April

  • A Tour of Sculpture Art at UMKC

    Beautiful exterior art abounds on the Volker and Health Sciences campuses
    Steel. Bronze. Terra Cotta. Strong mediums turned into three-dimensional works of art continue to inspire at the UMKC campuses. The Roo statue is just the start of what you can see on a walk around campus. Look a little closer, and you can see the history behind them, too. President Truman bust It’s true that President Harry S. Truman studied law at UMKC in the 1920s, but he did not graduate from the program. He was, however, awarded an honorary doctorate when he returned to Kansas City in 1945. Two years later, Mexican President Miguel Alemán was given the same honor. As a gift to the university, he brought a bronze bust of President Truman in academic regalia, posed from the previous ceremony. Check out the bust in the Truman Courtyard at the School of Law. Playhouse patio At one time, the Playhouse patio served as a lobby for an operational playhouse. The physical building was an army surplus movie theatre from World War II. The masks of comedy and tragedy, the country’s largest terra cotta sculpture at the time it was built, would spill smoke from their mouths when fires burned on show nights. The Playhouse was torn down in the 1970s, but fortunately the patio, at the southwest corner of the Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center, still stands as a beautiful spot to enjoy a sunny day on campus.   Pair of Archipenko statues Cubist artist Alexander Archipenko was once in residence here at UMKC. The only sculptor to hold the position, Archipenko gifted two steel statues to the university, placed on University Walkway between Swinney Center and Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center. While they look different due to their positioning angles, the statues are completely identical. True to Archipenko’s style, they also play with light and shadow, and change in appearance depending on the time of day.   ‘Dancing’ This big, yellow statue, sculpted by university alumna Rita Blitt, once on display at Bannister Mall when it opened in 1980. When the mall announced it was closing its doors in 2007, she reclaimed the statue and gifted it to the university. Placed in front of the Olson Performing Arts Center, you can see “Dancing” before you see some amazing dance performances from our students in the Conservatory.   Bloch statue You can’t miss the sculpture of Henry and Marion Bloch outside of the Bloch School of Management. The Blochs’ children commissioned the piece from Eugene Daub in 2011 to celebrate the couple's contributions to the UMKC community. If you’re looking for a little extra luck during finals week, be sure to visit and give the statue a fist bump.   ‘Any Word Except Wait’ This statue by Flávio Cerqueira was gifted to the university by the R.C. Kemper Charitable Trust. Its installation was a part of the inaugural Open Spaces performing arts festival, a collaboration between Kansas City’s Office of Culture and Creative Services and a private arts initiative to highlight Kansas City’s arts, culture and creativity. Find her in front of the Fine Arts building.   ‘Blue Steel’ It won’t help in your modeling career, but it can help in your construction career! Designed by the American Institute of Steel Construction, it’s a teaching aid to help students get a visual understanding of steel framing and full-scale steel connections. The piece, located in front of Flarsheim Hall, has been educating students in the Quad since 2004.   Graces Fountain Another sight in the Quad you can’t miss is the Graces Fountain. First built in 1940, it was a traditional, terracotta fountain until it was dismantled in 1973. The story goes that an artist wanted to revive it with a new stone base, but the rocks were haphazardly placed instead, creating the campus icon we know and love today.   Robert Flarsheim bust See the man Flarsheim Hall is named after! Robert H. Flarsheim was a university benefactor who lived in a house at 50th and Cherry, where the Student Union is today. When he passed in 1995, he left a large gift to the university for campus beautification, and students frequently hang out in the shady green space near his likeness.   ‘Rivers, Rails and Trails’ You won’t notice much if you meander by the Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center in the daylight. If you happen to do so after nightfall, though, you’ll be treated to a 22-foot-tall and 49-foot-wide map depicting Kansas City in 1926. The stainless-steel panels are illuminated with LED lights and intend to convey “flow”— of information, rivers and people.   ‘Take Wing’ There’s beautiful art to see on our Health Sciences Campus as well. This bronze sculpture, cast from a carving by E. Grey Dimond, M.D., one of the founders of the UMKC School of Medicine, stands in front of the school. It shares a name with Dimond’s book Take Wing! Interesting Things That Happened On My Way to School as well as a School of Medicine graduate award. While you’re there, check out the bronze bust of Dimond and fellow founders Nathan J. Stark and Homer C. Wadsworth. If you decide to take your own campus sculpture tour, be sure to share your photos on social with the hashtag #UMKC. Apr 29, 2021

  • Starr Women's Hall of Fame Reveals 2021 Class of Inductees

    Hall honors Kansas City’s greatest women, past and present
    A new group of extraordinary women, past and present, who have made their mark on the greater Kansas City community have been named to the Starr Women's Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was created to honor women who have made Kansas City a better place to live, work and serve. Alicia Starr and Marjorie Williams, Ed.D., are co-chairs of the 2021 induction ceremony. “We are excited to bring these 11 remarkable women into the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame, a group that sets a standard for achievement and public service,” Williams said. “The stories of these women are an example and an inspiration to future generations.” The 11 outstanding women in the 2021 class of honorees will be honored in a private broadcast celebration on Tuesday, June 22. Festivities will commence with a preshow at 5:45 p.m. followed by the private broadcast at 6 p.m.  Details about the event as well as ticket and sponsor opportunities can be found at www.umkc.edu/starrhalloffame/ The new inductees are: Sister Corita Bussanmas (deceased) and Sister Berta Sailer, founders of Operation Breakthrough. Together, they provided education and social services to more than 10,000 of KC’s most vulnerable children and their families. In 2014, they were awarded the John and Marion Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship from the UMKC Bloch School of Management. Rafaela “Lali” Garcia, founding member of La Raza, now UnidosUS, building a stronger community by creating opportunities for Latinos. She is a former Jackson County Commissioner and served on the boards of Guadalupe Centers, the Hispanic Economic Development Corp. and MANA, a national Latina organization empowering women through leadership development, service and advocacy. Karen M. Herman, one of the founders and the first president of the Women’s Foundation. She is a longtime advocate and philanthropist for women and hunger relief, and has received multiple community recognitions including Woman of the Year Award from the Central Exchange and the U.S. Mayoral End Hunger Award. Gayle Holliday, Ph.D., introduced female bus operators into the workforce as HR Director at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, many of whom were single mothers and heads of their households. She served on President Bill Clinton’s transition team. Norge Jerome, Ph.D., served as Director of USAID, the federal international development and humanitarian agency. A professor and author of three books, she received the U.S. Department of Labor Spotlight Award for expanding the scope of food and nutrition services to poor women and families in developing countries. Audrey H. Langworthy, a 17-year Kansas state senator. Her recognitions include the National Society for the DAR Award for Excellence in Community Service, the Johnson County Community College Foundation's Johnson Countian of the Year Award and was named to the University of Kansas Women's Hall of Fame. Carol Marinovich, the first woman mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, who led the successful conversion to a Unified County Government and the development of the Kansas Speedway NASCAR racetrack, resulting in a complete economic renaissance for her community. She was recognized as Kansas Citian of the Year by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Nelle E. Peters (deceased), the first female architect to have a significant impact on Kansas City’s built environment, she is best known for designing her signature colonnaded apartment buildings in central neighborhoods of Kansas City and the Luzier Cosmetics Building in Midtown. She designed more than 1,000 buildings during her career before retiring in 1967. Rosilyn Temple, founder of the Kansas City, Missouri chapter of Mothers In Charge, Inc. after the murder of her 26 year-old son. She has responded to more than 400 homicide scenes in the city since 2012 to comfort family members and support law enforcement. She is changing the conversation surrounding violence reduction in our community by elevating the voices of bereaved mothers and women. Sonia Warshawski, a Holocaust survivor who was sentenced to three death camps between the ages of 14 and 19. She became the voice of those who died and began speaking to students, adults and numerous organizations and has become a role model for trauma survivors. Her granddaughter made an award-winning documentary, “Big Sonia,” to share her story with an even wider audience. The Starr Women's Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments. These women are social reformers, volunteers, philanthropists, civic leaders, activists and educators. They are neighborhood leaders and grassroots organizers, from yesterday and today, both famous and unsung. They are movers and shakers whose tireless commitment to community has made Kansas City a better place to live. The Hall of Fame is a repository for their legacies, offering an extensive archive of these women’s activities and achievements available to researchers, educators and historians. A permanent display honoring Hall of Fame members is now open to the public on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The library is at 800 E. 51 St., Kansas City, Missouri. By sharing their stories, the Hall of Fame encourages and inspires women everywhere. Biographies of all of the honorees are available at umkc.edu/starrhalloffame/hall.cfm. The Hall is named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, a legendary activist and philanthropist who blazed a trail for family issues and women's rights. The hall of fame is made possible through the Starr Education Committee, Martha Jane Starr’s family and the Starr Field of Interest Fund, which was established upon her death through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. The idea for the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame stemmed from Starr Education Committee members. The civic organizations that advocate on behalf of women and family issues and have signed on in support of the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame include: American Association of University Women, American Business Women’s Association, Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City, Central Exchange, CBIZ Women’s Advantage, Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri, Greater Kansas City Chamber’s Executive Women’s Leadership Council, Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus, Jackson County Missouri Chapter of the Links, Inc.; Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri; KC Metro Latinas, Kansas City Athenaeum, Kansas City Young Matrons, OneKC for Women, SkillBuilders Fund, Soroptimist International of Kansas City, Soroptimist Kansas City Foundation, UMKC, UMKC Women’s Center, UMKC Women’s Council, UMKC Women of Color Leadership Conference, United WE, WIN for KC, win|win, Women Leaders in College Sports, Women’s Public Service Network, Zonta International District 7 and Zonta Club of KC II. Apr 28, 2021

