• Student’s Study Reveals Black Males More Likely to Survive Gunshot Wounds

    Black male victims tend to be younger than average victim
    A UMKC graduate student’s research into fatal and non-fatal shootings in Kansas City found that Black males are significantly more likely to survive gunshot wounds than other demographic groups. Alejandro Cervantes, who completed his master’s degree in criminal justice and criminology in Spring 2023, presented his findings at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association in Chicago during the fall semester. He won first place in the graduate student poster competition at the meeting. The research forms the basis of his master’s thesis. His study examined all shooting victims in Kansas City between 2015-2020. This included more than 760 homicides and 2,900 instances in which a victim was struck by a bullet but survived. His research documented a steady increase in both fatal and non-fatal shootings, particularly in 2020, when gun violence in Kansas City increased by 33%. He also discovered a unique interaction between race and sex, noting that Black male shooting victims were significantly more likely to survive than other victims. Black victims were the highest demographic group in both fatal (76%) and non-fatal (75%) shootings. Males of all races were the victims in more than 80% of both fatal and non-fatal shootings. Black male victims tended to be younger than other groups in both categories overall, with younger Black male victims being more likely to survive a gunshot wound than older Black males. Pursuing plausible explanations for these rates, Cervantes focused on community-police relationships in different neighborhoods. Lack of trust and confidence in police tends to make people more prone to taking matters into their own hands. “Strained relationships with law enforcement results in retaliation becoming normalized when seeking retribution for being wronged in resolving interpersonal problems,” Cervantes said. He added that these same neighborhoods where trust in police is lacking also suffer serious socioeconomic problems, high rates of poverty and a lack of services. The inspiration for the study, he said, came while - assisting with data entry for his thesis chair, Prof. Ken Novak. “Reviewing and recoding the raw data gave rise to the questions presented in my thesis,” Cervantes said. “The greater goal in my work here is generating data that can be utilized by future researchers to enhance this field of study.” “Alejandro’s research is timely, locally relevant and important,” Novak said. “This sheds further light on the fact that Black males are significantly overrepresented among shooting victims, and further demonstrates that the harm associated with firearm violence is not distributed equally throughout Kansas City.”  Cervantes, originally from Reseda, California, earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and criminology from UMKC in 2019. He was able to attend the conference in Chicago thanks to a graduate student travel award from the UMKC School of Graduate Studies. He is unsure at this point whether he will pursue a doctorate or go immediately into a career. His ultimate goal is to work for the FBI or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as a data analyst analyzing firearm-related crimes. Cervantes is grateful for the travel grant that allowed him to attend the conference, which had value beyond the first-place award. “With those expenses covered I had the opportunity to explore and experience something new,” he said. “Attending and presenting at a conference like this gave me not only greater confidence in my skills, but feedback from others in my field helped shape my thesis into a better product.” “This experience is a major highlight in my time at UMKC.” May 26, 2023

