News Archives

  • Former Student Government Association President Takes Healthy Step out of the Limelight

    Brandon Henderson chose self-care during stressful period
    Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.  Brandon Henderson Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri High School: North Kansas City High School UMKC degree program: Political Science Anticipated graduation year: December 2021  Brandon Henderson was on a roll. He ran for UMKC Student Government Association (SGA) president last spring because he wanted to serve the student body and help lead through the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, he was interested in politics and wanted to part of the process to help correct issues that have affected society for generations: systemic racism, police brutality, mass incarceration. While he is still devoted to those issues, he decided to take a step back from his position last December. It was not an easy decision, but he’s finding a new definition of success. "Last Fall I was sprinting. I was trying to do everything and be everything." - Brandon Henderson “Last fall I was sprinting. I was trying to do everything and be everything,” Henderson says. “For a while it was working. I was doing it. I was going to three different events a week and organizing activities through SGA – like the Critical Conservations event with Mayor Quinton Lucas.” Henderson was committed to his position. “I felt as though any minute I wasn’t spending doing something for students was a minute wasted.” Henderson found he was making less time for personal needs – eating well, sleeping, exercise and school work. “That's part of the job of being an elected official. You don’t want to disappoint people, and I think I went into it trying to do everything possible not to do that. Then I began to realize that I'm not Superman. I can't fix everything.” Henderson’s challenge became not being able to say, “No.” “I kind of rigged the game against myself,” he says. “There was no way I could meet the expectations I’d set for myself, so when I didn’t it just reinforced my negative feelings.” He found himself thinking that it would be nice to step away from the office, but he didn’t think he could do that. He felt determined to stick it out. “Then I reminded myself that [former Missouri state legislator and Missouri Secretary of State] Jason Kander, who is someone I look up to, stepped away from his bid for Kansas City mayor because he needed to focus on treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. And I thought, ‘If he can walk away from that, why can’t walk away from this?’” Henderson knew that he could have gone through the motions and finished his term. “But our students deserved somebody in the role who could give 100%.” “I feel like I’m living my life in the moment. I can be present and appreciate what is happening.” Mahreen Ansari, (BA ’22) who was the SGA vice president at the time, agreed to assume the role of president. Calling the SGA officers to tell them each one personally was difficult, but Henderson was relieved once he had spoken to everyone. After resigning, Henderson sought help at the Counseling Center. “It took a little while to get in, but I met with a counselor and they have so many resources for self-wellness. I would recommend them. I’ve heard from other students that they feel the same stress and anxiety I did. I was worried that I was letting people down, but instead other people saw themselves in me, which is reassuring.” Henderson is sleeping better, eating better, exercising more and doing better in school. He has two semesters left and is focusing on finishing strong. “I feel like I’m living my life in the moment. I can be present and appreciate what is happening.”     Feb 25, 2021

  • 'Grateful for Everything': VFW Helping Veteran Live American Dream

    Bloch School student shares his story with KMBC
    Abdurahim Sharif is a VFW scholarship recipient living a life of service. He is a student at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC. Read the article and watch the newscast. Feb 24, 2021

  • UMKC Researcher Finds That Black Churches Play Key Role In Keeping Communities Healthy

    Kansas City Star highlight's Jannette Berkley-Patton’s research
    UMKC professor Jannette Berkley-Patton’s research reveals the importance of having Black churches involved in keeping communities healthy. Pastors, she says, are trusted sources of information. Read the full story. Feb 24, 2021

  • Why Have Some States Fared Better Than Others With Vaccine Distribution?

    NBC News interviews Mary Anne Jackson
    Mary Anne Jackson, a pediatric infectious diseases expert and dean of the medical school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said state and local officials would need to do more to convince people in several groups that the vaccines are safe and effective. Read the NBC News story, which was picked up by Yahoo News. Feb 24, 2021

  • Celebrated Dancer, Former Ballerina at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Joins the Faculty at UMKC Conservatory

    KC Studio features Karen Brown
    Karen Brown is an assistant professor of dance at the UMKC Conservatory. Read the article. Feb 23, 2021

  • Alumnus Buys Betty Rae's

    The Kansas City Business Journal and Fox4KC talked to Alex Rodgers
    Alex Rodgers graduated from UMKC Bloch School last year with a bachelor's of business administration and a double major in finance and entrepreneurship. Read the Kansas City Business Journal article. Read the Fox4KC story and watch the newscast. Feb 23, 2021

  • Political Science Professor Weighs-In

    KMBC interviews Beth Vonnahme
    “For a lot of folks who join more of these more radical or alternative groups, or believe in conspiracy theories, a lot of it comes back to that notion that, they really want to belong to something that’s bigger than themselves,” said Beth Vonnahme, associate professor, department of political science at University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the story and watch the newscast. Feb 23, 2021

  • Lawrence School District Selects KCMO Leader As New LHS Principal

    UMKC doctoral student is chosen
    Jessica Bassett is currently working to complete her doctorate in education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the article from the Lawrence Journal-World. (subscription required) Feb 22, 2021

  • Missouri Professor Discusses Limits Of Federal Eviction Moratorium

    Sociology professor quoted in MSN article
    Michelle Smirnova, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, told Hill.TV that many Americans still risk becoming homeless during the coronavirus pandemic despite a federal moratorium. Read the full article. Feb 21, 2021

  • Children’s Opens Research Tower, Continuing Hospital Hill Economic Boom

    Chancellor Mauli Agrawal weighs-in on Health Sciences District development
    “The UMKC Health Sciences District is truly a center for patient care, research, teaching and learning in the heart of the Kansas City area,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. Read more. Feb 19, 2021

  • UMKC School of Dentistry Provides Free Pediatric Dental Exams

    Helping children under 3 receive a healthy start
    Taking care of children’s teeth and gums right from the start is a vital part of overall health, so the UMKC School of Dentistry offers a free examination for children under 3 years of age.  The school also for years has participated in Children’s Dental Health Month, an educational effort every February by the American Dental Association. “We offer the free initial exams year-round in our pediatric clinic,” said Brenda Bohaty, D.D.S., chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry. “That exam is recommended by the time a child is 12 months old, or when the first tooth starts appearing.” The UMKC pediatric clinic gives young patients a bright, welcoming atmosphere and top-notch care supervised by Bohaty and other faculty. And it gives students important experiences that they will need as they train to become general dentists. “We emphasize the importance of the age 1 visit in training all of our students,” Bohaty said. “The benefits of dental health for overall health can’t be overemphasized.” Tooth decay is the most prevalent disease of childhood, occurring four times as frequently as asthma, but in almost all cases is preventable. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, in the recent second edition of its State of Little Teeth Report, notes that children’s tooth decay is down in the past four years, but nearly half of children ages 6 to 11 and more than half of children ages 12 to 19 in the U.S. still are affected by tooth decay. And among older children, the decay affects permanent teeth. Besides starting checkups by age 1, the academy recommends having a parent or other caregiver brush with a child for at least two minutes twice a day, limiting sugary drinks and snacks and paying attention to toothaches at any age. “We want every child to have a healthy start,” Bohaty said, “and we hope parents take advantage of our free initial checkups for children under 3.” Call 816-235-2145 for an appointment in the pediatric clinic Feb 19, 2021

  • Critical Conversations: Politics and the State of Black and Brown America

    A discussion about how communities of color can gain and deploy influence
    Local political and community leaders participated in a virtual panel discussion, “Politics and the State of Black and Brown America.” The event Feb. 18 was the seventh in the Critical Conversations series of panel discussions addressing systemic racism, sponsored by the UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion. UMKC people are taking thoughtful action on campus and in our community to ensure lasting and comprehensive change through Roos Advocate for Community Change, a campus-wide effort announced in June. The Critical Conversations are part of that initiative. The goal of each discussion is to enlighten, educate and explore the causes and potential cures for racism. Panelists for the Politics session included: Tom Carignan, Overland Park City Council member Irene Caudillo, president and CEO of El Centro Kelvin Simmons, co-founder of the Nexus Group, a full-service government affairs firm Beth Vonnahme, associate professor of political science and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UMKC Gary O'Bannon (moderator), executive-in-residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management Charisma Sewell (co-moderator), UMKC political science major Excerpts from the conversation are below. View the recording of the conversation. Job opportunities for people of color in the private sector Caudillo: It has been proven that if you have diverse staff, it improves decision-making and enhances growth. In the private sector, the representation isn’t there. Even in the public sector we still don’t see us in leadership positions … What we truly seek are opportunities in companies that are breaking down the barriers leading to those leadership positions. Simmons: The private sector traditionally has to be pushed into moving. If they’re not pushed, it’s business as usual. Advocacy for change Simmons: Decades ago, there was a large grassroots movement to pressure investment funds to divest from investments in South Africa to protest apartheid. We ae seeing something similar today with the MeToo movement and the Black Lives Matter movement. Grassroots movements can be effective as long as they are large enough, have the right message and have the courage to protest. Carignan: With the technology and communication capabilities we have today, it is easier to organize a movement to push corporations to change. Are we lacking a central leader like Martin Luther King Jr.? Carignan: Hispanics come from 20 different countries with all kinds of different political and social structures. Our population is so diverse that it’s difficult to find that central leader. Simmons: In the African American community, drawing from our biblical culture, Moses was our figure, the one who delivered us. We grew up understanding that there was a deliverer … We’re shifting today to where social media moves people and the voice of people in a very significant way. “What we truly seek are opportunities in companies that are breaking down the barriers leading to those leadership positions.” - Irene Caudillo Tax abatements for developers Simmons: These incentives were created to address blight and to create job opportunities in distressed communities. It has become something vastly different from what it was intended to do. Government-sanctioned voter suppression Vonnahme: There are ways that individual voters can work against these initiatives. One is to act through state legislatures. One thing they benefit from is low public attention; it’s easy to pass policies when no one is paying attention. Ballot initiatives can also be used in some states to expand voter access. The courts are able to come in to defend the 15th amendment requirement for fair and equal voting. You also can mobilize grass-roots efforts to help people meet the requirements. Suffrage is the ultimate right in a democracy. This is something we should all be concerned about. It does give me a little bit of hope that a lot of this has been coming to light ... the best defense is informed, involved community groups. Caudillo: Community-level activity played a vital role in last election. We have to continue to educate the community, get people registered, get them to the polls. Strategies that can lead to desired political outcomes Caudillo: Holding the people who represent us accountable. Civic engagement beyond the vote is really important. Vonnahme: Policy success comes from electoral success. Recruitment, funding and voter mobilization are all vital. Electoral success comes from good candidates with resources. Carignan: Build relationships with elected officials. Become a resource for them. Never go alone – you want them to know you have people behind you. “Suffrage is the ultimate right in a democracy. This is something we should all be concerned about.” - Beth Vonnahme   Police reform Vonnahme: You can have policy change imposed from above; leadership change is another means. Culture shifts are really important but really hard to impose. They require fundamental shifts in membership, or for the membership to undergo fundamental change. This one is the most effective but the hardest to bring about.   Simmons: The role of police unions is very powerful. Under union contracts, police officers have certain protections the average citizen does not have. It allows cases to be handled differently than if a citizen did the same thing. Carignan: In Overland Park, a citizen panel signs off on police department promotions and demotions. A separate civilian review board reviews complaints. The digital divide Caudillo: The gap continues to widen. The same people who lack digital resources are also more likely to struggle with food insecurity, and to be essential workers exposed to COVID. When virtual learning was introduced at the onset of the pandemic, the resources were not there in communities of color. Political and civic education Caudillo: We’ve lost the civics education we used to have. Our organization is stepping in to do those things now, like taking kids to the capitol, letting them see the legislature in action. On college campuses, we have to have mobilization. Vonnahme: We teach a sanitized form of politics. We don’t explain the nuance behind politics. We have to talk about politics and civics in a more realistic way – talk not just about compromise, but also about conflict. Building trust in the coronavirus vaccine Caudillo: Throughout history transparency just wasn’t there, so there is mistrust in the system overall. When it comes to health care, we’ve got to listen to the community, find out what those issues are, what those concerns are, and use the people who have already established trust in the communities of color, like pastors and community organizations. Feb 19, 2021

  • Alumnus Channels History and Storytelling into Poetry and Community Progress

    Glenn North is executive director of Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center
    Glenn North, MFA, ‘20, the first poet laureate of the 18th and Vine district and executive director of the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center, wrote a poem based on Rudyard Kipling’s “If” for his cousin, Don Cheadle, to read in his UMKC commencement speech. While this may have introduced people to his work, he has a long history writing – and reading – his poetry in the community. “Don and I talked about ideas for his speech,” North says. “He asked me if I had something that fit. I didn’t, but there’s so much wisdom in Kipling’s ‘If.” My grandmother gave me the poem when I was young. I still use it as a beacon.” Often in his career as a poet, North has responded to images or concepts – some provided from friends as prompts – to create his poems. The painting, “Lynch Family” by Joseph Hirsch, with its bold, mottled cobalt blue background, features a Black woman holding her baby against her shoulder in one hand – his hand raised and wrapped around a rattle – while her face rests in her other hand. It’s a striking image of innocence and despair. Glenn North at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center exhibit of "Eight Days in April: the Story of the 1968 Uprising."   North feels empathy is an important component of being a writer. “I never felt the latitude to write about a daffodil,” North says. “I’ve felt a responsibility to respond to the triumphs and the tragedies of the Black experience.” Along those lines, while North participated in leading classes and youth poetry workshops and was grateful for the work and experience, he began to feel as if he needed to focus his attention on writing for himself. “I was frequently writing for hire, and I was fortunate to be able to generate revenue, but it’s a different process. I had to start saying, ‘no.’ At that point I needed to exercise my voice.” “I never felt the latitude to write about a daffodil,” North says. “I’ve felt a responsibility to respond to the tragedy of the Black experience.” - Glenn North He found connection with other Black poets through a fellowship with Cave Canem. The organization’s founder, Cornelius Eady and Toi Derricote, created the annual workshop for emerging Black poets and pairs them with veteran writers and provides book-publishing opportunities. “That’s where I found my writing community,” North says. “’Cave Canem’ is a Latin phrase which translates as ‘Beware the Dog!’ The organization’s mission is to protect the interests of Black poets as fiercely as a dog protects its owner’s property. In so doing, more Black poets will be added to the canon of literature.” Following the Black Lives Matter demonstrations last year and the revelation that the extent of what some believed was a fringe white supremacy movement was far more prevalent and organized than many people understood. “I view last year as a cleansing of sorts. If you want clean clothes, you can’t just put them in the washing machine soap and water, you need an agitator. Last summer’s uprising and unrest was necessary for reform. I hate the way it happened, but it brought attention to how Black people are treated by the police.” “As someone who loves language, I believe some of the terminology we use has helped to change attitudes,” he says. “For instance, if you call a white person racist, they will vehemently resist that label, but if you talk to them about white privilege, they begin to understand that privilege is connected to a racist power structure. At that point, their eyes begin to open. Then we can begin to move toward progress and equity.” Beyond his poetry, North is engaged in the community through his role as executive director of the Bruce W. Watkins Heritage Center. He’s focused on raising the center’s visibility and expanding its role in the community.   For Black History Month, the center will host an exhibit, Eight Days in April: The Story of the 1968 Uprising in Kansas City, in partnership with the LaBudde Special Collections at the University of Missouri-Kansas City library and the Prospect Business Owners Associaton. “There’s a lot going on behind the scenes,” North says. “By 2022, we will roll out new programs that will engage the community in a meaningful way.” North wants the community center to help heal racial trauma. “A couple of years ago, communities were removing monuments to systemic racism. These monuments say a lot about who we are. “I view last year as a cleansing of sorts. If you want clean clothes, you can’t just put them in soap and water. You have to agitate.” - Glenn North In Germany, there are no statues of Nazis statues or flags with swastikas waving around, but there are stumbling stones outside the houses where Jewish people were taken. We need to ask, ‘What do we allow to represent who we are?’ and study that.” As a member of the Community Remembrance Project, one of North’s current projects is the re-installation of the Levi Harrington Memorial in Case Park in Kansas City. Harrington was a victim of lynching. In 1882, he was falsely accused of shooting a police officer. He was abducted from police custody and hung from the Bluff Street Bridge. He was one of at least 60 victims of racial terror lynching in Missouri. “The same brand of hate that led to the lynching of Mr. Harrington was on display the night the perpetrators vandalized the marker” North says. “The work I do at the center and the work I do as a poet is an effort to combat racism in all its manifestations.” Feb 19, 2021

  • Health Equity Grants to Aid Eight Research Projects

    Community groups, UMKC researchers collaborate on public health efforts
    The UMKC Health Equity Institute has chosen eight collaborative research projects to benefit from “mini-grants” of $1,700 to $2,200. Each project pairs a community organization and a UMKC researcher to explore ways to improve health care access for underserved communities. The research topics in this first round of grants include COVID-19 effects on family resilience and easing the trauma of shooting victims. The community partners range from a tenants’ organization and the Kansas City Housing Authority to Children’s Mercy and Truman Medical Centers. “One goal with these mini-grants is to encourage the kind of research that results in sustainable initiatives, instead of efforts that can fade away after a big grant runs out,” said Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Medicine. Berkley-Patton, the director of the Health Equity Institute, a UMKC initiative launched by Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal, added: “We received some great proposals from teams that include strong community partners. We also assigned research mentors to any grant recipients who didn’t already have an expert researcher on board.” Here are descriptions of the projects receiving the mini-grants, along with their UMKC affiliated partner and community partner. Refugees Raising Black Boys in the U.S. To explore parental strategies of Congolese, Sudanese and Somali refugee parents raising sons in a racially hostile climate. The UMKC partner is Johanna Nilsson, Ph.D., professor of psychology. The community partner is Sarah Payton with Jewish Vocational Services. A Qualitative Analysis of Patient Feedback on Early Mental Health Intervention for Nonfatal Shooting Victims To conduct interviews with victims and tailor treatment approaches to better serve the needs of predominantly Black patients, whose voices have been historically underrepresented in the development of treatment approaches and care decisionmaking. The UMKC partner is Joah Williams, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology. The community partner is Rosemary Friend with Truman Medical Centers. A Pediatric Health and Community Partnership to Improve Family Resilience During the Coronavirus Pandemic and Beyond To measure the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on trauma exposure and the physical, mental and emotional well-being of children and families from underserved communities in the Kansas City metropolitan area. This study will help inform the development of interventions to increase resilience in families during the COVID pandemic and beyond. The UMKC partner is Andrea Bradley-Ewing, who holds master’s degrees in public administration and psychology and is director of community engaged research at Children’s Mercy. The community partner is Gerald Douglas, director of resident services at the Kansas City Housing Authority. Pastors’ Spouses Study To explore the impact of COVID-19 on churches and pastors' spouses and develop strategies and tools to support them as they support their churches and communities. The UMKC partner is LaVerne Berkel, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Education. The community partner is Nordia Ikner with the Linwood Boulevard SDA Temple. Increase Health Equity by Improving Neighborhood Routes to Schools and Parks To increase physical activity by Central Middle School students through built environment improvements to better connect the neighborhood to the school and Central Park. This project will allow students to have a voice in this collaborative process among schools, city services, non-profit organizations and researchers. The UMKC partner is Amanda Grimes, assistant professor of nursing and health studies. The community partner is Laura Steele, education director at BikeWalkKC. Fruit and Veggie Connect To explore the feasibility to connect fresh produce from a community garden to families with young children who are enrolled in a home visiting program. The UMKC partner is Laura Plencer, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics. The community partner is Sommer Rose, research program manager at Children’s Mercy Hospital. What Do We Want? Housing! When Do We Want It? Now! To analyze how Kansas City Tenants — a grassroots organization with the goal of organizing to ensure that everyone has a safe, healthy, accessible and affordable home in Kansas City, Missouri — was able to rapidly develop a robust membership base and gain traction among city, state and national government officials. To also identify where the organization has yet to make inroads and why, and how it is addressing new challenges brought about by the 2020 pandemic, which is aggravating the housing crisis. The UMKC partner is Michelle Smirnova, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and an associate faculty member in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. The community partner is Tara Raghuveer, founding director of KC Tenants. Green Team Toolkit The Green Team Toolkit brings local youth together with neighborhood residents to improve their parks, trails, and vacant lots. The project seeks to develop a process where neighborhood residents and youth can work together to create a plan to improve the natural and built environment in their community. The UMKC partner is Panayiotis Manolakos with the Department of Economics. The community partner is Brenda Brinkhous-Hatch with the Groundwork Northeast Revitalization Group (Groundwork NRG).   Feb 17, 2021

  • Honoring a Dedicated Teacher

    Jason Martin was renowned for commitment to students
    Jason Martin was an associate professor in the Department of Communications Studies, known for his dedication to helping students succeed. Martin (1977-2021) joined UMKC in 2011, earning promotion to associate professor with tenure in 2020. He taught courses in interpersonal and public communication. His research on intercultural and cross-cultural communication appeared in peer-reviewed journals and books, and he shared his work at regional, national and international conferences.  “Jason spoke from the heart when engaging students. He always had time for students and spent long hours in his office mentoring, motivating and inspiring,” said colleague Peter Morello, associate professor of journalism. “Whenever I stopped by Jason’s office to ask if he wanted to grab lunch or coffee, he was either with a student or he’d say, ‘No man, I am waiting for a student.’ His commitment to students was resolute and his contributions promise to be long-lasting.” Communications Studies is a department of the College of Arts and Sciences. Interim Dean Kati Toivanen said Martin’s death is “a tremendous loss for our entire UMKC community, as his presence and work embodied a spirit of kindness and generosity that touched many of us.” Martin chaired the Academic Review Subcommittee for UMKC’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, was a member of the IAC Executive Council, served on UMKC’s Access to Success Delivery Team and was a member of the 2014-2015 University of Missouri Faculty Scholars Program. He was also active in the community, including his devoted service to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Kansas City. He earned two undergraduate degrees and a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. "Jason and I both started at UMKC during the Fall 2011 semester. Over nearly a decade I came to know him as a dedicated scholar, caring instructor and good friend,” said colleague Steven Melling, assistant teaching professor of communications studies. “He had an impact on everyone he met, and inspired many students to do their best in the classroom and beyond."  Donations for a campus memorial for Martin can be made at this link. Feb 17, 2021

  • UMKC Libraries Exhibit Remembers the Eight Days Surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination

    Missouri Humanities Council grant supports opening program
    The UMKC Foundation, in partnership with the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center and Museum and Prospect Business Association, has received a $2,020 grant from the Missouri Humanities Council in support of the opening event for the exhibit “Eight Days in April: The Story of the 1968 Kansas City Uprising.” The free, virtual opening is scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18. Reservations for the opening can be made online. The opening event will feature a panel discussion about the eight days surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968 and how the impact of those days continues to shape Kansas City today. The discussion will be moderated by Dia Wall, KSHB anchor and reporter; and features panelists Jason Cooley, community initiative officer for the Chief of Police, Kansas City Police Department; Delia Gillis, professor of History and Africana Studies program coordinator, University of Central Missouri; Don Maxwell, Revitalize Prospect; Glenn Rice, journalist, Kansas City Star; and Susan Wilson, recently retired vice chancellor for UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion. The exhibit, “Eight Days in April: The Story of the 1968 Uprising in Kansas City,” draws upon historical materials from the UMKC LaBudde Special Collections and Marr Sound Archives. The exhibit is currently available as a digital exhibit through the UMKC Libraries’ website and will be available to view in person at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center and Museum, 3700 Blue Parkway, when it is safe to open to the public. The digital exhibit includes an opportunity for community members to participate in a survey about renaming the 1968 Riot Collection. The Missouri Humanities Council is the only statewide agency in Missouri devoted exclusively to humanities education for citizens of all ages. It has served as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1971. Feb 17, 2021

  • Bestselling Author Says ‘Racist’ is a Diagnosis, Not an Attack

    Ibram X. Kendi delivers 2021 Martin Luther King Lecture
    Imagine a doctor sitting down with you and telling you that you have cancer. Because that information makes you feel bad, is it an attack? Or is it the first step in a journey toward healing? Now, replace the word “cancer” with “racist,” and try to think about it the same way. That was the complex and nuanced message shared by author Ibram X. Kendi in the 2021 Martin Luther King Lecture, sponsored by the Division of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Kendi, the author of numerous books including “How to Be an Antiracist,” said that “racist” and “antiracist” are not fixed categories; people move in and out of the categories based on their thoughts and actions. “To be antiracist is to actually admit to times when you are being racist,” Kendi said. When people are confronted with knowledge that their statements or actions are racist, he said, they should view that message as a diagnosis, not an attack – a message from someone who wants them to get treatment and help. “They should realize that to be antiracist is to accept that diagnosis, to accept that when you supported a policy that specifically repressed Black wealth, that is a racist policy,” he said. The 2021 lecture was delivered in a question-and-answer format, in a dialogue between Kendi and Mikah Thompson, J.D., associate professor in the UMKC School of Law. The wide-ranging discussion covered topics ranging from antiracism to the coronavirus pandemic and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Kendi also said it is important to differentiate between the terms “racist” and “racism.” While individual thoughts, statements and actions can be racist, “racism is fundamentally institutional, fundamentally systemic, fundamentally structural. Individuals do not practice racism. Institutions do.” Whether an individual is behaving in a racist manner is a question of whether those actions are upholding the structure of racism, Kendi said. “As individuals, we are either upholding, or challenging, the system of white supremacy and racism. Are we as individuals resisting this system, or are we upholding it?” An example of racist thinking that went largely unnoticed, Kendi said, was the reaction by many to statistics showing that infections and deaths from the coronavirus were significantly higher among people of color. “The immediate response was, ‘what are those people doing wrong?’ The antiracial response is, ‘what policies and practices, historic and current, are leading to those disparities?’ Blacks are dying at higher rates, not because of having more preexisting conditions or not taking the pandemic seriously enough. It was less access to health insurance; it was that Blacks are more likely to be working in situations where they are not able to work from home,” he said. “Even middle-income Black folks are more likely to live in neighborhoods with higher levels of air and water pollution.” Kendi said denial of racism was widespread as people reacted to the Jan. 6 insurrection. “Americans say, ‘This is not who we are. There are not attempted coups in the United States of America.’ People who say that have not read American history, in which there was coup attempt after coup attempt after coup attempt during Reconstruction. They deny this country was founded on both racism and freedom. They want to say it was just founded on freedom.” Americans need to recognize the racist roots that drove the insurrection, Kendi said. “If you do not acknowledge that white supremacists are the greatest domestic terrorist threat of our time, will elected officials have the will and the resources to respond to the threat?” he asked. “People can’t accept that the most dangerous faces in America are white.”  Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the founding director of the B.U. Center for Antiracist Research. He is the author of many books including “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, making him the youngest-ever winner of that award. In 2020, Time magazine named Kendi one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Beginning with the Rosa Parks Lecture on Social Justice and Activism in 2007 and annually since 2009 with the Martin Luther King Lecture Series, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion honors these individuals’ tremendous contributions to furthering civil rights by bringing national thought leaders to campus, who provide insight and advocacy to current civil rights issues of education, economic and justice system inequalities. Feb 16, 2021

  • Kansas City Woman Is Trailblazer For African Americans In Dentistry

    KSHB interviews UMKC dental student
    Shonte’ Reed, is a first-year dental student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City; and Anne Lambert Johnson, a dentist, mentor, philanthropist and pioneer in Kansas City, is Reed’s mentor. Johnson is the first African American dentist in Kansas City and has been practicing for 47 years. Read the article and watch the newscast. Feb 12, 2021

  • Community Leaders Tackle Urban Real Estate Abandonment and Vacancy in Kansas City and St. Louis

    The UniverCities Exchange panel discussion is a continuing collaborative of UMKC and UMSL
    The large numbers of urban real estate left vacant or abandoned is a problem facing the Kansas City and St. Louis metropolitan areas. Academic and community leaders from the two cities gathered on Feb. 10 to tackle the matter in the latest segment of UniverCities Exchange, a collaborative between the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In the 90-minute program, the panel outlined the issue of vacant and abandoned properties and discussed cutting-edge prevention and mitigation strategies to address the problem. Sarah Fenske, host of St. Louis on the Air, served as moderator. The session’s panelists included: Brent Never, UMKC associate professor of Public Affairs and coordinator of the UMKC Institute of Data Education, Analytics and Science (IDEAS) Peter Hoffman (J.D. ’12), managing attorney, Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri Nailah R. M’Biti (M.P.A. '15), chief real estate development officer, Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, Kansas City Sundy Whiteside, board president, Saint Louis Association of Community Organizations Geoff Jolley, executive director, LISC (Local Initiatives Support Coporation) Greater Kansas City Ruben Alonso III, president, AltCap, Kansas City Neal Richardson, president, Dream Builders for Equity, St. Louis Here are some highlights of the panel’s conversation regarding these problems facing Kansas City and St. Louis and how communities are addressing them. “When you live on a block with several vacant houses there is a sense of insecurity, because of the fact that there are not eyes on the street, so it can be perceived as being very unsafe. The other thing that happens is neighborhoods with a lot of vacant homes also become very disconnected in terms of the residents with one another, especially if you're on a block where there may only be three houses that actually have people who live in the house”. ‑ Nailah R. M’Biti “Land Bank houses are one way that we have tried to move properties from being vacant into being filled with families, adding to neighborhoods. One major issue is what's called a clouded title. A very quick example. Your family sells a house but maybe the transfer with the family members wasn't so clear and you have a clouded title, meaning is not so clear who owns that house, who is in custody. A large percentage of our houses that are vacant and abandoned are because of this clouded title problem.” - Brent Never “As we've had this historical disinvestment, particularly in our communities of color, we have pulled that wealth and those assets out of the Black entity. We must be intentional and keep reinvesting and being sure that we're providing opportunities in the same communities for people to then build that wealth.” - Geoff Jolley “It's not just providing the capital, but it is really a question of how do you engage the community, the neighborhood, and empower that neighborhood and build that capacity so that they can really be very involved and engaged in the process of rebuilding and bringing cohesion back to their community”. - Ruben Alonso III “The same neighborhoods that suffer from disinvestment and high vacancy rates are also the same neighborhoods with the highest poverty rates, the highest crime rates. We're looking at 12,000 vacant properties that are privately owned in the city of St. Louis. It's an enormous problem that has gone on for way too long. Just the sheer volume, I think, is probably the biggest challenge we face, and being able to bring in enough resources to meet that challenge.” - Peter Hoffman “The city of St. Louis has the third highest vacant property rate in the country. About 65 percent of the African American population lives in high concentrations of vacancies versus only 19 percent of Caucasians. And there's a greater impact on these high concentrations of vacancies. They created lower property values, higher rates of drug and gun crimes and illegal dumping, poorer environmental health, lower quality of life and really a lost sense of community pride.” - Sundy Whiteside “We engage with the neighborhood associations and work to identify (nuisance) properties and build them with the youth that live there. Ultimately, this creates the inventory for homebuyers to have a safe place that they feel confident was constructed for them and created for them to be engaged. As we bring these vacant properties that have been sitting vacant for generations back onto the market, it is going to be creating housing stock that is safe and affordable for the communities to begin to start to rebuild and transform.” - Neal Richardson UniverCities Exchange began in fall 2020 during the UM System Extension and Engagement Month with a discussion of health disparities faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of these conversations is to foster a connection for future collaboration across Missouri. View the full UniverCities Exchange discussion below:   Feb 12, 2021

  • Conservatory Celebrates New Scholarships

    Volunteer-led 20 / 20 campaign exceeds goals
    The UMKC Conservatory is celebrating the creation of 27 new endowed scholarships. Thanks to a volunteer committee which triumphed during challenging times, students who may not have been able to join the ranks of Conservatory students and alumni will now have their chance. The Friends of the Conservatory initiated the concept of the 20 / 20 campaign in July of 2018. Their plan – to create 20 new endowed scholarships, each of which required a commitment of $25,000 or more, by the end of 2020 -- was ambitious. Long-time supporter Don Dagenais agreed to be the committee’s chair. “I agreed to chair the campaign because I believe in what the Conservatory is doing and how critical scholarships are. I volunteered out of love for the organization and what it does for the future of music.” “I thought we’d exceed the goal, but to exceed the goal by as much as we did was significant and it’s thanks to the donors, the committee and the staff.” - Don Dagenais From the beginning, Dagenais thought creating 20 new scholarships in 18 months was reasonable. “I thought we might actually do better. Once we met and put together a plan that allowed groups of people to contribute to a scholarship, I was very optimistic.” Michael Henry, a longtime Conservatory supporter and Friends of the Conservatory board member, was one of the first volunteers to recruit friends and colleagues to create a scholarship in choral conducting in honor of Kansas City-based Grammy award winner Charles Bruffy, MM’88, artistic director of the Kansas City Chorale and chorus director of the Kansas City Symphony. “We wanted the campaign to support new students, but also to tell a story of alumni,” Henry says. “I’m uncomfortable asking friends for money, but for this – because we support the arts and because the campaign focused on stories of people – it was personal. It was a gift of joy.” Marylou Turner and Michael Henry Henry and long-time Conservatory supporter and volunteer, Marylou Turner, who were the 2018 Crescendo co-chairs, announced the scholarship at the 2018 patrons’ party for the event. “I’ll never forget it,” Bruffy says. “I was overwhelmed – stunned, grateful and shocked – by the generosity of my friends. But more importantly, I understand the importance of scholarships. Everyone deserves the opportunity to realize their personal worth and aptitude. In our world, scholarships make that happen.” “I understand the importance of scholarships. Everyone deserves the opportunity to realize their personal worth and aptitude. In our world, scholarships make that happen.” - Charles Bruffy Even with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 20 / 20 campaign committee, in conjunction with the Friends of the Conservatory, Jazz Friends and the Women’s Committee for the Conservatory surpassed its goal. Their efforts resulted in individual, group, honorary, memorial and estate gifts that established 27 new scholarships. These gifts, totaling more than $1.2 million, support students in music performance, music therapy, music education, jazz, theatre and dance. “I hoped we’d be successful,” Dagenais says. “I thought we’d exceed the goal, but to exceed by as much as we did was significant and we extend our thanks to the donors, the committee and the staff.” Feb 10, 2021

  • Jamila Jefferson-Jones Weighs-In

    Kansas City Star's Toriano Porter writes about Mahomes wig
    “Our bodies are not costumes,” University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones said. Read the full article. (subscription required) Feb 10, 2021

  • Family Surprises Matriarch with 93rd Birthday Gift to Beloved UMKC Program

    Introducing the SPARK Flossie Pack Center for Lifelong Learning
    Flossie Pack’s children wanted to surprise her for her 93rd birthday. She did not expect them to donate $600,000 to support the lifelong learning center that she loves, which will bear her name. “Our family started talking in early September about what my mom’s passions were and how we could honor her for her 93rd birthday,” Jay Pack says. “Our daughters – her granddaughters – reminded us how much she loved SPARK.” SPARK is the Senior Peers Actively Renewing Knowledge program that operates on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus. The organization offers regular classes, book groups and tours for retirees who have a passion for learning. Flossie Pack, front left, at SPARK pre-COVID-19 “When I heard my mom was taking classes through SPARK I thought, ‘how cool!’” says Dee Pack, Flossie’s other son. “She has always been so articulate, well-read and interested in the arts. When I went to college and majored in music, she started piano lessons.”        One of the first classes that Flossie took at SPARK was basic computer skills. “I didn’t know anything about computers, so I just signed up,” Flossie says. “Now my mom Facetimes with her granddaughters all the time, which is what led to the idea,” Jay Pack says. "Our family started talking in early September about what my mom’s passions were and how we could honor her for her 93rd birthday.” - Jay Pack Pack contacted a lifelong friend and UMKC supporter, Ann Baum, for her advice. She recommended that Pack contact Lisa Baronio, president of the UMKC Foundation, to find out how they could help grow the organization. “The Pack family’s devotion to honoring their mother and their vision and commitment to enhance lifelong learning is inspiring,” Baronio says. “We were excited to work together to envision a broader scope of program content and delivery in order to reach more seniors in the community.”  Last March, as SPARK was scheduled to begin its spring quarter, the COVID-19 pandemic transformed its programming in a dramatic way. “Clearly we are a vulnerable population,” says SPARK Coordinator Bill Webb. “We wondered about going online, but had no idea how or even if we could. Some members said there was no way they would try.” It was not an easy transition for some of SPARK’s 200 members. Ultimately, the members’ enduring commitment and curiosity led to a solution. “We heard about holding classes on Zoom,” Webb says. “One of our instructors volunteered to give a class on classical music in May, and that worked!” A recent SPARK outting This unexpected challenge and the resulting solution paved the way for SPARK members to embrace new technology and envision the advantages of the updates that the Pack gift will provide. “UMKC values lifelong learning and is proud to partner with programs offering lifelong learning opportunities to seniors in our community,” says Diane Filion, vice provost for faculty affairs. “The Emeritus College, the Cockefair Chair and SPARK are all part of that commitment. SPARK currently provides a lot of programming on a tiny budget generated by membership and course fees.They are a volunteer-based organization with a part-time office manager and a small classroom in a university-owned building on Troost. They have worried about their future financial security.” The Pack family not only wanted to foster financial security for SPARK, they wanted to provide resources to expand the program. “There’s a real bond between the students and the instructors,” Jay Pack says. “We wanted to provide funding to take the program to the next level through outreach and upgrading the technology and physical space.” “When I heard my mom was taking classes through SPARK I thought, “How cool!”  - Dee Pack The gift provides funding for marketing and operational support, advertising, printing and mailing of catalogs, website development, as well as office and technology support to enhance SPARK’s ability to offer its courses via Zoom or other technologies that will allow participation by members unable to attend in person. On her birthday, SPARK prepared a plaque with the new name of the center – The SPARK Flossie Pack Center for Lifelong Learning – and shared it with Flossie on Zoom. Her whole family, including her seven granddaughters, were present. “She didn’t want credit or for the center to be named for her,” Jay Pack says. “But we are a close family. Everyone looks up to her, and it was great to see how much it meant to her.” Flossie says after her first class about computers, she began to explore many different subjects including the Middle East and Western Civilization. “The classes are so informational and I absorb so much,” she says. “And there’s no exam! A lot of us are repeat students.” Dee Pack says the gift is a good fit because it honors his mother’s passion for learning. “She was, and remains, so excited about her experiences at SPARK,” he says. “I hope I’m still passionate about learning at her age. We’re lucky to have a program that keeps people engaged, active, curious and informed.” Flossie says she had no idea the gift was in the works. “I was very pleased when they told me,” she says. “I mean, how many robes and scarves does one need?” Feb 10, 2021

  • Tenant Activists Upend U.S. Eviction Courts

    98.8 The River interviews UMKC Ph.D. student
    Jordan Ayala, an eviction researcher and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was interviewed. Ayala analyzed the court filings. Read more. Feb 07, 2021

  • Meet Jackson Mahomes: The MVP of TikTok—And Super Bowl QB Patrick Mahomes’ Brother