  • Critical Conversations: Black and Brown Excellence in the Classroom

    Exploring Bridges and Barriers to Success
    Local educational and community leaders participated in a virtual panel discussion about racism, how it impacts student performance and how to address the issue. The theme of the April 22 online discussion was “Black and Brown Excellence in the Classroom: Exploring Bridges and Barriers to Success.” Panelists for this conversation included: Brandon E. Martin,D., UMKC vice chancellor/director of athletics Edgar J. Palacios, president and CEO of the Latinx Education Collaborative Loyce Caruthers, Ph.D., professor of educational leadership, policy and foundations at UMKC Lauren Sanchez, program director at Kauffman Scholars, Inc. Moderators were Gary O’Bannon, executive-in-residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management; and Adriana Suarez, a sophomore student at UMKC. The Critical Conversations series, hosted by the UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion, addresses systemic racism in the United States. UMKC people are taking thoughtful action on campus and in our community to ensure lasting and comprehensive reform through Roos Advocate for Community Change, a campus-wide effort announced in June 2020 following the death of George Floyd. The goal of each discussion is to enlighten, educate and 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. For more information, please email umkcchancellor@umkc.edu. Excerpts from the conversation are below. Harmful assumptions about students of color often made in schools Sanchez: There are assumptions made about time, such as if you’re not early, then you’re late. If you can’t meet deadlines, then you’re lazy. These beliefs assume that everyone is coming from the same level of experiences, when in fact, students of color are more likely to be working jobs in addition to going to school in order to help support their families. Change has to happen at the system level and at the school level, but it ultimately comes down to that individual classroom teacher. If you’re starting to notice that a student is not on track, you need to communicate with them and find out how to support them. Systematic issues in education that impede success for students of color Martin: The system is not designed for Black and brown students to be successful. Educators have not been prepared to teach black and brown students in a way that accommodates their life experiences. A lot of these students go to school hungry. Transportation to school can often be a challenge. They deal with technology gaps in the home and trauma in their lives. These situations are not factored into the academic success conversation. Young Black men in particular are subjected to stereotypes that cast them as violent, criminal and academically inferior. That produces anxiety, stress and anger. Caruthers: Young Black women face stereotypes too: the mammy and the angry Black woman. Even the language used in the system dehumanizes kids. “No child left behind” is a derogatory term. So is “minority,” “English as a second language,” “at risk.” Better language to use would be “minoritized groups,” “historically underserved” and “children of color.” Palacios: People have to do the internal work of recognizing and understanding their biases. And that is lifelong work. People will focus on “how can we change the system?” which is such a big job it can lead to paralysis. Instead, people should approach it in terms of “How do I show up as an individual?” The “one size fits all” approach to education Martin: It’s not just about those on the margins. We have gifted students who are not getting what they need. It is important that we understand the individual student that we are serving. We need a more tailored approach. Sanchez: It illustrates the difference between equality and equity. Not everyone has the same life experiences so we don’t all need the same things. Our lives are not one size fits all, so why should our interventions be one size fits all? Caruthers: if you measure student performance only by tests, you miss a lot. We need multiple ways to assess learning. The role of relationships Martin: Building relationships is the critical cornerstone for advancing the education of young men of color. Educators need to establish rapport and trust so that they can leverage the assets the students are bringing and recognize the external influences on these kids. Educators especially need to demonstrate high expectations for all students. If you have low expectations for a student, the student will perceive that as “you don’t care about me.” We need teachers to say to students, “I understand your struggle, I understand your journey.” Sanchez: Teachers need to build that relationship of trust up front. It’s too late to try to reach a student after issues arise. How white people can support students of color Palacios: They need to speak up. When someone says something that isn’t quite right, that’s a great opportunity for allies to step in and start the uncomfortable conversation. When white people do that, it relieves the pressure on us, it makes us feel seen and it helps build relationships. Sanchez: If it feels wrong, it is wrong. If it’s uncomfortable to say something about it, then you need to say something about it. Caruthers: Know what resources are available so you can direct students to them. Teachers with culturally responsive skills need to become mentors. Apr 27, 2021

  • What Made Masks Politically Polarizing

    Beth Vonnahme was a guest on Up to Date
    Beth Vonnahme, associate dean at the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of political science, was a guest on Up to Date. Read more from KCUR. Apr 27, 2021

  • Human Expression: Why It Should Be A Global Goal And How Crypto Can Help

    Forbes reports on UMKC Bloch partnership
    The Kansas City Art Institute recently partnered with the UMKC Bloch School of Management to create a business in art minor to support their graduating artists in being able to make the connection between passion and work. Read the full article. Apr 27, 2021

  • Surprise Medical Bills Are Coming to an End

    Kiplinger interviews UMKC Bloch School assistant professor
    Advocates will need to educate patients about the new law, says Christopher Garmon, an assistant professor of health administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. “That is one problem that you could have—providers send out bills and consumers don’t know they are protected,” he says. “They may pay it without knowing they don’t have to.” Read more. Apr 27, 2021

  • UMKC Innovation Center Helped Create 500 New Ventures, Boost Revenue By $245M in 2020

    Startland News reports on UMKC Innovation Center's impact
    Amid a year of pandemic-prompted chaos in the business community, entrepreneurs forged ahead like rarely before seen, according to the UMKC Innovation Center’s new impact report, which details outcomes of the Kansas City-based resource network’s programming opportunities. Read more. Apr 27, 2021

  • College Student Leads Expansion of The Halal Guys in Missouri

    Franchise Times interviews UMKC Bloch School student
    Set to graduate in December with a finance degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Osama Hanif said he started working at a bank while in school and “realized the 9 to 5 wasn’t for me.” Read the article. Apr 27, 2021

  • Roo Sculpture by Artist Tom Corbin Settles Into New Home

    Students, faculty and staff welcome new Roo to campus
    UMKC students, faculty and staff welcomed the newest UMKC Roo to campus in the first public event since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mahreen Ansari, UMKC Student Government Association president, introduced the Roo sculpture by artist Tom Corbin that stands proudly in the heart of campus on the University Walkway near the Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center.  “We are completing a circle that began 84 years ago, in 1937, when students at the University of Kansas City selected the kangaroo as our official mascot,” Ansari said. “From Oregon to Ohio to Oz, you can find all manner of lions and tigers and bears, oh, my, but UMKC is one of the very few colleges or universities to proclaim our identity as proud, strong, faithful and dedicated Roos.” Chancellor Mauli Agrawal was thrilled to learn when he arrived at UMKC, that the kangaroo is one of the few animals in the world that cannot go backwards. "(Roos) can only go forward. That’s what makes this great animal such an appropriate symbol for our great university.” - Chancellor Mauli Agrawal Chancellor Agrawal delivers remarks at the Roo sculpture's unveiling event.   “They can only go forward. That’s what makes this great animal such an appropriate symbol for our great university,” he says. “And it’s a rallying point. This statue stands as the physical embodiment of our shared identity. It is a statement of our shared history, and our shared determination to shape the future.” Corbin described his creative process that brought the Roo to life in bronze. “My research into producing a sculpture of the Roo began years ago when I was approached to produce the Bloch School Alumni award,” Corbin said. “Inspired by the more modern Roo logo, my sculptural adaptation for the award was to create something more artful, elegant and sleek. The original inspiration has carried over to our monumental Roo that has found its new campus home today.” Chancellor Mauli Agrawal stands next to artist Tom Corbin, the artist who created the sculpture.   Brandon Henderson (Political Science ’21) was student government association president when the anonymous gift was announced. “It looks amazing!” Henderson said. “People are taking photos by it already. It looks as if it’s been there a long time. You can tell it is going to age well.” Chancellor Mauli Agrawal (middle) stands next to current and emeritus Student Government Association presidents.   Grace Horacek (Fine Arts ’23) came to see the unveiling with a group of friends. “I work in the recreation center, and I saw the statue unloaded and really wanted to see it. It’s definitely cool.” Apr 26, 2021

  • University of Missouri-Kansas City Unveils New Mascot Sculpture On Campus

    Fox4KC reports on unveiling of Roo statue
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City added a little artwork to campus Monday. UMKC students are known as Roos, so a sculpture of it’s mascot, a kangaroo, couldn’t be more fitting. Read the story and watch the newscast. Apr 26, 2021

  • Gun Violence Increases in Kansas City in April, With 42 People Injured and 9 Killed

    Kansas City Star taps Ken Novak
    Ken Novak, a criminal justice professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who studies policing and crime prevention, said he has become pessimistic about changing the culture of gun violence in Kansas City. Read the article. (subscription required) Apr 26, 2021

  • UMKC Professor Weighs-In On Biden’s First 100 Days in Office

    Tampa Bay Times interviews Max Skidmore
    “Biden compares quite favorably with every other president after Franklin Roosevelt,” said Max J. Skidmore, University of Missouri-Kansas City political scientist. “Not only has he accomplished many things quickly — most of them are highly significant.” Read more. Apr 26, 2021

  • Guide for Disability Abuse In Missouri

    Yahoo! News picked up story from Action 41 News
    The UMKC Institute for Human Development has released a guide to help people notice abuse of people with disabilities and how to prevent it. Read more.  Apr 23, 2021

  • Doctors Say There Is a Big Push to Educate College Students on COVID-19 Vaccine