  • UMKC Professor Jane Greer, Author, Champion of Women and Research

    New book examines women’s entry into the industrial workforce
    Jane Greer, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is a champion of the rich opportunity of undergraduate research. She’s  leading by example with her new book, “Unorganized Women: Repetitive Rhetorical Labor and Low-Wage Workers, 1834-1937.” Through four case studies, Greer’s book examines women who worked for low wages – and sometimes no wages – and how they used their writing skills to empower their economic lives. “I used four case studies and prioritized the diversity of women’s working experiences,” Greer says. “I started with women’s experiences in the 1830s and 40s, when they began working in factories. These women were some of the first who were working in ways other than some kind of home production. This was the first time women were working together in an industrialized setting.” From the Lowell, Massachusetts “mill girls,” Greer proceeds to explore the lives of household workers, farm workers and finally, Kansas City’s own Nell “Nelly Don” Donnelly and the development of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union. “There’s an amazing collection of 718 letters in the State Historical Society of Missouri that women workers wrote to Nelly Don about how they felt about how their jobs allowed them to lead lives they wanted to lead beyond the factory, and why they weren't necessarily interested in unionization. It’s an unusual and different kind of story.” As were the women in her book, Greer was open to exploring new paths toward success. After completing her undergraduate studies at a small liberal arts college, and then earning her graduate degree at Ohio State University, she did not anticipate teaching at an urban research university. “I was thrilled to have the opportunity to come to UMKC and Kansas City, and I fell completely in love with the students here. We have the most interesting, fantastic, wonderful-to-work-with students anywhere. And I think a lot of our faculty will tell you this.” As director of undergraduate research at UMKC, Greer is committed to creating a rich research experience for UMKC undergraduates. One of her recent efforts is working in conjunction with a colleague to oversee student research in her “Women and Rhetoric” class to contribute audio tours for the Kansas City Women’s History Trail on the Clio app. Her partner in the effort is David Trowbridge, Ph.D., William T. Kemper Associate Research Professor in Digital and Public Humanities, who developed the Clio app. “The opportunity and the content is so rich,” Greer says. “There's an educator who helped battle segregation in Johnson County before Brown v Board of Education; Eliza Burton Conley, an alumna of the Kansas City School of Law, who was a member of the Wyandotte nation who helped protect a tribal cemetery and was the first Native American woman to argue before the Supreme Court of the United States; and Nell Donnelly Reed, who is this interesting entrepreneur from the early 20th century. There's just a really wide range of women whose stories need to be told.” The relevance and accessibility of a mobile history app is in line with Greer’s undergraduate research responsibilities. “With undergraduate research, we find ways to bring our research mission and our teaching mission together,” Greer says. “If students are attending a public research institution, they should have the opportunity to do the research and be involved. That's part of what makes us unique. You wouldn't get this opportunity at a small liberal arts college or a regional teaching institution in quite the same way.” “Unorganized Women: Repetitive Rhetorical Labor and the Low-Wage Workers, 1834-1937” is available in hard cover, Kindle and Nook. May 24, 2023

  • First-Gen Social Work Student Redefines Advocacy

    DaVonna Williams is pushing the needle towards a more progressive, fresh take on social work
    Roos don't just dream, they do. Our students and alumni turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people, and you'll know what UMKC is all about. DaVonna Williams (M.S.W. ’23) Pronouns: She/Her/HersUMKC degree program: Master of Social WorkHometown: St. Louis, MO DaVonna has always been passionate about social work advocacy. After returning to UMKC to pursue her Master of Social Work, her experiences on and off campus allowed her to further explore this passion while adopting a fresh, new take on the field. Why did you choose UMKC? I chose UMKC because I had a really great experience here for my undergraduate degree and knew it would be the best choice for me when I decided to go back to school. How has your college program inspired you? My program has inspired me to continue to speak truth to power no matter my position or status in the world. It has lit a fire in me to continue to advocate for communities that have been historically excluded due to biased systems. What does advocacy mean to you? Working with an individual, group or organization to provide the means for them to gain agency over their own lives and help them better understand the systems that perpetuate unhealthy patterns and beliefs that can diminish their quality of life. Have your experiences at UMKC helped define your career goals? Definitely. During my field work, I realized that I would like to work with neighborhoods and help them be more involved in decisions that impact their communities. They need to be aware of everything that is going on and have a say in it. I've also realized that as social workers, we need to attack issues at the root a lot more. Getting involved in policy and supporting organizations that are doing that liberatory work is crucial to social change. Are you a first-generation college student? If so, what does that mean to you? Yes, I am. It is important to me because I have been privileged enough to further my education and take advantage of everything my parents worked so hard to provide for me. What has been your favorite memory at UMKC so far? Presenting at the 2023 UMKC Social Work Conference. I was able to present my capstone work, which involved community organizing around the issue of unpaid field work for social work students. I am very passionate about economic injustice so being able to speak about our organizing and awareness building efforts was empowering. Who/What do you admire most at UMKC and why? I admire Center for Neighborhoods because they are doing a lot of important work by equipping neighborhoods with the tools they need to address their own needs and meet their goals. I like that they visit and connect with members of the community. You were president of the Master of Social Work Student Organization. What did that role mean to you? It meant taking the lead to empower my cabinet and other students to speak up on issues that we see as social workers out in the community, as well as within the MSW program. My vision is for this organization to be engaging and fun while cultivating a sense of community within the MSW program. For instance, we created a newsletter called “Not Your Grandmother's Social Work” (NYGSW) because we wanted to promote a more refreshing, progressive take on social work. What's your favorite fun fact about Kansas City? Kansas City is the hometown of one of my favorite artists, Janelle Monáe. Do you have a favorite spot on campus? My favorite spot on campus is Miller Nichols Library. It’s pretty chill and quiet, so I'm there when I want to brainstorm or work on a project. What are three words you'd use to describe Kansas City? Resilient. Inspiring. Fun. May 23, 2023

