) and Miles (10) attend school online. While Levy moves from Zoom meeting to Zoom meeting, Terrell is finishing up his new novel, “The Crossroads.” “Miles has made silly signs that we put up on our doors when we can’t be disturbed,” Levy said. Her sign reads, “Do no desturb! Kat uzally zweepin.” "We're getting a puppy!" - Miles Terrell While the family is mostly finding their greatest joys being with each other, they are indulging in some distractions. “Moss has online piano lessons and drama classes through the Coterie,” Levy said. “Miles practices soccer online, which he does in the living room.” But some activities are less demanding. “Miles spends some time on House Party (a social media app) and playing Pictionary with friends,” Levy said. “Moss is generally Snapchatting with friends.” While Levy is missing her students and the boys are missing their friends, the Levy-Terrell clan is welcoming a big dose of joy. “We’re getting a puppy on Sunday!” Miles proclaims. What are you reading?  Levy: Nana by Emile Zola Terrell: MFA theses Miles: Wings of Fire books by Tui T. Sutherland Moss: Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream - for school  What are you watching?    “Miles watches 3-4 Simpsons episodes PER DAY!” Levy said. “I’m just thankful that the show has been on for like 30 years! Moss watches “Gossip Girls” and I’ve been watching “This is Us.” As a family most recently we have watched “Blazing Saddles,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” and “Rocky.” Terrell and Moss just finished “The French Connection” and “Breathless” and I showed Moss “Harold and Maude”—my favorite!” What are you eating?    “Great food!” Levy said. “Moss cooks a few times a week. Tonight, we had miso chicken but he has also prepared shakshouka, curried shrimp, Mediterranean lamb chops and a three-berry pie. I made Guinness cake for Moss’s 15th birthday, which was last week, and lots of banana bread.” May 27, 2020

  • Two UMKC Community Members Interviewed About Latinx Experiences

    Ivan Ramirez, student services coordinator, UMKC Multicultural Student Affairs, and Sandra Enriquez, assistant professor of UMKC History and direct...
    Listen to the podcast episode: The Filter Ep. 4: ‘Graduation Day’ May 27, 2020

  • Three UMKC Faculty Receive Fulbright Scholar Awards

    Brian Frehner, Ph.D., Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D., and Charles Inboriboon, M.D., will use the awards during the 2020-2021 academic year.
    Three University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty members, Brian Frehner, Ph.D.; Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D.; and Charles Inboriboon, M.D.; have received prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Awards for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Fulbright program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational program. Award recipients teach, conduct research and provide expertise abroad in a program designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and other countries. Frehner, associate professor in the UMKC History Department, received an award to Germany where he plans to teach and conduct research for three months. Much of his time will be spent working with colleagues at the University of Hamburg to expand upon an online course that examines themes in transatlantic history and German migration from Hamburg to St. Louis, Missouri.. He will also travel to Munich to review documents in the Deutsches Museum relating to the acquisition of oil exploration technology related to geophysicial oil exploration. The research is for a book he is working on that details the science and technology of exploration geophysics that seres as the basis for oil discovery throughout the world. Irazábal-Zurita, director of the Latinx and Latin American Studies program and professor of planning in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design, received an award to lecture and conduct research at the Universidad de Costa Rica. She will focus on selective (dis)affiliations and (sub)urban implications of middle-class Venezuelan migration to Costa Rica. The project is an extension of her study of migration and urban planning in U.S. Latinx/immigrant communities and in Latin America, including Costa Rica and Venezuela. Irazábal-Zurita plans to conduct her work in Costa Rica during the summers of 2021 and 2022. Inboriboon, director of International Emergency Medicine Programs at the School of Medicine and associate professor of emergency medicine, received an award to Thailand where he plans to spend six months teaching at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. His project will enhance emergency medicine education by incorporating active learning into the didactic curriculum. He will also be developing online learning resources and enhancing individual learner feedback. Inboriboon has led several programs in Thailand during the country’s transition to competency-based medical education. Fulbright award recipients are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. Funded through the U.S. Department of State, the program is also supported by and operates in more than 160 countries throughout the world. May 26, 2020

  • Update on the KC Streetcar Extension

    41 Action News shares updates on Main Street extension
    KC Streetcar gets federal approval for Main Street Extension. Listen to the story here. May 26, 2020

  • Professor Interviewed About Medical Bills

    KMUW interviewed Ann Marie Marciarille, a UMKC law professor with a specialty in health care
    A Kansan's $50k Medical Bill Shows That You Don't Always Owe What You're Charged. Read the story here. May 26, 2020

  • Future UMKC Student Interviewed by KCUR

    KCUR shares the sentiments of college bound students
    Danashia Scott plans to attend the University of Missouri-Kansas City to study dental hygiene. Read the story here. May 24, 2020

  • Professor Writes for The International Business Times

    Christopher Holman, professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, wrote this article.
    Coronavirus Treatment: The Next Great Cure Might Be Hiding In Your Medicine Cabinet. Read the story here. May 23, 2020

  • Two of Five Advisors on Jackson County COVID-19 Funding Group are UMKC Faculty

    School of Medicine dean and director of Latinx and Latin American Studies will help guide $122 million in CARES Act spending
    Two of the five advisors named to help guide Jackson County on spending CARES Act funds from the federal government are top UMKC faculty members: School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., and Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D., director of the Latinx and Latin American Studies program and professor of planning in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design. The county received about $122 million under the federal government’s CARES Act to aid the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the volunteer advisory group will provide recommendations to County Executive Frank White Jr. and the legislature on how to allocate funding consistent with CARES Act restrictions to have the greatest and most direct impact for the community. Joining Jackson and Irazábal-Zurita on the advisory group are former Kansas City Mayor Sly James, former Kansas City Mayor Pro-Tem and Councilwoman Cindy Circo and accountant Rachelle Styles. Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., dean of the UMKC School of Medicine Jackson, who is also an alumna from the UMKC School of Medicine, will be the senior advisor on public health. In addition to her role as dean, she is a pediatric infectious diseases expert, affiliated with Children’s Mercy and internationally known for her research. She is widely recognized for developing one of the nation’s leading and most robust pediatric infectious diseases programs. She serves as a member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, at the direction of the United States Assistant Secretary of Health, to provide recommendations for ways to achieve optimal prevention of human infectious diseases through vaccine development. During the current COVID-19 crisis, Jackson has served as one of the six physicians statewide advising Missouri Governor Mike Parson. She also continues to be a frequently sourced expert for the media and national publications. Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D., director of the Latinx and Latin American Studies program and professor of planning in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design Irazábal-Zurita will be the senior advisor on community development and humanitarian response. Before joining UMKC, she was the Latin Lab director and associate professor of urban planning in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University in New York City. In her research and teaching, she explores the interactions of culture, politics and placemaking, and their impact on community development and socio-spatial justice in Latin American cities and Latino and immigrant communities. May 22, 2020

  • Retired UMKC Librarian Contributes to COVID Discussion

    KMBC Interviewed Retired UMKC medical librarian and R.N. Susan Sykes Berry
    Susan Sykes Berry explains the city’s response to the pandemic due to its political boss system. Listen to the story here. May 22, 2020

  • UMKC, Full Employment Council Partner to Create a 21st Century Workforce

    The FEC Coding Academy at UMKC offers two classes for displaced workers
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Computing and Engineering and Full Employment Council created a partnership to deliver a 21st century workforce in Kansas City. The FEC Coding Academy offers two classes – Web Developer Fundamentals and Full Stack Web Developer – for displaced and incumbent workers to move up in their careers. These courses provide an opportunity for attendees to learn to build websites from scratch with no prior experience necessary and tuition assistance for those who qualify. “The Full Employment Council is interested in connecting Missouri residents who have lost their jobs to industry-informed training opportunities that result in industry-recognized portable credentials. Our ultimate goal is rapid reentry into the workplace,” said Shelley Penn, senior vice president and chief operations officer for the FEC. Through the Coding Academy, instructors will equip attendees with marketable skills to forge ahead into the exciting world of coding. They’ll also be working on individual and team projects to build a portfolio to showcase to prospective employers and/or potential clients, as well as working with resume coaches from FEC to prepare for job applications processes and interviews. “This is a fast-track option for those who want to develop skills in technology,” said Christina Davis, director of continuing education at the School of Computing and Engineering. “Given the current state of the economy, the FEC Coding Academy is a great resource for displaced workers to gain skills that translate into positions in high demand.” The 16-week Full Stack Web Developer Course, beginning Thursday, June 4, will introduce attendees to building entire web applications using MongoDB, Express, Angular and Node.js. Throughout this course attendees will focus on how to use each of the technologies in the stack, and how to use them together. The dealine to register is Friday, May 29. The eight-week Web Developer Fundamentals Course, set to begin Monday, July 6, will introduce attendees to the aspects of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, the core building blocks of websites. The course is meant for anyone who wants to learn how to build websites from scratch. Prior programming or markup experience is not assumed, however an aptitude for programming will go a long way in being successful in this course. The deadline to register is Friday, July 3. Basic requirements for these courses include: The ability to pass an aptitude test for programming Proof of birth, residence, authorized work Must live in Jackson, Clay, Platte, Cass or Ray Counties High School/GED with an aptitude for programming The student will need a laptop computer running Windows OS. Motivation to succeed Though the cost of tuition for each course is $3,495 and $6,495 respectively, tuition assistance is available for qualified applicants through the Full Employment Council. Visit the School of Computing and Engineering online for more information on the Coding Academy and registering for classes.   Learn more about the FEC Coding Academy May 21, 2020

  • New Micro-grant Competition Awards $30,000 in Total Prizes To Local Entrepreneurs

    UMKC Innovation Center's Dare To Venture competition supports entrepreneurs in Kansas City's urban core
    Sixteen Kansas City, Missouri entrepreneurs recently took home cash prizes as part of a new Dare to Venture micro-grant competition hosted by KCSourceLink. At a time when small businesses need the most support, the program offered a total of $30,000 in microgrants to entrepreneurs starting or growing businesses in the city’s urban core. Funded by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and supported by the UMKC Innovation Center, Dare to Venture was open to any entrepreneur currently living or working in Kansas City, Missouri, who had completed one of the 30-hour-plus entrepreneurship classes offered as part of the center’s Urban Business Growth Initiative. The Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC administers the UBGI courses and provides each participant with business coaching. “This is the beautiful thing about collaborations: UBGI’s partner programs unite to offer many levels of support and expertise to UBGI businesses, helping them get the skills, expertise and learning to succeed,” said Carmen DeHart, senior director of entrepreneurial education at the UMKC Innovation Center and regional director of the Missouri Small Business Development Center. “Thanks to funding from the City, the UBGI suite of classes is helping local entrepreneurs and business owners discover the next great innovation, create new jobs, grow their operations and elevate the local economy. And now, these micro-grant awards are continuing to help them push forward during the most challenging time for any business.” Participants submitted video pitches for their businesses and were judged by fellow graduates of UBGI courses who’ve shared their journey of entrepreneurship and education. The following businesses received the most votes: Finalists for top prizes: 1st ($5,000) Reda Ibrahim – RK Contractors – construction venture [Watch the RK Contractors video] 2nd ($4,000) Tate Williams – CoBuild – construction venture [Watch the CoBuild video] 3rd ($3,500) Carlanda McKinney – Bodify – tech venture [Watch the Bodify video] 4th ($3,000) Erin Bopp – Lightwork DJ Mobilverse – new venture [Watch the Lightwork video] 5th ($2,500) Juaquan Herron – 2923 Comics – tech venture [Watch the 2923 Comics video] 6th ($2,000) Brandy Archie – AccessAble Living – growth venture [Watch the AccessAble video] Each honorable mention will receive $1,000: Maggie Bentley – Good Vibe Brows KC – new venture [Watch the Good Vibe Brows video] David Biga – ParticleSpace – tech venture [Watch the ParticleSpace video] Jillian Carlile – TravelHive – tech venture [Watch the TravelHive video] Shelly Cooper – SureShow – tech venture [Watch the SureShow video] Kashif Hasnie – Air Traffic Awareness – tech venture [Watch the Air Traffic Awareness video] Patrick Hosty – Dynamhex – tech venture [Watch the Dynamhex video] Lydia Palma – Pirate’s Bone Burgers – growth venture [Watch the Pirate’s Bone Burgers video] Sheante Thornton – ASAP Neighborhood Resource – new venture [Watch the ASAP Neighborhood Resource video] Karissa Todd – Sugar Cookie Bliss – new venture [Watch the Sugar Cookie Bliss video] AY Young - Battery Tour received the $1,000 Super Supporter Award given to the alumni who voted in the most rounds. Dare to Venture amplifies the already substantial commitment from the City of Kansas City, Missouri, to provide entrepreneurs with the tools, connections, education and coaching they need to build their business savvy, launch companies and create jobs in Kansas City’s economically distressed neighborhoods and beyond. “The micro-grant competition is an idea generated through startup community participation in the City Budget Speakeasy public input sessions. It’s exciting to see this come to fruition through our partnership with the UMKC Innovation Center,” says Rick Usher, assistant city manager of the City of Kansas City, Missouri. Apply for Upcoming UBGI Scholarships, Courses Through UBGI, the city currently provides scholarships that cover nearly 90% of the tuition for UMKC Innovation Center’s multi-week entrepreneurship courses. To date, UBGI has issued 548 scholarships, and its graduates have created a total of 75 business, 455 jobs, $55 million in revenue and $18 million in capital investments. Apply for the next round of UBGI scholarships (offered at a more than 88% discount), starting with NEW Venture, which kicks off July 28. Explore the course offerings below, and apply for a scholarship here to take the multiweek courses at an 88 percent discount. ELEVATIONLAB NEW Venture: July 28 - August 25 Entrepreneurial Mindset Training: September 16 - November 11 ELEVATIONLAB TECH Venture: September 17 - November 12 GROWTH360: September 18 - November 20 Social Media Road Map for Business: September 1 Reading and Understanding Financial Statements: September 8 Learn more about Innovation Center resources May 21, 2020

  • Local Media Write about the Future of Higher Education

    The Kansas City Star and Fox 4 KC report on the fall semester at UMKC
    Read the Kansas City Star article: Can Kansas and Missouri colleges really resume in-person classes safely in the fall? Read the Fox 4 article: Local grads, heading to college this fall, face more questions than answers May 21, 2020

  • UM System Experts Advise Business Leaders in Panel

    Dean Brian Klaas interviewed by The Columbia Missourian
    Missouri’s businesses are facing new challenges in the midst of the pandemic and must adapt to a new, changing economy, UM System experts said during a virtual panel Thursday. Read the story here. May 21, 2020

  • UMKC Enactus Featured in Local Media

    The Startland News reporting
    UMKC’s Enactus team just earned its best-ever finish at national entrepreneurship expo. Read the story here. May 21, 2020

  • UMKC Self-Help Legal Clinic Moving Online

    Law school providing legal assistance when community needs it most
    The Self-Help Legal Clinic at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law has earned a national award for community engagement and is preparing to reopen on an online basis in 2020. The pro-se clinic is a partnership between the law school’s Leon E. Bloch Law Library and Legal Aid of Western Missouri. It is staffed by volunteer retired attorneys and judges, assisted by law students. The clinic provides advice and materials so clients can change their names, secure title to their cars, pursue small-claim actions in consumer matters, understand rights and obligations as tenants, or address simple family law concerns. Though some matters may require clients to pay court costs or filing fees, the clinic attorneys work free of charge. As part of the project, the Bloch Law Library also provides legal resources and database access to public patrons. The American Association of Law Libraries recently honored the clinic with its 2020 Excellence in Community Engagement Award. “Our jury felt that this project reaches people in your community at their point of need with practical information, and that it is an inspiring example for law librarians elsewhere of what can be done to engage with a community,” said Clanitra Stewart Nejdl of Vanderbilt University, jury chair for the 2020 Excellence in Community Engagement Award. The clinic opened in April 2019, and has since served more than 700 clients unable to afford legal representation any other way. Prior to the COVID-19 campus shutdown in March, the Self-Help Clinic occupied a permanent physical space in the law library, with regular office hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Together, School of Law Dean Barbara Glesner Fines and Latricia Scott Adams, director of Legal Aid of Western Missouri’s pro bono program, took the lead in bringing together the various parties and planning to make the Self-Help Clinic a reality. The library and clinic’s director of public services, Staci Pratt, is a law librarian with an active Missouri attorney license. She supervises the law students and facilitates cooperation with Legal Aid. Ayyoub Ajmi, associate director of the law library, was another driving force behind the creation of the Self-Help Clinic. “Staci Pratt, Ayyoub Ajmi and the volunteer attorneys and students have created an infrastructure and training that will allow the clinic to re-open virtually, just when the public will be needing this the most,” Glesner Fines said. The virtual clinic will run on Level 3 Zoom, which has a significantly higher level of security than the free version of Zoom. The software is designed to be phone-friendly, recognizing that many indigent clients do not own computers or tablets while most have mobile phones. Law student Montanna Hosterman said working at the clinic has multiple benefits for her legal education. “It’s an opportunity to earn hours for the school’s pro bono honors program,” Hosterman said. “We get experiential learning working side by side with experienced lawyers, right here in the School of Law building. Students also get mentorship and networking opportunities with the volunteer attorneys, and research and legal writing experience in a variety of areas of law.” Going forward, law students will also qualify for internship credit through work with the clinic.  Many of the clinic’s referrals come from the Jackson County court system, said Adams, who oversees the volunteer attorney project for Legal Aid. “From the court’s perspective, the clinic is a benefit to them,” Adams said. “People come into court with questions, and often the court personnel are not permitted to answer them, so they refer people to the clinic.” Pratt said the need for the clinic is “profound.” According to the 2019 Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN) survey, she said, three out of five people in civil cases go to court without a lawyer. The Legal Services Corporation reports that 86% of civil legal problems experienced by low-income Americans received little or no legal assistance. This is particularly troubling given that 71% of low-income Americans experience at least one civil legal problem in a year. The UMKC School of Law Self-Help Clinic serves residents of the state of Missouri. Callers who live in Kansas are directed to similar programs available in that state. May 20, 2020

  • Professor Appears as Guest on The Critical Hour

    Linwood Tauheed, associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was a guest on The Critical Hour.
    Can Trump Block Federal Funds to Michigan After Voters Received Absentee Ballot Applications? Read the story here. May 20, 2020

  • The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures Featured

    The Columbia Missourian reporting
    Big things come in tiny packages at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. Read the story here. May 20, 2020

  • KCUR Selected as Key Station for NPR’s New Midwest Enterprise

    Public radio service operated on UMKC campus
    NPR has chosen KCUR 89.3 to help lead a new Midwest regional news hub that will create a greater capacity for investigative reporting in the Kansas City metro area. The station is operated as an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. KCUR – along with St. Louis Public Radio, Iowa Public Radio and NET in Nebraska – will play a major role in bringing the regional newsroom to life, ensuring the Kansas City community will be well-served by the reporting produced through this new collaboration. The Midwest regional hub is made possible through a $3 million grant to NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network by philanthropists Eric and Wendy Schmidt. An additional $1.7 million will go toward an existing regional newsroom in California, NPR announced today. Through the Midwest hub, public radio stations in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska will coordinate and expand their local and regional reporting, providing content to national news programs and digital platforms. The 25 public radio stations serving the four-state region will have access to stories produced by the Midwest newsroom. The startup investment by the Schmidts will allow KCUR and its partners at the three other stations to launch the hub and develop it into an essential contributor to the NPR network. “This incredible decision to support local journalism is an exciting opportunity for KCUR,” said Sarah Morris, KCUR’s interim general manager. “The new collaboration not only will boost our own coverage of issues affecting Kansas City and the region, but also will allow us to bring more Midwestern voices to the rest of the nation.” The Midwest hub is NPR’s fourth regional news collaboration, joining regional newsrooms already operating in Texas, California and the Gulf States of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. With a focus on in-depth reporting, the new Midwest team will include a three-person investigative unit and two editors, as well as a coordinating producer based at NPR in Washington, D.C. The team will bring public service reporting to a region dominated by rural news deserts as local publications have fewer resources for extensive projects. KCUR is no stranger to the concept of collaboration, having built a national reputation for developing and sustaining multi-station partnerships. Harvest Public Media, a four-state partnership that covers issues related to food and agriculture, started at KCUR more than 10 years ago. The Kansas News Service, a collaboration of four public radio stations from Kansas City to Garden City, is based at KCUR. And KCUR is the lead station for America Amplified, a national elections project focused on community engagement. May 19, 2020

  • KCUR Chosen by NPR to Help Lead A Midwest Region Reporting Hub

    NPR has selected KCUR 89.3 and three other public radio stations to lead a regional news collaboration focused on public service and investigative ...
    The hub will include a three-person investigative team and two editors. A coordinating producer will be based at NPR in Washington. Read the story here. May 19, 2020

  • Professor Published in the Nashville Medical News

    Suzanne V. Arnold, MD, MHA, associate professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, served as chair of the writing committee.
    AHA Releases Scientific Statement on CAD with Type 2 Diabetes. Read the story here. May 19, 2020

  • Kansas City Goes All Out for UMKC Graduates

    Landmarks don the blue and gold while KC influencers share wisdom with graduates
    We are in awe of how Kansas City came together to celebrate the accoplishments of our new graduates. We saw you, #Classof2020RooStrong. We saw you celebrate UMKC commencement like never before because these are times like never before. We saw you, #KC. We saw you go #RooBlue and Gold like never before, and we are humbled and honored by your strong show of support and love for Kansas City’s university. Together, we have triumphed over adversity with our #RooStrong spirit and are #RooReady to overcome challenges and defeat obstacles. Because #RoosAreEverywhere, we all win. More than 2,000 UMKC graduates were honored in Commencement ceremonies this weekend. Here are some memorable moments from our community. First, we sent packets of school spirit out to our seniors to help them celebrate at home.    We spotted some of you taking some social-distanced senior portraits. Demarkus Coleman, MBA, took a few senior photos outside the Bloch School.   Then, many of our city's beloved landmarks lit up blue and gold to support graduates of Kansas City's university. Our neighbor, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, donned blue and gold. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, at which many of our Conservatory students perform, showed its support for UMKC Roo grads this weekend.   Alumni and faculty wrote messages of congratulations and encouragement.   You shared your virtual commencement celebrations on social media.    And well-known Kansas Citians shared words of wisdom with our graduates.  Thank you for making this a Commencement to remember.  May 18, 2020