    KMBC interviews Stefanie Ellison
    “I do think we have some work to do with those that are vaccine hesitant,” said Stefanie Ellison of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Read the story and watch the newscast. Apr 23, 2021

  • UMKC Answers Missouri’s Call for COVID Vaccines

    School of Pharmacy playing significant role in efforts across the state
    As soon as the announcements came last November that vaccines for the COVID-19 virus would soon be released for distribution, Cameron Lindsey’s phone began ringing at the UMKC School of Pharmacy. Lindsey, Pharm.D., MPH, interim chair of the division of pharmacy practice and administration, leads the schools’ vaccine response team. It is a group of faculty members at the school’s three campuses in Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield that was quickly assembled to provide manpower and other support for partners and outside entities launching or managing vaccine clinics across the state. “I have people going to Clinton. I’ve got people going to Cape Girardeau, some I have going to St. Louis,” Lindsey said. “So, it is all over the state.” UMKC pharmacy students also have done month-long rotations at the Hannibal Free Clinic since the COVID pandemic began. By March, Lindsey said students and faculty from across the school’s three campuses had spent nearly 4,400 hours administering more than 17,500 doses of vaccines at 36 sites throughout the state in communities large and small. Those were just the volunteer numbers reported by students and faculty. That doesn’t include the unreported number of students engaged in vaccine efforts as part of their clinical rotations or part-time jobs outside the classroom. Vaccines are being administered at health systems, long-term care facilities, pharmacies, clinics and mass vaccine events at sites across the state. Since the inception of the first COVID vaccine in December, it’s been all hands on deck for students, faculty and staff of the School of Pharmacy and the other UMKC health sciences schools – Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing and Health Studies --  which have all been working overtime to help with the mass vaccine efforts. As clinics quickly ramped up in March, filling the need for all of the requested help has been a challenge. Paul Gubbins, associate dean of the school’s Missouri State University campus, said he received a request from a site in Webster County near Springfield that has been typical of the need in rural communities. In short, “we just received a vaccine shipment and need any help your students can provide.”   “We've had several requests from community pharmacies that have had a pretty short lead time and some have been unable to predict when their next clinic will be,” he said. “We do the best we can to notify our students to assist. The demand is there and it's so high that the challenge is matching the resources to that demand because of the quick turnaround or the uncertainty in terms of the allocations that pharmacies get.” UMKC Pharmacy students are trained and certified to give injections near the end of their second year of school. It’s become commonplace for the recently certified second-year and third-year pharmacy students to play an active role in vaccination events. More so, now with the COVID vaccines. Roger Sommi, Pharm.D., associate dean of the school’s Columbia campus, said his students working with some of the area’s major pharmacies have reported sites administering as many as 300 to 350 COVID shots a day. “There are a lot of opportunities (to help) and it’s fast and furious for sure,” Sommi said. One student he spoke of was going back and forth between school and volunteering at a local pharmacy during her breaks between classes. “She would go down to the pharmacy for two hours, inject 40 or 50 people and then come back to class,” Sommi said. “All of these places are taking everybody they can get.” So great is the need for help that many of the pharmacy school’s faculty have gone through certification training on their own time to join the vaccination efforts. Sommi was one of five faculty members to go through one particular certification class that Lindsey taught. “When I went through pharmacy school in the 1980s, injection certifications weren’t even a thing,” Sommi said. “With COVID, I saw a need and saw an opportunity to give back to the community, so I personally went through the certification process and there were least two others in my certification class in the same boat. I didn’t get it when I went to school. I didn’t need it for my practice, but I want to be part of the solution.” The pleas for help are coming from across the state, particularly smaller communities where pharmacies and pop-up clinics are particularly short-staffed. “Small towns are calling saying hey, we’re getting a shipment of Pfizer and we’re going to do (a vaccine clinic), do you have anybody that can help,” Sommi said. “The reality is, the students are tapped out. We just don’t have the number of students needed to meet the demand.” In Springfield, Gubbins said a large number of his students have been busy administering vaccines through their workplace. “Many of them work at large health care facilities or have pharmacies in their workplace that are offering a clinic where they get scheduled to work or volunteer to help,” Gubbins said. “In addition to volunteering, I think a large percent of the vaccination efforts our students engage in occur through their workplace. “I've been putting out emails saying to students that if you have free time during the school week when you're not in class or going your clinic, here are the places that need help. Or, they're doing it when they're working. It's important to know that we really do fill that community resource by being here either in a volunteer or workforce sort of way.” Apr 22, 2021

  • Enactus Team Finishes in Top Eight Nationally

    Third year in a row for high ranking
    The UMKC Enactus team placed 2nd in their league and exited the 2021 Enactus USA National Competition in the top 8 teams in the country out of more than 300 teams in the U.S. The team spent the year focused on global impacts with multiple social entrepreneurship projects, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic gripping our region and the world. “It has truly been an incredible year,” said Ali Brandolino, Enactus team president. “This finish is motivating our team to find more needs and impact more people in our community and communities world-wide. It has been exciting to watch each member light up with passion when discussing innovative solutions to problems many people face every day. I will never forget what UMKC Enactus was able to accomplish during the year of the pandemic.” The team’s achievements this year include: Maintained a vibrant student organization virtually, with a roster of almost 100 members Finalist for 2021 TCU Values and Ventures Completion, a premier national social entrepreneurship competition Top 48 team in in the world in the Race to Rethink Plastics – a global challenge sponsored by Coca-Cola, Dell and Hi-Cone to motivate students think about ways to reduce plastic waste in the environment Diverted 471 pounds of plastic through the Generation Green project and a partnership with Shatto Milk Company Supported artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico Raised thousands of dollars toward educational facilities for Ogwuokwu Community School in Ogwuokwu, Nigeria Developed new student-led fundraising campaigns that have brought in thousands of dollars to support team activities Held a virtual reverse pitch event with community leaders Served the community as a Rotaract team Maintained COVID-safe projects and interactions Several students also won individual awards. Drew Childs won the $10,000 Jules and Gwen Knapp Scholarship. This is the second year in a row this honor went to a UMKC student. Hannah Case was recognized as a finalist for the Project Leader of the Year Award for being among the top 3 most impactful project leaders nationally. The team also won the $1,500 Jack Shewmaker Enactus Spirit Award for this student-produced video. You can view the online expo and the team’s awards announcements online. Apr 22, 2021

  • New in KC: Why UMKC’s Island-Hopping Tech Leader Is Trading Hawaiian Surf for Kansas City Turf

    Startland News picked up story from Action 41 News
    Chris Rehkamp is associate director of Tech Venture Studios at the UMKC Innovation Center. Read the full article. Apr 22, 2021

  • UMKC Staff Honored at Virtual Awards Ceremony

    Annual event recognizes contributions
    Excellence is the standard for UMKC staff, faculty and students. More than 1,300 staff members demonstrate that excellence not only in customer service and quality of work, but in their personal ethics as well. The annual Staff Awards event gives our campus community a chance to recognize those who make a difference at UMKC. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ceremony took place virtually on April 20 to celebrate dedication to student success, diversity and inclusion, engagement and outreach and research and discovery. The celebration also included milestone anniversaries, staff who were a part of the 2020 graduating class and staff who completed leadership development courses offered through the university.  “All of (our staff) have persevered through long months of disruption and kept UMKC running smoothly despite great challenges and significant obstacles,” says UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “That, too, is worthy of note. I am honored to celebrate you today.” Congratulations to the 2021 Staff Awards recipients: 40-year milestone anniversary Leisha ManningJill Reyes 2020 spring, summer and fall graduates Benjamin BissenTaylor BlackmonJamisha CooperMackenzie DossJason FosterAlissa GrattsScott GuerreroCory KinderEllyce LovelessShana MaloneCourtney McCainAlison MurdockJohari RussellElizabeth ValleBrian WesthuesMargaret Wight Supervisory Development Series Graduates Anne AllenMaryjane BruningErin BumannBrittany BummerJessica ElamJeremy FergusonCollin FosterMegan FrasherMargo GamacheElizabeth HanssenLaura M. KingLaura W. KingNancy KunkelDaniel McCarrollSteve McDonaldAmy McKuneZangi MitiShani NegronCasey RamseyAdam ShoemakerKristina ShultzLindy SmithRobin SommerJaney StephensAshley Swanson-HoyeAshley SylvaraHeidi UpdikeClay VernonSherrie WatkinsKaity WoodyRobert Wren Administrative Leadership Development Program Graduates Nathaniel AddingtonMatthew BrownKatherine GareyLisa MallowRosa NatarajMary ParsonsJennifer SackhoffTammy Welchert Series on Leadership Essentials Graduates Kenneth BledsoeMaria DeSimioConnor FenderCollin FosterMegan FrasherJalonn GordonElizabeth HanssenMeg HauserJonathan HernAmelia HowardBrent McCoyMyisha SimsSandra SmithPaul Wagner Staff Council Dedication Award Hannah Litwiller, senior student recruitment specialist, Office of Admissions Living the Values Awards Obie Austin, Student Health And WellnessMichael Bongartz, Finance and AdministrationCindy Brown, School of DentistryRosie Challacombe, College of Arts and SciencesSharon Colbert, School of Nursing and Health StudiesClint Dominick, Intercollegiate AthleticsMakini King, Division of Diversity and InclusionBrad Martens, School of EducationRachel McCommon, School of MedicineSteve McDonald, School of PharmacyZangi Miti, Strategic Marketing and CommunicationsMary A. Matturro Morgan, Henry W. Bloch School of ManagementHelen Perry, UMKC ConservatoryEmily Reeb, University LibrariesAshley Swanson-Hoye, School of LawJodi Troup, Office of Research ServicesJane Vogl, School of Computing and EngineeringAbby Weiser, Office of AdmissionsAsia Williams, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences University Staff Awards Excellence in Student Success – Marjory Eisenman, School of Computing and EngineeringExcellence in Research and Creative Works – Charles Brandon King, Institute for Human DevelopmentExcellence in Engagement and Outreach – Martha McCabe, School of Computing and Engineering Excellence in Multiculturalism, Globalism, Diversity and Inclusion – Dylan Burd, College of Arts and SciencesExcellence in Planning, Operations and Stewardship – Huan Ding, School of Computing and Engineering Chancellor’s Staff Award for Extraordinary Contributions – Anthony Maly, Office of Student InvolvementRising Star Award – Margo Gamache, Honors College Apr 20, 2021