  • Two Philosophy Professors Featured in the New York Times

    Clancy Martin and Gwen Nally showcase their expertise in the national publication
    Two University of Missouri-Kansas City philosophy professors have recently appeared in the  New York Times. Gwen Nally, Ph.D., was one of two authors of the guest essay, "Fear of a Black Cleopatra" about the new Netflix docudrama. Nally has taught at UMKC since 2016. Her work focuses primarily on Plato’s ethics, epistemology and metaphysics. Clancy Martin, Ph.D., was featured for his new book “How Not to Kill Yourself.” His work focuses on nineteenth century philosophy, existentialism, moral psychology, applied ethics and Buddhism. Martin has taught at UMKC for almost two decades. May 22, 2023

  • What Do UMKC and the Kansas City Zoo Have in Common? Kangaroos

    New partnership showcases a nine-decade history based on mutual admiration for the Roo
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Kansas City Zoo are announcing a five-year partnership centered around their shared love of kangaroos. The relationship between the two Kansas City institutions dates back almost 90 years. “Not many universities can claim a Roo for a mascot but, thanks to inspiration from the Kansas City Zoo all those years ago, UMKC embraced that unique identity,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “At UMKC, we have an amazing Roo history, complete with a touch of Walt Disney magic.” “Our partnership is a natural fit because the mission of the university and the Zoo is the same, and that is to educate and continually elevate our community through our work,” said Sean Putney, executive director and CEO of the Kansas City Zoo. Venture into the Australia section of the Zoo, and one of the first things you’ll notice on a deck overlooking the kangaroo habitat is a UMKC-sponsored sign that chronicles the story of why a university in the middle of the United States chose an animal from the other side of the world as its mascot, and how famed local resident and animator Walt Disney became involved. New signage chronicles the relationship between the Kansas City Zoo and UMKC's beloved mascot, KC Roo In 1936, the three-year-old university had yet to establish an athletics program, but the debate team was about to begin competing with other universities. Students eagerly got on board with the idea of creating a university mascot. At the time, the city of Kansas City was eagerly anticipating some very exciting news at the Zoo. Jigger the kangaroo was pregnant and the whole town was awaiting news of her little one’s arrival. Inspired by the excitement and believing the mascot would stand out, students chose the kangaroo. In 1938, Walt Disney responded to a student request to illustrate a Roo for the cover of a student-published humor magazine. Nearly a century later, the Disney Roo is still one of the best-known versions of KC Roo and is credited with solidifying the mascot’s history with UMKC. A cutout of the Disney Roo is at Bluey’s deck in Australia at the Zoo, perfect for selfies. A display on the history of the Roo shows its evolution over the decades, from its classic Roo to today’s bold Division I athletics Roo. The UMKC sponsorship at the Zoo also has funded new accessible pathways throughout Australia, where the kangaroos and other animals from Down Under live. The new displays and walkway are just the beginning of a beautiful partnership, according to Anne Hartung Spenner, UMKC vice chancellor of Strategic Marketing and Communications. “Our sponsorship at the Zoo celebrates more than just inspiration for a beloved mascot,” Spenner said. “Both UMKC and the Zoo celebrate education and engagement in the community – so in our second year, we will be hosting interactive displays for children to learn about kangaroos and their habitat and will be looking for opportunities for our students to intern or volunteer at the Zoo.” Spenner also looks forward to further highlighting how the Zoo and UMKC have partnered on the academic front as well. For example, UMKC School of Dentistry students regularly use their dental hygiene skills by cleaning the teeth of Zoo animals up to weekly each spring, a relationship that benefits both UMKC and the Zoo. And biology students watch animals at the Zoo to learn anatomy. Roos are everywhere at the Kansas City Zoo. From Bluey's deck in the Australia section, to the carousel near the entrance  To kick off the partnership celebration, UMKC students, faculty, staff, alumni and leaders are holding a UMKC Roos at the Zoo Day on May 20. UMKC students and employees will receive discounted tickets and memberships as part of the kickoff celebration. Kangaroo fun facts: UMKC and the Kansas City Zoo Kangaroos can only move forward and not backwards. You can observe the red kangaroos at the Zoo to see for yourself! Taking inspiration from their movement, the university named a set of its major initiatives UMKC Forward. A group of kangaroos is called a mob. The Zoo has a mob of 14 red kangaroos. This year, UMKC renamed its athletics pep band, comprised of UMKC Conservatory students, The Mob. A red kangaroo can reach speeds of more than 35 miles per hour, allowing them to clear 25 feet in a single leap. You can watch the kangaroos in action at Bluey’s deck at the Zoo. Their agility and swiftness are why UMKC kept the Roo mascot when the university joined the NCAA Division I in 1987.   May 17, 2023