  • UMKC Honors Top Class of 2020 Graduates

    Seniors recognized through social and multimedia in lieu of annual commencement events
    Each year as the semester begins to wind down and seniors prepare for commencement, one of the biggest moments of their lives, academic and administrative units host breakfasts and ceremonies honoring the academic accomplishments of their graduates. This year, however, things are very different, because of the novel coronavirus and related social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Still, UMKC faculty and staff are finding other ways to virtually recognize honors seniors through social and multi-media. Dean of Students Honors Recipients Dean of Students Honors Recipients are nominated each semester by faculty and staff for their commitment to academic success while actively participating in leadership and service to the community and our university outside of the classroom. Nominators and students recorded videos reflecting on this semester’s honors. See what they had to say: “You are an exceptional group of people. Despite the demands of family, work and studies, you made time to give back to the community. When you saw a need, you worked to fill it. You are humanitarians, leaders and philanthropists and you should rightfully be proud of yourselves,” said Interim Dean of Students Chris Brown. Afaq Alabbasi – School Pharmacy [watch the video]Nominated by Cameron Lindsey, interim chair of the Division of Pharmacy and Practicum [watch the video] Priyesha Bijlani – School Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Betsy Hendrick, academic advisor, School of Medicine [watch the video] Hannah-Kaye Carter – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences and Honors College [watch the video]Nominated by Carla Mebane, director of the UMKC High School/College Dual Credit Partnership [watch the video] Austin Dada – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences [watch the video]Nominated by Ryan Mohen, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology [watch the video] Morgan Dresvyannikov – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Brent McCoy, senior academic advisor, School of Medicine [watch the video] Sierra Duncan-Sonich – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences and Honors College [watch the video]Nominated by Tammy Welchert, director of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Enrollment, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences [watch the video] Jorden Erskin – School of Nursing & Health Studies [watch the video]Nominated by Corinna Beck, academic advisor, School of Nursing and Health Studies [watch the video] Elsa George – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Brent McCoy [watch the video] Thomas Haferkamp – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Krisana West, academic advisor, School of Medicine [watch the video] Chizitam Ibezim – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video] Alyssa Jones – School of Biological & Chemical Sciences and Honors College [watch the video]Nominated by Susana Chavez-Bueno, associate professor of pediatrics [watch the video] Anusha Kodidhi – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video] Christopher Kurian – School of MedicineNominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video] Nuvia Lemus-Diaz – School of Dentistry [watch the video]Nominated by Richie Bigham, assistant dean for student programs, School of Dentistry [watch the video] Rmaah Memon – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video] Pooja Menon – School of Biological and Chemical Sciences [watch the video]Nominated by Lawrence Dreyfus, associate vice provost of faculty development and research [watch the video] Emily Oliver – School of Pharmacy [watch the video]Nominated by Roger Sommi, associate dean and professor, School of Pharmacy [watch the video] Anthony Oyekan – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video] Jayanth Rao – School of Biological and Chemical Sciences [watch the video]Nominated by Tara Allen, teaching professor, School of Biology [watch the video] Nicole Rogers – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Brent McCoy [watch the video] Subhjit Sekhon – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video] Mehr-Zahra Shah – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Betsy Hendrick [watch the video] Saumya Singh – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Krisana West [watch the video] Garima Thakkar – School of Medicine [watch the video]Nominated by Brent McCoy [watch the video] Sarah Towakoli – College of Arts & Sciences and Honors College [watch the video]Nominated by Ken Novak, professor, criminal justice [watch the video] Rachel Zender – School of Law [watch the video]Nominated by Molly Wilensky, director, Professional and Career Development Center [watch the video] Undergraduate Research Fellows Eleven May graduates earned the Undergraduate Research Fellow honorary transcript designation by demonstrating deep involvement in research process—formulating a research question, identifying an appropriate method to investigate the question, carrying out the project, and publication or presentation of the results beyond the classroom or research group. Jerrah Biggerstaff – B.S. Physics/Astronomy, College of Arts and Sciences Jaime Crouse – B.S. Biology; double minor in physics/astronomy and chemistry Austin Dada – B.S. Biology Lauren Higgins – B.S. Physics/Astronomy Brandon Landaverry – B.S. Environmental Sciences  Andy Leon – B.S. Biology Pedro Morales-Sosa – B.S. Biology Minh Nguyen – B.S. Biology Bwaar Omer – B.S. Biology Annie Spencer – B.A. English and History Sarah Towakoli -- B.A. Criminal Justice & Criminology and Political Science College of Arts and Sciences Graduates with Distinction The College of Arts and Sciences’ Graduation with Distinction luncheon, hosted by the College of Arts & Sciences alumni board, brings together graduates with Latin honors, and their families, in celebration of academic success. Guest speakers offer words of congratulations and advice for the future and scholars are presented medals to wear during commencement. Here is a list of graduates with distinctions Summa Cum Laude – the highest praise – and Magna Cum Laude – with great praise. Honors College Sarah F. Towakoli | Summa Cum Laude Anticipated | Undergraduate Research Fellow University Honors Kamariah Al-Amin | Magna Cum Laude Anticipated Cemile Arabaci | Magna Cum Laude Anticipated Abigail Birkner | Summa Cum Laude Anticipated Zonara Nawaz | Magna Cum Laude Anticipated Erica Sullivan | Summa Cum Laude Anticipated Sarah Towakoli | Summa Cum Laude Anticipated | Undergraduate Research Fellow   May 18, 2020

  • Alumnus Receives Filmmaking Grant

    KC Studio wrote about Emiel Cleaver's new grant.
    Emiel Cleaver, who earned a Master of Arts from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with an emphasis on film production and Black studies, received a 2019 Rocket Grant of $6,000 to assist in the completion of “A Legacy of Leadership,” a documentary on legendary Kansas City civil rights figure Leon M. Jordan. Read the story here. May 18, 2020

  • The Kansas City Star Celebrates UMKC Commencement

    The Class of 2020, in cars, is on parade this weekend in Kansas City area districts
    University of Kansas, University of Missouri and University of Missouri-Kansas City all celebrate their graduates with virtual ceremonies this week and weekend, with hopes of in-person ceremonies later in the year. Read the story here. May 16, 2020

  • Students, Faculty Honored at National Level

    UMKC Enactus gains national recognition in business pitch competition
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Enactus team from the Henry W. Bloch School of Management took second place, out of more than 400 teams, at the 2020 Enactus USA National Exposition, held virtually May 6-14. In addition to being among the top two teams in the nation, UMKC Enactus won the audience-voted Enactus Excellence Awards in all three categories – Most Passion, Most Innovation and Most Collaboration. The team also won first place and $7,500 for the Menasha Future of Employment Project Accelerator, which focused on providing employment for underserved communities. Individual awards were presented to students Alessandra Brandolino, the Jules and Gwen Knapp Enactus Ambassador Scholarship ($10,000); Lindsey Temaat, Enactus USA’s Marketing Leader of the Year; Hieu (Peter) Trinh, Project Leader of the Year; and Emily Testerman, finalist for Membership Leader of the Year. UMKC Enactus Advisor Benjamin Williams also received the Jack Kahl Entrepreneurship Leadership Award for the Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow of the Year, a first in UMKC history. The award, presented at the competition every year, honors an Enactus advisor who has done the most to advance the Enactus organization during the current academic year, exemplified leadership, made a direct impact on Enactus students, and helped students with career placement. The 2020 award to Williams adds to a tradition of excellence among UMKC Enactus advisors. The team’s founding advisor, Cary Clark, was inducted into the Enactus USA Sam Walton Fellow Hall of Fame in 2014. Clark served as advisor from 2005 until his retirement in 2015. Erin Blocher, who teaches business communication at the Bloch School, joined Williams as a co-advisor in 2018. Enactus is a global organization for college students who volunteer to develop projects that create positive change through entrepreneurial action. Students describe their projects in multi-media presentations for the competition. While the team is headquartered at the Bloch School, it draws students from across campus, an example of how UMKC emphasizes entrepreneurship and innovation campus-wide. “This organization has changed the way I view the world,” said UMKC Enactus President Salem Habte, senior, B.B.A. Entrepreneurship. “I'm grateful to have been a part of it for all four years of college. Finishing second in the nation made history and proves that our students are capable of anything with hard work and a lot of hope.” “I am truly at a loss for words right now,” said Brandolino, vice president of Projects and president-elect, junior, B.B.A. Entrepreneurship. “When I joined this team three years ago, I never imagined that we would be the second most impactful Enactus team in the United States. Each person on this team contributed to this win in unique ways and I am so thankful to be a part of such an incredible team.” For this year’s competition, UMKC Enactus presented the projects Feed KC and Generation Green. In total, the team took home $8,300 to put toward their projects and operations. This year alone, the UMKC team has impacted the lives of more than 7,000 people and introduced projects that range from providing sustainable and convenient transportation to low-income commuters to recycling plastic waste into durable classroom tools for teachers. The UMKC students on the presentation team were: Ahmed Boukhousse, Nicole Dover, Hannah Case, Riddhi Sharma, Hieu N. Trinh, Kelly V. Nguyen, Lindsey Temaat, Salem M. Habte and Brian Bartenslager. Members of the UMKC Enactus Executive Board are Salem M. Habte, Alessandra Brandolino, Emily Testerman, Tony Jordan, Hieu N.Trinh, Sydney Steehn, Hannah Case and Lindsey Temaat. May 15, 2020

  • Telehealth Program Recognized for Serving Missourians with Disabilities

    Missouri health administrators praise UMKC Institute for Human Development’s innovative approach
    The escalated need for emergency care resulting from possible COVID-19 concerns can be especially challenging for people with developmental disabilities and their caregivers. Recently, the UMKC Institute for Human Development (IHD) received recognition in a National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities podcast for its outreach efforts to connect people with disabilities to newly available telehealth medical evaluations.  “The goal of the telehealth initiative is to help people with developmental disabilities avoid unnecessary emergency room visits that can be unduly stressful for them and their caregivers. We had begun establishing the program prior to the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Michelle Reynolds, associate director, individual and family support for IHD. “Because we had already laid the groundwork, the state was able to speed up the launch.” “The people who are in the trenches already trust us.” - Michelle Reynolds In the podcast, directors from the Missouri Department of Mental Health Gary Schanzmeyer, deputy director, administration and Wendy Witcig, (BA, psychology ’90) deputy director, community operations, both recognize IHD’s critical role in bringing this valuable service to Missourians in need. “It relieves anxiety for families by having help just a phone call away,” Witcig said. Station MD is a HIPPA-compliant, online resource designed to serve vulnerable populations. The service allows caregivers to connect with a licensed physician by video call to assess symptoms and determine if an emergency room – or even regular doctor’s visit – is necessary. The staff at IHD was interested in bringing this innovative approach to Missouri to better serve people with disabilities. Reynolds notes that in many ways, the anxiety in evaluating these possible emergency situations is not different from what any caregiver may feel. “All of us have situations with ourselves and our children where we are second guessing the need to go to the emergency room. This decision is even more crucial if you are supporting a person with a developmental disability” Reynolds said. “This provides a reliable, less expensive and stressful service for everyone involved, including the medical professionals.” If an emergency room visit is necessary, the medical professional contacts the emergency room or care provider and apprises them of the medical situation and any other factors that may help in serving the individual client. “While we initiated this program pre-COVID, with the spread of the virus, we could see that we needed to speed things up,” Reynolds said. “We wanted to make sure there was a safety net for people with developmental disabilities and keep them out of emergency rooms for non-emergency health needs.” Reynolds says that IHD’s established relationships and reputation allow them to provide quality support systems regardless of crisis. But situations filled with uncertainty, like the current pandemic, underscore the immense value of earned confidence. “We have maintained strong partnerships and institutional knowledge,” Reynolds said. “This enables us to shift in a crisis, rather than having to start an initiative from scratch. The people who are in the field already trust us.” May 15, 2020

  • My Life During COVID: Brandon Parigo

    Checking in to see how our UMKC community is managing the highs and lows of sheltering in place
    Brandon Parigo is at home with his wife, Nicole, and his two daughters, Simone, who is 10 years old, and Juliet, who is 6.  Parigo, UMKC staff photographer, is accustomed to a calendar over-flowing with events, portraits, photo editing and creating and editing video. With campus closed and social distancing in place, his duties have shifted. “Lately, my primary roles at work have been online coaching and planning for video work as well as photo archiving, organization and support for our other teams. That may sound simple, but we have a lot of irons in the fire at all times. A lot of projects are being planned for when we are able to make them happen. If I do my job right, we are going to be 100% ready for everything that comes at us once we are allowed back on campus.”   While Parigo does freelance photography and video work during his time off, that work also is on hold. “Thanks to COVID, we’ve had to be creative in how we are trying to find ways to make up that income. I’ve been dabbling in game design and my wife has been doing some work from home for a local factory, sorting parts for shipping. I have a backlog of wedding editing that I’m working on also.”  His girls are attending online school at home and his oldest has kept up her ballet practice with Kansas City Ballet online as well. Parigo’s commute to work is an hour each way. He’s finding the best part of being at home is having more time to spend with his family. “We have picked up a pretty hard-core LEGO-building habit and have been having fun creating together.” This time at home has also reinforced how much his work at UMKC sustains him. He’s found it’s challenging to be without it. “Being around people, supporting them doing good work and supporting the students in their journey was a calling I never thought I’d enjoy so much. While the work I’m doing from home is still a part of that, it doesn’t feel as meaningful and I find myself suffering for it. I thrive on doing my work.”  What are you reading? I’m reading a bunch of roleplaying game books at the moment. My last big push on fiction reading before that was pretty much every book by Bernard Cornwell, recently known for writing the books the show “The Last Kingdom” is based on. My bedtime routine is to read to Simone (while Nicole reads to Juliet) and we are slowly making it through the “Keeper of the Lost Cities” series by Shannon Messenger. What are you watching? My nights are pretty packed with family and my backlog of editing, but I tend to squeeze in one show right before bed. I’ve watched “Waco” on Netflix because Tyler Kitsch is in it, and he was one of my favorites on “Friday Night Lights,” which is one of my top five all-time favorite shows. I’m also watching “Homeland,” just burned through “Star Trek Discovery” and “Picard.” (Was “Star Trek” always that good? Probably not.) I’m eagerly awaiting the next season of “The Last Kingdom.”  The current TV obsession of my daughters is “LEGO Masters.” What are you eating? Anything bad for me that I can find! In all seriousness, my house is pretty much gluten-free and organic. Lucky for us, Nicole makes the best gluten-free apple cake on the planet. I’m a sugar junkie but we don’t keep much sugar in the house, so that’s always a treat. Mexican-derived food is always top of the list at our house, and there’s a variation of the idea of what Mexican food should be on our plates for what seems like every other meal. I probably need to just devote a whole cabinet to salsa jars.   May 15, 2020

  • Alumna Helping Connect KCMO Mayor’s Office with Latino Community

    Aly Hernandez, external relations manager for the office was interviewed by Dos Mundos
    Hernandez is in charge of handling local press interviews, alongside Communications Director Morgan Said, particularly when doing press with Spanish media and translating for the mayor. Read the story here. May 15, 2020

  • Economics and Finance Professor Turns to Filmmaking

    Steve Pruitt, professor of economics and finance was interviewed by The Kansas City Star
    Husband and wife filmmakers Stephen and Mary Pruitt began writing “The Land” during the last recession in 2008. Read the story here. May 14, 2020

  • Video Resources for Coping with COVID-19

    Sanvello app offers new digital wellness content
    The Sanvello app, which is free for anyone with a UMKC email account, has recently added video resources for coping with the coronavirus pandemic. They address topics such as social distancing, job loss and fear and managing immunity and symptoms. Access to Sanvello is free for anyone who has a UMKC email address.  It offers on-demand help for stress, anxiety and depression and has a range of features including mood tracking, coping tools, guided journeys and community support to promote healthy habits and behaviors. Here are the new video resources for help coping with COVID-19: Managing family and friendships Coping with the media Virtual care and therapy during the crisis Volunteering and support Managing immunity and symptoms Controlling our impulses during COVID-19   More mental health resources at UMKC May 13, 2020

  • Kansas City Lights Up the Night for UMKC Grads

    Union Station, City Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and other landmarks brandish blue and gold to honor graduates of Kansas City’s un...
    The city of Kansas City will be ablaze in Roo Blue and Gold beginning the evening of Thursday, May 14, in honor of the Class of 2020 of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Buildings to be lit in UMKC colors for the Roo Blue KC celebration include Union Station, City Hall, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Downtown Marriott Hotel. The Downtown Marriott's animated lights featured a bouncing Roo and words of congratulations. Festivities will not be confined to the evening hours. By day, multiple fountains across the city will flow in bright blue to honor UMKC grads, courtesy of the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. More than 2,000 UMKC students will receive degrees through a series of online commencement ceremonies, organized through individual academic units, Friday, May 15 through Monday, May 18. The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts featured blue and gold lights. The Art Deco Power and Light building in the foreground and City Hall at right. Illuminated Landmarks Union Station City Hall Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Downtown Marriott Durwood Stadium on the UMKC Campus Our neighbor, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Fountains and Parks Dyed or Lit Blue Concourse Fountain Northland Fountain  Waldo Water Tower Meyer Circle Sea Horse Fountain The Northland Fountain was dyed Roo blue. May 13, 2020

  • Staff Counselor Interviewed by Flatland KC

    Melanie Arroyo, an art therapist and staff counselor at University of Missouri-Kansas City shares her perspective on counseling during COVID.
    Melanie Arroyo says the pandemic has changed the way she conducts sessions and helped her connect with her clients in a new way. Read the story here. May 12, 2020

  • Alumni Interviewed About COVID and the Tech Industry

    Riddhiman Das, University of Missouri-Kansas City graduate was interviewed by the Startland News.
    COVID-19’s cost to Silicon Valley could be Kansas City’s talent gain, startup leader predicts. Read the story here. May 12, 2020

  • UMKC Innovation Center Featured in Startland News

    Startland News wrote a piece on the Dare to Venture Micro-Grant Competition administered by the UMKC Innovation Center.
    Sixteen Kansas City, Missouri, entrepreneurs took home cash prizes May 7 as part of Dare to Venture, which is funded by the City of KCMO, and administered by the UMKC Innovation Center. Read the story here. May 11, 2020

  • School of Medicine Professor Talks COVID and Sleep

    David G. Ingram, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, was a guest on the Pulmonology...
    Expert Conversations: Pediatric Sleep Medicine and COVID-19. Listen here. May 11, 2020

  • Former UMKC Student Body President Featured in Multiple Publications

    Justice Horn interviewed by two media outlets on various topics.
    Read the Outsports article: Gay rugby player, student president fights for students, LGBTQ community during pandemic Read the KCUR article: Following Minneapolis Riots, Kansas City's Black Lives Matter Protests Last Late Into The Night May 11, 2020

  • Sociology Professor Explains Pandemic Consequences for Children

    Joseph Workman, assistant professor of sociology at UMKC was interviewed by The Washington Post.
    Joseph Workman explains how school closures could lead to childhood obesity. Read the story here. May 10, 2020

  • Law Professor Explains Shut Down Orders

    David Achtenberg, a constitutional law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law was interviewed by KCUR.
    David Achtenberg explains the constitutionality of stay at home orders as they apply to religious institutions. Read the story here. May 08, 2020

  • School of Medicine Professor Interviewed About COVID

    Jannette Berkley-Patton, professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and the director of the UMKC Health Equity Institut...
    Read the NPR article: Public Health Officials Aim To Communicate Better With Minorities Watch the 41 Action News clip: Reopening the faith community May 08, 2020

  • UMKC Pharmacy Student Organization Wins Top National Award - Again

    Outstanding community service and leadership
    The legacy of outstanding student service and leadership continues at the UMKC School of Pharmacy. Student pharmacists at UMKC have once again been recognized as recipients of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists Chapter of the Year award. It is the third time in the past nine years that the UMKC chapter has received the highest national award. Each year since 2012, UMKC student pharmacists have been recognized as one of the organization’s top chapters in the country. Typically announced at the organization’s annual meeting in March, this year’s awards were announced through a Facebook Live presentation because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The APhA-ASP Chapter Achievement Awards program honors schools and colleges of pharmacy in the United States and Puerto Rico. More than 140 chapters compete for the honors that recognize superior programming to create opportunities for student participation and set standards for leadership, professionalism, patient care and legislative advocacy among student pharmacists. In addition to national Chapter of the Year honors, UMKC students were also second runner up for the organization’s Generation Rx Award for creating public awareness of prescription medication abuse. "This award is only possible because of the student pharmacists who are active members of APhA-ASP at UMKC," said Jordan Thoman, who served as UMKC chapter president. "It says a lot about their passion and excitement for pharmacy and helping the community. APhA-ASP has a wide variety of opportunities for students in areas such as heart disease, diabetes, mental health and policy. It was fun to see our students dive into areas that they really love." The awards recognized the combined efforts of students at the UMKC School of Pharmacy’s three campuses in Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield.  “We are super proud of them and proud of all their advisors who have worked hard guiding and mentoring them,” School of Pharmacy Dean Russell Melchert, Ph.D., said. Faculty sponsors of the UMKC chapter are Cameron Lindsey, Kathryn Holt and Jordan Rowe of the Kansas City campus; Angela Brownfield and Sarah Cox of the Columbia campus; and Lisa Cillessen and Heather Taylor of the Springfield campus. "This really reflects on the great guidance and support we get from the School of Pharmacy faculty and staff," Thoman said. "We have some incredible APhA-ASP advisors across all three campuses, and I will be forever grateful for all that they did for us over the year. We have the perfect combination of excited, passionate student pharmacists and supportive, impactful advisors and faculty." In the past reporting period, UMKC’s APhA-ASP chapter reached more than 228,205 individuals through social media alone, increasing education and awareness on a wide variety of health- and pharmacy-related topics. The student organization led two large projects, Operation Self-Care and Operation Immunization, that reached large numbers of patients. "Student pharmacists at UMKC are passionate about giving back to the community and making a difference," said Afaq Alabbasi, a May graduate of the School of Pharmacy. "Our chapter organizes a variety of events that reach out to different patient populations, from the elderly to children. When we plan our events, we focus on the quality of the events rather than the quantity. Our main goal for each event is to reach patient populations that will benefit the most from our services, even if that means reaching out to only 10 people."  Operation Self-Care partnered with the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) to create a new mental health screening protocol. The questionnaire included screenings for anxiety and depression. Operation Self-Care reached 10,625 patients through public relations and patient care events. Operation Immunization saw students across the three campuses participate in 58 events in which they provided influenza immunizations for more than 800 patients and immunization education to 5,412 patients. Students also made 18 Generation Rx presentations, reaching and educating nearly 3,000 people about prescription drug abuse, proper medication storage and disposal. Generation Rx partnered with FirstCall to provide drug disposal kits to patients at DEA Drug Take Back Days across the state. More than 8,000 pounds of unused/unwanted prescription medications were collected. Generation Rx also reached nearly 16,000 individuals through public and media relations initiatives.   UMKC School of Pharmacy APhA-ASP Winners 2020 APhA-ASP Chapter of the Year (No. 1 in the U.S.) 2019 APhA-ASP 1st Runner Up in Chapter Achievement (Top 7 in the U.S.) 2018 APhA-ASP Chapter of the Year (No. 1 in the U.S.) 2017 APhA-ASP 1st Runner Up in Chapter Achievement (Top 7 in the U.S.) 2016 APhA-ASP Chapter Achievement Award (Top 4 in the U.S.) 2015 APhA-ASP Chapter Achievement Award (Top 4 in the U.S.) 2014 APhA-ASP 1st Runner Up in Chapter Achievement (Top 7 in the U.S.) 2013 APhA-ASP Chapter Achievement Award (Top 4 in the U.S.) 2012 APhA-ASP Chapter of the Year (No. 1 in the U.S.) May 07, 2020