  • UMKC Center for Neighborhoods Sets Drive-Through Birthday Party

    Unique socially-distanced event celebrates center’s fifth anniversary
    The UMKC Center for Neighborhoods is celebrating its fifth anniversary Friday with a socially-distanced drive-through birthday party. The center is a community engagement initiative lead by the university’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning+Design. Over the past five years, 193 neighborhood leaders, representing 79 unique organizations, have participated in the center’s Neighborhood Leadership Training classes. Neighborhoods that have participated in the training secured $1,159,562 of investments (grants, donations, governmental funding, volunteer hours, etc.) in their neighborhoods in 2020. The celebration is from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, April 23 at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center parking lot, across the street from the center’s office at 4747 Troost Ave. Center staff and UMKC AUP+D students will be on hand to distribute goodie bags, yard signs and treats. Representatives of the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center will also be on hand to share information. Apr 20, 2021

  • New Roo Sculpture is Coming to Campus

    A monumental symbol of tradition at UMKC
    There is no better time to celebrate the resilience of the Roo spirit than now. Our community has forged ahead through the challenges of an unprecedented year, and in celebration of that same enduring spirit, we’ll be unveiling a new Roo statue. The unveiling is 10 a.m. Monday, April 26, at University Walkway, between Swinney Center and Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center, and the entire UMKC community is invited. It’s an historic event that’s been a few years in the making. In 2018 the Student Government Association, with support of private donations, commissioned Kansas City artist Tom Corbin to create a new Roo statue for campus. Donations for the statue were made in 2018 in honor of the investiture of Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. It is intended to be a symbol of our community and our history as Roos in Kansas City, and will serve as a rallying point on campus for important and meaningful events, gatherings and alumni visits. Most important, the new addition to campus serves as an opportunity for students to establish new traditions. Former SGA president Abdul Ahmed offered a suggestion: “My hope is that future graduating classes will take photos in front of the Roo.” History of the UMKC Roo and Campus Traditions You would expect such a unique mascot to have an interesting origin story. We caught up with campus historian Chris Wolff to learn more about how the Roo was embraced by the students at UMKC. Since the university’s founding, one of its core strengths has been its kinship to Kansas City. When the University of Kansas City (predecessor to UMKC) was established by local civic leaders during the Great Depression, it was meant to become a cultural monument — to put Kansas City on the map. While it was prominent community members who built UMKC, its students are credited for much of what the university has become. “The founders of UMKC were all-important businesspeople in Kansas City. None of them had any experience in education, so they left it upon the students to create the college experience they wanted,” Wolff said. Students chose the university’s colors, established the student newspaper and wrote the school’s alma mater. In 1936, editors of the student newspaper decided the debate team needed a mascot. Students proposed adopting the kangaroo as the mascot due to the animal’s popularity at the Kansas City Zoo. To advocate for the mascot, a group of students formed the SGA Kangaroo Party and when they won the election in the spring of 1936, the kangaroo became the official university mascot. In 1938, Kansas City native Walt Disney drew the first picture of the kangaroo—you  might see some similarities to a famous mouse! Early illustration of our Roo mascot by Walt Disney. The university has seen different versions of the Roo through the years. Wolff said throughout history, students have been known to draw their own depictions of the kangaroo despite the university having official branding guides for the kangaroo, the first set of which was in the 1950s. “Even to this day you’ll see student groups draw their own depictions of Kasey Kangaroo. That’s one of the longstanding traditions of students,” Wolff said. “The reason the kangaroo survived as the mascot all of these years is because of its uniqueness and because of its connection to Kansas City.” One of the most popular and appreciated depictions of the Roo can be found in watercolor paintings and sculpted into small awards sculptures molded by Corbin, a renowned Kansas City artist. While traditions from spirit week activities and other student experiences change with the times, UMKC has several monuments, ones that remember classes of old and gifts dedicated by students and community members. For example, the class of 1939 donated one of two flagpoles currently standing on the quad; the other was gifted by the family of Harry Kaufman, a student who died fighting in World War II, and is dedicated to student veterans. Wolff said UMKC grew up with Kansas City. Having been founded by the same civic leaders that established Liberty Memorial – which you can catch a glimpse of embedded in the university seal — and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, UMKC has deep and longstanding connections to Kansas City. You can come from anywhere in the world, and if you come to UMKC, you are a part of that community. “The reason the kangaroo survived as the mascot all of these years is because of its uniqueness and because of its connection to Kansas City.” – Chris Wolff “Being a Roo means you’re more than just part of the university. It means you’re a part of a whole community that starts with the college,” he said. With a renewed sense of school spirit and plans to establish a new sense of belonging for its students, new traditions are being created. A few of the oldest ones, however, remain — the student and alumni impact on Kansas City, a lasting gift to campus and a new version of the Roo. “Kansas City has a very important connection to art. I can’t imagine not having the Nelson here, or the Kemper, or being able to come take photos on campus,” Corbin said. “I hope the Roo inspires other artists. When I was coming into my career as a sculptor, I was told that I could never make a living as an artist. I want to encourage students and let them know they can do it. “I did a lot of research on kangaroos prior to sculpting the actual monument, and one of the things I learned is that Roos cannot go backward. They can only go forward.” Join our campus community as we celebrate the installation of this monument. The ceremony will be 10 a.m. Monday, April 26, next to University Walkway near Miller Nichols Library and the University Playhouse. Please continue to follow masking and distancing guidelines. Watch the livestream Apr 19, 2021

  • All Things Considered: Flag Football

    KBIA taps Chi-Ming Hung about flag football
    Flag football presents an opportunity for kids to play the sport they love with less chance of injury. Chi-Ming Hung, professor and neurobiologist at the UMKC School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, and a flag football program director discuss how this version of the sport is a safer alternative. Read more. Apr 17, 2021

  • UMKC Students Turn Out Friday to Get First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

    KMBC reports on UMKC vaccination event
    Students from the UMKC schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and dentistry helped administer the shots. Read more. Apr 16, 2021

  • Faculty Honored With UM System President's Awards

    The 2021 recipients include five UMKC faculty members
    Every year, the highly competitive UM System President’s Awards recognize faculty who have made exceptional contributions in advancing their university community. The awards are presented on behalf of President Mun Choi to faculty members across the four universities of the UM System. This year, UMKC faculty members were honored with five awards: Presidential Faculty Award for University Citizenship, Service Award Laverne Berkel,  School of Education   Laverne Berkel, associate professor of counseling and counseling psychology, has earned this year’s award for distinguished service. Her exceptional contributions include creating academic policy, ensuring research compliance and advising on matters related to academic leadership development. She served on the provost’s committee for excellence in teaching and worked to address diversity concerns, even as far back as establishing the campus’s first SAFE ZONE program in 2000. “I have known and worked closely with Dr. Berkel since she joined our faculty in 1999,” said Chris Brown, chair and fellow professor of counseling and counseling psychology. “I can think of no one else who is more deserving of this award.” Presidential Faculty Award for Innovative Teaching Wanda Temm, School of Law This year’s award, which recognizes faculty who are outstanding teachers and employ novel and innovated teaching methods to achieve success in student learning, was presented to Wanda Temm, professor at the School of Law. Temm developed a program to prepare students for the legal profession’s credentialing test—the bar exam. The program has increased the bar passage rate for first-time takers at UMKC from 67% to 98%. “My role is to try as many ways as I can to engage my students,” Temm said. “If one way is not working, then I’ll try another way. Different explanations, visualizations and exercises work for different students. I strive to present the skill they are developing in diverse ways and in an individualized manner through my comments on their papers and in individual conferences.” The Inter-Campus Collaboration Award Janet Garcia-Hallett, College of Arts and Sciences Janet Garcia-Hallett, assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology, was recognized for activities that foster collaboration across two or more campuses of the University of Missouri System. She worked with faculty members on the University of Missouri and University of Missouri-St. Louis campuses on the Prison Research and Innovation Network (PRIN) grant, funded by the Urban Institute in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Corrections. “PRIN is an externally funded project that brings together not just our UM system campuses, but also our state’s Department of Corrections, government officials and policy makers in pursuit of a better, more humane and evidence-based correctional system,” said Kati Toivanen, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The project is a major and collaborative undertaking that serves the dual purposes of helping Missouri’s corrections-involved individuals lead more functional lives, and informing the peer-reviewed literature base so other state systems can gain from the results.” The Economic Development Award Reza Derakhshani, School of Computing and Engineering Recognized for distinguished activity and serving as an economic engine for the state and its citizens, this year’s Economic Development Award winner is Reza Derakhshani, professor of the School of Computing and Engineering. Derakhshani is an internationally renowned entrepreneurial academic in the fields of biometric personal identification, privacy and mobile security. He is the named inventor on nearly 140 U.S.- and international-issued patents. “I have also been volunteering my entrepreneurial experience with other UMKC faculty members and our University System through serving on the school and system-wide tech transfer and patent committees,” Derakhshani said, “as well as infusing that know-how in my courses and sharing them with our students so that they can carry the torch.” Presidential Faculty Award for Cross-Cultural Engagement Andrew Stuart Bergerson, College of Arts and Sciences Andrew Stuart Bergerson, professor of history, received this award for promoting cross-cultural engagement through education, research and service. Bergerson’s research focus is on everyday life in modern Germany, with particular interests in the Holocaust and Nazi Germany. He reaches diverse audiences with a variety of media, including blogs, curricula, digitized archival collections, eBooks, exhibitions, drama, lectures, radio, seminars, workshops and YouTube. “In the last 10 years, Drew has become a system leader in cross-cultural engagement through his innovative education, research, and service,” said Massimiliano Vitiello, fellow professor of history. “He is essential to our public history program has been a key voice in developing this field in our department.” Apr 15, 2021