  • UMKC Accepting Proposals for Destination Development Near Streetcar Stop

    Projects could include a mix of retail, housing and a small arena for community events, concerts and UMKC Division I athletics
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to develop a five-acre parcel of land next to the south terminus of the Kansas City Streetcar at 51st Street and Brookside Boulevard. The streetcar stop is expected to be operational in 2025. In his recent State of the University address, UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal announced his intention to explore options to develop that parcel into a campus and community destination. The project could include a mix of retail, housing and a small arena perfect for campus and community events, concerts and, of course, UMKC Division I athletics, including basketball and volleyball. “A destination development at the southern terminus of the streetcar is an appropriate addition to the community by UMKC, Kansas City’s university,” Agrawal said. “The development from this RFP will elevate the area for our city, our neighbors and our campus community.” The university has two plots of land between Brookside and Oak Street, vacant except for a parking garage. The goal is to integrate the existing parking structure into whatever new development might be envisioned. UMKC plans to open the garage to public use when the streetcar stop opens in 2025 and will build a pedestrian walkway from the streetcar stop to the parking garage. In addition to seeking a development that could include retail, housing and arena amenities, UMKC envisions this project as a highly visible gateway to the UMKC campus from the west. The deadline for proposals is Friday, July 21. The RFP presents an evolution of the university’s 2021 Master Plan, which initially called for development of student housing on the site. Based on decreased demand for on-campus housing and the imminent opening of a new streetcar stop, the priority has shifted to increased space for campus and community amenities to enhance the student life experience on campus and to further engage with the broader Kansas City community. The site, next to the streetcar terminus, has the potential to become a multi-modal transit hub. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is conducting a comprehensive redesign of its transit service, which will include stops on the Main and Troost MAX lines every 15 minutes. The Troost MAX provides the most direct connection between the UMKC Volker Campus and downtown Kansas City. To create this project, UMKC would provide a ground lease to the developer and then would lease back the arena to meet its athletics and event needs, while allowing the developer to use the facility for other programs and events during available times. A shared operating agreement between UMKC and the developer will govern use of the facility. The UMKC Division I Athletics program anticipates that the arena would be home to Kansas City Roos basketball and volleyball. That means 40-45 home games per season, plus 550 practice sessions per season. The university’s existing athletics and recreation facility, Swinney Center, currently supports the Division I programs as well as campus recreation. A new arena with expanded seating capacity and more training space is expected to provide a significant boost to UMKC Athletics’ fan experience and would aid in recruiting outstanding student athletes. May 15, 2023