    Yahoo Entertainment writes about UMKC student
    Jackson Mahomes is a UMKC student. Read the article. Feb 05, 2021

  • Coronavirus In Tampa And Kansas City: A Comparison Of Cases And Codes

    Tampa Bay Times interviews Mary Anne Jackson
    In Kansas City, cases are the lowest they’ve been since October, said Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, an infectious disease expert and dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Read the full article. Feb 05, 2021

  • A Place to Sleep: Tenants Seek Homes After Being Displaced

    Flatland KC interviews Jacob Wagner
    Jacob Wagner, associate professor of urban studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said evictions are a poorly understood factor in neighborhood decline. Read more. Feb 04, 2021

  • New Entrepreneurship Grant Program Open to Students, Faculty and Staff

    Kauffman Foundation donates $400,000 to stimulate on-campus innovation
    Students, faculty and staff from all UMKC academic units, centers, institutes and other programs are eligible to apply for grants to fund projects designed to expand entrepreneurial activities at UMKC. Thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, UMKC has launched a new Entrepreneurship Innovation Grant (EIG) program. A total pool of $400,000 is available for grants over the next two years to support a broad variety of initiatives in entrepreneurship including curriculum development, technology commercialization, school and department initiatives, community service, engagement and ecosystem building. Collaboration among groups is highly recommended.  The first application period for the Entrepreneurship Innovation Grant is now open. Proposals must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. Sunday, February 28. The program, and the Kauffman grant that funds it, are the product of a joint effort by the UMKC Innovation Center, the Regnier Institute at the UMKC Bloch School of Management and the UMKC School of Law to help increase entrepreneurial activities and opportunities across UMKC.  “UMKC hosts an impressive array of entrepreneurial programs and services that reach deep into the university and the community to develop new ideas and talent that respond to the challenges of our region and help to shape its future. With this grant program, we are now providing direct incentives to stimulate even more collaboration and growth,” said Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center. “Converting UMKC skills, ideas and innovations into real-world applications and markets will drive better, more inclusive futures that will help us address and solve today's and tomorrow's challenges.”   Feb 04, 2021

  • Kansas City Children Know Something About The Chiefs Kingdom That Many Adults Don't

    College of Arts & Sciences student discusses fellowship with Arrowhead Art Collection
    “There’s a wide range of media, which is something that should be applauded. That’s kind of hard to do in a stadium,” says Meghan Dohogne, a Ph.D. student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, who has been working with the collection on a fellowship basis for about a year and a half. Read more from KCUR. Feb 03, 2021

  • As Vaccine Rollout Expands, Black Americans Still Left Behind

    Kansas City media cover School of Medicine panel discussion
    Bridgette Jones from Children’s Mercy, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, moderated a panel of several local experts on Feb. 4. Jannette Berkley-Patton with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine also was on the panel. Read the Kansas City Star story. (subscription may be required). Read the KSHB story and watch the newscast. Feb 03, 2021

  • Emerging Media Mogul Makes Her Mark In Kansas City

    Shae Perry, B.A ’19, is carving out her own career path as a community engagement and media mogul
    When Shae Perry makes it big, we can say “we knew her when…” The recent graduate, known by many as ShaeFromTheLou – her entertainment moniker – established a love for media early in her collegiate career and credits her faculty and staff mentors for helping to cultivate her potential. As she uses her entrepreneurial experiences to carve out her own path as a media mogul and community advocate, her impact and influence span across highway 70 between Kansas City and her St. Louis, Missouri, hometown. We sat down with Shae to find out how things are going for the recent Communications Studies graduate. Name: Shae PerryUMKC degree program: Communications Studies, emphasis in film and mediaGraduation year: December 2019Hometown: Saint Louis "I learned that with a plan and execution, I could accomplish almost anything." Tell us about your current position. I'm currently a brand ambassador for Big Brothers Big Sisters KC. My role consists of connecting with leaders in our surrounding communities and finding ways to make beneficial collaborations. On weeknights and weekends, I'm an on-air radio personality on KPRS Hot 103 Jamz – FM station 103.3. My entertainment name is Deona HuSTLe. KPRS is the oldest, continually Black family-owned radio station in the United States. Both of my roles put me in more spaces to engage with the community. I’ve had the opportunity to do interviews and spread the word about our mission. It’s dual beneficial. The competition is tough in entertainment. How’d you stand out and land the role at KPRS? I had been consistently reaching out to KPRS for years trying to get my foot in the door. Every chance I got, I went to visit the station and make sure they knew my face. Angela Elam, one of my Communications Studies professors and the producer and host of New Letters On Air, encouraged me to attend a Missouri Broadcast Association Radio Camp where I received certification in radio marketing.  I believe attending the camp to learn more about radio helped better equip me for my job at KPRS. After the growth experienced in Kansas City during college, I was determined to start my professional career here. St. Louis will always be home, though. What brought you to UMKC? A college recruiter visited my high school during my senior year. When I toured UMKC for orientation, I found out one of my group leaders was from my hometown, graduated from my high school and played basketball there under the same coach I did. Our similarities were a coincidence, but it helped me feel at home. Not to mention, my parents enjoyed the visit and my mother was really in love; so that was an easy “yes!” What was your favorite thing about UMKC? The UMKC campus was a perfect size for me to immerse myself in a variety of campus activities and in the classroom without feeling unheard. The student-to-faculty ratio was great for comprehending coursework and receiving extra help. The university also had various resources and groups to connect with, including the MSA Village, where I spent much of my time meeting peers and other leaders. "The saying, 'it's not what you know, it’s who you know' rings true in my life, both in school and in my career." Who was the most influential faculty or staff member at UMKC? This is tough because there were so many, but there are two people I must mention who were influential in my younger years. During new student orientation, I selected all the courses I’d take for my freshmen year, one of which was radio production. My advisor informed me that the professor typically only allowed upperclassmen and I’d probably be rejected. Luckily, Professor Angela Elam accepted my enrollment in the course and I really enjoyed learning about radio. Angela was also the advisor for K-Roo, the student radio station, and helped me get more involved to eventually become president my junior and senior years. While I was learning radio, I took a couple of video production classes taught by Professor Kevin Mullin. I found a real love for creating and editing in that class and Kevin always went above and beyond in answering my many questions. Both Angela and Kevin were, and still are, great mentors to me and I appreciate them. How did you choose your field of study? I stayed open-minded throughout my four years. I took a variety of courses and hosted many campus events and parties. In 2017, I started my own videography and entertainment company, SFTL Entertainment. In 2018, Roo Athletics and the Office of Student Involvement asked me to emcee some of the men’s and women’s sports games. I had the opportunity in 2019 to write and direct my first short film and cast other UMKC students. Through all of this, I was still active as president of K-Roo. All of these activities helped me find my path in communications. What’s the influence behind SFTL? I started going by ShaeFromTheLou my senior year of high school. My school was very close to Ferguson, and when the unfortunate death of Michael Brown occurred, we halted classes for a few days due to protests. I and three other seniors banded together to help the Black-owned businesses in our community. When MSNBC wanted to do a story on us, I didn’t think my name on social media worked well. I wanted something catchy that still paid homage to my city, so ShaeFromTheLou. Any creative content I produce, I use SFTL. When I’m on the radio it’s Deona HuSTLe. Deona is my middle name and I believe the word hustle is one of the words that best describe me. Wow! You have a lot going on. How do manage your time? I haven’t had a break yet since I started working. I enjoy both of my jobs, so it doesn’t technically feel like work because it’s fun and I’m helping other people. However, I do want to make sure that I’m leveling up in both my business and personal lives, so I try to implement self-care and remind myself to take a day off if I’m stressed out. What are the challenges of your field? Communication, in general, is a broad field, there’s so much you can do in the industry. The most difficult part of that, for me, can be finding your niche. Even today I continue to find different things that interest me. What are the benefits? It’s such a fun field, especially for film and media, which is what my degree is in. I’ve had the opportunity to interview celebrities and get behind the scenes access at events; it’s definitely a timeless industry. The other benefit of communications is the ability to be creative, there’s nothing like seeing your vision come to life. What did you learn about yourself while you were here? I learned that I not only had an interest in being in front of the camera, I also had an interest in being behind it. I’ve organized community events and lead the student radio station and they both pushed me to become a better person. I learned that with a plan and execution, I could accomplish almost anything. "The student-to-faculty ratio was great for comprehending coursework and receiving extra help." How did UMKC help you reach your current position? Connections and experience. The saying, “it's not what you know, it’s who you know” rings true in my life both in school and in my career. Many of the opportunities I’ve been given are due to faculty and staff members mentioning my name in important rooms. Carla Wilson was one of those staff members who always supported my aspiration by connecting me with other leaders and her positive reference went a long way. UMKC also gave me a lot of experience. Whenever I saw an opportunity, I took it. I hosted the Union Programming Board’s annual talent show, the K-Roo weekly radio show, organized campus events and more. I even had a chance to emcee KC Roos basketball games. All of those opportunities gave me a different perspective and most importantly experience. What are your goals for the future? My list of goals is lengthy, but I have a few key areas I want to focus on these next couple of years. I am interested in doing more public speaking engagements. I want to do public speaking to help young people know the work involved in achieving success. I'll be speaking at a workshop for teen girls in March about career planning. I premiered my first short film last year titled “Court-side Reality,” and I enjoyed it so much that I want to write more YouTube series and films. I also enjoyed my time as the emcee for KC Roos basketball games and hope to emcee for more college or professional sports events. Finally, one of my long-term goals is to own a television and radio network and give others like myself a platform to be creative and be heard! I love bringing people together and all these goals help me do that in a creative way. What is your advice for a student entering UMKC? Stay open-minded and engage with your peers and faculty and staff members. Many of my connections came from being at events and networking. College is what you make it; be intentional about applying yourself and ask questions. Also, you won’t know you're skilled in something if you don’t at least try. I have tried things and failed, but I can at least say that I tried and learned how to do them correctly next time. Don’t shy away from opportunities because you are afraid to fail or afraid of what others will say. It’s all a part of learning yourself. Go for it, ask a lot of questions. It shows that you’re assertive. Feb 03, 2021

  • Five Questions About Surprise Medical Bills

    Christopher Garmon of the Bloch School is a nationally recognized expert
    Christopher Garmon, assistant professor of health administration in the Bloch School of Management, has done extensive research on medical billing, with a focus on how insured patients often are shocked by huge bills from out-of-network providers. The issue was partially addressed by federal legislation passed in late December. Once this surprise medical bill legislation goes into effect in 2022, most out-of-network providers will no longer bill patients directly. Instead, providers and insurers must negotiate how much the insurer will cover. If they can’t agree, an independent arbitrator would step in.  This was the kind of federal-level legislation Garmon and other experts have been advocating for years. He sat down with UMKC Today to share eye-popping examples of the kinds of situations the new legislation will affect. How do you define “surprise medical bills” in the context of your research? My research (and recent federal and state legislative efforts) have focused on surprise medical bills from an out-of-network provider that the patient did not expect and could not reasonably avoid. For example, if you go to an emergency room of a hospital in your health plan’s network, the expectation is that all of the care received at that hospital will be in-network. However, the emergency room physicians may be out-of-network even though the hospital itself is in-network. Because there is no contract between the out-of-network physician and your health plan, there is no agreed-upon price for the physician’s services. The physician can charge whatever amount she thinks is reasonable and the insurance company can reimburse whatever amount it thinks is fair. These two amounts are often far apart and the physician may bill the patient directly for the balance. It is this “balance bill” from the out-of-network doctor, often for hundreds or thousands of dollars, that places a devastating burden on the patient. What are the health-care situations in which surprise bills are most likely? Most of the research suggests that roughly 20 percent of emergency room cases lead to surprise out-of-network bills, although some recent research indicates that it may be even higher. Roughly 10 percent of newborn deliveries may involve a surprise medical bill (for example, when the hospital and obstetrician are both in-network, but the anesthesiologist administering the epidural is out-of-network). One area where surprise out-of-network medical bills are common is ambulance service. Roughly 50 percent of ambulance cases involve an out-of-network ambulance. In other words, if you have an emergency and call 911 needing an ambulance, it’s basically a flip of a coin whether that ambulance is in your health plan’s network or not. It is important to note that the federal legislation passed in December will not protect patients from out-of-network ground ambulance bills. In general, the more severe the injury or complexity of treatment, the more likely a patient is to receive care from an out-of-network provider. Can you share one of the worst examples of exorbitant surprise medical billing that you’ve come across? One of the most egregious cases was documented by Elisabeth Rosenthal for the New York Times who described the experience of a man who underwent an elective neck surgery. He made sure the hospital and surgeon were both in his health plan’s network when scheduling the surgery. He even made sure the anesthesiologist on call the day of his surgery would be in-network. However, during the surgery, another surgeon was called in to assist. This assistant surgeon was out-of-network and he received a bill from this surgeon for more than $110,000. This extreme case highlights that, without legal protections, there is no way to guarantee that a patient can avoid a surprise out-of-network medical bill even in elective situations and even when the patient takes every precaution to avoid them. What can people do to protect themselves from surprise medical bills? First, it is important to point out that those covered by Medicare (including Medicare Advantage plans), Medicaid and Tricare are legally protected from surprise out-of-network medical bills. For those with private insurance, it depends on where you live and the type of health plan you have. Unfortunately, until the new legislation goes into effect, there are many patients who are vulnerable to surprise out-of-network bills regardless of what they do to prevent it. Some states have protections against surprise out-of-network billing. Missouri recently implemented a law protecting patients from surprise out-of-network medical bills, but only for emergency services. In addition, state protections from surprise billing only apply to patients covered by health plans that are regulated by the state. Many people who receive their health insurance through their employer have health plans that are regulated by the federal Department of Labor. State protections against surprise billing do not apply to them. What needs to happen next? Given the lack of protections for patients with federally-regulated health plans, there was a strong consensus that a federal solution was needed. Still, the recent federal legislation does not offer complete protection for patients. While it protects patients from air ambulance bills, ground ambulances are excluded, so patients are still vulnerable to bills from out-of-network ground ambulances. Future federal legislation should protect patients from ambulance surprise bills. Feb 03, 2021

  • Black Opera Meets Its Moment

    KC Studio highlights manuscript stored in UMKC LaBudde Special Collections
    For every performance of “Porgy and Bess,” an unknowable quantity of Black operas languishes in manuscript form, like John Duncan’s “Gideon and Eliza,” stored in the UMKC LaBudde Special Collections. Read the full article. Feb 02, 2021

  • Nontraditional Student Has His Eye on the Ball

    Matthew Ramsey finds success in education
    Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Matthew RamseyAnticipated graduation: Spring 2021Academic program: Bachelor of Liberal Arts, School of Education and College of Arts and SciencesHometown: Kansas City, Missouri  Matthew Ramsey is married with two young children. He has a job, coaches youth basketball and is pursuing his teaching certificate. With his quiet and easy-going nature, he makes it look easy – even when it’s not. Ramsey has had to take breaks from his education, but he has always been determined to finish. He enjoys working with kids, so teaching and coaching seem like a perfect fit. “I’ve always worked with younger students,” Ramsey says. “I helped take care of my younger family members and this is my fourteenth season coaching high school basketball.” Ramsey attended programs at other schools, and there were times when he didn’t know if he would be able to graduate. “With a family of my own to provide for and work obligations, I had almost given up hope of completing my degree,” Ramsay says. When Ramsey visited UMKC he realized it was a good fit. "With a family of my own to provide for and work obligations, I had almost given up hope of completing my degree." – Matthew Ramsey “The campus is beautiful and they have a wide variety of class schedules which favored me as a non-traditional student,” he says. “It works for me because it is centrally located in the Kansas City area and is easily accessible and the proximity to my home made it an easy commute.” Ramsey enrolled in UMKC determined to graduate. “I’ve found the program to be great in preparing future teachers. I have always felt welcome and accepted, which is something I cannot say for other institutions I attended.   All of the staff are kind and helpful. And the advisors’ office is one of my favorite spots on campus. They have been great.” “Raising a family, working and going to school – it’s a lot. But this program inspired me to go after my dreams.”  Ramsey is a Hazel Browne Williams Scholarship recipient. Williams earned her master’s degree in 1929 and became an associate professor of the UMKC School of Education in 1958. She was the first full-time Black professor at UMKC and the first Black professor given emeritus status at the university in 1976. While Ramsey’s tenaciousness matches Williams’s, he says getting closer to graduation would have been much harder without the scholarship. Ramsey says he has learned a lot about himself while he’s been in the program. “Raising a family, working and going to school – it’s a lot. But this program inspired me to go after my dreams.” “It’s forced me to reexamine my perspectives and reflect on my own background and bias,” he says. “But I’ve learned that no matter how many setbacks I have suffered – or no matter how many challenges are placed in my path – as long as I work hard and believe, anything is possible.” Feb 02, 2021

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Answers From the UMKC Health Sciences Deans

    Updates on developments and distribution
    UMKC is one of the fortunate few universities in the U.S. to have its health professions schools clustered on one campus, and its medical, nursing, pharmacy and dental faculty and students have been on the front lines fighting this pandemic since the beginning.  This Q & A round table with the UMKC Health Sciences Campus deans will be updated often with the latest information about the COVID-19 vaccine, its effects, distribution and developments. Mary Anne Jackson, dean of the School of Medicine; Russ Melchert, dean of the School of Pharmacy and interim dean of the School of Dentistry; and Joy Roberts, interim dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies, are involved in leading vaccination efforts for our campus and Kansas City area communities. After you get the vaccine, should you still follow social distancing guidelines? Should you still quarantine if you’re exposed to someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19? Jackson: Yes, you should still mask and socially distance. The CDC just came out with new guidelines on quarantining. You do not need to if it's been two weeks or longer after your second dose. Currently, there are two companies that have two-dose vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer. How are they being distributed? Jackson: States are distributing, and there is no clarity on how many doses each site is given. It is in a tiered system, with frontline workers receiving in the first tier. (Here are the tiered vaccination distribution plans for Missouri and Kansas). Roberts: Distribution of the vaccine from the federal government to the states has been a tremendous challenge. Once the supply is large enough and is rapidly distributed to the states, the benefit to Americans will be clearly visible.  Melchert: We are preparing and beginning to plan how we might more broadly impact our communities and especially those in Phase 1A, Phase 1B Tier 1 and Tier 2 who are currently eligible. Teaming with our regional and state partners to leverage our assets with theirs is essential to efficiently reach those who are eligible to receive the vaccine. To that end, we need to get vaccine and we are trying. It is really difficult right now with the short supply and high demand. However, I suppose the high demand is a good thing because the more folks who get vaccinated, the more likely we are to achieve “community immunity.” How should people sign up for the vaccine? Jackson: The best strategy is to register in multiple places, with your county, and with your primary-care physician on their websites (In Missouri, here are the Jackson, Clay and Platte county sites; in Kansas, here are the Johnson and Wyandotte county sites). What is getting the vaccine like? Roberts: The vaccine injection was done by the very skilled registered nurses at Truman Medical Center. The injection was not any more painful than any other shot, however the muscle was later sore for about 8 hours. After that, there were no issues. Our partners at TMC are operating a very well organized vaccination clinic providing expert nursing care and safety measures.  How effective is the vaccine? Jackson: Both the Moderna and Pfizer have high rates of effectiveness, including against the UK B117 variant (a newer mutation believed to be more infectious) and has some coverage against the more mutated South African strain. It cannot give the infection, none of the vaccines contain live virus. It won’t change your DNA – it uses small amounts of messenger RNA that guides your body to make the antibodies, then breaks down; it cannot enter your DNA. It won’t cause infertility; there is no link to miscarriages or infertility. Still, those who are pregnant should consult with their physician. How has UMKC helped the community with the vaccine? Melchert: The School of Pharmacy has an army of student pharmacists and faculty pharmacists who are certified and very experienced with providing vaccinations, including the wonderful work they do every year to provide influenza vaccines for the UMKC community. Many of our students and faculty are also participating with many of our partner organizations in Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield and around the state. Dr. Cameron Lindsey and her team are partnering with the Medical Research Corp of Kansas City, the Greater Kansas City Dental Society, the Missouri Dental Association, KC CARE Health Center and others to offer a clinic in February for local area health practitioners, especially dental practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and emergency medical technicians and others in Phase 1A who have not otherwise had an opportunity to get vaccinated. Keeping our health care providers protected will increase capacity to serve those needing services. Roberts: The School of Nursing and Health Studies has students and faculty who are educated and skilled vaccinators, ready to assist in the immunization effort as soon as mass vaccination sites have enough vaccine available. Our students have had the option to volunteer as COVID testers and as vaccinators at various sites in the metro area, including at the UMKC Student Health Center. Jackson: Besides being vaccinators, we provide information about the vaccine at forums. The School of Medicine hosted “COVID Vaccine: Fact or Fiction,” a virtual community-wide forum with school faculty and alumni physicians on Feb. 4.  Tell us about the latest developments with the vaccine. Jackson: Upon approval, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has a good safety and effectiveness profile, a single dosage and no cold chain issues (they don’t require the ultra-cold storage like the current vaccines do), which makes this vaccine a potential game changer if we can get a large supply. Give us your final thoughts about the vaccine. Roberts: The COVID 19 pandemic has been a colossal challenge to the United States. The rapid creation of a safe, effective vaccine is nothing short of miraculous. This vaccine needs to be distributed as quickly as possible to all Americans, utilizing every trained vaccinator from registered nurses to pharmacists to physicians, while at the same time being shared globally. It will take immunizing the global population to end this pandemic.  Jackson: There are no restrictions on who can receive. The oldest and those with immune-compromising conditions may not have immune response that is as good as those who are younger and healthier, but there is no downside to the vaccine. Melchert: The vaccine is a huge step for us to combat COVID. The more informed we can be about the safety of the vaccine, the more people can benefit from the protection it provides. However, keeping each other safe, even with the vaccine, includes continuing to be vigilant with wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and remaining at home when you have symptoms. Jan 28, 2021

  • AMC Stock Soars After Reddit Users' Effort To Help Struggling Movie Theater Chain

    Bloch associate professor weighs in for KMBC
    “Just the speed at which it happened and the magnitude at which it happened certainly would make me nervous that it’s not here to last,” said UMKC associate professor of finance Nathan Mauck. Read the full story and watch the newscast. Jan 27, 2021

  • Expand Your Options for Success With the Bachelor of Liberal Arts Degree

    Students and alumni share their stories
    Students face many challenges when making college decisions. For many, one of the biggest is deciding on a program of study. They want and need a program that is affordable and flexible and will prepare them for a great job after graduation. The Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City College of Arts and Sciences is designed for those who seek scientific literacy, an understanding of social sciences and an appreciation of the humanities but do not wish to commit themselves to a specialty. UMKC B.L.A. students gain maximum course flexibility and a tailor-made program providing an alternative to a traditional Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Sciences degree program. The B.L.A. program also is a good option for individuals who want to return to college and finish their degrees. “The B.L.A. is a popular and great choice for these students as it is the most flexible program we offer in terms of transfer credits and ease of course scheduling,” said Emma Casey, UMKC College of Arts and Sciences manager of Recruitment and Outreach. “With our current world situation, I am seeing an influx in non-traditional, adult and transfer students applying to return to finish their degrees.” A liberal arts program helps students become well-rounded in a variety of subjects and helps students acquire knowledge and skills about a variety of subjects and careers. Students learn a wide range of skills that prepare them for a variety of professions that can include account executive, analyst, business development manager, copywriter, communication specialist, physician, health care professional, entrepreneur, human relations specialist, journalist, lawyer, legislative assistant, nonprofit director, policy analyst, professor or public relations manager. The UMKC degree is particularly beneficial to students who matriculate into the six-year medical program and pursue the combined B.L.A./M.D. degrees and those applying to UMKC School of Law through the early-entry law program. A dedicated B.L.A. advisor is provided in the professional advising office. Students also can work with the specific departmental advisor in a chosen minor and can seek out any of the college’s advisors as they determine the focal points of their studies. Meet some students and a graduate. Vickie Goods  "I wantedto show themyou nevergive upon your dreams." When you enrolled at UMKC, were you new to college or were you returning to finish a degree? I returned as an adult learner. I took a 3-year hiatus from my academic journey. I've been pursuing my bachelor's degree since I was 19. I enrolled at UMKC in 2018. Why did you decide to finish the degree? I continue my academic pursuit to be a role model for my two adult children, Ashley 28 and Jordan 21. I wanted to show them you never give up on your dreams. It's never too late to start over and create a new beginning. My initial goal was to graduate with a business administration degree, but life took me on a different path. Why did you choose UMKC? I submitted applications to several universities in the local KC metro area. I wanted to have the full college campus experience that I experienced when I first began my journey. I felt more connected with UMKC. I like the diversity and I knew this is where I should attend. Why did you choose a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree? "I didn't choose a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree, it chose me. I had earned college credits from previous universities." The accumulation of those credits happily aligned me in the Liberal Arts department.  What are your career/job plans? When I close this chapter of personal achievement, I plan to enroll in a graduate program to obtain a degree in social work, counseling or Christian leadership. I plan to spend the first few years after graduation working as a school counselor or entry-level nonprofit position. I look forward to a future where I can use my tools and resources to serve others. When will you graduate? May 2021 What do you want people to know about getting or finishing a college degree? Be patient. Embrace the journey. Seek assistance and utilize resources that's available to you. It's okay not to be okay at times, just don't give up on yourself! What do you want people to know about UMKC? The faculty, staff, instructors and advisors want you to succeed. Speak up and tap into the resources.  What do you want people to know about you and any challenges you have had? I endured many detours and realignments upon my journey. I graciously accepted each challenge of womanhood. Once I gathered all my broken pieces, I created a mosaic of self-love, strength and joy. Remember to take time for yourself as you set goals. Focus on the progress and never be anxious about the accomplishments. Don't be afraid or ashamed to hit the reset button whenever necessary. Trust yourself, enjoy and embrace the journey; you will arrive at your destination at the right time. Rebecca Overbey "UMKC provideda programthat other schoolsdid not,which wouldallow meto completemy degreefaster thanthe other schools." When you enrolled at UMKC, were you new to college or were you returning to finish a degree? I returned to UMKC to finish my degree. With the B.L.A. program, I am able to continue my career path and achieve my goal of completing a degree. The program I previously studied was different than the one I am pursuing now.  Why did you choose UMKC? I did look at other schools; however, UMKC provided a program that other schools did not, which would allow me to complete my degree faster than the other schools. Why did you choose a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree? The B.L.A. program accepted all of my credits from other schools I have attended.  What are your career/job plans? I currently have a job that I enjoy and getting a bachelor’s degree will provide me the opportunity to further my career with my company.   When will you graduate? Aiming for fall 2021 What do you want people to know about getting or finishing a college degree? It was certainly a challenge getting back into the swing of school, but I feel that I have more motivation to earn my degree than I have in the past. I would tell others that not every person’s college path looks the same and it’s the end result that matters the most. Your timeline is your own. What do you want people to know about UMKC? I have attended a few schools and what makes UMKC different are the professors.  All of my professors have cared about me as an individual, which is something I was missing at the other schools I attended. What do you want people to know about you and any challenges you have had? While completing my degree in my early 20s, I went through an entire semester of classes with a case of mono that went undiagnosed until the semester was over. Not only did this ruin my motivation to continue with school, but it made me feel as though earning a degree was unattainable. My confidence in my intelligence was broken. I decided at that time to focus on my career and I have worked hard to get to where I am within my company today. I have always said that I would consider finishing my bachelor’s degree if it was required for future career advancement. So, to give myself potentially more opportunities, I started taking classes, just one at a time, to rebuild the self-confidence I had once lost. Not only have I gained that confidence back, but I feel more confident in my job as well. My college career has been anything but traditional and I don’t think I would change the direction it has taken me.    Jessica Keith "The Bachelorof Liberal Artsdegree wasperfect forsomeone asintellectually curiousand indecisiveas me." When you enrolled at UMKC, were you new to college or were you returning to finish a degree? I transferred to UMKC as a sophomore, still unsure of what I truly wanted to major in. I entered as a criminal justice and criminology major before switching to English, then sociology and finally to the B.L.A. Why did you choose UMKC? I initially chose K-State for the scholarships they offered. When I decided to move back to my hometown of Kansas City, UMKC was my first choice. I had visited UMKC in junior high for a writing program, and remembered loving the campus. The urban environment was a welcome change from the rural campus I was used to. Why did you choose a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree? The Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree was perfect for someone as intellectually curious and indecisive as me. "I changed my major a whopping seven times between both schools I attended, which left me with many credits across the liberal arts but few toward any specific degree.  I loved that I could combine coursework in my many areas of interest to build the B.L.A. degree." What are your career/job plans? The breadth of the B.L.A. and the many skills I learned in my courses enabled me to work as a test prep tutor for two years, which I absolutely loved. From there, I began working in education administration, which led me back to UMKC, where I now serve as the senior executive assistant in the College of Arts and Science dean’s office. When did you graduate? December of 2016. What do you want people to know about getting or finishing a college degree? While future job prospects are an important consideration, a college degree has so much more to offer. The skills you gain, people you meet, perspectives you learn and experiences you find and create will bring fulfillment and growth to your life no matter what you end up doing with your degree. And it probably won’t be what you planned! What do you want people to know about UMKC? UMKC is a place where people care about you as a person, not a number. There are so many unique opportunities on campus and in the local community, so you can really explore and find your passion. What do you want people to know about you and any challenges you have had? Life will get in the way of education. Whether it’s work, or family, or health, or a global pandemic, the important thing to remember is why you are working so hard toward your degree. As a first-generation college graduate and the oldest of six siblings, I was motivated to prove to myself and my family that success is possible when we stretch. But a degree isn’t the end. Keep learning and stretching and pushing past the growing pains, and opportunities will come your way. Jan 27, 2021

  • Grant Helps Take the Lead Out of KC Homes

    HUD funding for UMKC in partnership with Children’s Mercy and city
    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $700,000 to the University of Missouri-Kansas City to explore and evaluate best practices for identifying and removing lead paint hazards from Kansas City homes. The grant is in partnership with the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and Lead Safe KC Project, which helps remove lead paint hazards in homes of families with young children; and Children’s Mercy Environmental Health Program, which has assessed more than 1,400 homes for environmental risks and supports allergen research. Homes that were built before 1978 might contain lead paint, which could put residents, especially young children and pregnant women, at risk for lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can cause speech delays, brain damage and other health effects. Using Kansas City and Children’s Mercy data, the UMKC Center for Economic Information will perform a comparative impact analysis of the specific lead hazard control treatments used in the intervention in terms of blood-lead levels and social costs. “The goal will be to develop a data-driven quality improvement evaluation model that HUD-sponsored lead-hazard control programs will be able to use in the management and performance evaluation of their own programs,” said Doug Bowles, Ph.D., director of the UMKC Center for Economic Information, co-principal investigator on the grant. “An additional goal will be to develop a data-driven, housing-based index that lead-hazard control programs can use to select the homes most in need of lead-based hazard remediation,” said Steve Simon, Ph.D., of the School of Medicine and co-principal investigator on the grant. The study will examine data from the Kansas City Health Department, comparing lead poisoning information with home repair strategies to determine the most effective, sustainable and cost-efficient methods of protecting families. Jan 27, 2021

  • UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies Earns Ninth Consecutive Top Program Ranking

    U.S. News & World Report evaluates online graduate programs
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies ranked No. 23 among the nation’s best online graduate nursing programs of 2021 by U.S. News & World Report, giving it at least a Top 30 ranking for the ninth year in a row. The UMKC ranking, released Jan. 26, is the highest of any university in Missouri or Kansas. UMKC climbed three spots from last year’s No. 26 ranking. The UMKC School of Health Studies takes pride in the continuing recognition of its online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program as one of the best in the nation, said Joy Roberts, interim dean. This past year, it has meant more than ever. “The pandemic has demonstrated the value and the need for high-quality online nursing education,” Roberts said. “Our May and December 2020 online MSN graduates went right to work on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 in hospitals locally, regionally and nationally.” The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies is a pioneer in distance-learning programs, offering online advanced degree programs since 2002. The programs offer busy professionals a high-quality but convenient way to further their careers and meet the needs of an evolving health care system. Online students are expected to participate in online discussions as if they are present in the classroom. Technology offers two-way communication in real time via multiple modes. Students also experience on-site learning through summer institutes where they are required to attend clinical training or dissertation work sessions, and deliver presentations to classmates and faculty. UMKC offers a variety of online graduate nursing tracks, including Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and other options: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Nurse Educator (NE) Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) Primary Care and Acute-Care (AC PNP) Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) Ph.D. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) U.S. News began ranking online education in 2012. The categories include faculty credentials and training; student engagement; admissions selectivity; peer reputation; and student services and technology. U.S. News began their data comparisons with more than 550 institutions that had accredited graduate degree programs in nursing. Among the ones that replied, more than 194 said they offered online graduate nursing programs. The number of online nursing programs is continually growing nationwide. Jan 26, 2021

  • COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

    Mary Anne Jackson, School of Medicine dean, was a guest on KBIA.
    Like most of its area counterparts, the Unified Government Public Health Department is struggling to navigate the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Until we all have been inoculated, the dean of the UMKC School of Medicine says now is "not the time for us to let down our guard." As a new coronavirus strain gains traction in the U.S., it's important to continue following guidelines to prevent spreading the disease. Listen to the podcast. Jan 25, 2021

  • Alumna Advocates for Black Businesses While Building her Own

    Bloch grad and former basketball player is a Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce vice president
    Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Jade Tinner ‘12 Academic program: Business Administration -- Marketing, Henry W. Bloch School of ManagementHometown: Canyon, Texas Jade Tinner runs her public relations firm, JTBE INK, while serving as vice president of community investment for the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce. Tell us about your current position. I’m currently the vice president of community investment for the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce. In my position, I develop and implement strategic plans to ensure that communications, programming and corporate relations are effective and support the mission and goals of the DBCC and deepen the organization’s impact in the community.  Was it solely basketball that brought you to UMKC? What else appealed to you about campus or the experience? Basketball introduced me to UMKC, but the campus and coaching staff is what influenced my decision to commit to UMKC. I also loved the fact that It was far away from my hometown. I was ready to experience something new. What was your favorite thing about UMKC? The opportunity to be involved in other activities outside of sports. During my time I served as the treasurer of The African American Student Union, won the Miss Black & Gold pageant and am a member of Delta Sigma Pi. How did you choose your field of study? I always knew I was going to own something, and I needed to learn all I could about business and all of its functions. Marketing seemed to make the most sense for me as a creative. What are the challenges of your field? The main challenge in the marketing field is the broad overgeneralized definition of “marketing.” With technology changing daily, new marketing trends emerge as soon as you learn the last one. But the challenge of competing with yourself daily to be better than the day before is exciting. What are the benefits? Marketing at this time is the era of digital everything. For a creative like myself, this gives us the opportunity to really step outside of the norm, (because what is normal now?), think outside the box and explore, test and improve new and existing marketing efforts. Has the discipline of being an athlete helped you in any way as far as digging in and getting through this challenging time? Absolutely. I always say that basketball was my first love and my first teacher. It taught me to really buckle down and work hard on myself to be in the best shape possible or  –  in the best headspace possible  –  to accomplish everything going on. Off the court, I still have to make sure that I'm taking care of myself and I'm taking care of business. Tell me a little bit about the business. What are you working on, how did it evolve and how is it working out? It’s a lot like college. I always say I was so used to being busy, especially playing basketball and being involved in other organizations on campus. I was always going. That's the still the space I operate in.  I want to be busy. I want to be doing something. I want to be helping people. "The main challenge in the marketing field is the broad overgeneralized definition of 'marketing.'" - Jade Tinner As the vice president of community investment for the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, we advocate for the creation, growth and general welfare of Black-owned businesses in the North Texas region. I was on the board of directors before taking the full-time role as marketing director. I started the One Unified Resource Foundation  –  or OUR Foundation. The biggest initiative is mentorship for young men ages 12 to 18. We're actually getting ready to implement the program in a local high school here in Texas. It seems that the combination of philanthropy and business is part of your mission. Has giving back always been something that you've been interested in doing even before you were working? I think it just comes naturally and I feel like it’s what we're supposed to do -- or at least what I'm supposed to do. Did you see that in your family or your community growing up?   Some of the giving back was a learned behavior. And then some of it is just seeing how hard my mother worked, my grandmother worked and my great grandparents worked. They instilled that in me. Also, my grandpa always said “Never, never let someone go hungry.” So, I love feeding people whether I’m cooking at home or it's going out to eat. I love to provide an experience, whether it's through one of our organizations’ events helping these young boys, or it's an event or program through the chamber. In your opinion what are the most important areas a business owner should be focused on right now. And is it different for Black owned business than it is for business in general? There aren’t differences on what the focus needs to be, but there are differences in the way we have access to capital. I think the main focus for 2021 is obtaining enough financial capital to sustain the business. How are you going to obtain that? Are you applying for government relief funding? What is your relationship with your financial institution? One of the major differences for Black-owned businesses or minority-owned business is the lack of relationships with their financial institutions. A lot of people in the United States discovered that when the first round of relief funding happened. "I want to be busy. I want to be doing something. I want to be helping people." Another really big takeaway from 2020 is that business owners should focus on being virtually and digitally present. And we need to plan long-term. There is no timeframe of when this could be over. So, how is your business going to sustain? And then once this is “over,” business is going to look totally different. So, you need to know how your business is going to be able to stay up with the new technologies and how services are provided. Do you have predictions on how it's going to look different? The pandemic has changed so many things. For example, we know there's money that can be saved because now we know that people can work from home effectively. In addition, a lot of new businesses have been created within the year because people lost their jobs and they had to figure out ways to stay alive. They may have turned their side hustles into their full-time means of income. We've seen a lot of new businesses like this coming to the chamber. You have posted on social media about the focus on women creating wealth. Why is that a priority for you? Specifically for me and in the chamber, I've worked in male-dominated industries. Most of us do, and, being an athlete, I always dealt with assumptions like the idea of boys being better at handling the ball than girls. I want that kind of mindset to change. I’m responsible for corporate partnerships and external communication at the chamber. I wanted to see what our history was in these areas and women’s names are very, very scarce.  It’s been one of my focal points as a part of the staff to recognize that Black women are making contributions to our community and our business community. "I always dealt with assumptions like the idea of boys being better at handling the ball than girls. I want that kind of mindset to change." Right now, Black women are the number one leading demographic in the state of Texas for new startups. So, it's amazing that there is a need to bring this to people’s attention. Still, the average revenue for these businesses is around $40,000. Imagine $40,000 being your sole means of income and the capital to fund your business. So, it's very important to feed financial capital into these businesses as well as social capital, because networking with like-minded people – like-minded business owners – that you can partner with and collaborate with is part of our focus. What are your goals for the future? To change the world! Within that there are some milestones to accomplish all for the betterment of our communities.  Learn more about Jade What is one word that best describes you? Blessed Do you have a motto you live by? Let’s get LIT (Live Intentional Today)! Treat others how you want to be treated! Were you a first person in your family to attend college? I am not the first to attend college, but am the first to graduate from college. I’m the manifestation of all of the hard work my mom, grandmother, and great grandparents put in. What did you learn about yourself while you were here? I learned that I am definitely a city girl! Being in Kansas City opened my mind to all of the possibilities that are out there in the U.S. and across the world. I also learned how to be an adult, overcome obstacles and persevere through hard times. What’s your favorite place in Kansas City? My favorite place in Kansas City is the Jazz District. So much history and culture in one concentrated area. What is your advice for a student entering UMKC? Find a mentor, find your group of friends, get involved, save your money and enjoy your entire experience.   Jan 25, 2021

