Eighteen Students Named Dean of Students Honor Recipients

Graduating students are recognized for their outstanding academics, leadership and service
Eighteen headshots of student award recipients, with blue lines separating each photo

Eighteen 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 2024 honorees’ accomplishments include founding multiple medical interest groups, acting as president of the African Student Association, serving a national role in the American Student Dental Association, revitalizing the rooftop gardens at UMKC and more. These students have contributed numerous volunteer hours in the community with organizations such as Operation Breakthrough, Team Smile, Uzazi Village, Harvesters’, Morning Glory, Girls on the Run and Hope House.

Michele D. Smith, Ph.D., vice provost for student affairs and dean of students, expressed her excitement about the students' achievements.

“These students truly represent what it means to be a Roo through their commitment to academics, service and community. We are delighted to acknowledge their numerous achievements and are eager to see the great futures they have ahead of them.”

Students shared reflections on their time at UMKC at a breakfast celebration in their honor. Some excerpts:

Alyssa O’Brien: “I am a non-traditional student, and I never had the “college experience.” When I came to UMKC to pursue my graduate degree, I really wanted to find my sense of community. Getting involved on and off campus with different organizations has been incredibly impactful for my professional and personal development. My proudest accomplishment was taking a summer internship with the Federal Public Defenders Office of Western Missouri in the Capital Habeus Unit. Although challenging, this was some of the proudest work I have done in my life.”

Chandler Hill: “More than just a place of learning, UMKC has been a catalyst for growth and transformation. From undergrad to dental school, there have been many dedicated faculty and like-minded peers who have played an important role in my experiences and accomplishments. UMKC has encouraged me to think critically, embrace diversity and strive for excellence in all endeavors. My proudest accomplishment at UMKC is not just the grades or accolades, but the relationships I've formed and the impact I've been able to make. My involvement in the UMKC Chapter of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) helped to develop my passion for advocating for others and leaving a lasting positive impact on both the campus community and beyond.”

Elaine Nikolov: “When I began the six-year B.A./M.D. program, I had no idea the plethora of opportunities that this school would offer me. My fourth year in the program, I began to work every Saturday morning in a clinic serving the homeless and under/uninsured of Kansas City. There, I formed life-long bonds with my fellow students and future colleagues as we worked to provide adequate care to a patient population that has historically been marginalized in medicine. More importantly, the patients I have met and been graced to care for have taught me skills and techniques that no textbook could ever teach. I was taught what true understanding, compassion and patience meant and how I could better provide not only medical care but also humanity to those in need.”

Congratulations to the Spring 2024 Dean of Students Honor Recipients!

  • Kennison Adams, School of Medicine
  • Chynna Burton, School of Medicine
  • Victoria Cegielski, School of Medicine
  • Allison Eppenauer, School of Pharmacy
  • Tiana Ford, School of Science and Engineering
  • Mary Gipson, School of Science and Engineering
  • Dylan Hailey, School of Medicine
  • Ashley Hanners, School of Nursing and Health Studies
  • Chandler Hill, School of Dentistry
  • Hannah Leyva, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Davis McCallister, School of Dentistry
  • Elaine Nikolov, School of Medicine
  • Alyssa O’Brien, School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences
  • Dumebi Okocha, School of Medicine
  • Maryam Oyebamiji, School of Science and Engineering
  • Rhiannen Schneider, School of Law
  • Andrew Thompkins, School of Dentistry
  • Harry Vasquez, School of Science and Engineering

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