  • For UMKC Medical Student and Entrepreneur, Health Care Connects It All

    Fahad Qureshi combines medical and engineering interests to create innovative solutions
    Driven. Creative. Optimistic. Curious. Determined. Smart. Happy. These are common traits found in successful entrepreneurs. All of them are found in Fahad Qureshi. A third-year medical student at UMKC, Qureshi took third place in the UM System Entrepreneurship Quest Pitch Competition, where 20 student teams from across the four campuses presented innovative business ventures. Qureshi is the founder and creator of Vest Heroes, which uses a system of pulleys and levers in the operating room to relieve surgeons from bearing weighted lead X-ray skirts and vests during long procedures. Wearing the vests are required by law and protect health care professionals from radioactive exposure. But they are heavy – between 30 and 69 pounds – and can hinder mobility.  Qureshi wasn’t nervous during the final rounds of competition, as he’s had the idea for a long time and knows the product well. In fact, his invention is patent-pending, and he’s launched a company to fulfill orders for 100 vests that will be used throughout the country. “I strongly believe in the idea,” he said, “and it was great to get affirmation from the judges. To know it’s real and it’s working – I feel good about that.” As a child, Qureshi had a good friend who died during an operation following a bad accident. He heard the surgeon say that wearing his 60-pound vest made it hard for him to make movements during his friend’s operation – and that’s something he never forgot. While finding a way to reduce the weight of these vests has been in his head for a long time – “10 to 12 years, maybe more” – he didn’t have the background needed to solve it … until medical school. Once at UMKC, he gained academic understanding, expanded his medical knowledge, got into the operating room and participated in an engineering apprenticeship, completely independent of the School of Medicine. “Just because you are practicing medicine doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else,” he said. “I wasn’t looking for credit, I was looking for knowledge.” He also found a local engineering firm to help out. “When you have an interdisciplinary approach, that’s when you can really solve problems. Without medicine, I wouldn’t know what to build,” he said. “Without engineering, I wouldn’t know how to build it.”  In addition, Qureshi reached out to various physicians to get their opinions – how to improve the vest, how to grow consumer interest, what did and didn’t work well. His biggest support has come from Bogdan Derylo, M.D., a nephrologist from his hometown of Chicago and Akin Cil, M.D., UMKC professor and the Franklin D. Dickson/Missouri Endowed Chair in orthopaedic surgery. “All of the feedback received was terrific,” Qureshi said. “The final model is a culmination of all the suggestions they provided.” Qureshi, who worked minimum-wage jobs to fund the company so he can retain full equity, says mass distribution is his ultimate goal. He’s currently working with a Chinese manufacturer to help produce large numbers of the Vest Heroes, although that is sidelined now due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Any doctor or health care professional that uses radiation has a need for this,” he said. “There’s really no downside to using it – it’s a necessity, as I see it.” There’s no doubt that Qureshi’s entrepreneurial spirit motivates him, but he sees health care connecting it all. As for his future, he plans “100 percent to practice medicine.” And part of that plan includes research, his company and teaching the next generation of doctors. “When you choose what you do every day, it should be something that makes you happy. Going to work shouldn’t be scary or dreaded. If your work makes you happy, you’re doing something right.” In addition to Qureshi, the UMKC teams presenting pitches during the final competition were Greyson Twist, Ph.D., bioinformatics and computer science major presenting his Genalytic project; and Kyle McAllister, business administration graduate student presenting his company Compost Collective KC. May 06, 2020

  • UMKC Student Emergency Fund Featured in 41 Action News

    41 Action News reports on the UMKC Student Emergency Fund announced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    University of Missouri-Kansas City students struggling to pay bills and other expenses are getting some needed help from a fund set up by the UMKC Foundation. Read the 41 Action News piece here.  May 06, 2020

  • Regnier Institute Featured by the Kansas City Business Journal

    Local accelerators share how they’re navigating the pandemic.
    Lesa Mitchell hopes the program will be able to start meeting in person in July, but she’s not yet sure whether Techstars’ new space at the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus will be available due to the pandemic. Read the story here. May 06, 2020

  • E-Scholars Featured by Startland News

    Watch UMKC’s E-Scholars Demo Day
    E-Scholars met in person until mid-March, and then quickly shifted to a virtual environment. Read the story here.  May 06, 2020

  • UMKC Doctoral Student Featured by 41 Action News

    Amelia Clark is in the last semester of a doctorate program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
    Amelia Clark assisted in redesigning the mask and plans to continue providing them even after demand wanes. Read more here. May 06, 2020

  • UMKC Dean Provides Multiple COVID-19 Interviews

    Local media interview Mary Anne Jackson, dean of the UMKC School of Medicine about COVID.
    Listen to KCUR Up To Date: Stay-at-home orders are being relaxed, but the best safety practices are not changing. Read the St. Louis Post Dispatch article: The St. Louis area has seen more than twice the coronavirus cases and three times the deaths as Kansas City. It’s unclear why. Listen to KCUR Up To Date: As cities and states lift pandemic restrictions, get advice for venturing out safely. May 06, 2020

  • Congratulations, Class of 2020

    Messages for recent graduates from UMKC alumni
    Alumni from across our campuses submitted messages of encouragement and well wishes for the Class of 2020. These are just a sampling of the heartfelt notes for the most recent graduates of UMKC. You are poised to accomplish wonderful things! This has been a learning year for all of us: for our mentors, our bosses, our colleagues and our families. Please take this year and its lessons and know that this has been challenging for every single person. You are not alone, you are not forgotten. You are in this with the entire world and you too can come out on the other side of this if you put your values, your lessons, and your creativity to use. We're here for you, Class of 2020 — best wishes! —Elizabeth McClain (MBA ’17) Congratulations Class of 2020!! You did it! We are all so proud of your resilience, strength and selflessness during these tough times … I know you definitely did not get the moment you all deserve, but if anything, I have only learned how sanguine you all are throughout this experience. Enjoy every moment, remember that you accomplished all of this and continue to be proud of yourself. I wish you all the best. Congratulations, Roos! —Sabat Ameen (B.L.A. ’16, M.D. ’19) Congratulations on your graduation! You’ve reached a major milestone in your life, and I couldn’t be happier for you. I hope you’ll take this time to celebrate. Celebrate all of the hard work it took to get here. Celebrate the friendships you’ll take away with you. Celebrate all the possibilities of your next adventure. I know commencement isn’t happening the way you hoped and planned. But I want you to know that the entire UMKC family is still with you, cheering on your huge accomplishment. We can’t wait to see what you do next. —Mary Daly (B.A. '85) Dear Class of 2020, congratulations on your great achievement. You have shown perseverance and commitment and this is your time to shine! There will indeed be challenges, and undoubtedly there will be uncertainty, but you will also learn how to adapt, take initiative and prosper. And when you look back, the Class of 2020 will be known for having foresight to navigate tricky waters and to reach your goals every time! Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and successful future ahead!  —Fahim Siddiqui (M.S.C.S. ‘93) Congratulations, Class of 2020! Your hard work for this achievement has finally been realized. Though the celebration of your completed degrees and certificates will look different this year, that makes them no less important. Some advice that was given to me when I entered UMKC, I wish to impart to you: College does not complete you — it only compliments what you bring to the table. Continue to bring your inherent, authentic self into everything you do. Allow what you've learned at UMKC and these honors you've achieved to compliment who you are. Be true to who you are. Congratulations, graduates! —Angela Sander (B.A. ’17) This unprecedented time will pass and cannot diminish that your graduation is a source of great pride. And now, you're on your way to new adventures, on your way to the future. May you follow your dreams and your heart. Best wishes as you graduate. —Debbie Brooks (J.D. ’01) Dear graduates: This was not the ending you planned. It certainly is unlike anything any of us expected. A spring quarter full of promise and celebration, in a matter of weeks, has become a source of grieving. Any words of consolation I could try to offer would fall flat. But we still need to celebrate milestones that were a lifetime in the making. We are all trying to find the positives during this trying time so embrace your degree and all the hard work that went into it. Know that you will be able to make a huge difference in the world you are graduating into. Also know that we are proud and celebrating for you at this time even if there is not an official ceremony to mark this passage. Best of luck Class of 2020! —Sue Garnett (B.S.P. ’82) Congratulations! I am so very proud of all you have accomplished in the past four years! It was a long, hard road and you did it!! I know this is such a difficult time since your celebration will not be what you deserve, but just know there are so many of us rooting for you (even all the way out here in Hawaii!) and wishing you all the best life has to offer from here on out!  —Tina Mukai (B.A., D.D.S. ’07) May 05, 2020

  • Tips for Job Hunting During a Pandemic

    Tactics, tips and resources to help you navigate the job market
    Currently on the hunt for a job? We caught up with Tess Surprenant, director of the Bloch Career Center and interim director of UMKC Career Services, to get her best tips for graduating students currently looking for a job. Here is a wrap-up of what we learned. Tried and True Job Hunting Tactics 1. Network, network, network We all know that networking is an important part of job hunting. Now, with the potential for fewer jobs and higher applicant numbers, building connections will be more important than ever. Luckily, the new virtual working world has made it easier to get in contact with people. Don’t be afraid to share your goals with others. You might be surprised how quickly people will get on board with your dreams and cheer for you.  2. Start with Roos to build your network What if you don’t have many people to network with? Never fear, we’ve got you covered. Some of the best places to start looking for new connections are to follow up with any guest lecturers from classes, connect with UMKC alumni on LinkedIn, or search for Facebook groups specific to your industry or location. Scheduling an informational interview with someone is a great way to learn about their career path, their current work and their industry as a whole. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Remember, that UMKC Career Services can also connect you with dozens of industry professionals and alumni that are happy to network with UMKC students.  3. Do your research Whether you are about to reach out to a new contact or apply for a position, do your research. Researching for a networking opportunity allows you to ask more specific and thought out questions which will impress your contact and allow them to provide you with more helpful information. Researching each job and company before applying will also help you tailor your resume to that position, something that Surprenant stressed as absolutely vital when applying for multiple jobs at once.  4. Apply on company websites Surprenant cautioned against applying for positions through recruiting websites like LinkedIn unless you want to tailor your profile each time you apply for a job. Platforms like LinkedIn are great places to find jobs, but applicants should look for the same job posting on the company’s website and submit applications there.  Tess' Nuggets of Wisdom "Keep all your options open for as long as possible and do what is right for you." 1. Know your industry's recruitment schedule If you are seeking to join an industry that follows very specific recruitment schedules and you are not sure how COVID-19 may have impacted those schedules, reach out to UMKC Career Services. They can help you decide which steps make the most sense for your overall career goals. Not sure if this is you? Contact Career Services as well! 2. Questions to ask in interviews during this new normal It is perfectly normal to have concerns about the working world and wonder how COVID-19 may have impacted the company you are about to join. It is important to ask the questions that matter to you so you can be as informed as possible when you make your final decisions, but you still want to remain respectful. Surprenant laid out two ways to ask potential employers about COVID-19 related concerns.  If you are worried about beginning a job remotely, you can say: “I am anxious to be successful here, so I am wondering what tools you have available to employees to help them transition to online work.” If you are worried about the stability of the company, you can ask: “How has COVID-19 changed your business’s culture?” 3. On accepting offers you might not love Surprenant acknowledged that fear might make it easy to rush into accepting an offer that is not the right fit. She also said it is perfectly okay to accept a job in order to remain financially stable. It is important to understand yourself, your timeline and your finances. Keep all your options open for as long as possible and do what is right for you. She noted that you don’t need to accept the first offer you are made, especially if you have other interviews coming up. Reach out to the recruiters from the other companies to let them know you have been made an offer, but you want to be able to fairly consider all your options. Then inquire about moving your interview up.  4. Do something rather than nothing If you find yourself in a position where you take a job outside of your desired field, make sure you keep making forward progress. Reach out to companies and ask if they have any micro projects in your desired field that you can work on. Connect with your professors to see if you can assist in a research project. Volunteer with an organization that is related to the work you someday hope to do. It’s important you continue to learn. Now is a great time to utilize free online learning tools. You can learn to code, master excel, learn a new language or even join a writing group to keep those skills fresh.  Overall takeaway Know yourself and your needs. No one knows the future you want to have better than you. Put yourself out there and share your dreams with others, especially those who have a little more job experience. When in doubt, connect with UMKC Career Services. Bring your questions, your resume and your goals. They can help you along the way, even after you graduate and join the working world. UMKC Career Services May 05, 2020

  • KCUR Flattens the Curve with Spanish COVID Blog

    Coverage supported by America Amplified
    Kansas City’s public radio station, KCUR 89.3 FM, with support from America Amplified – a national public media coalition funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to provide election coverage for 2020 – is working to flatten the curve with its new Spanish-translated COVID-19 blog. KCUR announced its America Amplified initiative in partnership with eight other public media networks across the country as part of its $1.9 million Election 2020 grant from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting to cover the presidential race. With the fast outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the program made a shift to cover the global pandemic. “We realize that we have a substantial Hispanic community in Kansas City with a large Spanish-speaking population,” said Director of Broadcast Operations Ron Jones. “This is a great opportunity to provide a public service and ensure that everyone is informed about the pandemic.” The station is also partnering with Kansas City Hispanic News on a 60-day agreement to help spread the word about its new initiative to keep the community informed. In turn, the paper will gain access to the station’s English digital content and publish a print a translated version for its readers Kansas City Hispanic News reaches a market of nearly 200,000 Hispanic residents expanding from the greater Kansas City metropolitan area to Topeka, Emporia and Wichita, Kansas. The paper has an average readership of 35,000 each week. KCUR will be regularly updating its Spanish coverage of the coronavirus in Kansas City through its FAQ and live blog pages. The station is operated as an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.   Follow KCUR’s Spanish Coverage May 05, 2020

  • 4 Ways I’m Considering Celebrating My Graduation

    Creative ways to commemorate this major accomplishment during COVID-19
    No doubt, COVID-19 has created complex circumstances for many across the world. If you’re a spring semester graduate like me, you may feel the need to tie up loose ends before virtually walking across the stage. But with stay-at-home guidelines, the options for celebrating look different than normal. Still, it’s important to bask in the glory of such a tremendous milestone. Virtual ceremonies just might not feel like the real thing, or even feel like enough of a commendation for the hard work put into the years of such a valuable journey. So, it’s important to reflect and think about what could help you, individually, celebrate and be proud of your place in the class of 2020. A Visual Walk Down Memory Lane So, remember that concert you went to or your spring break trip and how you flooded your social media feeds with photos and probably a few Instagram slideshows? Try doing the same to highlight some of your favorite memories throughout your college experience. Get creative and create an actual visual timeline starting from your freshman year to now and what it has meant to you to make it to the finish line. Revisiting times that made you stronger, or that you simply enjoyed, are great for realizing this moment still matters and there’s much more to come. A big moment for me came in December 2019, when I visited New York City after I was selected to attend the IRTS Multicultural Career Workshop for student journalists across the country. Fun fact: I had made it a goal to visit NYC before the end of my senior year, and I did it. Super cool experience!   Be a Creative Director for a Day Lately I’ve been extremely inspired by the talent on display on social media. More so, through aspiring photographers and individuals who are creating home photo shoots for fun, while at the same time boosting their portfolio. From bed sheet backgrounds to home gardens or impressive shoe collections, these folks are creating full-blown shoots that could honestly be placed in our mainstream magazines. You can do the same! If you’re one of the many who couldn’t schedule graduation photoshoots with your cap and gown or put your respective themes to the test, use this time at home and your environmental surroundings to do so. Throw on your cap and gown and take advantage of nature and all it has to offer. Art supplies are collecting dust in your bedroom closet, so get your Dave LaChapelle on! I've been really impressed by the people creating their own photo shoots at home. Photo by Amanda Vick   Party for 10 (or fewer) Staying within social distancing rules, groups of 10 or less is enough for an intimate gathering. Make it even better by hosting a small party with just your immediate family. Also, consider using video chat platforms such as Facetime, Zoom, Skype and the live feature through Facebook and Instagram to connect with family and friends who aren’t able to be there. Take advantage of Amazon Prime for 2020 graduation-themed decorations, in addition to food, games and a playlist of some of your favorite songs you’ve curated from your undergraduate or graduate years. Everyone loves a good karaoke session! Grab some treats and your favorite tunes and make it a fun day with your family. Photo by Brooke Lark   In the words of Parks and Recreation’s Donna, “Treat Yo Self!” (or let others do it for you) Having you been eyeing a pair of shoes, some new tools for a favorite hobby or something else? Feel free to get a congratulations gift for yourself — or make a wish list for others, just like birthdays, baby showers and wedding receptions. After all, you deserve to be celebrated, and if people are asking you if there’s some way they can help you celebrate, don’t feel bad about sharing that list. Or maybe you want to start a cash gift “Recent College Graduate Fund.” Whatever it is, don’t feel bad if people who know and love you — including yourself — want to celebrate with a gift. On the other side of the spectrum, you don’t at all have to spend money to celebrate. After months — no, years — of studying and finals, you deserve to spend some quality time relaxing. Treat yo self. On your graduation date, cook your favorite foods, get dessert and binge your favorite series or film franchise. I already have my corny rom-com list lined up.   Vacation Countdown Within the next couple of months, or maybe throughout the rest of the year, traveling won’t be the first thing most people think to do after the lockdown is lifted. However, there’s always next year with the hope that conditions have improved. So, with the time you’ve got during quarantine, use it to plan a vacation as a treat for earning your degree. Create a group chat for any friends you would want to invite and start brainstorming destinations and travel details. Aim for somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and let yourself consider the possibilities. Maybe a weekend at the cabin transforms into an entire week on an island. Anyone else feel like celebrating with tropical treats and swimming with the dolphins? Anyone else feel like they need a vacation after all this? Photo by Tim Foster Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you do something to mark this incredible accomplishment. The #Classof2020 is strong and resilient and has a lot to be proud of! May 05, 2020

  • Student Athlete Shares Perspective in Golf Digest

    This article was written by Sam Humphreys, UMKC Men’s Golf student-athlete.
    Coronavirus just another hurdle in an unusual college golf career. Read the story here.  May 05, 2020

  • Alumni Wins Prestigious Innovation Contest

    The Startland News wrote about UMKC innovation contest winner.
    One startup’s winnings from Friday’s Regnier Venture Creation Challenge are expected to have a near-immediate, tangible impact on Kansas City – helping Kanbe’s Markets provide produce in one of its corner markets for an entire year. Read the story here. May 05, 2020

  • Faculty, Alumni Appointed to KC Health Commission

    UMKC experts will help commission charged with improving community health
    Three members of the UMKC community with expertise in emergency medicine and public health have been appointed by Mayor Quinton Lucas to the Kansas City Health Commission. Erica Carney, M.D., was appointed co-chair of the commission, which provides oversight for the city’s Community Health Improvement Plan and fosters collaborative community efforts in the wider metropolitan area. Carney is a graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine’s innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program, an assistant professor in emergency medicine, an emergency care physician at Truman Medical Centers and the medical director of emergency medical services for the City of Kansas City. Lucas said Carney's work had been instrumental in the city's response to COVID-19 and collaboration with area health providers. Carney said her areas of interest included improving survival rates for out-of-hospital heart attack patients from lower socioeconomic ZIP codes and improving public safety, including response to disasters and special situations such as COVID-19. “The best defense to the unknown is a united front in the name of public protection, and I truly feel that our region is leading the way,” Carney said. The mayor also appointed to the commission Joey Lightner, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor and director of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health Program at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, and Austin Strassle, a housing stabilization specialist at Truman who earned his bachelor’s degree in urban studies/affairs from UMKC in 2016. Lightner has helped launch the School of Nursing’s undergraduate public health degree and worked to involve undergraduates in innovative research bringing fitness and nutrition programs to area schools. “It is an honor to be appointed to the Health Commission,” Lightner said. “I hope that over the next three years, we can work to reduce health inequality that is prominent in Kansas City.” In his research and outreach, Lightner has collaborated with community groups and institutions including Kansas City schools and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Health Department. “I hope that over the next three years, we can work to reduce health inequality that is prominent in Kansas City.” -- Joseph Lightner Strassle, who also has a master’s in city/urban, community and regional planning from the University of Kansas, has worked for three and a half years at Truman as a mental health caseworker. He also was the leader of a successful community campaign to get the Kansas City Council to ban the use of conversion therapy on minors by licensed medical practitioners. The mayor, in making his appointments, said it was important to have “experts in outreach to at-risk communities” on the commission, along with “medical professionals with specialties in trauma, infectious disease treatment, pediatric and prenatal care; supporters for survivors of domestic violence; advocates for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; educators; long-time community health reformers; and more.” May 04, 2020

  • My Life During COVID: Tammy Welchert

    Checking in to see how our UMKC community is managing the highs and lows of sheltering in place
    Tammy Welchert is sheltering in place with her husband, Dave, who is retired from the Kansas City Fire Department, her son Hunter, who is finishing his senior year of high school and Mr. Diggity, their 3-year-old toy poodle. “Right now, my number one responsibility is to prevent COVID-brain,” Welchert, associate teaching professor, director of student affairs and academic advising research areas at School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, says. “This can take many forms, but my top priority is just remembering what day it is.” Currently, she is teaching four classes and helping with advising. “And I’m helping to plan the most awesome virtual graduation ceremony ever!” While Welchert’s focused on helping students, she’s aware that balance is key. “I feel compelled to be at the ready all the time, to take care of students needs as they indicate them. I’m trying to remember that I am important and need to make time to take care of myself so I can take care of them!” Welchert is known for her exuberant spirit, so it’s no surprise that she’s finding joy, too.  “I love watching the pictures come in from our graduating students and assisting the Life Sciences 202 students as they prepare to submit applications to professional healthcare programs this summer! And being able to pet Mr. Diggity and have lunch every day with Dave on the deck!” What are you reading? I have three books on my nightstand, “Hag-Seed” by Margaret Atwood that we are using in the first-year seminar course this fall with UMKC Essentials, “Every Breath” by Nicholas Spark and “A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago.”   What are you watching?   We just finished “Ozark” and “Little Fires Everywhere.” Both were amazing! We are getting ready to start the newest season of “Billions” and of course don't miss an episode of “Survivor”!  What are you eating?   Yum, I just shared this recipe with a couple of our advisors. It’s the best ramen I have ever eaten. I found the recipe on Pinterest which is where I find almost everything! We’d love to know how you’re sheltering in place! Contact Patricia O’Dell if you want to share your story. May 04, 2020

  • UMKC Pharmacy Student Participates in Local COVID-19 Response Team

    Melinda Johnson helped develop plasma treatment protocols for coronavirus patients
    Travis Kremmin (Pharm.D. ’11) is a clinical pharmacist at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, a hospital in Merriam, Kansas. In March, the pandemic was just ramping up in the Kansas City area and Kremmin was looking to establish a COVID-19 response team of pharmacists when he received a text message. A fourth-year student at the UMKC School of Pharmacy, Melinda Johnson, had made a lasting impression on Kremmin six months earlier while working together during a clinical rotation at the hospital. She had a general question for him about his specialty, infectious diseases. Kremmin had a question of his own – would Johnson consider coming back to join his team? “It’s a very fast-moving environment right now with tons of literature and data to sort through both good and bad,” Kremmin said. “I was familiar with Melinda and the work she’d done with me before. I requested that she join my team. I knew when this was going on that not only could we help her gain experience, but we could utilize her skills. It was an ideal matchup.” Johnson spent the month of April working as part of Kremmin’s team. She was largely responsible for helping develop the protocols for a convalescent plasma treatment program in partnership with the Mayo Clinic. Working in coordination with local blood banks and those in New York, plasma is received from New York patients who have recovered from the COVID-19 virus. Antibodies from those plasma sources are extracted and then used to treat the most severely ill COVID patients. “This was a totally new concept, especially for a student being on a rotation. I don’t think we really knew what to expect going into it, but it turned out to be an amazing experience.” – Melinda Johnson Johnson was tasked with reading and understanding the Mayo Clinic’s institutional review board (IRB) treatment protocols for the procedure, and then develop a treatment plan for the Shawnee Mission hospital. That included developing the necessary checklists to ensure the required documentations were in place. On April 10, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission was the first hospital in Kansas City to use the treatment. The procedure is now being used across the 49-hospital AdventHealth system under Johnson’s designed protocol. Facilities throughout Kansas City have shown interest in the hospital’s convalescent plasma program as well. “It was a team working on this,” Johnson said. “Travis initiated the process and we came up with the protocols. We were looking every day at patients to see if they would be candidates for the treatment at our facility. I’m grateful to have had this opportunity to work with AdventHealth and all the preceptors there.” COVID-19 patients, particularly those on ventilators, have unique drug requirements. One of Johnson’s roles was to review emerging trials and data to calculate how much drugs are needed for the average patient to ensure that the hospital would have an adequate supply on hand. “With all the information emerging for COVID, it’s almost a constant blast of information,” Johnson said. “I was sorting though what was most relevant, most important, and analyzing things to see what’s actually strong data versus studies that have come out that have been a little bit skewed.” She also explored treatment options in light of caution flags that have raised of potential future drug shortages resulting from a coronavirus pandemic’s disruption of supply chains. “I did work on potential treatment options, proposed treatment options” Johnson said. “I was looking at data for anything else beyond what are our first-line agents. Sometimes, we went down to our sixth and seventh options.” Throughout April, Johnson and Kremmin met online daily for as long as two to four hours at a time to review the day’s patient consultations list and discuss the information being released on COVID-19. Kremmin said Johnson was instrumental in analyzing and deciphering the waves of data in order to develop treatment and dosing algorithms for COVID patients locally and across the AdventHealth network. Twice a week, she and Kremmin met with physicians and pharmacists to discuss patient needs and the latest developments surrounding the virus. The process of working remotely worked out better than they imagined, Johnson said. “This was a totally new concept, especially for a student being on a rotation,” Johnson said. “I don’t think we really knew what to expect going into it, but it turned out to be an amazing experience.” May 04, 2020