  • From Health Care to the Culture of Care

    Sally Ellis Fletcher shares her passion for nursing, education and social justice
    The Black Excellence At UMKC series helps to increase awareness of the representation of diversity and equity on campus and show a visible commitment to the inclusion and recognition of Black faculty and staff. This series celebrates and highlights Black and Roo faculty and staff working behind the scenes and on the frontlines to help our university achieve its mission to promote learning and discovery for all people at UMKC and the greater Kansas City community. Sally Ellis Fletcher developed her passion for education, nursing and social justice when she was just a child. She’d dissect grasshoppers and demonstrate to her toys what she was doing. As a teenager, she worked in an infirmary and enjoyed caring for the students. Having grown up in a family that was active in social justice, she was leading her first workshop by the age of 14. So, her current role as associate dean for students at the School of Nursing and Health Studies is a natural blend of the causes she cares most about. In our newest Black Excellence At UMKC feature, Ellis Fletcher shares how she combines her servant leadership and career experiences to help inspire future care providers. "While I’m not working directly in health care, the principles of patient care are still at the core of what I do." Name: Sally Ellis Fletcher Job Function: School of Nursing and Health Studies, associate dean for studentsTenure: 2015Hometown: Kansas City, MissouriUndergraduate University: Avila University (College)Graduate University:UMKC Master of Science, Nursing, Women’s Health CareUMKC Post-Master, Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health CareUniversity of Rochester, Rochester, New York, Ph.D., Dissertation - Entrepreneurship in Nursing Why did you choose UMKC as the place to grow your career? The mission and vision of UMKC align with my personal values, especially the six core values of the School of Nursing and Health Studies: respect, inclusion and diversity, integrity, excellence, innovation and health. These values give each member of the School of Nursing and Health Studies community an equal foundation, or starting point, to learn, grow, develop and launch their dreams into the world. What do you enjoy most about working at UMKC? The students that come to UMKC trust us to guide them toward achieving their dreams. Students come through our doors with a dream for their lives and we have a big part in helping them get there. Everyone’s role is important in helping launch students into the next phase of their lives. As a nurse, you’re educated and prepared to work with everybody in the health-care system. You’re not isolated; you have to be a spiderweb. You have to think about public health, rehab, critical care, etc. So, while I’m not working directly in health care, the principles of patient care are still at the core of what I do. I transfer my nursing skills into academia. Nurses think globally, and about resources, patients/consumers will need to achieve their optimal health. When I’m helping students, I think globally about the resources available, and what needs to happen for them to succeed. I’m still functioning as a nurse, but now I’m an academic administrator in nursing education. "There’s a saying, 'nobody cares what you know, until they know that you care.' I try to always care." What are the challenges of your career field? There are never enough student scholarships. I have a vision that every student entering the School of Nursing and Health Studies would be part of a “pay it forward program.” Each student would receive 50 to 70 percent of their tuition in scholarships, with the stipulation they participate in paying it forward through recruitment, community service and post-graduation financial investment in future students. Don’t laugh, but I think about how I’d pitch this idea to Dolly Parton, Oprah and Stedman, Malinda and Bill Gates, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, or anyone else who would listen. What are the benefits of your career field? I see the future of healthcare through the potential of every student. It is truly exciting!  How do you connect and establish relationships with Black faculty and staff in other units and departments? My position keeps me very busy and, like most of us, our schedules are frequently double, or triple booked. So, I’m not always able to attend certain functions or group gatherings. Yet, humans have this magnetic power to bond together through common experiences. When serving on committees or sitting in meetings, you’re drawn to someone, friendships are created and you support one another long term. I serve on various committees and I always try to speak on behalf of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). I’m frequently asking, “have we considered the student perspective? Have we considered DEI?” What is your primary research focus? Cultural sensibility in health care. I published a book about this at a time when people were discussing “cultural competence.” I didn’t feel that was a good term. The book explores how nurses and healthcare workers can provide proactive culturally sensible care to patients/consumers. The vignettes in the book come from some of my own experiences and experiences that others have shared with me; hopefully, they can help people see and work through their biases, prejudices and stereotypes. "I see the future of healthcare through the potential of every student. It is truly exciting!" How are you involved in the Kansas City community? I’m honored to serve on the board of Newhouse, a Kansas City shelter for individuals experiencing domestic violence. Our doors are open to women and their children, as well as men and their children. We have a new CEO that is innovatively leading the shelter to break the cycle of domestic violence. Describe your mentoring relationships with students. I always tell students that “I’m here.” I try to tear down the walls and just be real. If something happens with a student, I try to get to the root of the issue by asking more questions and listening to them and their life experiences.  There’s a saying, “nobody cares what you know until they know that you care.” I try to always care. What is one word that best describes you? A “realistic optimist.” I know, that’s two words. I see life as a glass half full, and I choose to believe the best is possible. Yet, I am very realistic.  What is one piece of advice you’d give a student wanting to follow in your footsteps? Don’t follow my footsteps, create your own path. You have talents and life experiences that make you wonderfully special to do greater things than what I do. Jan 22, 2021

  • The Coterie Teams With UMKC For New Production

    Arts publications promote UMKC Theatre production
    The Coterie and UMKC Theatre present BRAINSTORM: The Inside Life of the Teenage Mind, a virtual co-production that combines theatre, scientific research, and the true personal experiences of local teens to create a fun and thought-provoking performance offering a unique look at why the teen mind works the way it does. Read the article by KC Applauds. A story about this performance also appeared in The Pitch, KC Live Theater and KC Studio. Jan 21, 2021

  • Mahomes' Playoff Outlook

    KCUR taps Chi-Ming Huang
    Chi-Ming Huang, professor, UMKC School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, was a guest on Up to Date. Jan 20, 2021

  • Inauguration Day Is A Teachable Moment, But Not All Kansas City Schools Let Students Watch Live

    KCUR taps School of Education consultant
    “Districts are clamping down on some of the political rhetoric,” said Brett Coffman, who taught social studies for 17 years in Raytown and Liberty schools and now works as a consultant for the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education. “I think that’s going to continue. There will be teachers that push back on that. I know that they are already.” Read more from KCUR. Jan 20, 2021

  • Johnson County Native Gets ‘Once-in-a-Lifetime’ Inauguration Job As Joe Biden’s Stand-in

    Conservatory grad featured by Shawnee Mission Post
    Kevin Cerovich grew up in the Kansas City area and attended UMKC, earning a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Trombone. Read more. Jan 20, 2021

  • It’s Never Too Late to Graduate

    Crankstart Scholarships are designed for nontraditional students
    Not all students take a direct path from college initiation to graduation. Sometimes circumstances intercede that require degree-seekers to take a break, but that does not mean they do not have a viable path to graduation. Vickie Goods is currently pursuing a liberal arts degree and is planning on graduating in May. It wasn’t long ago that she did not think a college degree was within her grasp. “I’d gone to college in Louisiana briefly and when I moved to Kansas City, I wanted to finish my degree.” Goods was recently divorced and a single mother. She attended a private university and exhausted her Pell Grants, but despite her efforts wasn’t able to finish. “Nothing seemed to be working out, but I was determined,” Goods says. “I was working with a woman at the Full Employment Council, and I broke down. I just felt I couldn’t get over this hump in my life, and that I really wanted to finish college.” The woman helping her told her she had options. “She said, ‘I know someone who can help.’” Goods contacted KC Degrees and received information about KC Scholars and the Crankstart Foundation Reentry Scholarships at UMKC. She was able to enroll and is planning on graduating in May 2021. “I’m so excited. Everything has been so up and down, and so many people are struggling. I’m so grateful.” “We want people to know that there are resources designed specifically for returning students.” – Katie Anton Goods is not alone in her struggle or her relief. Jessica Mason, B.A. philosophy ’20, graduated in December. Like Goods, Mason had gaps in her academic career because of economic issues and family obligations. “Katie Anton told me about the Crankstart Scholarships.” Anton is director of scholarships for the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences. “We see so many students who have worked extremely hard and feel as if graduation is out of reach because of the expense,” Anton says. “We want people to know that there are resources designed specifically for returning students. There’s always a path to graduation.” With Anton’s advice, Mason made the decision to finish her degree. “The advice I give is that you should keep an open mind and do not be intimidated by having classmates younger than you.” – Jessica Mason “The scholarship helped tremendously, especially in these times,” Mason says. “It allowed me to help pay for daycare for my youngest as well as provide little amenities that I had not foreseen such as parking passes and other fees that I encountered.” Mason has encouraged several people who were considering returning to school that they should. “The advice I give is that you should keep an open mind, and do not be intimidated by having classmates younger than you,” Mason says. “Also, try and involve yourself in groups, lectures and the experience as whole because it goes very fast.”  For more information on the Crankstart Scholarships and other paths to graduation, please contact UMKC Financial Aid and Scholarships. Jan 20, 2021

  • Nursing School Class Examines COVID-19, From Emergence to Vaccines

    Public health course combines underlying science and the challenges of pandemic response.
    Designing a course from scratch is no easy task. And when the subject matter is changing constantly, you have a real challenge on your hands. But that’s what two assistant professors at the School of Nursing and Health Studies, Joseph Lightner and Sharon White-Lewis, did for the fall 2020 semester. “When we realized this was a pandemic and something the world knew little about, those of us in public health said, ‘Someone should teach a course about this.’ And then we realized ‘someone’ was us,” said Lightner, who holds a master’s in public health and a doctorate in kinesiology and leads the nursing school’s bachelor of public health degree program. So he and White-Lewis, whose expertise includes disaster preparedness and response, designed a comprehensive course on the COVID-19 pandemic. It covered a lot of ground, from the history of the 1918 flu pandemic to what the coronavirus is, how it spreads and how it acts in a body, to COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, contact tracing and the country’s emergency preparedness and response in the first nine months of the pandemic. Teaching about an unfolding pandemic also was a new challenge. White-Lewis said they frequently reacted to developments, quickly gathering reliable information and incorporating it into lectures and exercises. From left, Assistant Professors Joseph Lightner and Sharon White-Lewis taught the course to 37 students including Lejla Skender and Denise Dean. Everyone in the class took an online Johns Hopkins University course to become certified contract tracers. They also worked in teams to try to determine who brought COVID to the White House reception for Supreme Court nominee Amy Barrett Cohen. “That was a fascinating exercise,” said Denise Dean, a senior working on a health sciences degree with a concentration in public health. “We worked in teams with data on everyone in attendance: when they showed symptoms, when they tested positive and had tested negative, and other activities they had engaged in. We had numbered photos, too, to show which people were close to each other.” Dean, who has done research projects of her own and is an undergraduate research assistant, added, “We had learned in lectures when people are most contagious in relation to when they show symptoms, which helped us narrow the possible carriers.” Lightner said the teams were able to determine three people in attendance who were the most likely to have brought the virus to that group of key government officials, though with this virus it could have been someone else who showed no symptoms. “That’s another thing the students learned: Public health can be messy and complicated,” Lightner said. Your final: What do you do when a pandemic strikes? The final exam was a drill on responding to a pandemic, said White-Lewis, who advised those who drew up the Kansas City area’s vaccine distribution plan and leads the area’s nine-county Medical Reserve Corps, a network of medical and public health volunteers. Lejle Skender, a senior biology major considering medical school, said, “It was great to learn how all the parts of the medical system need to work together — who’s doing what behind the scenes to make sure people and materials are available in the right places.” Dean added: “And we learned what happens when there’s an emergency and a good plan isn’t in place.” The course had wide appeal, drawing 37 students, including nursing graduate students and undergraduates from majors including nursing, pre-pharmacy, public health, health sciences and biology. That student mix provided some challenges, Lightener said, “because we had to make sure the undergrads had enough of the basic sciences to understand when we got into the etiology, epidemiology and pathology of the virus and the disease.” It also gave students access to dozens of other perspectives, especially on discussion boards that White-Lewis posted. “The class was a big jumble of backgrounds and majors, but we all had the goal of learning about this virus and how that knowledge could benefit us in our careers,” Skender said. “We all learned from each other because, for example, some of us started with more science knowledge to share, and the graduate student nurses gave us a lot of information from their perspective as nurses.” She added, “If the course is taught again, I would recommend it to anyone interested in a health care career.” “That’s another thing the students learned: Public health can be messy and complicated.”   — Assistant Professor Joseph Lightner White-Lewis, who earned her doctorate in nursing from UMKC in 2018, said the student discussions were valuable and enriching but often difficult. “In the module on vaccines we did a discussion where they had to take 10 of their family and friends and decide who gets the five vaccine doses available and who could die,” White-Lewis said. “For me, it was really hard hearing from students who had family members who have died of COVID, and how they wished that everyone would take the virus much more seriously.” Lightner said that it would be great to offer the course again, but that that did not seem possible without more resources dedicated to it. “It was great to develop the course and fit it in somehow last fall,” he said. “But Dr. White-Lewis and I both are research faculty who have to do our own research. I’m director of our public health degree program, and she teaches graduate research and has her emergency response and other duties.”   Whether the course can be taught again, Lightner said, “I think it’s clear this information is vital. However well the vaccines do, the evidence is mounting that practitioners are going to be dealing with COVID and its long-term effects for years to come.”   Jan 19, 2021

  • UMKC Faculty Weigh-In

    Media tap UMKC professors when covering KC businesses' political spending on Josh Hawley
    “It’s not insignificant,” Greg Vonnahme, chairman of the political science department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said of company donations. “But a majority of their money is going to come from individual donors.” - Kansas City Star (subscription required) Jan 17, 2021

  • Patrick Mahomes Has A Little Extra Work Before He’s Eligible To Play In AFC Title Game Sunday

    Fox4KC interviews Margaret Gibson
    “You can kind of see that when he came up that he definitely wasn’t jumping back and ready to go,” Margaret Gibson, associate professor at UMKC School of Medicine, said. “He was a little bit wobbly and had to have some assistance.” Read the article and watch the newscast. Jan 17, 2021

  • Music Schools Struggle To Diversify

    Columbia Missourian wrote about the music programs at UM System schools
    UMKC has the most degrees awarded annually among three UM System campuses that have music major programs, with about 500. Over the past decade, Black students have represented 4% of the graduates, and that number was no better in 2019. But its white population earning degrees is down to 65% in 2019, the lowest during the past 10 years. Read the full article. Jan 17, 2021

  • KC Business Survey: Entrepreneurs Increasingly Confident In Full Recovery From Pandemic

    Local media report on the survey, which KCSourceLink helped conduct
    “By nature, entrepreneurs and small business owners are problem solvers — they rise to a challenge — and 2020 certainly doled out more than its fair share,” said Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center and founder of KCSourceLink, which helped lead the survey. - Startland News Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center and Founder of SourceLink, said entrepreneurs and small business owners are naturals at solving problems and quickly did so when faced with all the challenges 2020 had to offer. - Kansas City Pitch     Jan 15, 2021

  • Local Creative Arts Are Getting Creative

    The Pitch reports on ways Kansas City arts organizations are partnering with others, including UMKC, during the pandemic
    Kansas City Lyric Opera created a series focused on local partnerships called New Visions. It includes an eight-part digital history of opera, presented by musicologists from UMKC and KU and featuring art from the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Read more. Jan 15, 2021

  • Free COVID-19 Testing For Students, Faculty and Staff

    Drive-up, rapid-diagnostic tests available by appointment
    Rapid COVID-19 testing is available free to all students, faculty and staff, whether or not they are experiencing symptoms.Testing takes place in a convenient drive-up clinic that allows those being tested to stay in their vehicles. The test involves anterior nose swabbing, much less discomforting than interior nose swabbing. Results take about 15 minutes. The free tests are antigen tests that detect specific proteins from the virus. Location 4825 Troost Ave.  Appointments required Appointments are available in 30-minute blocks from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and range through April 16. Schedule your time below.    Feb. 22-26 March 1-5 March 8-12 March 15-19 March 22-26 March 29-April 2 April 5-9 April 12-16   Contact Student Health and Wellness, studenthealth@umkc.edu or 816-235-6124. Note If vehice transportation to the clinic is not available, alternative arrangements can be made. Jan 14, 2021

  • Kansas City Theater Spotlights Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson And Other Motown Music

    UMKC Theatre's virtual co-production is featured
    “Brainstorm: The Inside Life of the Teenage Mind,” a virtual co-production of the Coterie Theatre and UMKC Theatre, will be available Jan. 19 through Feb. 7. Get more information from the Kansas City Star. This story was picked up by MSN Entertainment. Jan 13, 2021

  • Free Dental Cleaning at UMKC

    Help yourself by helping dental hygiene students with their exams
    Haven’t had a dental cleaning in a few years? The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry dental hygiene students are screening patients for their clinical licensing exam, which includes a free dental cleaning. Qualifications: You must have No braces. Most teeth present. No dental cleanings in the past two to four years. No need for immediate dental services such as extraction. All day available April 30. Sign up: Call 816-508-5858 and leave a voicemail, or email umkcdhboards2021@gmail.com and include full name, phone number with area code and date of birth. Scheduling an appointment is required before coming in. When/where: Screenings will be held Tuesday through Friday starting Jan. 19 through the end of April at the UMKC School of Dentistry, 650 E. 25th St., Kansas City. COVID-19 precautions: To ensure safety, the UMKC School of Dentistry is following current guidelines from the CDC, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the American Dental Association and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. The UMKC School of Dentistry delivers clinical care to more than 60,000 patients each year in the Kansas City area. Jan 13, 2021

  • Kansas City Organization Focuses On Latinx Representation In Education

    Northeast News consults with Ivan Ramirez
    Ivan Ramirez, coordinator of the Avanzando Mentoring Program, a mentoring program for Latinx students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said that for students thinking about joining the education field, being a part of LEC is a must. Read more. Jan 12, 2021

  • College Students Found Mental Health To Be A Major Issue In 2020

    Two UMKC students were guests on KCUR
    Brandon Henderson, a senior at UMKC and former Student Government Association president; and Gracie Wrinkle, a senior at UMKC and former sorority president of Alpha Delta Pi, were guests on Up to Date. Listen to the podcast on the KCUR website. Jan 12, 2021

  • Trump’s Business Prospects Just Got Dimmer As Wall Street Backs Away From Tarnished Brand

    CNBC interviews Bill Black
    “Presumably he’ll do what he’s done at least five times in his career, which is strategic bankruptcy,” said William Black, associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read more. Jan 12, 2021

  • More Patients Use Crowdsourced Fundraising Campaigns To Cover Healthcare Costs

    National media cover research by UMKC School of Medicine faculty
    At least two national publications, US News & World Report and MDalert, wrote about a study by UMKC School of Medicine faculty John Spertus, senior author; and Suveen Angraal, study author. The research looked at the role of fundraising sites such as GoFundMe has played in crowdsourcing funds for medical costs over the past several years.   Jan 12, 2021

  • Story Behind Viral Picture Of Man Holding Confederate Flag Inside U.S. Capitol

    History Department Chair weighs-in with KCTV5
    Chester Owens Jr. said when he saw the image of the man holding a confederate flag inside the U.S. Capitol building, he immediately thought of his grandfather who was born into slavery. Other historians also took note of the historical irony on social media. Diane Mutti Burke, professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said she caught wind of the photograph online. Read the full article and watch the newscast. Jan 12, 2021

  • 8 Ways Heroic Local Doctors Have Gone Above And Beyond During The Pandemic

    Kansas City Magazine features three UMKC faculty
    Barbara Pahud, M.D.; Steve Waldman, M.D.; and Mary Anne Jackson, M.D.; were featured in this article. Jan 12, 2021

  • UMKC School of Pharmacy: Where Opportunities Abound

    As the world becomes more aware of the growing skill sets of today’s pharmacists, the roles they play in health care will continue to evolve and ex...
    Janelle Sabo, Pharm.D., R.Ph., M.B.A., is a 2000 graduate of the UMKC School of Pharmacy. An executive leader in clinical research design, development and delivery, she serves as the global head of clinical innovation, system and clinical supply chain at Eli Lilly and Company. She has accountability for the overall development, registration and launch of anti-COVID-19 therapeutics across the globe. What do you most enjoy about your job?  In my role, I leverage virtually every aspect of my education, including physics, calculus and the full pharmacy curriculum. The key difference is that I am not evaluating known information and data, but helping design and deliver critical information to inform health care professionals how a new treatment may be useful and practically utilized in a given disease state.  What does a typical day look like in your role?  My typical day involves four key focus areas: Portfolio and clinical research design and delivery, development and scaling of critical capabilities to enable clinical research, developing people, and external engagement with industry groups, vendors, regulators and other key partners. Why did you decide on pharmacy as a career choice?  I have loved science since I was young and wanted to help people. While I considered being a doctor, I was quickly drawn to the way medications can fundamentally improve and/or cure those who need help the most. I wanted there to be more options, especially in unmet medical therapeutic areas and pediatrics. How do you see the role of pharmacists evolving in the future? There is a world of roles beyond the traditional pharmacy that is growing. I have pharmacists in virtually every aspect of my organization – from data to clinical investigational pharmacy, from mobile and decentralized research to investigator training, from clinical trial design to clinical trial development and delivery. The pharmacy curriculum combined with in-clinic experience is invaluable in drug development. It opens many opportunities. What do you do outside of work for fun?  I enjoy time with my family and friends, traveling both domestically and internationally, hiking, and time by the pool in the summers. What is your best advice for someone thinking about a career in pharmacy?  Pharmacy is not just what you see today behind the counter or in the hospital. There are many opportunities in industry, academia, research, consulting and related industries. These broader opportunities require a solid foundation academically and exploration early in your schooling as internships, externships and exposure will increase your ability to pursue them post residency or fellowship. Why would you encourage someone to pick the UMKC School of Pharmacy?  UMKC has been well-ranked for more than 30 years, with a strong history of producing excellent graduates that have gone on to be leaders in their field. UMKC graduates have been successful in a variety of pharmacy settings and blazed new career paths. The masters and Ph.D. programs are solid with excellent scientist who care deeply about their areas of research. How did your time at the UMKC School of Pharmacy prepare you for your current role?  UMKC School of Pharmacy provided me organizational leadership opportunities, and supported and recommended me for critical internships in the summers. It also provided me an excellent academic and clinical foundation to build from as I launched into my career in clinical research and drug development. Jan 12, 2021

  • UMKC Developing New Master Plan for Campuses

    Comprehensive, long-range vision for university’s physical environment
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City is embarking on a campus master planning process. A master plan is a long-range vision for the physical environment of the university’s two campuses. The plan will be designed to support the university’s goals, the role it plays in Kansas City’s future and the needs and desires of the university’s valued neighbors. Elements to be studied and refined in the process include student housing, green space, classroom and laboratory design, space utilization and support for the student life experience. The plan will take into account the realities of the university’s financial situation, and focus initially on maximizing the efficient use of existing buildings and spaces. The plan will also look to the future and chart a course for expansion into key growth areas such as student housing as resources become available. The existing UMKC Master Plan, created in 2014, needs to be updated to reflect new conditions. First and foremost, the master plan must be guided by, and serve the goals of, the 2018-2028 UMKC Strategic Plan. It will take into account that the streetcar will extend to our campus, further connecting us to the city. In addition, factors such as the UMKC Forward process and our short- and long-term needs for student services, academic programming and community engagement, must be taken into account. UMKC is working with the firm Ayers Saint Gross to create a collaborative process designed to build consensus. A working group representing a wide array of UMKC stakeholders has been assembled and began working with ASG professionals in November 2020 to assess existing conditions. The entire campus community will have opportunities to participate and be heard. UMKC has developed a Master Plan website where we will to share updates and alert the campus community to future opportunities for participation and input. The goal is to produce a recommended plan for consideration by the Board of Curators at the board meeting in June. “Our mission of teaching, research and service is constant, but the means we employ to deliver on that mission must adapt to changing conditions,” Agrawal said in a letter to campus. “This master plan process is an opportunity for our community to come together to decide how our physical environment and footprint must adapt to provide maximum support for that mission.” Jan 12, 2021

  • Are Cities A Safe Place To Live During A Pandemic?

    Bdnews24 talked to public health researchers including Jenifer Allsworth at UMKC
    Cities also tend to offer a larger variety of social support services, said Jenifer Allsworth, a public health researcher at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, including various child care and public transportation options. Read the full article. Jan 09, 2021

  • AAP Issues New Guidelines for Diagnosing, Managing Eating Disorders

    Medscape quotes Laurie L. Hornberger
    In a separate interview with Pediatric News, Laurie L. Hornberger, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City, explained that eating disorders occur across the spectrum of races, ethnicities, sexes and socioeconomic statuses, so “getting caught up in that stereotype can cause you to overlook kids with significant problems.” Hornberger is lead author of a new clinical report on eating disorders in children and adolescents prepared by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Adolescence. Read the Medscape article. Jan 08, 2021

  • Nursing Student Determined to Improve Care for Minorities

    Dominique Nichols, undaunted by pandemic challenges, finds inspiration in others
    Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Dominique Nichols Anticipated graduation: Spring 2023 Academic program: Pre-licensure BSN Hometown: Belton, Missouri  Why nursing? I want to make a difference in the way minorities are treated in the health care system. I want to be an advocate for them and provide culturally congruent care to all of my patients. My mother has been an emergency room tech. What are the benefits of the program? One is to be exposed to many learning opportunities through labs and clinicals, such as my current work at North Kansas City Hospital in the dialysis unit. The professors and administrative staff are also open to hearing students’ perspectives and concerns. And nurses are always in demand; I'll have a job when I graduate. How has your program inspired you? It has made me excited to build relationships with patients and care for those who are in need. I have also been inspired to set an example as a biracial woman in a prestigious field. This is such an important aspect of providing care to minorities. Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself? I have learned that I do not have to be perfect at everything. It is unrealistic, and it only causes more stress. I have been trying to focus on doing my best, even if it means cutting myself some slack for my own mental health. What do you admire most at UMKC and why? I admire the different types of people I see on campus (and on Zoom). There are people from many ethnicities, backgrounds and cultures. I think it is important to appreciate that we all have a multitude of things to bring to the table and everyone’s voice deserves to be heard. I love hearing other people’s experiences and perspectives on certain topics. They provide many learning opportunities and space for growth. "I want to make a difference in the way minorities are treated in the health care system." - Dominique Nichols Do you have any scholarships? What do they mean to you? I am a proud KC Scholar. To me, this scholarship means everything. If it weren’t for this scholarship, I would have thousands of dollars in student loan debt like everyone else. This scholarship allows me to save money and spend it on other important things like my apartment, my car, food, gas and clothes. I will forever be grateful for the Kauffman Foundation for providing this scholarship to students like me. In the future, I plan on becoming a donor to give back and to help other students reach their goals, too. Have you had an internship or job shadow? I job-shadowed a nurse practitioner last fall. I learned how to communicate with patients, how to manage time, and how to document important information. I also got to observe a few surgeries on the skull and vertebrae. It was an awesome experience! I will have a formal internship during my senior year.  What do you hope to take from your experiences at UMKC into your career? I hope to treat all people as individuals with their own lives and backgrounds that may or may not be the same as my own. I want to be non-judgmental and open minded as much as possible. I also want to be an advocate for patients and do what is best for them. What is one word that best describes you and why? Determined. I am determined to be the best version of myself that I can be. I am also determined to make a difference in how minorities are treated in the health care system. It is important to me that everyone is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.   Jan 08, 2021

  • Human Mobility and the Spread of COVID-19

    Computer science professor Yusuf Sarwar Uddin worked on this award-winning data analysis project
    While we know that human mobility is among the leading causes of COVID-19 spread, the extent of the relationship remains unclear. School of Computing and Engineering Assistant Professor Yusuf Sarwar Uddin and two teammates from the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) at the University of California, Irvine – including his wife Dr. Rezwana Rafiq – say that information is important to know if policymakers want to make informed decisions on how to limit the spread. The team was one of seven novel data science projects that received cash awards from leading enterprise artificial intelligence software provider, C3.ai. The C3.ai COVID-19 Grand Challenge represents an opportunity to inform decision makers at the local, state and federal levels and transform the way the world confronts this pandemic. A total of $200,000 in cash prizes was awarded to these research teams. The UMKC/UC Irvine team received $12,500 as one of the four third-place winners. About the research While we know measures like physical distance and mask wearing are already ongoing mandates recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the extent of the relationship between human mobility and the virus spread remain unclear, at least in quantitative sense. Using U.S. county-level data from multiple sources during the first pandemic wave in May 2020, Uddin and team built a latent structural regression model to identify the causal relationships between human mobility indicators (trips, distance traveled, staying at home and social distancing) and COVID-19 spread to inform how policymakers should act. Though the team did not provide an official recommendation, they are continuing to develop the model in meaningful ways using data analysis and artificial intelligence to make informed decisions. View the presentation Jan 07, 2021

  • Ted Seligson, One Of Kansas City’s Leading Architects Of 20th Century, Dies From COVID

    Kansas City Star reports celebration of life
    This was from the Kansas City Star Opinion Page: “He was devoted to improving Kansas City and a big advocate for urbanism in Kansas City,” said Michael Frisch, department chair for architecture, urban planning and design at UMKC. (subscription required) Jan 06, 2021

  • Media Turn To UMKC Professors

    Political Science and School of Law professors weigh in on Electoral College, Capitol riots, impeachment, 25th Amendment
    Local media outlets have interviewed UMKC Department of Political Science and UMKC School of Law professors this week about the Electoral College and riots at the U.S. Capitol. We've gathered those headlines: UMKC professor calls storming of US Capitol unprecedented - KMBC - Beth Vonnahme U.S. Capitol riots 'almost entirely unprecedented,' UMKC professor says - KSHB and picked up by Yahoo News - Rebecca Best U.S. Capitol has never seen chaos quite like this - Fox4KC - Rebecca Best What's next following the assault on the Capitol? - KCTV5 - Greg Vonnahme Few consequences for angry white men — what if Black rioters attempted a Capitol coup? - Kansas City Star - Jamila Jefferson-Jones Impeachment, 25th Amendment: Explained by UMKC constitutional law scholar - KCTV5 - Allen Rostron UMKC professor explains 25th Amendment as calls grow for Trump’s removal - KSHB - Greg Vonnahme       Jan 06, 2021

  • The Big Student Debt Questions That Biden Will Have To Answer

    Economics professor's study on loan forgiveness provides insight
    “You’re not getting it paid off now, and you probably never will,” says Scott Fullwiler, an economics professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and co-author of a landmark 2018 study on loan forgiveness. Read the full article from Bloomberg Business. Jan 06, 2021

  • COVID Means Higher Education Must Adapt. UMKC Is Taking The Lead To Reimagine Its Future

    Marc Hill mentioned the UMKC Forward initiative in his Kansas City Star opinion piece
    This op-ed column from the Kansas City Star mentions the UMKC Forward program, which seeks to focus the university on its strengths that tomorrow’s workforce will require. (subscription required) Jan 06, 2021

  • Honoring An Architectural Leader

    Professor Theodore H. Seligson was respected throughout the region
    Theodore “Ted” Seligson (1930-2021) was a professor of architecture at UMKC for 30 years. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Seligson was a true Renaissance man: architect, urban and interior designer, professor, fine art consultant and curator. In his spare time, he was a semi-professional violin player, reader of hieroglyphics, historic preservation activist, antiquarian, lover of comics, compulsive teacher and raconteur, according to his obituary in the Kansas City Star. Friends, colleagues, students and former students shared memories of him. “Ted Seligson was a unique and thoughtful professor who truly cared about his students and their success,” said Jacob A. Wagner, associate professor, director of UMKC Urban Studies. “He taught in Architecture and Urban Design, but he could have easily taught Art History and Archaeology. As a professional architect he worked for Kivett and Myers before starting his own firm. The buildings he designed and worked to save as a preservationist still shape the city today.” Seligson graduated from Shawnee Mission North High School and Washington University, where he also worked as a visiting professor for 30 years. His work received many local and national awards and is highlighted by such projects as Temple B’nai Jehudah, Bartle Hall Convention Center, Missouri Public Service building, Fire Station No. 30, several UMB bank buildings, Maple Woods Community College, Seaboard Corporation offices and many striking residences. “Ted Seligson was a kind and thoughtful educator, committed to developing students and their individual visions,” said Kati Toivanen, interim dean, UMKC College of Arts and Sciences. “He generously shared his wide range of professional experiences and benefited generations of our students. He will be greatly missed.” Students left tributes on Linkedin: “I was lucky enough to have him as a professor for my studio's class. His observations and teachings in the AUPD department at UMKC were incredibly valued and his insight will be deeply missed.” “Ted touched so many lives, he was truly the best teacher I ever had.” “He influenced so many and was a great teacher. I loved listening to all his stories and lessons. ‘Did you know it can rain up?’” “The passing of a Titan. So many good memories.” Counseling services are available for students, faculty and staff through UMKC Counseling Services. Seligson is survived by a legion of friends, peers, clients and students who admired him. He was a member of Temple B’nai Jehudah. A private ceremony was conducted at Rose Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to the Seligson Fund c/o UMKC Foundation at 5115 Oak, AC202 Kansas City, Mo, 64112. Seligson held a fundamental belief that every person has the ability to make our community and country a better place to live. The Seligson Fund will continue to foster his legacy through public lectures and scholarships for architects and urban planning students at UMKC. Jan 06, 2021

  • Computing and Engineering Professor Named Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

    Reza Derakhshani developed EyeVerify technology
    Reza Derakhshani, professor in the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Derakhshani is best known for leading the development of a biometric technology that makes the eye the only password needed to secure smartphones and mobile devices. The product is known as Eyeprint and was commercialized by the Kansas City-based startup EyeVerify. EyeVerify was acquired by Ant Financial Services Group in 2016 for a reported $100 million. The company is maintaining its headquarters in Kansas City and has been doing business as ZOLOZ since 2017. Derakhshani continues consulting as EyeVerify’s chief scientist while maintaining his faculty position at UMKC. At UMKC, Derakhshani heads the Computational Intelligence and Bio-Identification Technologies Laboratory (CIBIT). The lab’s research focus is ocular and vascular biometrics, mobile security, anti-spoofing and machine learning. CIBIT is also engaged in developing related novel hardware platforms for computational imaging schemes as related to biometrics, in addition to human-computer interaction. The 2020 Class of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors will be inducted at the NAI 10th annual meeting in June 2021. UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal nominated Derakhshani as an NAI Fellow. The National Academy of Inventors is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and nonprofit research institutes, with more than 4,000 individual inventor members and fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide. Jan 06, 2021

  • Why Senator Hawley Is Objecting To Electoral College Votes

    KCUR taps Edward Cantu
    Edward Cantu, associate professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, was a guest on Up to Date. As this story unfolds, more UMKC faculty are interviewed about Josh Hawley and blowback from his objections and the Capitol riots. Debra Leiter on KSHB, Allen Rostron on Fox4KC.  Jan 05, 2021

  • UMKC Professor Weighs In On Electoral College Vote Objections

    KSHB interviews Beth Vonnahme
    Beth Vonnahme, associate professor of American politics at UMKC, said Wednesday’s ceremony will be unusual. Read the story and watch the newscast on KSHB. This story was picked up by Yahoo News. Jan 05, 2021

  • Your Questions About The Coronavirus Vaccine Answered

    Mary Anne Jackson was a guest on Up to Date.
    Mary Anne Jackson, professor and dean of the UMKC School of Medicine, was a guest on KCUR. She answered questions about the coronavirus vaccine. Jan 04, 2021

  • Kansas And Missouri Universities Could Face Tough Financial Choices In 2021

    Shawnee Mission Post article includes UMKC
    There were furloughs and reduced hours for some employees, and cutbacks in major purchases and travel, said Stacy Downs, UMKC spokesperson. The administration made across-the-board salary cuts in the first quarter for employees making more than $50,000 a year, but it has been able to end those, she said. Read more. Jan 04, 2021

  • Jackson County Assistant Prosecutor With Passion For Helping Others Dies Of COVID-19

    JoEllen Engelbart was a UMKC alumna
    Assistant prosecutor JoEllen Engelbart earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from the UMKC Bloch School and a law degree from the UMKC School of Law. Read the Kansas City Star article. (subscription required) This story was also covered by KMOV. Jan 03, 2021

  • Missouri Saw Deadliest Year Ever For Gun Violence In 2020, Made Worse By Pandemic

    Local media interviews Ken Novak about gun violence and homicide rate in 2020
    “I would be shocked if it’s not also the deadliest year in Missouri’s history, we are seeing increases in three cities, how is it not possible for this to be the deadliest year,” said Ken Novak, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Kansas City Star (subscription required), KCTV5, Kansas City Magazine. Jan 03, 2021

  • The Benefits of Sticking to New Year’s Resolution To Work Out More

    The Wall Street Journal article cites a study that included UMKC as a collaborator
    The study, a collaboration by researchers at California State University, University of North Carolina, University of Missouri-Kansas City and Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., was published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Public Health in 2019. Read the full article. (subscription may be required) Jan 01, 2021

  • As The Pandemic Continues, Musicians Wait In The Wings

    UMKC Conservatory student featured in Columbia Missourian
    Nina Lee Cherry, 20, is a percussionist, singer and arranger from Lupus pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music theory at the UMKC Conservatory. Read the article. Dec 31, 2020

  • There May Be Links Between Menopause, Severe Coronavirus Symptoms, Study Suggests

    Forbes publishes an article featuring an interview with a School of Medicine professor
    James O’Keefe, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, told the Guardian, “We can strongly suspect that the estrogen is protective because we know from other studies that estrogen helps to improve some aspects of immunity.” Read the full article. Dec 29, 2020

  • Kansas Among Worst States For Surprise Medical Bills. Congress Just Banned Them

    Kansas City Star interviews Christopher Garmon
    A bill approved by Congress includes arbitration provisions in the event that insurers and providers can’t agree on costs, as well as a 30-day period before arbitration to encourage negotiations. “That’s what should happen. They should get together at a table and figure out what the fair price should be,” said Christopher Garman, an assistant professor of health administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the full article from The Star. (subscription required) Dec 23, 2020

  • 2020 Top Legal Innovations: Anthony Luppino

    Missouri Lawyers Media names Anthony Luppino
    When former business and tax lawyer Tony Luppino made the move from UMKC School of Law adjunct professor to full-time faculty nearly two decades ago, he quickly realized that the gap between his new home and the adjacent business school was far greater than the campus walkway separating the next-door academic neighbors. Read more. Dec 21, 2020

  • UMKC #Classof2020RooStrong Honored and Inspired

    Actor and native Kansas Citian Don Cheadle delivers virtual address
    More than 1,100 UMKC graduates celebrated their achievements in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has upended any sense of normalcy. Along with university leadership and local celebrities, actor and humanitarian Don Cheadle recognized the enormity of these graduates’ accomplishments. Chancellor Mauli Agrawal lauded the students for their ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and continue to excel academically. “This time last spring, we hoped to be at a point where we could celebrate you in person, but we are still immersed in a persisting pandemic,” Agrawal said. “However, the pride I have in congratulating you not only remains; it has increased.” Recognizing the unprecedented demands, Agrawal emphasized the graduates’ success. “By no means has it been an easy semester. A lot has been required of you in the final stretch of this race. You had to dig deeper to see it through, however, your tenacity together with your growth and determination should give you a heightened sense of accomplishment this weekend. You made it! “You are ready - ready to take on the world.” - Mauli Agrawal You made the most of every opportunity and overcame every challenge to get the hands-on experience you need to be prepared for the workforce and benefit your communities. You are ready, ready to take on the world.” Mun Choi, University of Missouri president, recognized the newest graduates for their ability to look beyond their own needs. “Your success comes during a year like no other. On top of your coursework and activities, you stepped up in our fight against COVID. You supported our health care effort and tackled food insecurity. And all of you have done your part to protect your campus and community. We’re so proud of you!” “UMKC will be with you every step of the way.” - Mun Choi Choi welcomed the new graduates to the UMKC alumni network that is over 125,000 strong. “UMKC will be with you every step of the way,” he said. Provost Jenny Lundgren regretted the missed opportunity to shake graduates’ hands as they crossed the stage, but in the spirt of “commencement” focused on a brighter future ahead. “The world needs you, and I can’t wait to see the impact you’ll make in the years to come,” she said. Lundgren introduced commencement speaker, actor and humanitarian activist, Don Cheadle. Cheadle is a native Kansas Citian and his uncle and three of his cousins attended UMKC. He recognized this year’s graduates for their perseverance, but also acknowledged the critical role they can play in their next steps. “It will take everything in you to move forward, to find your level to continue to grow, but you’ve already demonstrated that you have what it takes,” Cheadle said. “This moment is not bigger than you. You will be instrumental in shaping where we all go from here as you support and supplant the old guard and put each of your individual stamps on the world. We can’t wait to see what change you will initiate, and it can’t come soon enough.” “The world needs you, and I can’t wait to see the impact you’ll make in the years to come.” - Jenny Lundgren Cheadle encouraged graduates to be open to different perspectives. “Please remember that there’s more than one right in almost all situations and you only become seriously wrong when you harden your heart and determine that your right is singular and correct,” he said. “That doesn’t mean don’t listen to yourself, it means listen even more closely with your good brain and good heart and try to put yourself in another’s shoes and then act accordingly.” “It will take everything in you to move forward, to find your level to continue to grow, but you’ve already demonstrated that you have what it takes.” - Don Cheadle In closing, Cheadle expressed his appreciation for the graduates’ perseverance. “Thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for showing up and showing out, and congratulations UMKC’s graduating class of 2020. You did the damn thing!” Graduating Roos received congratulations from many regional leaders including U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri; U.S. Rep. Sharice Davis of Kansas; and Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas. Alumni offering congratulations included Esther George (EMBA ’00), president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City; and Dana Tippin Cutler (J.D. ’89) and Keith Cutler (J.D. ’89), hosts of the television show “Couples Court with the Cutlers.” Community leaders Mayra Aguirre, president of the Hall Family Foundation; and Jeff Jones, chief executive officer of H&R Block; extended their best wishes as well as Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes and player Graham Zusi and retired Kansas City Royal Alex Gordon. Notable local celebrities actor Tuc Watkins, musician David Cook and KSHB news anchor Dia Wall joined in the celebration. Dec 21, 2020

  • Surprise Medical Bills Cost Americans Millions. Congress Finally Banned Most of Them.