  • Alumna Receives Prestigious Fellowship

    $90,000 award supports training in women’s health
    Nazanin Yeganeh Kazemi, (BS, ’15, Biology and Chemistry) received a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans of $90,000 to support her MD/PhD training in medicine and immunology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. The merit-based Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships are exclusively for immigrants and children of immigrants who are pursuing graduate degrees in the United States. This year the program received more than 2,400 applications for 30 fellowships. Kazemi was working from home in Switzerland, where she is serving as a United States Fulbright Scholar, when she received the news. “After spending the morning setting up my experiments in the lab, I was working on a manuscript in my flat here in Geneva when I got the phone call from Daisy Soros and Craig Harwood. It was such a joy to hear their voices and to receive the news in such a personal way.” Kazemi says her success has been hard-earned. “My parents and I moved to the United States from Iran in 1999,” Kazemi said. “Between the three of us, we knew about two words of English. I only knew how to say, ‘Hello.’" She says her parents’ first priority was always her education and that her success is a culmination of their sacrifices. "As a first-generation college student and first-generation immigrant, I have always known that education is the biggest privilege," Kazemi says. Kazemi is pursuing her doctorate in immunology with a focus on women’s health. “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,” Kazemi says. “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." - Nazanin Yeganeh Kazemi While the fellowship helps to fund her training, she is excited about other aspects of the program. “It’s a truly unique fellowship that helps awardees reach their goals in many aspects of life through the connection with over two decades of alumni.  I’m just thrilled to get to know the other fellows!” she says. “There are so many amazing recipients of this award and I’m excited for the friendships and colleagues I’ll get to have. The current and past recipients have backgrounds, goals and interests that are similar to mine, which is a rare feeling as an immigrant.” Kazemi says she never could have imagined this opportunity when she immigrated to the United States. “Never in a million years would I have imagined I would be here! Being an immigrant in the U.S. is a unique experience filled with the greatest potential for opportunity, but it can also be a very challenging experience. I am grateful to my parents, teachers, and mentors who have helped me make it this far.” Apr 14, 2021

  • The World’s Top 10 Costume Design Schools

    Hollywood Reporter ranks UMKC Theatre program
    UMKC Theatre is again on this list of top costume design schools. Read the full article. Apr 13, 2021

  • African American Students Cite Chancellor for Leadership

    TAASU presents annual Dr. Joseph Seabrooks Jr. Award to Mauli Agrawal
    The African American Student Union (TAASU) surprised Chancellor Mauli Agrawal in his office April 12 with the presentation of the Dr. Joseph Seabrooks Jr. Leadership Award. TAASU typically presents the award at their annual Freedom Breakfast. The award recognizes the service, leadership, professionalism and dedication of a faculty or staff member. The breakfast was cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but TAASU members wanted to let the chancellor know how much they appreciated his leadership during the difficult social justice events of the past year. “We want to present you with this award for your help and response to everything that has been going on, and the way you have responded to our requests,” said Blessing Onwudinanti, treasurer of TAASU. Agrawal responded simply, “There is more work to be done.” Onwudinanti was joined at the presentation by Brenda Reed, TAASU cultural chair and secretary. They said specific responsive actions by the chancellor included the creation of the Unity Gardens and Diversity Expansion Scholarship programs, and the launch of the Roos Advocate for Community Change initiative. “It’s just something I need to do,” Agrawal said.   See the TAASU Video Apr 12, 2021

  • What Helps One, Helps All

    Yanira Merino channels César Chávez in annual lecture
    César Chávez was the organizer of the Chicano Movement in the United States and founder of the United Farm Workers. Every year the UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion invites a leader to give the César Chávez Lecture. The presentation is designed to honor the accomplishments of Chávez and to inspire others to continue the legacy of his tireless, nonviolent leadership in ways they feel passionate so that more people can live with dignity and experience equal civil rights. Yanira Merino The speaker on April 8 was Yanira Merino, national president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, which represents the interests of approximately two million Latino(a) trade unionists throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. In the spirit of César Chávez, Merino participated virtually and spoke about the many ways we are all fighting for a better life in the same country – the United States of America. “You are never strong enough that you don’t need help,” Merino quoted from Chávez. Chávez successfully used nonviolent tactics to organize farm workers against unfair labor practices and unhealthy working conditions that continue today as farm workers are exposed to harmful pesticides, dangerous equipment, hazardous “housing” and unfair wages. As a veteran labor and immigration rights leader and advocate, Merino fights in much the same way as Chávez. Merino was born in El Salvador during a time of political violence and civil war. Merino shared her family’s struggle in the 1970s when they fled El Salvador for the United States. It was during this time Merino developed a passion for seeking justice for workers in El Salvador and those who fled for the United States. Merino’s family experienced separation, deportation and flight back to the United States as undocumented immigrants. Merino shared her feelings of fear, living undocumented, similar to the fear experienced by many today. Merino worked many jobs in Los Angeles as an undocumented individual and knows, first-hand, what it is like to live in fear of deportation but with the hope for a better future. Perseverance is what kept Merino on the path to advocating for justice and equality. The working conditions at her places of employment were not good. But like Chávez, Merino learned the importance of working together. She and fellow workers were inspired to form a union. Despite being fired twice and working for a company that divided its employees, the union organized with Merino’s leadership. Within six months they had a contract and they stayed united. Merino recommended today’s youth look at history and learn about the labor movement, unions and how the middle class was created. “Embrace our past,” she said. “Embrace our contributions. Embrace where we are going together.” The labor unions play an important part in the building of the middle class, according to Merino. Unions lobby for wages and benefits. The ability to make more money gives people the chance to save money, buy homes, send children to school. How can others speak out and overcome the barriers when you are the only one? Merino said move forward, as Chavez always talked about, know that you are speaking for everyone else. Merino’s advice for those who want to see change is to get involved, remember change doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not easy. She said to build bridges between communities, find similarities, put together policies that benefit all, work with younger generations to understand that moving forward is up to everyone, work with churches, work with elected officers and elect people who look and think like you do. “This is not only my fight, it’s our fight,” Merino said. “At the end of the day, we’re all fighting for democracy and this nation. When we connect as people, as workers…we achieve this.” The lecture was moderated by Chris Hernandez, chief spokesman for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and director of the City Communications Office. UMKC student Daphne Posadas introduced Merino and Hernandez. Apr 12, 2021

  • Alumnus Transforming Life-and-Death Medical Technology

    UMKC to honor Alexander Norbash as 2020 Alumnus of the Year
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. UMKC is honoring Alexander Norbash (M.D. ’86) with its Class of 2020 Alumnus of the Year Award. An interventional neuroradiologist, Norbash has been instrumental in inventing and implementing new technologies that are less invasive and more effective for treating strokes and brain aneurysms. Neuroradiology is a highly technical specialty that addresses life-and-death matters with techniques requiring high precision and composure. Norbash serves as chair and professor of the Department of Radiology, associate vice chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and adjunct professor of Neurosurgery at the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego). As one who works on the cutting-edge of developing interventional neuroradiology, how do you see the technology changing and being implemented? We are resistant to abandon tried and true successful revenue opportunities and risk them in moving to low individual margins where there may be much higher volumes and even greater profitability. Just because we can do a brain MRI in 5 minutes doesn’t mean all practitioners and referring physicians are confident today in the 5-minute scan. I still believe in the high-volume and high-access vision as an inevitability, although it has yet to come to pass. I know my fellow physicians will see the advantages of a more populist and broader health care delivery model. I look forward to that day.  You wear many hats - leader, researcher, educator, mentor and doctor. Is there one area most important to you? Most challenging? Mentoring is an awesome responsibility and the greatest privilege of my professional life. It is both important and challenging. In such instances, I have the opportunity to live on in others, forge lifetime friendships and help others learn from my mistakes. I believe that is the essence of teaching and professing. You are the founding chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Head Injury Institute (HII). What do you hope to accomplish with this organization? Many medical disciplines have a spectrum of untapped contributions to make in a multitude of areas and trauma is one example. Working with large groups of practitioners interested in concussion imaging and management, there is facilitation elevation in the quality of care delivered to both individual patients and our broader society. Through collaborations we can understand both the value of concussion imaging and how to disseminate novel discoveries and best practices for the same.  In addition to your roles in radiology at UC San Diego, you serve as associate vice-chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Why is that position important to you? In order to maximize the potential contributions of an organization, I believe it is important to leverage the commitment and full engagement of every individual within that organization. That is exactly what Inclusion refers to, where every single individual feels appreciated and included, therefore valued, and as such motivated to perform to their highest individual and collective potential. In my opinion, leading to this destination should be one of the highest goals of any manager. What advice do you have for students who would like to follow in your footsteps? First, concentrate on forging ties with mentors who believe in you and whom you can believe in. Second, say “yes” as much as possible to expose yourself to the full richness your environment provides. Third, stoke your curiosity and wonder. This will result in you seeing and understanding people, places and things beyond your dreams. About the Alumni Awards Join us in honoring Norbash and the other Class of 2020 Awardees in our first-ever virtual celebration at 5 p.m. April 16. Go to umkcalumni.com/alumniawards to register for this free event. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. Meet the rest of the 2020 UMKC Alumni Awardees Apr 11, 2021

  • Did You Know That Colorado Has an Active Volcano in the Rockies?