  • Commencement Celebration and Ceremony Reimagined

    A look into visualizing a virtual event to honor this year’s graduates
    Graduation is a joyous affair. After years of work and investment, students and their families have the opportunity to celebrate the graduate’s new beginning. While this year’s virtual commencement event will be different, the achievement and excitement will be the same. “Once we realized the significance of the pandemic and the likelihood of its duration, our students’ graduation experience became a priority,” said Curt Crespino, vice chancellor of external relations and constituent engagement. “It was a difficult decision, but in the interest of everyone’s health, the chancellor and the provost made the final decision that virtual graduation this spring was the best approach. Also, graduates will have the opportunity to walk in December.” As leadership formed a committee to determine what virtual graduation would look like, they engaged student leadership in the planning process. “We wanted students’ perspective on what would make the ceremony meaningful,” Crespino says. Emma Weiler, who will be graduating with her Bachelor of Science in nursing, served on the planning committee for graduation. Weiler is the Student Government Association speaker of the senate, and was familiar and comfortable representing students on administrative committees. “My biggest concern with the virtual graduation process was allowing family and friends of graduates to be able to view and feel a part of the ceremony,” Weiler says. “I really felt for first-generation college graduates, although I am not one, for not being able to celebrate their accomplishment in person with their families.” "We made it a priority to find a balance between a traditional ceremony and a celebration.” - Jenny Lundgren The committee sent out a survey to students to identify what was important to them. They used that feedback to plan the event. “We realized that some people may only want an in-person ceremony, but there are others who need the opportunity for closure and to see their classmates, even virtually,” Crespino says. Once the committee had responses from students, they could envision an engaging plan. One thing seemed certain: Honoring the original date and times of the ceremonies was important, as well as recognizing the students’ affinity to the schools with which they are affiliated. “Our students tend to be strongly aligned with their academic units, so we knew there would need to be a strong unit flavor to the event,” said Jenny Lundgren, provost and executive vice chancellor.  "We made it a priority to find a balance between a traditional ceremony and a celebration.” Weiler felt the administration was responsive to student feedback. “I think it is very important to allow those who graduate in May the opportunity to walk in December if they want too, and they were very responsive to that,” she said. “The virtual commencement will still be a great way for me and my family to celebrate my accomplishments.”- Emma Weiler, senior In addition, the committee felt it was critical to touch each student personally. The team developed celebratory packets that will include honors cords and a traditional Roo lapel pin along with a few other surprises. “We understand this is a very significant moment for our graduates and their families,” Lundgren says. “We’ve also created a commencement book that will be a commemoration of the unique experience of the class of 2020. We wanted it to reflect that.” While Weiler is disappointed about waiting until December to walk, she is determined to make the best of the situation. “The virtual commencement will still be a great way for me and my family to celebrate my accomplishments,” she says. “I think it is great that the university is doing what they can to make this a special experience for students. You are never going to make everyone happy, but they are really trying hard to make this special for all the graduating seniors.”  Commencement by the Numbers 12 School ceremonies 2,100+ May graduates #Classof2020RooStrong Commencement schedule May 04, 2020

  • Regnier Venture Creation Challenge Awards Announced

    Student entrepreneurs receive awards, experience at annual pitch competition
    The Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management held the Venture Creation Challenge virtually on Friday, May 1 and selected winners in the annual pitch competition. “All of the competitors involved in this year’s challenge have demonstrated qualities that set innovators and entrepreneurs apart,” said Jeffrey S. Hornsby, Regnier Institute director. “We are grateful that they have shared their efforts, their drive, their inspiration and their creativity with us. These are the qualities that bring us together today, and that define the Regnier Institute.” The Regnier Venture Creation Challenge is about more than money. During the competition, students test their ideas in a supportive environment of educators, mentors and staff who want to see them succeed. To do this involved the support from more than 60 mentors, advisors and community partners, who volunteered to serve as judges throughout the rounds of the competition.  “This was an outstanding class of individuals,” said Bob Regnier, naming benefactor and founder, executive chairman and CEO of the Bank of Blue Valley. “It’s the process that’s important. As entrepreneurs, we deal with disruption all the time. When you open people’s mind to what’s new, you open up the sweet spot for an entrepreneur.” Innovation Award Special Needs Identification App (SNidAP), $500Special Needs Identification App is the smart wearable that keeps you, your loved one, and the public safety community connected. Specialty Awards Outstanding Undergraduate Generation Green, UMKC and UMKC Enactus, $1,000Generation Green is focused on repurposing old plastic waste into dry/wet-erase boards, creating new products that help teachers engage students in interactive learning. Linda Tong Planners, Iowa State University, $1,000Linda Tong Planners is a business that provides completely handwritten and personalized planners that are customized to each individual person.  Outstanding Social Venture Dart, UMKC, E-Scholars and UMKC Enactus, $1,000Dart gives old bikes new life by repurposing them into affordable, high-quality e-bikes. Outstanding Creative Enterprise Vivas y Muerto, Kansas City Art Institute, $1,000Vivas Y Muerto is a sustainable and eco-friendly jewelry line. Outstanding High School Venture MARGOLOH, Blue Valley CAPS, $1,000MARGOLOH is a hologram that uses water vapor diffusers and fans to create a tornado-like shape in an oval shaped structure. General Track Awards Calving Technologies, Mizzou, $5,000Calving Technologies is an animal agriculture startup, providing monitoring and predictive sensory technology for producers to track the health of their livestock. Their first product is a multi-sensory collar that measures various biomedical parameters of late-gestation cows, predicting the timing of calving events hours in advance - ultimately decreasing calf mortality rates and increasing producer margins. ChordaWorm Lures, LLC, Iowa State University, $4,000ChordaWorm Lures, LLC solves one of the largest problems in the fishing industry. The current soft plastic fishing lures on the market are not durable and they are easily ripped off the hook by fish. These lures only last for two to four fish catches each. Interplay, UMKC and E-Scholars, $3,500Interplay is working toward automating pet interaction by providing dog owners with an automated dog crate that will allow them to operate it from their smart phone. With the Interplay dog crate, dog owners will be able to see and talk to their dog, dispense food and water to their dog, and open and close the crate from their phone while they're away from home. Jensen Applied Sciences, Iowa State University, $3,000Jensen Applied Sciences provides Cloud Technology Solutions to local communities, currently focused on the craft brewing industry. JAS provides plug-and-play devices for craft breweries, as well as custom solutions to any industry.  Community Business Award Kanbe's Markets, UMKC alumnus, $5,000Founded in 2016, Kanbe's Markets is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that developed an unmatched food distribution model in the Kansas City region. Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Awards WartPatch, UMKC, $5,000WartPatch is an immunotherapy-containing dissolvable microneedle patch for the treatment of viral warts. Flyover Counseling, E-Scholars, $1,000Flyover Counseling is a telehealth agency providing mental health counseling currently serving Kansas and Missouri. Norah Health, Mizzou, $1,000Norah Health developed a patent-pending, AI-powered software solution to improve the patient experience. Striae Away, Missouri Science & Technology, $1000Striae Away, utilizes bioactive glass and its scar-free healing properties in order to treat striae marks post-pregnancy. Striae gravidarum are stretch marks that occur during pregnancy. The GuideLine, Missouri Science & Technology, $1,000The GuideLine is a first-of-its-kind device to improve upon the still relatively primitive lumbar puncture (LP) technique.  The Regnier Venture Creation Challenge, is a University of Missouri-Kansas City business plan and pitch competition promoting entrepreneurship. The Regnier Institute received 50 applications from 7 universities from the Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska region, the UMKC Bloch School E Scholars program and the first-ever high school applicant. A pool of more than 40 reviewers helped narrow the applications down to 10 ventures who were selected to compete on May 1. New this year was a community business award in the general track competition to show support to small businesses in light of COVID-19 challenges. Monetary awards were made possible through donations from the Regnier Family Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City. Regnier Venture Creation Challenge benefactors include the Regnier Family Foundation; The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, sponsor of the Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize. This annual event is made possible through the support of Bob Regnier and the Regnier Family Foundation, in addition to the Kauffman Foundation and the Bloch Family Foundation for their support of UMKC entrepreneurship programs. May 04, 2020

  • UMKC Professor Provides Guest Commentary to The Kansas City Star

    Christopher Holman, professor at UMKC School of Law wrote about COVID-19 vaccine patents
    Christopher Holman, professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law shares insight into the role of government in the development of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. Read the Kansas City Star's story here. May 01, 2020

  • Two UMKC School of Medicine Professors Share Their New Normal

    In Kansas City Magazine interviews Kansas Citians about how COVID-19 has affected their lives.
    Two UMKC School of medicine professors were featured: Michael Moncure, trauma surgeon and critical care specialist, Truman Medical Center and professor of surgery, UMKC School of Medicine; and Matthew Gibson, dean of the graduate school of the Stowers Institute and associate professor, UMKC School of Medicine. Read the story here.  May 01, 2020

  • Professor Interviewed by KCTV 5 Regarding Masks

    People of color concerned about being racially profiled for wearing masks.
    Jamila Jefferson-Jones, UMKC Interim Director of Black Studies commented on concerns about mask use and racial profiling. Read the story here.  Apr 30, 2020

  • Alumnus Helps Transform Buildings into Treatment Facilities

    SCE graduate Mark Chrisman shares changes in his field since COVID-19
    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. As healthcare practice director and a vice president for Henderson Engineers, Mark Chrisman (B.S.M.E. ’02, M.S. ’07, Ph.D. ’19) works in an already challenging field heavily regulated by codes and standards — he works with teams to design building systems (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and technology) for healthcare facilities. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, his field has undergone a transition to converting existing buildings into healthcare facilities. How has your work shifted since the onset of COVID-19? COVID-19 has presented many challenges and opportunities for us. Primarily, we are trying to be as flexible as possible to assist our healthcare clients as their needs change, which is drastically different depending on what part of the country they are located. One day, we are planning for a COVID-19 observation unit and renovating standard patient rooms for negative isolation rooms designed for patients with COVID-19 to prevent spread, and the next day we are continuing work on projects that started design before the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, we have many talented engineers, so we’re able to pivot quickly. What kind of considerations are taken when converting large spaces or centers into places for patients (coronavirus or otherwise)? The first question on the building system side is what type of patient will be treated in the conversion space — COVID-19, non-COVID-19, and capable of self-preservation or not. Once we understand the patient type and modalities, we can assess the existing building systems and design whatever renovations or upgrades are needed to support the patient functions. Typically, in large event spaces, such as a convention center, there will be a need to upgrade the mechanical system to accommodate additional outside air or exhaust requirements for the applicable patient functions. While most event spaces have emergency power in some shape or form, upgrades likely will be required to support the additional mechanical system work as well as power for any additional life support or technology systems needed. Why did you choose this career/field? I got into engineering primarily because I loved building with Legos as a kid and I enjoyed the process of taking things apart and putting them back together. My father and both of my grandfathers were engineers. While they were all more focused on the industrial side of engineering, I went the mechanical route as it allowed several different paths forward, including consulting, manufacturing, and processing. After two internships, I ended up interviewing with a consulting firm (Henderson) and two different types of manufacturers. I chose Henderson because during the interview process the people were really great and I felt like it fit me culturally. Nearly 16 years later, I can say that it was the best decision I’ve ever made, both professionally and personally. It’s an amazing, inspiring place to work with an excellent culture filled with fun, talented colleagues. You’re a three-time UMKC graduate. What did you most appreciate about UMKC? I liked being close to home to help my parents and siblings during my undergraduate degree and my wife and children during my graduate degrees. I also really like that it is a beautiful and ever-growing campus tucked inside a great city with some tremendous resources nearby, including the Miller Nichols and Linda Hall libraries. The schedule was flexible enough for me to work through all three degrees without any major issues. Lastly, everyone I encountered during my time at UMKC was always willing and able to assist in whatever way they could to further my education. They also provided support in several ways to help me make industry connections. "Everyone I encountered during my time at UMKC was always willing and able to assist in whatever way they could to further my education." —Mark Chrisman Who has been a great influence in your life? My parents, first and foremost, but also my grandparents, and many friends of my parents. At UMKC, there were several professors who helped guide my path, including Dr. Bryan Becker (now retired) who has been a mentor for many years and served as my advisor on both of my graduate degrees. I have also had several great mentors at Henderson Engineers, including Darrell Stein and Shane Lutz. It really does take a village, and I have found that having a large network has been beneficial in picking up skills and knowledge. How are you now using your influence to impact others? I have always had a passion for learning and then passing that knowledge along, which occurs through mentoring at Henderson Engineers and Henderson Building Solutions. My current role has allowed me to expand my reach by sharing technical knowledge and thought leadership so we can help others working in the engineering and healthcare industries. Apr 29, 2020

  • Alumni Expertise on COVID-19

    UMKC grads use experience to combat the coronavirus
    UMKC Roos are lending their expertise across the country to help ease the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are just a few of the graduates making a difference. Janelle Sabo (PharmD ’00), a clinical development executive at Eli Lilly and Company, led the development and implementation of a registration, data collection and results reporting system to enable Lilly’s COVID-19 testing efforts, which includes a drive-through testing facility and diagnostic lab. Lilly has collected over 50,000 patient samples from across Indiana focusing on front line healthcare workers, first responders, essential workers and vulnerable patients. Additionally, Sabo has led cross functional teams and actively participated in multiple industry forums addressing the challenges in global clinical research during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about Lilly’s efforts to fight COVID-19, visit Lilly.com. Alexander Garza (B.S. ’90), oversees hospitals in four states as chief medical officer of SSM Health in St. Louis. He is also incident commander of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force and appeared on MSNBC in March to discuss the uptick in COVID-19 cases in the Midwest. Gina Mullen (M.D. ’11), emergency room doctor, physician and medical director at VA North Texas Healthcare System and Baylor Medical Center at Uptown appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 with her husband, Jim Mullen. Gina Mullen was treating coronavirus patients in Dallas, Texas, when Jim — a lawyer with a background in nursing — decided to go help COVID-19 patients in New York. Mary Anne Jackson (M.D. ’78), dean of the UMKC School of Medicine and infectious disease expert, is one of six physicians statewide advising Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. Her expertise has been cited in numerous programs and publications including Doctor Radio on SIriusXM, KCUR and The Kansas City Star.  She also helped gather personal protective equipment across the UMKC Health Sciences District to be donated to area hospitals. Apr 29, 2020

  • Bloch Student and Business Owner Supports COVID-19 Relief

    Aubrey Larkin has turned her entrepreneurial efforts to help the UMKC student assistance fund through design and sale of a new T-shirt
    Like many UMKC students, Aubrey Larkin is living at home, going to Zoom classes online and hoping and waiting for the COVID-19 crisis to subside. But Larkin, who says she comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, mobilized her online shop, Aubrey’s Attic Company, to create a product that will help students in need. “I’ve been in business almost my whole life,” Larkin says. “Since I was young, I’ve been selling things - lemonade, cards, art.” Larkin developed a love for fashion in middle school, and in her senior year of high school, she started a blog featuring products, trends and looks she liked. Her business developed from there. “My senior year in high school, I decided to turn the blog into a business. I researched wholesalers and turned the site into a store.” When the coronavirus began to spread, she wanted to be a part of the community that was helping. “My mom and so many of our friends were making masks,” she said. “I wanted to contribute. I started looking for a way I could help UMKC students. I knew a lot of people who were struggling financially.” "I wanted to contribute. I started looking for a way I could help UMKC students."- Aubrey Larkin Her mother discovered the UMKC Student Emergency Relief Fund, and after doing some research, Larkin knew that was the best place to direct her support. “I have a great platform on Instagram, and I knew I could create awareness for both sides – people who needed the help and people who could donate.” Larkin designed a black T-shirt with the phrase, “Staying in is cool.” in bold white text. The shirts retail for $34 and all the profit - $14 per shirt – will go directly to the student relief fund. “I didn’t want to make money off this myself,” she says. “I just want to reach as many people who can buy them – and help students – as I can.” “I am continually amazed by the creativeness and thoughtfulness of our students, and Aubrey represents that ingenuity,” said Lisa Baronio, president of the UMKC Foundation. “Together, UMKC will survive COVID-19. We are grateful for all of our students. I am looking forward to proudly wearing my own awareness T-shirt that will benefit our students.” Apr 28, 2020

  • Hunger, Humility and Teamwork Cook Up Historic Season

    Coach Jacie Hoyt, Ericka Mattingly recap the team’s journey to winning the WAC
    Although it’s been nearly seven weeks since the KC Roos women’s basketball team made UMKC history by winning the WAC championship, the celebration and excitement carry on as if it had just happened yesterday. We caught up with head coach Jacie Hoyt and leading point guard, senior Ericka Mattingly to reflect upon the team’s incredible journey leading up to this major achievement and their hopes for the future. Hoyt said that at the start of the season, the team knew it wanted to win the conference championship ‑ and the players believed they were capable of doing so, but they also knew they had to take it one day, one game at a time. Last season, the team lost in the semi-finals to New Mexico State, who went on to win the WAC and a spot in the NCAA tournament. With a sour taste in their mouths and unfinished business to handle, the KC Roos used that as motivation all season long, ending the year with a 21-10 record. “Our team has a motto that never changes – be uncommon. We talk daily about being uncommon in everything we do from basketball to school to being representatives in our community and everything else in our lives. We feel that if we make uncommon choices and decisions each day, they’ll add up to something that separates us from others,” Hoyt said. “We were always pushing each other to be the best we could be." - Mattingly It took being uncommon to secure the program's first-ever regular-season conference championship and NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament berth. Though the NCAA tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19, the team still has plenty to celebrate as the recognitions keep coming in: WAC Coach of the Year – Jacie Hoyt WAC Player of the Year – Ericka Mattingly Spire Sportswoman of the Year – Ericka Mattingly Back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1991 - 1992 “I was ecstatic to learn about being named Sportswoman of the Year by the Kansas City Sports Commission,” Mattingly said. “When Coach Jacie called me to let me know I had been chosen and to tell me who I was going to be in company with, it was an amazing feeling! There are going to be KC Super Bowl champs there. So, I am super excited and grateful receive that award.” Though much of the season’s success is attributed to Mattingly’s contributions, becoming just the second Roo player to surpass 1,000 points in two years, she and Hoyt say it’s all about teamwork. “I’ve learned many lessons in my coaching career, one being that it’s incredibly hard to win, and you have to have the right people to get it done,” Hoyt said. “Receiving the Coach of the Year recognition is a true reflection of my staff and my team.” That same attitude is reflected throughout the entire squad. Hoyt said winning a championship is all about surrounding yourself with the right people. She said the women’s coaching staff works tirelessly at their craft and has the integrity and motives to invest in each player the right way; and they sought to recruit players who are high-achieving, competitive and who value hard work. These things are the ingredients that helped cook up a history-making season in addition to collaborative team effort. "I believe that we have the respect of the Summit League after what we did this year, and we want to go into the new league and show them what we are all about.” - Hoyt “I love those girls and would do anything and everything for them,” said Mattingly, adding that she also has a great relationship with Hoyt, who they affectionately call Coach Jacie. “I know that, from my two years, I have developed friendships that will last for years to come. “The biggest lesson that I will take away from Coach is to always push yourself to be the best you can be. Speak up and be loud and proud in yourself and your goals. Be passionate and always do it with God in your corner!” Having missed the opportunity to keep going and compete in the NCAA tournament, Hoyt said the disappointment of not being to play due to the coronavirus will be motivation for next year. The third-year head coach, who brought instant success to the KC Roos when she took over in 2017, said she’s not a big goal person, but she believes in doing your absolute best every day and seeing what happens over time. “Nobody knows when this COVID stuff will clear up, and we certainly don’t know what it looks like when it does,” Hoyt said. “I just want to say that our team came out victors, not victims of the circumstances. I believe that we have the respect of the Summit League after what we did this year, and we want to go into the new league and show them what we are all about.” As Mattingly prepares for virtual commencement and closes out her collegiate journey with a degree in criminal justice and criminology, she is excited to pursue a career in coaching. “I have always been passionate about helping others, and especially helping young women be able to have successful careers, get better on the court and get better off the court as well,” Mattingly said. “Having an influence in changing their lives like my coaches have done for me.” As for her teammates and the newcomers joining the team next year, she advises them to always stay hungry. “Push yourself to be the best you can and make sure that you are embracing the present,” Mattingly said. “I know things get hard, and being a student-athlete is not easy, but appreciate it while you can. There is so much to be grateful for!” Recap the season Apr 28, 2020