    New York Times interviews Christopher Garmon
    “If this bill will force them to come to the table and negotiate a solution, it will be a definite win for everybody,” said Christopher Garmon, an assistant professor of health administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, who has measured the scope of the problem. Read the full article. Dec 20, 2020

  • Charlie Parker? Jackie Robinson? For The Star, Kansas City Black Culture Was Invisible

    UMKC's Chuck Haddix weighs-in
    “They didn’t cover jazz much outside of the Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra,” Chuck Haddix, co-author with Frank Driggs of “Kansas City Jazz, From Ragtime to Bebop,” said of the two daily papers and the city’s signature white jazz orchestra. Haddix is also curator of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the Kansas City Star article. (subscription required) Dec 20, 2020

  • Sins Of Omission: Too Often, Kansas City Star Editorial Board Has Been Silent On Race

    Newspaper cites Ken Novak
    Apologizing to minorities for decades of mistreatment isn’t a novel concept, said Ken Novak, a professor of criminal justice and criminology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the full article from the Kansas City Star. (subscription required) Dec 20, 2020

  • With KCPD Union Contract Up For Negotiation, Police Shooting Rule Is Under Scrutiny

    KC Star interviews UMKC law professor
    Fraternal Order of Police President Brad Lemon’s inconsistent statements about the self-approved reports were troubling, said retired chief public defender and University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor Sean O’Brien, who reviewed the internal affairs documents at The Star’s request. (subscription required) Dec 18, 2020

  • UMKC School of Pharmacy: Where Opportunities Abound

    UMKC School of Pharmacy alumna, Janelle Sabo, shares insight on the ever-changing field of health care and pharmaceuticals with a look inside her p...
    As the world becomes more aware of the growing skill sets of today’s pharmacists, the roles they play in health care will continue to evolve and expand. Our UMKC School of Pharmacy graduates are working in a vast array of health care fields. Janelle Sabo, Pharm.D., R.Ph., M.B.A., is a 2000 graduate of the UMKC School of Pharmacy. An executive leader in clinical research design, development and delivery, she serves as the global head of clinical innovation, system and clinical supply chain at Eli Lilly and Company. She is accountability for the overall development, registration and launch of anti-COVID-19 therapeutics across the globe. What do you most enjoy about your job? In my role, I leverage virtually every aspect of my education, including physics, calculus and the full pharmacy curriculum. The key difference is that I am not evaluating known information and data, but helping design and deliver critical information to inform health care professionals how a new treatment may be useful and practically utilized in a given disease state.  What does a typical day look like in your role?  My typical day involves four key focus areas: Portfolio and clinical research design and delivery, development and scaling of critical capabilities to enable clinical research, developing people, and external engagement with industry groups, vendors, regulators and other key partners. Why did you decide on pharmacy as a career choice?  I have loved science since I was young and wanted to help people. While I considered being a doctor, I was quickly drawn to the way medications can fundamentally improve and/or cure those who need help the most. I wanted there to be more options, especially in unmet medical therapeutic areas and pediatrics. How do you see the role of pharmacists evolving in the future? There is a world of roles beyond the traditional pharmacy that is growing. I have pharmacists in virtually every aspect of my organization – from data to clinical investigational pharmacy, from mobile and decentralized research to investigator training, from clinical trial design to clinical trial development and delivery. The pharmacy curriculum combined with in-clinic experience is invaluable in drug development. It opens many opportunities. What do you do outside of work for fun?  I enjoy time with my family and friends, traveling both domestically and internationally, hiking, and time by the pool in the summers. What is your best advice for someone thinking about a career in pharmacy?  Pharmacy is not just what you see today behind the counter or in the hospital. There are many opportunities in industry, academia, research, consulting and related industries. These broader opportunities require a solid foundation academically and exploration early in your schooling as internships, externships and exposure will increase your ability to pursue them post residency or fellowship. Why would you encourage someone to pick the UMKC School of Pharmacy?  UMKC has been well-ranked for more than 30 years, with a strong history of producing excellent graduates that have gone on to be leaders in their field. UMKC graduates have been successful in a variety of pharmacy settings and blazed new career paths. The masters and Ph.D. programs are solid with excellent scientist who care deeply about their areas of research. How did your time at the UMKC School of Pharmacy prepare you for your current role?  UMKC School of Pharmacy provided me organizational leadership opportunities, and supported and recommended me for critical internships in the summers. It also provided me an excellent academic and clinical foundation to build from as I launched into my career in clinical research and drug development. Dec 17, 2020

  • EEOC Updates Guidelines To Address COVID-19 Vaccine And Anti-discrimination Laws

    KCTV5 interviews School of Law associate professor
    “It’s a brand-new world I think for employment lawyers,” said Mikah Thompson, an associate professor at the UMKC School of Law who specializes in employment law. Read the story and watch the newscast. Dec 17, 2020

  • Student Design for Combined Bookstore-Residence Wins Helix Prize

    Linh Phan drafted plan to fit mixed-use urban environment
    Linh Phan, a student in the Architecture, Urban Planning + Design program, is the winner of the 2020 Helix Prize. Every fall, Helix Architecture + Design sponsors the Helix Prize, a competition and scholarship for UMKC second-year Architectural Studies students. Professor John Eck teaches the studio, and faculty and members of the architectural professional community judge the competition. This year, the competition challenge was to design a (fictional) live-work bookstore in the Columbus Park neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. This small bookstore would be located at the southeast corner of 5th and Harrison, and would have an attached residence for the store owner. Eck explained the concept behind the assignment. “Most of us grew up with the notion that ‘work’ happened in one place, ‘home’ happened in another, and a car ride happened in between,” he said. “This is a fairly recent phenomenon; however, one that could only happen with the advent of affordable automobiles in the 1940s and ‘50s. This spurred the growth of the suburbs and the ever‐increasing distances between places of work and places of residence. Prior to this time, most people living in cities relied on public transportation or simply walking; commuting distances were negligible compared to today.” “The people with the shortest commute were those who owned small private businesses, especially retail,” Eck said. “Restaurateurs and shop owners often lived over or adjacent to their places of business, allowing them a short trip down the stairs or across the alley to open up each morning. But thanks to the expansion of the suburbs, this economical and efficient way of living and working essentially disappeared in most American cities by the 1970s. In the past decade, however, the appeal of this way of life has experienced a resurgence, bolstered by concerns about pollution and time wasted by daily commutes.” The competition judges named Phan and student Wyatt Beard as finalists. Judges cited Phan’s entry as “a very clear courtyard-type plan … transformed to suit its site and the unique problem of a retail space directly adjacent to a residence. There is a suitable separation between the two; the line is there, but it is a blurred line. The quality of light, both through the courtyard and the fritted windows, would make the bookstore feel open, welcoming and warm.” The overall simplicity of the scheme, they felt, would create a contemplative “quiet” in the bookstore, while still very clearly being a retail establishment. The Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design is part of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences. Dec 17, 2020

  • KC Native Don Cheadle To Speak At UMKC Commencement Ceremony

    Fox4KC covers news of UMKC commencement speaker
    Kansas City native Don Cheadle will speak to graduates at the University of Missouri Kansas City during a virtual ceremony this week. Read the story and watch the newscast from Fox4KC.  Dec 16, 2020

  • UMKC School Of Medicine Is Expanding With New St. Joseph Campus

    Media outlets cover news of UMKC School of Medicine expansion
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine announced it is expanding its program to St. Joseph to help address the state’s rural physician shortage. Read the stories by News-Press Now Opinion, News-Press Now Letter, St. Joseph Post, KQ20 and News-Press Now. Dec 16, 2020

  • A Scientific Snickerdoodle Recipe

    UMKC faculty and staff share cozy winter dishes
    While winter break may not look the same this year, there's something cozy about preparing – and then eating – a great dish. So we asked UMKC faculty and staff if they could share recipes for some of their favorite winter treats. Baking is a well-known hobby for civil and mechanical engineering professor Megan Hart, who has a scientific take on treats. Here's insight into why she bakes and the latest recipe she's developed. Do you enjoy cooking or baking? Why?  I love to bake! Baking for me is cathartic, because in the end I usually have something I can share with people I care about and it provides nourishment for their body and soul. In my extended family we tend to stress bake. For me, it is also procrastibaking – putting off what needs to be done with the excuse of needing to bake something. Most of my department knows when I have a big project due or proposal going in because they are treated with something sweet in the faculty kitchen. Since COVID hit, I have had to change from random stress baking products delivered to the faculty lounge, to a baked good that goes over well with my COVID “bubble.” What recipe do you enjoy making this time of year?  With the change in seasons, I tend to change to baking more traditional holiday spiced goods. I think cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg along with fruits and nuts. My colleagues enjoy my rum cake the best and I love to play with flavors in my rum cake such as a pumpkin spice variation, pina colada, and chocolate or Mexican hot chocolate variations. Do you have any stories attached to the snickerdoodle recipe you're sharing?  I love to bake for my graduate students, but my current graduate student is allergic to gluten. Most of my recipes are developed using whatever I have in the house but I did not always have gluten-free flour, so I made my own from basic components. These snickerdoodles taste just like my original snickerdoodles with minimal variations in texture or taste. Want to share a recipe with your fellow Roos? Submit yours to the UMKC Taste of Home cookbook project.    Graduate student Hannah McIntyre snacks on delicious gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies with Hart's children. Hart's Gluten-free Snickerdoodles 20 min prep, 1 hour baking time, yields 48 cookies Cookies:   3/4 cup sugar1/2 cup butter, softened1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Gluten-Free Flour Blend1 large egg1 teaspoon cream of tartar1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla1/8 teaspoon salt  Cinnamon sugar mix:  3 tablespoons sugar1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon  1. Heat oven to 400°F. 2. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and butter in bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add all remaining cookie ingredients; beat at low speed until well mixed. 3. Combine all cinnamon sugar ingredients in bowl; mix well. 4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. 5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Dec 14, 2020

  • An Agrawal Family Favorite

    UMKC faculty and staff share cozy winter dishes
    While winter break may not look the same this year, there's something cozy about preparing – and then eating – a great dish. So we asked UMKC faculty and staff if they could share recipes for some of their favorite winter treats. Sue and Mauli Agrawal and their children, Serena and Ethan Pumpkin-butternut squash soup is a traditional holiday and cold-weather favorite for the Agrawal family. Sue Agrawal, wife of Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, shared the recipe for the soup that was handed down from her mother. Do you enjoy cooking or baking? Why?   I do enjoy cooking and baking, mostly because I am usually doing it for people I care for. We have always made having a family dinner a priority, and it’s nice to sit down to a home-cooked meal together. When our son and daughter were in college, I had fun sending them care packages of homemade cookies, brownies, and granola bars. Plus, I have a sweet tooth, so eating the batter is a plus. What’s a dish you enjoy making this time of year? We don’t have many specific winter baking traditions, but always make decorated sugar cookies in December. For savory food, we like pumpkin-butternut squash soup. Do you have any stories attached to this particular recipe? My mother started a tradition of serving a pumpkin squash soup for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners when I was a child.  I don’t necessarily make the soup for a holiday meal, but I do make it more often in the winter. We like the warm spices and usually make a big pot so there are leftovers. Want to share a recipe with your fellow Roos? Submit yours to the UMKC Taste of Home cookbook project.  Gingered Pumpkin-Squash Soup 2 Tablespoons oil1 large onion, cut in 1-inch pieces1 teaspoon ginger¼ teaspoon cinnamon½ teaspoon salt¼ teaspoon pepper½ teaspoon ground cumin1/8 teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper¼ teaspoon mace or nutmeg6 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped2 ½ cups pumpkin¾ cup parsnips, peeled and chopped5 (14 ½-ounce) cans low sodium chicken broth1 cup milk Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and all spices/seasonings and cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 5 minutes longer. Add vegetables and broth, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Let cool slightly, then puree soup in batches in blender or food processor. Return pureed mixture to pot, stir in milk and heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally. Dec 14, 2020

  • A Martellaro Family Favorite

    UMKC faculty and staff share cozy winter dishes
    While winter break may not look the same this year, there's something cozy about preparing – and then eating – a great dish. So we asked UMKC faculty and staff if they could share recipes for some of their favorite winter treats. John Martellaro, director of strategic communications, is a former food editor for the Kansas City Star. Here’s a recipe that has become a post-holiday staple for his family. Do you enjoy cooking/baking? Why? I was food editor and restaurant critic for the Kansas City Star for about a decade, back in the 20th century. Over the years, it has morphed from a hobby, to a profession and back to a hobby again. It’s an opportunity to be creative in a way that is very different from writing. And I love the complements.  What’s a dish you enjoy making this time of year? The cranberry chutney is a Thanksgiving staple in our family, and the spoonbread a favorite use for leftover turkey. Using the chutney as a topping on the spoonbread is a delightful combination. Another post-Thanksgiving tradition for us is a big steaming pot of turkey noodle soup. The wings and the stripped leg and thigh bones go right into the stockpot as I’m carving.   Do you have any stories attached to this particular recipe? As a food editor you collect recipes from all over the place and I frankly do not remember the source of the chutney recipe; the photo is the recipe cut out from the newspaper and taped to an index card. We keep it mild to please everybody, but those who prefer spicy can up the pepper-sauce content to their liking. The spoonbread is from an old Butterball pamphlet. It works with any poultry. This year we only had three at the table so we roasted a capon instead of a turkey; the spoonbread came out just fine with those leftovers. One of these days I am going to try it with duck. Want to share a recipe with your fellow Roos? Submit yours to the UMKC Taste of Home cookbook project.  Cranberry Orange Chutney 4 medium oranges½ cup orange juice1 pound fresh cranberries2 cups sugar¼ cup crystallized ginger, diced½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce1 whole cinnamon stick1 medium clove garlic, peeled¾ teaspoon curry powder¾ cup raisins Pare zest from oranges. Slice ¼ cup thin slivers of zest and reserve. Completely peel oranges, leaving no white pith. Slice oranges crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices and then cut slices into quarters, Set aside. Combine zest, juice, cranberries, sugar, ginger, hot sauce, cinnamon, garlic and raisins in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and cranberries pop open. Remove from heat. Discard cinnamon stick and garlic clove. Add orange pieces and mix lightly.  Turkey Spoonbread 2 cups chopped cooked turkey3 cups milk, divided1 cup yellow cornmeal¼ cup butter1 Tablespoon sugar1 ½ teaspoons baking powder¼ teaspoon salt¼ teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper1 cup corn kernels, thawed and drained½ cup finely chopped green onions4 eggs, separated  Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine cornmeal and 2 ¼ cups of the milk in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in remaining ¾ cup milk, butter, sugar, baking powder, salt and red pepper. Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. In separate bowl, beat yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Stir 1 cup of the hot cornmeal mixture into the yolks, then combine with rest of cornmeal mixture in saucepan. Stir in turkey, corn kernels and green onions. Gently fold egg whites into mixture. Turn into well-greased 2-quart soufflé dish or casserole. Bake 1 to 1 ¼ hours. Serve with cranberry chutney. Dec 14, 2020

  • Congratulations to the Fall 2020 Honor Recipients

    Six students honored for academic excellence, leadership and service
    Six Roos will be honored as Dean of Students Honor Recipients this fall.  Graduating students who have excelled in both academic achievement and service may be nominated for the honor. This program recognizes the exceptional students who maintain high scholastic performance while actively participating in university and community leadership and service activities outside of the classroom.  Elizabeth Beavers, School of Law, nominated by Sean O’Brien and Ellen Suni Leigh Blumenthal, College of Arts & Sciences, nominated by Jacob Wagner Alejandro Cervantes, College of Arts & Sciences, nominated by Janet Garcia-Hallett Connor King, School of Medicine, nominated by Betsy Hendrick Abida Matin, School of Medicine, nominated by Cary Chelladurai Brandon Shuey, Bloch School of Management, nominated by Katie Garey Dec 14, 2020

  • Top Stories of 2020

    UMKC achieved much in a year of adversity
    It was a year like no other, for the world, and for UMKC. During 2020, our university community weathered the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic, while setting new records for research grants and philanthropic gifts, raising graduation rates and participating in a nationwide awakening to our longstanding national failure to achieve racial justice. Here is a look back over a year that will be long remembered. COVID-19 The numbers are difficult to comprehend: COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 280,000 Americans, more than 1.5 million worldwide. The arrival of the pandemic in our region led to a sudden shift to all-online instruction in March, and significant changes to the way we teach, learn, work and live on campus ever since. Roos rose to the challenge, embraced best practices and kept the number of cases on campus significantly lower than in the surrounding community. A Record for Research UMKC achieved a major milestone in fiscal year 2020 by winning the highest amount of grant funding in its history: $48.9 million. The record coincides with the first year at UMKC for Chris Liu, the vice chancellor for research. New Height for Philanthropy The UMKC Foundation accomplished a year of record giving with significant increases in both contributions and donors. This year’s donations are 35% greater than the previous record year, with gains in all areas of giving. Lighting Up the Night Spring commencement 2020 was the first graduation ceremony in UMKC history conducted virtually. While faculty, staff, students and loved ones missed the opportunity to celebrate together in person, the city’s civic and business leadership showed its appreciation for Kansas City’s university with a video featuring athletes, entertainers and other celebrities with ties to Kansas City, and lighting up buildings, fountains and more in Roo Blue and Gold. Delivering on the Mission UMKC recorded important gains in some key indicators of student success this fall, including graduation rates, improvements that positively impacted students across the spectrum, including underrepresented minorities. Advancing Leadership in Data Science Former UM System president Gary Forsee and Sherry Forsee have committed $2 million to support the NextGen Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center, or dSAIC, based at UMKC. The dSAIC research will provide data analytics to power the NextGen Precision Health initiative and other precision health research across the University of Missouri System’s four universities. Taking Thoughtful Action on Systemic Racism Roos Advocate for Community Change is a new campuswide effort addressing systemic racism on an array of fronts on campus and in our community, launched in June as a significant component of the UMKC response to the tragic death of George Floyd and the vital national conversation on racism it has spawned. One of the first initiatives was to institute mandatory professional development training on unconscious bias for all UMKC faculty and staff, along with a social media campaign focused on awareness and Critical Conversations, a series of frank conversations on racial issues.  A Championship Season The UMKC Women’s Basketball team won the first conference title and automatic NCAA Tournament placement in basketball in the university’s history as a Division I program. Head coach Jacie Hoyt and her team had to forego their hard-earned participation in March Madness when the tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic. Addressing Racial Health Disparities Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., has dedicated her career to addressing the unequal prevalence of health issues, and lower availability of health care, in minority communities. As director of the UMKC Health Equity Institute, the School of Medicine professor has brought more than $5 million in federal grants this year to UMKC to address racial disparities in incidence and treatment in diabetes and COVID-19 by partnering with African American faith communities. Through religiously tailored strategies, she and her teams also work to prevent and provide care for HIV/AIDS, heart disease and mental health. Classical Music Returns to the Airwaves The long absence of classical music from Kansas City area radio ended when 91.9 Classical KC began broadcasting June 30. The music service also can be streamed through a new website at classicalkc.org. The station is an enterprise of KCUR 89.3, Kansas City’s public radio station, an editorially independent community service of UMKC. Introducing a New Department: Race, Ethnic and Gender Studies A department of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences, REGS’ interdisciplinary curriculum teaches critical thinking through an examination of historical and contemporary problems and offers minors in three interest areas: Black Studies; Latinx and Latin American Studies; and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Expanding the Reach of Health Care in Missouri The UMKC School of Medicine will expand its program to St. Joseph, Missouri, to address the state’s rural physician shortage. UMKC received a $7 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to start the new program in January 2021. Typically, physicians remain to practice in the areas where they go to medical school. Building Student Success in Urban Schools The Institute for Urban Education within the UMKC School of Education is committed to improving student success in urban schools. Community leaders Leo Morton and Jerry Reece are leading the campaign to expand the program’s capabilities and ultimately long-term student success. Dec 14, 2020

  • Pre-Med Biology Student Publishes Article in Scientific Journal

    Emily Wesley founded a peer-mentoring group and landed internship at Stowers Institute
    Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Emily Wesley Anticipated graduation: 2021Academic program: BiologyHometown: Elkhart, Kansas; Broken Arrow, Oklahoma   Emily Wesley has always been fascinated by science. Some of her most vivid childhood memories are of reading infographic books about the human body and creating quizzes for her parents from her nature encyclopedia. “Finding joy in learning science combined with my desire to make a difference inspired me to pursue a degree in biology,” Wesley says. “I knew that I could pursue many paths with this degree, such as becoming a scientific researcher working on curing disease or a compassionate physician focused on healing others. The opportunities are endless, and I knew that I couldn’t go wrong by studying something I loved.” Wesley lost both her parents at a young age; her mother died from brain cancer when she was 8 years old and her father died from a stroke when she was 15. While she says she still struggles with grief, she was inspired by one of the doctors who was caring for her father while he was in the hospital. “One of my dad’s doctors was always making sure that I was OK,” she says. “If he noticed I hadn’t eaten he would ask, ‘What do you want from Wendy’s?’ Or he would stay late to let me know what the next steps would be.” This human component of her experience furthered her interest in studying medicine and science. An Oklahoma native, she decided to go a little further from home when she was looking for the right college. “During my time at UMKC I have learned that success is obtained through hard work and determination.” - Emily Wesley “Kansas City seemed like such an exciting city,” she says. “There were so many opportunities.” While the city seemed big to her in the beginning, she says the longer she’s in Kansas City the smaller it feels. At the same time her opportunities are expanding, largely through her own initiative. “The thing that I admire most about UMKC is the inclusive and welcoming environment on campus. I think that so much is gained from having individuals from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, perspectives and experiences at the table, and it’s clear that UMKC embraces this.” Wesley chose to study biology at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences because of the opportunity to study alongside the six-year medical students. But she developed a strong support system and broadened her interests. “One of the best aspects of the biology program is the tremendous support that we feel from our professors” Wesley says. “Our professors care about our success. Many take time out of their schedule to meet one-on-one with each student, ensuring that we have all the tools we need to perform well. It’s very inspiring to receive this sort of care and support from professors and to always have someone rooting for us and our success.” To further this spirit of connection, Wesley founded the Pre-Med Peer Mentoring Program, which connects UMKC freshman and sophomores with junior and senior mentors who are pursuing medical school. While she thought meeting regularly would be a great way to connect underclassmen with upperclassmen so they could have a real-world view of preparing for medical school, she was unsure of the response because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I was hoping to get 20 participants in the program. One hundred and twenty signed up.” Members have one-on-one meetings by Zoom monthly. “The thing that I admire most about UMKC is the inclusive and welcoming environment on campus. I think that so much is gained from having individuals from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, perspectives and experiences at the table, and it’s clear that UMKC embraces this.” - Emily Wesley Wesley counts the mentoring relationships she’s developed as part of her success. “Tara Allen is so inspiring,” Wesley says. “As soon as I entered the program she made a point of getting to know me. Allen, a teaching professor and academic advisor in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, says Wesley made a strong impression in their first meeting. “I was not surprised to learn that she had developed a student-led premedical mentoring program,” Allen says.  “She saw a way that she could help others and brought that idea to fruition, even though her schedule was already busy. I am deeply grateful to her for creating a program to help students navigate the difficulty journey of preparing for medical school.” Beyond UMKC, Wesley has developed strong connections through her internship at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. After hearing Scott Hawley, Ph.D., investigator and American Cancer Society research professor, speak in one her classes, she researched his work and then emailed him about opportunities. She has been working in his lab for the last two years. Hawley thinks being in the lab is the best way to understand what science is about. “You get used to failure,” Hawley says. “You learn the discipline of being careful and record keeping. You learn that sometimes results don’t make sense. That’s the way I like to do science. You don’t learn to ice skate by sitting on the sofa and watching ice skaters. You have to ‘do’ science.” I’ve recommended maybe 500 students over the last 45-50 years. She’s in the top ten.” - Scott Hawley, Ph.D. Wesley has been doing. Recently, she was first author on a paper in Chromosoma, a research magazine, a significant achievement for an undergraduate researcher. “Emily has the skills to be accepted to a first-rate medical school, if that’s what she chooses to do,” Hawley says. “It’s more than intelligence or even creativity. It’s a passion to succeed. I’ve recommended maybe 500 undergraduate students over the last 45-50 years. She is among the very best.” Wesley doesn’t think her success is due to talent. “During my time at UMKC, I have learned that success is obtained through hard work and determination. I’ve reached out to people who have been willing to mentor me and I’ve learned that I can use my time and energy to help others. I struggle with grief daily, but I find meaning through the struggle and tackle every day with the passion and strength that my parents instilled in me.” Get to Know Emily What is one word that best describes you? I think the word that best describes me is “persistent.” One thing that most people don’t know about me is that I lost my mom to brain cancer at age 8 and my dad to a stroke at age 15. All my goals, motivation and hope for my future are focused upon making them proud. What’s your favorite social media channel? While I am not active on any social media, I have recently been enjoying TikTok, like many of my peers. The creativity that I have seen on this app is astounding, and I have surprisingly learned a lot from the educational videos! What’s your favorite spot to eat in Kansas City? I enjoy getting a burger and pie from Town Topic with my friends. We like taking our burgers and pies to-go so that we can enjoy our food while overlooking the Kansas City skyline near the World War I Memorial. Where’s your favorite placed to visit Kansas City? Before the pandemic, I enjoyed spending time at the Oak Park Mall. While I’m not exactly a shopaholic, I enjoyed checking out the various clothes and items they have in the stores every week. When I lived in Elkhart, the nearest mall was two and a half hours away! I think this I why I enjoy the mall so much now. What’s your favorite spot on campus? My favorite spot on campus is the fourth floor of Miller Nichols Library. This is the silent floor with lots of desks for studying. It’s the perfect place for me to “zone in” and be productive.   Dec 14, 2020

  • 3 Sweet Recipes From Associate Dean and Professor Beth Vonnahme

    UMKC faculty and staff share cozy winter dishes
    While winter break may not look the same this year, there's something cozy about preparing – and then eating – a great dish. So we asked UMKC faculty and staff if they could share recipes for some of their favorite winter treats. Beth Vonnahme, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of political science, loves to bake. "Baking relaxes me," she says. "Creating something so tasty from simple ingredients brings me a lot of satisfaction. I also enjoy the smiles on my kids’ faces when they try one of my tasty treats." Vonnahme enjoys baking sweets of various sorts, but cookies are her favorite. She loves chocolate chip cookies, but also has a lemon cookie recipe that have proven popular for special occasions including birthdays, baby showers and holidays.  “Creating something so tasty from simple ingredients brings me a lot of satisfaction. I also enjoy the smiles on my kids' faces when they try one of my tasty treats.” - Beth Vonnahme "I made them last year for the College of Arts and Sciences bake-off," she says. "Unfortunately, I was a judge so my entry was disqualified." Fortunately for us, Vonnahme is sharing the Glazed Lemon Hearts recipe as well as two she offers up during election season that are winners no matter the time of year: Celebrate! Chocolate Cake and Consolation Chocolate Chip Cookies. Want to share a recipe with your fellow Roos? Submit yours to the UMKC Taste of Home cookbook project.  Lemon-Glazed Hearts Makes about 72 cookies Lemon Cookies 3 cups all-purpose flour3 tablespoons cornstarch3/4 teaspoon salt1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), softened (do not use margarine)1 cup confectioners' sugar1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel1 1/2 teasponns lemon extract1/4 teaspoon almond extract Lemon Glaze 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar4 to 5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare cookies: In medium bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch and salt until blended.  In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in lemon peel and extracts. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour mixture until blended, occasionally scraping bowl. Divide dough in half. Between two 20-inch sheets of waxed paper, roll half of dough 3/8-inch thick. With floured 2 1/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut dough into as many cookies as possible. With floured 3/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut and remove center from cookies. Reserve centers and trimmings to reroll. With lightly floured wide spatula, carefully place cookies, 1 inch apart, on two ungreased large cookie sheets. (If dough becomes too soft to transfer, freeze 10 minutes.) Bake cookies until edges are golden, 15 to 16 minutes, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire rack; cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare glaze: In small bowl, with wire whisk or for, mix confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel until blended. Dip top side of each warm cookie into glaze. Place cookies on wire racks set over waxed paper to catch any drips. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough, reserved centers, trimming and glaze, adding a little water to glaze if it begins to thicken. Store cookes, with waxed paper between layers, in an airtight container up to 5 days, or freeze up to 3 months. Celebrate! Chocolate Cake 2 cups sugar1 3/4 cups flour3/4 cup cocoa1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda1 teaspoon salt2 eggs1 cup milk1/2 cup vegetable oil1/2 teaspoons vanilla1 cup boiling water Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two round pans. Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients, except water. Once mixed, add boiling water. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans and turn the cakes out onto the racks to cool completely. Consolation Chocolate Chip Cookies 2 1/4 cups flour3/4 cup brown sugar3/4 cup sugar2 eggs1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon vanilla1 cup butter2 cups chocolate chips (Beth prefers mint chocolate chips) Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs. Add flour mixture. Add chips.  Bake on ungreased sheets 8 to 10 minutes. Dec 14, 2020

  • Top Photos of 2020

    Spirited resilience in a year of uncertainty
    If pictures could tell the tale of a year unlike any of us could ever fathom, these images by UMKC photographers definitely do. 2020 began full of promise and possibilities, starting with a significant Roo season on the basketball courts. And then the pandemic changed everything for all of us. These photos show that even though we are masked and socially distanced, we are adapting, learning and moving forward on campus and in our community. See our story. 2020 Vision Mujahid Abdulrahim, a professor in the School of Computing and Engineering, flies his plane toward downtown Kansas City. The school's faculty includes several pilots, and the school features a flight simulator. Photo by Brandon Parigo   Drenched in Victory UMKC Women's Basketball players celebrated their first ever conference victory by pouring water on their coach, Jacie Hoyt. As a Divison I team, this win meant an automatic seat in the NCAA tournament, which was later cancelled due to COVID-19. Photo by Brandon Parigo   Communications Classroom Discussion: Coronavirus In the last day of in-person classes in March, Steve Kraske talks to his journalism students about COVID-19. The whiteboard behind the associate teaching professor says 'corona.' Photo by Brandon Parigo   Celebrating Commencement in a New Way In May, Kansas City celebrated its university's graduates with blue fountains and illuminated buildings. This Country Club Plaza tower was lit in Roo blue and gold as was Durwood Stadium ion campus in the background. Photo by Brandon Parigo   Masked Move-In With Temperature Checks Move-in days for fall semester meant making appointments, limiting movers, wearing masks and taking temperature checks. Photo by Brandon Parigo   First Day of Class on the Volker Campus Yes, classrooms were larger and furniture was sparser and spread apart during fall semester to promote social distancing. Photo by John Carmody   Getting Catty on the Health Sciences Campus There was a little levity in the form of feline wall art during the first week of classes on the Health Sciences Campus. Photo by John Carmody   An Adaptation UMKC Conservatory dance classes included physical distancing and instruction via Zoom. Photo by Brandon Parigo   Chilling on Campus Masks and social distancing aren't going to stop students from connecting with each other and enjoying the UMKC campus. Photo by Brandon Parigo   A Practice in Perseverence Women's Basketball Coach Jacie Hoyt, center, leads the Roos in the 2020-21 season. Photo by Brandon Parigo Hope on the Horizon This sunset view of the UMKC quad on campus showcases the city skyline in the distance. The final days of 2020 include the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine on the way. Photo by Brandon Parigo Dec 14, 2020

  • Donation Process During UMKC Campus Closure

    Here’s how to give
    While the UMKC campus is closed during Winter Break, it’s still easy to make a year-end gift by observing the following guidelines. UMKC offices will be closed Friday, Dec. 25 through Friday, Jan. 1. All gifts must hit UMKC Foundation accounts by Dec. 31 to receive tax credit for the 2020 calendar year. Checks and cash need to be postmarked on or before Dec. 31. Credit card and stock gifts must hit the UMKC Foundation accounts by Dec. 31 to receive tax-credit for the 2020 calendar year. Checks and cash need to be postmarked on or before Dec. 31 The date UMKC receives and processes checks and cash from the mail has NO impact on a donor’s taxable year contributions. The “gift date” for the IRS is the date the donor relinquished control, not the date the gift is processed. Availability & Contacts The Office of Gift Processing will be available Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 30-31 from 8 a.m. to noon to accept year-end gifts. The Office of Gift Processing will be closed during the remainder of winter break and will re-open with regular business hours on Monday, Jan. 4. The UMKC Foundation Office will be closed during winter break. A few staff will be on rotation remotely during the period. Should you have any inquiries during that time, please call 816-235-5778 and someone will return your call. For any stock gifts or wire transfers, please contact Katherine Walter at walterka@umkcfoundation.org. Inquiries about all other year-end gifts can be directed to Sara Hampton at 816-235-5329 or via email to umkcgiftprocessing@umkc.edu. The Office of Gift Processing will also be taking calls at 816-235-1566 during the office hours listed above. Gift Timing Checks must be in an envelope postmarked prior to Dec. 31, 2020 to be credited in the 2020 tax year. If the envelope received is postmarked after Dec. 31, it will be counted as a 2021 gift. Donors should send their checks to the address below: UMKC Office of Gift Processing 112 Administrative Center 5115 Oak Street Kansas City, MO 64112 Checks dated prior to Dec. 31, along with postmarked envelopes, should be received in the Office of Gift Processing on or before Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Gifts received after that point will not be automatically included in processing for the annual tax receipt. For stock gifts, please contact Katherine Walter for the transfer form and DTC instructions. Stock gifts must be received into the account on or before Dec. 31 in order to be reflected in 2020 tax period, per the IRS. In order to liquidate the stock gift, it is required to provide the donor’s name, number of shares, security, expected date of transfer and area for where the gift is intended. This information can be completed on the transfer form or sent via email. Stock gifts will not be liquidated until confirmation of this information is received. Mutual funds take an additional 3-5+ business days before posting to our account. Please advise your donors to have their brokers initiate any mutual fund transfers no later than Dec. 21. Regular equity stock takes 24 hours to post to our account. Credit card transactions must be received by the Office of Gift Processing by noon Dec. 31 to run that day and count as a year-end gift. Credit card gifts may be made online through the UMKC Foundation website until midnight on Dec. 31 to be reflected as a 2020 gift. Any online credit card gifts received after midnight Dec. 31t will be dated in January. Gifts received after hours may be deposited in the night deposit box located beside the Cashiers Office at Admin Center 112 and will be processed the following business day. Credit card gifts received through the lockbox will be dated the following business day. Pursuant to Curators Rules 208 and  212, all gifts should be transferred, with original documentation (including postmarked envelopes), to the Gift Processing Office within 24 hours of their arrival to any school, college or department. Dec 11, 2020