  • Thirteen Named Dean of Students Honor Recipients

    Graduating students are recognized for their outstanding academic performance, community leadership and service
    Thirteen graduating UMKC students have been named Dean of Students Honor Recipients in recognition of their accomplishments on campus and in the community. Every semester, exceptional graduating students are honored with this designation. These students maintain excellent academic standards while actively participating in university activities and community service outside of the classroom. The Spring 2023 honorees’ accomplishments include founding new service organizations, being published in peer-reviewed journals, holding leadership positions in student organizations, volunteering in the community and more. “These students embody what it means to be a Roo with their dedication to academics, service and community," said Michele D. Smith, Ph.D., vice provost for student affairs and dean of students. “I am thrilled to recognize them for their many accomplishments and look forward to the bright futures ahead of them.” Students shared reflections on their time at UMKC at a special breakfast celebration in their honor. Some excerpts: Shaan Patel: “UMKC has taught me so much about what it means to be a good physician, student and person. One of my attending (physicians) once said that being a physician is not just about treating the disease, but it is about treating the person. Through my clinical experience at UMKC, I have learned so much about caring for the underserved and how quality of health is impacted by so many factors separate from disease pathology. I have been inspired by my attendings who have been critical in helping patients beyond the hospital setting.” Emily Puthawala: “I am a non-traditional student, and tomorrow will be the first time I hold a diploma since my high school graduation eleven years ago. I would like to recognize one very special group of people. This group has not only made my time at UMKC special, but I believe they are what makes the UMKC experience so unique and inspiring: my fellow non-traditional students. One will be attending medical school in the fall, one will be interning at the World Health Organization, and another will be taking the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) with me this September. With an average student age of 26, UMKC is dedicated to supporting and nurturing students like us as we strive to achieve our wildest dreams, something for which I am forever grateful.” Meredith Clark: “One of the most important things UMKC has taught me through my program is that you won’t have to go through the experience alone. The last four years have been no easy feat by any means, but my faculty, classmates, staff and administration have all been there to help me be the best dentist I can be. I have been shaped by the people at the dental school in more ways that I can count. I am continually awed by the time and energy the faculty put into investing into my future as a dentist but also by the energy they put into getting to know me and my personal life as well. It’s a true testament to the environment created within the dental school.” Congratulations to the Spring 2023 Dean of Students Honor Recipients! Olaide Bankole, School of Science and Engineering Meredith Clark, School of Dentistry Erin Galakatos, School of Medicine Jordan Grimmett, School of Medicine Jordan Held, School of Medicine Faith Kapp, School of Medicine Mahnoor Malik, School of Medicine Darryl Monroe II, School of Pharmacy Sage Morgan, Conservatory Christy Nwankwo, School of Medicine Shaan Patel, School of Medicine Emily Puthawala, School of Science and Engineering Lanisha Stevens, School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences May 15, 2023