  • DJ’s Extensive Collection Enhances Marr Sound Archives

    The late Gordon Spencer was a disc jockey and enthusiastic collector who interviewed jazz greats and other musicians and composers.
    Gordon Spencer interviewed many of the remarkable jazz artists of the 20th century including Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. He began his career in radio in 1951 at WSRN, the student radio station at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania when he was a junior. His widow, Hannelore Rogers, has donated his extensive collection of albums, CDs and his reel-to-reel interview tapes to the Marr Sound Archives so enthusiasts and scholars can benefit from his remarkable career. “Gordon loved jazz beyond anything else,” Rogers says. “He had two passions – radio and stage. As a little boy, his aunt gave him a pretend radio play set with scripts, a wooden microphone and sound effects equipment.” This childhood gift led to a lifelong career. Spencer worked at radio stations along the East Coast starting when he was in college. Rogers met Spencer when they were both living in New York in the early 1980s. “I listened to WNCN in the morning. There was this DJ, Gordon Spencer, and he was very funny and could pronounce all of the composers’ names. I wrote him a letter and said, ‘If you’re not married or the father of 10 children, call me.’” Spencer did call, and took her to lunch at an Indian restaurant for their blind date. It lasted four-and-a-half hours. He told her later, “classical music DJs don’t get a lot of fan mail.” “When he was at WNCN in New York, he started buying records to play on the air,” she remembers. “Once he had his own program, he would go to the public library to check out albums to play on his show. His passion was incredible. There was no limit to what he was willing to do.” “Gordon loved jazz beyond anything else.” - Hannelore Rogers Spencer’s collection includes 2,550 albums, 1,215 CDs and 165 reel-to-reel and cassette tapes of his interviews with musicians. While Rogers understood the significance of his work, it took her a while to find a home for the collection. “After he died, I had to deal with his belongings. Clothes were easy to donate. But his office and his albums and tapes were in the basement. He spent a lot of time there and it was too painful for a long time for me to walk in.” Eventually, she became concerned that if something happened to her, the collection might disappear. “I was worried it would end up in a landfill or garage sale,” Rogers says. “I started asking around and someone referred me to Chuck Haddix at UMKC. When I spoke to him the first thing he told me was, ‘Whatever you do, don’t break up the collection.’” Haddix, curator of the Marr Sound Archives, notes that the entire collection is impressive, but believes the interviews are the most exciting. “Spencer interviewed an unbelievable amount of jazz greats as well as contemporary classical composers,” Haddix said. “A lot of the classical composers were very Avant-garde. Some were from Europe. Usually someone will have a very narrow focus, but Spencer’s interest was broad. He was also a radio producer, so the quality of his interviews is outstanding. They’re really great quality.” Beyond technical quality, Spencer was a great interviewer. “He really let people tell their stories,” Haddix says. Haddix, who is also a radio producer and accomplished interviewer, thinks his understanding of the material and Spencer’s process may have helped Rogers. “Donors have an emotional connection,” Haddix said. “Just as with Hannelore, it’s usually their partner’s life’s work and they want to do the right thing and memorialize their loved one. Now the collection will live forever.” Haddix appreciates Spencer’s talent, taste and painstaking care of his collection. He says that it’s not unusual to develop a personal connection to the collector. “Every collection tells a story. They’re all different. He was meticulous. Everything was very carefully selected. This collection represents his life’s work. As the recipient of the collection, you get to know them after the fact. Often I think, ‘I’d love to have met him.’” Haddix and his team have begun preserving the collection. They are currently digitizing the open reels and creating a collection page with a search option. Once everything is catalogued and digitized, the collection will be searchable on the internet. “Every collection tells a story. They’re all different. I’d love to have met him.” - Chuck Haddix Haddix’s connection to the collection has made the donation process easier for Rogers. “I have found UMKC to be so sensitive about what this meant to me,” Rogers says. “Gordon’s collection was something I had to let go. But when Chuck came and loaded the truck with all the materials, I knew UMKC would take excellent care of it.”   Apr 28, 2020

  • UMKC Fills Two Key Leadership Positions

    Welcome Provost Lundgren and School of Medicine Dean Jackson
    University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor Mauli Agrawal announced appointments to two key leadership positions at the university. Jenny Lundgren, Ph.D., will serve as provost and executive vice chancellor, the chief academic officer of the university. Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., will serve as dean of the UMKC School of Medicine, known around the world for its innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program. Both have been serving in those roles on an interim basis; “interim” will be dropped from their titles May 1. Typically, even when they have strong internal candidates, major research universities conduct a national search for senior leadership positions. The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 demanded a change in approach. “In this challenging time, I must balance that tradition against the immediate need for stable, innovative leadership,” Agrawal said in a letter to campus April 28. “Drs. Lundgren and Jackson have led with intellect and heart during the pandemic, and I have full confidence that they will continue to capably help us navigate through the uncharted territory ahead.” During her first three months in the provost role, Lundgren has demonstrated a deep capacity for working through complex issues with partners across UMKC and the University of Missouri System. She also will continue to serve as dean of the School of Graduate Studies until further notice. Prior to these roles, Lundgren was a well-published researcher who served as a department chair of Psychology and as an associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. She joined UMKC in 2006.  “I appreciate greatly the trust and confidence Chancellor Agrawal has placed in me, and I will do my best to live up to it,” Lundgren said. “I am equally grateful for the guidance, support and wisdom my faculty colleagues have shared with me over the past several months, and hope to continue to be able to rely on such a valuable and rewarding collaboration.”   Jackson has been leading the School of Medicine for almost two years. She is an alumna of the UMKC School of Medicine and a pediatric infectious diseases expert, affiliated with Children’s Mercy and internationally known for her research. During the current COVID-19 crisis, she is one of the six physicians statewide who is advising Missouri Governor Mike Parson. She is a frequently sourced expert for national publications. She joined UMKC in 1984. “I am honored to serve as the dean for this medical school, which has been ahead of the curve in educating and mentoring physicians and health professionals for nearly half a century,” Jackson said. “I look forward to helping grow its research enterprise to improve the health of our community and beyond.” Agrawal said he is postponing indefinitely plans to create a senior leadership position to oversee the deans of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Dentistry on the Health Sciences Campus at Hospital Hill. He will review that idea once the university has moved past the challenges of the pandemic. “I extend my heartfelt thanks to these two leaders for their contributions to UMKC as we continue to pursue our mission of excellence in learning, service and discovery,” Agrawal said. Apr 28, 2020

  • We Are #RooReady for Fall Semester Classes

    UMKC courses will start on schedule whether they’re in person, online or a mix
    UMKC faculty and staff are preparing for any and all eventualities to start fall semester classes on schedule, under any conditions ranging from full remote to wide-open campus, and anything in between. Make no mistake: Your university is #RooReady ready to launch an exciting and meaningful fall semester in August, no matter what conditions the world may throw at us. “We anticipate being back on campus for face-to-face courses and the full UMKC campus experience in the fall,” said Jenny Lundgren, provost and executive vice chancellor. “We are mindful, however, that public health officials are recommending that we be ready for multiple scenarios. Because the health and safety of our campus community is our top priority, these may range from a stay-at-home order requiring all-online instruction, to a return to a fully wide-open campus or something in-between.” The university will follow the recommendations of health officials and obey state and local laws. “We may need to move in and out of these strategies through the academic year based on regional disease patterns,” Lundgren said. Given these varied possibilities, the university’s approach has been to increase online offerings to maximize flexibility in course schedules. The faculty have increased the number of courses that will be taught with a mixture of face-to-face and online elements. “We anticipate being back on campus for face-to-face courses and the full UMKC campus experience in the fall.” “We love interacting with students in person and miss the physical presence of our campus community, but everyone at UMKC will follow the guidance of public health and government officials and adapt as needed throughout the semester,” Lundgren said. “Faculty are working diligently this spring and summer to design and re-design their courses with best practices for both face-to-face and online delivery.” Lundgren said university officials know that students are facing special challenges because of the pandemic. “We recognize that many students struggle to have the resources they need even in the best of circumstances,” she said. “Thanks to the generosity of many donors, we have set up an emergency fund to help students meet basic needs that affect their ability to engage and learn. We also have an online A-Z resource guide to assist them now and in future semesters.”   How we're preparing campus for fall Learn more about how COVID-19 is affecting fall semester class scheduling. Read about campus living and dining changes this fall.  Learn about the university's new cleaning practices for campus. See the new personal protective equipment vending machines that will be on campus. Check out the shields and physical distancing measures for classrooms and offices.   Apr 28, 2020

  • We See You: T-shirts benefit UMKC student relief

    UMKC's Aubrey Larkin is helping her fellow students during the COVID-19 pandemic
    KSHB reports how UMKC Student Aubrey Larkin is donating proceeds from the sale of T-shirts to the UMKC Emergency Student Relief Fund to help those struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apr 28, 2020

  • As They Connect With Students Online, Kansas City Music Teachers Learn Their Own Lessons

    UMKC teachers take part in program to help fund private music lessons
    KCUR spoke with Eman Chalshotori, one of 15 teachers in UMKC Musical Bridges, a program that helps fund private lessons for some 60 music students in the area school districts. Apr 24, 2020

  • Cities Partner on Model Policy for Handling Municipal Data

    UMKC working with local governments on a Draft Model Data Handling Policy
    Kansas City, in collaboration with the University of Missouri and other local governments, has created a model to tackle the policies and procedures needed to manage sensitive data in communities as tech use grows. Read the story in Government Technology Apr 23, 2020

  • Regarding Henry

    We remember Henry W. Bloch, whose all-in approach, gratitude for community and love of people set the foundation and future for the Bloch School of...
    Henry W. Bloch knew how to leave an impression. Brian Klaas, Ph.D., Bloch School dean, remembers vividly how gracious and kind Mr. Bloch was, even when he was emphatically making a point. “Henry and I were having a wonderful conversation about H&R Block, Kansas City and the Bloch School,” Klaas recalled. “Mr. Bloch paused, leaned in and said, ‘We need to help the Bloch School achieve excellence, and we need to do it quickly. We need to do it for Kansas City because this city needs a great business school. Are you going to be a part of this?’” The quest for excellence long guided Henry. He was an investor and he expected a return of excellence. The Bloch School was his investment, forged as a freshman at UMKC, then called the University of Kansas City. Through good times and bad, achievements and struggles, Henry was all-in with Kansas City’s business school. Up to the end of his life, Henry was working on making the Bloch School excellent. That was his mission. That is his legacy. “When I look around Kansas City and look at all the places where Henry has made his mark, I think one of the most incredible places is the Bloch School,” said Jeff Jones, president and CEO of H&R Block. “When I think about legacy and future, the idea that his name will continue to spawn the next generation of entrepreneurs that will go on to have success in Kansas City and beyond is one of the most incredible representations of what legacy can be about.”   How this legacy began and how this legacy lives on in others is a testament to his values that will endure long into the future. A kid from down the block When Henry died on April 23, 2019, at the age of 96, he left behind a well-documented life. He was many things: entrepreneur, executive, philanthropist, husband, father, avid fan of the Royals and Chiefs. He also was a study of contrasts. He was someone who repeatedly said he wasn’t very intelligent but demonstrated he was extraordinarily intelligent, shrewd and insightful. He was a humble young man who went on to become a war hero. He was someone who claimed his success was simply luck but also worked very hard, developed sound business strategies and executed them in a masterful way. And he was someone educated at the top universities in the country who purposely invested his time and resources over the course of decades to the business school of the local university he only attended for one year.  “He was a pretty interesting individual. All these things were opposites but he bridged them together,” said UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. “That was perhaps the source of what distinguished and differentiated him as a person and made him stand out.” Henry grew up at 58th and Wornall and went to Southwest High School. When he came to what was then the University of Kansas City, both Bloch and the university were young. Henry graduated early from high school and was unsure of his direction and his abilities. “This was his first real effort at becoming a grownup,” said John Herron, Ph.D., interim dean of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences. At UMKC, Henry discovered a passion for mathematics and the first signs of it being a possible career. While his academic skills grew at the University of Michigan and his short time at Harvard Business School, it started here. UMKC, starting a few years before Henry’s arrival in 1933, was part of Kansas City transitioning from its cowtown image into what would become a booming metropolitan area. While the university offered business classes, it would be quite some time before a bona fide business school would spring up. Herron recalled asking Henry about moving away from Kansas City or giving to other places outside the region. “Henry was incredulous at the question. ‘Why would I have done that? Kansas City gave me everything,’” Herron said. Herron thinks that comes from Henry’s perception that he and H&R Block really couldn’t have made it anywhere else. Unique conditions allowed the business to grow: postWorld War II economic booms, the Internal Revenue Service halting its free tax preparation service and a growing metropolitan area in Kansas City. But Henry was cognizant of the cultural sensitivities of Kansas City. After all, Henry and Richard Bloch were two Jewish brothers who walked down Troost Avenue and Main Street, talking with African-American businesses about helping with their bookkeeping needs. Even though Henry spent one year at what was then the University of Kansas City, he maintained a decades-long relationship with UMKC and what became the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Photo courtesy of H&R Block. Henry’s service during World War II amplified that contrast of modesty and doubt and achieving success through hard work. Herron and Mary Ann Wynkoop, a retired UMKC professor and former director of the American Studies Program, co-wrote “Navigating a Life: Henry in World War II,” which chronicles Henry’s days in the U.S. Army Air Corps. For all the adventures and accomplishments, this stood out to the two authors: Henry was someone who noted the taxing nature of navigator training and wondered if he could complete it, but ended up completing 32 missions without a single injury to himself or his crew. He was a war hero but he would never admit it. Henry, in conversations with Herron for the book, would say his successes, like so many things in his life, were the product of luck. But other values were taking root, like hard work, discipline and, because of the war, losing his fear of failure. And perhaps most important, being faithful to where you came from. Herron said UKC was a critical time in Henry’s life, one that he looked back on with fondness. “He was trying to figure out what are the proper boundaries of adulthood, and it all came together for him here,” Herron said. “He felt a great connection to the place.” And that connection would be the foundation to build upon the small business school at UMKC.  Going all in While Henry and Richard were building H&R Block, the university was struggling to get its business school going. According to Chris Wolff, who researches UMKC history, the school of business started on a shoestring budget and a desire for business classes. The school didn’t have its own facility until the university bought the Shields Mansion. But the school quickly grew and was soon competing with its neighbor, Rockhurst University, for top business students.  In 1983, Dean Eleanor Schwartz, who later became UMKC chancellor, convened an advisory committee of local CEOs to help the school meet the needs of area employers and achieve accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the premer accreditation body for business schools.  The mansion was in dire need of renovations. With project plans totaling $7.5 million, the University of Missouri System allocated $6 million toward the renovation. The rest was to be left to private donations. By this point, the Bloch family had already funded the Leon Bloch Law Library for the School of Law in 1978. Seeing a way to help, Henry gave $1 million toward the school. It led to an intriguing offer. “(Former UMKC Chancellor) George Russell and (former UMKC Trustee) Ed Smith cooked up the idea of naming the business school after me,” Henry said in spring 2002. “The first I knew about it was at a board meeting. I was very flattered.”  “Henry saw his involvement with UMKC as a way to combine his love for Kansas City and his passion for business,” said David Miles, president of the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation. "With his namesake on the building, Henry saw an opportunity. He recognized a need within the region for a high quality and respected school of management that would create the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders, which he saw as an exciting and worthwhile goal,” Miles said. Those who knew Henry know that once he was committed, he was committed for life and in all things. “It struck me that with Henry, there wasn’t a half in. You were all-in or you weren’t,” Klaas said. “Once he made that commitment, he was not going to waver. He was going to be focused on the mission.” Thanks to Henry’s investment, the Bloch Executive Hall of Entrepreneurship and Innovation opened in 2013. “A tapestry that works” When Henry was a student, the term “entrepreneurship education” did not exist. There was no formal educational component to learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship. The only instructors were the hard knocks of life and business. When the opportunity came to shape the future of the Bloch School, Henry wanted to make sure teaching the principles of entrepreneurship was top of mind. Anne St. Peter, who founded Global Prairie, a global marketing consultancy, said that Henry was fond of telling entrepreneurs not to fear making mistakes, as he and his brother made many of them. “The goal, Henry said, was to learn from these mistakes and to develop resilience along the way,” she said. “Henry told me his support of the Bloch School was to help entrepreneurs learn from the mistakes he and other business leaders made and, hopefully, allow Bloch students to learn valuable business and life lessons quickly.” Henry’s lessons on entrepreneurship inspired many like St. Peter. Both she and Henry were past chairs of the board of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. At a luncheon, Henry told St. Peter to relish the opportunity to serve the business community of Kansas City. “At the time, I was the youngest leader to serve as Chamber chair, and Henry knew I had two small children,” St. Peter said. “Henry told me to share what I was learning at work and at the Chamber with our children, as he had done with his children while they were growing up. Henry encouraged me to bring our children along for the ride and make them feel a part of my entrepreneurial journey.” St. Peter admired Henry and his leadership greatly. He served as inspiration for her to certify Global Prairie as a Benefit Corporation, or B Corp. For Henry, community engagement and employee happiness mattered as much as shareholder value. Another component of entrepreneur education was having a strong physical presence in the community in which you serve. For the Bloch School, that meant state-of-the-art academic and research facilities. In 2011, the school was ready for a substantial upgrade. Just as in 1983, Henry chose to invest, putting $32 million toward a new building. “I choose to make this significant gift because I felt now was the right time,” he said at a celebratory event on Sept. 15, 2011. “The new mission and vision of the school both respect and directly tie into the legacy of Kansas City and align with what this community wants and needs from its business school.”  Leo Morton, who was UMKC chancellor at the time, said Henry was the right person to do this because he understood that to build a reputation of excellence, you have to have the infrastructure to back it up.  “One advantage UMKC has is its location. If you’re a student who has lots of options and are world class, you can go any place you want to go,” Morton said. “To recruit and retain these students, you need to have faculty that they’re attracted to, and you have to have facilities that match all of that. It’s a consistent picture, a tapestry that works.”  A first-generation investor Within the timeline of UMKC benefactors, Henry falls in line with the likes of Stanley Durwood, Miller Nichols and Helen Spencer, who built upon the foundation of UMKC. Wolff said Henry’s contribution helped steer UMKC toward the modern era of education. “Mr. Bloch grew up in an age where it was possible to invent an industry from scratch. He saw that the future of business lay in innovations such as the ones that were created at H&R Block,” Wolff said. “Now that we live in the digital age where once again businesses and entire industries can be invented out of whole cloth, the Bloch School is on firm footing to train the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs in this new world.” Henry was a philanthropist who gave generously. And yet, he was an investor at heart. Morton, who knew Henry for many years before he became UMKC chancellor in 2007, said Henry invested with a sense of purpose, and he wanted a return. When it came to UMKC, he was a first-generation investor. When investors like Henry invest, “they don’t just put it in and leave you, they put in and hold you accountable,” Morton said. “The investor says, ‘I had an objective when I invested in you and that objective is important to me and I put in enough to show that I’m serious about that investment. And I’m going to hold you accountable.’” That objective, for the Bloch School, was for it to be excellent. And that’s something Klaas said continues today through the Bloch Family Foundation. “What the Bloch Family Foundation wants is what Henry wanted: It’s for the Bloch School to help this region thrive. They want us to support the region by pursuing excellence in everything we do and by offering outstanding experiences for students from all backgrounds and at all stages of their careers,” he said. The values Marion and Henry Bloch set with their life and example continue on in the lives of others who come through the Bloch School and UMKC. Photo by Brandon Parigo. “Never despise small beginnings” Henry Wash never had any desire to go into business. One of the first members of the Henry W. Bloch Scholars program in 2001, he didn’t know much about the scholarship or the man for whom it was named. He went to the scholarship reception fully intending to drop out of the program. Then he met Henry Bloch. “I arrived 30 minutes early and my plan was to get out of it. Mr. Bloch was there when I walked in, just standing,” Wash recalled. Henry Bloch was early as well. After pleasantries and realizing they had the same first name and middle initial, Wash shared his hesitations. “I wanted to let Henry know that I’m wanting to get out of this,” Wash continued. “I just wanted to help people. So, I was telling this long story. He was looking at me and when I was done, he said ‘I want to help you. I want to mentor you and help you along.’” “I was thinking to myself, nah, he wouldn’t want to do that, not for a guy like me,” Wash continued. “And he said, ‘Oh, I really do.’” That started a long friendship and mentorship that lasted many years. The Henrys spent many a lunch talking about business and life. Henry Bloch visited the Wash family often and sat on the front row during Wash’s wedding. “I was taught to never despise small beginnings,” Wash said. Henry knew that investment was more than just funding. It’s about people: where they came from, what they’re about. “Every time there were students, he wanted to mingle and speak,” Agrawal said. “He was not supporting the Bloch School for the publicity. It’s because he really cared about the students, and that stood out clearly.”  The Henry W. Bloch Scholars program at UMKC, of which Wash did stay in and graduated from in 2003, is now a 20-year commitment to provide those highly qualified students a path toward a degree. It helped students like Marla Howard, who completed her degree in Fall 2005. She said in 2006 that, “my family hasn’t had a lot of opportunities and isn’t as financially stable as others. So, I was determined to take advantage of any opportunities that crossed my path.”  Wash and Howard are just two of the many students who have been impacted by Henry and the Bloch family’s investments. With the Henry W. Bloch Scholars and the Marion H. Bloch Scholars programs, both high potential and excelling students living in underserved communities attend UMKC on scholarship. Many students are currently being supported by the Bloch Launchpad program, which combines academic rigor with professional development training. It’s an investment for success with the goal of – taken from Tom Bloch’s biography of his father – many happy returns. We are Bloch To be sure, there is only one Henry Bloch. He is irreplaceable. But his values and the relationships he’s built with UMKC and the Bloch School are the road map for others to make an impact as he did. “Henry was an amazing example for how supporting a school can make an important difference in the lives of so many,” Klaas said. “We are fortunate to have a number of supporters who were inspired by Henry’s work with our school. And we look forward to building upon Henry’s legacy by engaging with other alumni and supporters who are inspired by our mission.” The impact is fundamentally relational: Bloch alumni who mentor students, build a company or entrepreneurial venture and fulfill their own debt to Kansas City and beyond. They carry on Henry’s legacy. Although Henry came from another generation, what is timeless and relevant are his values: working hard, persevering, learning from customers, serving, giving back generously and never forgetting where you came from. Agrawal sees Henry’s life and example as imperative to building on that legacy of excellence. “We are good, but we need to be excellent,” Agrawal said. “So that a student in 2042, when they come to the school, somebody will be asking them where they want to apply and they’ll say, ‘I want to apply to the one of the best. I’m applying to Bloch.’”  This story originally appeared in the 2020 issue of Bloch, the magazine for the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Apr 22, 2020

  • From the Artist’s Chair to the Orthodontist’s Office

    Dentistry graduate Grant Snider discovers his gift for smiles
    When most people are just waking up for work, Grant Snider (D.D.S. ’11) is sitting down at his drawing table to make himself laugh with one of his signature comic strips. The rest of his typical work day is spent straightening smiles at his orthodontics practice in Wichita, Kansas. Grant Snider, D.D.S. '11Credit: Mark Woolcott About 10 years ago, just as Snider was accepted to the UMKC School of Dentistry, he also embarked on another career, illustrating comics. His multi-panel comics have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Kansas City Star, the Best American Comics 2013 and University News, the student newspaper at UMKC. A collection of his comics, The Shape of Ideas, published in 2017, was translated to French. Every morning at 5:30 or 6 a.m., Snider works on one of his comics for either his blog or social media. “I always knew I was into science and math,” Snider says, “but I also knew I had a creative side that I wanted to nurture as well.” From dental school doodles to big-time artist  When Snider was first searching for a creative outlet, he considered watercolor painting or another form of traditional art. Eventually, though, he realized that what he most enjoyed was reading comic strips like Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side. The real revelation happened when he came across New Yorker cartoons, with their simplicity of design and quirky observations of life. Initially, he was turned off by them because they were such a departure from the newspaper comics he had grown up with. But as he spent more time with them, it suddenly clicked — this was what he wanted to do creatively.  “I always knew I was into science and math, but I also knew I had a creative side that I wanted to nurture as well.”—Grant Snider, artist and orthodontist Snider started to use cartooning as a way to relax after dental school classes. He began carrying a sketchbook everywhere he went, doodling anything that inspired him. Over a week or two, those small doodles would become a finished comic, delivering smiles to his close friends and family. Fast forward several years and his charming, minimalist cartoons are being featured in the publication he once admired, the New Yorker, making people smile around the world. As Snider puts it, he started drawing before he knew what he was doing, and soon, it was too late to stop — not that he’d want to. A new source of inspiration When he and his wife had their first child in 2012, Snider, like many first-time parents, thought “Hey, I should write a children’s book.” The process, though, proved more arduous than he initially anticipated. With a number of ideas going nowhere, he was beginning to doubt the plan. Then he found out he was chosen for an artistic residency in the Catskill Mountains of New York. He thought this would be the perfect opportunity to work on his children’s book idea. So in April 2018, Snider spent a week in a cabin with three feet of snow on the ground, a trip he calls “the most creatively frustrated period of my life.” Snider uses his comic to lift the spirits of people during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Two weeks later, he got an email from a book editor. She had seen a particular cartoon on his blog and wanted to use it as the starting point for a children’s goodnight book. Snider thought the idea was brilliant and, admittedly, was mad he hadn’t thought of it first. He spent a frantic weekend getting a rough draft back to the editor and, within a week or two, the book was picked up by a publisher. “After all the frustration of two years, plus being snowed in for a week in the mountains working on an idea that wasn’t going anywhere, an email arrives and two days later I’m on the way to getting published,” Snider says. That book, What Color is Night?, hit shelves in November 2019. Double the doodling power  According to Snider, navigating the worlds of science and creativity is freeing for him. He views his orthodontic work as a break from any writer’s block he may be experiencing. At his dental chair, he can focus solely on the patient in front of him and not worry whether a comic he’s working on is funny or not. The cartooning bug runs deep in Snider’s DNA, as his twin brother, Gavin, is also an illustrator. Gavin, like Grant, also pursues dual careers, as an architect and an illustrator. They talk constantly about their work. Snider says critiques are easier to take coming from his brother than, say, from a book editor. In May 2020, two more of Snider’s books will be released, a children’s book — What Sound is Morning? — and another collection of his comics — I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf. As for what’s next, Snider says he plans to divide his time between straightening teeth and making himself laugh creating his own illustrations. Apr 22, 2020

  • Did Heavy Rain Cause Hawaii’s Historic Volcanic Eruption?