  • UMKC Pharmacy Students Help Play Vital Role in COVID-19 Immunizations

    Just as they do with flu vaccines, they will help pharmacies
    Distribution of the coronavirus vaccines is expected to begin soon. For community pharmacies that provide immunizations, that means business is about to become extremely busy. UMKC School of Pharmacy faculty member Sarah Oprinovich, Pharm.D., is also a practicing community pharmacist in Kansas City. Just like with the annual flu shots, she said community pharmacies will be a major area where people come to get their coronavirus vaccines. “This vaccine is going to hit and people will still need their medications, so it's going to be an additional workload,” Oprinovich said. “We normally staff up for flu season, so it's kind of that staffing up, except we figure that this is going to be a very concerted effort, very quickly.” To meet the additional staffing demands, Oprinovich says student interns will be a valuable resource. Each year, third-year pharmacy students at UMKC participate in a pharmacy practice experience that includes becoming certified to administer immunizations. This year’s class participated in 160 immunization events at clinics and pharmacies to administer more than 5,500 flu shots to Missouri patients. That experience will be invaluable as the coronavirus immunizations begin. Oprinovich said she will be requesting the third-year students who worked with her earlier this year during the flu shot season to help again with the coronavirus vaccine because they’ve already been through the process of setting up and operating vaccine clinics and know the workflow. “To be honest, every organization under the sun is saying we need help, so they’ll be busy,” Oprinovich said. Len Sapp, Pharm.D., a 2007 graduate of the UMKC School of Pharmacy, is the pharmacy manager for a Kansas Cityarea  Walgreens store. Since August, his pharmacy has administered more than 1,500 flu shot vaccines as well as several hundred non-flu vaccines. With the coronavirus vaccines, Sapp says his store and pharmacies like his that offer vaccinations will need additional staff to meet the expected demands. “New technician and intern staff will be vital in the entire process from patient registration to vaccine administration, as well as operating the regular retail pharmacy business,” he said. How much additional staff pharmacies will need is still up in the air without knowing what the actual vaccine distribution will look like. But Sapp said stores like his are already being encouraged to hire and train new staff members. “The bulk of our flu vaccines are given from September through December, making this our busiest time of the year,” he said. “Walgreens is projecting a greater demand for the coronavirus vaccine, therefore requiring increased staffing levels above our normal peak season needs.” Oprinovich said that it’s not just pharmacy student interns who can make a difference. Those without a pharmacy background can also work as technicians, helping in areas such as working behind the counter as cashiers or helping with paperwork. All that is needed is to pass a background check. “Anybody could do that,” she said. “You don’t have to be in pharmacy school. My message to the rest of the student body is we can use your help and you can be a part of this public health effort.” As with the flu shot vaccine, health care workers are exploring other avenues such as mobile immunization sites, Oprinovich said. “We're looking at things like whether the university will potentially be a site for vaccinations as well,” she said. “So, there’s just a lot of potential for where we're going to be able to use those students and move them around.” When the vaccines do arrive, Oprinovich said the immunization process will be an interdisciplinary effort to ensure they are available to everyone. There’s also the logistics of ensuring the vaccinees are stored properly and being administered within the proper time limit, in some instances as short within hours of being thawed. “The nursing school is involved in this. The medical school is involved,” she said. “We're trying to work together so we don’t end up targeting the same population and leave one population out. That's another big discussion, how do we make sure that we're covering, especially those that fall between the cracks very often. How do we make sure that they have not fallen into the cracks here? “Pharmacy is just one piece of the puzzle. Just like with the flu shots, our goal is to increase the accessibility of these vaccines.” Dec 11, 2020

  • Nursing Grad Student Recognized as a Women's Health Leader

    National honor enhances Meghan Brauch's learning and networking as she pursues her passion through the School of Nursing and Health Studies
    While earning her nursing degree, Meghan Brauch realized her calling was women’s health. Now she pursues her passion as a graduate student in the UMKC Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. To top it off, her dedication was recognized this fall by the national Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health organization, which chose her for its Nurse Leader program. “I received my bachelor of science in nursing in 2016 at the University of Missouri-Columbia,” Brauch said. “When I attended Mizzou, I discovered the Women’s Center," which provided a welcoming gathering place and support for many activities around gender and social justice issues. "I was able to learn so much about myself and those around me. I also went on spring break trips with a focus on women’s health and projects at two other women’s centers. And I volunteered with Planned Parenthood throughout undergrad and loved it.” When she graduated, Brauch went to work at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in its neonatal intensive care unit. “I met so many amazing families who told me their stories,” she said. “I am inspired by my patients and their families every day. Everything clicked, and I knew what I needed to do.” She chose UMKC for her graduate studies, she said, because she wanted to stay in the University of Missouri system, “and UMKC has an amazing women’s health program. It’s highly ranked for its online graduate program, and I was inspired by the UMKC goal to build an inclusive, diverse and respectful learning environment while focusing on furthering the field of nursing through research and innovation.” Having an online program allowed her to stay in St. Louis, where she lives with her husband and two dogs, and keep working at St. Louis Children’s. “I have been a nurse there for four and a half years and have loved every minute of it,” she said. “I am working part-time because of being so busy with grad school.” “I have been able to network with some amazing women’s health nurse practitioners ... and students who share many of the same passions as I do. We had so much to talk about regarding school, women’s health and our future goals.’’  — Meghan Brauch Brauch is on track to earn her advanced degree from UMKC in December 2021 and then, she hopes, work at an obstetrics and gynecology office in St. Louis. “I want to use my education to provide high-quality, evidence-based health care,” she said. “I also have another goal of providing birth control and sexual health education to young women in the St. Louis area.” Having good leadership in women’s health is also important to Brauch, which is why she applied for the Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health program. As one of 14 student leaders chosen nationwide, she said, she attended the organization’s national conference, held virtually this year. “I have been able to network with some amazing women’s health nurse practitioners,” she said, and other students “who share many of the same passions as I do. We had so much to talk about regarding school, women’s health and our future goals. We even set up a GroupMe so that we can contact each other easily.” Does Brauch have any advice for others particularly interested in women’s health? “I highly recommend any students in the Women’s Health program at UMKC to apply to be a Student Leader next year. The national association provides a wonderful networking and learning opportunity, and it is constantly working to improve women’s health everywhere.”     Dec 10, 2020

  • KCUR Talks To Kansas City Political Scientists About Discord

    Beth Vonnahme weighs-in
    Trump will leave the White House in January. But even as the democratic process continues to unfold at a slower pace than usual, his refusal to accept the results of the election is worrisome, said UMKC political science professor Elizabeth Vonnahme, who argues that this rhetoric is mostly isolated to Trump and his administration. Read the article from KCUR. Dec 09, 2020

  • The Ethics of Vaccine Distribution And Holiday Season Giving

    Clancy Martin was a guest on KCUR
    Clancy Martin, Philosophy professor at UMKC and professor of Business Ethics at the Bloch School of Management, was a guest on All Things Considered. Dec 08, 2020

  • In Depth: How A Bill That Helped Hospitals Merge Could Cost Patients

    Christopher Garmon lends expertise to Texas Standard
    “I would bet anything this is what’s going to happen: The parties are going to merge here. They’re going to combine their assets in such a way that you can’t undo the merger. And then once they do that, they’ll unilaterally end their COPA, as they’re allowed to under Texas law. And then there’s nothing anyone can do about it,” Christopher Garmon, assistant professor of health care administration at the UMKC Bloch School, said. Read the full article. Dec 08, 2020

  • Are Cities a Safe Place to Live During a Pandemic?

    New York Times interviews UMKC associate professor
    Dense urban centers were vilified when the pandemic struck, rekindling the age-old town vs. country debate. The New York Times asked seven experts if the backlash was warranted. Jenifer E. Allsworth, associate professor, Department(s) of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the UMKC School of Medicine, was interviewed. Dec 07, 2020

  • Excavating the History of Steptoe, Westport’s Lost Black Neighborhood

    Flatland asks Jacob Wagner to weigh-in
    Jacob Wagner, director of urban studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, recommends starting with cultural heritage groups first. “I think historic preservation has tried to become more aware of ethnic history, but I think that work predominantly comes from people in urban or social history,” Wagner said. Read the full article. Dec 07, 2020

  • UMKC’s Top Student Entrepreneur Has A Not-So-Secret Play: Startups Are A Team Sport

    Starland News interviews Jonaie Johnson
    “I grew up having an innovative mindset — always looking to solve problems or find the next best thing to improve the lives of people,” said Johnson, founder of Interplay and senior at University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the full article. Dec 07, 2020

  • Local Media Tap School of Medicine Dean

    Mary Anne Jackson weighs-in about COVID-19 and vaccine distribution
    UMKC School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson has been interviewed by local media about COVID-19 and vaccine distribution. These are some of the news outlets: KCUR, WKU, WFPL, Fox4KC and KCUR. Dec 07, 2020

  • $3.8 Million Grant to Help Innovative Center Enhance Peer Recovery Services

    Enhancing peer recovery support services by expanding access to training and technical assistance services across the country
    The new Peer Recovery Center of Excellence, housed at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, is the first of its kind. UMKC, in partnership with the University of Texas, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Council for Behavioral Health, is leading the effort, funded by a four-year grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The center will have a diverse steering committee made up of national thought leaders who have personally recovered from a substance use disorder. The center aims to enhance the provision of peer recovery support services through expanding access to training and technical assistance services to peers, organizations and communities across the country. Here’s more about the effort from Callan Howton, M.P.H., the principal investigator for the grant, who leads the new center. What’s the idea behind the center? Peer recovery support specialists — people in recovery themselves from substance use disorder — can use their life experiences to help others achieve and maintain recovery. This is the first federally funded initiative to focus on enhancing peer recovery support services. We provide training around integrating peer services into non-traditional settings such as labor and delivery units, local libraries, shelters, and primary care clinics; recovery community organization capacity building (guidance and technical assistance to community centers around sustainability, effectiveness, outcomes tracking, funding capacity to name a few examples); and workforce development (strengthening the understanding of peer supports, providing a state-by-state analysis of credentialing practices, bolstering peer support supervision methods). We also will make research and other information on best practices more widely available through accessible and useful toolkits and online resource libraries. Peer support services can extend support beyond the treatment setting into everyday environments where people work and live. This is especially important because while people reach recovery through various pathways, they sustain and maintain recovery in their communities and homes. Who can access the center’s services?  Our team at UMKC’s Collaborative to Advance Health Services will coordinate national efforts and training opportunities for individuals, communities, organizations, states — anyone at all — seeking guidance and growth opportunities regarding peer support services. Services are free to any organization that requests assistance or training, which is a huge victory for smaller, grassroots efforts that do incredible work and often are unable to access this caliber of training and technical assistance. Every request submitted will receive a tailored response and have the opportunity to received individualized assistance from highly respected subject matter experts across the country. It sounds as if having people in recovery inform the center’s efforts was important to you, too. The center is advised by a steering committee of diverse people in recovery, which was a must in designing the center. When designing programs or processes that focus on peer recovery support services, we would be remiss to not include the voices of those in recovery. You have years of background in supporting peer recovery. Tell us about that. I’m a big believer in Recovery Community Organizations, which are local, grassroots organizations created by people in recovery to provide advocacy, support and services.  In St. Louis, I founded a recovery community organization, Haven Recovery Services, as well as five nationally accredited Recovery Housing locations for those in early recovery. Before joining the collaborative at UMKC, I directed Engaging Patients in Care Coordination, a Missouri peer driven overdose response project. Through my program development firm, I have also provided consultation and management in a variety of substance use prevention, treatment and recovery work at the local and state level. I am excited to bring my experience to start this new center and look forward to what lies ahead in the field of peer recovery services. Those interested in learning more about the center’s services should contact: Callan Howton, principal investigator, howtonc@umkc.edu Cindy Christy, project manager, christyc@umkc.edu Dec 07, 2020

  • UMKC Commencement Features Kansas City Native and Actor Don Cheadle

    Celebrating graduates Dec. 19
    This winter more than 1,100 UMKC graduates will celebrate their achievements with star power. Kansas City native and acclaimed actor Don Cheadle will give the commencement address to students who completed their degrees amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s summer and winter graduates will be recognized in a virtual ceremony for their academic and community achievements on December 19. Graduates will continue their celebrations with recognitions from the individual academic units the same day. Beyond his connection to Kansas City, Cheadle has personal ties to UMKC; his uncle and three of his cousins attended the university. Don Cheadle, photo Chris Pizzelo Cheadle has had a broad career in television and movies. He’s received two Academy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and one Grammy Award. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Cheadle is a global and community activist. The United Nations Environmental Program and the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates have recognized Cheadle for his work to end genocide in the African country of Darfur. “We know that our students are remarkable,” says UMKC Provost Jenny Lundgren. “We see that every day. But we are inspired by our recent graduates’ tenacity and commitment to completing their education and focusing on future success despite the challenges that the last several months have presented.” “We are inspired by our recent graduates’ tenacity and commitment to completing their education and focusing on future success despite the challenges that the last several months have presented.” – Jenny Lundgren Chancellor Mauli C. Agrawal salutes recent graduates for the commitment to keeping each other safe. “The UMKC community should be proud of our students’ diligence and commitment to abiding by guidelines in order to keep themselves and each other healthy and safe,” says UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “We salute their dedication to our community and their education. Though they will no longer be students, they will always be Roos.” Graduates will receive celebratory packets that will include honor cords, a traditional Roo pin and other surprises. The virtual ceremony will be available for graduates, family and friends 10 a.m. Saturday, December 19. At sunset that day, celebrating Roos will get the opportunity to take photos among blue and gold lights - and around the famous Country Club Plaza holiday lights, too. Here's where Light the Night will be: Volker Campus Durwood Stadium, 5030 Holmes St.James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry St. Downtown Kansas City Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St.KCMO City Hall, 414 E. 12th St. Dec 07, 2020

  • How I'm Planning to Finish the Semester Strong

    Helpful tips to maintain stamina and find success as we head into the final weeks
    As we finish off the final weeks of a difficult year, we owe it to ourselves to end the year as strong as we started it. Here are some tips and encouragement for my fellow Roos as we strive to finish the semester well. The holidays may be extra stressful this year, but that doesn’t mean finals have to be. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when needed; you are not alone in this. Everyone is struggling in their own way, whether it be financially, academically, mentally, physically or emotionally. Just getting to this point has been an accomplishment for all of our hard-working students, faculty and staff; let’s keep it up as we approach the end of the year. We encourage our community to take the steps needed to ensure we finish the semester strong, together.  Staying physically and emotionally healthy means more than just avoiding the virus. Monitor your sleep and eating habits and always make sure you are setting aside time for yourself. If you need food assistance, check out the Kangaroo Pantry, a free resource for UMKC students, faculty and staff. Stay connected relationally with friends and family through text, phone calls, FaceTime, emails, and Zoom/Skype when you can.  Reach out to your advisor, instructor or Counseling Services if you are struggling or need assistance — they are here to help! Don’t give up this late in the game after you’ve come so far! Think of all the hard work you’ve put in already and let those thoughts drive you to finish strong.    Always reach out to your advisor and ask for assistance before you decide to drop a class. There are resources and help available; don’t waste credits and money when you don’t need to!  Go easy and don’t stretch yourself too thin with your academic workload. Don’t take on extra tasks if you’re not able to. Meeting deadlines, studying and making time for yourself are your priorities, so cancelling other plans if necessary is perfectly okay.   We all know this time of year can be difficult, especially during the pandemic, but no need to get down. Keep pushing through and the end of the semester will be here before you know it!  Once you have powered through, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back because even through these unprecedented times, you stayed the course.  Keep calm, stay positive, get plenty of rest, eat well, wash your hands, mask up, and let’s #RooUp to tackle these finals together!  Dec 04, 2020

  • Key Transition Aides Are Biden’s Likely Picks To Lead Pandemic Response, HHS

    Washington Post taps UMKC political science professor
    Max Skidmore, a political scientist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who has studied presidential leadership during previous pandemics, said that selecting a competent team with experience in dealing with public health crises is “absolutely essential given the seriousness” of the coronavirus’s toll. Read the full article. Dec 03, 2020

  • African American Churches Team Up With KC Health, UMKC Researchers In Response To COVID-19

    National and local media cover research by Jannette Berkley-Patton and news of her latest grant funding
    Jannette Berkley-Patton, a professor at the UMKC School of Medicine, is the principal investigator of a $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. News of her research has been covered by KRMS, MSN-Australia; Lincoln Journal-Star; Rolla Daily News; Missouri Independent; ExBulletin; Yahoo News; KSHB; Fox4KC; KCTV-5; KCUR; Houston Style Magazine; Wiser Conversations, Women in Science, Entrepreneurship and Research podcast; Kansas City Star; KSHB; and KFVS. Dec 03, 2020

  • Student Success Efforts Are Paying Off

    Graduation, retention rates are rising
    UMKC recorded important gains in some key indicators of student success this fall, improvements that positively impacted students across the spectrum, including underrepresented minorities. UMKC leaders see these gains as early evidence that its continued investment in student success is bearing fruit. The university is devoting significant resources, talent and effort to improve retention and graduation rates, overall and among targeted student groups. Despite this significant progress, leaders acknowledge much work remains. The overall six-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time college students for the Fall 2014 cohort – students who enrolled as freshmen in fall semester 2014 – is up 4.2 percentage points over the previous year. Specific rates for African American, Latinx and low-income students are also on the rise. The overall one-year retention rate – the percentage of enrolled students who return for another year of school – decreased 1.4 percentage points from fall 2019 to fall 2020, which the university attributes to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, our one-year retention rate increased 2.9 percentage points from fall 2018 to fall 2019. “We are pleased with the progress, but we are not celebrating yet,” Chancellor Mauli Agrawal said. “This progress must continue, and in fact, accelerate. But for now, it is clear that our strategies and the hard work of our faculty and staff is having a significant impact.”  The UMKC mission presents special challenges for retention and graduation. As an urban-serving public university, UMKC takes great pride in providing a high level of access to our community and region. Providing opportunity to those who must overcome obstacles on the path to a degree – people with great drive, intelligence and talent, but whose success is by no means guaranteed – is a core value. “As our student body becomes more diverse – more students older than 25, students who are parents, who are more likely to be employed and a growing proportion of historically underserved groups – we need a broader, more holistic approach,” said Kristi Holsinger, Ph.D., senior vice provost for student success. “We need to address students’ basic needs like food, shelter and safety; and understand their work and family demands, financial challenges, psychological well-being, engagement and sense of belonging. These are all predictors of retention and completion.” “At UMKC we are making a commitment to help all admitted students graduate, despite the barriers they may face.” Improving student success is the first of five pillars in the UMKC Strategic Plan adopted in 2018. Recent initiatives stemming from that commitment include launching the Roo Rising Transfer and Adult Learner Center, expansion of the First Gen Roo Program and First Gen Forward initiative, implementation of a new model of Centralized Advising and a program providing microgrants to students close to degree completion who had exhausted their financial resources. Dec 03, 2020

  • Kansas City Area Retailers In Short Supply Of Many Products Due To COVID-Related Delays

    KCTV-5 taps UMKC Bloch assistant professor for insight
    University of Missouri-Kansas City Assistant Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management Larry Wigger believes much of the supply constraints of certain products could go on into late next year. Read the full article and watch the newscast. Dec 01, 2020

  • Suicide Rates Among Young People Spiked After Missouri Loosened Gun Laws, Study Finds

    KBIA interviews UMKC researchers about their report
    Gun-related suicides among young people in Missouri rose sharply after legislators relaxed state gun laws, based on a new report from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Jeffrey Metzner, associate professor of psychiatry; and Apurva Bhatt, psychiatry resident, are co-authors and were interviewed for this story. This St. Louis Public Radio story was picked up by KCUR. Nov 30, 2020

  • Faculty Honored for Achievements and Service

    Faculty will be recognized in a video celebrating their accomplishments
    More than 60 UMKC faculty have been recognized in 2020 with honors such as promotion, tenure, endowed chairs, distinguished professorships and unique UMKC and UM System honors. These recognitions occur throughout the year, and are typically celebrated together at an annual event. These honors have taken on special meaning this year as the faculty, and all members of the university community, have faced unprecedented challenges in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Large in-person gatherings remain inadvisable due to the pandemic. Instead of a live event, faculty will be recognized in a special video celebrating their accomplishments. The first showing of the video will take place on the evening of Feb. 12, and will be posted on the Provost’s website for the remainder of the year “The effort, flexibility and patience our faculty have put into this difficult year have not gone unnoticed, and it is especially important to recognize the significant contributions of our faculty this year,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Many of our students say their relationships with our faculty are some of the biggest reasons they love being a Roo.”  Faculty recognitions for 2020 include:  New Curators Distinguished Professor: A curators’ distinguished professorship is the highest and most prestigious academic rank awarded by the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri.       Sarah Dallas, Ph.D., School of Dentistry New Endowed Chairs:           Charles Murnieks, Ph.D., Arvin Gottlieb Chair in Business Economics, Bloch School of Management Jennaya Robison, DMA, Raymond R. Neevel/Missouri Professorship in Choral Music, Conservatory Kelly Suchman, D.D.S., Dr. S. Orlando Somers Professorship in Advanced General Dentistry, School of Dentistry Jean Marc Retrouvey, D.M.D., M.Sc., Dr. Leo A. Rogers Professorship In Orthodontics, School of Dentistry Carolyn Barber, Ph.D., Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation/Missouri Endowed Chair of Teacher Education, School of Education Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., James B. Nutter, Annabel Nutter and Harry Jonas M.D. Professorship,            School of Medicine Mamta Reddy, M.D., Vijay Babu Rayudu Endowed Chair of Patient Safety, School of Medicine Governor's Award for Excellence in Education: The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education is presented to an outstanding faculty member from each participating higher education institution in the state based on evidence of effective teaching, effective advising, a commitment to high standards of excellence and success in nurturing student achievement.   Michael Wei, Ph.D., professor, School of Education Chancellor's Award for Career Contributions to the University: One of the highest honors for a UMKC employee who has made significant contributions to higher education at UMKC over the course of their career and has significantly enhanced the mission of the university. Paul Cuddy, Pharm.D., vice dean and professor, School of Medicine Chancellor's Award for Embracing Diversity: This award recognizes and celebrates UMKC faculty, staff and registered student organizations that embrace diversity by celebrating diversity in all aspects of university life, creating inclusive environments, culturally competent citizens and globally-oriented curricula and programs.  School of Medicine Summer Scholars Program, School of Medicine Tammy Welchert, Ph.D., associate teaching professor and director of student affairs and academic advising, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences Chancellor's Award for Community Engagement: This award recognizes and celebrates faculty, staff, units and campus organizations that have made engagement with the community a central aspect of their approach to student learning and scholarship. Julie Sutton, R.D.H., M.S., associate professor, School of Dentistry Chancellor's Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching: This award recognizes and celebrates UMKC assistant professors who have achieved excellence in teaching early in their professional careers.     Sandra Enriquez, Ph.D., assistant professor, College of Arts and Sciences Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching: The university’s highest honor for excellence in teaching recognizes and celebrates UMKC faculty who are consistently superior teachers at the graduate, undergraduate or professional level over an extended period of time. Mike Wacker, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Medicine Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring: This award recognizes UMKC graduate faculty advisors with a long-established career at the university who have made significant contributions to higher education through exceptional mentoring. Kun Cheng, Ph.D., professor,  School of Pharmacy Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching: This award recognizes and celebrates teaching excellence among UMKC clinical and teaching faculty.     Rachael Allen, Ph.D., assistant teaching professor,    School of Biological and Chemical Sciences Rebecca Davis, Ph.D., associate teaching professor, College of Arts and Sciences Monica Gaddis, Ph.D., associate teaching professor, School of Medicine Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Awards: Awarded annually to outstanding teachers in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, and the Schools of Dentistry, Law and Medicine. Eric Gottman, D.D.S., M.S., clinical professor, School of Dentistry Jennifer Quaintance, Ph.D., assistant dean, School of Medicine Ranjit Christopher, Ph.D., assistant professor, Bloch School of Management Julie Cheslik, J.D., associate professor, School of Law Award for Achievement in Assessment of Student Learning: Recognizes individuals and programs with assessment protocols that promote student achievement in the classroom or in academic programs. The B.A. in Music Therapy, Conservatory Kim Langrehr, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Education N.T. Veatch Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity: Recognizes distinguished research and other scholarly or creative activity accomplished by UMKC faculty. Ganesh Thiagarajan, Ph.D., professor, School of Computing and Engineering Trustees Faculty Fellows Award: Trustees are recognizing the very best faculty who distinguished themselves through scholarship and creativity. Peter Koulen, Ph.D., professor, School of Medicine Trustees Faculty Scholars Award: Recognizes faculty members who show exceptional promise for outstanding future research and/or creative accomplishments. Alison DeSimone, Ph.D., assistant professor, Conservatory UM System President's Award for Innovative Teaching: Recognizes faculty who are outstanding teachers and who employ novel and innovative teaching methods to achieve success in student learning. Richard Delaware, Ph.D., Teaching Professor, College of Arts and Sciences UM System President's Award for Inter-Campus Collaboration: Recognizes faculty who engage in activities that foster collaboration across two or more campuses of the University of Missouri System. Sarah Pilgrim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences UM System Presidential Engagement Fellows: The fellows are tasked with fulfilling the university’s land-grant mission by sharing research discoveries with Missouri citizens in every county. They were selected for their excellent teaching, breakthrough research and creative achievements. Jamila Jefferson-Jones, J.D., professor, School of Law Joey Lightner, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Nursing and Health Sciences Joan McDowd, Ph.D., professor and chair of psychology, College of Arts and Sciences Promotion and Tenure: Ahmed Hassan, Ph.D., tenure with promotion to associate professor, School of Computing and Engineering Antonis Stylianou, Ph.D., tenure with promotion to associate professor, School of Computing and Engineering Candace Schlein, Ph.D., promotion to professor, School of Education Jamila Jefferson-Jones, J.D., promotion to professor, School of Law Jason Martin, Ph.D., tenure with promotion to associate professor, College of Arts and Sciences Jenifer Allsworth, Ph.D., tenure, School of Medicine Julie Sutton, R.D.H., M.S., tenure with promotion to associate professor, School of Dentistry Kenneth Ferguson, J.D., promotion to professor, School of Law Maria Kanyova, DMA, tenure, Conservatory Michael Mermagen, M.M., tenure with promotion to professor, Conservatory Michael Wei, Ph.D., promotion to professor, School of Education Rebecca Best, Ph.D., tenure with promotion to associate professor, College of Arts and Sciences Ricky Allman, MFA, promotion to professor, College of Arts and Sciences Scott Baker, Ph.D., promotion to professor,  College of Arts and Sciences Tanya Gibson, D.D.S., tenure with promotion to associate professor, School of Dentistry Non-Tenure-Track Promotions: Melynda Meredith, D.D.S., promotion to clinical associate professor, School of Dentistry Dominick Salvatore, Pharm.D., promotion to clinical associate professor, School of Pharmacy Lance Carter, MS, promotion to associate teaching professor, School of Medicine Sadie DeSantis, MFA, promotion to associate teaching professor, Conservatory Kendall Bingham, Ph.D., promotion to assistant teaching professor, School of Computing and Engineering Mahbube Siddiki, Ph.D., promotion to assistant teaching professor School of Computing and Engineering Katherine Bloemker, Ph.D., promotion to teaching professor, School of Computing and Engineering Lindsey Arbuthnot Clancey, MS, promotion to associate teaching professor College of Arts and Sciences Joshua Pluta, J.D., promotion to librarian III, School of Law Jamie Hunt, Ph.D., promotion to associate teaching professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies Cheri Barber, DNP, RN, CPNP, promotion to associate clinical professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies Eileen Amari-Vaught, Ph.D., promotion to associate clinical professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies Tho Nguyen, DNP, promotion to associate clinical professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies Laura Thiem, DNP, promotion to associate clinical professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies Lynn Michaelle Tobin, J.D., promotion to clinical professor, School of Law Margaret Reuter, J.D., promotion to clinical professor, School of Law Nov 30, 2020

  • Covid-19 vs. Indoor And Outdoor Sports, How To Safely Play Various Games

    Washington Post cites report authored by Mary Anne Jackson
    Mary Anne Jackson, an infectious diseases doctor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Children’s Mercy Hospital, is co-author of a Pediatrics paper cited. She was mentioned in the article. Nov 28, 2020

  • The Death Of Black Friday? After COVID, Some Say Retailers Won’t Go Back To Usual Shopping Spree

    Fox4KC taps Economics associate professor
    COVID-19 forcing a new way of shopping for the holidays could signal the death of Black Friday, UMKC Economics Associate Professor Linwood Tauheed said. Read the story and watch the newscast. Nov 25, 2020

  • Crescendo 2020: An Event To Remember

    Over $590,000 raised in this year’s fundraiser
    Dozens of UMKC Conservatory students and faculty made Crescendo 2020 an event to remember during this challenging year, and so far, the event has raised over $590,000 for student scholarships. Due to COVID-19, Crescendo 2020 shifted from an in-person performance to a streamed event. The concert on Nov. 6 featured performances and interviews with inspiring students. Co-chairs were Amy Embry and Nicole Wang. Honorary co-chairs were Carrie and Casey McLiney. “Since moving Crescendo to the Kauffman Center in 2012, we have raised over $3 million in scholarship funds,” said UMKC Conservatory Dean Diane Petrella. As Crescendo has grown, organizers actively sought ways to expand the impact of this performance. Three years ago, the UMKC Conservatory hosted the first matinee performances of the Crescendo Concert, busing middle and high school students from all over the Kansas City area to the Kauffman Center. “For many of these kids, this was the first time they’ve experienced a performance of this caliber,” Petrella said. “Last year, through grant and private funding, we expanded this outreach to two performances, with over 2,500 students attending matinees.” As the 2020 Crescendo Concert went virtual, so did the matinees. Arrangements were made for thousands of children to view the virtual performances, which not only supported the Conservatory’s efforts in community outreach, but also helped UMKC to connect with local talent to recruit the next generation of artists to the Conservatory. The 2020 matinees were sponsored by Julie and Mike Kirk and Evergy. “Performing artists everywhere are struggling, trying to retain a presence in a society that cannot physically come together,” Petrella said. “Despite these challenges, artists everywhere continue to demonstrate that the arts are a critical component of our society. Artists are strong. Artists are resilient. We find ways to connect, to continue to shine and to creatively express ourselves." - UMKC Conservatory Dean Diane Petrella "Guided by the amazing faculty of the UMKC Conservatory, UMKC students found a way to continue studying and creating art — proving over and over again that the arts can transcend all boundaries,” Petrella said. While this year’s event was different, patrons still had the opportunity to witness the tremendous talent at the UMKC Conservatory. All of the proceeds raised provide scholarships for exceptional students. Scholarships makes pursuing a degree in the performing arts an affordable option and makes UMKC Conservatory a more attractive and competitive choice. On show “night,” patrons saw those students who bravely accepted the challenges before them and heard from some of the students who received scholarships. The Performances Mas Fuerté (1992) by Stephen Rush (b. 1958), UMKC Percussion Ensemble with Professor Nick Petrella, faculty coach. When We Love (2019) by Elaine Hagenberg, Conservatory Singers with Professor Jennaya Robison, director. Jose Mendoza and Erin Besser  One of the first student interviews were with Conservatory singers Jose Mendoza and Erin Besser. “When I was searching for a grad school I was searching not only for a place that would be something I wanted academically but also in the community,” Besser said.      “The reason that my scholarship is so important to me is that I wouldn’t be here without it." - Erin Besser "The fact that I can be on scholarship and not have to worry about funding my education gives me the peace of mind I need to succeed in my classes,” Besser added. “For my undergrad I wanted a place where I could feel like I’m home,” Mendoza said. “I can just walk into any building and feel so comfortable and welcomed. The scholarship helps me in a big way. College these days is rigorous and stressful as it is, so having these scholarships helps alleviate that stress and that back-of-the-mind-worry about money.” A scene from Othello (1603) by William Shakespeare (1564–1616), Meredith Johnson (M.F.A., acting and directing) with Kim Martin-Cotten, director. After You, Mr. Gershwin! (2004) by Béla Kovács (b. 1937), Dana Sloter, clarinet (D.M.A., clarinet performance) with Professor Dan Velicer, piano. The Dying Swan (1886) by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921), Michel Fokine, choreographer, with dancers Derrian Simone Davis (B.F.A., dance), Liat Roth (B.F.A., dance) and Ashlyn Zay (B.F.A., dance), Larry Hernandez, cello (Artist’s Certificate, cello), Mary Gossell, piano (D.M.A., piano performance), professor Ronn Tice, faculty coach. “I think it’s a really difficult time in the world of dance because so much of dance is about connecting with each other and touching each other.” - Dance Student Liat Roth “So missing that, it’s nice to collaborate with other types of artists, like all of the musicians we have at UMKC,” Roth said. “I think it’s also nice to just dance with each other because it’s usually a really connected art form,” said dance student Ashlyn Zay. “Even though we can’t touch each other we can still feel each other in the music. I personally love dancing to live music. I just feel like it completely brings it to life. You feel like it’s real and it’s right there in front of you.” “For me, this was my first time to perform with dancers, so it was really a magical experience,” said dance student Mary Gossell. “I’m also a graduate assistant in collaborative piano and I’m just so grateful to have received this scholarship not only because of the financial benefits, but also it’s giving me a lot of experiences already to work with other musicians and now dancers.” “It was fabulous having these musicians here with us, said Dee Anna Hiett, associate professor and chair, dance. “We depend on those scholarship dollars to bring us talent to build our dance division, to have a successful career. To train these dancers, we really need scholarship money. And we appreciate all of those who donate and give.” Danny Boy, Traditional arrangement by Martin Hackleman, UMKC Horn Choir, with Professor Martin Hackleman, faculty coach. One O’Clock Jump (1937) by William Charles Basie (1904–1984) arr. Charles Kynard, Concert Jazz Band. “I’ve been playing in the Kansas City jazz scene for about three years,” said Jackie Myers, BM in jazz studies. “UMKC is an integral part of that scene. Many of the players that I really enjoy playing with, many of the people I’m studying with, were involved in UMKC. Without scholarships I wouldn’t be here. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for this opportunity. And thank you so much for your support.” Andrew Dressman, BM in jazz studies, is also studying saxophone studies. “Since I’ve been here it’s been an incredible experience and it makes me want to stay here for a very long time.” “Because of your support and scholarship support, we’ve been able to attract and retain some of the finest talent in the country and from around the world,” said Bobby Watson, retired William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri Professor of Jazz Studies. “All of that is possible through your generous giving. And we hope that you can keep it up and continue to support our efforts and the great work of these students for many years to come. Thank you.” Give to the Crescendo Conservatory student scholarship fund Nov 24, 2020

  • Grant Helps Black Churches Fight COVID-19

    $1.9 Million in NIH funding to UMKC aids in lifesaving effort
    COVID-19 has infected, hospitalized and killed Black Americans at a higher rate compared to whites. As it has with other racial health disparities, the University of Missouri-Kansas City is partnering with Black churches in Kansas City to fight this one. The National Institutes of Health has awarded UMKC a two-year, $1.9 million grant to do so as part of its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics-Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) initiative. “By working with 16 churches, which are trusted institutions in the African American community, we will greatly expand COVID-19 testing opportunities and access to care in low-income areas of Kansas City,” said Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., principal investigator of the grant, director of the UMKC Health Equity Institute and a professor at the School of Medicine. “This RADx-UP grant will help people who probably never would have gotten tested get the support they need.” The team of investigators on the grant are from UMKC, Children’s Mercy, University of Kansas Medical Center, University of Massachusetts, University of California-San Francisco and Johns Hopkins University. In addition to churches and their leaders and members, they will work in partnership with Calvary Community Outreach Network and the Kansas City Health Department for testing, contact tracing and linkage to care services. “By working with 16 churches, which are trusted institutions in the African American community, we will greatly expand COVID-19 testing opportunities and access to care in low-income areas of Kansas City. This RADx-UP grant will help people who probably never would have gotten tested get the support they need.” - Jannette Berkley-Patton “One of our aims with the grant is to not only expand testing but to also help get the community prepared for the vaccine,” said Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., an investigator of the grant, dean of the UMKC School of Medicine and an infectious disease expert at Children’s Mercy. “Vaccine confidence relies on trust and transparent communication of vaccine science and safety. The mistrust among people of color about the COVID-19 vaccine stems back toward experience in other research impacting this population, namely the Tuskegee trials in 1932 to study syphilis where Black males were not provided treatment.” Key social determinants contribute to the disparities for Blacks and COVID-19 including essential public-facing jobs, cultural norms like medical and contact tracing mistrust and limited access to health care. African Americans also have a high burden of chronic health conditions including obesity, diabetes and heart disease, which put them at an increased risk for COVID-19. Studies, including UMKC investigations led by Berkley-Patton, have shown that community-engaged research with African American churches has led to health screening uptake for HIV and STD testing and reducing risks for diabetes. Yet, no proven COVID-19 testing interventions exist for African American churches, which have wide reach and influence in their communities, high attendance rates and supportive health and social services for community members. At churches, the grant aims to reach people through sermons, testimonials, church bulletins, and text messages. This also includes faith leaders promoting testing – and getting tested in front of their congregations – so that people can actually see what the testing process looks like. To date, Berkley-Patton’s work has been supported by more than $12 million in federal grants over the past 14 years. The community-engaged research she has conducted in partnership with faith communities has benefited people in the Kansas City area as well as Alabama and Jamaica. “At UMKC, we fight racial inequity at all levels, and that includes life-saving health care at our public urban research university,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “We are proud of the work Dr. Berkley-Patton is leading through proven strategies at places of worship. We know this team of investigators and their partners will help keep our community safer from COVID-19.” Nov 23, 2020

  • 5 Things to Know About How the Bloch School is Infusing Data Science Throughout its Studies

    A conversation with Associate Dean Brian S. Anderson
    From medicine to politics to business, data has become an essential power source. The University of Missouri-Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Management has infused data science throughout its curricula to empower the next generation of business leaders to understand and effectively wield data to deliver results. Brian S. Anderson, associate dean of the Bloch School, has led the effort to make data science a foundational element of the school’s undergraduate and graduate curricula. 1. Content fine-tuned to student needs At the undergraduate level, data analysis is infused into the overall curriculum, fine-tuned to specific emphasis areas such as accounting, finance and marketing.  For graduate students, the Bloch School is offering a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics. Unlike stand-along certificate programs, this certificate is designed to provide an extra credential paired with a Bloch MBA or other Bloch graduate degree earned simultaneously. 2. Making Better Managers Students explore the entire analytics lifecycle and develop business storytelling skills to effectively present data findings to key stakeholders. They get hands-on experience using cutting-edge analytical software such as Tableau, R, Python and SAS. Multiple software platforms are used interchangeably in a “platform-agnostic” approach. “We’re not merely teaching people tech skills. Our goal is to produce better managers, so the content is taught in an engaged, immersive environment,” Anderson said. “We are teaching people data visualization – how to tell data-driven stories – irrespective of the tool used to analyze the data. 3. Local and regional relevance A fundamental element of the Bloch approach to data science is deep engagement with the school’s many community partners – the Kansas City-area businesses and organizations that will be the future employers of Bloch graduates. “We want to make sure that our curriculum is responsive and relevant to the Kansas City community,” Anderson said. 4. Data literacy matters “We share Chancellor (Mauli) Agrawal’s view of data science, that its influence has become pervasive across the enterprise in numerous fields,” Anderson said. While statisticians and other data scientists do the actual number-crunching, Anderson said business leaders need to know what questions to ask the scientists, how to interpret the answers and how to put the insights to work effectively. “Business executives need to be data literate, and that also includes understanding the limitations of data. You can’t demand that data analysis provide you with information it isn’t capable of producing.” 5. Differentiation in the job market The Bloch approach to data literacy gives Bloch graduates an advantage in a competitive job market. “We see this as a way for our graduates to achieve differentiation as individuals with an ability to contribute immediately, and a high ceiling for growth.” Nov 23, 2020