    Alison Graettinger weighs-in on volcano
    “Because of the position of Dotsero being on the edge of the Colorado Plateau, there’s a possibility for future eruptions, but it’s much lower than in places like the Caribbean, where we know that magma is being made at depth regularly,” Alison Graettinger, assistant professor of geosciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, told Denver7. Read more. Apr 10, 2021

  • From Cancer to Cool Roofs: Undergraduate Research at UMKC Produces Results

    Examples available online all week
    Even a pandemic cannot stop undergraduate students from pursuing significant research projects at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Starting April 12, students will present their research projects publicly during the University of Missouri System Undergraduate Research Day, along with students from the other three UM System campuses. This annual event at the Capitol is typically a single day devoted to demonstrate to lawmakers in Jefferson City, as well as the public, the unique opportunities undergraduate students have to participate in faculty-mentored research at the four UM System universities. Due to the pandemic, this year’s event will be held virtually over the course of a week, which gives the students more opportunities to engage lawmakers and other key audiences. This year, 15 UMKC students are presenting their work, the most of any school in the University of Missouri System. Those featured research projects this year are: Increasing STEM Engagement in Underrepresented Minority Groups Student: Alynah Adams Faculty mentor: Shin Moteki, assistant professor of chemistry Adams acknowledges and encourages greater equity within the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to reinforce and support minority students in the Midwestern United States in order to encourage economic growth. These students face barriers that range from a general lack of representation and mentorship, unequal opportunity, limited perception of potential career paths and disproportionate access to materials, all the way to the perpetual biases and stereotyping that begins early and continues on throughout a minority student’s career. The research emphasizes the steps that can be taken to mitigate these barriers and encourage Missouri students from a variety of backgrounds to engage in STEM higher education. Adams is studying biology. Development of Implementation of Physical Activity and Nutrition Interventions for Adolescent Youth Student: Maya Baughn Faculty mentors: Amanda Grimes and Joseph Lightner, assistant professors of nursing and health studies This study aims to provide better implementation of physical activity and nutrition interventions in order to positively increase the overall health status for all adolescent youth with mindfulness toward underserved female youth. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019 there was a 18.5% prevalence for obesity in individuals aged 2-19. One possible solution for reducing the occurrence of chronic health issues like obesity is physical activity. Kansas City, Missouri was selected by the Department of Health and Human Services as one of eighteen sites to deliver a physical activity and nutrition intervention to adolescents. Move More, Get More (formally known as Youth Engagement in Sports) is an initiative that targets students in grades 6-8 who attend select Kansas City public middle schools. Baughn is studying health sciences. Smart Catalysts – Green and Sustainable Synthetic Approach Mimicking Living Cells Student: Ashley Cole Faculty mentor: Shin Moteki, assistant professor of chemistry Chemical manufacturing is one of the largest industries in Missouri. Cole’s research is dedicated to green/sustainable production, with a product that will be highly competitive in price through a reduction in manufacturing costs. Catalysis is a process that accelerates chemical reactions which would otherwise be extremely slow. Enzymes are biological catalysts which transform many materials (food) into essential products critical for sustaining life. Outside of biological systems, catalytic processes are involved in the industrial chemical processing of over 80% of all manufactured products. The purpose of this research is to design and prepare artificial enzymes or “smart catalysts,” which are applicable toward one-pot multi-step reactions that mimic biological systems. Cole is studying biology. Predator Avoidance Behavior of Dubia Cockroaches Student: Sahla Esam Faculty mentor: Rachel Allen, assistant teaching professor of biology This study focuses on observing and analyzing the different behavioral patterns Dubia cockroaches use to avoid potential predation. There is considerable variation in terms of habitats occupied by insect groups and how they avoid detection by predators in those locations including camouflage or taking cover. Because of the close phylogenetic relationship between the Dubia cockroach (one of the most preferred feeder insect options available in Missouri) and the German cockroach (which is the most abundant domestic pest cockroach in Missouri) it may be possible to extend the reach of this study to find ways to dissuade domestic infestations of this widespread household pest. Esam is studying biology. Promoting Better Sleep: Studying Eye Physiology at the Cellular Level in Fruit Flies Students: Connor Flathers and Anthony Reddick Faculty mentor: Jeffrey Price, professor of biology Flather’s and Reddick’s research on mechanisms affecting circadian rhythms will assist in the understanding of sleep-related disorders including insomnia, narcolepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. The circadian rhythm, which is produced by an internal biological clock and drives the sleep/wake cycle as well as changes in eye physiology, is driven by a nuclear accumulation of several proteins in the eyes. Understanding the circadian rhythm can lead to the development of treatments for these disorders, as well as mechanisms for changes in eye physiology. Flathers is studying biology. Reddick is a chemistry major. Comparisons of Support Among K-12 Music Teachers in Missouri and Kansas Student: Jacob Furry Faculty mentor: Lani Hamilton, assistant professor of music education The purpose of this study is to examine correlations between various personal/situational factors and music teachers’ perceptions of support received from administration, colleagues and students’ parents. This descriptive study will help us better understand teachers’ perceptions of the music education environment in rural, urban and suburban school locations as well as perceptions held by participants located across the Missouri/Kansas state line. Furry developed a survey for music teachers in the states of Missouri and Kansas, inquiring about participants’ demographic information, educational experiences, teaching history, future teaching plans and perceptions of support. Furry is studying music education. Internet of Things (IoT) and Public Space: The Case of ShotSpotter Student: Rachel Moreno Faculty mentor: Shannon Jackson, associate professor of anthropology The purpose of the Smart City is to help public officials and innovators respond to the needs of residents more efficiently and effectively by using Internet of Things (IoT) to gather data about user behavior and the urban environment. The belief is that devices and more automatic data collection will create a safer and more efficient city. Moreno’s research focuses on ShotSpotter (SST), an IoT gunshot detection system that uses acoustic sensors to locate and determine gunfire. ShotSpotter is one of many publicly deployed systems that is privately owned. Its integration with public infrastructure further blurs the boundaries separating public and private decision-making. Moreno is studying sociology and history. A Knowledge Graph for Managing and Analyzing Spanish American Notary Records Students: Ryan Rowland and Adam Sisk Faculty mentor: Viviana Grieco, associate professor of history Rowland and Sisk’s research follows the changes in modern Spanish spelling and phonetics to show that modifications pioneered by prominent Spanish writers and poets transferred to the notarial scripts and focuses on how public notaries and the deeds they drafted promoted the expansion of trade and credit in seventeenth century Buenos Aires beyond the boundaries of family networks. Since advances in deep learning are transferrable to other fields, this software could be used in the management of documentary collections available in Missouri. Rowland is studying history and Spanish. Sisk is a Spanish major. The Intercalation of Cancer Drug Doxorubicin in Various DNA Sequences Student: Shanya San Namiq Faculty mentor: Wai-Yim Ching, professor of physics and astronomy Doxorubicin is a cancer drug that treats a wide range of cancers including leukemia, lymphoma and cancers in internal organs, tissues and skins. This drug damages the cancerous cells and prevents them from growing and reproducing. This research project focuses on studying different DNA sequences that would generate the highest yield for the insertion of doxorubicin. This is determined by analyzing chemical and physical properties of the cancer drug incorporated into the various studied base pairs in the DNA. San Namiq is studying biology. Protective Factors and Their Relationship with Attachment in Preschoolers Student: Kaia Schott Faculty mentor: Erin Hambrick, professor of psychology Attachment in the context of child development is defined as the emotional bond between a child and their parent or caregiving figure. Adverse experiences, such as a lack of consistency in parenting, can affect attachment because they may influence the child’s perception that caregivers are consistently available to provide a safe base from which they can explore their world. This can negatively affect regulation, adaptability, and resilience. This project will investigate factors that may have protected children who experienced adversity from experiencing low attachment. Schott is studying psychology and sociology. Cool Roofs’ Potential to Mitigate Heat-Induced Health Risks in the Kansas City Metro Area Student: Shreya Suri Faculty mentor: Fengpeng Sun, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences An urban heat island (UHI) refers to an urban area that is significantly warmer than surrounding rural and suburban regions due to human activity, sparse vegetation, and the use of heat-retaining materials in infrastructure. This increase in temperature is associated with an increased risk of heat stress and heat-related illness, such as heat stroke. A potential solution to mitigate the UHI effect in urban areas is the implementation of cool roofs, which absorb less heat and reflect a greater percentage of solar radiation compared to traditional roofs due to their reflective color and/or material. In addition to reducing local air temperatures, cool roofs can improve indoor comfort, reduce energy costs associated with air conditioning, and extend roof life due to decreased heat absorption. Suri is studying biology and environmental science. Real-time Prediction of Water Quality in Kansas City Urban Lakes Student: Grant Verhulst Faculty mentor: Jujung Lee, professor of geosciences The expense of traditional water quality monitoring systems has limited community accessibility, giving rise to public health concerns about harmful algal blooms. Availability of reliable, affordable and real-time water quality data is not an option for most communities due to technical and financial limitations. The purpose of this project is to develop a cost-effective approach to monitoring the water quality of lakes. Verhulst is studying environmental science. Keeping it Together: Unlocking the Causes of Infertility and Genetic Disorders Student: Emily Wesley Faculty mentors: Scott Hawley, adjunct professor of biology, and Katie Billmyre Meiosis is a complex process that most organisms use to generate germ cells (eggs and sperm) for sexual reproduction. Successful meiosis requires the correct amount of genetic material (i.e. chromosomes) to be packaged in each egg or sperm. A failure in this process results in aneuploidy (the incorrect number of chromosomes), which can cause genetic disorders such as Down syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, infertility or miscarriage. Wesley used the fruit fly to study multiple aspects of the synaptonemal complex. Wesley is studying biology.   For more information on Undergraduate Research Day, visit: www.umsystem.edu/ums/red/undergraduate_research_day   Apr 09, 2021