    UMKC volcanologist says many different things could trigger an eruption
    NPR interviews Alison Graettinger, a volcanologist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, who says it’s clear that rainfall can affect the stability of soil and rock — by causing landslides, for example — and it’s worth investigating things that are known to influence the environment as possible triggers for volcanic events. Apr 22, 2020

  • Virtual Town Hall: Kansas City’s future with coronavirus

    Executive director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center joins panel discussion
    Maria Meyers, executive director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center, was part of a panel discussion on how Kanas City will bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. The virtual town hall discussion was on KSHB, 41 Action News. Apr 22, 2020

  • University of Missouri going back to in-person classes in fall, others consider it

    UMKC anticipates fall classes on campus
    Missouri State University, University of Central Missouri and University of Missouri-Kansas City all anticipate being back on their campuses for face-to-face courses in the fall. Kansas City Star (subscription required) Apr 22, 2020

  • 4 Ways to Thrive During COVID-19

    How I'm tackling this virtual semester
    COVID-19 has stolen Spring 2020 from students everywhere. If you’re a senior like me, it’s an extra punch in the gut. However, despite the struggles the coronavirus has brought from switching to online classes to losing out on on-campus experiences, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  True resilience will be built within us during this time. We will forever have an example of “how we overcame a difficult time” in an interview. We will appreciate our degree in a way many don’t. We can and will get through this trying season. The Marines have a slogan, “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome” which is a mindset that allows them to deal with any physical, mental or spiritual hardship. Now is our time to improve, adapt and overcome. I believe we have the opportunity to not only survive this trying season but thrive in it! While this is written for seniors, these tips can be applied for any virtual education. Here are my tips on how to make the most of the rest of this semester. 1. Mourn This might sound like an odd step, and if you’re anything like me you tend to deal with your issues by thinking “well—others have it way worse than me right now.” While this may be true, you are going through a loss right now. Loss of in-class debates, loss of seeing your friends, loss of engaging in the club you joined, even loss of commencement ceremonies for us seniors. No matter how big or small losses, it still leaves a feeling of sadness and a lack of satisfaction. It’s still something that you were looking forward to, but now no longer have. It’s appropriate and healthy to give yourself a moment to be sad. It’s appropriate and healthy to give yourself a moment to reflect on how this loss is making you feel. Mourn the commencement ceremony you won’t attend. Mourn the friends you won’t see. Mourn the fact that this time of your life did not meet your expectations. This doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you healthy. 2. Create Your Workspace I understand in this station the playing field for a comfy, focused, workspace is not levelled. However, we all have the ability to make any space our own. Whether it’s a traditional desk decked out with pictures that make you happy, or the dining room table with a candle burning next to you, it’s important to have a designated space you can call your own to be productive during this unsettling time. I am in a tiny two-bedroom apartment in NY with my family. I have designated a small desk in my bedroom as my “work desk” and my back porch mixed with a lap desk and my “school desk.” My work desk has an extra monitor, a cup full of pens, and an essential oils diffuser that I put on when I’m feeling stressed. My back porch is designated for school because I need good lighting throughout my day to keep my mood up. If you can help it, try to not have your desk in the same room as your bed, or if you are like me and have to, have it facing away from your bed. It’s important to clearly distinguish rest and work time in this season, which brings me to my next point… 3. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule! This has been my saving grace in this COVID-19-lock-in-strangeness. It is so easy for me to get out of a rhythm being stuck inside, but I have been extra intentional about keeping a weekly and daily schedule. Usually, my schedule would include activities like class, work, etc. But my “lock-in” schedule is in blocks of time that break down my entire day. In addition to my normal routine, my days will be filled with scheduled times to go on a walk, Zoom call a friend, do homework, work on building my career and meditating/praying. I cannot tell you how good I feel when I get to the end of a long day but have accomplished everything on my schedule. It also keeps me accountable to work on myself in ways I might not if I didn’t have it written down (example: 20 minutes of yoga). Scheduling gives you a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day, but it also makes it easier to view your day in 24-hour periods instead of wondering how you’re going to survive weeks of this!  4. Stay Engaged Virtual Hangouts:  I don’t know about you, but I am living for my weekly hangout with friends. Every week, I ask a friend to grab something to eat or drink with me via Zoom call. It has been a really fun way to stay in touch with people as well as reconnect with old friends. It’s not the same as meeting up downtown, but hey—I save money! Host a virtual game night, watch a movie together on Netflix Party, or just catch up with a friend. Virtual Networking: Think forward to post this crisis. What are the things you always wish you had time for, but never do? Now is the time! Personally, working on my professional career by updating resumes, revamping cover letters, working on my website, graining industry knowledge, are all things I needed time for. Since I am alone so much now, I have been asking professors, professionals and colleagues to grab a “coffee” with me virtually about once a week. It has been a great time to gain knowledge, focus on my field and get to network with others that I usually might not reach out to. This is the time to build our network. Virtual Counseling: Let’s be real … this time is just rough. NONE of us is actually equipped to handle this. If you aren’t talking to a licensed therapist, counselor or spiritual director, this would be a good time to. A lot of counseling offices are now offering virtual sessions. Another great example are apps, like BetterHelp, where a licensed therapist can be available via text. There is no shame in needing to process fears, disappointments or problems during this time considering many of us are dealing with this on some level.  Coronavirus has stolen a lot from us, but I believe it can be a trial that refines us to make us stronger than ever. We have lost a lot, but with the right mindset and hard work, I also believe we have a lot to gain during this time. Keep your head up high, reach out if you’re hurting and focus on what you can control during this time. You can make this a memorable, productive semester. Class of 2020, don’t forget: You are RESILIENT.   This article was edited and reposted with permission from ericafiori.com. Apr 21, 2020

  • UMKC Furthers Local Hospital’s COVID-19 Testing Capabilities

    School of Biological and Chemical Sciences lends University of Kansas Health System equipment to increase Kansas City’s testing opportunities
    As the coronavirus continues to spread, patient testing has become critical, but it is often unavailable. In an effort to increase detection and decrease the spread of the virus, the UMKC School of Biological and Chemical Sciences loaned the University of Kansas Health System a piece of equipment to scale up testing possibilities in the area.  When local hospitals and state laboratories received an update from the Centers for Disease Control outlining available resources for states in the battle against the COVID-19 coronavirus, UMKC faculty members realized they could help.  “We have two 7500 PCR (polymerace chain reaction) machines that are used for processing tests for the virus,” said Theodore White, dean of the School of Biology and Chemical Sciences. “We are currently not doing the kind of experiments that require this equipment, so we began to identify a provider who might need one.” After determining that none of the facilities that are partners in the UMKC Health Sciences District had a need, the school contacted the University of Kansas Health System. The 7500 PCR will be on loan to the medical center for the duration of the crisis. The additional machine will allow KU Health System to scale up its testing capabilities, which benefits the metropolitan area. The 7500 PCR system is small enough to fit in the back of a sport utility vehicle. The machine rapidly makes copies of specific DNA, then moves quickly through three cycles of different temperatures. This process allows scientists to take small sample and achieve quick results. The system is commonly used in processing prenatal tests and forensics testing. A new processor would cost approximately $50,000. “When things go back to normal, the machine will come back to us,” White said. “In the meantime, we’re thrilled it’s making a difference in fighting the virus.”   Apr 21, 2020

  • College Seniors Face Difficult Career Decisions

    Students may need to broaden their focus about starting a career
    Tess Surprenant, director of the Bloch Career Center at UMKC, tells KSHB students should consider casting a wider net when thinking about how they will start their career. Apr 21, 2020

  • Film by Bloch School Finance Professor Available for Viewing

    Stephen Pruitt movie on Amazon Video Direct
    "The Land," available for viewing on Amazon Video Direct. deals with the current farm crisis taking place all over the United States, which Pruitt said is so severe that the suicide rate of U.S. farmers is now twice that of military veterans. It is the fourth feature film created by Pruitt and his wife, Mary Pruitt. Pruitt said the film “asks a question on a lot of our minds today: Are we more than what we do?" The film has earned accolades at multiple film festivals. It was one of sixteen feature films selected to play at the Dances with Films festival in Hollywood; was named Best Feature Film by Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday at the Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival in Cincinnati; and was named Best Feature Film at the Route 66 International Film Festival and the Critic's Choice at the Iowa Independent Film Festival. "The Land" was one of only 20 non-studio-affiliated feature films (out of more than 200 submitted) to play at the St. Louis International Film Festival. Apr 20, 2020

  • Biology and Chemistry Alumna’s Focus on Women’s Health Leads to Fulbright Award

    Now a Mayo medical student, Nazanin Kazemi immigrated to the U.S. knowing one word of English
    Nazanin Kazemi always wanted to go to medical school and had a desire to make international collaboration a cornerstone of her career as a scientist. Kazemi recently received a Fulbright award to pursue her studies in ovarian cancer and placenta biology at the University of Geneva.   How did you feel when you heard about the Fulbright award? What difference does it make for you? Being a Fulbright Scholar is such an incredible opportunity and I am so thankful - and still in disbelief. I really feel that being selected as a Fulbright Scholar is the realization of my "American Dream." My parents and I moved to the United States from Iran in 1999. Between the three of us, we knew about two words of English. I only knew how to say, "Hello." My education has always been their top priority and I feel like this is a culmination of their sacrifices toward my future. We live in a truly unique country when a first-generation college student and first-generation immigrant who didn’t speak a word of English in 1999 can become a Fulbright scholar while training at one of the nation's top hospitals. What led you to pursue studying in Switzerland?   I have always wanted to make international collaboration a cornerstone of my career as a scientist because diversity of thought and training are truly integral to the success of our research - and in turn to the options that we are able to provide patients. I am excited about the Fulbright program because their goals are so well-aligned with my own. They have a reputation for helping students establish relationships with communities all over the world in many different fields. Living in Switzerland will not only progress my projects and training, but will also be an incredible opportunity to explore the Swiss culture. Having spent a lot of time hiking, climbing and doing yoga in the Midwest, I am excited to meet the Swiss communities around these outdoor hobbies and take advantage of the natural beauty of Switzerland's iconic mountains and hiking trails. As an avid cook, I will be able to learn more about Swiss history by learning to make traditional dishes such as raclette. I will be leaving for Switzerland in September, if the pandemic is under control by then. "I really feel that being selected as a Fulbright Scholar is the realization of my 'American Dream'." -Nazanin Kazemi What are you studying and working on at Mayo? Currently, I am earning my doctorate in immunology. I study how the maternal immune system is reactivated at the end of pregnancy to help induce labor and how this activation can cause pre-eclampsia and pre-term labor when dysregulated. I will be spending the final year of my doctorate as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Geneva to establish an ongoing collaboration between our institutes. I will then return to Mayo to finish medical school.  I’m passionate about these areas of research because they are integral to the health of women around the world. Pre-eclampsia and pre-term labor are leading causes of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Currently, diagnostics and treatment are lacking for the majority of these complications. By understanding the mechanisms involved in their pathophysiology, we can improve outcomes for women and children everywhere. Ovarian cancer also presents a significant threat to women's health because it is often detected very late (stage III or IV) when current treatments are not as effective. Understanding the biology of this malignancy can help us provide earlier diagnoses and better treatments. I want to be a physician-scientist to be in the service of others, and I have been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to train at an institution with the same dedication to service.  What led you to your interest in women’s health? I have always been interested in women's health because I really believe that women are the most integral part of our society. The health of women all over the world has undeniable implications for the health of every facet of our society from the health and success of our future generations to the global economy. Moreover, we live in an era where, despite women all around the world making amazing progress toward our rights and fair treatment, we still face a great deal of prejudice and abuse. I am dedicated to women's health because I believe in a world where every woman feels safe, respected and treated fairly and is able to pursue her goals without fear. As a first-generation college student and first-generation immigrant, I have always known that education is the biggest privilege. I believe those of us fortunate enough to pursue our education undeterred have a duty to those who have not had the same opportunities. I am determined to use the amazing opportunities I have been given to serve women all over the world.  I read a story where you said that your parents instilled the philosophy that women made this world and run this world. How did their perspective affect how you see the world and yourself? My parents raised me to be a feminist. In a world where women are not treated equally and do not get to enjoy the same freedoms as men, my parents are determined to teach me and my sister that those views are wrong. Our education is their biggest priority and is the reason we moved to the United States. My dad has been dedicated to raising strong, fearless, self-reliant, independent girls. I remember being very young and fearful about many things. My dad would always say, "Go ahead and don’t be scared!" "As a first-generation college student and first-generation immigrant, I have always known that education is the biggest privilege." Fulbright at UMKC  Since 1946, the Fulbright Specialist Program has sponsored hundreds of thousands of students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to important international problems. To date, 18 other alumni have received Fulbright awards. Apr 20, 2020

  • Wearing a face mask and shopping while Black in Kansas City — this is uncomfortable

    Professor discusses why face coverings are problematic for African Americans in public
    Shopping while Black has been at the forefront of the public consciousness for years, said Jamila Jefferson-Jones, interim director for the Black Studies program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is also an associate professor at UMKC School of Law. Kansas City Star (subscription required) Apr 19, 2020

  • Discussing Individual Rights and Public Safety

    UMKC professors are guests on KCUR program, Up To Date
    Beth Vonnahme, associate professor of political science at UMKC, and Allen Rostron, professor of law at UMKC, were guests on KCUR's Up to Date in a discussion about individual rights and public safety. Apr 17, 2020

  • Person on the Move: Jannette Berkley-Patton

    $3.3 billion grant is the continuation of the School of Medicine’s Project FIT (Faith Influencing Transformation)
    Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., of the UMKC School of Medicine, has been awarded a $3.3 million, 5-year grant by the National Institutes of Health to help improve diabetes prevention outcomes with African Americans. The Comunity Voice Apr 17, 2020

  • Campus Events Updates

    Cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19 precautions
    Out of an abundance of caution during the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person UMKC campus events through the end of June are canceled or postponed. Please reference the UMKC Alumni and campus calendars for listings of canceled and rescheduled events as well as virtual opportunities. Apr 16, 2020

  • KC Chiropractor Publicizing IV Vitamin C for Coronavirus, Doctors Say it’s ‘Dangerous’

    School of Medicine dean is an expert on infectious diseases and vaccines
    UMKC School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., says there is significant risk and no scientific evidence to support the use of Vitamin C as a preventative or therapeutic tool for COVID-19. Kansas City Star (subscription required) Apr 16, 2020

  • Century-Old Lessons Apply to Current Pandemic

    Alumna and retired UMKC librarian wrote thesis on 1918 flu
    The year was 1918. The world was at war, tens of thousands of soldiers spent weeks at a time in filthy, fetid trenches and, according to Susan Sykes Berry, “medical science at the time was still arguing about what caused disease: miasmas, chemicals called zymes, or germs.” During the next three years, despite the absence of 21st century jet travel and global commerce, a horrific respiratory illness ravaged the world. Precise statistics still elude historians, but it is estimated that the so-called “Spanish Flu” infected a quarter of the world’s population and killed tens a millions of people. A shade more than a century later, the world is a much different place, and medical science has advanced exponentially. Nevertheless, lessons of 1918 apply today, Sykes Berry said. A retired UMKC medical librarian and registered nurse, she earned a master’s degree in history from UMKC in 2010 with a thesis entitled “Politics and Pandemic In 1918 Kansas City.” “The 1918 flu was so deadly because it was a new strain of flu,” she said. “Because of research by Jeffrey Taubenberger, Ann Reid and others published in the journal Virology in 2000, we now know it was an H1N1 strain. So no one had any immunity.” According to her 2010 thesis, “Kansas City did not escape the influenza pandemic. Public health officials began their response by denying there was a problem, and finished their response by simply waiting for the disease to run its course. Between those extremes there was political infighting, flouting of quarantines and bans by businesses and the public, lack of coordination with Kansas officials, and many needless citizen deaths.” Today, Sykes Berry sees parallels. “The lessons from 1918 that apply today is that quarantines have to be applied everywhere in order to work,” she said. “It isn't effective to close Kansas, and not Missouri, when all people need to do is drive across an invisible state line. In 1918, Kansas had less death than Missouri because they had a better quarantine. I fully endorse the recommendations of the Core4 governments (the city of Kansas City, Missouri; Jackson County, Missouri; Johnson County, Kansas and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas) in recognizing that Kansas City is one big metro area and for an effective response the whole metro area has to act. “Those four governments have saved lives.” In an interview with KCTV5, Sykes Berry said the city’s response in 1918 was ineffective because of interference from political bosses such as Tom Pendergast. “They would not shut anything down,” she said. “Streetcars were still running and saloons that Pendergast owned remained open. The chamber of commerce, for whatever reason, was actually trying to get the city to shut down. So, businesses that were in the chamber of commerce were trying, but the city just couldn’t get its act together.” It is estimated that 11,000 in Kansas City were infected, and 2,300 died. Sykes Berry also said that while the news media popularized the term “Spanish Flu,” there is evidence that the disease actually may have arisen in Kansas and was spread globally by soldiers deploying to World War I from what is now Fort Riley. “John Barry, who wrote ‘The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History,’ was the historian who first came up with that idea,” she said. “But in my research I was able to find mention of a severe influenza in the Santa Fe Monitor in April of 1918, and also mention of soldiers from Camp Funston (now Fort Riley) who had been back and forth during the period. So it is a plausible theory. However, almost all historians agree that it was spread so quickly by soldiers due to the war.” Apr 15, 2020

  • 1918 Flu Lessons

    Retired UMKC health sciences librarian was a guest on KCUR's Up To Date
    Apr 15, 2020

  • Therap Becomes First Technology Partner of the Charting the LifeCourse Nexus

    UMKC's Charting the LifeCourse tools available to electronically document the curriculum
    The UMKC Institute of Human Development (UMKC IHD), a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), has developed the Charting the LifeCourse (CtLC) framework and tools to help individuals and families of all abilities and ages develop visions for a good life, identify how to find and access supports, and discover how to live the lives they want to live. Yahoo News Apr 15, 2020

  • Kansas City Black Leaders Say COVID-19 Disparities Reflect Deep Inequities

    Data says Black Kansas City residents have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19
    Data is critical for public health, but Jannette Berkley-Patton, a professor at the UMKC School of Medicine, says it should be shared with local community leaders before being widely released. KCUR Apr 14, 2020

  • 8 Expert Tips for Parents Turned Teachers

    Award-winning alumna provides her favorite processes and resources for teaching at home
    On top of managing working at home, shopping online and keeping everyone healthy, many parents are now bearing the weight of teaching their children at home. Deborah Siebern-Dennis, B.A. ’05, a science teacher at Bode Middle School, was selected for a two-year teaching and learning project funded by the National Science Foundation in 2019. She has suggestions to make teaching at home a little easier. Parents have had a little time teaching at home now and many are discovering the challenges of keeping their children engaged and on task. What is one of your best tips to make the day go easier? I would recommend having a consistent structure that is similar to a classroom setup. With my experience, kids like routine and they feel most comfortable knowing what their learning day will look like with a set schedule. For example, I am currently Zooming with my students at the same time each day and I set up a science-learning schedule on Google Classroom. My students know when activities will be posted and when our interactive sessions will be. Consistency is key!   What kind of breaks make sense? Exercise? Dancing? Drawing? In the classroom, any brain break is good break! Since I teach middle school, my kids like to be active so we will do a cooperative activity or a student-led stretch. There is a lot of power in student choice, so I would recommend asking your child what he or she would like to do and don’t be afraid to join in on the fun! Being a goofball is fun!!   "Technology is a great learning tool when used with direction." - Deborah Sieburn-Dennis Any tips on tackling a student’s least favorite subject? First? Last? With rewards?  It is all about perspective! This would be a great opportunity to take one of those content areas that your child doesn’t enjoy as much and explore the possibilities. See if you could make some real-world connections. Go outside and explore some science or reflect on this experience with writing. The possibilities are endless!     What are your suggestions on how parents can juggle their children’s school work when they are working also?   I would go back to the scheduling. Kids are acclimated to a daily schedule, and I would recommend setting up a daily learning routine. All of the teachers that I know are working so hard right now at creating lessons and digital learning opportunities for their students that would work great with a parent’s busy schedule.  What’s the best plan of attack with subjects that aren’t the parent’s strong point?   Please reach out to your child’s teacher! We are here for all of our families and I can’t tell you how many parents and students that teachers have been helping since this pandemic has started. Teachers love to teach and we miss the classroom so very much, and I’m certain that your child’s teacher would love to help out in any way that that they can.   Can you suggest online resources that may be helpful with homework? I like Wide Open School. I’ve also recommended a document provided by Milken Educators - I was a 2015 Milken recipient - that is full of great resources.  Are there activities you could recommend that might be productive and/or educational when students are finished with their assigned tasks?   I’m a big fan of Quizizz Reviews. The parents can research a topic and assign the review as homework. I create my own assessments, but it’s a great resource for formative assessment data. I would also recommend iReady if it is used at your school.     Based on what we know about the effects of electronics - TV, gaming, etc. - what are your suggestions for limitations? And should they be used as a reward?   Technology is a great learning tool when used with direction. I teach at a 1:1 school (one device per student) and it is so valuable right now during this digital learning time. I would recommend that parents monitor their child’s device time and explore the possibilities together. It’s also a good idea to remind their child to be a responsible digital citizen. Apr 13, 2020