  • Fighting Racism Through Digital Literacy

    English professor Antonio Byrd is teaching his students to use writing, rhetoric and technology for liberation and survival
    The Black Excellence At UMKC series helps to increase awareness of the representation of diversity and equity on campus and show a visible commitment to the inclusion and recognition of Black faculty and staff. This series celebrates and highlights Black and Roo faculty and staff working behind the scenes and on the frontlines to help our university achieve its mission to promote learning and discovery for all people at UMKC and the greater Kansas City community. Antonio Byrd, assistant professor of English language literature, was attracted to the familiarity of UMKC. It’s here that he’s able to pay forward the experiences he had as a student, connecting with faculty and learning from his peers, from the opposite perspective. On a mission to achieve social justice through digital literacy and technology, he’s spent the past few years studying how racially marginalized people create their own means for access through computer programming. It’s a cause that struck him as a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and one he’s dedicated his research and community volunteerism to help stop. We sat down with Byrd to learn more about his recent transition to Kansas City and his efforts to achieve racial and economic equity through digital technologies. "Coming to UMKC felt like coming to something familiar." Name: Antonio ByrdTitle: Assistant professor of English language and literatureTenure: 2019 - presentHometown: Prattville, AlabamaAlma Mater and Degree Program:University of Wisconsin-Madison; Ph.D. in Composition and RhetoricAuburn University at Montgomery; M.A. in Liberal Arts | B.S. in Secondary Education Why did you choose UMKC as the place to grow your career? I was drawn to the growing interest in digital scholarship here at UMKC, and that faculty across departments are eager to collaborate on a lot of different digital projects. I’m happy to join other faculty who have the same kind of desire to do more with digital technology. I hope our working together can blossom into practical tools and policies that address racial inequality in Kansas City. What do you enjoy most about UMKC? The students! During my campus visit in the spring of 2019, UMKC reminded me of the best qualities of Auburn University at Montgomery. It delights me to know that students share a large space in the hearts of my English department colleagues, who have a lot of enthusiasm for teaching and mentoring. One of the best memories of my undergraduate days was connecting with other English majors and with my professors. That relationship building was formative for my learning and my becoming into the person I am now. I would not have pursued my doctoral degree if not for those relationships. Coming to UMKC felt like coming to something familiar. In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve encountered a lot of ambitious students who aspire to do well and pursue projects that matter to them. My students are energized when I say, “Yes, that’s a project you should totally do!” At the same time, I feel challenged to do more as a teacher: better course design, better teaching strategies, better content. What classes do you teach? I teach 300-level and 400-level advanced rhetoric and writing courses, which includes courses like Theory and Practice of Composition, Rhetorics of New Media and Multimodal Rhetorics and Writing. I’m also on a mission to get more students to learn professional and technical writing. I try to make my courses workshop- and project-based and a space where students generate knowledge from each other and the course material. We discuss how writing, rhetoric and technology contribute to oppression and racism while also encouraging students to flip the script and use writing, rhetoric and technology for liberation and survival. I’m hoping that by the time they get tired of taking classes with me, students understand that linguistic racism persists, and as English majors, they have a duty to reveal this invisible ideology in their professional and personal lives, as well as a duty to resist participating in that racism themselves. "I’m interested in knowing what my students are interested in."  What sparked your interest in researching race and equity in digital literacy? While I was pursuing my doctoral degree at UW-Madison, I discovered literature published by other researchers arguing that coding is a type of writing that may eventually become required for everyday living, similar to conventional reading and writing. That made me think about the implications for putting more computer science curricula in schools. Education in the United States is inherently unequal and designed to leave Black people out, so incorporating computer science into an already unequal education system recreates existing inequalities and continues to perpetuate a racial class system in and around computer programming. Because getting more people to learn coding was relatively new, I thought that maybe this is an opportunity for me to help stop that from happening. I wrote my seminar paper on this, and that work was foundational for my research on Black adults learning coding in a computer code bootcamp. That question combined all of my concerns: literacy, race, technology and education. What have you been able to accomplish in your research? I published two articles from my dissertation! “Between Learning and Opportunity: A Study of African American Coders’ Networks of Support” in Literacy in Composition Studies and “‘Like Coming Home’: African American Adults Tinkering and Playing Toward a Computer Code Bootcamp” in College Composition and Communication. The article published in Literacy in Composition Studies was recently nominated for the Best of the Journals in Rhetoric and Composition book series. I’m glad that the stories Black people in the computer code bootcamp where I did my research shared with me are out in the world and people are receptive to them. I’m currently working on a book project that I hope will make their stories more public and drive conversation about coding, race and equity nationwide, and especially in the Kansas City area. How do you connect and establish relationships with other Black faculty and staff in other units and departments? The moment I arrived at UMKC, I knew I wanted to be involved with the department of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Studies. My associate chair, Laurie Ellinghausen, introduced me to Vice Chancellor Brandon Martin, Ed.D. and department chair Toya Like, Ph.D., who have been great for discussing ways I can tune into REGS and connect with students of color, faculty and staff. The Black & Roo Faculty/Staff Association, the affinity group for Black faculty and staff under the umbrella of the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, is another organization I will participate in. Now that I’ve settled into the groove of teaching and research here, I’m ready to connect with my own people. "If something keeps you up at night, you should probably make that your research!" You’re fairly new to the Kansas City area, have you had an opportunity to get involved in the community yet? Yes! I’ve been working with Code for KC since I moved here. Code for KC is a Code for America brigade that brings together community members with a diversity of skills to work on civic tech projects that benefit Kansas City. The latest project I’m working is Re.Use.Full, a website that connects people with stuff to nonprofit organizations that need it. I’ve done a variety of tasks with the website, from writing web content to strategizing social media marketing. The website is great for building an intimate relationship between people who have stuff to donate and community organizations. Of course, I have to do a shameless plug and encourage people to check it out and consider donating to our Give Butter campaign! Describe your mentoring relationships with students. I’m interested in knowing what my students are interested in. When I introduce major writing projects to my students, I always ask them to pursue what they find curious, interesting, scary, etc. Writing begins with that personal perspective and I like to support them in that work with comments. I hope the comments help them see their work differently; at least that’s often been my experience when mentors and colleagues read my drafts. I also try to be a resource. If there’s something they want to do academically or professionally, I try to point them to the right resources or people that can help get them to where they need to be. What is one piece of advice you’ve learned as a newer faculty member that you’d pass on to someone else looking to pursue their research career? I find it interesting to learn how scholars get into the work they do. That’s not always talked about, so I hope my own journey encourages readers in graduate school or thinking about graduate school to enjoy the ride and use their personal concerns to guide their decisions about what to research. If something keeps you up at night, you should probably make that your research! What is one piece of advice you’d give a student wanting to follow in your footsteps? I don’t think they should lock themselves into doing just one thing. The skills they learn in academia can actually transfer to similar jobs outside of academia. I read an article when I was doing research on doctoral education and the writer observed that the world is very interested in you, even though you have more interest in academia. Your analytical skills, your written communication, your collaboration with others and your knowing how to learn is needed in so many places outside of academia. Whatever you do, you will always have value.   Nov 23, 2020

  • Record-Best Year of Research at UMKC

    5 questions with Vice Chancellor Chris Liu
    UMKC achieved a major milestone in fiscal year 2020 by winning the highest amount of grant funding in its history: $48.9 million. The record coincides with the first year at UMKC for Chris Liu, the vice chancellor for research. What factors contributed to achieving this milestone? Dedicated faculty, researchers and supporting staff across the campus; clearly defined goals and the implementation of the UMKC strategic plan on research; the Chancellor’s new initiatives on data science and health disparities; interdisciplinary research in both STEM and non-STEM fields. “UMKC is moving toward becoming a more refined urban research university through implementing initiatives such as the NextGen Data Sciences and Analytics Innovation Center (dSAIC) and UMKC Forward.” - Chris Liu   Chris Liu, vice chancellor for research at UMKC Besides this, what has been your proudest achievement in your first year at UMKC? In collaboration with Alexis Petri, director of faculty support, we won a National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM award to host a regional conference on increasing STEM retention and degree completion and preparing a diverse STEM workforce for the Kansas City metropolitan region. This year, you also helped UMKC, in collaboration with California State University-Fullerton, earn one of 25 honorable mentions for the Idea Competition for the Symposium on Imagining the Future of Undergraduate STEM Education from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Tell us about it. We proposed an idea to develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven learning system for giving undergraduate students personalized care on actively learning STEM fields in the classroom and beyond. The system would provide dashboard information on both students and their instructors to allow them to better understand each other, so that undergraduate STEM education and student learning become a more proactive practice in the future. The goal is to help first-generation and students from underserved populations receive tailored academic advising. This will also help retention and graduation rates. It also fills a gap in resources for academic advisors. We feel pretty wonderful about this idea. We’ve applied for a grant to fund this proposal. Why is increasing research funding so important to the university’s future? Increasing research funding at UMKC will help generate revenue; strengthen campus infrastructure and facilities for faculty development and student retention/graduation rates; enhance the university’s reputation for national rankings; and create opportunities for community engagement. What opportunities are you excited about for UMKC? UMKC is moving toward becoming a more refined urban research university through implementing initiatives such as the NextGen Data Sciences and Analytics Innovation Center (dSAIC) and UMKC Forward. Nov 20, 2020

  • Former UM System President Gives $2 Million to NextGen Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center

    Gift supports a collaborative effort with MU housed at UMKC
    Former UM System president Gary Forsee and Sherry Forsee have committed $2 million to support research that will provide data analytics to power the NextGen Precision Health initiative and other precision health research across the University of Missouri System’s four universities. The gift will support the NextGen Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center, or dSAIC, which is based at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and operates in partnership with the University of Missouri-Columbia. UMKC will receive $1.2 million and MU will receive $800,000. One role of the center will be to harness immense datasets to extract insights, patterns and knowledge, illuminating the work done at the NextGen Precision Health building, across the system’s institutions and health enterprises. The Precision Health building, currently under construction on the MU campus, aims to usher in a new era of personalized health care by developing medical breakthroughs to treat diseases based on individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. The Forsees considered the project a great fit for their philanthropic interests, specifically in support of higher education in Missouri. Gary Forsee, a Kansas City resident and former UM System president, is a 1972 graduate of Missouri University of Science & Technology. He serves as a member of the UMKC Board of Trustees and an emeritus director of the UMKC Foundation as well as a member of the NextGen Advisory Board. With a background in the technology industry, he has a clear understanding of the key components necessary to provide the infrastructure for data research and engagement that benefit Kansas City and beyond. “The ability to analyze vast amounts of data and apply that knowledge to some of today’s most critical health problems will have untold short-term and long-term impacts.” - Gary Forsee “Through the development of NextGen Precision Health initiative and the UMKC NextGen Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center, we are helping to lay the groundwork for revolutionary changes in health care,” Forsee said. “The ability to analyze vast amounts of data and apply that knowledge to some of today’s most critical health problems will have untold short-term and long-term impacts.” dSAIC creates a leading-edge data analytics center that can support university research across the state and play a critical role in health, business and workforce development across Kansas City and the region. The Forsees’ gift is the first step in making that happen. “Looking back five years from now, we’ll judge the success of the center based on the outcomes,” Forsee said.  “What systems have been put in place and what are the real project benefits of this center? I want to ensure that with the benefit of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, big data and data analytics that we’ve made significant progress in the NextGen Precision Health initiative.” At MU, a portion of the gift will be used to build necessary computing infrastructure that supports pilot projects and collaborations between life science and health care experts and engineering faculty.  Focus areas include security for medical health care records; DNA sequencing and analysis for individual patients; and automated diagnosis of medical imagery for precision health. The expansion of big data capabilities within the UM System will be complementary to the personalized medicine research at UMKC hospital affiliates and MU Health Care, among other possibilities. “Data isn’t just numbers on a spreadsheet or a chart.With our initiatives, we  are using data to affect people’s lives. The Forsees’ gift enables us to continue that work and improve the lives of Missourians.” - Jannette Berkley-Patton “As president of the UM System, Gary helped refine the vision of our NextGen initiative,” said Mun Choi, president of University of Missouri System and chancellor of University of Missouri-Columbia. “Now, with his continued work on our advisory board and his support in both Kansas City and Columbia, we are turning that dream into a reality.” UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal has reinforced the university’s strategy related to growing data science and research. Between the new Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center, critical private-public research projects and a clear focus on building the research capabilities of the university through dSAIC, UMKC is positioned to capitalize on significant investments. “Vision is critical, whether it involves something as finite as physical space or something as boundless as data analysis,” Agrawal said. “Beyond the benefit of the financial support, the Forsees’ gift is an invaluable validation of the importance of this initiative and its potential impact on the people of Missouri.” Jannette Berkley-Patton, leader of the UMKC Health Equity Institute and a School of Medicine professor, is currently studying the potential health benefits of reliable and free public transportation in urban areas. Her work entails comparing data from more than 10,000 people. “Data isn’t just numbers on a spreadsheet or a chart,” Berkley-Patton said. “With our initiatives, we are using data to affect people’s lives. The Forsees’ gift enables us to continue that work and improve the lives of Missourians.” “Beyond the benefit of the financial support, the Forsees’ gift is an invaluable validation of the importance of this initiative and its potential impact on the people of Missouri.” - Chancellor Mauli Agrawal Prasad Calyam, lead MU scientist on the project, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of the Cyber Education, Research and Infrastructure Center (Mizzou CERI) in the MU College of Engineering, said the funds will advance interdisciplinary collaborations in precision health. “It will enable development of cloud computing expertise and knowledge bases in seamless integration of open/protected data sets as well as medical imagery analytics with intelligent automation using advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence,” Calyam said. “Resulting cyber and human resources will further strengthen partnerships with industry to develop secure and community-scale big data analytics environments that foster research and education innovations in precision health.” Nov 19, 2020

  • The Surprise Discovery That Brought The Beatles Back Together

    David Thurmaier's podcast featured in national article
    “I think the Anthology, especially the first volume, was incredibly important in The Beatles’ catalogue and story for a couple of reasons,” said David Thurmaier, who hosts I’ve Got a Beatles Podcast and is associate professor of music theory and chair of the Music Studies Division at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory. Read the story from YahooNews. Nov 18, 2020

  • 13th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Week KC Runs Tomorrow Through Thursday

    The Pitch features KCSourceLink annual event
    “GEWKC (Global Entrepreneurship Week Kansas City) continues to be the largest celebration of entrepreneurship in the region, and we have seen firsthand the difference made in supporting our vibrant local small business community,” said Jenny Miller, chief organizer for GEWKC, and senior director of regional ecosystem development at the UMKC Innovation Center. Read the article. (Website registration required) Nov 16, 2020

  • Visionary Leaders Honored by UMKC Bloch School

    Four receive Entrepreneur of the Year awards
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City honored four exceptional business leaders at its 35th Annual Entrepreneur of the Year awards Nov. 12. The celebration, sponsored by the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the university’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management, was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   The evening’s program began with a Student Venture Showcase, followed by the awards program. The 2020 honorees include: Henry W. Bloch International Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Yvon Chouinard, founder, Patagonia. He was cited for his global impact for not only building a company but transforming his industry. Chouinard is an itinerant adventurer, passionate activist and iconoclastic businessman. In 1973, he founded Patagonia, a mission-driven company known for its environmental and social initiatives. Kansas City Entrepreneur of the Year: Nathaniel Hagedorn, founder and CEO, NorthPoint Development. With 18 years of commercial real estate experience, Hagedorn has helped raise more than $7 billion in capital over the last eight years for the company’s real estate investments. The NorthPoint family of companies has grown to include the real estate development and management company, an international logistics and freight forwarding firm, a third-party logistics company, warehouse technology and supply-chain integration company, and an industrial architectural and engineering firm.   Marion and John Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship: Robert W. Hatch, chairman and CEO, Cereal Ingredients, Inc. and Great Plains Analytical Lab. Hatch founded Cereal Ingredients, a specialty-food ingredients manufacturer, and Great Plains Analytical Laboratory in 1990. Hatch is also Chairman of FINCA International (Foundation for International Community Assistance), a not-for-profit microfinance organization with a mission to provide financial services to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living. FINCA pioneered the “village banking method” of credit delivery, which offers small loans and a savings program to those without access to traditional banks. Student Entrepreneur of the Year: Jonaie Johnson. Currently a Dean’s List business student and athlete at UMKC majoring in entrepreneurship, Johnson started her company, Interplay, when she was accepted into the Bloch School E-Scholars program. Interplay is working towards automating pet interaction by providing dog owners with an interactive, automated dog crate. Last year, she was a starter on the UMKC Roos Western Athletic Conference champion women’s basketball team. Tom and Mary Bloch, son and daughter-in-law of Bloch School patron and namesake Henry W. Bloch, served as the evening’s co-hosts. “One thing Dad was really big on was finding creative solutions to our toughest challenges, and tonight, right now, our friends at UMKC and the Bloch School are showing us how that’s done,” Tom Bloch said. Chancellor Mauli Agrawal thanked the Bloch family for their continuing support and involvement at UMKC. “Their generosity has helped us continue our efforts to increase access to higher education and inspire students to use their entrepreneurship to lend a helping hand and make the world a better place,” Agrawal said. “We are taking real-world challenges and issues and finding solutions and opportunity through entrepreneurial problem-solving. It’s what Henry would have done, and it’s what we will continue to do…and then some.” As part of the unique virtual format, this year’s program included a panel discussion among three local entrepreneurs on the topic of adjusting to the “new normal” of the pandemic. The panel was moderated by Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center. Participants included Chris Beier, co-founder, Strange Days Brewing Co.; Riddhiman Das, co-founder and CEO, TripleBlind; and Lyndsey Gruber, founder and CEO, PEPPR. The program also featured an appeal for continued support of the Bloch School’s Summer Scholars program, a beneficiary of the Entrepreneur of the Year program proceeds. Summer Scholars is a 2-week intensive summer program for incoming freshman and transfer students. Ben Williams, assistant teaching professor at the Bloch School and managing director of the Regnier Institute; and Ali Brandolino, president of the UMKC Enactus team and last year’s Student Entrepreneur of the Year, discussed the program’s features and benefits. “The goal of Summer Scholars is to kick start students’ college careers, help them build an entrepreneurial mindset that can be applied to any career track, and to encourage the students to get involved in the amazing programs and organizations at the Bloch School,” Williams said. “As a past participant in the Summer Scholars program, I have seen the benefits,” Brandolino said. “It taught me the basics of entrepreneurship that I've used in many other courses, Enactus and my own business. Early in my journey I learned how to ideate, interview, prototype, test, and pitch.” The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards event is an iconic Kansas City tradition started in 1985. Beyond its philanthropic cause, this event is a valuable forum where Kansas City CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, industry legends, world-class faculty and students alike are able to celebrate a common passion. The event celebrates entrepreneurial spirit and serves as a source of inspiration to future generations of innovative entrepreneurs. All proceeds from this event directly benefit the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s student and community programs. The Regnier Institute at the Bloch School focuses on connecting students and community members with a comprehensive combination of world-class research, renowned faculty, cutting-edge curriculum and experimental programs driven to deliver results and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. Nov 16, 2020

  • UMKC Conservatory Students Benefit from Legacy of a Beloved Instructor

    Grassroots effort leads to memorial scholarship
    The late James Rothwell had an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for creating music. A pioneer in electronic sound recording, Rothwell and his achievements are memorialized in the James A. Rothwell Scholarship Fund at the UMKC Conservatory.  Kriss Avery (‘78 B.M.), Rothwell’s widow, led the charge in establishing the scholarship. “After Jim died in 2015, I had a conversation with Larry Bailey (B.M. ’79, MBA ’87) and Tom Mardikes (M.F.A. ’97) [UMKC professor of sound design], who mentioned the idea of starting a scholarship in Jim’s name. I thought it was such a great idea. There were so many chapters in Jim’s life and a lot of people he had touched.” Based on the scope of Rothwell’s career, Avery knew that she would have access to a breadth of people who would be interested in supporting a scholarship. “Jim had a very magnetic personality,” she says. “All of the people that came into his circle he called ‘the tribe.’ But they were all musicians, so we knew we needed to be reasonable in our expectations of what we could raise.” She planned a memorial gathering and encouraged people to share their memories of Rothwell and raise seed money for the scholarship. His daughter’s family made the first contribution. Avery notes that these types of funds are often mentioned at someone’s funeral. Since that hadn’t happened in this situation, she made it her mission to provide access to the information so Rothwell’s friends and colleagues could find information online and direct other people who might be interested in donating. She developed the JAR Fund website, In Room 202, and created a page on Facebook. “Jim had a very magnetic personality.’’ - Kriss Avery But Rothwell’s friends were not the only scholarship supporters. Paul Rudy, FAAR ‘11, curators’ distinguished professor and coordinator of composition at the UMKC Conservatory, did not know Rothwell, but was friends with Avery. He went to the memorial for Rothwell, which a number of alumni attended. “It was amazing to see these people, where they landed and how impactful Jim had been in their lives. It was so touching to see and feel their fondness of him, and I was really glad I got to know him a little vicariously through them.” When Rudy became aware that Avery was establishing a scholarship in Rothwell’s honor, he contributed to the fund. “Jim was an innovator until the end, and so to have a group of alumni leading this idea to memorialize him was really wonderful. They were so proactive — especially Kriss! — and it was heart-warming to see.” Rudy sees the impact of scholarships on students. “It’s really simple — students with scholarships do better,” Rudy says. “Students who don’t have adequate support have to work one or two jobs while going to school full-time. It’s often brutal and can be demoralizing. When students get support — it’s really simple — they do better.” For the last two years, the James A. Rothwell Scholarship has been awarded to Kwan Leung Ling, who is pursuing his master’s degree in music composition. One of his areas of focus is studying the similarities between American jazz and Cantonese musical forms. Recently, he composed music for the animated short film, “24,” which was selected for Animation Chico Film Festival in California and the Video Art & Experimental Film Festival in New York City this November. “Studying at UMKC is a dream for most of the composers around the world. I felt extremely grateful and pleased to be the first recipient of this scholarship in honor of an unforgettable professor.” - Kwan Leung Ling, student “Kwan and I met at a dinner last Fall,” Avery says. “We stay in touch. He let me know that one of his pieces was performed in China last year.” It seems fitting that Ling was the first recipient of the Rothwell Scholarship, as he was drawn to UMKC by the world-class faculty. “Studying at UMKC is a dream for most of the composers around the world,” Ling says. “I felt extremely grateful and pleased to be the first recipient of this scholarship in honor of an unforgettable professor.” Ling says his scholarship has led to unexpected opportunities. “This scholarship attracted even more attention in the sound design world, and gave me an opportunity to research and apply that knowledge into my current projects. I am inserting more sound design ideas into my collaborations with artists in different art fields. I believe that this will be the best way of giving back to this honorable scholarship.” While the site-building and fundraising took some energy, Avery is thrilled that Rothwell’s scholarship is able to make a difference for Ling and other students to come. She would advise people looking to start a grassroots fundraising effort to create a website and take advantage of social media. “I still maintain the Facebook page and I recently re-launched the site,” she says. “I loved him, and I like having this lovely place on the internet to point to and remind people, ‘He really was special.’” Nov 13, 2020

  • Alumna Establishes Scholarship for Women in Technology

    New funding creates opportunity for STEM mentorship
    Building a career in engineering as a woman 40 years ago had its challenges, but Janet Williams, B.S.M.E. '83, succeeded and is reaching out to young women to give a hand up through scholarships and mentoring.  “I like to joke that I’m an accidental engineer,” Williams says. “I didn’t discover engineering until I was hired at Burns & McDonnell Engineering in 1979.” Williams was an exemplary student whose parents understood her opportunities.  “I was the first person in my family to earn a college degree,” she says. “My first degree was actually in Spanish.” But working at Burns & McDonnell among engineers changed her trajectory. “Once I figured out what engineers did, I thought, ‘I can do this.’ And I embarked on a three-year endeavor of part-time and full-time classwork at UMKC to graduate with my B.S.M.E. in 1983.” Williams was part of the charter group that founded the UMKC chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) while she was in her senior year. “The women in SWE were a wonderful support group for a new engineer who lacked self-confidence among her male peers in the workplace,” she says. “They helped me see what I brought to the table, taught me how to dress professionally and gave me leadership opportunities in STEM outreach." When Williams moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1989, she was disappointed to find there was not a SWE chapter there. With a group of other women engineers who understood the particular pressures of being a woman in a field dominated by men, they formed the Central New Mexico Professional Section of Society of Women Engineers. “We were all grateful for the support we had getting to where we were, so we were all happy to give back by conducting outreach programs, giving science fair awards to young women and eventually establishing several scholarships for women in engineering.” Williams notes that Albuquerque is a particularly culturally rich area with a large population of Hispanic and Native American residents, both groups that are largely underrepresented in the field. In addition, Williams knows that research shows that having role models is a hugely important factor in girls pursuing engineering - something they often lack. “It has been gratifying to see the young women we have awarded scholarships to go on to graduate with a degree in engineering, or to be inspired to continue with math and science in high school so they can be ready for engineering or other STEM careers when they enter college.” Despite her success in Albuquerque, she wanted to do more. While she had considered a scholarship for women in engineering at UMKC in her estate planning, she wanted to have a more immediate impact. “This award motivates student research and attracts women to the field. The self-confidence it builds can change the world through science and technology.” - Janet Williams '83 “That’s when I became aware of the Women’s Graduate Assistance Fund, which was especially appealing for several reasons,” Williams says. “It was more affordable than most endowments. I was able to designate the award for a woman in SCE and it was able to be awarded immediately, rather than waiting for years. These were all very important factors to me.”  Earlier this year, Williams made a gift to the UMKC Women’s Graduate Assistance Fund to establish the Jan Williams and Family Award for Excellence in Computing & Engineering. Williams first award recipient, Zeenat Tariq, is pursuing a doctorate in computer science. “Zeenat is an engineer who is pursuing her education while raising a family like I did,” Williams says. “Her research in machine learning focuses on classifying sounds and their applicability to detect changes in the environment and the human body, and she has already published five papers in two years of graduate work.” Tariq is researching using machine learning for early detection and diagnosis for diseases – such as those that affect the heart and lungs – through human body sounds. This technology would provide the ability to detect abnormalities earlier than standard tests. Her scholarship furthered her progress and opportunities. “This award helped me further my career by allowing me to submit my research for publication and travel to present a paper where I had a chance to meet people from my field and gain more exposure to science and technology and share research with my community,” Tariq says. As a mother of a young child she would have had a difficult time attending without these funds. She would like to be able to help students like her when she is an established professional like Williams. Williams is happy to participate in Tariq’s journey as well as the paths of other women like her. “This award motivates student research and attracts women to the field,” Williams says. “The self-confidence it builds can change the world through science and technology.”   Nov 11, 2020

  • Political Science Professors Serve As Resource To Local Media

    Beth and Greg Vonnahme offer expertise on elections
    Beth and Greg Vonnahme, UMKC Political Science Department professors, have been interviewed by local media for months about the 2020 general election. Since Election Day, their expertise has been sought-after. Here are a few of the latest media interviews. ‘Can’t close that gap’: Marshall’s path to US Senate victory, KSHB, Greg Vonnahme Here’s how Trump’s election legal challenges could play out, Fox4KC, Greg Vonnahme Kansas advance-ballot law speeds up election results, KSHB, Beth Vonnahme 2020 Election Analysis, KCUR, 2020 Election Analysis Nov 10, 2020

  • UMKC Professors Weigh-In On KCPD Diversity

    KCUR investigates dearth of Black detectives on Kansas City police force and its ability to solve violent crime
    KCUR interviewed Toya Like, criminal justice professor at the UMKC Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology; and Sean O’Brien, criminal law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and a former public defender. Read the full article. Nov 09, 2020

  • New Assistant Professor Studies Molecular Arms Race

    Advances in the study of plant virus transmission may lead to breakthroughs in human health
    Jared May joined the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences as Kansas City and the rest of the world was beginning to shut down because of COVID-19. While May adjusted to the move from Washington D.C., he pursued research into how plant viruses evade detection in host cells, and how it relates to human virus pathogenesis. Your research focuses on how RNA plant viruses are able to circumvent antiviral pathways of potential host cells. What led you to this specialty? Viruses have been infecting every lifeform since the beginning of time. This tug of war between a host and a virus has been like a molecular arms race. They’re always fighting trying to get the upper hand. That’s one of the things I find remarkable about viruses -- even though they infect such diverse organisms, they are closely related. They share so much in common that what you find in one virus many times will translate to other viruses.   Does this type of research lend itself to human viruses? COVID-19 for example? My research focuses on RNA metabolism pathways that inhibit plant virus replication. Interestingly, these pathways are present in animals and are known to target coronaviruses like COVID-19. By determining how plant viruses have evolved to survive in their host cells, we will gain a better understanding of how viruses like COVID-19 must adapt to survive in human cells. This work has the potential to uncover virus features that could be targeted by vaccines or antiviral therapeutics.  "Viruses have been infecting every animal since the beginning of time. This tug of war between a host and a virus has been like a molecular arms race." - Jared May Some people did not absorb the significance of the spread of COVID-19 immediately. How did you react when you become aware of the virus’s potential? My first concern was that based on the virology conferences that I’d attended, I knew that studying coronaviruses wasn’t extremely popular. The first major outbreak was SARS and there haven’t been new cases since around 2003. So, the interest in the field had died down and shifted towards more recent outbreaks like Ebola. Because of that, there wasn’t a lot of ongoing research. How does the current focus on coronaviruses relate to your work? Both coronaviruses and plant viruses are targeted by their host cells using shared pathways. So, I’m trying to leverage what I’ve already found in plant viruses and see if this this novel coronavirus exploits similar attributes to fight the human antiviral response. What led you to this specialty? In graduate school I became interested in viruses and infectious disease. I studied human noroviruses that often cause outbreaks on cruise ships. But there are unique benefits in working with plants. For one, the cost is significantly cheaper. It’s a difficult time to move to a new city. How are you adjusting? Have you had time to explore? Yes, it is unfortunate timing! But my wife and I just had our first baby. She’s a year old, so sometimes it’s easier to stay home! Nov 09, 2020

  • UMKC Pharmacy Researchers Explore Pain Medication Prescribing Trends in Nursing Homes

    Opioids prescribed in conjunction with other medications raises concerns
    A team of researchers at the University of Missouri-Kanas City School of Pharmacy is taking a close look at prescribing trends for opioids used as pain management medications for older residents in nursing homes. Moreover, they are exploring how often opioids are being prescribed in combination with other medications to reduce pain. Maureen Knell, Pharm.D., a clinical professor at UMKC and clinical pharmacist at Saint Luke’s Health System Medical Education Internal Medicine Clinic, says the teams is particularly looking at how opioids are being used in nursing homes in conjunction with other medications that can impact the central nervous system. Prescribing multiple medications on top of opioids can have a significant effect on older adults and create an increased risk for adverse events ranging from falls to constipation to affecting cognitive function. “These are things that we are concerned about and watch out for in our practice every day,” Knell said. With data collected from four long-term care facilities in Missouri, Mark Patterson, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of pharmacy, has created a registry of more than 1,800 medications and supplements to track medication discrepancy during transitions of care among 126 nursing home residents. It can be used to characterize prescribing patterns among various subsets of patients with different diseases and different medications. Working with Knell and fellow researchers Melissa Palmer, Pharm.D., clinical assistant professor, and Kaylee Huffman, a third-year UMKC pharmacy student, Patterson is looking not only at the types of opioids being prescribed, but also additional medications that are sometimes prescribed at the same time to treat pain or other comorbidities. One overarching concern, he said, is the concept of polypharmacy in which patients are being prescribed more than five different medications at the same time, sometimes for the same condition. “When that happens in an older group of patients who are also on opioids, that's a very high-risk mixture going on,” Patterson said. “So, we are very interested in looking further into the trends with regards to this high-risk population.”  Knell said finding patients on multiple drugs that affect their central nervous system such as antidepressants, antipsychotics or antianxiety medications such as valium and diazepam on top of opioids for pain management particularly raises a red flag. “Those types of agents combined with opioids, that's something that the guidelines are pretty clear on, that those increase the risk of undesirable effects when you combine them with opioids,” she said. Another concern that Patterson brings up is transition of care, when older adults go back and forth between hospital and the nursing home. When older patients are seen by multiple care providers, it creates a complicated dynamic in light of those patients receiving multiple prescribed medications.   “We are seeing potentially dangerous combinations of medications being prescribed,” Patterson said. “We don’t know yet the exact number or the rates, but it is concerning.” The information the UMKC research team is gathering will be a potentially valuable tool for the vast array of health professionals involved in providing care for older adults. In addition to the staff of nurses, physicians and pharmacists in the nursing homes, those in hospitals and individual primary care physicians all have hand in managing the residents’ medications as well as the community pharmacists supplying them. “It’s important that all health care providers, patients and caregivers appreciate and understand the significance and implications of these prescribing trends,” Patterson said. “Especially with older adults residing in nursing homes or discharged from hospitals who are prescribed opioids.” Looking forward, Knell said data outlining the prescribing trends of opioids in conjunction with adjuvant, non-opioid medications will hopefully help policy makers and individual clinicians make better decisions on how different medication go together or even whether they should be used together. It could also potentially be applied to a broader range of adults or other special populations. “I think there are a broad range of possibilities with this,” she said. Nov 09, 2020

  • Five Top Clay County Employees Resign, Alleging Harassment By The Presiding Commissioner

    KCUR interviews School of Law professor
    UMKC law professor Mikah Thompson said the allegations are troubling. Overall, the separation agreements are “fairly standard,” according to Thompson. She teaches employment law and has about 15 years of experience as an employment attorney. Read the full article. Nov 04, 2020

  • Kansas And Missouri Are Seeing Their Fair Share Of Election Lawsuits

    Legal contests underway in Kansas and Missouri are likely continue well past Election Day
    Beth Vonnahme, associate dean at UMKC, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and associate professor of political science, was a guest on Up to Date. Nov 03, 2020

  • Panelists Discuss 'How To Be An Antiracist'

    Book by author Ibram X. Kendi offers foundation for 2020 Social Justice Book Lecture
    For the 2020 UMKC Social Justice Book Lecture, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion hosted a panel discussion centered on the New York Times bestselling book “How To Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi. The conversation included topics such as agreeing on a common understanding of the term “racist,” understanding the framework of systemic racism and why equity is a lot like justice. Meet the panelists: Cecilia Belser-Patton, principal and culture curator of JUST Systems Gwendolyn Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City  Rodney D. Smith, Ed.D., vice president for access and engagement at William Jewell College; co-founder of Sophic Solutions, LLC.  Mikah Thompson (moderator), associate professor at UMKC School of Law Ajamu Webster, CEO/founder, structural engineer at DuBois Consultants   Below are some excerpts from the conversation. “The system is getting exactly what it was designed to get. It was designed to oppress Black people, it was designed to suppress our ability to engage in American capitalism. And so it has created this persistent and pervasive divide across all quality of life indicators.” —Gwendolyn Grant “When we hear the term [racist] levied and people have such umbrage and take such offense. ‘Oh no, I’m not a racist.’ What I think people mean is, ‘I’m not a hate monger.’ Because we’ve done such a poor job of defining how race really works in our society. Most of the time when I’m talking about race and racism it’s in the structural and systemic sense.” —Rodney D. Smith “No matter what else we do, that intersection of race is always coming in, no matter how many degrees we have, no matter what we earn. People got real irritated with me when I said you can’t out zip code race. You cannot. You can live wherever you want to live, you can choose to live wherever you want to live and there will still be an intersection of our race in all of that.” —Cecilia Belser-Patton  “As long as  [racism] is looked at as a moral issue, then moral suasion can be an option that might have benefit, but moral suasion isn’t enough when the entire economic, political, social, cultural and — before scientific — structure was set up to justify the founding and continuation of the American project at the expense of African people.” —Ajamu Webster Watch the event recording below.  Nov 02, 2020

  • How One Kansas City Group Is Building Up Black-Owned Businesses

    Bloch School associate professor comments on accessing capital
    Accessing capital is difficult without a positive credit history. Many entrepreneurs use their homes as collateral for loans. But that also makes it harder for Black homeowners who live in historically redlined areas where home values are lower, said Brent Never, an associate professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Read the full article from the Kansas City Star. (subscription required) Nov 01, 2020

  • Political Science Professor Weighs-In On Election

    Boston Globe interviews Max Skidmore
    Even by doing too little on the virus — at least in the view of his detractors — Trump still occupies the center of the debate. “Though Trump blusters, he’s militant about his passivity and has divested all his responsibility on COVID,” said Max Skidmore, UMKC Curators' Distinguished Professor of Political Science, and Thomas Jefferson Fellow, and author of a book on presidential leadership during health crises. Read the full article. Oct 31, 2020

  • Kansas U.S. Senate Race Breaks Spending Records for Campaigns

    KSHB interviews Greg Vonnahme
    “You can total up every Senate and governor’s race for the last decade in the state of Kansas, and it’s still less than what they’ve spent so far,” UMKC Associate Professor Greg Vonnahme said. Read the full article and watch the newscast. Oct 30, 2020