  • Online Crowdfunding for Health-Related Expenses Trends Upward

    Managed care publication writes about John A Spertus research
    Study author John A Spertus, MD, MPH, Lauer Missouri Endowed Chair and professor of medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City, was on a panel to analyze what the trend of crowdfunding says about health care costs and affordability; what message payers can take from it; and what solutions could help decrease the need for online fundraising. Read the article. Apr 09, 2021

  • Senator Blunt Visits Local UMKC-Med Students

    Media covers Senator Blunt's tours School of Medicine program
    Senator Roy Blunt visited medical students at Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph Thursday. The Missouri Republican helped secure grant funding that got the UMKC Medical School program off the ground. This was covered by KQ2 and KFEQ. Apr 09, 2021

  • New Mural in NEKC Brings Attention to Peripheral Artery Disease

    Dos Mundos highlights research involving Janette Berkley-Patton
    In 2018, a team of researchers at St. Luke’s and the University of Missouri-Kansas City started a project to raise awareness about PAD. The team, comprised of Kim Smolderen, formerly of St. Luke’s/UMKC, now at Yale University; Christina Pacheco, St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute; and Janette Berkley-Patton, UMKC, resulted in the creation of an online platform to share their findings with newly diagnosed people. Read more. Apr 09, 2021

  • Polsinelli Recognized with Bill French Alumni Service Award

    Trustee’s commitment to UMKC is enduring and multifaceted
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City is honoring Jim Polsinelli (J.D. ’67, H.D. ’13) with its Class of 2020 Bill French Alumni Service Award for his dedication to the university. Jim Polsinelli(J.D. ’67, H.D. ’13) Giving back to the Kansas City community is key to University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustee Jim Polsinelli’s philosophy. Polsinelli leads by example. An active member of the UMKC community, Polsinelli is past chairman of the UMKC Board of Trustees, a member and past president of the Law Foundation board and former board member of the UMKC Foundation.  He has served as past co-chair of the 2018 UMKC Alumni Awards, has been a tireless advocate for the university in Jefferson City and graciously hosts events for students at Polsinelli, the law firm he co-founded in 1972. “It is hard to imagine how anyone who has built the second largest law firm in Kansas City could find the time and tremendous energy he has displayed in several capacities supporting UMKC,” said Leo Morton, chancellor emeritus at UMKC. A dedicated community volunteer even before his retirement in 2018, he has encouraged community involvement by instilling a giving program for his associates at Polsinelli, which reflects his commitment to sharing success. Polsinelli and the firm’s associates have been consistent supporters of UMKC, donating generously to the UMKC Law School, The Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, the Entrepreneur of the Year program, the UMKC Conservatory and KCUR.  Join us in honoring Jim Polsinelli and the other Class of 2020 Awardees in our first-ever virtual celebration at 5 p.m. April 16. Go to umkcalumni.com/alumniawards to register for this free event. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. Meet the rest of the 2020 UMKC Alumni Awardees Apr 08, 2021

  • What Tuesday’s Election Results Show About Consumer Confidence

    KSHB interviews Bill Black, associate professor of economics and law
    The fact voters are willing to tax themselves during a pandemic is a sign the economy is rebounding, according to Bill Black, an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the article and watch the newscast. Apr 08, 2021

  • Sen. Blunt Visits UMKC-Mosaic Site

    St. Joseph newspaper covers Sen. Blunt's visit to UMKC School of Medicine site
    Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., made a trip Thursday to Mosaic Life Care, to mark the expansion of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine’s program in St. Joseph. Read the full article. Apr 08, 2021

  • Alumnus’ Impact Will Endure in Kansas City for Generations

    UMKC honors Mark McHenry with Alumni Spotlight Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. UMKC is honoring Mark McHenry (M.P..A. '89) with its Class of 2020 Alumni Spotlight Award. The Spotlight Award recognizes an alumnus whose accomplishments, leadership and public service have caused regional and national attention to be focused on the university and the metropolitan area. Mark McHenry(M.P..A. '89) Mark McHenry retired as director of the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Parks and Recreation Department at the end of 2018 but the accomplishments from his 44-year career there — including adding 34 parks, six community centers and doubling the size of the Kansas City Zoo — will endure for generations to come. McHenry’s leadership was evident not only in the region, but on a national scale as well. A member of the National Recreation and Parks Association since 1984, he was inducted into the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in 2004 and served as president of the board in 2018. A perennial ambassador for UMKC, McHenry has lent his expertise to the university as a member of the Department of Public Affairs Advisory Council and helping to develop the executive master of public administration program. He recently joined landscape architecture and planning design firm Ochsner Hare & Hare, the Olsson Studio. He was also appointed to the Missouri Conservation Commission by Gov. Mike Parson for a six-year term. Please discuss a Parks and Recreation project or two that stands out in your mind as particularly rewarding. In the early 1990s, I was given the opportunity to lead a multi-discipline team to provide a complete renovation of the Kansas City Zoo, the first of its kind in the zoo’s history. Not all of the community was supportive of the changes we were making, which presented some unique challenges; this required several meetings and negotiations with key stakeholders. Another high-profile public project was my role as project executive for the renovation and expansion of the Liberty Memorial in Penn Valley Park. Through a large team effort, we identified funds from federal, state, local and private resources. The next step was to design a very complicated restoration project and see it through the equally complicated construction phase. Today the Memorial, now known as the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, stands as one of the premier military museums in the world. In an interview with the Missouri Times about your appointment to the Missouri Conservation Commission you mentioned being a “voice for urban conservation.” What do you hope to accomplish during your time on the commission? How will you help other urban areas in Missouri embrace nature and conservation? One of the strategic goals of the department is to connect people with nature, which is easier to accomplish in the rural areas of the state because of proximity. While that is more challenging in the urban areas, I believe through expanded programs, services and facilities this challenge can be overcome. How did UMKC prepare you for/contribute to your success? UMKC provided me with a great learning laboratory while working for the city and attending classes. It provided me with class assignments that helped resolve real city problems. About the Alumni Awards Join us in honoring McHenry and the other Class of 2020 Awardees in our first-ever virtual celebration at 5 p.m. April 16. Go to umkcalumni.com/alumniawards to register for this free event. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online.   Meet the rest of the 2020 UMKC Alumni Awardees Apr 07, 2021

  • Pandemic’s Toll On Health Care Workers Reveals Need To Keep Mental Health At Forefront

    Flatland interviews UMKC associate professor of pediatrics
    “The vaccine is not going to fix mental health,” said Amy Beck, a licensed psychologist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City and an associate professor of pediatrics with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Read the article. Apr 07, 2021

  • UMKC Innovation Center Receives Funding

    Missouri Business Alert reports on the federal funding and local match
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center, in partnership with KC Digital Drive, will use a $750,000 federal contribution and a $239,000 local match to support the Comeback KC Ventures project. The initiative will aim to identify COVID-related community needs and come up with technology-based solutions, according to the EDA. Read the article. Apr 07, 2021