  • Clinical Training Without the Clinic

    Expanded telemedicine exercises help UMKC medical, nursing students keep learning
    When coronavirus precautions canceled hands-on clinical experiences for students, UMKC medical and nursing faculty and staff had to get creative. Their spring break turned into a fast break to create online replications of direct patient contact. A School of Medicine program switched its in-person patient contact modules to a telemedicine format. And the director of the School of Nursing and Health Studies’ simulation lab brought two high-tech manikins home with her, so students could still use them to learn, albeit remotely. As a result, half a dozen medical and nursing classes logged clinical training online, just in the first week after break, and that pace will pick up in weeks to come. Education on the line On April 2 and 3, 95 students in the UMKC nurse practitioner program interviewed and assessed 10 patients with varying health conditions, all without risking any contamination. That’s because all the interviews were done by video conference — telemedicine style — rather than in person. And their “patients” were from the School of Medicine’s Standardized Patient Program, which has 60 people trained as medical actors to present dozens of possible conditions to student learners. “Several training events had to be canceled in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 closures,” said Courtney McCain, the program coordinator. “Faculty members and I hurriedly emailed, phoned and Zoomed to come up with alternatives for our April events.” As a result, the students in the nursing school’s nurse practitioner program had video conferences with their “patients.” Then they were rated on how well they interviewed them and took their medical histories, and on how well they communicated with them. “Our standardized patients also are trained in constructively assessing how well the students communicate, which they will do after running through their scenario so the students can learn from these experiences,” McCain said. “Ordinarily, this exercise would have included a hands-on, physical exam. But we have modified its objectives to emphasize students’ ability to take a competent patient history and to communicate professionally.” There were some first-week glitches, as bandwidth bottlenecks and software quirks were discovered. But five students who submitted comments were all positive about the exercise, which let them see their patient’s chart well in advance, so they could be prepared for the examination. Two students, Tiffany Arnold and Abby Martens, said they had handled real telemedicine appointments shortly before campus shut down. The exercise “was very accurate, with no real difference from the visits I was doing in the last month,” Arnold said. Martens added, “I thought it was realistic. I worked with a physician one day a couple of weeks ago who did telehealth all day, and it was pretty similar.” Another classmate, Catharine Cooper, said, “My actor was fantastic as a patient and really seemed like patients that I have seen in clinic, when I was at clinic.” “This experience is helping us realize how much more we can do in a telemedicine setting. We’re growing our repertoire of simulations and possibilities.”— Courtney McCain McCain said some tweaks had been made after the first sessions, so things should go even better for the next large group of nurse-practitioner students who have a similar exercise. The first students for a revamped exercise in the School of Medicine program just happened to be from the nursing school, she said. The program is overseen by Emily Hillman, M.D., director of simulation for the UMKC Clinical Training Facility. Hillman, an assistant professor, earned her M.D. and a recent master’s in medical education from UMKC. Now she and other faculty are devising the online versions of fourth- and fifth-year medical students’ clinical experiences in family medicine, pediatrics, surgery and in-patient hospital visits and treatment. McCain has been with the Standardized Patient Program since 2011 and has seen the number of training scenarios it presents grow 450 percent. Now, as challenging as it is to shift all clinical training online, she sees an opportunity for more growth and creativity. A recent international webinar with other directors of standardized patient programs also gave her some more ideas and troubleshooting tips. “It’s been a crash-course in new technology, along with everything else. We are rapidly making lemonade,” McCain said. “This experience is helping us realize how much more we can do in a telemedicine setting. We’re growing our repertoire of simulations and possibilities, so if the COVID-19 closures continue, we’ll be in a good position to continue delivering scenarios to students so they’ll have minimal interruption in this portion of their studies.” Smart use of dummies Christine Zimmerman’s house recently added a couple of occupants, but she didn’t have to put them on her Census form. Her guests, one adult and one child, are manikins from the nursing school’s simulation lab. Nursing students normally spend hours in the school’s high-fidelity simulation lab, managing patients with complex clinical issues while practicing assessment and communication skills. When Zimmerman heard that access to campus buildings would be greatly restricted, she got the idea to set up a smaller version of the lab in her basement. “We have nine manikins, but I can adapt most simulations with these two,” said Zimmerman, who has a master’s in nursing education and a Ph.D. in nursing from UMKC, in addition to her R.N. “They breathe; they blink. They’re computer controlled. You can monitor their heartbeat and other vital signs.” Students can’t come to her house, but groups of around eight meet online and can see and guide Zimmerman’s assessment of the patients. Other simulation staff members are online, too, and can speak for the manikin as the students ask questions. The class members can discuss the case among themselves, but they have to be tactful about what they say in “earshot” of the patient. And if they decide medicines are needed in a particular scenario, they can make a virtual stop by a “meds station” Zimmerman has set up. There she can hold labels up to the camera so a student can verify that the right pharmaceutical is being dispensed. Zimmerman started the lab sessions the Tuesday after spring break and is running four or five a week, as she usually does when she has access to the full lab. “The sessions run either four hours or eight hours,” she said. “We cover a lot of ground, and I’m pleasantly surprised with how successful this transition has been.” Students agreed. Madison Putnam, a senior nursing student, said, “I am grateful UMKC and Dr. Zimmerman have found ways to continue to provide us nursing students as much ‘hands on’ education as possible.”  Natalie Patton, a junior said, “Dr. Zimmerman's recreation of SIM lab was amazing. And it was wonderful to work with more of my classmates than an in-person simulation would have provided. Though we had to take turns talking, the online format did not impede our communication at all, and we were able to efficiently work together and save the patient in crisis.” Zimmerman also said it was a bonus for her to have a whole group of students online so she can hear their discussion of cases, something she can’t normally do when a class huddles up out of her earshot. “If anything, they are more focused on the critical thinking and clinical evaluations they have to do,” Zimmerman said. “Of course, I’m sorry for the situation that makes all this necessary, but I enjoy the challenge and the need to take a creative approach to these challenges.” Apr 13, 2020

  • UMKC Coaches are Working Together to Conquer the Challenges Brought on by This Pandemic

    Coaches help athletes succeed by helping each other
    It’s a new time for college athletic programs, and UMKC Athletic Director Brandon Martin is trying to get creative, starting RISE Alliance, Roos Inspiring Success and Excellence. Fox4KC  Apr 13, 2020

  • UMKC Artists Featured in Kansas City FilmFest International

    Films are part of KCFFI’s Heartland Student lineup
    UMKC student Mayhrn Rose’s short film “My Sappho” is part of KCFFI’s Heartland Student lineup. UMKC graduates Paola Prada and Jackson Montemayor collaborated on “The Colombian,” another entry in KCFFI’s Heartland Student category. KCUR Apr 12, 2020

  • Veterans Of The AIDS Epidemic In Kansas City Have Advice For Coping During COVID-19

    UMKC archivast applies lessons learned from AIDS epidemic to COVID-19 pandemic
    The current COVID-19 pandemic reminds Stuart Hinds, archivist at UMKC Miller Nichols Library and head of the Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America (GLAMA), of AIDS in the 1980s. KCUR  Apr 11, 2020

  • Three Teams Advance To Pitch Competition Finals

    UMKC students will compete at UM System Entrepreneurship Quest Student Accelerator Pitch Competition
    Three UMKC student teams will compete against the top finalists from Mizzou, Missouri S&T and the University of Missouri-St. Louis in the University of Missouri System Entrepreneurship Quest Student Accelerator. The UMKC teams secured their spots in the March 25 competition. First place went to Genalytic. Second place went to Compost Collective KC. Third place went to Vest Heroes. The student entrepreneurs were all solving problems through their business ventures. UMKC, MU, S&T and UMSL held workshops during the fall semester that covered business models, venture pitching and the EQ application process. University representatives and community leaders chose the most promising applicants, who participated in a pitch competition to narrow the field to 10 semifinalists. Student teams chosen during the first competition had the opportunity to participate in an eight-week EQ educational program. The EQ program included workshops, mentoring, demo days and coaching from local entrepreneurs. The purpose is to help students research, develop and practice pitching their concepts based on feedback from business leaders, investors and subject-matter experts. At the end of the program each university held another pitch competition to choose three finalists and proceed to the EQ finals this week. Round one of the finals starts at 4 p.m. April 15. Twelve teams will present on Zoom to a panel of judges recruited by each school. The top three present again in round two at 1 p.m. April 16 for a different panel of judges. Winning UMKC Ventures Genalytic Greyson Twist, Ph.D., bioinformatics and computer science major, founded Genalytic. He describes Genalytic as a way to prescribe the right drug for each patient based on their genome. “Pharmacogenomics sounds, and is, really complicated; but the idea is that every time you take a new drug or combination of drugs, or even drugs and food, you toss the dice and hope you are going to be OK,” Twist said. “Usually you are, but sometimes the drug doesn't work. The drug makes you worse, or the drug kills you. We aim to fix that problem.” Twist left his job at Children’s Mercy a year and a half ago and started working on Genalytic full time. He considered using Genalytic for a PhD project only. But friends and family convinced him there was business value in his idea. At about the same time, Twist learned about the EQ program and decided to give it a try. The tag line he has been using is “putting the person back in personalized medicine.” “We have a very long way to go, but the EQ program is – was – the first step. And the support they have given me has really put wind in my sails to try and make this a reality,” Twist said. “If you have an idea or go to the EQ program, you literally have nothing to lose.” Compost Collective KC Kyle McAllister, business administration graduate student, leads Compost Collective KC. The company’s goal is to solve two fundamental problems. The first is a global issue. McAllister said food waste is a major threat to the environment and is produced in the United States at an alarming rate. Approximately 30% to 40% of all waste going to landfills in the U.S. is food. He said that equates to approximately 33 billion pounds of food in landfills per year. That volume would fill the entire Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, each day for an entire year. McAllister said food waste breaks down in a landfill without oxygen and, as a result, emits methane gas. Depending on the study, McAllister said methane gas has 25 to 84 times the climate-change impact than carbon dioxide. Given this issue, people are looking for more sustainable alternatives. McAllister cited a recent Yale study that found that 70% of Americans think environmental protection is more important than economic growth. McAllister believes Compost Collective KC can help solve a second problem – give people a simple way to have a positive environmental impact by composting.    Kyle’s partner is Meredith McAllister, co-founder. They are preparing for the April competition by incorporating feedback from the judges, practicing the pitch with their team and presenting to Kyle’s MBA class for feedback. “I've learned a lot! It's been a blast to participate and see some of the other really great ideas competing in the program,” McAllister said. “I've improved my presentation skills and the competition has also pushed us to think critically about our business, and that has helped us make some helpful decisions.” Vest Heroes When UMKC School of Medicine student Fahad Qureshi started shadowing physicians, he saw that surgical operations involving an X-ray or radioactive imaging technology often requires the health care professional to wear a lead vest and skirt. The equipment was very heavy, weighing between 30 and 69 pounds. Qureshi said surgeons complained of back pain and hindered operational mobility due to the excess weight. In addition, Qureshi said the pain worsened for physicians as they worked long surgeries and as they aged. To solve this problem, Qureshi realized he needed to add an engineering element to his medical background. He started an apprenticeship with a local engineer and learned how to work with his hands. Qureshi said his eyes were opened to the problem-solving nature of the field. He soon started constructing his own prototypes based on the action of pulleys and levers. The prototype consisted of a lead vest/skirt with a tether. This tether was hooked to a cord that ran to a small hook on a ceiling. Finally, the cord was connected to a weight that offset the weight of the vest. In this way, a simple pulley was created. He contacted an interventional nephrology practice in Chicago that uses radioactive imaging called A.I.N., who allowed him to build a model in the operating room with special sterile materials. Qureshi used a 50-pound weight to make a 60-pound vest and skirt feel like just 10 pounds. The physicians at the practice were astounded and asked for more, citing their immense need. “My preparation comes from trying to advance the company,” Qureshi said. “I’ve pitched the product to doctors in hospitals across the country, most notably at the Mayo Clinic. I intend to pitch the huge progress and real-world applicability.” “I have learned what it takes to build something, and this program has given me an opportunity to take an idea to a business,” Qureshi said. “I saw a problem when my childhood friend's passing was partially the result of pain and limited mobility of the physician wearing a heavy lead vest that complicated the operation. I saw an opportunity to create a solution. I want people to know that I, like every member of the health care team, want to serve patients better and help them achieve the longest, healthiest life possible,” Qureshi said. Apr 10, 2020

  • Arts and Sciences Alumna Leads Black Archives of Mid-America

    Carmaletta Williams shares some of the rich history housed in the archives
    Carmaletta Williams (B.A. ’87) serves as executive director of the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City. The archives are home to incredible artifacts documenting the social, economic, political and cultural histories of persons of African American descent in the central United States, with particular emphasis in the Kansas City, Missouri, region. Carmaletta Williams, B.A. '87 We spoke with her about what she wishes people knew about the archives and her favorite pieces among the exhibits. Tell us about your role as executive director at the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City. My role primarily is to keep the place afloat. That pertains to many levels: financially, educationally, exhibition-wise, public partner duties, arts advancement, personnel, programming and so many other duties. What’s something you’ve learned by working at the archives? I've learned that being the administrator at a museum or public organization is not a one-person job. It takes a crew with different skillsets, abilities, desires and commitments to make the Black Archives a rich, viable part of the Kansas City landscape. I would love to spend all my time taking people on tours and talking about the history of Black folks in Kansas City and, indeed, in this country, but that is not possible. I learned that my efforts are better directed towards financial management e.g., fundraising, paying bills, writing grant proposals, etc. What is something you wished people knew about the archives? I wish people knew that there is an active (except in the age of quarantine) Black Archives with a wonderful Ewing Marion Kauffman Exhibition Hall. The fixed exhibition in that hall chronicles the establishment of Kansas City through the lives of the African Americans who worked toward building lives and culture for their families and their communities. I wish people knew that those early actions frame today's Kansas City. I wish people knew that we are building another exhibition in the area that houses Lucy's cabin, the home of an enslaved woman in Trenton, Missouri, that will pay honor to the victims of racial lynching. Charles Swayze, a talented, young African American artist is creating a wall-sized mural for that exhibition. Lucy's cabin in the Black Archives of Mid-America. I wish people knew that women's professional basketball began in Kansas City with the Women's Basketball Association, started by Lightning Mitchell. The Black Archives houses their Hall of Fame as a permanent exhibition.  I wish people knew that we are a beautiful facility with spaces that we rent to people, groups and organizations throughout the area. We also provide a wide array of educational programs, including workshops on mental health with Dr. Erica Thompson and on legal issues with the Jackson County Bar Association. Additionally, we host poetry readings, book signings, fitness workshops, musical presentations and more. Painting of Henrietta Lacks on display in the Black Archives of Mid-America. Favorite artifact, document or photo in the collection? I have many "favorites" in the Black Archives. I love the poster-sized picture of Fannie Lou Hamer, the woman who made history by saying she was "sick and tired of being sick and tired." Another favorite is the picture of our founder Horace M Peterson III. Sadly, it hangs next to his obituary. Eva McGhee's gift of a portrait of Henrietta Lacks brings joy to me and the Research and Reading Room. I smile in every room of that space because the Archives is filled with history, art, music, culture, poetry, literature, business, and all those elements that create communities. How can people support the Black Archives during this time? People can support the Black Archives during this time by making donations online. When you visit our website, be sure to scan through our holdings. We are developing programs that can be accessed online and are eager to hear what community members want from us. Apr 09, 2020

  • School of Computing and Engineering Recognizes Alumni and Friends for Supporting STEM in KC

    KC Water, Prep KC, two SCE Alumni are among this year’s Vanguard Award recipients
    From donors to student mentors to community partners, the role of alumni and friends is essential to furthering the mission of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and its School of Computing and Engineering. The annual SCE Vanguard Awards is an opportunity to spotlight those who help expand STEM education and outreach in Kansas City. “This is a great opportunity for us to recognize the key role that our alumni, corporate and community supporters play in making the School of Computing and Engineering the success that it is today. This group of honorees is just a small depiction of the outstanding leaders in engineering that we have the opportunity to connect with every day,” said Kevin Z. Truman, dean of the School of Computing and Engineering. This year the school will recognize four honorees in the categories of SCE Young Alumni Award, SCE Supporter Award, STEM Outreach Partner and Organization of the Year. 2020 SCE Vanguard Award Recipients Young Alumni Award: George White, Jr., BSCE ‘13, civil engineer, GLMV Architecture George White, Jr., SCE Alumni Association director-at-large and Engineers Without Borders mentor, has a knack for giving back. Heavily involved in the Kansas City community, White is a staunch supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City, Christmas in October and other mentoring programs that affect underrepresented youth. As a civil engineer at GLMV Architecture, White’s primary role consists of business development and engineering site design for facilities, though he takes great pride in his responsibility to apply his skills to the greater good. SCE Supporter of the Year: Sherry Lumpkins, BACS ’93, principal, Blue Symphony Lumpkins’ dedication to STEM education, community service and the School of Computing and Engineering is demonstrated though her company and her personal volunteer activities. Lumpkins has served as a UMKC Legacy Summit Leadership Conference Workshop facilitator, KC STEM Alliance Girls In Tech Hour of Code volunteer and a panelist for Computer Science Teacher Mentor Day hosted by KC STEM Alliance, Science City, Project Lead The Way and the KC Tech Council. As an African American female owner of an information technology firm, Sherry Lumkins is a prime example of the value that women and people of color bring to STEM. Since 2017, Lumpkins has employed six School of Computing and Engineering interns, three of which she currently employs, showing a commitment to improve students’ education through valuable hands-on experiences in STEM. Outreach Partner of the Year: PREP-KC The mission of PREP-KC is to develop leverage and deploy resources to improve Kansas City’s urban and regional educational outcomes by strengthening relationship between students, teachers and parents and by improving teaching learning. Founded in 2006 as Kansas City’s leading urban education intermediary, Prep-KC aims to improve college readiness and access to high-quality employment for more than 60,000 students and families served by six of Kansas City’s bi-state urban school districts. PREP-KC has several STEAM partnerships where students are earning Market Value Assets, industry-recognized and valuable skills that help students transition more seamlessly from high school to college and career. Organization of the Year: KC Water KC Water is committed to providing excellent water, wastewater and stormwater services that ensure the health and safety of half a million Kansas City residents while safeguarding regional water resources for future generations. In order to maintain this commitment to customers and community, KC Water has a long-standing reputation of recruiting and retaining a workforce consisting of several graduates of the School of Computing and Engineering. Currently, there are nearly a dozen UMKC graduates in KC Water’s engineering department. One notable employee is John Hitson, a 2018 UMKC mechanical engineering graduate who serves as a Project Manager on KC Water’s Wastewater Systems team. In his first nine months, Hitson has been assigned several infrastructure-improvement projects. Specifically, he is serving as a project manager of a critical repair project on a 12-foot diameter brick arch sewer that failed in the West Bottoms and created a sinkhole in the summer of 2019. The School of Computing and Engineering recently announced a partnership with KC Water and other stakeholders – including FEMA, Unified Government and the Army Corps of Engineers — to launch the Center for Urban Stormwater Research, a research consortium focused on tackling urban flooding in Kansas City. Plans to formally recognize the 2020 Vanguard Award recipients will be announced at a later date. Apr 09, 2020

  • UMKC Professor Talks Presidents and Pandemics

    Max Skidmore weighs in on the COVID-19 pandemic and politics
    Max Skidmore, a political science professor, says President Donald Trump’s long-standing high metabolism for controversy and scandalvmake him uniquely positioned to take advantage of a deadly pandemic in ways that previous presidents would never have considered. Washington Post Apr 09, 2020

  • COVID-19 Affecting Missouri Race for Governor

    Political science professor talks about state officials response to the pandemic
    Greg Vonnahme, professor of political science, talks about comments made by candidates in the Missouri governor's race about the state's response to COVID-19. KFVS Apr 08, 2020

  • UMKC Pharmacy Faculty Member Working to Improve Animal and Human Health

    Emma Stafford, Pharm.D., is part of the One Health initiative, exploring the links between animal health and human health
    A world thrown into the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic is discovering the harsh reality of a shared environment where animal health and human health are intertwined. More than half of all infections and diseases contracted by humans can be spread by animals. In fact, in the United States alone, tens of thousands of people each year fall ill from diseases spread by animals. At the UMKC School of Pharmacy, Emma Stafford, Pharm.D., is working on a Centers for Disease Control initiative that is also at the forefront of BioNexus KC to address those concerns. One Health is a collaborative of researchers and health care providers in human and veterinary medicine working together to improve the health of people and animals. “One Health is the idea that human and non-human species and the environment all play off of one another,” Stafford said. “We each have similar issues that can definitely have a massive effect on one another. COVID-19 is an unfortunate, but a good example of that. What we’re seeing right now is a virus that previously infected bats and has now been able to spill over or jump to humans.” She explained that environment plays an important role in One Health as well, particularly in regard to our food sources. The COVID-19 virus that reportedly began from people in China eating infected bats is a prime example of the effect of interaction between environment, animals and humans on our human health, Stafford said. “A lot of the concerns for those spillovers of diseases from animals to humans do come from countries like China where they eat lot of what we would consider non-traditional animals,” Stafford said. Stafford is part of a select group of pharmacists trained in veterinary medicine. A member of the Veterinary Hospital Pharmacists, she is also one of only 28 pharmacists in the country with Diplomate status in the International College of Veterinary Pharmacy. “One Health is the idea that human and non-human species and the environment all play off of one another. We each have similar issues that can definitely have a massive effect on one another. COVID-19 is an unfortunate, but a good example of that." - Emma Stafford After joining the UMKC pharmacy faculty in December, she is currently working on establishing a laboratory to expand the research she began a few years ago as a clinical veterinary pharmacy resident at North Carolina State. She is also working to add two new veterinary electives to the UMKC School of Pharmacy curriculum. A part-time retail pharmacist in Kansas City, Stafford is expanding her comparative medicine research, a multi-institution effort that is evaluating the presence of autoantibodies, commonly seen in human diseases, in dogs with neurologic disease. “If we can develop drugs to help these animals, we can also help move human drugs forward faster,” Stafford said. “That’s where being a pharmacist trained in veterinary medicine, as very few of us are, have such a unique role. I describe it as being a conduit between the human and the animal world or between a physician and a veterinarian. You can straddle both worlds and help them both.” Stafford is working with research colleagues at UMKC, Kansas State University and North Carolina State to create a unique information sharing initiative that could potentially save pharmaceutical companies time and money in their research and development. The DrugAssist database is designed to bring together those companies on the animal side of pharmaceuticals to share information regarding tested drugs that were not approved and the accumulated data that wasn’t used or required to report in order to receive approval. The hope is that those companies would share their previously unreported data in a central repository through a process that would protect their intellectual property. Such a database of information could potentially save companies millions of dollars and enormous amounts of time duplicating tests that have already been tried and failed for one reason or another. If the group can get animal pharmaceutical companies to respond in a positive manner, the next step, Stafford said, would be to get pharmaceutical companies for human drugs on board with the information sharing platform. “There’s a lot of good data and information out there,” Stafford said. “If all that data can be brought together with everybody contributing to a central repository, we can use that information to develop better drugs, more effective drugs, and save a lot of money.” Apr 07, 2020

  • Students, Faculty Staying Together While Kept Apart

    UMKC makes sure students who couldn’t travel home have musical instruments for practice
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory checked out percussion instruments and moved electronic pianos from its keyboard labs into the apartments and dormitories of remaining students so they could continue to practice and take their online lessons. Classical Voice North America Apr 07, 2020

  • What We Know About COVID-19, and What We Don't

    School of Medicine dean is an infectious disease specialist
    Dr. Mary Anne Jackson spoke on KCUR radio about the novel coronavirus circulating the globe, how it spreads, how to keep it from spreading and how to reduce one's chances of getting infected. Apr 07, 2020

  • KC Roos' Ericka Mattingly Receives Sports Commission Award

    KC Roos basketball player is program's first winner of the conference's top award
    Kansas City Roos senior guard Ericka Mattingly, the Western Athletic Conference MVP, was named Sportswoman of the year.  Kansas City Star (subscription required) Apr 07, 2020