  • Campus Updates for Spring Semester

    Modality changes announced for first two weeks
    UMKC plans to continue most of the current pandemic-related health and safety practices and return to a mix of in-person, online and hybrid classes in the next semester, while standing ready to make changes in response to the evolving situation and any new mandates from authorities. The new semester will begin January 19, as scheduled, but UMKC will conduct face-to-face courses remotely for the first two weeks. Classes will return to their previously scheduled modality on Feb. 1. Exceptions will be made for a small number of classes that require hands-on instruction (such as clinical rotations, music/dance performance) and will still meet in person during that initial two-week period; students enrolled in those classes will be notified directly. More information about adjustments can be found in these FAQs about spring semester. UMKC administration is making this change because there is an elevated concern within the health care community, both locally and nationally, about a potential surge in coronavirus infections as a result of holiday travel and festivities between now and the beginning of the spring semester on Jan. 19. Health officials anticipate that such a surge would put a strain on the area’s health systems. In addition, we want to give the community time to begin the rollout of the new vaccines in our community. During those first two weeks of the semester, the UMKC campus will remain open, continuing normal operations. This includes research laboratories, UMKC Libraries, food services, Swinney Recreation and all other student services from advising to student wellness to financial aid. Campus residence halls will remain open as well.   Return to campus Spring 2021  Coursework next semester will be conducted similar to the fall. UMKC plans to have 50% of courses online and the other 50% in a face-to-face or hybrid format, with an emphasis on providing a larger percentage of lower division and professional program courses face-to-face. Factors such as enrollment, class registration patterns, classroom and faculty availability and public health recommendations will all impact the final breakdown. Existing health and safety guidelines and policies are expected to continue in the spring as well, including mask guidelines. Residential Life housing students will be required to show negative COVID test results upon return in January as they did in August. Those who have left the U.S. will be required to quarantine for 14 days before classes begin Jan. 19. More details, including testing options, will come to those students in the upcoming weeks. Study abroad programs will not be available this spring or summer, due to ongoing COVID concerns in the United States and globally.   Health and safety on and off campus Because colder weather and time away from campus are here, it’s vitally important to continue best practices for health and hygiene such as wearing masks, physically distancing and avoiding gatherings, small and large. Students, faculty and staff are urged to visit the UMKC COVID-19 website for up-to-date information on confirmed cases and health and safety best practices. Per notification protocols for students and employees, please remember that all members of the UMKC community are required to report a positive COVID-19 test within four hours of receiving it, whether you are on or off campus. During business hours, students should call the UMKC HelpLine at 816-235-2222; employees should contact their supervisor. After hours and on weekends, all should report by calling 816-235-COVI. Oct 30, 2020

  • KC Jobs Starting to Return Since Beginning of Pandemic

    Bloch School associate professor weighs-in
    “Hospitality, that’s the area that’s been hit the hardest,” said Nathan Mauck, associate professor of finance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the article and watch the newscast. Oct 29, 2020

  • Visionary Leaders Honored by UMKC Bloch School

    Four to receive Entrepreneur of the Year awards
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City has announced the honorees for its 35th Annual Entrepreneur of the Year awards.  The celebration is sponsored by the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the university’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management.   The 2020 EOY Ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, November 12, with a Student Venture Showcase at 4:30 p.m. and the awards program beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are not required but advance registration is required for the virtual program. The full list of 2020 honorees includes: Henry W. Bloch International Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Yvon Chouinard, founder, Patagonia. Our Henry W. Bloch International Entrepreneur of the Year truly has had global impact. The honoree not only built a company but transformed his industry and significantly contributed to the economic and cultural development of many throughout the world. Chouinard is an itinerant adventurer, passionate activist and iconoclastic businessman. In 1973, he founded Patagonia, a mission-driven company known for its environmental and social initiatives. Chouinard is a surfer, mountain climber, gardener, falconer and is particularly fond of tenkara fly fishing. Kansas City Entrepreneur of the Year: Nathaniel Hagedorn, founder and CEO, NorthPoint Development. With 18 years of commercial real estate experience, Hagedorn is responsible for the overall strategy of the company. He has helped raise in excess of $7.1 billion in capital over the last eight years for the company’s real estate investments. NorthPoint has developed and managed in excess of 88 million square feet of commercial space and over 4,900 apartments. The NorthPoint family of companies has grown to include the real estate development and management company, an international logistics and freight forwarding firm, a third-party logistics company, warehouse technology and supply chain integration company, and an industrial architectural and engineering firm.   Marion and John Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship: Robert W. Hatch, chairman and CEO, Cereal Ingredients, Inc. and Great Plains Analytical Lab. Hatch founded Cereal Ingredients, a specialty-food ingredients manufacturer, and Great Plains Analytical Laboratory in 1990. Hatch is also Chairman of FINCA International (Foundation for International Community Assistance), a not-for-profit microfinance organization with a mission to provide financial services to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living. FINCA pioneered the “village banking method” of credit delivery, which offers small  loans and a savings program to those without access to traditional banks. Student Entrepreneur of the Year: Jonaie Johnson Johnson is currently a Dean’s List business student and athlete at UMKC majoring in entrepreneurship. She started her company, Interplay, when she was accepted into the E-Scholars program. Interplay is working towards automating pet interaction by providing dog owners with an interactive, automated dog crate. Last year, she was a starter on the UMKC Roos Western Athletic Conference champion women’s basketball team. The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards event is an iconic Kansas City tradition started in 1985. Beyond its philanthropic cause, this event is a valuable forum where Kansas City CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, industry legends, world-class faculty and students alike are able to celebrate a common passion. The event celebrates entrepreneurial spirit and serves as a source of inspiration to future generations of innovative entrepreneurs. All proceeds from this event directly benefit the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s student and community programs. The Regnier Institute at the Bloch School focuses on connecting students and community members with a comprehensive combination of world-class research, renowned faculty, cutting-edge curriculum and experimental programs driven to deliver results and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. Oct 29, 2020

  • UMKC Team Wins National ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge

    Second national championship this year for School of Pharmacy
    Three fourth-year students from the UMKC School of Pharmacy defeated a team from Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy to win the 2020 ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge. It is the school’s first national championship in the competition conducted annually by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. It is the second time this year that the School of Pharmacy has achieved the top rung in a national competition. In April, the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists recognized UMKC with its national Chapter of the Year award for the third time in the last nine years. The ACCP competition started in early September with 109 teams across the country taking part. UMKC’s team of Brooke Jacobson, Kathryn Rechenberg and Jamie Sullivan made its way through six rounds of online competition to reach the finals on Oct. 16. The challenge pits teams of three students against one another in a “quiz bowl”–type format. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the final rounds, typically head-to-head duels held during the ACCP’s annual meeting, took place in a virtual format. Members of the UMKC team agreed that the online competition helped them improve their ability to communicate in a virtual format while also challenging their clinical skills in pediatrics, infectious diseases and cardiology. “I think this was a really great tool to test the knowledge that we had learned from our didactic coursework and on rotations,” Jacobson said. “We learned that we are very well prepared for our rotations and for practice after (graduating from) school. We’re very thankful for the great faculty that taught us every section. This was a really great tool to measure that.” Each round of the competition consisted of questions posed in three distinct segments: a trivia section of true-false and multiple-choice queries, followed by a set of questions based on a clinical case, then a final Jeopardy-style segment. “Some rounds were more relaxed than others,” Sullivan said. “It got to be high stress, high tension at times but I think we used that to work together and achieve our goal of winning the competition.” This is the 11th year for the ACCP competition. Questions for the contest were written and reviewed by an expert panel of ACCP members. School of Pharmacy faculty members Elizabeth Englin, Andrew J. Smith, Sarah Billings and Jamie Hall, Pharm.D., BCPS, served as the team’s faculty advisers throughout the competition. “Brooke, Jamie and Kathyrn did an amazing job throughout the competition and are well deserving of this accomplishment because of all the hard work they put in, not only for this competition but also their careers as student pharmacists,” Englin said. “All School of Pharmacy faculty and staff are extremely proud and happy for them. The team represented the UMKC School of Pharmacy well and their win demonstrates the strength of our program and how we are able to help prepare students for success including these types of competitions, but more importantly as future pharmacists within our communities.” Rechenberg commended the school’s faculty in preparing the team for the competition. “We want to give a special thank you to the wonderful faculty that supported us along the way and taught us the knowledge we were able to showcase during this competition,” Rechenberg said. Oct 29, 2020

  • At Ease Zone Ready for Action

    Resource for veterans has convenient home on campus
    When Eric Gormly completed his service with the U.S. Marine Corps, his grandmother insisted he take advantage of his G.I. Bill. He worked in the Veterans Affairs office in college and has not stopped advocating for veterans since. Gormly is the assistant director for Veteran Student Support Services at UMKC and oversees the At Ease Zone, a resource center for veterans on campus. While in the Marines, he was deployed to Hurricane Katrina, Iraq and Peru. A Kansas City native, when he completed his service, he came home, enrolled in community college to pursue a degree in law enforcement and worked in the veterans’ office. “After a couple of semesters my academic advisor said, ‘You talk a lot about helping vets. Are you sure you want to go into law enforcement?’” He realized that helping veterans was his calling. He’s spent 10 years in higher education establishing programs to make the transition to college easier for veterans, and to help them feel a part of campus life. “Veterans go from a highly organized structure in the military to no structure at the university. We help with the transition.” - Eric Gormly “There is culture shock on re-entry,” Gormly says. “Veterans go from a highly organized structure in the military to no structure at the university. We help with the transition.” In order to be better informed of veteran enrollment, there is an opportunity to identify that on the UMKC admission application. While that provides some basic information about veterans on campus, Gormly recognizes that all veterans do not have the same needs. “We know who receives benefits, but there’s a wide range of student veterans,” Gormly says. “The military doesn’t do a great job explaining the benefits, and some veterans may not be clear on how to use them.” The At Ease Zone can be a great place for veterans to find resources. Currently located in Atterbury Student Success Center, the At Ease Zone also provides a comfortable spot on campus for military-affiliated students to study, socialize and connect with staff and each other. There are 100 new veteran students at UMKC this semester. “I call every incoming student,” Gormly says. “We push that out. They don’t have to ask. They may need help to connect on campus. For some students, groups are better, for others one on one works best. We try to find the best fit.” Regardless of their preferences, Gormly notes that a visible location on campus has made a significant difference in the way they can provide services with a variety of resources beyond being a place to relax and do homework. “There are computers available and students are welcome to come in to study or do Zoom classes. We have tutors, academic coaches and a 32-inch display with resources including veterans’ organizations on campus and information on the Kangaroo Pantry.” Kavitha Reddy, BLA ’99, MD ’00, is associate director of Employee Whole Health in the Veterans’ Health Administration Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation and assistant professor in Emergency Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine. Throughout her career, she has been an advocate for veterans’ health through a variety of resources in and outside the hospital setting. “Places like the At Ease Zone are perfect places for veterans to be proactive about their health and well-being,” Reddy says. “For the men and women who went into the service relatively young – often 18 years old – they are facing a lot of new challenges along with mental and physical health issues. Civilian life may seem fragmented, and taking care of themselves, mind, body and spirit, is incredibly important “The university establishing a safe space that is visible on campus is significant.” Gormly is excited about the opportunities ahead. “Vets face a lot,” he says. “They are often confronted with the idea that veterans have trouble adapting, but being in the military often helps us to adapt. These students bring a different level of commitment with maturity, motivation and persistence. Our office provides training for faculty and staff to understand a vet’s mindset. There are so many positive qualities that they bring to campus. We hope to expand.” For more information on services or to volunteer contact Eric Gormly at gormlyea@umkc.edu or 816-235-5599. Oct 28, 2020

  • Dancing During a Pandemic

    Conservatory faculty and students adjust to changes in classroom and teaching
    Without a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty teach and the way students learn. Those changes are particularly challenging for performance classes such as dance. So, we decided to check in with the UMKC Conservatory Dance Division to see what classes look like during the fall semester. DeeAnna Hiett, associate professor of dance and chair of UMKC Conservatory Dance, invited us to a 400-level modern dance class, which includes mostly seniors. She has 19 students in the class. But due to social distancing restrictions, she can only have a total of eight people in the room at a time, six students, one professor and one accompanist. On the day of our visit, Hiett juggled two practice rooms and a group of students on Zoom. Hiett alternated between helping the students in the room she was in. She monitored via Zoom the students in the other practice room and those connectedly remotely.   For the students connected over Zoom, Hiett reminded them to pay attention to details and not watch her on their monitors. She told them to focus on the moves, pay attention to carriage and posture, and give attention to the position of hands, fingers, toes and arms. Senior Emily Moreland said practicing remotely has been a challenge. “The most difficult part is when I have to dance at home over Zoom, having enough space, a suitable surface and technical issues with Zoom,” she said. Before COVID, Hiett said she didn’t record the classes, but has found that the recordings, which are now posted to the class in Canvas, are helpful. She said students can review their movements and listen to the feedback given by the instructor. Squares on the floor mark the space each student needs to stay within. And everyone must wear masks. Moreland said she is more aware of the space around her because of the limited space in the practice room. “I am also so much more grateful for the time that I do get in the studio, with professors and musicians.” All practice rooms have industrial air cleaners and sanitizing supplies. Everyone enters through one door. And exits through a different door. Even though UMKC Facilities staff clean the rooms daily, each dancer cleans his or her own spaces after each practice. Senior Emily Rackers said they social distance as much as possible. “And we end classes and rehearsals with a cleaning spree!” Hiett said one of the hardest things for students right now, particularly seniors, is putting capstone projects together. Moreland is one of the students who has had to make changes to her senior showcase. “The concept for my senior piece came out of the restrictions placed on us as choreographers,” Moreland said. “I wanted something conducive to those restrictions so that I didn't spend the whole process feeling defeated by them.” "The most challenging part for me has just been trying to focus on the moment and not miss the way things used to be, especially since I’m a senior. I think the most positive change is that I’m forced to really focus in class and rehearsals and use more of my time outside of class to work on my craft. I’ve seen more improvement this way.” Emily Rackers Rackers will also graduate in 2021. She is weighing her options after graduation but plans to audition for companies and inquire about jobs. She is also considering graduate school because of the limited job opportunities right now.  After graduation, Moreland would like to dance in a ballet company. The obstacles she’s overcome have made her ready for what comes next. “I know that whatever gets thrown at me in my career I will be able to handle it because we’ve been through so much already,” Moreland said. “I am really proud of the creativity and perseverance of my class. Necessity really is the mother of invention.” Oct 28, 2020

  • Connection and Focus Define Student’s Year

    Junior Jennifer Rangel reaps benefits of KC Scholars despite challenges
    Get to know our people and you'll know what UMKC is all about. Jennifer Rangel, '22 Hometown: Kansas City High School: Shawnee Mission East High School UMKC degree program: Double major B.A. Communication Studies with an emphasis in personal and interpersonal communication, with a minor in business administration, and B.A. Studio Art with an emphasis in graphic design Junior Jennifer Rangel was drawn to UMKC because of its diverse student body. As a recipient of a KC Scholars scholarship, she had been relieved of some of the stress that college can entail and is able to work part time. While the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined some of her plans, Rangel is finding her way with grace and good spirits. Rangel started UMKC last year undecided on her major, but determined to find her path. “I think that after taking some time, I found what I am interested in. I love designing and I always talked about it even when it was not my major. I think I just needed some time to really consider what I wanted, and I think I have found it. I have other interests as well that are causing me to consider graduate school.” Currently, she is double majoring and minoring, pursuing a B.A. in Studio Art with an emphasis in graphic design and a B.A. in communication studies with an emphasis in personal and interpersonal communication along with a minor in business administration. Also, she is working part-time at Commerce Bank. “I have been there for almost two years and I do enjoy it. I think it is a great job filled with so many opportunities to learn. I have so much knowledge about finances and how to manage money and I work with a great group of people that support me in any way they can.” “I think that after taking some time, I found what I am interested in. I love designing and I always talked about it even when it was not my major. I think I just needed some time to really consider what I wanted, and I think I have found it." Identifying strong support systems has been instrumental in Rangel’s success. “My advisor, Susi Krulewich has had so much impact. She was my advisor when I was undecided on my major. She talked me through fears and concerns and led me to resources to help me decide. She allowed me to feel confident with my decision and has always been supportive. I am not on campus as much as I used to be, but I will almost always try to stop by and see her any chance I get.” Krulewich leads the KC Scholars program on campus, which includes a mentorship program. “I participated in the mentorship program my freshman and sophomore years and really enjoyed it,” Rangel says. “It was a great way to hold myself accountable and have additional support in ensuring that I have all the resources I need to succeed. Susi has been trying to get me to become a coach to mentor other students for some time now, and I’m hoping that I will be able to take advantage of that opportunity at least once before I graduate.” Rangel wants to give back to KC Scholars because it has meant so much to her. “Honestly, KC Scholars has changed my life. I will never forget the day I found out I was accepted. It makes me emotional every time. Without KC Scholars, I do not think I could have had the amazing college experience I have had. I would probably be working multiple jobs to help pay my way. I am beyond grateful to be a KC Scholar.” "Honestly, KC Scholars has changed my life. I will never forget the day I found out I was accepted." The onset of COVID-19 has meant missing personal connection. As she’s not on campus as often she rarely sees Krulwich. “I was able to stay connected with friends and family, although it was hard. Especially with friends, we had to be creative on how to see each other and spend time together and that often meant Zoom. We had to find time that worked for everyone and even then, there would be some that were missing.” Rangel has found that keeping an open mind and being comfortable not always having a plan can be good tools that reinforce resilience, even in more normal times. “I wish I had known freshman year that you do not need to come to college with a major in mind, and you don’t need to stick with what you choose for the rest of your life. Things change and you may not always be interested in the major you originally chose. Just make sure whatever you choose you actually love. It makes all the difference and you’ll know when you hear yourself talk about it.” Oct 28, 2020

  • Two UMKC Professors Fly Above The Metro, Urging Residents To Vote

    Story by Fox4KC
    If you needed a sign from above to convince you to vote, on Tuesday, one week before the general election, there was one.  Two civil engineering professors at the University of Missouri-Kansas City took to the skies to encourage metro residents to head to the polls. Mujahid Abdulrahim and Travis Fields, who are pilots as well as professors, have told UMKC student about the importance of voting all year. Read more. Oct 28, 2020

  • “Real Black: A Spectrum of the Black Present,” UMKC Gallery of Art

    KC Studio reviews UMKC Gallery of Art exhibition
    UMKC art student Shaka Myrick, co-curator of the exhibit with Davin Watne and Emma Thomas, states that she would like viewers to leave thinking, “We are not simply #BLM but we are real humans living in America attempting to live a ‘normal’ life with the compounding injustices of racism and sexism. But with this we are also people with an intrinsic ability to find fantasy and beauty in all of their experiences.” Read the full article. Oct 27, 2020

  • UMKC and National Network Awarded $30 Million-Plus to Tackle Opioid Epidemic

    5 ways this coalition has helped people in the Kansas City area and more than 3 million nationally
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City is a key collaborator on a recently awarded $30 million-plus project to address the opioid and stimulant crises across the nation. The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry is the award recipient working with UMKC and Columbia University to lead an unprecedented coalition of 40 national professional organizations on the project. The UMKC partner in the effort is the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network Office at the School of Nursing and Health Studies. The grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration supports the ongoing work of the Opioid Response Network, originally funded in 2018. To date, the initiative has reached more than 3 million people with education and training to mitigate opioid and stimulant use provided at no cost. “We’re proud of the network we’ve built nationally, regionally and locally,” says Holly Hagle, co-director of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network, UMKC assistant research professor and UMKC site principal investigator. “This literally started with a budget on a napkin of what could be done.” The Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network Office at UMKC is part of the Collaborative to Advance Health Services at the School of Nursing and Health Studies, which has about 30 employees. “Helping people with substance-use disorders would not be possible without the foundational work of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center located at UMKC since 1993 and collaborating with universities across the country,” says Laurie Krom, principal investigator and co-director of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network Office and UMKC program director. “There have been a lot of people who have put in countless hours of effort and unyielding passion to develop the network.” “This latest grant, and the ongoing long-term exceptional performance of the Collaborative to Advance Health Services, exemplifies UMKC leadership in healthcare research and service,” said Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal.  “Our School of Nursing and Health Studies is at the forefront of national efforts to address the scourge of opioid addiction.” The new two-year grant began Sept. 30. The Opioid Response Network also intends to expand its support for justice and corrections settings, grow its culturally specific work groups, such as its American Indian/ Alaska Native committee and create new work groups for African Americans, LGBTQ and rural communities. Recognizing the impact stimulant use is having across the country, the network plans to expand resources to provide more educational services in this area – a need that is especially relevant locally. Based on requests, here is how the network has helped people in the Kansas City area and regionally: Provided consultation and support on evidence-based strategies for establishing a recovery high school to a local Kansas City businessman. Presented a treatment and recovery-based training series to Jackson County Family Court personnel, including judges, guardians, social workers, juvenile correction personnel and private attorneys. This training included an overview of opioid-use treatment from a medical and behavioral health perspective, a local recovery subject-matter expert with lived experience and an anti-stigma training. Consulted a Kansas City-based recovery coalition to help the organization collect information, strategize and plan an initiative to increase the number of recovery housing beds available in the metro area, which included applying the National Alliance for Recovery Residences’ accreditation processes and other recovery supports. Developed and support a regular meeting of medical directors and treatment staff from opioid treatment programs in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska, providing opportunities for sharing ideas around treatment and operational issues. This meeting became a vital connection for the participants after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the region. Many programs had to pivot quickly to begin providing services virtually via telehealth and develop safety guidelines for in-person services. Translated patient education materials on opioid use disorder in Burmese, Somali and Rohingya for a community hospital in rural western Kansas located near a meat packing plant. The hospital is treating people with limited English language proficiency and had no materials in those respective languages to describe opioid-use disorder symptoms and treatments. Oct 27, 2020

  • MRIs Might Be Safe for Patients With Implanted Heart Devices

    Sanjaya Gupta talks to HealthDay about MRIs
    “... patients with these ‘legacy’ devices are still being told they can’t have an MRI,” said Sanjaya Gupta, M.D., a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., and assistant professor at the UMKC School of Medicine. Read the full article. Oct 26, 2020

  • Election-Year Workload Mushrooms for Political Science Couple

    Balancing academia and family life in the busiest of seasons
    Conversations at the Vonnahme family dinner table cover a lot of ground. Trucks. Turtles. Psychological dimensions of voter behavior. Beth and Greg Vonnahme are both political science professors at UMKC, and parents of two preschool children. In a presidential election year generating unprecedented passion and interest, they find themselves juggling teaching, research and administrative duties; family life; and a constant stream of news media requests for analysis and commentary. It’s hectic, but immensely rewarding. Beth is an associate professor of political science, former department chair and now serves as associate dean of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences. Greg is an associate professor and current department chair. Between the two of them, they have done eight news media interviews since August on national, state and local election topics. They met while in the political science doctoral program at Rice University, and “got together over the final season of The West Wing.”  Here are excerpts from a recent conversation. How did you end up at UMKC?  Greg: Beth came to visit UMKC and loved the city, the department and the college. I was working at Alabama (roll tide!) and eventually got an offer from UMKC. Beth: He is originally from Iowa and was very grateful to be able to come back to the Midwest. How old are your children? Are they politically conscious? Beth: Our kids are 2 and 5. The older one is aware of some basics—the government makes the laws, the existence of a mayor, president, etc. Politics is a big part of our lives and they’ll be exposed to a lot of it eventually, but right now it’s about trains, bugs, bikes, and outer space. (At the dinner table) we’re just as likely to be talking about a huge leaf in the backyard, garbage trucks or a turtle at the pond. What drew you to political science initially? Beth: I have always been fascinated with government and politics. I dressed up as the president in second grade for Halloween. My mom helped me sew “Commander in Chief” on a suit jacket. I always assumed I would be a lawyer until I was a senior in college. I took a number of political science and history classes and loved studying politics. I had a professor who suggested graduate school and I was hooked. Greg: I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t interested in politics. My parents were highly attentive to politics. Growing up in Iowa also meant that there was a lot of campaign activity around the state and community. There was always this sense that politics mattered and could be used to make our society better. Now, that’s not exactly the same as political science!  One of my first political science classes was on international relations, and that introduced me to world politics, which in many ways operates with its own set of complex norms and rules. That had me hooked on political science as an academic discipline. “Growing up in Iowa also meant that there was a lot of campaign activity around the state and community. There was always this sense that politics mattered and could be used to make our society better.” Greg Vonnahme Have you had strong mentoring relationships with students who have gone on to enjoy professional success? What does that feel like? Beth: I have. Most of my students have gone on to successful legal (defense attorneys, environmental lawyers, corporate attorneys, civil litigation, etc.) or governmental careers (World Bank, Defense Department, etc.). I am endlessly proud of our students’ accomplishments. It brings me great pleasure when I see my students getting excellent jobs, having families and doing amazing things for our community. Greg: I teach a lot of introductory-level classes, so my interactions with students are pretty early, and I also advise them in the major later on. I’ve had students go on to positions on Capitol Hill, the White House, campaigns, in government relations and law. I’m very proud of all of our students, and their effort and resourcefulness. I might have had a small part to play along the way, but I mostly try not to hold them back too much! “I have always been fascinated with government and politics. I dressed up as the president in second grade for Halloween. My mom helped me sew 'Commander in Chief ' on a suit jacket.” Beth Vonnahme Have students changed much over the years you’ve been teaching, in terms of their approach to the subject? In terms of their professional goals? Greg: What I’ve seen in the classroom in the last few years is that the decades-old story about young people not caring about politics might be changing. It is more than just “slacktivism” where people share memes on social media and then don’t actually do anything. I’ve seen a significant increase in the interest that our students have in politics, institutions and voting.  They want to understand the issues and processes as a way to be involved in politics more effectively … There is also a degree of skepticism about technology. When social media first began to emerge as a tool for political organization, there was a bit of a utopian sentiment about its possibilities. There’s much more concern about its negative effects among today’s students. Beth: Students today face many more obstacles than students did when I first started at UMKC in 2006. Food and housing insecurity is a very real issue; financial and family obligations are more acute today than in the past. The specific issues that motivate them have changed, but the passion of political science students to care about the political world and how it affects the daily lives of all has not changed. What are your other major mutual interests besides politics? Beth: Family outings, books and sports. Family outings we generally all do together. Books and cycling are both mutual interests, but books are a little bit more my passion, sports are a bit more Greg’s. Greg:  Beth also likes to bake and I like to eat what she bakes. Oct 26, 2020

  • Few New Movies, Small Crowds: Can KC-based Theaters Survive The Pandemic?

    Kansas City Star interviews Bloch School Associate Professor
    “That (money loss and debt) was not a product of the pandemic. It was a product of the industry and also their specific performance within the industry,” said Nathan Mauck, associate professor of finance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the KC Star article. (subscription required) Oct 25, 2020

  • Voter Apathy Expected To Be Common Problem In 2020

    Beth Vonnahme talks to KCTV5 about voter turnout
    UMKC associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Beth Vonnahme, defines voter apathy as nonparticipation caused by feeling “turned off” of the political process. Read the story or watch the newscast.  Oct 22, 2020

  • School Of Law Associate Professor Weighs In On Presidential Candidates, Health Care

    Ann Marie Marciarille was interviewed about the two competing theories on health care
    “They have two different philosophical positions of fairness,” said Ann Marie Marciarille, associate professor of law at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. “Biden has the social insurance theory that we are all in this together…the other side is about having people live with their own actual risk.” Read the story. Oct 21, 2020

  • Haunted UMKC

    5 Historically Eerie Locations on Campus
    Just in time for Halloween, we’re getting the scoop on five reportedly haunted places at UMKC from our own resident historian, Chris Wolff, manager of the UMKC Bookstore. Historical photo of University Playhouse at its location near present-day Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center. 1. Lurking Patron at the University Playhouse Vaugn Burkholder Since opening in 1948, the University Playhouse had a tradition of bringing in professional actors and directors to work with the students. One of the actresses was a local woman named Vaugn Burkholder; she had a short career on Broadway, was petite in size and wore tall heels to compensate. With her love for theater, she would often observe casting calls and rehearsals from the catwalk above the stage. On the night of Oct. 23, 1957, Vaugn’s husband dropped her off at the playhouse. Just as she walked in, she was greeted by the stage manager and suddenly collapsed. They called an ambulance, but it was too late. Vaugn died of a heart attack right in the manager’s arms. Since Vaugn’s death, strange activities began to happen at the University Playhouse: reports of lights turning on and off; campus police, on multiple occasions, found all the doors and windows open in the middle of the night as they heard sounds of a performance—including audience laughter and applause--yet upon entry, they discovered no one was there. Sometimes guests of the theater would claim they saw a woman on the catwalk. However when they asked the ushers who it was, there would be no one there. The most interesting of all:  the stage manager would often hear the distinct, chilling sound of Vaugn’s footsteps in those high heels on stage when he was in the building alone. The University Playhouse was eventually torn down; all that remains today is the playhouse patio located on the southwest corner of Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center. Present-day Spencer Theater with catwalk pictured above. 2. Dancing With the Past in the Spencer Theater After the University Playhouse was torn down in 1978, Olson Performing Arts Theatre was built to replace it. The Kansas City Repertory Theatre moved inside to the Spencer Theatre in 1979, and it wasn’t long before strange things started to occur. Lights would mysteriously turn on and off. One evening, a costume designer left a project unfinished only to find it finished in the morning. Another time, an actress fell coming down the staircase from the catwalk and felt an invisible force stop her fall mid-air and steady her on the steps. And again, like in the University Playhouse, guests would ask the ushers, “Who is that woman up on the catwalk?” In 1985, an actress named Laura San Giacomo was cast as Juliet in the KC Rep’s production of Romeo and Juliet. One evening, Laura went on stage to perform a scene where she danced around the stage by herself. As she set out across the stage, suddenly an older woman appeared in full costume dancing with her, step-by-step. Laura kept her composure and completed the scene. She then rushed off stage and found the stage manager and asked, “Who was that woman on stage with me?” He replied, calm and unfazed: “It was just the stage ghost.” Historical photo of the UNews House at 5327 Holmes Street. 3. The UNews House Possession The house at 5327 Holmes St. has been owned by the university for decades; it was once the home of radio station KCUR 89.3 as well as a weekly radio show first produced there in the 1970s. Legend has it that in 1977 a gunman forced his way into the home, burst into the studio and shot the host and guest he was interviewing. The gunman fled the scene and was never caught. However, none of that is true. Once the rumors had begun, it only grew, and when the University News campus newspaper moved into the house years later, the legend took on a life of its own. It provided a backdrop and explanation for all the strange phenomenon that generations of UNews staff have experienced in the house. Working hard well into the night, students would often experience lights turning off and on by themselves and strange, unexplainable noises. Some students even encountered cold spots in corners of the house. Could it just be faulty wiring in an old, settling house? Could the urban myths be clouding the students’ perceptions? Perhaps.          The UNews house has sat empty for the last several years and the stories have now faded into memory. However, this year, the staff have moved back into the house and taken possession of their old work-space. Hopefully they’ll have no paranormal activities to report. Historical photo of Linda Hall Library, which is surrounded by Volker Campus. 4. Ghostly Pages in the Linda Hall Library When Herbert and Linda Hall passed away in the 1940s, they left behind a trust fund, their home at 5109 Cherry St. and instructions to create a public library. The trustees of their estate decided that the library would be dedicated to science and the history of science. Over the years, the library has acquired a world class collection of books, including original works of scientists such as Galileo, Darwin and Einstein. In 1964, the Hall home was torn down and the modern Linda Hall Library we have today was built. This new facility allowed the library to store and make available hundreds of thousands of books it had collected over the years in a special annex building — and within that collection, one of those books is haunted. When someone requests a book, a staff member must go to the annex to retrieve it. In the late 1960s, staff began to experience strange phenomena on the top floor of the annex, where items least requested are stored. In this room there are also statues, paintings, and other relics that made a decidedly creepy atmosphere. Staff would enter and find themselves in complete darkness after the lights mysteriously went out.  When they came back on, there would sometimes be a message scribbled on the chalkboard on the wall. One message identified a ghostly author: “I am Andre Dettonville.” Over time, Andre revealed his story. He was killed on a scientific expedition in the 1650s. His spirit attached itself to a book published by the French Academy of Science, and now he is travelling through time along with the book. It is to be believed that when the Linda Hall Library acquired the collection of the American Philosophical Society in the mid-1960s, it acquired Andre, too. Living room, or Great Hall, complete with organ loft pictured top right, of the Epperson House in 1926. 5. Famous Epperson House Haunting When the home of insurance tycoon, Uriah Epperson, at 5200 Cherry St. was under construction in 1920, his wife, Mary, couldn’t help but call it “The Eppersons’ Folly.” This four-story, 54-room, $500,000 mansion built for just the two of them was a cross between a Tudor style home and a castle. Beautiful and a little eerie after you learn some of the reasons it’s considered haunted. Here is part of the story. Uriah Epperson The Eppersons had no children and devoted most of their time and affection to the various charities they supported, most of which had to do with music and the arts. Their support of the Kansas City Conservatory (now the UMKC Conservatory) led them into a friendship with organ instructor Harriet Barse, whom they fondly referred to as their “adopted daughter.” It was agreed that Harriet would move in with the Eppersons and a special organ loft was constructed for her in the home’s living room. Harriet commissioned a custom pipe organ and everyone looked forward to her entertaining guests of the home. However, shortly after they moved into the home around 1922, Harriet fell ill. She was rushed to the hospital where she died during an operation to remove her gallbladder. The Eppersons were crushed, but life went on. Uriah Epperson died of a stroke in 1927, and following that, Mary Elizabeth Epperson died of cancer in 1939. In 1942, the home was donated to the University of Kansas City and its first real use was as a dormitory for Navy air cadets during WWII. These men were the first to report sightings of a ghostly woman in a white gown who walked the hallways of the home. The home was later used as a residence hall for the School of Education and in the 1970s, as practice and office space for the UMKC Conservatory. It was during this time that stories of strange phenomena inside Epperson House came to life. In addition to sightings of the ghostly figure, students reported hearing footsteps in empty parts of the home. Interestingly, the light in the top of the tower would turn on by itself even though the tower had been sealed off decades before. Then, there were claims of the unmistakable sound of the organ music coming from the basement. Harriet Barse A chandelier came loose in the living room once and barely missed a custodian, which only encouraged the spread of belief in the haunting of Epperson House to university staff. Even campus police were becoming believers after one officer was struck in his vehicle early one morning by another vehicle. When the officer got out to see what happened, there was no one nor another car around. Yet he had heard the shattering of glass and saw skid marks on the ground where his vehicle had been moved. And there weren’t just sightings of a woman: another officer saw a ghostly hand clothed in a man’s blue suit appear out of nowhere and turn off a light. Today the Epperson House sits empty and in need of repair and access is strictly forbidden. However, depending on who you ask, you will get mixed responses on the potential for the supernatural. Although some may think the strange occurrences are caused from the old structure, others know for a fact they have heard the organ music and seen unexplainable things.  Oct 21, 2020

  • Whispers Of An Italian-Jewish Past Fill A Composer’s Music

    The New York Times features Yotam Haber
    Yotam Haber’s “Estro Poetico-Armonico III” combines live singing with archival recordings of cantors. Haber is an associate professor of Music Composition at the UMKC Conservatory. Read the full article. Oct 20, 2020

  • Ethics Of Debate, Voting

    Clancy Martin joins KCUR discussion
    Clancy Martin, professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was a guest on Up to Date. Oct 20, 2020

  • How Leaders Can Learn To Be Humble And More Effective

    Forbes interviews Nancy Levit
    The ability to learn how to be humble may not be the real problem, however, according to a forthcoming paper. The problem may, instead, be that organizations do not select for humble leaders, but use competitive tournaments to select for corporate executives promising immediate results, explains UMKC School of Law Professor Nancy Levit. Read the story online. Oct 20, 2020

  • 5 Tips To Help Students Filing the FAFSA

    Best way to save time is to be prepared
    Not only is it “Spooky Season” and time to put pumpkins out on our front porch, but now is the time for students to file their FAFSA. Regardless of your financial situation or your family's, it is still recommended for all students to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid  because it can be the first step in qualifying for grant money as well as other types of need-based financial aid. While the FAFSA form can be intimidating, these helpful tips can make you feel more prepared and less stressed. Apply early The FAFSA is open for students to apply on Oct. 1 every year. And when you apply early, you'll be able to have access to more federal or school financial aid. Applying early also means you can get it out of the way now and not have to think about it later. Pushing it too close to the due date means more stress upon you and your family to find any relevant tax and income information. Be prepared Make sure that you are prepared and have gathered the information required to complete the FAFSA. By going out of your way to have the information you need, it will be easier to fill it out. For most students, who are still claimed as dependents on their parents' tax returns, that means making sure their parents have their financial and tax information easily available. Schedule time to do it A good tip when it comes to completing the FAFSA is to schedule a day where you and your parents, especially if you're using their financial and tax information, can do it together and make sure that everything is filled out. By scheduling a day to do it and making sure everyone knows what info is needed beforehand, it makes it easier for the student and the parents. Proofread One thing that students tend to forget is to double-check that all the information entered is correct and is ready to be submitted without any errors. It’d be terrible to miss out on aid because you entered information incorrectly without realizing it, so it pays to take a few minutes to review your work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help When it comes to financial aid, there are plenty of resources to help students and parents with the FAFSA application. Here at the UMKC Financial Aid Office, students can contact them to set up appointments if they have any questions or concerns when applying for FAFSA.  And don't forget, just because you filed the FAFSA doesn't mean you'll get aid. Make sure you also apply to scholarships and look for other means of financial aid like grants and loans. The UMKC Financial Aid Office is here to help you. Learn more about UMKC Financial Aid Oct 20, 2020

  • Faith In KC: A Conversation With Professor Gary Ebersole

    Professor Gary Ebersole joined 41 Action News anchor to discuss how history can teach about faith when the world is in peril
    Taylor Hemness with KSHB talked to UMKC History Professor Gary Ebersole for the Faith in KC conversations series. Oct 19, 2020

  • curiousKC | Pondering the City Beneath Our Feet

    Flatland interviews UMKC professor emeritus
    Professor Emeritus of Environmental Geology Syed Hasan used to work with Charles Spencer at UMKC. He said people who spend a lot of time underground don’t have any issues with it, citing a psychological study one of his colleagues conducted on underground workers. Read the story online. Oct 19, 2020

