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UMKC Honors Top Class of 2020 Graduates

Seniors recognized through social and multimedia in lieu of annual commencement events
Photo of Marriott Holtel in downtown Kansas City lit up blue and gold with ROOS on the outside of the building

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 Medicine
Nominated 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

 


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