  • UMKC Celebrates 2023 Commencement at T-Mobile Center

    The ceremonies were held on May 13, 2023
    More than 2,000 students became alumni on Saturday as The University of Missouri-Kansas City had its May 2023 Commencement ceremony in the heart of Kansas City. “You have acquired the knowledge, skills and the confidence to navigate an ever-shifting landscape in the days and years to come. Chart your future in pencil because more challenges surely await you,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “But I know that you are up to those challenges because you have a degree from UMKC. You are ready for whatever comes next.” National ABC News Anchor and UMKC alumna Rhiannon Ally (B.A. ‘05) congratulated the new graduates. The Raytown, MO native's almost 20-year career included a front row seat to history, documenting events including the Boston Marathon bombing, the war in Ukraine, Hurricane Katrina and the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. “If you find what you love, push through those hard days. Things will get better if you are committed to improving every single day,” said Ally. “You hold the power to change the future, no matter what your profession is.” Following Ally’s address and the recognition of individual graduates, the class enjoyed taking part in the tradition of moving the tassels from the right of their caps to the left to symbolize the individual's movement from candidate to graduate. May 13, 2023

  • UMKC to Lead Development of Microelectronics Hub in Missouri and Kansas

    $1 million federal cooperative agreement launches team to generate suppliers of microchip materials and create highly trained workforce
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City on behalf of the University of Missouri System has received a $1 million 24-month federal cooperative agreement to lead the development of a microelectronics hub across Missouri and Kansas. The $999,480 award from the National Science Foundation’s Regional Innovation Engines Program is funded through the CHIPS and Science Act, signed into law earlier this year, to significantly boost U.S. production of microchips and other microelectronic components. The initial cooperative agreement will launch Critical Materials Crossroads, an industry, government and academic team working to establish a microelectronics base in the Midwest and promote technical and economic development in the region. This planning award could lead to $160 million in additional funding over the next 10 years to help launch new businesses and educate the future critical-materials workforce. This collective will leverage partnerships with universities and businesses in Kansas and Missouri to drive the growth needed for this new hub, providing microelectronics manufacturers with the needed workforce, materials and innovation to develop domestically sustainable and profitable critical goods. According to the original proposal, goals for the collective include: Coordinate, facilitate and mentor creation of about 70 small businesses in Missouri and Kansas, which will account for more than 4% of the two states’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2032, creating an average of 1,000 new jobs per year. Become the one-stop solution for regional microelectronic needs and generate an increasing corporate footprint and business relocation from other regions. Create and maintain a pipeline of targeted degree/certificate holders to meet workforce needs. Be the catalyst and trusted partner for U.S. microelectronics industrial base research. Launch entities to provide centralized business support services and funding for startups. Supply a significant amount of mid-tier microelectronics critical materials to U.S. prime-tier manufacturers by 2030. “UMKC is proud to take the lead on behalf of the University of Missouri System and its four universities on this exciting effort to create a new industrial base in our region focused on computer chips and other microelectronics,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “The potential for business formation and job creation is extraordinary, and we’ll be working with partners throughout Missouri and Kansas to make it happen.” Anthony Caruso, Curators' Distinguished Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering and UMKC Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, is the principal investigator for the grant. “Our goal is to realize a self-sustaining Kansas-Missouri microelectronics industrial base that will become profitable without the need for government subsidy,” Caruso said. “That requires reinventing manufacturing practices. To meet this grand challenge, the team will focus on synergistic and symbiotic partnerships that leverage the unique natural resources, manufacturing and transportation capacity of Missouri and Kansas. The ultimate goal is to develop marked improvements in regional educational attainment and economic growth.” Microelectronics – specifically semiconductors or computer chips – underpin many aspects of day-to-day life, including medical equipment, cars, industrial machinery and consumer electronics. U.S. semiconductor manufacturing has declined significantly since the early 1990s, leaving the country reliant on imported microelectronics, which many see as a threat to both economic growth and national security. The team includes institutions of higher education, representation from local and state governments and industry partners, including all four universities in the UM System, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Central Missouri State University, Wichita State University Tech, Lincoln University, Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis University, Metropolitan Community College, Integra Tech, Nitride Global, EaglePicher, MEMC-Global Wafers, Radiation Detection Technologies, Brewer Science, Doe Run, Enersys, U.S. Strategic Metals, ThREE, KC Rising, National Security Crossroads, KC Area Development Council, KC Digital Drive, Missouri Department of Economic Development, PortKC, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Tech Alliance, Entrepreneurship KC, KC Rising, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and startups Homebase, Bravas, Balto, Pierian, Torch, Potter, Nidec, Digital Ally and Crosstalk. May 11, 2023