  • Matching Gift for #RooRelief Student Emergency Fund Donations

    Recent study shows nearly a quarter are struggling financially
    Despite previous efforts to replenish emergency funds for students, demand is outweighing availability. A recent survey of more than 1,000 UMKC students found that nearly one-fourth of them are struggling financially. Many do not have the money they need to buy materials for their courses. To respond to this need, an anonymous donor has committed matching #RooRelief funds to any gift made to the Student Emergency Fund and the Kangaroo Food Pantry. In addition to being unable to meet their financial obligations, many students have gaps in food security. The Kangaroo Food Pantry reports significant increases in demand over last year. With the escalating ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on job availability and housing, many students at UMKC face unprecedented economic challenges. Last Spring the UMKC Foundation established the Student Emergency Fund to help students manage these shortfalls in order to keep them in school and physically and mentally healthy. These funds helped to keep students in school and meet their basic needs. “I cannot tell you how much this will help me and my three small children. It was a stretch going back to school as a single mom, but I knew if I didn't we would be caught in this cycle of poverty forever. I want better for my children. With your gift, I am now able to pay for the internet we never had. This was much needed not only to help me with my school work, but it was also a godsend for my children during their homeschooling. I am also able to get caught up on our utility bills, which is a blessing!  I hope to do the same for others when I am able to pay it forward. Thank you again.” - UMKC Emergency Fund recipient Despite the initial overwhelmingly positive response to the Student Emergency Fund, the demand has exceeded resources. Since the beginning of the semester, UMKC has had to place dozens of student applications on hold because funds are no longer available. “Our students’ well-being is always our top concern,” UMKC Provost Jenny Lundgren said. “We are doing our best to help them meet these challenges. In the current environment, emergency funds are critical to keeping our students healthy and on track for graduation and future success.” “In a time where things are not what they used to be, the extending hand of giving is almost always an apprehensive gesture given the nature of what the future may entail. It is with that thought in mind that I am even more appreciative of your gift. Thank you for being a blessing to me, words simply cannot express how I am feeling. A little goes a long way - and I know that in the same way I was blessed with this small gift, my plans for my future will work out just fine." - UMKC Emergency Fund recipient UMKC Foundation president Lisa Baronio considers these funds more than a short-term safety net. “At UMKC we view our students, faculty and staff as family,” Baronio said. “We are grateful for the response to the Student Emergency Fund we had last spring as it made a difference for so many students. Unfortunately –  rather than improving – students’ situations are in many cases becoming worse. We are so fortunate that we have a donor who has offered a challenge match, as they are as committed to the health of our students and our community as we are. With this match, even small donations become significant.” To help aid our students and take advantage of the matching gift for #RooRelief, donations can be made online to the Student Emergency Fund or the Kangaroo Food Pantry.   Oct 19, 2020

  • The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Driving Food Insecurity Among Young People

    Anthony Maly was a guest on Up to Date
    Anthony Maly, senior program manager at the UMKC Office of Student Involvement, addressed food insecurity among college students. Listen to the story from KCUR. Oct 19, 2020

  • Language Matters: The Word ‘Socialism’ Has Lost its Meaning In America

    Emeritus professor writes Special to The Star
    This Special to The Star was written by Thomas Stroik, professor emeritus of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Oct 17, 2020

  • As Pandemic Surges And Economy Stalls, Professor Weighs in on Presidential Responses to Pandemics

    Washington Post interviews Max Skidmore
    Donald Trump, who himself contracted the virus and was hospitalized this month, “seems not to have been chastened by the experience,” said Max J. Skidmore, UMKC Curators' Distinguished Professor of Political Science and the author of a book on presidential responses to pandemics. Read the full article. Oct 17, 2020

  • Pandemic Exposes Existing Inequities

    Community leaders from Missouri's largest cities discuss health disparities
    UMKC kicked off its inaugural Engagement Month with UniverCities Exchange: Health Disparities in the Time of COVID-19, a panel discussion in collaboration with University of Missouri-St. Louis. UMKC Engagement Month is a 31-day (virtual) celebration of all the ways our UMKC students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends contribute to the Kansas City community and beyond. The month overlaps with the University of Missouri System’s Engagement and Extension Week, held Oct. 26-30 and includes a variety of events. The UniverCities Exchange: Health Disparities in the Time of COVID-19 discussion highlighted issues facing the urban communities of Kansas City and St. Louis and exacerbated by the pandemic. The event was moderated by Steve Kraske, host of KCUR’s “Up to Date.” Panelists included: Diego Abente, president and chief executive officer, Casa de Salud Jannette Berkley-Patton, director, UMKC Health Equity Institute Alexander Garza (B.S. '90), chief community health officer, SSM Health Riisa Rawlins-Easley, chief of staff, St. Louis Regional Health Commission Qiana Thomason, president and chief executive officer, Health Forward Foundation Pictured clockwise from top left: Moderator Steve Kraske, Diego Abente, Jannette Berkley-Patton, Alexander Garza, Riisa Rawlins-Easley, Qiana Thomason Here are some highlights from the conversation. “I would argue that it’s not so much health disparities, but social and economic disparities that contribute to or actually produce the health disparities. And if we want to come across a solution to the pandemic, we have to address these things first.” —Alexander Garza “What underpins poverty is income and wealth inequality and structural racism. So knowing that, how do we calibrate our strategy and our positioning to go further upstream and address asset-building opportunities that build income and build wealth in communities?” —Qiana Thomason “We need to recognize that we all play a role in addressing these inequities that have led to where we are today and that we all have a role and responsibility in addressing those moving forward. And so we need to give folks agency and empower them to help them feel like they are part of the solution.” —Diego Abente “If we are going to really look, full in the face, and pivot — because this is our opportunity to pivot — from the systemic inequities that lead us to the disparate outcomes that we’ve seen 100 years ago and that are repeating themselves today, it’s only going to be through expanding that table and the conversation to the folks who are most impacted.” —Riisa Rawlins-Easley “Medical mistrust [in Black and brown communities] is one of the key critical issues that has to be addressed. It’s not unfounded: studies show that, for people of color, many times they receive worse quality of health care, that they don’t believe they’re being respected by health providers, and there are other issues that come into play — like being able to access health care.” —Jannette Berkley-Patton What the entire UniverCities Exchange discussion below.   View UMKC Engagement Month events Oct 16, 2020

  • As Homicides Reach Record Highs, Kansas City Experts Say To Look Beyond The Numbers

    KCUR, Kansas City Star again taps UMKC criminal justice professor
    “We’re going to very soon break the homicide rate record in Kansas City. It’s inevitable. We’re certainly on track to shatter that number,” says Ken Novak, a professor of criminal justice and criminology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Read the story from KCUR. Read the story from The Kansas City Star (subscription required). Oct 16, 2020

  • Connecting Through COVID

    Tips for maintaining self-care and relationships during the pandemic
    As the coronavirus pandemic continues, UMKC Staff Council recently conducted a panel discussion on staying connected, centered and well-grounded during COVID-19 as a critical part of protecting and maintaining one’s mental health and wellbeing. Here are some of the key messages from the event. Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Studies have shown that for many people, COVID-19 has led to an increased feeling of loneliness. While it’s necessary to maintain the practice of social distancing as we work together to bring this pandemic under control, it’s also important to remember that social distancing does not mean social isolation. Staying socially connected strengthens our immune system. It helps lower our anxiety levels. It helps prevent depression from setting in. And, it leads to a greater satisfaction in our lives. Take audit of your media exposure and focus more on intentional relationships. There are many ways that we can do that. Understanding and embracing what we do and don’t have the power to control is vital. Things such as managing our consumption of the news and social media. Be willing to simply turn off the TV, the radio and your social media, and instead make it a point to maintain social relationships. Those who are comfortable with and enjoy casual interactions with others are typically able to have personal, lasting and satisfying relationships that lead to greater mental and physical wellbeing. Review your self-care habits and attitude. Pay attention to your nutrition and excercise habits, and focus on fueling and strengthening your body and mind. Maintain your regular work/life schedule as much as possible. Engage in old hobbies or explore new ones. Get out and enjoy nature. Monitor your self-talk and exercise self-compassion. Take disappointments in stride. Be realistic about your abilities and don't strive for perfectionism. Find COVID-safe ways to connect with other people. So, how do we stay connected while protecting ourselves and one another through social distancing? First of all, don’t isolate yourself. Prioritize and maintain relationships by setting up regular communications with others using Zoom, Skype or other technology. Or, simply pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t talked to for some time. Be the one to organize activities such as: Start a virtual book club. Hold a virtual class and family reunion. Host a virtual dinner party. Take in a free online concert. Schedule a virtual watch party of your favorite TV show or movie with friends. Take a virtual tour of a zoo or museum. Learn something new; take up a new hobby that you can practice together. Find an online support group or others who share a common interest. Consider implementing some of these lifestyle changes post-COVID. Dealing with COVID-19 has made us rethink and, in many ways, change how we work and live. But that’s not all bad. In fact, some of these changes could provide benefits long after the pandemic has passed. For instance, with the normalizing of technology such as Zoom, we now save on time and travel by conducting more meetings and training sessions online. And many more of us have seen that teleworking can be a successful and effective option. As you strive for work/life balance, make plans to get away from work and technology. Set boundaries. Learn to delegate or even say “no” when appropriate. Take advantage of your vacation time. You’ve earned it — use it. And don’t forget that it’s important to get help when you need it. UMKC offers counseling services for students and the Employee Assistance Program, which provides counseling and resources for employees. Oct 16, 2020

  • Nonpartisan Group Wants Voters To Know Their Rights At Polls

    KSHB interviews School of Law professor
    Allen Rostron, a constitutional law scholar and law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said it’s important to know your rights as a voter and understand who may be at the polls aside from the poll workers, who are there to help shepherd voters through the process and answer questions. Read the story and watch the news clip. Oct 15, 2020

  • Barr Touts Success Of Federal Law Enforcement Surge In St. Louis, But Questions Remain

    UMKC Criminal Justice and Criminology professor weighs-in for St. Louis Public Radio
    “It’s unclear whether a surge in law enforcement actually caused any change, or whether the natural ebb and flow of crime rates was going to go down anyway,” said Ken Novak, professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at UMKC. Read the full article. Oct 15, 2020

  • Cancer Researcher Receives National Pharmaceutical Scientists Honor

    Pharmacy Professor Kun Cheng awarded as AAPS Fellow
    University of Missouri-Kansas City Curators’ Distinguished Professor Kun Cheng, Ph.D., in the School of Pharmacy was named one of seven 2020 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Fellows. Each year, the AAPS Fellows Committee recommends a few members to be made fellows in recognition of their professional excellence and sustained superior impact in fields relevant to the AAPS mission: To advance the capacity of pharmaceutical scientists to develop products and therapies that improve global health. “When I first attended an AAPS meeting as a graduate student, I was very impressed with the achievement and inspiration from the AAPS fellows. I hoped that one day I could become one of them, and today the dream has come true.” - Kun Cheng Cheng’s research focuses on the development of novel therapeutics for prostate cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver fibrosis and Alzheimer’s disease. He has made substantial contributions in advancing the fields of nanomedicine, drug delivery and peptide drug discovery, winning several National Institutes of Health grant awards. He is also an active educator in mentoring a new generation of pharmaceutical scientists.  “I am truly honored and humbled to be named as the AAPS fellow this year,” said Cheng, who joined UMKC in 2007. “When I first attended an AAPS meeting as a graduate student, I was very impressed with the achievement and inspiration from the AAPS fellows. I hoped that one day I could become one of them, and today the dream has come true. “As an AAPS fellow, I hope that I can inspire the next generation of scientists in pharmaceutical sciences. I would like to highly encourage young scientists to get involved in the activities of AAPS. This is a great place for scientists to learn, to grow and to enjoy pharmaceutical sciences.”  Cheng will be honoredin a virtual reception from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Nov. 2 during PharmSci 360, the AAPS annual conference. Oct 15, 2020

  • Man on a Mission: Connecting Latinx Students

    Personal experience enhances mentorship role
    Iván Ramirez immigrated to the United States when he was 15 years old. He did not know anyone outside of his family or speak English. In his new role in Multicultural Student Affairs as senior coordinator of the Avanzando mentoring program, he is leveraging his personal experiences and education to increase the engagement of Latinx students at UMKC. Ramirez is familiar with the challenges of transitioning from one culture and country to another. “My dad had always worked in the United States, even before I was born,” Ramirez says. “We decided to move from Mexico to be together as a family when I was a freshman in high school.” After arriving in the United States, Ramirez remembers himself as “silent.” “I did all the things that high schoolers do — homecoming, going to football games — but I wasn't connected,” Ramirez says. “I wasn't able to attach to anything because of the language and cultural barriers.” He says felt as if he was in the shadows and people were staring. “I was with my small group of friends, but didn’t understand what was going on around me. The culture was different, the language was different and the educational system was different.” His A-ha Moment Ramirez’s parents both worked at Tyson’s Food and he felt that would be his path as well. But a neighbor saw his potential and took him to meet Uzziel Pecina, assistant teaching professor in the UMKC School of Education, who was at the University of Central Missouri at the time. “He let me know that community college was a good path for first time college students.” “I didn’t know what community college was. That is not a concept that we had in Mexico. But he convinced me. I went to community college and kept in touch with Dr. Pecina. When I graduated, he said, ‘That’s great! Now you have to go back and get your bachelor’s degree.’” Ramirez started college at the University of Central Missouri and things began to click. He did earn his bachelor’s degree and started teaching. With Pecina’s continued encouragement, he completed his master’s degree. It was through this organic experience that Ramirez uncovered the value of mentoring. “I don’t want our students at UMKC to struggle the way I did. I want to do what Miss Gomez and Dr. Pecina did for me. It’s my priority to find a way that that works for each of our students, so there’s no need for them to be struggling.” Part of his strategy is to reinforce something he’s learned from his mentors. “We are part of something bigger. We’re here with a purpose. We don’t exist as a single person. There’s a collective.” “I don’t want our students at UMKC to struggle the way I did."- Iván Ramirez Ramirez believes that if one person succeeds, the collective succeeds. “This comes naturally to me. As a Mexican Latino person, when I go back to Mexico, I see the collective. I see how people take care of each other in my neighborhood back home in Mexico.” That connection is what Ramirez is trying to replicate with students at UMKC. “It’s working,” he says. “I see that our students peer mentor organically. They are helping each other with homework. They help each other meet other people. It’s great to see.” Helping Each Other Adriana Suarez is a sophomore studying business administration with an emphasis in nonprofit management and a double minor in Latinx and Latin American studies and sociology. She came to UMKC through the KC Scholars program. She became involved with Avanzando her freshman year. “Ivan was the first person to reach out to me from the university,” Suarez says. “Entering college, I had no idea what kinds of organizations were available to me as a Latina until Ivan sent out emails about a leadership retreat and the Avanzando program he coordinated.” Adriana Suarez Suarez had participated in leadership programs in high school, but not in a mentoring program like Avanzando. “Avanzando has provided me an outlet to engage in the Latinx community, where I not only get to learn more about myself, but it has also taught me what it means to be a part of the Latinx community,” Suarez says. Suarez finds Ramirez’s passion for supporting students, and his skills in pairing them with effective mentors to be incredibly helpful. But she discovered these attributes were critical during the time campus was closing because of COVID-19. “When I didn’t know where I would be staying for the rest of the semester, Ivan helped me find resources that were available to students in my situation,” she says. “Not only that, my mentor checked in on me to see if I needed any help emotionally or academically. It was a situation that had never happened before, yet they did their best to support me.” “Avanzando has provided me an outlet to engage in the Latinx community, where I not only get to learn more about myself, but it has also taught me what it means to be a part of the Latinx community.”- Adriana Suarez Ramirez does not see Latinx students developing mentoring relationships in the Latinx community as having a foot in two worlds by staying connected to their country of origin while adjusting to life in the United States. “It’s the same world,” he says. “But the goal is to find a place where people can be themselves. Once they are here, the goal is to be strong enough and secure enough in our culture and personality to use our voices on campus.” The rise in animosity against Latinx and immigrant populations over the last four years have created challenges. Ramirez sees his role to move Latinos forward, even as he has felt at times that they have been regressing. “I thought this challenge of assimilation and acceptance was going to be solved by the time I became an adult. But we keep moving backwards, though there are glimpses of successes and accomplishments that we all have. The last four years have been hard on me as a professional, but also the students. They feel afraid. Just the uncertainty — whether or not their parents will be here the following day, or whether or not they will be able to have a job because of their status. That was something for me as a student that I didn't have to worry about, because we didn't have those challenges then. But our community is really supportive. I know I'm one person, but there's a lot of people behind the program that support our students and they’re able to jump in there when the times are difficult.” That has been Suarez’s experience. “The Avanzando program definitely opens opportunities for its students to grow as people and professionals. It creates opportunity to build responsibility, ambition, confidence, social skills, and so many important life skills that help students, like me, advance their careers at UMKC. After all, that is what “avanzando” translates to in English — to move forward.” Oct 15, 2020

  • Scholarships and Financial Aid for Hispanic and Latinx Students

    Everything you need to know about how to get started
    At UMKC we understand beginning your academic journey can be scary, overwhelming, and seem impossible to afford, but we’re here to help. Here are some tips and resources to help you get started. Fill out your FAFSA as soon as you can. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the primary way need-based financial aid is evaluated. Fill out your FAFSA application as soon as possible to ensure funds are readily available. The form, which is available online opens Oct. 1. Check out the UMKC Financial Aid website to learn about automatic scholarships, work-study positions, loans and grants. For more information on financial aid and scholarships available, visit the Financial Aid site. To qualify for automatic scholarships, you just have to complete your UMKC application by the priority deadline. Once you’ve applied and been accepted to UMKC, you can then explore competitive scholarships through Academic Works. Here are some tips for navigating that site. Sign in using your UMKC username and password.  You will be directed to complete your General Scholarship Application. Depending on your major, you may be prompted to complete an additional Conditional Application which is required for scholarships in your major or area of study. Once you complete the General Scholarship Application (and Conditional Application, if applicable), scholarships that are currently “open” will be recommended to you if you meet the basic criteria. Please keep in mind, that recommended does not constitute qualified. You can update and edit any application (including the General Application) untilthe scholarship opportunity closes. Scholarships with the word “apply” in the action column (after you sign in) require further action on your part in order to be considered. Click “apply” to complete the application process. Please read the scholarship eligibility requirements carefully to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements (e.g. major, GPA, enrollment requirement to receive the scholarship, other requirements as stated) before applying. There are some scholarship opportunities you do not have to apply to but will be automatically matched to after you complete your General Application (and Conditional Application if there is one). Search and apply for Hispanic or Latinx-specific scholarships. UMKC is proud to offer numerous scholarships specifically for Hispanic/Latinx students. Please reach out to one of our financial aid specialists or your high school’s guidance counselor to assist further if you have any questions. In addition to scholarships throughout UMKC, there are also resources available from Kansas City, the state of Missouri, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (see the links below). Fill out the automatic and competitive scholarship applications where eligible. The sooner, the better! UMKC Avanzando Program Agapito Mendoza Scholarship Joel Christopher Brown Book Scholarship Leo Long Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Henry W. Bloch School of Management: Martin Daneman Scholarship Chancellor’s Historically Underrepresented Minority Nonresident Award UMKC Hispanic Matching Scholarship KC Scholarships The Greater KC Hispanic Development Fund Scholarship Program BizFest (awarded for students who attend) Missouri Scholarships Minority and Underrepresented Environmental Literacy Program Other Hispanic Scholarship Fund  Learn More About Financial Aid and Scholarships Oct 14, 2020

  • Why Democrat Alissia Canady Says She's Not The Underdog In Missouri's Lieutenant Governor Race

    UMKC Political Science professor weighs-in
    Debra Leiter, UMKC political science professor, said Alissia Canady has been much more visible this campaign than her opponent. But she said that’s a common strategy for an incumbent. Read the full article from KCUR. Oct 14, 2020

  • Tents Are Just Part of Alumna Leader’s School-Safety Strategy During the Pandemic

    St. Teresa’s Academy President Siabhan May-Washington finds collaboration and compassion are key
    People point to St. Teresa’s Academy President Siabhan May-Washington, Ed.D. as a model of school leadership during the pandemic. May-Washington, B.A. English '88 and M.A. Curriculum and Instruction '91, admits COVID-19 caught her completely by surprise. As students and teachers were preparing for spring break, she was approached by a board member about her plans for the new novel coronavirus. “I had read about the virus and I let him know that we would make plans to ramp up sanitation. He said, ‘I hate to scare you, but you need to be doing more than that.’ It heightened my sense of urgency. Then the very next day, hundreds of universities were sending students home, including my own children at college.” May-Washington immediately convened her administrative team, that includes academic principal Barbara McCormick and principal for student affairs, Liz Baker, Ed.D, to develop a plan to ensure that teachers and students took everything they would need at home – including their computers – so they could continue their work once the break was over. “That was a first foray into the pandemic,” she says. “We did not go back on campus after spring break until this fall.” “Some districts were posting assignments for the week with no human contact. We knew that wasn’t going to work for us.” - Siabahn May-Washington May-Washington was fortunate that she had already established systems for remote learning. “We had developed a system for students to work remotely during snow days, so they were accustomed to the virtual format. Not that they were thrilled about it,” she says with a laugh. “But they were used to that form of learning.” This real-time online instruction worked well for students and teachers last spring. At the same time, May-Washington was gathering information about how other schools were handling the shutdown. “Some districts were posting assignments for the week with no human contact. We knew that wasn’t going to work for us,” she says. “As we approached fall, we knew that to be successful we would need to maintain close contact with our students, not only in class, but also through their group advisory meetings, prayer check-ins and lunch buddy sessions.” May-Washington relied heavily on her administrative team to develop fall programming. “I formed the President’s Visionary Council Team when I started at St. Teresa’s last year. That team is made up of all the directors – development and marketing, college counseling, facilities and development and marketing.” The Visionary Council morphed into the COVID-19 task force. In addition to their input, Jo Weller, B.S. Math ‘93, M.A. Curriculum and Instruction ‘95, who was director of curriculum and instruction, surveyed the students, teachers and parents about their thoughts and concerns. “We determined that learning entirely online did not work well. So, we began to develop a very detailed, robust plan to reopen in the fall,” May-Washington said. “But while I had a cabinet full of research, we realized we needed additional support.” May-Washington contracted with MRI Global, who reviewed their reopening plan and helped the school come up with thresholds and develop alternatives to exclusive online learning. “They talked to our leadership team, but also our parent community and the facilities staff to educate our complete community about the severity of the virus and the steps that we needed to take to have safe learning on campus.” In addition to putting safety measures in place, such as daily health check-ins, social distancing in classrooms and one-way traffic directions, May-Washington had large tents erected on campus. “This gives us the option to have our kids outside learning on campus as much as we can,” she says. “We use them for  lunch, the girls’ advisory group meetings and the teachers have the option to hold classes outside.” While May-Washington could have worked solely with the board of directors to develop a plan, she thinks that letting people have input and involving MRI Global created an environment of collective ownership. “I think it’s important to bring all the stakeholders who are part of the community to weigh in, especially if they are going to be in the trenches. Our teachers were very concerned about mask-wearing policy, physical distancing in the classrooms and what the consequences would be if they were not followed.” Young adults are one of the most challenging demographics when it comes to following preventative guidelines in mitigating the virus. May-Washington says it was critical to let people express their emotions around this during the planning. Their gating guidelines are very conservative and the school did move to hybrid shortly after the semester began. “After the first week of school, we had eight students test positive for the virus,” she says. “While they did not contract the virus at school and had followed all of our safety guidelines, we thought it would be a good time to shift to hybrid to practice the hybrid schedule, but also for peace of mind for our community.” After that week of hybrid learning, students have been on campus full time since. While classes are going smoothly, May-Washington recognizes that students are under increased pressure. St. Teresa’s has had counseling services in place, both for personal and academic concerns. In addition, May-Washington contracted with Sources of Strength, a national program to bring students together to talk about emotional health and as a resource in suicide prevention. “In addition to the counselors and this program, our students’ advisory groups are like a homeroom family. They have lunch together and meet every day. It’s a tremendous support system. And, of course, being a Catholic school, we have a campus ministry department that is very involved.” “I like having my hands on all areas and helping to use my experience and expertise from the classroom for the greater good of the community.” While May-Washington has responsibilities relating to the health of the entire school community, she is also working to balance her own personal responsibilities. She and her husband, Rick Washington, who is a teacher at Allen Village Charter, are juggling their jobs as well household responsibilities and the care of their three children. “He’s a great partner,” she says. “Two of our children are in college, but our youngest is in fifth grade. He’s very involved, which is great when I’m at meetings late in the evening.” This teamwork is critical as May-Washington’s dedication extends beyond St. Teresa’s to the larger Kansas City community. She served on a panel with area public school leaders and is sharing ideas with her fellow area private school administrators at a weekly online meeting. May-Washington started her career as an English teacher and did not foresee moving into administration, but she finds she enjoys responsibilities beyond the classroom. “I like having my hands on all areas and helping to use my experience and expertise from the classroom for the greater good of the community. I didn’t envision doing this type of work, but t’s been a great evolution.” Oct 13, 2020

  • Critical Conversations: Women in Higher Education

    Women of color and white women share experiences and perspectives
    Leading women in higher education from across the U.S. participated Oct. 7 in a vrtual panel discussion, “A Dialogue Among Women of Color and White Women in Higher Education.” The event was the sixth in the Critical Conversations series of panel discussions addressing systemic racism, sponsored by the UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion. UMKC people are taking thoughtful action on campus and in our community to ensure lasting and comprehensive change through Roos Advocate for Community Change, a new campus-wide effort announced in June. The Critical Conversations are part of that initiative. The goal of each discussion is to enlighten, to educate and to explore the causes and potential cures for racism. Panelists for the Women in Higher Education session included: Karen Lee Ashcraft, professor, College of Media, Communication, and Information at the University of Colorado Boulder; Karen L. Dace, vice chancellor, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Lona Davenport (co-moderator), senior diversity program coordinator, UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion; Christine Grant, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, former associate dean of faculty advancement, North Carolina State University; Jennifer Laflam, professor and director of Center for Teaching and Learning at American River College; Tamica Lige (co-moderator), program coordinator, UMKC Students Training in Academia, Health, and Research (STAHR); Shani Barrax Moore, director of diversity and inclusion, University of North Texas; Julia Vargas, director, Center for Service Learning, Rockhurst University. Excerpts from the conversation are below. A recording of the complete event is available at this link. Excerpts: Moore: Some white women “want to do the work (of addressing racism) and also get credit for doing it … It’s not about the credit.” Vargas: Seeking credit for work done is a very prevalent mindset in higher education overall. “The way the system is set up pits us against each other.” Ashcraft: the relationship among white women and women of color in academia “has transformative potential, but that potential remains latent. … There is a long history of white women not being trustworthy allies. That’s something we need to interrupt.” Laflam: “For the first four decades of my life, racial issues were all around me but I believed that they didn’t involve me. I neglected to see myself as a raced person with racist tendencies. … This conversation is an act of love, for me and for everyone involved in it.” White women need to focus on listening to women of color; “let me share my experience without you minimizing it by comparing it to your own.”   – Shani Barrax Moore Dace: “One of the reasons this (conversation) is important is that women of color and white women make up the majority in multiple academic arenas. You would think that would lead to more women in leadership, but it has not. … There is a division between white women and women of color on many campuses, a division that women of color know about and most white women do not.” Moore: To help bring down the barriers between women, white women need to “stop denying your privilege; stop denying your ignorance and willful obliviousness; stop denying the level of frustration that women of color deal with day in and day out.” Grant: Women need to work at creating true friendships between white women and women of color; “We need to talk about more than just (race).” Ashcraft: Factors that drive distrust of white women by women of color include “habitual reactions of fear and intimidation, which is gaslighting” and “insisting that your intentions matter more than your impact.” Moore: White women need to focus on listening to women of color; “let me share my experience without you minimizing it by comparing it to your own.” Vargas: At important meetings, “notice who isn’t there. If there are no women of color at the table, speak up. … Ask how do we build a bigger, more inclusive table.” Dace: White women in leadership positions “have to make sure that your replacement does not look like you, and make sure people of color are having the kinds of experiences that make them ready to step in.” Oct 13, 2020

  • Alumna Focuses Energy on Popular Fashion Event in the Midst of Pandemic Shift

    The show must go on and will go on Friday, Oct. 16, ticket info below
    Celeste Lupercio (B.A. ’95, sociology) graduated from UMKC and began her career working in children’s psychiatric care in Kansas City. Using the extensive skills she’d developed, Lupercio shifted mid-career to event management and is currently the senior director of sales, marketing and events at the College Basketball Experience. The COVID-19 pandemic meant a different kind of transition; this time into fashion. She’s been working from home since the spring, but Lupercio has also focused her energy on the West 18th Street Fashion Show: Summer in Hindsight. This treasured community event airs Friday at Boulevard Drive In. Tell me what transitions you made personally because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The College Basketball Experience closed March 16, and I’ve been working at home since then. It’s challenging though. I am used to being engaged in the community. I’m involved in a lot of volunteer positions – some at the board level. And I feel very lucky to be able to focus on the West 18th Street Fashion Show. How did you make the transition to event planning from social work? I worked as a case management liaison at a psychiatric hospital for children for 18 years. I wasn’t burned out, but I needed a different challenge. A large part of my responsibilities was communication, reorganizing priorities and case management liaison tasks. I thought event planning at a not-for-profit organization would be a good fit for my skills. I did some contract work for a while and then ended up interviewing at The College Basketball Experience. The CEO was kind enough to listen to me and recognized how my skills would apply. I’ve had several promotions since then. It’s been a great experience.   How did you become involved in the 18th Street Fashion Show? Last year the founder, Peregrine Honig, asked me to come on board after I helped manage the patron party. I love the event and thought working on it would be great. Peregrine was studying the Bauhaus movement last year and reading a lot about it. It inspired this year’s theme, Summer in Hindsight. You thought you’d be planning an event outside on 18th street in the Crossroads District. How did the shift to filming the event take place? This is the 20th anniversary of the show. The logistics were in place. No one wanted to cancel the show, so we shifted so we could work to keep everyone healthy. The new plan was to film each designer separately and create a film. We scouted different locations and ended up with 19. Most were willing to participate for free. We shot each designer in a different location over the course of two weeks with nine intense days of shooting. We were fortunate that everyone was on the same page as far as the virus is concerned. We all believe in science. We all wore masks. We worked with a skeleton crew to minimize interaction. A colleague loaned us powerful portable air filters to clean the air on location. Besides being a film, what will make this year’s event stand out? [Singer and musician] Calvin Arsenia, this year’s star, performed last year and received a standing ovation. His energy is so great. After last year’s performance he said, “I want to be musical director next year.” He’s composed music based on what each designer is doing and has helped with editing the movie. It has always been a diverse group of designers, but with the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, we made a point of making sure that every level of the event had diversity – the designers, the producers, the board. The film will debut at the Boulevard Drive-In Theatre on Friday, October 16. What do you think the experience will be like for the viewer? Usually, spectators are physically outside on 18th Street sitting in chairs or standing.  I think it’s possible that this may be a more focused experience for the viewer as they will be in their cars – their own private space. Also, they won’t be standing, or hot. Even people who have gone to the show before will be surprised. No one knows what to expect. I think they will be on the edge of their seats. Besides, we are all missing live performances. This will be closer to that. Is there one showing? It appears the movie can be booked for private events. The film will be shown at the Boulevard Drive-In on the Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. But I do think if an organization wanted to host an event, Boulevard’s owners may be receptive to that. We will have cameras there that night and re-edit the director’s cut that will include behind the scenes footage. We are hoping to submit that version to film festivals. We haven’t done that before, but we will figure it out! This sounds as if it’s been an incredible amount of work at a very challenging time. This has been the most altruistic thing I’ve done. It’s been exhausting, but amazing to work with such dedicated and talented people. The whole experience has been so fulfilling and intense. We will all have to focus on maintaining our emotional health with the lack of all that energy and activity once it is over. Summer in Hindsight will premiere at the Boulevard Drive-In Theatre. To purchase tickets or donate to the organization, visit West 18th Street Fashion Show. Oct 12, 2020

  • Mayor Discusses Policing in Kansas City

    UMKC Critical Conversation also features student leader and criminology professor
    The fifth in the UMKC Critical Conversations series addressing system racism continued a multi-segment discussion of the future of policing in Kansas City. This session, held on Zoom Oct. 5, featured Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas; Ken Novak, professor of criminology and criminal justice at UMKC; and UMKC Student Government Association President Brandon Henderson. Gary O’Bannon, executive-in-residence at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, moderated the talk, fielding questions UMKC students submitted to the mayor. The meeting was a continuation of the dialogue that began between Lucas and UMKC students earlier this summer. Many UMKC students and alumni attended the protests on the Country Club Plaza that began in late May after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis. O’Bannon said that while Floyd’s death was a flashpoint in race relations, Kansas City has its own history of police brutality to confront. Protestors have voiced their concern over the absence of justice for the treatment of Ryan Stokes, Breonna Hill and others as evidence that the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department is systemically racist. Listen to slices of that conversation: Lucas: “One thing I am heartened by about this moment, particularly students, activists and others who have been part of it, is that it is sustained. It has continued to push change for us.” “You have to stop allowing the things that are creating inequalities in our system…if you just change personnel but keep the same rules…you’re going to have all of these problems.” Henderson: “I’m a senior, a Kansas City native and before all of that, I’m a Black man…And so like many young Black people in this city, I’ve decided it’s incumbent on me to protest and show up against the lack of action from our police department and local government, and it is incumbent upon me to help hold our elected officials accountable, which is part of why we’re having this meeting today.” Novak: “The larger question about the defund movement, where do we place our resources to get the biggest bang for our buck? And I think that’s a very healthy conversation to have. That is something that has to happen at the local level because all policing is local.” The UMKC Chancellor’s Office and Division of Diversity and Inclusion host Critical Conversations, which is part of Roos Advocate for Community Change, a campus-wide effort about thoughtful action on campus and in our community to ensure lasting and comprehensive reform. Listen to the whole conversation Oct 12, 2020

  • UMKC Sets Virtual Commencement for December 19

    Dramatic ‘Light Up the Night’ Salute to return
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City will conduct a virtual commencement December 19 to honor students earning degrees from the Kansas City metro’s only public research university. The ceremony will be similar to the university’s first-ever virtual commencement in May. Again, students will receive celebratory packets that will include honor cords, a traditional Roo pin and other surprises. UMKC is again working with friends and supporters across Kansas City to celebrate our Fall semester graduates with another spectacular “Light Up the Night” salute, with iconic Kansas City buildings lit up in vivid Roo blue and gold. “Earning a degree from an accredited research university such as ours is a true achievement, one worthy of celebration,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. “In these times, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, our celebrations must be planned with care. The health and safety of our graduates and their loved ones must remain our highest priority.” In addition to going virtual in December, UMKC announced that it still intends to have an in-person commencement for May and December 2020 grads at some future date – but will postpone setting a date until health and safety conditions permit. Earlier in the year, UMKC had hoped to hold that in-person celebration in December. In a letter to campus, Chancellor Agrawal and Provost Jenny Lundgren said: “Clearly, we do not know when large events will be safe again and cannot realistically set a date at this time.” But they noted that they “firmly believe that every UMKC graduate should have the opportunity to be personally recognized for the degree they’ve worked so hard to earn in the presence of their loved ones and closest friends and fellow graduates.” UMKC leaders worked with students to plan the virtual ceremony last spring and consulted with them again on the decision to stay virtual this fall while continuing to plan for an in-person ceremony once it is safe to hold one. "I support the decision to take December commencement virtual, and I'm looking forward to sending off our UMKC Roos with a meaningful and safe celebration online,” said Brandon Henderson, president of the UMKC Student Government Association. “This decision will undoubtedly leave some students disappointed, but our first priority must always be student safety. This is an extraordinary moment we're living in, and we have to muster the courage to make tough decisions like this if we're going to beat this virus for good." Oct 12, 2020

  • Congressional Races Put Kansas In National Spotlight, Attract Outside Money

    US House, Senate races garner widespread attention
    “State and congressional polling has been more hit or miss, so there’s a greater degree of uncertainly,” Greg Vonnahme, an associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said in an KSHB story. Oct 11, 2020

  • Kansas City’s Economy Is Rallying. But It Will Take Years To Regain Jobs Lost In COVID

    Bloch School professor talks about economic recovery
    Expanded unemployment benefits and federal aid to small businesses were key to the robust rate of recovery early on, said Nathan Mauck, an associate professor of finance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. So far, the region’s rebound has been rapid, but not complete, he said. Read the full article from the Kansas City Star. A subscription may be required. Oct 11, 2020

  • For This Kansas Citian, There’s Nothing ‘Unprecedented’ In Messaging Around Trump’s Illness

    Beth Vonnahme weighs-in
    “There are official rules that govern the presidency, and then there are norms that govern the presidency,” explains Beth Vonnahme, a professor of political science at University of Missouri-Kansas City. She says that while Americans generally expect matters of national security to be shrouded in secrecy, “there’s the expectation that we’re given the truth about the president.” Read the full article from KCUR. Oct 11, 2020

  • Faith In KC: A Conversation With Professor Gary Ebersole

    Yahoo News picks up KSHB story
    Professor Gary Ebersole of the University of Missouri-Kansas City joined 41 Action News anchor Taylor Hemness to discuss how history can teach us a great deal about how people of faith respond when the world is in peril. Oct 09, 2020

  • ‘Southern Cause’? Missouri’s Confederate Memorial Skips Over The Evils Of Slavery

    Kansas City Star editorial quotes UMKC history professor
    Diane Mutti-Burke, a history professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was quoted in a Kansas City Star editorial. The quote was from a piece she wrote for the online publication Civil War On The Western Border, "Slavery in western Missouri was often just as brutal as elsewhere in the South." Oct 09, 2020

  • Spotlight on Latinx Culture at UMKC

    Students and alumni share their stories about the Latinx community and UMKC resources available
    We want to shine a spotlight on the Latinx culture at UMKC during Hispanic Heritage month. Hear firsthand from students, alumni and faculty about their experiences at UMKC and the resources, opportunities, and programs for Latinx students that helped them navigate college. What does a mentorship look like at UMKC? “It’s such a joy. It’s such a rewarding experience. And it’s a way of paying back all the opportunities I have had in life. If I hadn’t had mentors, I wouldn’t have come as far as I have.” - Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D., mentor “I just know she’s there, that I have someone to go to to ask for guidance and advice. I know I have someone to talk to.” - Aricela Guadalupe “For me being a first-generation college student, none of my family members knew anything about college or knew the struggle or challenges that came with being in college. All of those things were difficult at times for my mother to understand. But having a mentor has helped me tremendously.”-Edith Moreno ‘16 Favorite Spanish/Latinx resources or student organization at UMKC? “I am on the executive board for the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) and a scholar in the Avanzando Mentoring Program. ALAS has helped me get to know fellow Latinx students on campus and about different Latinx cultures.” -Jonny Gutierrez ‘19 “The Avanzando Program made the transition from high school to college less stressful and more exciting. It also has given me the opportunity to interact with my mentor.” -Edith Moreno B.A. ‘16 Who/what motivates you? “My parents didn’t go to college, but they always stressed the importance of going and finishing. And now I tell my younger sisters and my son ‘I made it, so you have to make it. No ifs, ands or buts.” -Astrid Vega ‘22 “I take pride in [being a first-generation student] because I know my family made a sacrifice to leave their homeland to come here and prosper. My parents were only able to get so far in life because of the lack of resources provided to them; however, I was inculcated with the desire to work hard and be humble, and I can't thank them enough for teaching me those values.” - Roberto Diaz ‘20 “Since migrating to the U.S., my parents have broken their backs to keep my siblings and I financially stable. After working for others for 15 years, my father finally owns his own company (also without a degree, like my grandmother). They’ve inspired me to follow in their footsteps and try to be even more successful than they were, but this time, with a college degree.” - Daphne Posadas ‘21 How do you want to make a difference in the Hispanic/Latinx community? “I am a member and co-founder of the organization Voz Kansas City. We are a new Latinx Organization advocating for and advancing the role the Latinx community plays in the community and within politics.” - Aly