  • Nominations Open for Annual Pride Awards

    Awards recognize individuals who have contributed to the betterment of the UMKC LGBTQIA+ community
    The Pride Awards recognize outstanding individuals who have contributed to the betterment of the university’s LGBTQIA+ community through education, support, programming or activism. These awards honor those who have contributed to the areas of service and outreach and establishing a safer, more welcoming environment at UMKC. Nominations for the following Pride Awards will be accepted through Friday, April 24, 2020. Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award Recognizes LGBTQIA+ or ally faculty or staff who contribute to a positive campus climate for LGBTQIA+ individuals. This may be through offering LGBTQIA inclusive curriculum, expanding LGBT research in their discipline, challenging and working to improve campus policies and climate or proving thoughtful and inclusive programming.  Jim Wanser Award This award recognizes an individual who has volunteered hours of service to the UMKC LGBTQIA+ community or the greater Kansas City LGBTQIA+ community. This person has gone above and beyond in helping to create a better community for all, and has served as a model of excellence for establishing community and volunteering.  Rising Star Award Recognizes one area high school student whose leadership and service have resulted in a tangible gain for LGBTQIA+ students (such as a Gay/Straight Alliance), or whose energies have created a more friendly, inclusive environment at their high school. Outstanding Alum Recognizes one UMKC alum who works toward fostering an inclusive community at UMKC or in the community in which they live and work. Their commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community serves as a model for current and future UMKC alumni.  Collaborative Excellence Award Recognizes departments whose collaborative efforts have resulted in new or improved resources and services for LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, staff or community members. LGBTQIA Student of the Year Recognizes one student for outstanding leadership, dedication, and service within the university or community, that has resulted in new or revitalized resources, services, or programs for the LGBTQIA+ community. This individual serves as a role model for their peers, and demonstrates a commitment to queer leadership, advocacy, activism, or education. Read more about each award and submit a nomination Apr 06, 2020

  • International Student Ambassador Shares His Experiences in Self-Quarantine

    Engineering major Joshua Koni is coping with the challenges
    As students and faculty are adjusting to online classes, socially isolating and the advantages and challenges of learning and socializing via Zoom, Joshua Koni, a current international student ambassador had to make the decision to stay in Kansas City or return to his home in Cameroon in central Africa. He decided to stay and is making adjustments as he juggles school and the separation from his family and friends. How have you been adjusting during the transition? I am trying to stay positive. My situation could be so much worse. I was in an apartment with a roommate and I had about a week to decide if I should go home, stay with my roommate or move in with my host family. I’ve known them for the last five years and they are great. It was hard to know what to do, but I decided to stay with my host family. Now I’m living in a house with nine people. How have you been managing? It’s been fine. For a while, we were taking turns going to the grocery store, so we had the opportunity to get out a little. But as we had more information we were concerned about the virus spreading further with the more people who are out. Now we’re having groceries delivered and are pretty much home all the time. Being isolated is challenging. How are you handling it? Mostly, I feel very lucky. Some international students could not find families to stay with in the United States. Online school and Zoom classes are a significant adjustment. "It was hard to know what to do, but I decided to stay with my host family. Now I'm living in a house with nine people." - Joshua Koni What’s working for you? First of all, I’m glad we have Zoom! It’s been a good tool for me and I am mostly finding the resources that I need. I know that some of my teachers are using Zoom for the first time. We are all working through the challenges. What’s the biggest adjustment? The lack of interaction is difficult. Sometimes I am recording classes and watching them later. It gives me the opportunity to move through things I know and focus on new information. What’s your most significant personal challenge outside of school? Isolation from my fellow students and friends. A lot of my friends are international students who went home, but I was able to talk to one of my friends who had gone back to France. She said she’s also struggling with motivation. Does the situation make you anxious? Yes. It’s especially difficult because we don’t know how long we’ll be in this situation. I know it’s been hard for some of my friends to stay home and isolate. Spring break – when we did not have classes – was even more challenging.  "I think we need to remember that we are in this together."- Joshua Koni How are you managing that anxiety? Part of it is just not having enough to do to stay busy. I play guitar and I’ve been coloring this map, which has been a good way to spend time. I’m not much of a gamer, but I am giving it a try with my host family. It’s a good way to spend time with them. I’m in touch with my family back home, which also helps. They are doing well. They haven’t had the order to stay home, so their life isn’t that different.  You were responsible for volunteers for Culture Night, one of the largest events, this year. It must have been disappointing when that had to be cancelled. Yes, it was something that I really enjoyed doing. It seemed like a full-time job planning it, but it felt good to be a contact person for the new students. A lot of students – not just international students – look forward to the festival. But once we became aware of how things were escalating in New York, we were concerned about the number of people who might be exposed. We are hoping we will be able to reschedule early in the fall semester next year. We haven’t gotten a decision on that, but that would be ideal. You are in a safe place and have good support systems. Do you have any advice for other students on handling this situation? I think it’s good to be conscious that this is a hard time. Sometimes I feel guilty in one sense – because I had options – but I am so grateful. I think we need to remember that we are in this together. It’s been great to see the emergency funds that the university and the Student Government Association have raised. People shouldn’t hesitate to take advantage of those if they need them. And I think it’s a good idea to have fun when you can. There’s nothing wrong with a virtual happy hour! My hope for other students is to remain positive and hopeful during this time, find something to do in addition to doing schoolwork and stay connected with organizations. Video call friends and family members, get enough sleep, work out with a friend virtually, start a puzzle or board game, paint something, play an instrument, bake some bread. Above all, play your part in slowing the spread of the virus by washing hands and staying home. Apr 06, 2020

  • UMKC to Conduct Virtual Commencement in May

    Students will also have opportunity for-in person celebration in December
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City is planning a virtual commencement for May graduates, with details to be influenced by a survey of graduates and their families. The decision is in keeping with the announcement by the University of Missouri System that all four UM universities were postponing in-person spring commencement exercises, with each university making individual plans to celebrate graduates. UMKC will conduct a two-pronged commencement celebration, with May graduates invited to participate in both the virtual commencement in May and to walk the stage in traditional cap and gown in December. All students who completed requirements for graduation will still have degrees conferred upon the regular schedule.  In a letter to pending graduates and their families from Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and Interim Provost Jenny Lundgren, they said: “We know what a treasured tradition and milestone commencement is for our graduates who have worked long and hard for their diplomas. At the same time, we must address the need to keep our campus community, as well as our graduates’ families and loved ones, safe and healthy.” “In May, we fully intend to find a fun, creative way to celebrate graduation and commencement virtually, with survey input from our graduates,” they wrote. “In December 2020, we also will plan to host our biggest in-person commencement celebration ever, inviting May and December grads to march across the stage and receive their diplomas.” The campus is planning virtual ceremonies for each school with recorded speakers, special mailings, messages and more to ensure students have a celebration worthy of their accomplishment. Apr 02, 2020

  • COVID-19 Gives Kansas City's Student Teachers A Crash Course In How To Run Online Classrooms

    Even though they can't physically come to school, they can still feel part of the community
    UMKC's Moriah Stonehocker, a student teacher at J. A Rogers Elementary in Kansas City Public Schools, and Jennifer Waddell, director of the Institute for Urban Education at UMKC, were interviewed on KCUR regarding teaching in online classrooms. Apr 02, 2020

  • Digital Sandbox Welcomes Four New Companies

    Program has funded 129 projects, helped create more than 65 companies
    DigitalSandbox KC awards grants to early-stage entrepreneurs and connects them with mentors and other resources to transform ideas into viable businesses. "Now, more than ever, we need to support our early-stage companies with programs like Digital Sandbox KC," Jill Meyer, senior director of technology ventures at the UMKC Innovation Center. Kansas City Business Journal Startland News Apr 01, 2020

  • UMKC Researcher Awarded $3.3 Million Grant to Prevent Diabetes

    Jannette Berkley-Patton will focus on overcoming health barriers with African Americans
    The National Institutes of Health awarded a $3.3 million grant to Jannette Berkley-Patton, professor, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, to help improve diabetes prevention outcomes with African Americans. “This is an extension of what we’ve been doing in the School of Medicine with Project FIT, which stands for Faith Influencing Transformation” says Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., director of the UMKC Health Equity Institute and the Community Health Research Group. With Project FIT, nearly 900 people have participated in the program and more than 200 medical, physician assistant, nursing and health studies and psychology students have been trained as FIT health coaches to help deliver the program. At UMKC, Berkley-Patton has won other significant grants that focus on improving the health of African Americans, and each centers on health inequities and community-engaged research with African American community-based organizations, including places of worship because of their cultural importance. This new five-year grant, which starts on April 1, will include similar strategies. To date, Berkley-Patton’s work has been supported by more than $10 million in federal grants over the past 14 years. The grant will tailor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, an evidence-based lifestyle change intervention, with 360 African American pre-diabetic participants recruited from Truman Medical Centers. The program includes 22 group sessions that take place over one year and primarily focuses on eating healthier and exercising regularly. Preventing diabetes can help stave off other associated chronic health issues including blindness, kidney failure and heart disease.  People who participate in the CDC program aim to lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight and exercise 150 minutes per week, which have been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 60 percent. The program has also been found to outperform pre-diabetes drugs such as Metformin. However, African Americans typically don’t fare as well, especially women and those with low incomes. Some of the issues include barriers such as cost of the program, transportation, childcare, access to healthy food and places to exercise. These barriers are often referred to as social determinants of health. “With the grant, we’re trying to address every barrier related to social determinants,” Berkley-Patton said. “The most successful outcomes are correlated with attending the sessions – the more sessions attended, the better the outcomes.”  The grant will support linking Truman Medical Centers patients to FIT Diabetes Prevention Program classes in their home communities via church, community center or neighborhood association settings. The program will be culturally-tailored for African American adults. The program is at no cost to the participant – typically it costs $450 per year. In addition to Truman Medical Centers, program partners include several urban Kansas City churches, Calvary Outreach Network, YMCA, Chestnut Resource Center, KC Care Health Center, Children’s Mercy and the University of Kansas. Although the grant begins this week during a pandemic that has Americans sheltering in place and working from home, the first year of the grant is a planning year. “With this grant, we are looking forward to further refining our current Project FIT program to have trained UMKC students and community members working side-by-side as FIT coaches,” says Carole Bowe Thompson, project director, UMKC Community Health Research Group. The program will be launched by this time next year. “We are looking forward to getting started,” Berkley-Patton said. “We want to show participants that here’s a premiere program designed just for you.” Mar 31, 2020

  • A Pioneer Woman in Medicine

    Marjorie Sirridge, M.D., was a champion for women in medicine and a fixture at the UMKC School of Medicine
    In recognition of Women’s History Month, we are recounting the impact of women in STEM at UMKC. A deep appreciation for medical humanities and an emphasis on empathy and compassion for her patients were hallmarks of Marjorie Sirridge, M.D. They are also bedrocks of the curriculum at the UMKC School of Medicine, where Sirridge was a fixture from time of its inception until her death. Sirridge earned her medical degree in 1944, graduating first in her class from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. She dropped out of medicine for a time when told it was improper for women to become pregnant while doing their post-graduate residency. She later returned to medicine and had worked for more than a decade in private practice and on faculty at the University of Kansas School of Medicine when she and her husband, William, received a new calling. They were recruited to serve as two of the three founding docents for the new University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine when the School opened in 1971. Sirridge spent the remainder of her career in numerous leadership roles at the school including a tenure as dean. While serving as a docent, Sirridge established the UMKC Program for Women in Medicine to help female students and physicians succeed in a male-dominated system. Due in part to her influence, the UMKC School of Medicine boasts one of the highest rates of female students among the country’s co-educational medical schools. Longtime School of Medicine Dean Betty M. Drees, M.D., remarked following Sirridge’s death in 2014 at the age of 92, how Sirridge had enriched those around her. “We have all been extremely privileged to have worked with Dr. Sirridge for many years and have been enriched by her tremendous wisdom and guidance,” Drees said. “Her contributions to the School of Medicine are many and are sure to have a lasting and positive impact on future generations of physicians.” Sirridge was honored in 2010 by the Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine with the Alma Dea Morani, M.D., Renaissance Woman Award. In 2003, the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NLM) created a traveling exhibit called Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating American Women Physicians. Sirridge was one of the pioneering women included in the exhibit that now exists online to honor the achievements of women who excelled in their medical careers. Marjorie and William Sirridge endowed the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Marjorie Sirridge became its first director in 1992, building a program of courses in medicine and the humanities that other medical schools in the country have copied. She later endowed a professorship in medical humanities. In 2011, the Kansas University Women in Medicine and Science organization established the annual Marjorie S. Sirridge, M.D., Excellence in Medicine and Science Award. “There have been many ups and downs,” Sirridge said in her Changing the Face of Medicine biography. “But I have never felt that I made the wrong decision when I decided to be a physician.” Mar 31, 2020

  • UMKC Researcher Helped Lead Studies Published in New England Journal of Medicine

    John Spertus is renowned for his work in cardiac outcomes
    UMKC School of Medicine researcher John Spertus, M.D., M.P.H., is part of two large NIH-funded clinical studies published Monday, March 30, in the New England Journal of Medicine. The studies indicate eliminating unnecessary surgeries for cardiac patients could save the United States hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Spertus serves as professor of medicine and is the Daniel J. Lauer, M.D., Endowed Chair in Metabolism and Vascular Disease Research at the School of Medicine, and Clinical Director of Outcomes Research at Saint Luke’s Hospital. The studies looked specifically at coronary-artery disease patients who had high-risk blockages with at least 10 percent or more of the heart muscle being at risk. One focused on patients with preserved kidney function and the other targeted patients with end-stage kidney failure. That latter group has largely been excluded from almost all cardiovascular trials, despite having a high prevalence of coronary artery disease and death, Spertus said. Both studies, conducted in unison, examined the most important outcomes for patients, hospital visits (including heart attacks and death) and patients’ symptoms, function and quality of life. Participants were randomized to undergo invasive angiography and surgeries with aggressive medical therapy or aggressive medical therapy alone. The goals of the medical treatment were cholesterol reduction, blood pressure control, aspirin and medications to treat chest pain. The studies in patients with preserved kidney function showed that invasive medical procedures provided no reduction in hospital visits, but did improve patients’ symptoms and quality of life, if they had chest pain within a month of entering the trial. These health status benefits were evident within three months and sustained out to four years. “Importantly, this benefit was only observed in patients who had angina, chest pain, and not in asymptomatic patients,” Spertus said. “There is no indication for these procedures in patients whose symptoms are well-controlled with medications alone. If we avoided revascularization in asymptomatic patients, we could potentially save about $500 million to $750 million a year in the United States alone.” Among patients with very severe kidney disease, there was no significant difference in hospital visits or in patients’ symptoms and quality of life.  “While disappointing, this is a very ill patient population for whom an aggressive, invasive treatment strategy does not seem to offer much benefit,” Spertus said. The NEJM published four papers from these two studies, one for each trial focusing on the clinical events and another for each trial focusing on the quality of life outcomes. Spertus was involved in writing all four and is the lead author on the two quality of life papers. He and his team designed, analyzed and led the health status, quality of life components of both trials. Spertus is the author of the Seattle Angina Questionnaire (SAQ) that used in the studies. It is widely recognized throughout the world as the gold standard for quality of life measurement in cardiac medicine. “Our group has led its use and analyses in multiple studies and quality improvement efforts,” Spertus said. “In light of these findings, the SAQ may start becoming a routine part of clinical care in cardiology.” Mar 30, 2020

  • How Sam Humphreys overcame one of the most challenging college careers ever

    Cancer and then a cancelled senior season couldn't keep the resilient UMKC golfer down.
    From a last-minute scholarship to a cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy and then coronavirus precautions cutting his last season short, the UMKC golfer's story took many twists and turns. "You just have to keep a positive mindset and have faith," he said, "succeed and have fun every single day because you never know what’s going to happen." Read the Golf Channel's profile of Sam. Mar 28, 2020

  • Luke Bryan Steps Up for UMKC Students

    Country music superstar makes gift to student emergency fund
    Country music superstar Luke Bryan has donated $8,000 to a new emergency fund set up to help students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City cover unexpected expenses related to returning home, food, housing and other issues stemming from the coronavirus epidemic. The donation came from the proceeds from Bryan’s annual Farm Tour. Bryan typically makes contributions to colleges and universities near Farm Tour stops. Bryan was scheduled to perform at a farm in Louisburg, Kansas in October 2019, but the concert was moved to the Sprint Center due to weather issues. “UMKC is extremely grateful for the gift provided by the Luke Bryan Farm Tour in helping launch our emergency support for our students,” said Lisa B. Baronio, chief advancement officer and UMKC Foundation president. “Luke Bryan represents the values of many in the Heartland and has always generously supported the communities where he has performed. “Many of our students are strongly impacted by this pandemic and are in need of resources such as food, funds to travel home, and even support to pay their bills,” Baronio continued. “Students often work in the service industries that have shut down, including restaurants and retail stores, and need your help. Within the first 24 hours of launching this site, multiple students have reached out asking how they can apply for a micro-grant. We encourage you to do what you can to help our students during this challenging time.” Bryan has been named "Entertainer of the Year" by both the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Country Music Association. Learn more about donating to the Student Emergency Fund. If you're a student who is in need of aid, learn more about how to apply for emergency funding.  Mar 27, 2020

  • Stay at Home Orders Have Noticeable Impact on Pollution

    Caroline Davies, head of Environmental Studies at UMKC, said there has been a change in pollution.
    “If there’s a bright side to this pandemic, it’s I think we can learn a lot about climate change and how to address it,” Davies said. “Because, until now, there’s been no urgency the way a pandemic has a whole lot of urgency.” Catch her interview with KCTV-5 here.   Mar 27, 2020

  • Engineering Alumnus Uses Tech Experiences to Track COVID-19

    Riddhiman Das (B.S.C.S ’12, M.S.C.S. '19) is part of a Kansas City team developing White House-endorsed app designed to track users’ locations
    From student entrepreneur to product architect for Kansas City’s renowned EyeVerify (now Zoloz) to co-founder and CEO of six-month old digital startup TripleBlind, School of Computing and Engineering graduate Riddhiman Das has set off on yet another groundbreaking venture that, this time, could help solve the global COVID-19 pandemic. The seven-member TripleBlind startup was recently featured in Startland News following the White House’s expected endorsement of a new coronavirus tracking app, Private Kit, they designed to help the government keep tabs on where the contagious disease is spreading while maintaining the privacy of everyday citizens. “Solutions for COVID-19 are top-down. The government wants to track everything from where you’ve been to who you’ve encountered, but that can be overreaching,” Das said. “Our team wanted to install citizen-first private tracking to keep users’ data private while still helping to track the virus.” Private Kit is a voluntary app that smartphone users can install to track where they’ve been in recent days without having to rely solely on their memories. Should they need to get tested, they can choose to make their data available for health experts to determine if they need to test others as well. Das said the added benefit of the app is that if users decide not to download it immediately, they can do so later and allow it to import their location data from Google or Apple maps applications. In addition to the White House, foreign governments around the globe are also endorsing the use of Private Kit, as well as, the city of Kansas City, Missouri; Boston; Washington, D.C.; the World Health Organization; the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control. TripleBlind enables entities to safely provide and consume sensitive data and algorithms in encrypted space, without compromising privacy or security. The company worked on 100% of Private Kit’s development until recently when they began working with students from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help bring the app to life. Das credits his career successes to his student experiences at UMKC. “UMKC has been phenomenal,” Das said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for Bloch E-Scholars or the skills I learned at the School of Computing and Engineering and Zoloz, which also started at UMKC.” His advice for students following his footsteps? “Optimize your resume. Do a lot of internships. And a variety of them so that you can diversify your experiences.” Mar 26, 2020

  • UMKC School of Education Launches Major Expansion and Fundraising Efforts

    The Institute for Urban Education kicked off a $15 million capital campaign to help support enrollment growth and programming additions for student...
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education is launching major efforts to expand its Institute for Urban Education, which prepares students and teachers for success in urban classrooms. The institute recently kicked off a $15 million capital campaign with support of the newly appointed Dean's Fundraising Council, co-chaired by Leo Morton, UMKC chancellor emeritus and DeBruce Companies COO; and Jerry Reece, former CEO of Kansas City real estate agency ReeceNichols. The $15 million campaign aims to support enrollment growth, programming additions and staff support for the Institute for Urban Education as it works to address the need for more highly motivated, exemplary teachers in K-12 classrooms in greater Kansas City area school districts. Programming additions include: Adding a graduate education component to the Institute for Urban Education's existing undergraduate program Opportunities for career changes — the Master of Arts in Teaching, a four-semester program for people with bachelor's degrees in any area interested in teaching Additional services to partner schools, professional development in diversity, equity and inclusion and culturally relevant instruction, masters degrees and certifications Enrollment-growth tactics include: Grow Your Own: a comprehensive approach to developing pipeline programs for future Institute for Urban Education students/teachers in local K-12 schools. The program aims to add more teachers of color, particularly males, who view urban education as a social justice profession. Expanded scholarship opportunities, including the Sherman Scholars program, which will provide more than 150, $15,000 annual scholarships over five years to support students in both graduate and undergraduate teacher prep programs. Staffing additions: new associate director for urban education, 2.5 staff coordinators and a recruiter “Supporting urban education continues to be a top priority for UMKC,” said Justin Perry, dean of the UMKC School of Education. “The expansion of the Institute for Urban Education provides us unique opportunities to help address the teacher shortage in Kansas City, and help place more well-equipped teachers in classrooms who reflect the population of the students they serve. We are excited to continue working with our partner schools as we support our community's efforts to shape the future of the Kansas City education system it deserves.” The institute partners with the following greater Kansas City school districts to develop pipeline programs for future teachers: Kansas City Public Schools, Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, Center School District and Hickman Mills School District Founded in 2005, the Institute for Urban Education prepares and supports teachers for success in urban classrooms by focusing on social justice, multicultural education, diversity and equity. The institute has remained a locally focused program, recruiting students from neighboring communities who want to remain in the greater Kansas City area for their careers. Mar 26, 2020

  • Unemployment Claims Skyrocket Because of COVID-19 Outbreak

    UMKC associate professor of finance says, “I think in the short term, the unemployment numbers are probably going to get worse before they get bett...
    Nathan Mauck of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management says consumers could be cautious about spending after the pandemic ends. See his interview with KMBC here. Mar 26, 2020

  • Once a High School Dropout, UMKC Alumna Leads the San Francisco Fed

    Mary Daly's bachelor’s degree in economics and philosophy from UMKC helped turn her life around. Master's and doctorate degrees followed.
    Now leading the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, Daly credits a counselor and a teacher who both believed in her with putting her on the road to success. She wants to use her position to level the playing field for women in economics and all Americans in every field. Read InStyle's profile of her here. Mar 26, 2020

  • On A Mission: Personal Protective Equipment for Those on the Front Line

    So far, UMKC has found and donated needed PPE to area hospitals
    The need for personal protective equipment — called PPE — is one of the most serious challenges facing healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every healthcare institution in the U.S. has a critical shortage of PPE and no help is on the way in terms of federal stock to replenish the supply. The call to inventory PPE at other sites that have available stock is one way to provide the help needed by hospitals, and that is why the University of Missouri-Kansas City is on a mission to find and share currently unused PPE. In the latest development in this ongoing effort, the UMKC-based Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation has obtained a donation of 2,000 critically needed face masks from a partner organization in China.  “Since 1974, the Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation has worked to promote friendship and understanding between the U.S. and China. During the current pandemic, at a challenging time for both nations, it is truly meaningful and gratifying for us to learn that our partner organization in Shanghai has generously donated protective face masks to the founda