  • Bloch School Graduate Headed to the Big Apple as a Technology Consultant

    Business student and Missouri Air National Guard staff sergeant Henry Meeds reflects on the UMKC opportunities that have prepared him for post-grad...
    Roos don’t just dream, they do. Our students turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people, and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Henry Meeds Graduation year: (BBA ’22, B.S. '23)UMKC degree program: Dual Degree, Business Administration and Accounting Hometown: Fairway, KS Fresh off the completion of his accounting program, Henry Meeds is starting a new adventure. The May 2023 graduate is headed to New York City to work at the Big Four accounting firm, PwC, a job he had lined up months before graduation. “My experience at the Bloch school has definitely helped me get into this position with PwC,” Meeds said. “The reason I went into consulting is because I don't want to be stuck in the same industry, doing the same job every day.”Meeds became connected with PwC after participating in the company’s diversity-based internship program in 2021. He learned about the company, the technology they use and developed an action plan for a nonprofit organization. He returned for a second internship in the summer of 2022, where he focused on technology consulting and implemented the rollout of Workday for a health care company. By the time the summer was up, he had an offer to come on full-time after graduation as a technology consultant. “I think my experience at the Bloch school has definitely helped set me up,” Meeds said. “Being in a smaller class allowed me to ask questions and get mentorship from those professors. I have a lot of professors that I've been able to talk to you about certain aspects of business. For that reason, I think I bring something new to the table for the company.” Despite having a full-time job lined up, Meeds didn’t rest on his laurels the last year of his accounting program. He was one of four Bloch Consulting Lab students to work with Vantage Airport Group, the vendor management company for the recently opened single-terminal KCI – the $1.5 billion terminal is considered Kansas City’s largest infrastructure project. Meeds and his peers helped support the company with hiring, developing an internship program and conducting an economic impact study. Meeds said after all the work he’s put in with the airport, taking off from there for New York will be a moment to remember, knowing that what he’s worked towards will have a big impact on his hometown, KC citizens and his career moving forward. “It’s really symbolic,” Meeds said. “Working with the airport and helping implement this great amenity for Kansas City was great. When I leave this month, it will make me feel great just having a piece of KC, while leaving a little bit of myself behind.” He said the mentorship from experienced professors and participating in the Bloch Consulting Lab helped sharpen his understanding of consulting services and information technology in a way that will benefit him as he begins his career. “Working in this consulting position definitely helped me improve my consulting skills before heading out to New York City,” Meeds said. “We’re getting hands on with every part of the project, similar to what a partner might be doing at PwC. And we’re doing it all ourselves.”While balancing his commitments as a staff sergeant in the Missouri Air National Guard, he didn’t fall short on his academic responsibilities. Last spring semester, Meeds received notice of being deployed to Germany and took the initiative to complete course work and exams ahead of schedule. Following his return, he headed straight to New York City to complete his internship with PwC. His advice to other active military students is to always be ready to be called to duty."Being a military student, and have having done this for the past four years, I am fully aware that things happen,” Meeds said. “I get a step ahead of all my classes to make sure that I'm ready to go.” May 05, 2023