  • Emigrant Created Indirect Path to CEO

    Andebrhan Honored for Defying the Odds
    The UMKC Alumni Association is honoring Hagos Andebrhan (B.S.C.E. ’78) with the Class of 2020 Defying the Odds Award. Determined to create a better life for himself and his family, Andebrhan emigrated from Eritrea in 1970. From a one-room household in Eritrea, a country in eastern Africa, to CEO of Taliaferro & Browne, a lead civil engineering firm in Kansas City, Hagos Andebrhan’s hard work and dedication have earned him success in the United States. The youngest of five children, Andebrhan came to the U.S. in 1970 to join an advanced airline pilot training program in Kansas City but ended up meeting his mentor and the founder of Taliaferro & Browne, Will Taliaferro, and changing careers. Hagos Andebrhan(B.S.C.E. ’78) “After high school, I took an exam and was one of thirty students in the entire nation of Ethiopia to be accepted into the Ethiopian Airline Pilot Training Program,” Andebrhan says. “A career in the airlines was not my dream, but it offered the best opportunity to earn a good salary. My desire to help my family financially was paramount.” Andebrhan was focused on his education when the forced unification of Eritria with Ethiopia began in 1962. “I supported the struggle for independence and engaged in student protests,” Andebrhan says. “But I was more focused on my education and was determined to emigrate to the United States to create a better life for me and my family.” But once Andebrhan moved to the United States in 1970 he could not find work as a pilot because of the number of United States pilots who had returned from the Vietnam War. Andebrhan was undeterred in his commitment to building a life in his new homeland. “Being a pilot was a means to an end, not a lifelong ambition,” he says. “Also, my wife was not thrilled with the idea.” Fortunately, Will Taliaferro, who was a partner in Taliaferro & Browne, offered him a job at his engineering firm. Taliaferro became Andebrhan’s mentor. “Mr. Taliaferro introduced me to the engineering profession and encouraged me to pursue engineering as a career. UMKC had an excellent engineering program and I was able to attend while holding a full-time job.” While Andebrhan pursued his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he worked full-time as a draftsman at Taliaferro & Browne, supporting his wife, children and his family in Eritrea. He does not remember this remarkable juggling act as being a burden. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” he says. “Most importantly, I had the support of a wonderful wife.” He says UMKC had everything he was looking for in a university. “UMKC offered a quality education in an urban setting,” he says. “I had inspiring and encouraging professors and friendly and supportive classmates.” After Will Taliaferro died in 1990, Andebrhan and Leonard Graham, (B.A. ‘74) purchased the company; Andebrhan became CEO in 1992. Under their tenure, the company has been a part of some of Kansas City’s most significant developments including Science City in Union Station, the Kansas City Power and Light District and the new Kansas City Airport terminal. Despite his remarkable accomplishments, Taliaferro’s advice for a successful life is simple. “Life is short. Live it a day at a time.” Join us in honoring Hagos Andebrhan and the other Class of 2020 Awardees in our first-ever virtual celebration at 5 p.m. April 16. Go to umkcalumni.com/alumniawards to register for this free event. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. Apr 06, 2021

  • Bloch’s Master of Finance Stands Apart With New STEM Designation

    Provides graduates a key advantage in the job market
    The UMKC Bloch School of Management is the only school in the region offering the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) designation through its Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree. The program responds to the emerging trend of STEM-designated programs focused on applying mathematics and statistics to the finance industry. As Kansas City’s business school, Bloch stays current and agile when it comes to industry trends. While several of the school’s courses align in this area – financial mathematics, modeling, advanced statistics – its MSF program is becoming even more quantitative-focused in its curriculum. “We’ve had our eye on this rapidly emerging trend in business schools over the last several years,” said Brian Anderson, PhD, Associate Dean at the Bloch School. “We’re excited to be strengthening our curriculum to best align with changes happening in the financial industry and to strengthen our graduates in a very competitive job market.” Bloch expects its STEM designation to attract local students as well as students from outside the local area who want to work in Kansas City. But its biggest draw may be international students. The designation, which is based on curriculum guidelines defined by the U.S. Department of Education and certified under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, extends how long students here on an F-1 student visa can stay and work in the United States after getting their degree. With a STEM degree, their Optional Practical Training (OPT) can continue up to three years. “This program is very popular among international students,” said Anderson. “We’ve been getting lots of inquiries and students applying. UMKC offers the benefit of completing their education and gaining extended work experience all right here in Kansas City.” With the new designation, Bloch joins an elite group of business schools offering STEM programs, among them the University of Southern California, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania and University of California-Berkley. The school will start promoting its STEM MSF in fall 2021. Anderson says Kansas City has a strong financial sector, making it ideal for students who want to work where the jobs are, accelerate their careers and seek opportunities for growth. “The demand is strong for those with advanced degrees in finance,” he said. “And Bloch’s STEM-designated MSF degree provides the in-demand skills and opportunities needed for their success.” Apr 05, 2021

  • UMKC Going 'Forward'

    KCUR talks to Chancellor Agrawal and Provost Lundgren
    UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and UMKC Provost Jenny Lundgren were guests on Up to Date. They discussed UMKC Forward. More from KCUR. Apr 05, 2021

  • Local Universities Rank Among Nation's Top Graduate Programs

    Kansas City Business Journal lists local universities on the list
    UMKC has ranked programs. Read which programs are included. A subscription may be required. Apr 02, 2021

  • Family’s UMKC History Spans Seven Decades

    Edelman Family to receive UMKC Legacy Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. UMKC is honoring the Edelman Family with the Class of 2020 Legacy Award. Doris Edelman The Edelman Family’s UMKC legacy began when 12-year-old Doris Tager fled Nazi Germany in 1938. Her family traveled to the Netherlands and Cuba before arriving in Kansas City, whose local Jewish community sponsored their voyage. She’d go on to attend Kansas City University (now UMKC) and graduate in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and economics. That same year, Doris met her future husband, William Edelman, a fellow Roo who would graduate in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Doris had a successful career as a stockbroker and was the first female vice president and partner of B.C. Christopher and Company where she worked for more than 20 years. William served patients in the heart of Kansas City as a family physician for more than 50 years before retiring in 2001. William Edelman Their oldest son, Mark (J.D. ’75), founded the Theater League, Inc., a not-for-profit community-based performing arts organization that presented the best of Broadway to Kansas City audiences for 42 years. Youngest son Ron (J.D. ’82) opened one of the region’s most successful law practices — Edelman and Thompson — with James Thompson in 1994. Middle son Alan and his wife, Debbie Sosland-Edelman, great supporters of UMKC, also connect with the university through their son Alexander (J.D. ’12). He started his own firm with two other UMKC alumni and was recognized by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of the “40 Best Attorneys Under 40.” We spoke with Mark, Ron and Alexander about their career paths. Mark Edelman Mark Edelman Not everyone would connect theatre and law degrees. Did you already have a plan for putting your law degree to use in theatre when you began at UMKC? I hoped to become an entertainment lawyer and volunteered (hung out may be a better description) in New York at an office at the Bar Association of the City of New York that provided services for artists. After graduation, I studied for the NY Bar exam; but I got a job running the Bucks County Playhouse in suburban Philadelphia instead. They were impressed I had a law degree. Over the course of your career, you met some famous folks. Any encounters that stand out in your memory? My first presentation in Kansas City—while I was still in law school—involved a student activities-funded presentation of an off-Broadway show called LEMMINGS. After the show, the cast came to my apartment at 44th and Walnut, where my neighbors joined me in welcoming them. Three of the actors there were Chevy Chase, John Belushi and Christopher Guest. The following year, they were all on or writing SNL. What does leaving a legacy mean to you? How does it feel to be sharing this award with your family? While my brother Ron and nephew Alex continue to make great strides on behalf of their clients, I am most proud to share this with my folks, who had to deal with prejudice and near poverty to succeed at KCU. My mother and her family escaped Nazi Germany to find their way first to Cuba and then Kansas City. My father faced anti-Semitism in graduate school elsewhere, but found a more welcoming, inclusive environment in Kansas City. Ron Edelman Ron Edelman You’ve been nationally recognized as a top workers’ compensation lawyer. Why is representing personal injury and workers’ compensation cases important to you? An injury on the job, or an injury caused by the fault of another party, can be financially and emotionally devastating for the victim and their family. To be able to help people in their time of need by making sure that all the bills are [covered], and that they and their family are compensated for their losses, is extremely satisfying. What advice do you have for students who’d like to follow in your footsteps? Don’t listen to anyone else’s advice, including mine. That said, “Follow your heart (and your head).”  Alexander Edelman Alexander Edelman What is your proudest accomplishment? My proudest accomplishment is my role in helping build the law firm Edelman, Liesen & Myers, L.L.P. from the ground up. Within just a few years, we were able to build a practice that fights for individual rights, especially in their employment and in public accommodation, and have helped obtain justice for those who have been discriminated against or mistreated. The firm has continued to grow, and we are able to help even more people, and we’ve been able to help shape the law in a way that clarifies and protects the legal rights of individuals. You were named one of the 40 Best LGBT Attorneys Under 40. How does it feel to have achieved such success before 40? Receiving the recognition from the National LGBT Bar Association was a huge honor. I am very proud to be able to represent the LGBT community, both as a member of the community and by serving clients from the community. I am extremely lucky to have found partners who are also passionate about standing up for the rights of LGBT people as well as others, and thus to have the opportunity to be able to do this kind of work so early in my career. How did UMKC contribute to your success? Most directly, UMKC is where I met my classmates, Sarah Liesen (J.D. ’12) and Katherine Myers (J.D. ’12), who became my law partners, and without whom I could not have had any of the professional success I have achieved. It also provided the solo and small firm incubator, where we got our start. About the Alumni Awards Join us in honoring the Edelman Family and the other Class of 2020 Awardees in our first-ever virtual celebration at 5 p.m. April 16. Go to umkcalumni.com/alumniawards to register for this free event. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online.   Meet the rest of the 2020 UMKC Alumni Awardees Apr 01, 2021

  • Music Professor's Sudden Hearing Loss Restored At NKCH

    KSHB, KMBC, MSN report on UMKC Conservatory professor's hearing loss
    This story is about Chris Madden, University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory assistant professor of piano pedagogy. Read the news coverage: KSHB KMBC MSN Apr 01, 2021

  • Temptation Island - Is Blake Eyres a Real Dentist?

    Blake Eyres is a UMKC School of Dentistry alumnus
    Blake Eyres graduated from the UMKC School of Dentistry. This story was covered by Showbiz CheatSheet and ScreenRant. Apr 01, 2021

  • Temptation Island: Is Blake Eyres a Real Dentist?

    Blake Eyres is a UMKC School of Dentistry alumnus
    Blake Eyres graduated from the UMKC School of Dentistry. This story was covered by Showbiz CheatSheet and ScreenRant. Apr 01, 2021