  • Graduate Student in Creative Writing Program Wins National Poetry Prize

    Poem by MFA candidate Shannon Moran will be published in Hayden’s Ferry Review
    Shannon Moran, a Master of Fine Arts student in the English department Creative Writing Program, is a winner of this year’s AWP Intro Award in poetry for her poem, “Sadie.” The national award, open to all U.S. MFA students, is sponsored by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. Moran, originally from Baltimore, is one of eight winners in the Poetry category. According to the association, the Intro Journals Project is a literary competition for the discovery and publication of the best new works by students. “Sadie” will be published in an upcoming edition of Hayden’s Ferry Review. “This award means so much to me because, to be considered, your institution's faculty must first nominate your work,” Moran said. “Being nominated by the MFA faculty here at UMKC, all incredibly brilliant and accomplished writers, felt like a testament to both my work and the program overall.’ She described “Sadie” as an epistolary poem in offset couplets. “The poem addresses themes of addiction and the guilt that comes from recovering and moving on while a loved one continues in the cycle, as well as the complex feelings one has toward the person who initially introduced them to that world,” Moran said. “There is a certain grief that comes from losing someone who isn't gone, from feeling like you've both escaped and abandoned them, from mourning a love that feels everpresent and yet absent--a ghost of itself. This piece is incredibly close to my heart, which made sending it out into the world a bit scary. I am grateful that it has been received well and will find life on the page.” English Professor Hadara Bar-Nadav, Ph.D., is Moran’s thesis advisor. “Shannon Moran’s ‘Sadie’ is a breathtaking elegy for a friend,” Bar-Nadav said. “With striking language and imagery, Moran’s poem crosses time and space in this tribute of both love and loss.” Students in the UMKC Creative Writing Program have won the award multiple times since the program was founded in 2008. Most recently, Mary Henn won in 2020 and Emily Standlee won in 2021. May 03, 2023

  • Touchdown Kansas City: Roo News Covers NFL Draft

    Cristian Martinez had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cover the NFL Draft as a student journalist
    Cristian Martinez stands on the football field at Central Middle School, microphone in hand. He looks over at Roo News photographer Julia Kapros and gives her a thumbs-up. Martinez is with sports journalists from all over the country, waiting to interview prospect Will Levis for the NFL Draft in Kansas City. Unlike other journalists in the crowd, he’s still in college. Martinez is the sports editor for the UMKC student newspaper, Roo News. “Being at the NFL Draft is a dream come true,” Martinez said. “I’ve always dreamt of covering big events. That I can go to this and learn from some of the best in the business at such a young age is spectacular.” Covering three days of events for the NFL Draft in Kansas City didn’t just give Martinez the opportunity to interview top draft prospects such as Levis and Zay Flowers, an experience he described as “surreal.” He also got to learn from nationally known sports journalists, both by watching them and talking with them. “I spoke with Daniel Jeremiah, Joel Klatt and Charles Davis,” Martinez said. “I asked them about their careers, and Davis gave me advice about doing play-by-play and color commentary. Getting to ask them for career advice was amazing and something I’ll never forget.” "Opportunities will always present themselves, but you have to chase them." — Cristian Martinez In high school, the Raytown native knew he wanted to attend college in Kansas City. Although he initially considered a university traditionally known for its journalism program, the opportunities that come from being in the heart of the city won him over. “When I think of the opportunities I’ve had at UMKC, I don’t even know where to begin,” Martinez said. “I attended the groundbreaking for the Kansas City Current, I’ve worked for ESPN to cover Kansas City Chiefs home games, I did play-by-play for the Summit League Basketball Tournament in Sioux Falls and I cover UMKC sports. Sometimes I think about all the things I have done up to this point and it just blows my mind.” Martinez wants to be a sports broadcaster and writer, but he is working hard to learn all aspects of the journalism field. In his words, he wants to be a “Swiss army knife” when he graduates, prepared for wherever his career may take him. He credits the opportunities and professors at UMKC, including Steve Kraske, Bill Bell and Jeffri Chadiha, for helping him become an accomplished sports journalist already. Martinez has one piece of advice for students considering UMKC: take advantage of what the city offers. “There’s so much you can do here, no matter what career you’re pursuing. Opportunities will always present themselves, but you have to chase them. They won’t just come to you.” May 01, 2023